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WorldMedTourism Group

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Dobrynya Myshkin
Dobrynya Myshkin

Johnny Gruesome

Back to the table of Contents Page Classifieds Palo Alto Online Publication Date: Friday, July 30, 2004 Spangenberg TheatreSpangenberg Theatre (July 30, 2004) The Spangenberg Theatre is located on the Gunn High School campus, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Screenings are for Friday through Sunday. For more information visit or call (650) 354-8220. "Broken Wings" (2004) See review. Fri. at 7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. at 7:15 p.m. "Control Room" (2004) Director Jehane Noujaim goes straight to the heart of the media wars in this prickly documentary on the hyper-controversial Al Jazeera news network. Based in Qatar, the 7-year-old independent station is widely regarded as Osama bin Laden's mouthpiece, yet 40 million Arab viewers depend on it as their primary source for news.Unvarnished interviews and gruesome news footage attempt to shed light on the resounding culture clash between Western and Arab worlds. Bush's administration policies are under fire throughout, from half-truths uttered by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the cynical behavior of our nation's finest Johnny-on-the-spot journalists.Truth is the real star of "Control Room." Its diplomatic presentation sans propaganda lies at the core of war journalism and peace and prosperity between nations. Not rated but could be PG for mature themes. 1 hour, 24 minutes. -- J.A. (Reviewed June 11, 2004) Fri. at 5:15 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. at 5:30 p.m. "My Architect: A Son's Journey" (2003) Director Nathaniel Kahn searches to understand his father, noted architect Louis Kahn, who died bankrupt and alone in 1974. Sat. at 1:15 p.m. "The Story of the Weeping Camel" (2004) Real-life Mongolian desert herders are at the heart of this sweet gem of a film, inspired by the early work of Robert J. Flaherty. The Gobi desert dwellers enact a delightful tale of a white baby camel, whose mother has turned on him after a difficult birth. Without mother's milk, the newborn calf will not survive.The Ikhbayar family digs deep into the family bag of tricks to coax the mother into nursing her young one. A musician is summoned from a distant village to weave his musical spell on the mother, in the hopes that she will bond with her baby and "weep" with the pleasure of rekindling the connection."Camel" meanders a bit, relying on its emotionally charged atmosphere to do the talking. Winds of up to 150 kilometers an hour, broken camera equipment and plummeting desert temperatures stood in the way of this labor of love. The filmmakers persevered and we're the better for it. Rated: PG for subtle desert melodrama. In Mongolian with English subtitles. 1 hour, 30 minutes. -- J.A. (Reviewed June 18, 2004) Sat. & Sun. at 3:30 p.m. "The Twilight Samurai" (2004) Breathtaking cinematography, elegant costume design and the unconditional love of a hardworking father. These are the elements of "The Twilight Samurai," a cinematic balance of soul and swordplay that provides a poetic glimpse into 19th-century Japan.Seibei Iguchi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is a low-ranking samurai forced, after his wife dies of consumption, to be the sole caretaker of his senile mother and two young daughters. Iguchi earns a pitiful salary as a scribe during the day and works at home in the evening, leaving little time for the finer things in life.Iguchi is soon reunited with his childhood friend, Tomoe (Rie Miyazawa), who's eager to escape from her abusive, alcoholic ex-husband. A late-night encounter forces Iguchi into a swordfight with Tomoe's former flame, and when Iguchi defeats and embarrasses the man, the entire village quickly becomes aware of Iguchi's talents as a fighter.Director Yoji Yamada paints a beautiful portrait of Japan, and as a longtime enthusiast of the Japanese culture, I was enamored by the language and landscapes. Not rated, but could be PG-13 for mild violence. In Japanese with English subtitles. 2 hours, 9 minutes. -- T.H. (Reviewed July 16, 2004) Fri. & Sat. at 9 p.m. "Word Wars" (2004) "Word Wars" follows four nationally ranked Scrabble players as they deal with daily life while hoping to become the next national champion at the 2002 Scrabble Nationals.These Scrabble junkies share their dreams, their fears, and the rocky journeys that led them to obsess over such anomalous applications as indole ("a chemical compound") and jerrid ("a blunt javelin"). Production values are on the cheap, but the human element is kept endearingly rich. Not rated, but could be PG for language. 1 hour, 20 minutes. -- J.A. (Reviewed July 16, 2004) Sat. & Sun. at 3, 5 & 7 p.m. E-mail a friend a link to this story.

Johnny Gruesome



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