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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 24, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 21
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Be curious - SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 1)
by Herb Krohn - SGN A&E Writer

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Through June 9


The 39th annual Seattle International Film Festival kicks off this week with a plethora of world cinema, including approximately 24 films specifically of LGBT interest. In all, 201 feature films from 85 countries will be screening at 11 locations throughout the metro area. Most showings will take place at the Egyptian Theatre and the Harvard Exit Theatre on Capitol Hill, AMC Pacific Place downtown, SIFF Cinema Uptown in Queen Anne, and the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center. Limited regular screenings will also take place at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center and the Kirkland Performance Center.

SIFF is a once-a-year opportunity to travel around the world without ever leaving home, and while some films may leave a lot to be desired there are always a handful that will blow you over, and that may never receive a commercial release in the U.S. - meaning you might never have another opportunity to see the film.

Attending SIFF is all about making informed choices. Here are a few tips to consider: Foreign-language films are more commonly the ones that may never be released domestically - keep that in mind if your choice is between two movies that look interesting to you, one foreign and the other in English. Remember that patience is a virtue - attending SIFF means waiting in lines as well as experiencing some scheduling snafus. These films come from all over the world, so glitches are inevitable. Sometimes running time information is incorrect so the film goes overtime, causing the following screenings at that location to begin late. Occasional technical problems also crop up - a foreign film will lack subtitles, a projector will break down from marathon use, etc. SIFF is a massive, logistically complex 25-day event, and the dedicated staff will do everything they can to make things run smoothly - they are expert problem-solvers who will do their utmost to resolve issues, so please be patient and kind to them.

That said, here are some SIFF entries chosen especially with SGN readers in mind. Watch for Part Two of this guide in next week's issue.

CONCUSSION
Rating: Very good
Genre: Erotic drama
USA
Fri., May 17, 9:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., May 18, noon, SIFF Uptown


Robin Weigert stars as Abby, a suburban middle-aged Jewish Lesbian who is married to a Lesbian attorney. Abby is primarily a stay-at-home mom, though she does some interior design work. A short time after getting hit in the head by a baseball thrown by their son, she suddenly decides to embark on a secret career as a high-priced call girl targeting lonely wealthy Lesbians in New York City. This interesting film embarks on new territory for LGBT American cinema. Seemingly a modern-day U.S. version of Belle de Jour (a 1967 French film that starred Catherine Deneuve), one could critically inquire if this plot is realistic, yet the same could be asked about the earlier film. So yes, the plot works, the performances are solid, and the production values are excellent. The film's pace and timing are well done, holding the audience's interest throughout. The underlying emotional issues of intimacy (or lack thereof), trust, desire, frustration, and Abby's need to at least partially break out of the rut she feels trapped in all resonate.

FIVE DANCES
Rating: Very good
Genre: Romance
USA
Fri., May 17, 7 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., May 18, 1:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


Chip (Ryan Steele) is an inexperienced 18-year-old who has moved to New York City from Topeka, Kansas, to pursue his dream of being a professional dancer. The film opens as he has joined a small Soho dance troupe that is starting their rehearsals for an upcoming show. Soon we learn that Chip is essentially homeless and broke, and fending off phone calls from his apparently alcoholic judgmental mother who is demanding he return home immediately. The entire structure of the film is as though it were a ballet in and of itself - most of the plot consists of the interaction of the cast members while engaging in dance on the rehearsal room floor. Segmented into five 'acts,' this movie is essentially an allegory of the intertwining intricacies of life, love, and emotion. The pacing is deliberate yet slow, and if ballet is not your cup of tea you may be bored. Dance aficionados, however, will appreciate this film's nuanced performances.

GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY
Rating: Very good
Genre: Erotic/historical comedy/drama
UK/Netherlands/France/Croatia
Fri., May 17, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 19, 4 p.m., SIFF Uptown
(Director Peter Greenaway is scheduled to attend this screening)


This film is visually stunning with the most amazing sets ever - it is a real feast for the eyes. Set in the late sixteenth century, the plot centers on Hendrick Goltzius (Ramsey Nasr) a Dutch engraver who is seeking a financier for a new printing press on which he plans to print illustrated versions of the Old Testament. His target is a wealthy, very sexually twisted libertine nobleman, who requires that Goltzius stage the 'six sexual taboos' of the Bible live in his court, so that he can judge the quality of Goltzius's crew before agreeing to finance his endeavor. What takes place are six erotic biblical reenactments, complete with full-frontal aroused male nudity and lots of sex and debauchery, where the lines of reality, fantasy, fiction, and performance are blurred. This is an extremely unusual cutting-edge film that will certainly elicit a mixed reaction from those in attendance. The complexity of what has been produced is quite unique yet can generate significant ambivalence because of the stunning cinematographic techniques contrasted with a biblically-inspired subplot that can be tedious to endure, especially with the lengthy running time of the film.

PIT STOP
Rating: Good
USA
Genre: Romantic drama
Sun., May 19, 6:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Mon., May 20, 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place


This film depicts the parallel lives of two Gay men living in the same town, who cross paths. Gabe is a contractor, who is publicly closeted yet privately out, divorced yet closely involved and seemingly still living with his wife and child. Ernesto, who likewise is still living with his ex-partner, is conflicted about his own life as he frequently visits and reads to his previous ex - who is in a coma after an accident. Both men are agonizing over their recent failed relationships, trying hard to get on with their lives while also trying to come to terms with their respective exes. It is a quite realistic characterization of a seldom portrayed demographic - Gay men who live in contemporary small-town America (Texas, in this case). The film realistically portrays the internal conflicts experienced by many LGBT people - the desire for family and a 'normal' life, and the search for deep, meaningful romantic connection with someone. The production values are sound, and the plot and screenplay are high-caliber. Many viewers will relate closely with the lives of the characters.

ANITA
Rating: Outstanding
Genre: Documentary
USA
Sat., May 25, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 3:30 p.m., Renton
Mon., May 27, 10 a.m., Egyptian


This SIFF entry is an outstanding and fascinating documentary profile of Anita Hill, who had the courage to speak truth to power during the 1991 nomination hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her immense courage in standing up and sharing her experience has changed forever how sexual harassment is dealt with in America. An amazing woman and a great film.

JUMP
Rating: Excellent
Genre: Romantic crime drama
Ireland
Sat., June 1, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 2, 3:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Wed., June 5, 8:45 p.m., Kirkland


An excellent film from Ireland set over the course of a New Year's Eve involving a local crime lord, his daughter, and the brother of one of his victims - who is out for revenge. The techniques and plot demonstrate immense creativity and cinemagraphic expertise - it is fast-paced with a complex, intertwined story along with multi-directional time transitions that will hold your interest throughout.

SOME FILMS OF LGBT INTEREST
(Refer to the official SIFF Guide for details)


BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON
USA
Fri., May 31, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, 1:30 p.m., Pacific Place


THE BLING RING
USA
Sun., June 9, 6:30 p.m., Cinerama
(Closing Night Gala: Party at MOHAI follows)


BWAKAW
Philippines
Tues., May 21, 9:15 p.m., Harvard Exit
Thurs., May 23, 4 p.m., Harvard Exit


C.O.G.
USA
Fri., May 24, 4 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 26, 7 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 6 p.m., Renton


FREE FALL
Germany
Fri., June 7, 4 p.m., Egyptian
Sat., June 8, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Egyptian


G.B.F.
Wed., June 5, 7 p.m., Egyptian
(Gay-La: Party at Q Capitol Hill follows this screening)
Thurs., June 6, 4 p.m., Egyptian


GAY BY ANY MEANS (SHORTS)
Sun., May 26, 6:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Program includes:
Burger
It's Not a Cowboy Movie
Spooners
Taboule
The Naturalist
Win or Lose
Y2Gay


GEOGRAPHY CLUB
USA
Wed., May 22, 7 p.m., Egyptian
Sat., May 25, 11 a.m., Harvard Exit


IN THE NAME OF
Poland
Thurs., May 23, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Fri., May 24, 4:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR.
IN THEIR ROOM: LONDON (short)
USA
Sat., May 18, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 19, 3:30 p.m., Egyptian


IT'S ALL SO QUIET
Netherlands
Thurs., May 30, 9:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 1 p.m., SIFF Uptown


KINK
USA
Sat., June 1, 9 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 2, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian


LAST I HEARD
USA
Sat., June 8, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 9, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown


LAURENCE ANYWAYS
Canada (Quebec)
Fri., May 24, 8:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 26, 1 p.m., Egyptian


LUDWIG II
Germany/Austria
Thurs., May 30, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, noon, Kirkland


OUT IN THE DARK
Israel
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 2 p.m., SIFF Uptown


PEACHES DOES HERSELF
Germany
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 9 p.m., Egyptian


SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE McGARRIGLE
USA
Sat., May 25, 4:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 27, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown


TEST
USA
Fri., June 7, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


TWO WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL
South Korea
Mon., May 27, 1 p.m., Renton
Tues., May 28, 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Wed., May 29, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


VALENTINE ROAD
USA
Sat., June 1, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 2, 6 p.m., Harvard Exit


Curious creations: SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 2)
by Herb Krohn SGN A&E Writer

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Through June 9

The 39th annual Seattle International Film Festival continues this week, providing a fantastic opportuniuty to view films from all over the world of all genres and subjects. Here are some more upcoming features that were available for preview. (For detailed venue information, see the official SIFF Guide.)

FUREVER
Rating: Very Good
Genre: Documentary
USA
Sun., June 9, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian

A profile of the pet death-care industry and how we grieve for our beloved animals in America. This interesting documentary, which includes several apparent LGBT pet owners, says a lot about who we are as a people and the critical role that animals play in our lives. The film explores the history of this subject but focuses more contemporarily on the various options chosen by the subjects for handling their pets' remains. This is an interesting and heartfelt examination of a subject seldom discussed - and often harshly judged.

GEOGRAPHY CLUB
Rating: Very good
Genre: Coming-of-age
USA
Sat., May 25, 11 a.m., Harvard Exit

The plot involves the story of a high-school-aged young man who is struggling with his sexual identity, as are several of his schoolmates. The film begins with an attempt to hook up with another guy at a nearby park that doesn't quite pan out. This is a profile of the dilemma faced by nearly everyone growing up as a Gay or Lesbian kid in such a predicament - peer pressure, isolation, alienation, exploration of love, and the desire to be "normal" are all part of the internal conflict. The film is a fairly realistic portrayal of these issues by the performers; the screenplay is sound as are the characters. It has strong production values, a solid script, and a believable plot with just one glaring exception: the main characters' parents are completely invisible throughout. This is a solidly created film that demonstrates the skills and ability of the filmmakers. While there is nothing particularly groundbreaking in this picture, its modernistic approach redeems the forward evolution of quality Gay cinema.

OUT IN THE DARK
Rating: Very good
Genre: Romantic drama
Israel (mostly subtitled)
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 2 p.m., SIFF Uptown

Nimr is a closeted Palestinian psychology student who has been given permission to study at a university in Tel Aviv, while Roy is an out, young, up-and-coming Israeli attorney from a prominent family. Their paths cross one night at a Gay club and of course they fall in love. This is a tale of star-crossed lovers trying to overcome the obstacles of the border between their territories, rampant heterosexism, religious-based bigotry, and outright hatred and suspicion from their respective cultures. It is a dark tale filmed in very dark settings, so the title reflects both the plot and the cinematography. The film accurately portrays the near-insurmountable obstacles and serious risks facing same-sex couples whose love crosses political, religious, and ethnic lines. While there have been other recent films on this topic, this production is particularly engrossing in its style, technique, and plot. The tension as the suspense builds is palpable, making this an absorbing drama with strong, realistic performances.

INEQUALITY FOR ALL
Rating: Outstanding
Genre: Documentary
USA
Sun., June 2, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., June 3, 4:30 p.m., Egyptian

An in-depth analysis of how American economic policy has gradually evolved to the point today where the income disparity between the wealthy and everyone else has become greater than at any time in the modern era - and worse than in many Third World countries. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is the instructor in this economic history lesson, explained in a way that everyone can clearly see and understand what is occurring, and why it is so detrimental to our national interest and our future. This is arguably the most significant film of SIFF 2013 and a must-see for all Americans. Don't miss it.

ANITA
Rating: Outstanding
Genre: Documentary
USA
Sat., May 25, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 3:30 p.m., Renton
Mon., May 27, 10 a.m., Egyptian

An outstanding and fascinating documentary profile of Anita Hill, who had the courage to speak truth to power during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her immense courage to stand up and share her experience has changed forever how sexual harassment is dealt with in America. An amazing woman and a great film.

JUMP
Rating: Excellent
Genre: Romantic/crime/action drama
Ireland
Sat., June 1, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 2, 3:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Wed., June 5, 8:45 p.m., Kirkland

An excellent film from Ireland set over the course of a New Year's Eve involving a local crime lord, his daughter, and the brother of one of his victims who is out for revenge. The techniques and plot demonstrate immense creativity and cinematographic expertise - it is fast-paced with a complex intertwined story and multi-directional time transitions that will hold your interest throughout.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY
Rating: Excellent
Genre: Documentary
USA
Thurs., May 30, 6:30 p.m., AMC Pacific Place
Fri., May 31, 3:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown

This critical film examines the privacy implications and the acceptance of terms we make on a routine basis when we agree to provisions on "free" websites. The privacy rights we are giving away to corporations and the government are astounding, yet even more shocking is how this information has been misused to encroach and violate the rights of citizens to freely express themselves. Among the examples given is a boy from the Tacoma area who was investigated by the Secret Service for a completely misinterpreted remark he posted. Some individuals have even been pre-emptively arrested before they even protested publicly. Who reads the pages and pages of fine print in these agreements we commonly consent to on the Internet? The filmmakers provide some of the details of typical "terms and conditions." Another "must-see" film, it will make you think twice before clicking "I Accept" next time you are online.

MORE FILMS OF LGBT INTEREST
(Refer to the official SIFF Guide for details)

BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON
USA
Fri., May 31, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, 1:30 p.m., Pacific Place

THE BLING RING
USA
Sun., June 9, 6:30 p.m., Cinerama
(Closing Night Gala: Party at MOHAI follows)

C.O.G.
USA
Sun., May 26, 7 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 6 p.m., Renton

FREE FALL
Germany
Fri., June 7, 4 p.m., Egyptian
Sat., June 8, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Egyptian

G.B.F.
Wed., June 5, 7 p.m., Egyptian
(Gay-La: Party at Q Capitol Hill follows this screening)
Thurs., June 6, 4 p.m., Egyptian

GAY BY ANY MEANS (SHORTS)
Sun., May 26, 6:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Program includes:
Burger
It's Not a Cowboy Movie
Spooners
Taboule
The Naturalist
Win or Lose
Y2Gay

IN THE NAME OF
Poland
Fri., May 24, 4:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

IT'S ALL SO QUIET
Netherlands
Thurs., May 30, 9:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 1 p.m., SIFF Uptown

KINK
USA
Sat., June 1, 9 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 2, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian

LAST I HEARD
USA
Sat., June 8, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 9, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown

LAURENCE ANYWAYS
Canada (Quebec)
Fri., May 24, 8:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 26, 1 p.m., Egyptian

LUDWIG II
Germany/Austria
Thurs., May 30, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, noon, Kirkland

PEACHES DOES HERSELF
Germany
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 9 p.m., Egyptian

SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE McGARRIGLE
USA
Sat., May 25, 4:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 27, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown

TEST
USA
Fri., June 7, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

TWO WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL
South Korea
Mon., May 27, 1 p.m., Renton
Tues., May 28, 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Wed., May 29, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

VALENTINE ROAD
USA
Sat., June 1, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 2, 6 p.m., Harvard Exit



No place like home: François Ozon's In the House is a glorious achievement
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

IN THE HOUSE
Now showing

How do we construct the stories that make up our lives? What are the fictions driving us? Which truths do we dare embrace and which ones terrify us so completely we can't help but keep them at arm's length? What is fantasy? What is reality? How do we educate our young and what impact do we feel we are having on the intellectual and social development of our children?

These are only a few of the myriad of questions lurking at the dexterous, rapturously complex metaphorical heart of director François Ozon's spellbinding In the House, his ambitious yet carefully refined adaptation of Juan Mayorga's play as glorious an achievement as anything I could have hoped for. The man behind strong French sensations like Swimming Pool, 8 Women, and Under the Sand has outdone himself, this seemingly simple saga of a bored, disillusioned literary professor, Germain (Fabrice Luchini), whose passions are reignited by the appearance of a talented if strange new student, Claude Garcia (Ernst Umhauer), far more than its initially familiar parts.

A PRODIGY DISCOVERED
Things begin easily enough. To start off the new school year, Prof. Germain asks his students to write a paper chronicling their weekend. Most are jejune platitudes involving cell phones and dinner plans, leading the educator to believe his latest class of 16-year-olds might be his worst yet. But one essay catches his eye, young Garcia chronicling a weekend spent inside the middle-class abode of fellow classmate Rapha Artole, Jr. (Bastien Ughetto) and the observations he records therein ending his tale with an alluring promise, "To be continued."

Germain is both intrigued and horrified, reading portions of this saga to his art-dealer wife Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) with a barely restrained glee she hasn't seen him display in ages. Soon, the professor is urging his student to keep digging, to keep immersing himself into the lives of Rapha and his parents, helping him spin images and stories out of these reality-based incursions that boldly blur the line between truth and fiction.

It gets more intense and crazy from there - a stolen math test becomes a key plot point - but never in ways that feel unnatural or too bizarre for their own good. Everything moves with a naturalism that's blissfully compelling, the dramatics taking place comedic and affecting both at the same time. I kept waiting for Claude to be proven to be some sort of teenage psycho, or Germain to lose all sense of himself and do something angrily aggressive. But nothing of the sort happens, and while the threat is always there the simple truth is both men hunger in many ways for the very same thing: to read/hear/write/create/craft a story that keeps them interested and builds to a satisfactory conclusion that those who one day read it will savor as much as they do.

THE PROCESS OF BECOMING
What Ozon is talking about, what I think he is trying to dissect, is just how much the world around us affects and influences the art that is created both by us (whether we even know we're doing it) and by those seen to be doing it professionally. The way these constructs interact with our daily lives, how we choose to interpret them, is how we slowly evolve and become the people we eventually transform into. It is this mirror that Germain looks into when he confronts the truth-based fiction Claude keeps handing him, the reverse image peering back at the student a construction he's not entirely sure he wants to age into.

Masterful performances abound, not just from Thomas (that almost goes without saying) but also from Ughetto, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Denis Ménochet, the latter two portraying Rapha's not-so-perfect-as-they-might-initially-appear parents. But the standouts are Luchini and Umhauer, the pair navigating complicated grey areas of human understanding and emotional conflict that are poignantly staggering. At the same time, as tough and as potentially unsettling the interpersonal minefields they navigate appear to be, both find levity in the chaos, humor inside the pain, achieving a bravura state of humane luminosity speaking volumes.

Ozon has made quite a few good movies and more than his fair share of great ones, his track record speaking for itself, but I'm not certain he's ever made one that's made me feel as instantly euphoric as this. The moment it ended I knew I'd just watched something I felt like I could treasure and hold dear for the rest of my life, that in some ways the director had manufactured a story engineered in some small part just for me. In the House is a staggering work of art that remembers the greatest stories start from the most blasé of scenarios, and that even when the ending to the tale borders on perfection the ultimate destination a masterpiece is headed for is for future generations to ascertain for themselves. In other words & to be continued.



Floor it! - Fast & Furious 6 drives in the right direction
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

FAST & FURIOUS 6 - Opens May 24

You've got to hand it to director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan, at this point they've got their Fast & Furious template down pat. Show heroes Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) getting on with their lives, make references to how perfect things are yet at the same time how sad both remain as to not being able to return home to the U.S., have an event occur that threatens the safety and security of their close-knit 'family' of fellow car enthusiasts and moralistic hoods, make sure there's a force strong enough to bring them all back together for 'one last score,' throw in ever-escalating sequences of vehicular mayhem, and have things come to a conclusion at a tableside event where the family is reunited and the world is put back into peaceful order.

That's it. That's all you apparently need, and considering the series has grown in both popularity and quality since the pair started honing their template with 2009's fourth installment, that's kind of saying something. Seriously, when was the last time you heard of a long-running cinematic series that hasn't been 'rebooted' or doesn't feature a new actor in the same role (James Bond doesn't count, sorry) that actually offered up its best effort five films in? It doesn't happen. More, it shouldn't continue to happen, as I'm certain there has to be some sort of cinematic law against it written in some French cineaste journal (and, if there isn't, by all means there probably should be).

But wouldn't you know it? Lin and Morgan, teaming up for the fourth time, have somehow, someway, managed to craft Fast & Furious 6 into the early summer's most effervescently pleasurable event, producing a freewheeling extravaganza of machismo and mayhem that had me grinning ear-to-ear for every single one of its breathlessly, and ludicrously, entertaining 130 minutes. Mixing elements from all five of the previous outings, connecting every entry to this one - even Tokyo Drift - in a fashion that is both silly yet also makes perfect sense in its own wildly implausible sort of way, the movie is a total hoot, and as such I admit to having a grand time watching it.

A PLEA FOR HELP
This time out, Dom and Brian find themselves working for law enforcement when Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) shows up on their Spanish doorsteps asking for help. He's chasing international criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), a man who has assembled a team of crackerjack drivers and mechanics and has staged heists at high speeds on roadways and bridges all across the globe, something the pair he's now talking to can certainly relate to. Hobbs needs their help for obvious reasons and he knows Dom and Brian, along with the rest of their group, will give it. Why? Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) has somehow risen from the grave and is part of Shaw's unit, the thought of bringing her home and making their family whole an opportunity neither man can pass on.

That's really it for plot. Sure, there's a whole longwinded thing concerning some sort of technological wonder weapon that can disable an entire country's technological grid for 24 hours, but that's nothing more than a McGuffin used to raise the stakes ever so slightly. The whole point of the movie is - not to grind it into the dirt - family, the whole thing nothing more than a series of escalating motorized shenanigans intermixed with monologues talking about the importance of sticking to one's moral code and putting - you said it - family above everything else.

DUMB, BUT SMART
It's silly and moderately didactic, but Lin and Morgan play it all with such a straight face, asking Diesel, Walker, Johnson, Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, and newcomers Evans and Haywire firebrand Gina Carano to do just the same. At the same time, they fully and completely embrace the Loony Tunes esthetic of all this nonsense, transforming the movie into a Wyle E. Coyote-meets-Road Runner wonderland where the laws of physics be damned and a person's body can take the type of hysterically nonsensical pounding that would normally put Superman himself in the hospital.

But here's the main thing: Unlike a lot of summer monstrosities that label themselves as being nothing more than 'dumb fun' but forget to treat the audience with respect, Fast & Furious 6 remembers that people who do in fact watch this might actually have brains. While the movie itself is pretty stupid it doesn't treat viewers as being so themselves, understanding and respecting the audience in a way big-budget enterprises of similar ilk rarely do. There's not a ton more to add, because with a film such as this what is there to say, other than whether or not you were entertained by it. I was, plain and simple, and shock of all shocks part of me even can't wait to see which direction this series chooses to drive toward next.


Liberace's secret chord - Steven Soderbergh exposes the flamboyant star's deepest secret
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Once again, Valencia tops the Met
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Mimosas with Mama! - The weekly drag brunch returns Sunday at a new location
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Village Theatre's Chicago needs more dazzle
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Back to Bach - Taproot's latest explores an obscure religious dispute
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Speaking in tongues - The Language Archive shows how love depends on words
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Horror and hope - MOR presents thrilling premieres by Heggie and Scheer
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A taste of tradición - Spanish Harlem Orchestra keeps the salsa simmering
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Be curious - SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 1)
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Curious creations: SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 2)
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No place like home: François Ozon's In the House is a glorious achievement
------------------------------
Floor it! - Fast & Furious 6 drives in the right direction
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Some hot Gossip on tap for Sunday
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Northwest News
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Letters
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