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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 09/14/2000,

The Yards

A heavyweight cast labor mightily to bring to life this turgid and irrelevant reprise of On the Waterfront from James Gray (Little Odessa). Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg), fresh from prison after serving time to protect his friends in the neighborhood, needs work. His Uncle Frank (James Caan) runs one of the big machine shops servicing the New York transit system, but he's hesitant about giving Leo a job. No problem: Leo's pal Willie Gutierrez (Joaquin Phoenix, looking Brandoish with his slick black hair and curling lip), Frank's right-hand man, will take Leo under his wing. It turns out, though, that Willie's job description includes taking a crew of goons late at night to the subway yards to sabotage the work of the competition, and when these dirty tricks turn to murder, it doesn't do much for Leo's parole situation or the heart condition his mother (Ellen Burstyn) suffers from. A triangle involving Willie, Leo, and Leo's cousin Erica (Charlize Theron) is gratuitous on many levels, and despite Gray's insistence on lighting everything as if this were Don Corleone in a drawing room, The Yards remains a vacant lot. Screens Friday, September 15 at 7 and 9:45 p.m. and Saturday, September 16 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Director James Gray will appear at Friday's 7 p.m. screening.

-- Peter Keough

Film Festival Feature Films

| A Fight to the Finish: Stories of Polio | A Man is Mostly Water | A Trial in Prague | Blessed Art Thou | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Enlightenment Guaranteed | The Exorcist | Harry, He's Here to Help | Into the Arms of Strangers | Just Looking | Ratcatcher | Seven Girlfriends | Two Family House | The Yards | You Can Count On Me |