Culture » Film



Terri (R)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

This independent film left me wishing John C. Reilly was my high school principal. Whereas most films tend to go the Ferris Bueller route and make principals into hot-headed buffoons whose life mission is to harm and destroy their students, Terri presents Reilly as a good guy, wanting to actually help the students who might not have as much of a fighting chance, in school or in life. It's wonderfully moving. As for the rest of the movie, eh, not so much. Jacob Wysocki is the titular Terri, an overweight, possibly depressed teen who wears pajamas to school. He befriends a few other misfits and, in a bizarre and downbeat third act, they get drunk and act like rejects from a Larry Clark home movie. You want to love Terri, and you want to root for it, but in the end you find yourself wishing they'd made a movie about the principal instead. — Louis Fowler


Seven Chances: Ultimate Edition (NR)

Kino International

Despite Buster Keaton's superhuman slapstick prowess, he never matched Charlie Chaplin, in crafting an emotionally involving narrative or developing strong characters. In this 1925 mini-feature, Keaton indulges in cheap racial and religious jokes that Chaplin would have likely considered beneath him. But Keaton exceeded Chaplin and every other filmmaker of the 20th century in his ability to create sublime, epic "sequences." Seven Chances highlights one: an exercise in escalating daffiness and death-cheating that concludes with Keaton and several aggressive would-be "brides" dodging a dangerous-looking avalanche. The story — Keaton has one day to get married and collect an inheritance or go to jail — is insipid fluff even for the era, but the brilliant sequences make it mandatory viewing for silent buffs. — Daniel Barnes


Crime Story: The Complete Series (NR)

Image Entertainment

While TV fans salivate with nostalgia over the fluorescent cop-fantasy Miami Vice, they tend to forget that, in the late '80s, Michael Mann produced a short-lived but far superior program called Crime Story. Set in 1963 Chicago, it detailed the down-and-dirty goings-on of the Chicago Police Major Crime Unit, led by Lt. Mike Torello (Dennis Farina). Old-school cops in fedoras and trenchcoats, delivering gritty justice to organized crime, all to the backbeat of a slick, classic pre-Beatles soundtrack. What made Crime Story really intriguing for the time was that it was a continuous serial, meaning it could be watched as one long 36-hour movie if the viewer saw fit. Last weekend, this viewer right here did just that. The box-set has both seasons, 43 episodes on nine discs, and is still better than any crime show on network TV today. — Louis Fowler

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