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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

FEBRUARY 28, 2000: 

HANGING UP. A chick flick is like a can of Easy Cheese: you know what it is, you know it's out there, and you know you're not supposed to like it. While only a small percentage of people buy these two products for themselves, rest assured a vast majority aid in their consumption. That's why they keep pumping them out. So don't you manufacture one iota of remorse if you want to coo over Meg Ryan, see Lisa Kudrow's Friends-act on the big screen, or envy Diane Keaton for directing her own movie in which her character is voted Most Capable of Commanding the Israeli Army. Walter Matthau plays something resembling himself, in the role of their wise-cracking, demented and dying father. This Ryan-Keaton-Kudrow vehicle is as 100-percent real as the ingredients printed on that shiny white can, so no sucking it down until the credits roll and then claiming your stomach hurts. Nobody wants to hear it. Hanging Up, like most movies this year, is adapted from a book (the loosely autobiographical debut novel by Delia Ephron, middle sister of Nora and two others). Adaptations, apparently, aid in the digestion of cheesy films as cultural commentary. If you simply aren't emotionally ready for two hours of family bonding via the world's most affordable PCS phone plan, buy yourself an all-beef hotdog and go see Boiler Room. Otherwise, put the cynicism on hold and break out the Kleenex. -- Mari Wadsworth


ROSETTA. Brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne co-write and co-direct this bleak and unredeeming tale of an embittered trailer-park teen and her cutthroat climb to the top of the Belgian waffle-cart ladder. It's every bit as fascinating as it sounds -- and in French, oui! -- which means some people will insist it's a cosmopolitan and artistic exploration of wage-earning, homelessness, alcoholism and desperation. A dearth of dialogue means non-French speaking audiences won't be encumbered by lengthy subtitles, affording plenty of time to focus on the off-road antics of the Dardennes' hand-held camera, and increasingly pointless point-of-view horseplay as Rosetta attacks absolutely every human being who crosses her path. If it wasn't so literally hard to watch, it might be funnyÉfrom a sort of insensitive, bourgeois perspective. Rosetta will not deepen your compassion for humanity, but it reveals the violent and melancholy underworld of the sidewalk-waffle industry in a way that only a French film can. -- Mari Wadsworth


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