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movie and film reviews

Volume 15/Issue 19

Reel to Real
by Chuc LaVenture

The Lion's Den & Gotcha

I generally love reviewing movies that are sent to Ambush. They tend to be very gay-themed with a positive spin. I suppose that's why I'm still trying to figure out what the purpose of sending this film and short to the magazine might have been. What were they thinking?

The Lion's Den is a short film about five friends who have graduated from high school and moved on to more adult lives. The setting for this film is the Lion's Den restaurant, a late night spot at which the five friends generally gathered through high school. The five friends come together for a reunion after three of them have finished their first semesters at school.

The problem with this film is that it purports to be a look at growing up and growing apart, but I think a more appropriate theme would be "the more things change the more they stay the same." The dialogue seems to indicate that these five men are unchanged from their adolescent selves. Danny, a hard working thespian with a positive outlook on life, has gone on to begin a career in movies. This success seems to have set Ethan Hawke's character's teeth on edge. He, according to the other characters, has always been a dour, negative homophobe, and nothing in this film indicates that his character has changed. He passed on college and took a job as a security guard which, in spite of all of his compensatory aplomb, he seems to be embarrassed about. He expresses a great deal of resentment for the other three boys who have gone on to college careers, in the process calling one of them a"little faggot." This insult sends the boy into the bathroom to cry. One of the other college boys follows him to try to smooth the incident over, only to be told that the statement hurt so much because it's true. If any of you need to hear a litany of anti-gay abuse, this would be a good scene to refresh your memory, but it is, in the end, pointless, since all of these men leave as the same men they arrived as. The film ends with no resolution, no growth, and no point. This is not, according to the press release, where the director wanted to go.

Gotcha is a short film about a little boy in Australia who is a mischievous, malicious prankster. We follow him through his day as he plays one prank after another on the people of the town in which he lives. His sister, who seems to bear the brunt of most of his malicious attention, gets the final word. He ends up humiliated in front of the entire town. This is a nice little morality play, but again, I'm not sure why it was sent to Ambush. If any of you are interested in purchasing these two bits of useless fluff it will be in your video stores on Oct. 15 for the nominal cost of $29.95.

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