As soon as it became clear that this remake has nothing to do with real Georgia moonshiners and everything to do with car chases, smashups, and explosions, I could sit back and enjoy it as good, stupid funa celebration of lawlessness in a crooked county, with Burt Reynolds figuring (a little uncomfortably) as the top villain. Cousins Bo (Seann William Scott), Luke (Johnny Knoxville), and Daisy (Jessica Simpson) outwit and outdrive the cops while helping Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) keep his farm. With Joe Don Baker and Lynda Carter. Chicago native Jay Chandrasekhar directed the script by John O’Brien. PG-13, 106 min. (JR)
From the Chicago Reader (July 29, 2005). — J.R.
Suggesting at different moments a backstage musical, a failed love story, a surreal comedy, and even a cartoon fantasy, this beautiful, corrosive, visionary masterpiece by Jia Zhang-ke (2004) is a frighteningly persuasive account of the current state of the planet. Set in an eerie Beijing theme park — a kind of Chinese Las Vegas, with scaled-down duplicates of the most famous global landmarks — it follows a bunch of workers as they labor, carouse, couple, and uncouple, but it’s really about propping up extravagant illusions through alienated labor. Jia, only 35, is the most talented director, and one of the most respected, in mainland China — though this film is his first to get an official release there. In Mandarin and Shanxi dialect with subtitles. 139 min. (I will introduce the 4:20 PM Saturday screening and lead a discussion afterward.) . Music Box
Actress Johnnie Hill plays the title role in this 1976 blaxploitation mystery, cowritten by novelist Leonard Michaels (The Men’s Club), of all people. Michael L. Fink directed. R, 93 min. (JR)