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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

SEPTEMBER 13, 1999: 

CHILL FACTOR. Highly derivative and stupid, and yet fast-paced and entertaining. In this thriller, Skeet Ulrich and Cuba Gooding Jr. must keep a chemical weapon below 50 degrees Fahrenheit while being chased by bad guys who are both evil and villainous. Sort of a cross between Speed, Lethal Weapon and all those Roadrunner cartoons where the Coyote falls off cliffs and conspires with Libyan terrorists and has those cool Acme chemical weapons that can destroy the entire state of Montana. -- James DiGiovanna


DETROIT ROCK CITY. Four teens try to get to a KISS concert in Ohio in 1979. Newcomers James DeBello, Sam Huntington and Giusseppe Andrews join teen veterans Edward Furlong and Natasha Lyonne in this surprisingly funny and well-rounded comedy. It hits squarely at its intended audience of 14-year-old rock fans who live in the American suburbs in 1979, but sadly the laws of physics make it impossible for them to see this film. If you used to be one of them, or have one living in your head, check out DRC and find out if you can resurrect the piece of you that owned the Glass Head Bong and wore a black concert T-shirt until it was as ragged as your dreams of rock stardom. -- James DiGiovanna


ILLUMINATA. John Turturro directs himself as Tuccio, a bastardly playwright involved with Rachel (Katherine Borowitz), who heads a theatre troupe of misfits, sluts and clowns. Cinematographer Harris Savides paints a magnificent backdrop for the movie's shenanigans, and there's some above-average supporting roles from Christopher Walken as a decrepit gay critic, Susan Sarandon as a vainglorious actress, and Ben Gazzara as Rachel's addled father. Despite its virtues, the plot is too scattered, rarely allowing us to understand the characters or their actions; and like the theatre folk it portrays, it can be pretentious and annoying at times. It also suffers from the mannered acting and precious dialogue that hamstring a lot of plays adapted to the screen. Illuminata definitely has a certain quirky charm, but the main reason I'd recommend it is for the amazingly wicked puppetry in the opening credits. -- Greg Petix


LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE. Intrepid adventurers battle their way to the North Pole, good men are lost amidst the rumbling icebergs, and one by one the dogs are eaten as the men cling to life--? Not quite. In this arctic adventure, two foxy Spaniards struggle with love, family and extraordinary coincidences. Writer-director Julio Medem has crafted a thoroughly moving film that explores the lifelong love affair between Ana and Otto who, like Medem, share that special bond of the palindromatically named. The film is structured around a series of flashbacks as we watch the same events first from Otto's eyes, then Ana's, moving forward and back in time and place, from their childhood in Madrid to Ana's adulthood pilgrimage to Finland. The slight yet significant differences between their two visions deepen our understanding of their strange love, and of the precariousness of life itself. Guaranteed to put a hole in your heart, if you have one. (Spanish, with English subtitles). -- Dallas


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