Eight days later, and I finally made it to Die Mommie Die! It's not a great film, nor does it have any illusions of being one. It's a homage to pure, unfiltered trash of the Joan Crawford/Liz Taylor/Sirk and Hudson variety. It doesn't grasp the manic highs (lows?) of John Waters or even Psycho Beach Party. The cinematography ain't exciting enough to make this required theater viewing, but you may want to see it with a group--especially one heavy with camp aficionados. For all the intentional howlers in the dialogue, the cast makes this one worthwhile: particularly, Jason Priestly as a gigolo packin' a lot of heat, Frances Conroy as a pious, strangely southern maid, and Natasha Lyonne as a good girl who loves her daddy a little too much. But Charles Busch is undeniably the star. It's the best total drag film performance since Terence Stamp in Priscilla, if not the heady days of the incomparable Divine.

Here are a few other celluloid goodies I saw over the weekend:

One Hour Photo: No matter how hard he tries, not-so-mild mannered Robin Williams will never make a credible dramatic actor. As Sy Parrish, the lonely, creepily obsessive photo lab drone, he's fine as long as he's subdued. Unfortunately, he inevitably breaks into the usual histrionics, and only reinforces how much better the film could've been with, say, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Director Mark Romanek has a real feel for the cold sterility of a modern discount department store, and little else.

Bend It Like Beckham: Not as overrated as I feared, but not much true indie spirit, either. The leads in this culture clash/girl power soccer dramedy carry the film, as does the underrated Jonathan Rhys Myers as their affable coach. Genuine uplift and a few nice periphery characters make up for the script's shortcomings and the lead's poorly underdeveloped mother, a Hindu gloss on the quirky relatives of the execrable My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I can see why a lot of people love this film; I admit it made me laugh a few times, but I'd almost rather sit through Freaky Friday again.

Cinemania: Now I no longer feel sheepish about telling people that I go out to the movies more than once a week. What could have been unbearably quirky (portraits of five extreme cinema obsessives) comes off as a fascinating docu-portrait of movie love like no other. Yes, these people are FREAKS, but we do see (if not completely comprehend) the methods to their madnesses, although I'm not sure the most casual of moviegoers will see beyond that. Of the five subjects, my favorite was the sole woman, Roberta Hill: irascible, stubborn, and practically imprisoned by her love of film (and film programs) yet obviously transformed and moved by the rare power of her obsession.

21 Grams: This movie's slower than fistful of Fassbinder films and nearly as depressing. It retreads the themes of Amores Perros a little too closely, and the nonlinear structure is irritating rather than illuminating; that is, until the accident that brings the three leads together. Fortunately, all of 'em are outstanding: Benicio Del Toro as a man tortured by his past and his religion, Sean Penn (much more deserving of an Oscar here than in Mystic River) as a man on the brink of death and spiritual rebirth, and, especially, Naomi Watts as a woman whose life is abruptly altered when the worst tragedy imaginable strikes. Watts is so damn good (of a piece with Mulholland Drive!), it's frightening. Julia and Nicole, step aside, here's the best actress of her generation.