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Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.62%
Worth A Look57.69%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 3.85%
Total Crap: 3.85%

2 reviews, 14 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"A respectable story about, well, stories."
4 stars

"Urbania" comes equipped with a great tagline -- "Hear any good stories lately?" -- and a curiously quasi-kitschy format in which urban legends are enacted as secondary stories.

It's a noirish murder mystery, sort of, in which gay New Yorker Charlie (Dan Futterman) goes out one night in search of a particular man he's seen around town. The man isn't gay, he can tell, but he wants to meet him anyway. Simultaneously, he mourns the recent departure of his lover, Chris (Matt Keeslar) -- a wound that is nowhere near healing.

Through all this, he's disturbed by events that are either hallucinations or flashbacks, or that may actually be happening here and now. He tries constantly to reach Chris on the phone but can't get him to pick up.

Director Jon Shear uses non-linear storytelling, throwing bits of something into the mix here and there to disorient us. And it works: The trouble with non-linear storytelling in this case is that for a long time, it's hard to know what story is being told. Urban legends keep occurring in the periphery -- old women putting poodles in the microwave, burglars violating toothbrushes, etc. -- but no explanation is made. What do these events, which seem to be literal, have to do with the story at hand? A connection is made eventually -- urban legends are fun because, while they may not be entirely true, they're more satisfying than real life -- but it seems like a long way to go for such a weak conclusion.

Futterman is good as the lead in a story that has gay characters without really being "about" homosexuality. Alan Cumming has a cameo as his friend and sympathizer, but that whole sequence eventually seems a little pointless.

There are some effective emotional moments, and it all wraps up in a manner that is interesting, if not earth-shattering. For Shear's first effort, "Urbania" is respectable.

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originally posted: 07/07/03 10:29:33
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User Comments

4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Hypnotic and sad. An interesting and original film! Dan Futterman is highly watchable. 4 stars
1/24/02 gene Phenomenal. Perhaps the best film involving a gay main character ever made. Superb acting. 5 stars
1/10/02 Spyguy2 Damn this was a good one. Intense, disturbing, disquieting. The ending is a mindfucker. 4 stars
4/06/01 macguffin54 Deceptively bizarre, creative and thought-provoking. And very touching. 5 stars
3/31/01 Alan Light a jumbled mess, rife with half-meaningful statements and humorless performances 2 stars
11/07/00 Congrats to all involved!! Best thing I've seen in quite some time> GO! 5 stars
11/04/00 Alison Prower Wow! I can't stop thinking about it! 5 stars
10/24/00 Mr. X Disturbing, deep, disquieting. I am still thinking about it. 4 stars
10/20/00 Cassandra Goldberg Breathtaking, Original, Brilliant. Best film of the year 5 stars
10/16/00 Thor-Leo Original, surprising, affecting. And Dan Futterman is my new crush! 5 stars
10/02/00 Diana T. as boring as it gets; erratic; incomprehensible 1 stars
9/28/00 Erik Gilbert Fresh and original filmmaking. Amazing performances! 5 stars
9/23/00 Erik Gilbert The sleeper hit of the year. Don't let this one pass you by!!Unlike any other movie, 5 stars
9/22/00 a haunting,powerful intensely romantic film 5 stars
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  15-Sep-2000 (R)



Directed by
  Jon Shear

Written by
  Jon Shear
  Daniel Reitz

  Dan Futterman
  Alan Cumming
  Matt Keeslar
  Samuel Ball
  Josh Hamilton
  Paige turco

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