After a couple small screen runs, Noah’s Arc, the landmark Logo Network cable show about the lives of a close-knit quartet of African-American gay men, is getting a limited theatrical release in the form of Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom, which will open in select theaters nationwide on October 24. For more information, click here.
Constantine’s Sword, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby’s fascinating and exceedingly relevant to these times documentary, explores some of the massive amount of violence and ill done in God’s name throughout history
— a skipped-stone journey of remembrance and reckoning. Starting with
the story of conservative Christian ideology being peddled at the Air
Force Academy in Colorado Springs (where fliers for Mel Gibson’s The Passion
were handed out, and Ted Haggard’s New Life ministries touted) and
winding back in time, the movie follows author and former Roman
Catholic priest James Carroll as he interweaves his own family history
with a grander inquisition into faith, and in particular the nasty, tangled intersection between Christianity and Judaism.
Neither naked provocation nor burrowing analysis is a part of Jacoby’s
agenda here. In fact, as soon as the film alights on some engrossing
historical nugget — Roman general Constantine’s 310 A.D. conversion,
which ushered in the iconography of the cross — it’s just as quickly
off to something else. This occasionally makes for some minor
frustration, since one wants a deeper probe and massage of certain
topics. Carroll, though, is a fantastic and articulate guide, and this exceedingly contemplative and engrossing work
is both topically important — warning of what happens when military
might and religious fervor are mixed — and intellectually stimulating
as all get out. Film needn’t always be pat in scope and definitive in conclusion, as this enthralling film-as-theological-conversation ably demonstrates.
Housed in a regular Amray case, Constantine’s Sword comes to DVD in anamorphic widescreen. A very personal 90-second introduction by Gabriel Byrne toplines the list of supplemental extras, with the Irish actor (unaffiliated with the project) talking about how much it moved him. Also included are a single extended scene, running nine-plus minutes, and an outtake/deleted scene, running seven-plus minutes. Textual, scrollable director’s notes and biographies of Jacoby and Carroll round out the bonus features, along with a small gallery of trailers for Michael Apted’s 49 Up and other First Run Features releases. To purchase the movie on DVD, click here. A (Movie) B+ (Disc)
So Deborah Kampmeier’s cornpone Southern gothic Hounddog — which rather outrageously has its wanly sketched Mystical Negro character advance the novel concept that, “It’s how people treat you that makes you a nigger!” — is banking on a rather unusual advertising strategy, after the whole Dakota-Fanning-rape-movie buzz didn’t really catch on the first go-round. Print ads this past weekend now feature an exhortation from no less than Gloria Steinem, reading, “Women especially should see this important, unforgettable film.”
Why, precisely? Because in its 98-minute running time there is a 20-second rape scene? Or because the writer-director is female? Hounddog is neither important nor unforgettable — except as the latter relates to David Morse’s portrayal of a drooling simpleton who cuts his own bangs after he gets struck by lightning. The fuzzy logic of this direct gender appeal is somewhat lost on me, but maybe it’s a post-Sarah Palin thing, I don’t know. It’d be interesting to know when it was hatched. And can the diehard P.U.M.A. folks really be pried off the Internet and cattle-rustled to arthouses?
Sex Drive is coming, and it’s not at all a bad thing.
As much as the play’s the thing, teen sex/road trip comedies live or die on the strength of their casting and chemistry, and in this regard this flick — with Josh Zuckerman, Clark Duke (above right) and Amanda Crew as its main three players, and James Marsden and Seth Green (above left) put to good use in supporting roles — easily delivers the goods. More soon on the movie, which releases October 17 from Summit Entertainment, but the red-band trailer smartly spotlights both some of the film’s quips and, via quick-cut montage, its surging energy, which is one of its strongest selling points. Nice use, too, of MGMT’s “Time to Pretend,” for my money the true song of the year.