Friday, September 7, 2007

Movie nerds take their cues

Film Festival flicks features unlikely heroes

Express Staff Writer

Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement in rest uneasily in ?Eagle vs. Shark.?

From Harold Lloyd, Jerry Lewis and Tony Randall to Rowan Atkinson, Adam Sandler and John Heder, motion pictures have been always been heavy on nerdy men. Oft times, much like the wise-cracking, best friend of the heroine, it's their job to boost the cunning appeal of the flick's hero.

Often it's the geeks audiences relate to, bringing an odd kind of fan-dom to these supposed underdogs. For instance, Atkinson's amusing turns as "Mr. Bean" have resulted in spin-off movies that now open worldwide. John Heder, as "Napoleon Dynamite" turned the little town of Preston, Idaho, into a tourist stop.

The Magic Lantern Cinema in Ketchum will help keep the dreams of millions of nerds alive with several movies including a New Zealand flick called "Eagle vs. Shark."

Written and directed by Taika Waititi, the film stars Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement, who portray Lily, a fast food worker and Jarrod, a video store clerk. When Jarrod invites Lily's better-looking co-worker to a costume party she crashes, hoping to get Jarrod to notice her. He's the eagle and she's the shark. Maybe.

Waititi doesn't get in the way of their unfolding relationship as it meanders carefully along even into the make-or-break period of maturation.

Ty Burr of the Boston Globe wrote: "'Eagle vs. Shark' floats by on a mood of concerned and puckish good will, hoping Jarrod will notice that Lily's growing a spine but prepared to drop him like a stone if he doesn't."

"Eagle vs. Shark" will play Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7-9, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

During week two, "Rocket Science" picks up the theme. By first-time feature director Jeffrey Blitz ("Spellbound"), the hero of this coming-of-age flick is a stuttering misfit with an absentee father and bully brother who is recruited for the debate team.

"Rocket science will play Friday through Sunday, Sept. 14-16, at 4:30 p.m. and Monday through Thursday, Sept. 17-20, at 7 p.m.

Among the other protagonists in this fall's male-heavy film festival are an alcoholic hit man ("You Kill Me"), a homeless boxer ("Resurrecting the Champ"), a 1960s-era disc jockey ("Talk to Me"), a creepy journalist and a pop diva ("Interview") and an arrogant Frenchman ("My Best Friend").

As well we can see a host of talking heads such as physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai and journalist Paul Hawken discuss the state of the natural environment in "The 11th Hour," created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Besides the quirky Horsley, the women's roles are (mostly) girlfriends, save for the sublime Charlotte Gainsburg who is featured in the historical Italian film, "Nouvomondo" which in the United States is being called "The Golden Door."

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