Predictably melancholy, this is a documentary by Scott Gill about the most famous (as well as the most ordinary looking) of all porn starssomeone I frankly hadn’t heard of before seeing this picture, though he’s appeared in more than 1,600 skin flicks. Paradoxically, it’s most interesting for how little it tells us about what Jeremy is actually like. Maybe there’s a lesson here along the lines of, when you live by the sound bite you get bitten by the sound bite: the fragmented editing and interviewing creates a kind of mosaic that says everything and nothing at more or less the same intensity for all of the film’s 79 minutes. I found it watchable and entertaining, but also opaqueand frighteningly familiar. (JR)
From the Chicago Reader (November 16, 2001). — J.R.
Fritz Lang’s first real blockbuster was this 1924 two-part silent epic — Siegfried and Kriemhild’s Revenge — based on the 13th-century German legend that also inspired Wagner’s Ring cycle. In part one, Siegfried (Paul Richter), the son of a Norse king, wins the hand of the beautiful maiden Kriemhild (Margarethe Schon) and uses a magic sword to battle a fire-breathing dragon in the forest. Part two occurs after the death of Siegfried, when his widow accuses her half brother Hagan of murdering him. Her revenge entails marrying the king of the Huns and bearing him a son, and culminates in a bloody feast. These stunning, seminal features, restored to something resembling their original form and length in 35-millimeter by the Munich Film Museum (part one is 143 minutes, part two is 129), are even more impressive in their mythical splendor than Lang’s much better known Metropolis, anticipating everything from Fantasia (one lovely segment in Siegfried is animated) to Batman to Star Wars while showing Lang’s plastic gifts at their most impressive. Very highly recommended. David Drazin will provide live piano accompaniment, though unfortunately he won’t be performing the stirring 1924 score by Gottfried Huppertz. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Saturday, November 17, 3:00 (Siegfried), and Sunday, November 18, 3:00 (Kriemhild’s Revenge), 312-846-2800.
Rob Morrow, who played Albert Brooks’s brother in Mother, stars in his own first feature, which he wrote with Bradley White, helped produce, and directed. He plays a sculptor with Tourette’s syndrome, Lyle Maze, who falls in love with the girlfriend (Laura Linney) of his best friend (Craig Sheffer) while the latter is working as a doctor in Africa after unknowingly making his girlfriend pregnant. This is so likable as an acting exerciseand as an exercise in directorial empathy, when Morrow tries to convey the hero’s attacks cinematicallythat you may want to overlook its utopian notions about the everyday behavior of friends and acquaintances of Tourette’s sufferers. (According to the script, only the hero’s late father, seen in a flashback, is intolerant.) The depiction of the hero’s career as a sculptor is no less problematic. But Morrow and his collaborators so clearly believe in this project that I was carried along, often charmed and never bored. 97 min. (JR)