Reel Paradise | Chicago Reader

Reel Paradise

An entertaining and occasionally insightful piece of self-promotion by indie film maverick John Pierson, who asked director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Stevie) to film part of his yearlong project to reopen and operate an old movie theater on the remote Fijian island of Taveuni. Pierson fell in love with the shuttered 288-seat theater while working on a television project, bought it, and moved his whole family there to help renovate and run it. The result plays at times like an extended version of The Osbournes: eccentric showbiz dad, levelheaded mom, both exasperated by the antics of their two sassy teenagers. What saves the film from complete triviality is James's willingness to raise questions about the impact the movies (mostly Hollywood blockbusters) and the family's presence has on the local culture. 110 min.

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