Southland Tales

If you can't get your ass to Mars (Schwarzenegger, 1990), at least get it to Southland Tales while it's in the theatres. (City Cinemas in the East Village still has it.) This is Richard "Donny Darko" Kelly's sophomore effort, booed at Cannes and trimmed down for American release. Gorgeous music (by Moby and others), the same gliding, swooping camera as in Darko (watch for the stunner tracking shot in the zeppelin party scene), and a surfeit of echt-Angeleno characters and atmosphere (shirtless men, Danskinned women with bad dye jobs, ubiquitous tattoos, partying at the beach even in a state of emergency). Reviewers have compared the film to Lynch's Mulholland Drive but one also detects traces of Brewster McCloud and even Nashville. One of the few current (un)popular movies that tackles our culture of omnipresent surveillance and non-stop bogus terror alerts (beach parties notwithstanding), with some strange science fiction overlays including a gigantic offshore perpetual motion machine that harnesses "fluid karma" from the ocean waves and has possibly upset the spacetime continuum. Starring The Rock, who keeps freaking out and tapping his fingertips together in a very spazzy, disturbing, un-Rock-like way. Also featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the porn star Krysta Now, Jon Lovitz as an affectless assassin-cop, Justin Timberlake as a soldier watching Venice beach with a telescope and shooting anyone who looks suspicious, and Wood Harris (The Wire's "Avon Barksdale") with an absurd putty nose.