Wrapup of alternative movie viewing
JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE I.R.T. (R) (98 min.) _ Well, what do you know? Here's a consistently interesting, often quite funny, peek at the urban youth experience without a single Blood, Crip, overdose or drive-by shooting in sight. Leslie Harris wrote and directed this special jury prize winner at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, which often slips into Afternoon Special territory with its story of teen pregnancy. What keeps it buoyant and engaging is a remarkable performance by newcomer Ariyan Johnson as Chantel, whose hip, flippant moods mask an ambitious, bright mind. "People be tripping when they find out how smart I really am," Chantel boasts. With a sunny sexuality and a cagey mind, Chantel could be the younger sister of Nola Darling, the center of Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It. Harris' film has much of the same low-budget, high-energy appeal of that film, plus a first glimpse of Johnson, a major new talent. She's not "just another girl," she's a magnetic acting find. B
MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART (R) (106 min.) _ There is no course in life harder to chart or to follow than a Map of the Human Heart. There are few other films that defy description and demand our attention more than director Vincent Ward's epic romance of the same name. Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) is Avik, an Eskimo torn away from his Canadian arctic culture twice; first by the British mapmaker (Patrick Bergin) who rescues him from death and secondly by his love for Albertine (Anne Parillaud). Ward films this sweeping World War II love story with dazzling visuals and a time-hopping narrative that is unique and exciting, making Map of the Human Heart one of the best films of 1993. Opens today at the Beach Theater in St. Petersburg Beach. A
BOB MARLEY: TIME WILL TELL (Not rated) (85 min.) _ We be jammin', mon, to the cool running sounds of Mr. Bob Marley in a 1992 documentary dedicated to the life of the quintessential reggae musician. Rare performance footage blends with rarely seen interviews with Marley, who never missed a chance to talk abut his spirituality, politics and music. Dolby-enhanced performances include the classics Get Up, Stand Up, Lively Up Yourself, I Shot the Sheriff and Could You Be Love. Showing today and Saturday only at 10 p.m. at the Tampa Theater.
IL LADRO DI BAMBINI (STOLEN CHILDREN) (not rated, probably PG-13) (106 min.) _ Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Director/co-writer Gianni Amelio crafted a discreet, slow-paced drama about Rosetta (Valentina Scalisi), who is pushed into prostitution by her mother. When the police discover this, Rosetta and her younger brother Luciano (Giuseppe Ieracitano) are hauled away to a children's home by a police officer (Enrico Lo Verso), who gradually sympathizes with these children who have grown up much too soon. Il Ladro di Bambini is more sweet than sensational in its approach to its subject, like an odd hybrid of The Last Detail and Curly Sue. Scalisi gives a wonderful performance as a young girl who has tragically lost her innocence but gained a measure of self-respect. Amelio shows the bonding of the cop and his charges in simple brush strokes, without the dramatic fireworks an Americanized version would include. Italian with English subtitles. Opens today at the Beach Theater in St. Petersburg Beach and held over for a second week at Movies at Pinellas Park. B-
LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (R) (113 min.) _ A young woman with magical powers in the kitchen finds out the way to anyone's heart and mind is through their stomach. Director Alphonso Arau directs this adaptation of the Laura Esquivel novel with a light touch, even in the film's most bizarre twists and passionate turns. Winner of 10 Mexican Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The most sensual, scrumptious import since Babette's Feast. Spanish with English subtitles. Held over for the third week at Movies at Pinellas Park. A-