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Friday Film      

Review: Hostel

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Most horror movies play off deep-set fears of darkness, dismemberment and thunder, but Hostel is the only one I can think of based on the fear of Europe. Not entirely unreasonable, given the U.S.’s international reputation at the moment. Eli Roth’s second feature, a tight little spitwad of nastiness, follows two American everybozos to a Slovakian hostel where they are seduced by local hotties then sold to an extremely sinister business. Things subsequently get gross. It’s perfect for anyone who liked Eurotrip but thought it needed more gouging.
    The flick has no delusions of grandeur, but it’s not dumb either, unpretentiously suggesting real-world significance for its organized thrill-killing while still moving at a steady clip. Genre fans are unlikely to be disappointed. The one I overheard in the elevator remarked, “From the trailer, I thought it was a knife — not a blowtorch!” His glee suggested that the mistake was a happy one, and this reviewer would not dream of arguing with such joie de mourir. — Peter Smith

DVD Review: Dr. Susan Block’s Weimar Love: Hot Sex in Pre-Nazi Berlin
Close your eyes and imagine one of those E! recordings of a Howard Stern taping. Now remove the pixilation and the tact. Add a masturbation machine from 1928, nauseating social and academic pretensions, and dizzying black and white overlays of hardcore action. Finally, replace Howard Stern with an aging blonde sex therapist in fetish gear and replace Baba Booey with an emaciated German-speaking sadist. The image projected onto your eyelids should now somewhat resemble this DVD the Real Sex guru Dr. Block sent us to review.
    The alleged documentary — really just a bunch of old photos spliced with hardcore reenactments and narration — obscures any practical information with charmless sexual imagery. Even dubious empirical research like a porn star’s test ride of the vintage Female Gratification Machine (a shaky wooden contraption) quickly devolves into unsettling pornography when the women’s husband comes over to finish the job while Dr. Block stands awkwardly by, issuing commentary like: “Married for fourteen years and here they are!” The creepiness intensifies when another guest nearly faints after ingesting an aphrodisiac made of ground animal penises, but is reassured she merely had “a major orgasm.”
    The whole thing wraps up with a critique of the Bush administration. Images of Abu Ghraib flash by as we are warned that, just as Hitler’s rise to power destroyed the world of Weimar Berlin, American fundamentalism “threatens our erotic world.” If this is really what constitutes our erotic world, its destruction doesn’t sound like a bad thing. — Ali Moss
Date DVD: Wedding Crashers
If you’ve taken a date to recent, treacly true-meaning-of-family movie like Rumor Has It or The Family Stone, I will be shocked if it didn’t kill the mood and send you home alone. Only in such films could the spectacle of a humorless deaf gay son in an interracial marriage be used as a symbol of liberal comic goodwill. Only in such a film could a Friends alum stumble into bed with a man three decades her senior — and make incest jokes for the sake of Christmas-season cross-generational marketing. As you might after a bad family visit, the only thing you can do to wash the taste from your mouth is drink heavily, or watch Wedding Crashers.
    Let’s face of it, Wedding Crashers is basically Meet the Fockers with boobs and no cat jokes. The film only tells the shocking truth that men like to have sex with attractive women and will occasionally lie to get in their pants. But what a stiff shot of comic truth there seems to be in such a thing, when you’re used to seeing men defend their deaf brother’s gay relationship with a black man from the politically-incorrect musings of Sarah Jessica Parker. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are damn funny in one of the year’s only successful comedies — so what if the poor competition makes them look even better? For your next date, skip the after-school specials, and consider these two wingmen, your wingmen. — Logan Hill

   

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