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Summer, Without the Multiplex

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It’s been a particularly masochism-friendly season so far. We’ve been drowned in bad dialogue (Poseidon), flagellated with faux religiosity (The Da Vinci Code), and, worst, assaulted by another Robin Williams family comedy (RV). So thank Jesus (and maybe his wife) that you live in New York, where there’s always life beyond the multiplex: For an antidote to superhero sequels, try The New York Asian Film Festival (June 16 to July 1 at the Anthology Film Archives and the ImaginAsian), which celebrates wild genre flicks like Beetle, The Horn King, about a Mexican-style cyborg wrestler who dresses as, yes, a giant beetle. To cure the damage done by schlock like Phat Girlz, try Danny Leiner’s deeply odd and surprisingly powerful post–September 11 comedy, The Great New Wonderful (June 23), starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. And if you’re tired of Hollywood using foreign countries as little more than exotic fight-scene backdrops (M:i:III), be sure to visit the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (June 8 to 22) at Lincoln Center, which will include Michael Winterbottom’s fierce Road to Guantánamo. Finally, if you’re sick of all those Hollywood films’ getting New York wrong, check out I Like Killing Flies (July 28), a (squished-) fly-on-the-wall documentary about Kenny Shopsin, the legendary proprietor of the Village’s cult-favorite diner. Once you’ve seen all these terrific films, you can enjoy Will Ferrell and his nascar comedy, Talladega Nights, with a clean conscience.


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