The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Charming Billy

Pity poor Charming Billy. He's a video-store manager in some American rural hellhole. He keeps having flashbacks to when he was a toddler and a woman hanging rows of white sheets out to dry sang "Billy Boy" to him in a Russian accent. Now his parents are grotesque, his sympathetic grandpa has had a stroke, and his mediocre fiancée is pregnant. What else to do but climb a watertower on an out-of-the-way road and pick off motorists with a high-powered hunting rifle?

Immediately erasing memories of Peter Bogdanovich's excellent Targets, this low-budget independent film is a flat, dopy, treadmill stroll through portentous weirdness that plays more like a heavy-handed, unintentional tribute to S.F. Brownrigg (Don't Look in the Basement, Keep My Grave Open). Director William R. Pace has a basic level of technical prowess but is absolutely tone-dead with actors and dialogue. If you like your wallows in negativity mealy-mouthed and resentful, here you go. Screens Thursday, September 14th at 11 a.m. and 1:30 and 4 p.m.

-- Chris Fujiwara

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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