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  Repo Chick The Revolution Might Be Televised
Year: 2009
Director: Alex Cox
Stars: Jaclyn Jonet, Miguel Sandoval, Del Zamora, Alex Feldman, Chloe Webb, Xander Berkeley, Rosanna Arquette, Robert Beltran, Karen Black, Zahn McLarnon, Jenna Zablocki, Danny Aroyo, Jennifer Balgobin, Zander Schloss, Angela Sarafyan, Frances Bay, Alex Cox
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Pixxi (Jaclyn Jonet) is a wealthy heiress who never gave much thought to those less fortunate than herself, but all that's about to change when her father (Xander Berkeley), aunt (Karen Black) and grandmother (Frances Bay) call her to a family meeting to berate her about her loose morals and wayward lifestyle. She tries to reason with them, but it's no use and they drop a bombshell on her entitled existence: her inheritance has been cut off, and she must now find a job. She is horrified, but just might find an occupation to satisfy her...

And you can guess what that is from the title, in this the film that was not a sequel to director Alex Cox's cult classic Repo Man, but shared some of its concerns as well as hailing from the mind of the same man. He felt that the whole repossession angle was more relevant than ever, and for whatever reason he decided against doing a straight follow-up with the same characters (Emilio Estevez for one had no interest in returning), so there was a more political charge to the story he did end up concocting. That didn't mean a dry tract, however, as visually Repo Chick was highly unusual thanks to use of green screen in every shot.

So that made the film possibly of more interest to model train enthusiasts than anyone else, with many shots of miniature railways for the cast to act in front of, especially during that last half which took place largely on a hijacked train (not hijacked by terrorists, oh no, but by "pirates"). Before we reached that point, there were a host of brightly coloured visuals of an artificial kind that should by all rights have rendered what was already a cheap movie look even cheaper, yet wound up offering a curious charm to something that resembled a children's television show. Not everyone was prepared to go along with Cox's style here, and it's true that if you were turned off by the appearance then you wouldn't last long.

But it did look quaint, even cute in places, which complemented a story that was less a savaging of the usual targets the director preferred to take on, and more a goodnatured runaround. Jonet in particular made the film her own, displaying an understanding of Pixxi that while she was insufferably self-centred, that was often the kind of person who got things done, so even as she was taking back all that property, often from those duped into their loans, we were oddly on her side. This was most notable once she got onto the train carriage with a bunch of far more reprehensible privileged types and told the pirates where they could get off, in spite of the troublemakers having a right-on set of demands.

You know, stuff like getting rid of the world's golf courses for the damage they do to the environment, or ordering the President of the United States and his Cabinet to turn vegan. The cast, many of whom were reportedly roped in at the last minute for a shooting schedule that barely lasted a couple of weeks, all rose to the occasion, with many a familiar face appearing - familiar if you liked cult movies, that was. So here was a tough-talking Rosanna Arquette being romanced by Robert Beltran (from Eating Raoul), or Chloe Webb as a wealthy evangelist, and even if you couldn't put a name to the other faces you'd recognise many of them. The concerns of the film cast their net wide, so that there are bits and pieces about Communism not being all that bad, or worries about where the world's weapons are going, but if this sounds as if it should build to an explosive climax, it did end with a damp squib. Still, it was a likeably eccentric effort that was recognisably the work of its director, which would please his fans. Music by Dan Wool.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Alex Cox  (1954 - )

Maverick British writer/director who made a huge impact with his LA-set 1984 debut, the offbeat sci-fi comedy Repo Man. Sid and Nancy was a powerful second film, detailing the life and death of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, while Straight To Hell was a flawed but amusing punk western starring The Clash. The expensive flop Walker kept Cox away from the camera for five years - he returned in 1992 with under-rated Spanish-language Highway Patrolman.

Since then, Cox has made a series of low-budget, independent features, such as Three Businessmen, 2002's The Revenger's Tragedy, Searchers 2.0 and sort of follow up Repo Chick, plus the Akira Kurosawa documentary The Last Emperor. British viewers will know Cox as the host of BBC2's '90s cult film show Moviedrome, and he has also penned a guide to Spaghetti Westerns.

 
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