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Some 20 million people have seen the viral video in which RV pitchman Jack Rebney disgorges a veritable Nile River of expletives as he blows take after take during a video shoot for Winnebago Industries. Two decades later documentary maker Ben Steinbauer tracked down the septuagenarian Rebney living on a mountaintop in northern California. Winnebago Man, the subject of this week's long review, screens on Wednesday, June 16, at Gene Siskel Film Center; a theatrical run is scheduled for early August.
Also in this week's issue, Ed M. Koziarski looks at Ted Hardin and Elizabeth Coffman's documentary-in-progress Veins in the Gulf, which considers how traditional Cajun culture has been affected by the destruction of the Louisiana bayous—most currently, during the BP oil spill.
Opening this week, and showcased with Critic's Choice boxes, are Accomplices, a French crime drama that marks the debut of writer-director Frederic Mermoud; Daddy Longlegs, a lo-fi New York story about an irresponsible dad that was written and directed by brothers Ben and Joshua Safdie (who'll attend all Friday and Saturday screenings at Film Center); and Ondine, a lovely Irish tale about a fisherman and the woman he pulls from the sea who may just be part seal, written and directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game).
More new movies reviewed in the issue: The A-Team, whose release, a TV commercial informs us, represents the beginning of summer (a claim contradicted not only literally, by not only the calendar, but commercially, by the release of Iron Man 2 a couple weeks ago); The Karate Kid, a remake of the 1984 produced by Will Smith and starring his son, Jaden (as Mort Sahl once said of JFK, Jaden started out with nothing but native ability, then suddenly his father took a liking to him); Killers, an assassination-themed romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutchner and Katherine Heigl; OSS 117: Lost in Rio, a French secret agent spoof brought to you by Chicago's own Music Box Films; and Solitary Man, with Michael Douglas as a disgraced car dealer digging himself in deeper.
This week's repertory gem is a new print of La Signora di Tutti (1934), the sole Italian effort by perennial exile Max Ophuls, and one that in many ways prefigures his final masterpiece, Lola Montes. Other revivals this week include Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory (2006), showing Saturday by DVD projection at Hotti Biscotti; First Men in the Moon (1964), an H.G. Wells adaptation with effects by Ray Harryhausen; Busby Berkeley's For Me and My Gal (1942), with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, showing Saturday at Bank of America Cinema; David Lean's World War II propaganda film In Which We Serve, screening Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library; the 2010 restoration of Fritz Lang's mind-blowing Metropolis, still showing daily at Music Box; Allan Arkush's Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979), starring P.J. Soles and the Ramones, screening by DVD projection on Sunday at the Empty Bottle; Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro (1962), screening Saturday and Thursday at Film Center; and Raoul Walsh's silent swashbuckler The Thief of Baghdad (1924), starring Douglas Fairbanks and screening with live piano accompaniment on Sunday afternoon at the Wilmette.