May 6th (Koch Lorber)
May 6th has what the cynical among us would call a "hook": This tale about the murder of a real-life Dutch politician had just wrapped up when director Theo van Gogh was real-life murdered by an Islamic extremist. The frisson produced by this collision of events makes this movie a must-see in some circles. Fortunately for those not into complete ghoulishness, this frantic conspiracy thriller is worth watching without its morbid pedigree. It follows a paparazzo who happens to be nearby when prime minister candidate Pim Fortuyn (a friend of van Gogh's) is gunned down. American viewers may have a hard time unraveling the conspiracy and Dutch politics at the same time, but it's worth a try. The documentary about van Gogh's murder gives an even deeper view into Amsterdam culture and politics, despite the obvious axe-grinding that powers it. -- Harper
The Animation Show, Volumes 1 & 2 (Paramount)
In his introductory essay to this two-disc comp-romp through Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt's favorite shorts, writer Taylor Jessen tells us that "making animated shorts is totally ridiculous." He's got a point: There's about as much money in these things as there is an audience for them. Without Judge and Hertzfeldt, these shorts -- some trippy, some dopey, some erotic, some exotic, some jes' plain ol' dumb-ass, but all worth a few minutes -- would have languished as webcast outcasts. They all deserve better, even if the highlights for most will be Judge's original Office Space short and Hertzfeldt's interstitials starring self-aware creatures who look like cotton balls; sometimes you just want your cartoons to make you giggle. But fact is, there ain't a dud on here. Even the how-tos and making-ofs are worth a peek. -- Robert Wilonsky
Border Radio (Criterion)
The first feature from Allison Anders, Kurt Voss, and Dean Lent was meant to play as film noir -- a post-heist pic starring an existential loner figuring shit out while on the lam. Only after the UCLA trio began populating their black-and-white SoCal so-long-goodbye with L.A. punks -- Chris D. of the Flesh Eaters as Our Hero, X's John Doe as dickweed Dean, Blaster Dave Alvin as . . . uh . . . Dave -- did they rethink their project. The result is less a moving picture than a series of beautifully composed snapshots of a scene that vanished pretty much while the movie was being made. It's a deadpan mess that plays like French new-wave cinema caught up in American new-wave music. Don't watch for plot; listen instead to the rock talk and punk pluck that keep things moving. -- Wilonsky
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