The Straight Dope

Ecstasy done right in Greg Harrisons Groove

The rest is Cinema Paradiso meets the Spanish Civil War. Moncho (Manuel Lozano), an excruciatingly pretty little boy with oversize ears and observant gray eyes that signal future filmmaker, is having one of those John-Boy Walton summers in which a lesson in freedom and integrity lurks behind every blade of grass, every encounter with the schoolyard bully, every eavesdropped exchange between a father and mother as politically polarized as they are united in love. And, lest we still don't get it, the schoolmaster (played by Spanish veteran actor Fernando Fernán-Gómez, a dead-ringer for French actor Philippe Noiret and wearing the same shambling dignity) spells it out in the language of butterflies seeking nectar. The scenery, shot in the honeyed sepia of pure nostalgia, is stunning, the air thick with clichéd kiddie-POV. Little Moncho spies on a couple humping in a hayloft and concludes it's silly stuff. He solemnly counsels an older brother who's hopelessly in love with a married woman that nothing is gained when nothing is ventured. He blushes at the sight of a friend's pretty sister swimming in her underpants. I roused myself from slumber just in time for the moment when—too little, too late—Moncho learns in the school of hard knocks about the human potential for betrayal. No doubt The Butterfly is Miramax's latest hope for a repeat of the sleeper success enjoyed by The Postman. This trite, flabby picture doesn't have a prayer, and it's taking up precious space in the few remaining theaters that will still run foreign films with subtitles.

Groove was written and directed by greg harrison; produced by Harrison and Danielle renfrew; and stars Hamish Linklater, Lola Glaudini, denny kirkwood and mackenzie firgens . Now playing at Edwards Town Center, Costa Mesa; The Butterfly was directed by José Luis Cuerda; written by Rafael azcona; Based on three short stories by Manuel Rivas; Produced by Emiliano otegui; and stars Mawilliam Lozano and fernando fernAn-Gomez. Now playing at edwards south coast village, Santa ana.

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