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The Martha's Vineyard Times

The Martha's Vineyard Times is a weekly publication.
October 6, 2005 - October 12, 2005 Edition
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Film: A clutch of movie comedies sweet & bittersweet

October 6, 2005

By Brooks Robards

A scene from "Schultse Gets the Blues."

Photo courtesy of

Todd, played by Michael Bonsignore, and Mrs. Pearlman, played by Maggie Riley, in "Assisted Living."

The Silver Screen Society, the Island's nonprofit, year-round film organization, launched its fall season last weekend with a benefit screening of "Schultze Gets the Blues." The sweet-natured German comedy, set partially in Louisiana bayou country, raised more than $500 for the Red Cross's Katrina Relief-Aid fund. Three more comedies are set for October, all to be screened at Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

"Assisted Living," directed by Elliott Greenebaum, plays this Saturday, Oct. 1. This mockumentary takes a bleak topic and gives it a wry, comic spin. Set in the real-life Masonic Homes of Kentucky, the movie, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival, follows the ups and downs of a nursing home employee named Todd (Michael Bonsignore). Perpetually late to work, this pot-smoking, lackadaisical young man develops a special rapport with the nursing home patients. He scoots down the hall in a wheelchair and makes mostly benign mischief.

One patient, Mrs. Pearlman (Maggie Riley), has a son in Australia who never visits, so Todd manufactures a fake phone call from him. Mrs. Pearlman grows attached to Todd, and he takes her mind off her increasing dementia by dancing with her, taking her for walks, and bringing her the sunglasses she won by cheating at Bingo.

Despite his slacker mentality, Todd helps turn this nursing home into much more than a warehouse for the aged. Hub Moore, son of Vineyard architect Ben Moore, composed the music for "Assisted Living."

The noxious shadows celebrity can cast on personality and family life make the fodder for French director Agnes Jaoui's satire, "Look at Me," playing Saturday, Oct. 8. Lolita (Marilou Berry) is burdened with an ignoring, self-absorbed famous author for a father — as well as an impossible name. Etienne (Jean-Pierre Bacri) fires out wisecracks with an acid punch and has a second wife young enough to be Lolita's sister.

This toxic cocktail for a family has turned Lolita into a whining paranoid, who is sure that boys date her only because of her father's fame and has padded herself with a few too many layers of baby fat for protection.

She selects Sylvia (Agnes Jaoui herself), her voice coach, as a role model she can admire, but Sylvia has her own problems, namely a not-very-successful writer husband eager to curry favor with Lolita's dad. Before long, the two families are intertwined and one domestic crisis after another unfolds. True to comic form, however, everything seems to work out in the end, at least for Lolita. "Look at Me" won Best Screenplay at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Just in time for Halloween, "Shaun of the Dead," British director Edgar Wright's goofy horror/comedy, will play Saturday, Oct. 29. Appliance salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) seems more attached to his pal Ed (Nick Frost) than his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), so she dumps him. As a result, Shaun and Ed go on a bender and find out in the morning that London has been overtaken by zombies.

Shaun comes to the rescue, first of his mother and then Liz. Their exploits turn more and more fantastical, as more and more of their friends and relatives turn into zombies. After they hold up for a last stand at their favorite beer hangout, the Winchester, all hell breaks loose, but Shaun and Liz somehow survive the carnage, settling down to happy coupledom with Ed, who has turned into a zombie, chained in the backyard shed.

Films will be shown at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring St., Vineyard Haven. Doors open at 7 pm, show at 7:30 pm. $6 or $4 for society members. For information, visit

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