Film Capsule Reviews


(U.S., 2004)

A photography instructor (Courteney Cox Arquette) can't pull herself together after her lover (James LeGros) is shot to death by a store robber while on a late-night chocolate mission for her. In a photo lecture to her students, one mystery slide appears depicting the front of that store on that night -- traceable to her own camera. Along with a cop and her psychotherapist, the woman tries to figure out who is attempting to contact her about what really happened. Along the way you'll weary of the bleak blue-tinged lighting, inexplicable crashing noises, spilled drinks, and dozens of cell-phone calls -- not to mention the brittle, humorless heroine. This unpleasant and dispiriting thriller is the offspring of Blowup and ... well, we can't spoil the plot for you. If you're paying attention you'll figure out the "surprise" ending way before the end, if our notes are any indication. (Frako Loden)
Tuesday, April 26, 7 p.m., AMC Kabuki

Pursuit of Equality

(U.S., 2004)

San Francisco's "Winter of Love" -- the brief era last year of city-sanctioned same-sex marriages under the aegis of Mayor Gavin Newsom -- is documented from the inside in this short (75-minute) documentary by locals Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw. Much of it is shot in Newsom's office as various legal defenses for the policy are debated; most of the rest of it takes place in City Hall as couples line up to legally wed. Callan and Shaw film some of the happy pairs, and affectingly cover the two women who had the door slammed in their faces, falling just short of being allowed to marry as the California Supreme Court calls a halt to the weddings. With his pointy nose and head the shape of a slice of pie, Newsom is an unlikely movie star, but he does have an undeniable charisma only partly attributable to his powerful position. The flood tide of righteous conviction raises this balsa wood politician to a commanding height that surprises even him. His fundamentalist opponents, by contrast, visibly shrink before our eyes. (Gregg Rickman)
Sunday, April 24, 6:30 p.m., Castro

Touch the Sound

(U.S./Germany, 2004)

German documentarian Thomas Riedelsheimer sets himself the task of visualizing sound in this follow-up to his 2002 cult hit Rivers and Tides, which valorized environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, a charismatic figure who filled the screen. "Profoundly deaf" musician Evelyn Glennie -- who hears at a reduced level and uses lip-reading and touch to communicate -- is by contrast an intense, interior artist. She's interesting and full of New Age-y observations about her field: "All your music will disappear, yet no sound is lost." While we see Glennie playing for crowds in New York's Grand Central Terminal and at a beach, most of the film is a concert in an abandoned factory improvised by Glennie and guitarist Fred Frith. Frith noodles while Glennie prowls about, searching for good vibrations. This is a fine movie, but Glennie's banging on every possible surface with every possible object is unfortunately less compelling than Goldsworthy's Martha Stewart-like ability to whip up art from some stray ice and bark. (Gregg Rickman)
Sunday, April 24, 3:30 p.m., Castro

Zombie Honeymoon

(U.S., 2004)

A yuppie couple's marital bliss is disturbed when the groom becomes a flesh-eating ghoul. Dave Gebroe's no-budget film falls uneasily between the camp mockery of bride Tracy Coogan's determination to keep to her vows and stand by her man and the cast's playing everything straight. On the first count Zombie Honeymoon isn't funny at all, and on the second the game actors aren't given any character subtexts (let alone text) to play. Coogan's brave performance and a couple of decently imagined scares make this better than skippable, but ultimately we get the zombie films we deserve. While the 1968 benchmark Night of the Living Dead has been correctly anatomized as an allegory of the Vietnam era, and 1979's Dawn of the Dead as a critique of consumerism, Honeymoonis very much of George W. Bush's "values" era. It might as well be titled Leave No Zombie Behind. (Gregg Rickman)
Saturday, April 23, midnight, AMC Kabuki; Monday, April 25, 1:15 p.m., AMC Kabuki

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