Repertory

By Matt Prigge
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 5, 2007

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Hairspray
(2007) (Shown on DVD): May your paycheck fund a dozen more NC-17 films, Mr. Waters. (Not reviewed.) Fri., Dec. 7-Sun., Dec. 9, 7pm.




Reelblack Presents
$5-$7. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. www.ihousephilly.org

Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan
(2007) (Shown on video): Since 8 Diagrams, their fifth group album, landed a mere week before the film's Philly premiere, Gerald Barclay's Wu-Tang doc is a story without an end--a rise-and-fall yarn without the second rise or even much of a fall. But until some future comprehensive account, this will do. Barclay grew up in Staten Island with most of the Clan and even helmed some of their early videos, like "Method Man." But Wu is hardly hagiography. The supergroup's rise from mixing "Protect Ya Neck" in a basement to rap world usurpers is exhilaratingly evoked, complete with gobs of priceless footage but no interviews with the actual MCs. Barclay doesn't hold back in the second half, when charges of weapon trafficking, rabid in-fighting, rampant attendance issues and slipping record sales put them on a decline. But suggestions of obsolescence feel overstated, and Wu doesn't even mention such recent triumphs as, say, Ghostface Killah's Fish Scale. In fact, the doc flies past the group's many amazing solo albums--which are as integral to the story as Enter the Wu-Tang or Forever--and it barely highlights individual members. The exception, of course, is Ol' Dirty Bastard, whose imprisonment and subsequent death eat up most of the third act. Put on by Reelblack Presents, the screening will also feature Chief Rocker Busy Bee: The Architect Vol. 1, a short doc on the hip-hop pioneer. B- Tues., Dec. 11, 7pm.




Secret Cinema
$7. Moore College of Art & Design, 20th and Race sts. 215.965.4099. www.thesecretcinema.com

Remember Pearl Harbor! Films of Vengeance and Fear
(Shown on film): As many conservative pundits have lamented, the war on terror has yielded little in the way of stark propaganda; even torture porn like 24 has recently welcomed outspoken lib Janeane Garofalo into its midst. Landing on the 66th anniversary of the so-called "day that will live in infamy," SC's latest shows the ugliness we could be surrounded by. Focusing on but one side of WWII, Remember Pearl Harbor! unearths the anti-Japanese racism that festered for decades (and judging from some minority opinions of Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, still smolders in certain regions). Threading up one missive from Hollywood and one from Poverty Row Studios, the double-feature begins with Behind the Rising Sun, a 1943 effort from The Caine Mutiny director Edward Dmytryk. Dmytryk's previous film had been called Hitler's Children, and he wages a similarly subtle attack on Japan, with Detour's Tom Neal as the half-American son of a Japanese newspaper publisher forced to join the Nipponese army and Robert Ryan fighting a ju-jitsu champ. (Many of the Asian villains, of course, are played by American Caucasians in heavy makeup.) Most of Rising Sun's grisly sights--including Japanese soldiers bayonetting babies--were based on fact, though choicely selected to demean the Axis power. On the cheapie side will be 1944's Samurai, about a Japanese orphan who's raised by evangelical Americans before a Bushido priest brainwashes him into becoming an agent for Japan. (Not reviewed.) Fri., Dec. 7, 7pm (Behind the Rising Sun) and 9pm (Samurai).




Trocadero
$3. 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE. www.thetroc.com

Superbad
(2007) (Shown on film): No, Knocked Up is actually better. Bring on Walk Hard. B Mon., Dec. 10, 8pm.




Wooden Shoe Books
Free. 508 S. Fifth St. 215.413.0999. www.woodenshoebooks.com

Shortbus
(2006) (Shown on DVD): Unsimulated bonking, a guy sucking his own dick and one particularly memorable rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" are just some of the sights in John Cameron Mitchell's bittersweet, joyous ode to shtupping. B- Sat., Dec. 8, 7:30pm.

Questions? Comments? Email mprigge@philadelphiaweekly.com

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