Combustible Celluloid
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With: Parker Posey, Liam Aiken, James Urbaniak, Chuck Montgomery, Jeff Goldblum, Leo Fitzpatrick, Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jay Ryan, Anatole Taubman
Written by: Hal Hartley
Directed by: Hal Hartley
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexuality
Running Time: 118
Date: 09/11/2006

Fay Grim (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Back to 'Fool'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following in the footsteps of Richard Linklater with his unlikely indie sequel Before Sunset, writer/director Hal Hartley now offers a sequel to his polarizing 1998 film Henry Fool. The film focuses on Henry's wife Fay Grim (Parker Posey); her brother is the now-famous poet Simon Grim (James Urbaniak), whom Henry once mentored. The whole thing is a colossal joke, expanding the original characters way past their original parameters. Now Henry is considered an international spy, and his highly sought-after notebooks are considered top secret. An FBI agent (Jeff Goldblum) convinces Fay to fly to Europe to find them, while Simon and his publisher Angus (Chuck Montgomery) try to work out the complex details at home. It's completely baffling, with tons of expositional dialogue attempting to explain (or to further muddle) the double-crosses, alliances and dirty deeds. But behind it all is a great, deadpan laugh; I like it a good deal more than Henry Fool. Saffron Burrows co-stars as a sexy double agent in a black trenchcoat. (Note: Magnolia Pictures is releasing Fay Grim in theaters and on DVD at the same time, though I can't quite figure out why. It will open theatrically on May 18 and the DVD streets five days later, on Tuesday, May 22. I've included a link to buy the DVD, but here, also, is a link to find showtimes near you.)

DVD Details: Magnolia's DVD comes with a 17-minute making-of featurette, an episode of "Higer Definition" on the film (about 30 minutes), deleted scenes (about 90 seconds), Hartley's cut of the trailer, and trailers for Diggers, Maxed Out and The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair. The audio is available in 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Stereo, and there are optional Spanish subtitles. Fay Grim

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