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Sean Archer looks at: JOE THE KING, BLACK CAT WHITE CAT and MY BEST FIEND

Hey folks, once again we have a wonderful report from Sean Archer, and folks... Sounds like he had one hell of a time at the local arthouses. As the summer begins to come to a close, it's time to really turn your attention to those theaters you saw RUN LOLA RUN and BLAIR WITCH PROJECT at, cause your regular multiplex is going to be polluted with the dregs of the studio's slate. We have to tread water here, so break out your doggie paddle... or... Head to the local art house. Safety and intelligence you will find inside. So says my Magic Yoda Eight Ball.

Hello fellow Indie fans. I called in a few favors this weekend to bring you the absolute best weekend I’ve ever had in a movie theatre. These films will be released this fall, so keep your eyes open for a handful of real gems!

Early Saturday I was able to work my way into a sneak preview of the Sundance hit “Joe the King”. Directed by Frank Whaley of Pulp Fiction and Field of Dreams fame, I didn’t know what to expect because usually a lot of hype at Sundance doesn’t equate to a great film, but I really enjoyed this movie. With a surprisingly star-studded cast including Val Kilmer as a alcoholic, beer gutted janitor, John Leguizamo, and Ethan Hawke, the star is an unknown named Noah Fleiss. He plays a destitute 14 yr old boy growing up in upper NY in the 70’s. The film focus’ on his relationships with his friends, the alienation of the poor, the confusing world of impending adulthood, and just plain growing up in the strange decade. This is not a film for the “Stand By Me” crowd, as it has a surprisingly European feel, and made me recall the heartbreaking Au Revoir Les Enfants. Joe the King is not a film to be enjoyed, it’s a film to experience and admire. Always though to watch, it’s bleak outlook might be too much for some filmgoers but the strong at heart should love this. 4.5 of 5.

Saturday evening I saw a documentary that I’ve been anxious to see for quite some time, Werner Herzog’s “My Best Friend” which details the world-famous director’s relationship with his most odd star, Klaus Kinski. If you’re a fan of classic’s like Nosferatu and Aguirre, The Wrath of God, this film is for you. It shows the full scope of the relationship, from when a 13 year old Herzog first met the eccentric Kinski in Munich, where Kinski proceeded to trash an apartment, and follows the pair throughout their careers until they eventually hatch plans to kill each other. I can’t express how much I enjoyed this. Always fun to watch, frequently hilarious, and definitely enlightening, don’t pass this one by. 5 of 5

Early Sunday, I was able to catch another, much anticipated flick, the latest from Bosnian-born Emir Kusrurica, Black Cat, White Cat. If you’re a fan of the Independent genre, then you’ve likely seen the director’s most famous film “Underground”, which captured the Palme d’Or in 95. Black Cat, White Cat features a huge cast of characters, the best of which are the elderly Zabit Memedov and Sabri Sulejman who play patriarchs of their families, and the kingpins behind cement works and garbage dumps. Filled with humor that reminded me of the Farrelly brothers, this colorful cast eventually ends up in a wedding of pratfalls and mishaps, I didn’t stop laughing. Despite being a foreign film, this has a wide appeal, and should entertain most audience members. The crowd I watched it with was in hysterics. It might run a little long, but never lags, and the rousing Gypsy songs which fill the soundtrack always keep your toes tapping. A very fun film-going experience worthy of 5 of 5 stars!

That wraps up this weekend at the theatre. I feel I’ve spoiled myself by not watching at least one bad movie. Maybe this evening I’ll go see The Haunting, Inspector Gadget, or some other piece of studio drivel. In the next few days, I’ll be bringing you an interview with Michael Addis and Tony Urban, the creators of the reviewed script “Goodbye Sunrise” . Until then, go to your local arthouse and have a good time.

If you’ve seen any interesting Indies lately, drop me a line.

Sean Archer

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 16, 1999, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Major Typ-o

    by Sean Archer

    The Herzog docu is "My Best Fiend", not friend.

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 10:33 a.m. CST

    indie films..

    by p.n.c.

    sean, despite two minor errors you've made in the past while reviewing some films, i enjoy reading your updates on the indie scene. i, myself, would LIKE to see more indie's but i never really have a chance to get out to the main art theaters, since they're hard to get to. so i appreciate what i can get out of them from you. keep up the good work, and i'll be looking forward to more from you.

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 10:36 a.m. CST

    everything sounds pretty good

    by zolov

    Good report. I don't think I'm hip (quotation fingers) enough to see many real independent films, but this certainly makes me want to!

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Joe the King

    by Alraune

    Yeah, okay, it was a well-made film, but it's nothing I can envision watching voluntarily. I found it to be very long, very depressing, and unrelievedly dull. From bleak to bleaker...

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 5:15 p.m. CST

    indie films

    by Z

    i'll admit with no qualms that major (and minor) studios produce more than their share of crappy movies. However, some of the Crappiest (capital C) movies I've ever seen have been, so called, indies. and, i don't care what the budget is/was on a film. if it's shite, it's shite, period. as to seeing more indie films, money talks. lots of indie and smaller budget films can be found at your local video store. the reason more theatre's don't carry them is because with a few exceptions (most recently the dissapointing Blair Witch P) most indies don't make much $. so, maybe some studios will see that even an indie can, with a good marketing campaign, make some dough. we'll see tho.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Yoda Magic Eight Ball

    by The Graduate

    Yeah, that was a pretty cool piece of Star Wars paraphenalia. Yoda knows all.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Indie Movies

    by cooper2000

    I must say after crap like Phantom Menace aka The Jar Jar Movie, Armaggedon and Godzilla, there are very few Hollywood movies that are decent.Id much rather see a clever script and a low budget and a movie about...People.Hollywood has lost touch and the Big wigs in the studios and Actors just keep getting paid more. Its getting realllll old.Wake up Hollywood. Mike

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 12:29 p.m. CST

    It's Joe the Queen. He got an operation.

    by Wolfpack