Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 28, 2000 · Page 8
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 8

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, January 28, 2000
Page 8
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• ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^BHiHMH^H^HBiBi^^BMBlBMPiHBBHBHMHMiMHMH^MBMI^^^M Documentaries chronicle two different families Billboard By ROGER EBERT PARK CITY, Utah -- Two documentaries about wounded families, one angry, the other healing, have caused a stir during the closing days of the Sundance Film Festival. "Just, Melvin" is the lac- . crating portrait of a monster who * molested almost everyone in two * families, and seems to have got*,ten away with murder. "Legacy" >is the story of how a family from £a Chicago housing project, devas- ^tated by the murder of a 14-year- I-old relative, was able to break the ^cycle of welfare and make a new ^beginning. * Five years ago the Chicago -media gave great attention to the :death of Terrell Collins, a 14*year-old honor student who was "senselessly killed by another child with a gun. Terrell had been chosen by documentarian Tod S. .Lending as the subject of a film •3bout a young man from the tough Harry Horner housing project who was headed to a private school on a scholarship. "I did the -first filming one morning," Lending recalls, "and two hours later I got a call that Terrell had been shot." He filmed the funeral, and then kept on filming, focusing on Terrell's extended family. His narrator became Nicole Collins, about Terrell's age, and in the film she introduces us to her grandmother Dorothy, her mother, Alaissa, and her aunt Wanda, who was Terrell's mother. Theirs was a three- generation welfare family, with Dorothy as the rock of support. Wanda, a drug addict, had six children out of wedlock and Alaissa had five. No fathers were still in the picture. In a strange sense, Nicole tells us, the death of Terrell acted as a catalyst. He was the family's great hope, the straight-A student who was their shining light. When he died, the family decided, in some deep, unspoken way, to try to pull itself together and get off welfare. It is not easy. In a catch-22, Alaissa loses a job because she can't attend training sessions without leaving her children untended; welfare won't provide child care until she gets the job. But by the end of five years, Nicole, a student at North- ern Illinois University, is able to report that her mother is teaching kindergarten, her aunt is clean and sober, her grandmother has bought her own home - and the hated Harry Horner project has been torn down. It is an inspiring story and a very moving film. "Just, Melvin," in contrast, is a portrait of a family that still has open wounds and deep psychic scars after decades of abuse. The title refers to Melvin Just, who as a husband, father, stepfather and grandfather committed incest and abuse against almost everyone in his family, repeatedly. Two of his stepdaughters were witnesses when he strangled a visiting nurse, a crime for which he was never tried. The survivors to this day are in a state of shock, which the camera plainly shows: Some live in campers or vans, and alcoholism and prostitution are symptoms. The film was made by James Ronald Whitney, one of Melvin's grandsons, with the support of his mother, Ann Marie. It is not the first documentary about family abuse, but it is probably the most painful. It isn't uncommon to hear abuse or incest victims share their memories, • but "Just, Melvin" does the unimaginable and shows the evil old man being confronted by the accusations, first in an extraordinary meeting with James, later in a family visit to his hospital room. Whitney said after the screening that he had escaped the long- term fate of other family-members because of the strength of his mother, a woman who once tried to shoot Melvin, and who, strong and intelligent, steered Whitney away from drugs and trouble and into show business (we see him as a winning dancer on "Star Search"). His film is not only devastating but subtle in its artistry, with great attention to a sound track that suggests the echoes of long-ago words of hate and current painful memories. Nothing in the film quite prepares us for the closing scenes at a burial service, where a pastor reads futile words of comfort while drunken family members alternate between grief and rage. Tarzan receives four stars in Roger's video review TARZAN (G, 88 m.,1999). One of the best of the recent Disney animated epics, retelling the story of the most durable of all movie heroes in terms of his existence as an outsider. Exhilarating visuals, a great sense of freedom over space, excitement in action scenes where Tarzan swings through the trees like a character on a roller-coaster. Fun, and with serious undertones, as when Tarzan asks a suspicious ape, "Why are you threatened by anyone different than you?" With voices by Glenn Close, Minnie Driver, Brian Blessed, Nigel Hawthorne and, as the irrepressible Terk, Rosie O'Donnell. Rating: Four stars. CHILL FACTOR (R, 105 m.,1999). Sounds like a "Speed" parody - but, no, it's serious. Terrorists are after a deadly biological weapon, and it's up to Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Ulrich to outrun and outwit them - in a commandeered ice cream truck, since the poison will explode if its temperature rises above 50 degrees. One part hard- boiled thriller, two parts nonstop chase, three parts pure goofiness. Rating: Two stars. STIR OF ECHOES (R, 110 m.,1999). In a blue-collar Chicago neighborhood, a telephone lineman is hypnotized at a party and begins to receive alarming visions and visits from a ghostly young woman. Kevin Bacon VIDEO ALERT By ROGER EBERT gives one of his best performances in a supernatural thriller that's rooted in everyday reality; Kathryn Erbe is the wife who's afraid he's losing it, and Illeana Douglas is the sister-in-law whose hypnosis started everything. Interesting the way writer- director David Koepp links the supernatural plot with real events on a block where everybody knows each other. Rating: Three stars. THE WINSLOW BOY (G, 110 m.,1999). On the surface, the story of a naval cadet accused of petty theft, and his father's determination to defend him. At a buried level, the story of the cadet's suffragette older sister, who conducts two courtships in plain view while a third, the real one, takes place entirely between the lines. So subtle and cleverly played that the director, David Mamet, is able to deliver a Grated film that is largely about adult sexuality. With Rebecca Pidgeon as the sister, Jeremy Northam as a famous attorney and Nigel Hawthorne as the father. Set in 1912, based on a • 1940s play by Terence Rattigan, with its famous, electrifying last line. Rating: Three and a half stars. RUNAWAY BRIDE (PG, 116 m., 1999). Richard Gere is a newspaper columnist who writes a hasty column about a woman who has allegedly stranded seven or eight guys at the altar. Julia Roberts is the outraged woman, who says it was "only three." He visits her bucolic Maryland town, where of course they fall in love amidst a cheering section of loyal characters who all live in each other's pockets. Tracks the fire and intelligence of "Pretty Woman," the 1990 film with the same actors and director (Garry Marshall). Rating: Two stars. MY LIFE SO FAR (PG-13, 92 m., 1999). What used to be called a country house comedy: a nostalgic memory of a childhood in the 1920s in a great country estate in Scotland, where young Fraser (Robert Norman) is sur rounded by a dreamy inventor father (Colin Firth), a sweet mother (Mary Elizabeth Mas-. Curry's st Sale of the New Century! STOREWIDE SAVINGS ON EVERYTHING FOR YOUR HOME! Sofas, loveseats, bedrooms, dining, & entertainment centers ALL ON SALE! Lane Leather Chair S 499°° MATTRESSES 399w ssSets UKIAH 462-2901 LAKEPORT 263-4415 CLEARLAKE 995-0114 "FURNITURE 245 E. Standley 335 N. Main St. 14090 Olympic Dr. * Some one of a kind items may not be available in all stores. Open Moo, thru Sat. 9:00 un, to 5:30 p.m. * * Ukiah Store Open Sun. 11:00 a.m. • 5:00 p.ui. trantonio), an eccentric grandmother (Rosemary Harris), a grasping uncle (Malcolm McDowell), and the uncle's fetching French wife (Irene Jacob), who causes no end of trouble when she comes to visit. Sort of a real-life version of one of P.O. Wodehouse's fantasies about Blandings Castle, with more sex and not as many pigs. Inspired by a childhood memoir by Sir Denis Forman, head of the Royal Opera House. Rating: Three stars. "Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2000," his best-selling book containing every review Ebert wrote from January 1997 to June 1999 - more than 650 new movies on videocassette as well as interviews, essays and "Questions for the Movie Answer Man," is now available to his newspaper readers. In paperback, it.can be-ordered by sending $16.95 plus $2 /or postage and handling to Ebert's Yearbook, in care of this newspaper, P.O. Box 419150, Kansas City, Mo. 64141. Continued from PageA-3 There is limited space available for this year's show, so work will be accepted on a first- cdme, first-served basis. The Art Show opens Friday, Feb. 25, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. This will mark the opening of the Willits Center for the Arts. The show will run through March 25, when the final bid party will mark the beginning of a new era of art exhibitions in the inland valley area. For more information, call Sulin at 984-8756. WCT holds auditions The Willits Community Theatre will hold auditions for the famed, over-the-top British spy comedy, "Bullshot Crummond" at the end of next week. Auditions will be held Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. All auditions will take place at the Willits Community Theatre Playhouse, "Bullshot Crummond" is a Monty Python-esque, over-the- top comedy in which an improbable, totally incompetent but nevertheless obliviously intrepid British spy takes on and vanquishes the incarnation of evil, (embodied by a pair of evil Germans), in series of heroic and comic escapades. "Bullshot Cfurrtrfiond" stands in the sartie gallant tradition as Austin Powers and Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau of Pink Panther fame. The play will be directed by Howard Letovsky, a Willits resident with wide experience, in film, video and music prodjic- tion. Letovsky likens "Bullshot Crummond" to "James Bond meets the Seven Dwarves." The casting call is for ei^ht men and two women, 18 years old and older. For more information, 93!! Letovsky at 459-9445. Tubesteak Jones debuts in Willits ; Local funk/rock/reggae band, Tubesteak Jones has released their first CD, "Faith in the Human Race," on Lap Dance Records in Willits. To show their love and apgre- ciation for their community and extended family, Tubesteak Jones is throwing a CD release party tonight at the Brooktrails Community Center in Willjts. The party begins at 8 p.m., with food and drinks provided by tap Dance Records. (Must be 21_or older to drink alcohol during-the party.) Entertainment will "be provided by Tubesteak Jones ajid special guest band, Cory's Slug, from Santa Rosa. VAIUED CUSTOMERS We will be closed February 2-7 to attend an International Gem & Jewelry show. Lustre Jewelry & Gem Company Steven & Rebecca Stem 118 S. State St., Ukiah Phone/Fax (707) 462-0907 Local news, weather & sports in the Daily Journal I'SALE! Blue Denim Jeans $20.00 JEANS 13MWZ XL Waist & 38"x40" Slightly Higher '. iji Saturday & Sunday ' .. ONLY! . UK- Black $24.00 Reg. $32.98 Women's Blue Denim Cowboy Cut $23.00 Your Basic Favorite 'JEANS Heavy Denim. Pre-shrunk, Regular &Slim Sale price limited to stock on hand. Limit 4 pair per customer. BASIC EQUIPMENT THE TACK ROOM !!*!)<» \o. Slsil<» SI. I Malt H»2-:t 177 Hours: HoiL-Sal* JhOO a.m.-4»:OO p.m. Sun. I I a.m.-1 |i.m.

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