If you're an English-speaking movie buff stuck in Moscow during the May holidays, you will be punished. Severely. I know I bitch about this every issue, but this time, I swear I mean it. Before I take a dump on the English-language movies, I'm going to try to do something constructive, rather than simply destructive. After all, you squeamish types out there are always complaining that the reason you don't like destruction is that it's supposedly easy, while being constructive is supposedly hard.
Anyhoo, the constructive thing for you stucker-suckers is to go out and buy yourself a pirate DVD. The great thing about pirate DVDs is that now they're even cheaper than pirate VHS tapes. Cereally! The DVDs at the local markets, most or all of which offer both English and Russian language versions (so you can watch it alone, and later you can put it on for your teenage Russian fiancee to keep her occupied), go for between 150 and 199 rubles, whereas VHS tapes still sell for 210 rubles at all the central markets. The best thing is that your cash will go straight to the criminal world rather than into the pockets of media conglomerates and their pampered liberal-elitist movie stars. Gosh I hate those liberal elitists! (Now, if some of those Hollywood stars were blackshirt elitists, such as your humble movie reviewer, then you might find me dropping $30 bucks per DVD rather than $5.)
On offer on the black market here are such excellent recent movies as Roger Dodger and Bloody Sunday. Of the two, Bloody Sunday is superior, but Roger Dodger, in spite of its flaws and pretensions, holds up better to repeated scene-forward viewings, an important activity for antisocial cranks such as the staff of this newspaper. Bloody Sunday, about the British Army's massacre of 13 peaceful civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland in 1972, is shot in a frantic documentary style that's so convincing you forget that it's a movie with a script. Just in case you need to fuel up your Brit-hatred, this is the movie to do it. They're so evil and loathsome they're almost impressive, particularly when the British soldiers run up to wounded Irish peace marchers, put their assault rifles into the backs of their heads and blow their brains out...and later claim they fired in self-defense. If you have any heart left in you, these scenes of British savagery will bring tears to your eyes. I mean real tears, tears of hatred, not cheap Titanic tears.
As for Roger Dodger, it's another one of these evil-yuppie-chic films that keep appearing over the past few years. It's a spotty genre with one masterpiece (In The Company of Men) and a slew of complete shite geared towards art-fags who know nothing about the business world but want to believe it's evil and cynical (American Psycho, Boiler Room, etc.). Roger Dodger is one of the few of this genre that's actually got elements the fake evil-yuppie thing that's so chic, yet is smart enough and funny enough to make it watchable, in spite of Campbell Scott's annoying TV news anchor voice.
Now... do I have to do this? I guess I do. Welp, here goes, a review of this issue's movies.
What do you do when your artistic career is at a dead end and you've got nothing left to say and no one will pay you anyway? If you're a Jew, it's simple: drag out the Holocaust! It's a guaranteed hit every time! Worked for Spielberg when his career was tanking, worked for Alan Arkin, worked for a hack writer in Boston named Leslie Epstein, and this year, it worked for Roman Polanski. In fact, it worked so well for Polanski that the peach fuzz he raped in the 1970s (when Polanski still had talent) went public to say that not only did she now forgive him and call for his outstanding arrest warrant to be lifted, but she even said she thought he deserved an Oscar for The Pianist (which she may have mistakenly thought was titled "The Penist")!