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Philly Film Fest Day Three: You Put What on the Table Now?

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Saw Lee Daniels’ Shadowboxer, which he describes as a film made by people willing to put their “dicks on the table.” It’s an image that stays with you when you see Stephen Dorff’s condom-clad member about halfway through. Daniels, producer of Monster’s Ball and The Woodsman, has never been one to shy away from the graphic, finding the beauty in the ugly and vice versa.

Here he brings that ethic to the admittedly tired genre of the world-weary assassin. That there are actually two assassins (Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding, Jr.), and one isn’t so weary (Jr.). These are only a couple of ways Daniels manages to breathe life into the conceit.

Be warned, you will say, “Man, that’s fucked up,” more than once before the film is over, but the upshot is The Professional by way of A History of Violence, and it’s a journey worth taking.

Booked it from The Prince to The Ritz 5 (about 12 blocks if you’re keeping score) in order to see Brothers of the Head, the latest from Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, the doc duo behind Lost in La Mancha and The Hamster Factor, who also happen to be Temple grads, thought that diidn’t come up in the Q&A. What did come up was their desire to kill the term “mockumentary,” and after seeing Brothers the reason is clear. They’ve made a film that is a fake documentary, and most people think that means “comedy.” It’s not. Pretty much every fake doc up until now has been, but that’s why this is groundbreaking.

It’s also effective. A very dark portrayal (based on the Brian Aldiss novel) of a pair of conjoined twins who are molded/exploited into rock stars, the film benefits from an outstanding performance by the Treadway brothers, Luke and Harry, who are, in fact, conjoined twin musicians.

What really stays with you after the film, however, are the songs. It’s set in the mid-seventies, so the music is this “proto-pop-punk” in the words of the filmmakers, and it rocks. It rocks so hard. There will be a soundtrack, and I will own it.

Tomorrow: Who doesn’t want to sleep with Angel?

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