Urbania

Ambitious, visually striking and technically innovative (apart from STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE, it's the only film to date completed totally in the digital domain), this paranoid, low-budget slice of gay life in the Big Apple uses various urban myths (like the one about the poodle in the microwave, which we actually get to see) as the hook for a hallucinatory...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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Ambitious, visually striking and technically innovative (apart from STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE, it's the only film to date completed totally in the digital domain), this paranoid, low-budget slice of gay life in the Big Apple uses various urban myths

(like the one about the poodle in the microwave, which we actually get to see) as the hook for a hallucinatory but ultimately unbelievable revenge fantasy. When we first meet Charlie (Dan Futterman), he's depressed as hell; we assume his funk is due to the end of his relationship with soulmate

Chris (Matt Keeslar). As he travels around town looking for a mysterious, hunky stranger (Samuel Ball) he spotted earlier, we discover that something else, something significantly darker, is bugging him; we also learn that Charlie's not as nice as we originally thought, and we're kept deliberately

uncertain as to whether the spectral figures he encounters on the street are shards of memory or actual ghosts. First-time director Jon Shear proves quite adept at manufacturing an atmosphere of unsettling menace, and he camouflages his film's origins as a theater piece pretty well, with the

exception of an overly stagy scene involving a nasty sexual encounter with a narcissistic soap actor. The film also falls apart rather drastically at the end, with a plot twist that almost screams "I don't think so!" But, perhaps by way of compensation, Shear gets sensational performances

throughout; in fact, if this were a more mainstream film with a shot at a wider audience, we'd probably be talking Oscar nominations for Futterman and Ball.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Ambitious, visually striking and technically innovative (apart from STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE, it's the only film to date completed totally in the digital domain), this paranoid, low-budget slice of gay life in the Big Apple uses various urban myths (… (more)

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