The new movies for July 10
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BRAZILIAN FILM FESTIVAL: The last four days of this showcase of new films from Brazil includes three interesting documentaries. Each is full-length, but they’re mixed in quality. “CINDERELLAS, WOLVES AND ONE ENCHANTED PRINCE” asks the question: “Why are white guys so attracted to black Brazilian women?” The answer is sexual, of course, and power. The film tries to explain it all by talking about prostitution (including the under-age version), sex trafficking by Spaniards and international marriage with a couple of German men. The interviews are dramatic but usually run on too long. The film champions women’s rights and takes pains to avoid judging. The women in “FAVELA ON BLAST” don’t look dignified at all. They’re usually bumping and grinding provocatively as the film examines funk carioca, a new hybrid of American funk and Brazilian music. The subtitles translate some pretty raunchy lyrics. The film is energetic though. “SMOKING I WAIT”, which shows twice on closing night July 12, is both a study of a woman filmmaker’s struggle to quit smoking and her therapy. At the VanCity Theatre. Visit www.vifc.org for more, including two free discussions where several of the directors will take part.
KAMBAKKT ISHQ: How strange. The Indian film industry had high hopes for this movie, both to be a big hit with the usual fans of Bollywood and to make new ones beyond the South Asian community. With two of its biggest stars, some Hollywood personalities joining in and a positive review from Variety it should have made a splash. But it arrived last week with almost no promotion and one of the three theatres it played in around here, the Denman, isn't known for first run, let alone Hindi, films. There were eight people in the audience there Saturday night. Mind you, it's not very good anyway. Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor play out a romantic comedy taking the well-known arc of characters who hate each other and hours later finally discover their love. The problem is the characters are actually unpleasant. We can't see why they should get together. Plus the film is played with such broad comedy that it feel artificial and even amateurish. It's set in Hollywood and includes one showy visit to Venice, Italy. The main character is a movie stuntman, which gives us several giant action set pieces to watch, the only real highlights in the entire film. Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards show up as themselves, and do improbable added work. He fights off some real street thugs and she almost marries the stuntman so long rejected by Kareena. Because of its setting, there's as much English spoken as subtitled Hindi, probably another attempt to reach out to a non-Indian audience. A bungled attempt. (At Surrey’s Grande and Guilford theatres).
Also now playing …
I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER: Another teen romance filmed here in Vancouver. Don’t expect another “Juno” though, or even “She’s the Man”. The early word has been negative on this one.
Newcomer Paul Rust plays a nerd and the high school valedictorian. He startles all when in his speech he expresses his love for the hot but out-of-his-league cheerleader played by blonde Hayden Panettiere. You can imagine what follows. (At theatres all over)
VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR: In other theatres this week, you can see Bruno disrupt a high-fashion catwalk with his silliness. In this film, there’s a much more respectful look at haute couture through an intimate portrait of one of its stars. Valentino Garavani ran his own company in Rome for 45 years, with the help of a longtime companion. Their love story is the central focus here, although the business, especially the conflict between art and commerce, provide a glamorous backdrop. (Tinseltown)