from Film Forum, 03/13/03
J. Robert Parks (The Phantom Tollbooth) ventured to the arthouse theatre this month in search of better films. His quest was not entirely successful. He writes, "As I sat watching All the Real Girlsand Gerry one Sunday afternoon, I was struck by the desire to watch two other movies. Not that either of the films I was watching was bad. In fact, both were entertaining and thought-provoking in places. But each one reminded me of something better, and the comparisons cast an unflattering light."
He goes on to compare Gus Van Sant's Gerry (My Cactus Inc.) to Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, claiming that it falls far short of that film's genius. "Part of the problem is that Gus Van Sant doesn't have anything to say; he's content merely to let his attractively scruffy stars and beautifully scruffy landscape carry the day. Werckmeister might be slow, but it's bursting with ideas and astounding moments."
David Gordon Green's All the Real Girls (Sony), on the other hand, reminds Parks of the director's previous film George Washington. He argues that the central character is not as believable or interesting as the supporting characters. Further, he writes, "The transcendence of that first feature and the gripping humanism has been left behind. Instead, we have a boy-finds-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-doesn't-know-what-to-do story, and that's only a shadow of what George Washington accomplished."
But Parks does find one film worth recommending.