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NEW THIS WEEK: Indies Offer Few New Alternatives for "Harry Potter" Open

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire November 13, 2001 at 2:0AM

NEW THIS WEEK: Indies Offer Few New Alternatives for "Harry Potter" Openby Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE(indieWIRE/11.13.01) -- 'Tis the week of "Harry Potter." Other Hollywoodcompanies run scared and the independents, both studio and small, can onlyoffer up lackluster alternatives. Wouldn't it be wonderful if indieWIREcould champion a new release this week and whip up support for someingenious, well-written drama about people rather than the special FXmarketing mania of "Harry Potter"? But when the latest off-Hollywood filmscome in the form of "Novocaine" (Artisan), "The Fluffer" (First Run/TLA) and "The Wash" (Lions Gate), there's not much we can do. So if you've already seen "Waking Life," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Mulholland Drive," "Tape," "Intimacy," "Donnie Darko," or "The Town is Quiet," sure, go ahead, see "Harry Potter," fine.Artisan's "Novocaine" resembles the sort of mediocre, broad-appeal genrepicture the mini-studio has been aiming for recently with releases like"Made" and "Soul Survivors." The directorial debut of David Atkins, who wrote "Arizona Dream," manages a credible cast in this dark, quirky comedy:Steve Martin makes his comeback as a dentist caught in a con; and HelenaBonham Carter and Laura Dern turn in twin forms of the femme fatale, darkand mysterious, and blonde and dangerous, respectively. Reviewed after its2001 Toronto Film Festival premiere, Variety's Todd McCarthy called the movie "a benumbed crime comedy of sorts that could have used a lot morebite."From the new distribution combination of First Run Features and TLAReleasing, "The Fluffer" will open in New York this Friday. At Berlin 2001,indieWIRE contributor Brandon Judell caught a market screening of the filmand had this to report: "Here again is another of those gay offerings wherethere's a great title, a sexy lead for the posters, and pure incompetenceeverywhere else. This melodramatic tale tells of a young man who rents'Citizen Kane' at a video store and is accidentally given 'Citizen Cum.' Heimmediately falls in love with the lead, Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney), andshortly becomes the cameraman for the porn company, and soon he's also thefluffer for the stars who can't get it up. A comedy? No way." Co-directed byRichard Glatzer, whose "Grief" won major awards at the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay and Toronto Film Festivals, and Wash West ("Devil is a Bottom"), a director of gay adult film, "The Fluffer" won't make it out to theatersoutside of New York until Los Angeles play-dates some time early next year.Last, but probably least, there's Lions Gate's release of D.J. Pooh's "TheWash." Starring Dr. Dre and rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg, the film is about,get this, a couple of guys who work at a car wash and become involved ina bunch of wacky hijinks. Perhaps this would have made an amusing 3-minutemusic video, but a full-length feature? No doubt it is intended to be oneof the "wide release pictures" that Lions Gate's Tom Ortenberg recentlyspoke about with indieWIRE. However, the movie calls into question theambitions of the Indiewood distributor, as well as those of Pooh (whowrote the comedies "Friday" and "Next Friday") and Executive ProducersDre and Dogg. Imagine what these guys could accomplish, with their accessto money and power, if they really wanted to create something significant.[Anthony Kaufman]
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NEW THIS WEEK: Indies Offer Few New Alternatives for "Harry Potter" Open



by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE



(indieWIRE/11.13.01) -- 'Tis the week of "Harry Potter." Other Hollywood
companies run scared and the independents, both studio and small, can only
offer up lackluster alternatives. Wouldn't it be wonderful if indieWIRE
could champion a new release this week and whip up support for some
ingenious, well-written drama about people rather than the special FX
marketing mania of "Harry Potter"? But when the latest off-Hollywood films
come in the form of "Novocaine" (Artisan), "The Fluffer" (First Run/TLA) and "The Wash" (Lions Gate), there's not much we can do. So if you've already seen "Waking Life," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Mulholland Drive," "Tape," "Intimacy," "Donnie Darko," or "The Town is Quiet," sure, go ahead, see "Harry Potter," fine.


Artisan's "Novocaine" resembles the sort of mediocre, broad-appeal genre
picture the mini-studio has been aiming for recently with releases like
"Made" and "Soul Survivors." The directorial debut of David Atkins, who wrote "Arizona Dream," manages a credible cast in this dark, quirky comedy:
Steve Martin makes his comeback as a dentist caught in a con; and Helena
Bonham Carter
and Laura Dern turn in twin forms of the femme fatale, dark
and mysterious, and blonde and dangerous, respectively. Reviewed after its
2001 Toronto Film Festival premiere, Variety's Todd McCarthy called the movie "a benumbed crime comedy of sorts that could have used a lot more
bite."


From the new distribution combination of First Run Features and TLA
Releasing, "The Fluffer" will open in New York this Friday. At Berlin 2001,
indieWIRE contributor Brandon Judell caught a market screening of the film
and had this to report: "Here again is another of those gay offerings where
there's a great title, a sexy lead for the posters, and pure incompetence
everywhere else. This melodramatic tale tells of a young man who rents
'Citizen Kane' at a video store and is accidentally given 'Citizen Cum.' He
immediately falls in love with the lead, Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney), and
shortly becomes the cameraman for the porn company, and soon he's also the
fluffer for the stars who can't get it up. A comedy? No way." Co-directed by
Richard Glatzer, whose "Grief" won major awards at the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay and Toronto Film Festivals, and Wash West ("Devil is a Bottom"), a director of gay adult film, "The Fluffer" won't make it out to theaters
outside of New York until Los Angeles play-dates some time early next year.


Last, but probably least, there's Lions Gate's release of D.J. Pooh's "The
Wash." Starring Dr. Dre and rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg, the film is about,
get this, a couple of guys who work at a car wash and become involved in
a bunch of wacky hijinks. Perhaps this would have made an amusing 3-minute
music video, but a full-length feature? No doubt it is intended to be one
of the "wide release pictures" that Lions Gate's Tom Ortenberg recently
spoke about with indieWIRE. However, the movie calls into question the
ambitions of the Indiewood distributor, as well as those of Pooh (who
wrote the comedies "Friday" and "Next Friday") and Executive Producers
Dre and Dogg. Imagine what these guys could accomplish, with their access
to money and power, if they really wanted to create something significant.
[Anthony Kaufman]