Night and Day: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
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Alex Etel in ‘Millions’ at the Reel Religion Festival.
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Aisle Seating

Bravo to the organizers at University Christian Church for bringing the Reel Religion film festival to its third running, not to mention coming up with a program that’s more daring and controversial than the previous two incarnations. Granted, some of the selections are a bit obvious: Saving Private Ryan, Million Dollar Baby, and Billy Elliot. Heck, they even dug up Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic Gandhi.

Despite those predictable inclusions, though, there are still quite a few provocative entries, such as Antonia Bird’s 1994 film Priest, an English film about Catholic priests struggling with adultery, homosexuality, and incest that sparked a boycott when it came out. There’s also Jonathan Demme’s 1993 drama Philadelphia, whose treatment of gay themes is fascinating to see now that so much in society and movies has changed. John Sayles’ superb 1996 epic Lone Star will also raise some interesting discussion, not just for its racial content but also for the way it ends.

Even the festival’s more obscure items are well chosen, like Roger Michell’s 2002 underappreciated thriller Changing Lanes, about a hotshot lawyer and a two-bit insurance salesman whose minor fender bender turns rather credibly into an escalating quest for revenge. Danny Boyle’s Millions, an ideal family film that somehow never played in Fort Worth last year, takes a story with heavy ethical and religious implications (about two boys who find a huge amount of money) and tells it with a great deal of style and charm. Finding new favorites like these, or rediscovering old ones, and talking them over afterwards — there’s the essence of the film festival spirit.

Reel Religion runs Fri-Sat at University Christian Church, 2720 S University Dr, FW. Screenings are free, lunch on Saturday is $5-8. Call 817-926-6631.


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