Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Alleged is a faith-based family film about the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. It being faith-based, I’m sure you can tell which side of the banana it falls on, but, even taking that into consideration, it’s fine little film, mostly thanks to boisterous performances from Brian Dennehy (as lawyer Clarence Darrow) and Colm Meaney (as jerk Baltimore Sun editor H.L. Mencken). At the forefront, however, is a maudlin romance between the town’s small-time newspaper reporter who dreams of bigger things and his long-suffering girlfriend who happens to have a mixed-race sister in a sanitarium who is up for some sort of anti-reproductive surgery thanks to the town’s fascination with Eugenics. That’s two controversial topics in one movie, both handled with the subtlety of a mustachioed villain tying a woman to the railroad tracks. Regardless of what you believe, Alleged is simple, decent movie that preaches to the converted amicably.
Back in the early ’90s, VHS copies of Frankenhooker were on every rental store’s shelf, and I desperately wanted to watch one. My mom always put her foot down. But now, I am a man of 33, and Mom ain’t here to stop me. Nothing in the world can keep me from watching Frank (Basket Case) Henenlotter’s hilariously horrific “tale of sluts and bolts.” Nothing. Truly one of the best horror movies of the ’90s, James (The Sweet Life) Lorenz is Jeffrey Franken, an eccentric amateur scientist who is devastated when his girlfriend is cut down by a runaway remote-controlled lawnmower. With only her head surviving, he decides to recreate her body with that from a prostitute. However, when a form of super-crack he invented causes the ladies of the night to mass-explode, he puts girlfriend back together using the various pieces. Unfortunately, she now has the mind of a hooker, shambling down 42nd Street, trolling for a date. Frankenhooker is insane brilliance and I love every frame of it.
I don’t know, call me crazy, but if a movie is titled Rio Sex Comedy, don’t you think it should have some sex and comedy? Especially with it being a French and Brazilian co-production — those guys mastered the sex comedy in the ’70s and ’80s — you’d think they’d have tried harder. Instead, we get an unwatchable Robert Altman-esque improvisational mess about how badly the poor are treated in Rio, as if this is some new statement that no one has thought of before. And let’s not forget Fisher Stevens in his underwear — a nightmarish image that anyone who views will never be able to fully shake. Interweaving numerous, shoddy storylines that drag on to the point of offensiveness, there is no point to Rio Sex Comedy. It feels as if the actors and directors wanted a free trip to Rio, but white guilt took hold of them so they tried to make a quick movie to alleviate it a bit.