"After years of art world professionals and laypeople alike complaining about the incomprehensibility of [Matthew] Barney
's work, No Restraint
(opening Wednesday at IFC Center
) neither finds the meaning of his work obscure nor simplifies it to the point of becoming art pablum," writes Paddy Johnson
at the Reeler
. For Jeannette Catsoulis
, writing in the New York Times
, "After a meager 72 minutes, the man who once stretched an obsession with testicles into a five-film cycle remains as unknowable as ever." More from Michelle Orange
in the Voice
. Related: indieWIRE
Why is it that I find Europe so "holy",
as soon as I see it from a distance,
and why does it appear so profane, humdrum, almost boring,
as soon as I am back?
, John Bergeron
translates a speech delivered by Wim Wenders
at last month's conference "A Soul for Europe
"While many still produce at a level that would put younger colleagues to shame, an elder generation of film critics that has held a powerful influence in the field is gradually, very gradually, passing from the international film scene." That's going to seem like a rather alarming, perhaps even gruesome piece from Variety
's Robert Koehler
, particularly during the holiday season, but as he surveys the work of ten giants, you realize he's pulled this off with the utmost respect. Via Ray Pride
"was a representative figure of San Francisco's arts and experimental film scene from the Renaissance of the postwar years through the Beat era and on into the 1980s," writes Robert Avila
. "Yet the serenely individual tastes and concerns of this California native also helped to cast him as ever outside the fashions and categories of his day."
"Quintessential [Chris] Marker
, The Case of the Grinning Cat
is a digressive, serendipitous city portrait," writes J Hoberman
. "Marker's epic 1977 essay on the French new left is called Grin Without a Cat
; this sequel might be the latest installation in the filmmaker's ongoing project, as halfway through, the cat disappears, leaving Marker to his grin: documenting the public life of early-21st-century Paris." Marker, "whose best-known works remain his films La Jet�e
(1962) and Sans Soleil
(1982), has a way of shooting in video that makes you think he's probably had a camera embedded in his head," observes Manohla Dargis
in the New York Times
. More from Nick Pinkerton
and Eric Kohn
at the Reeler
In a seasonal edition of his column, Dave Kehr
reviews a slew of box sets for the NYT
. A few choice pullquotes: Waterloo Bridge
is "a welcome rediscovery, particularly for its commanding lead performance by Mae Clarke
, a gifted actress best remembered for having a grapefruit ground in her face in The Public Enemy
." 20 Bonds
have been "digitally scrubbed down." Oldboy
? "Probably not suitable for Christmas Eve viewing, but some kind of a masterpiece." Preston Sturges
is "the Mark Twain
of American movies," while Wim Wenders "remains, paradoxically, one of the most intellectually rigorous as well as one of the most air-headedly romantic filmmakers working today."
has a typically brilliant idea for a movie.
At IFC News
"We didn't want to end up with one of those films where you are forced to admire a set decorator's achievements, totally overproduced. You need to be a master of proportion, and I wanted it to be completely driven by the narration and protagonist," Tom Tykwer tells Aaron Hillis in a conversation about Perfume - and the smells of New York and Berlin.
Bertolucci's "international rep would be many steps closer to the top shelf today if, in fact, he'd stopped when he was ahead, at 35, with seven features already under his belt, two of which - The Conformist (1970) and 1900 (1976) - are rapturous masterpieces," argues Michael Atkinson.
"Rocky has never met an bizarre training method he didn't like � he punches meat! He does lunges with a log!" Alison Willmore writes up a montage of the training montages. As for the latest installment, Robert Cashill writes, "Let's put it this way: Rocky Balboa won't make any Top 10 lists, but it won't make any Bottom 10 lists, either, which for its star, punchdrunk from so many flops, is an accomplishment. Just, please, no more Cobra pictures." But for David Poland, it feels "like a low-budget cable TV sequel to a series that is already long over." More from Stephen Holden in the NYT.
"Bollywood broke new ground this weekend with the release of the first international movie filmed in post-Taliban Afghanistan," reports Randeep Ramesh. "Kabul Express, a tale of two Indian journalists out of their depth on the trail of Taliban, is set among the country's spectacularly scarred landscape of gutted buildings and pitted flatlands." Also in the Guardian, Natalie Hanman has a quick chat with Lynne Ramsay.
"Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth leaves the majority of 2006's unimpressive prestige movies looking drab and mechanical," writes Johnny Ray Huston in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "It's a mistake - made by at least one pan of Pan - to attribute the film's fairy-tale quality to sexism on the part of its director; without question, Del Toro is paying homage to [Victor] Erice's [Spirit of the Beehive], perhaps the greatest movie ever made about a child's - not just girl's - consciousness."
"Oh, how deliciously campy Notes on a Scandal might have been had director Richard Eyre taken a more deliriously hysterical approach to his material," sighs Nick Schager.
"The Secret Life of Words is my first Coixet film, and it had something of the same effect as Climates, the recent film by the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan," writes Stanley Kauffmann in the New Republic. "In both cases, the work is so finely made that as I watched, I kept regretting my lateness in coming to this artist."
Peter Nellhaus on Ho Choi's Sasaeng Gyeoldan (Bloody Tie): "This is like a Quentin Tarantino film without a lot of the pretense from a Korean filmmaker who should be better known stateside."
James Rampton talks with James Cameron about Avatar, his return to sci-fi narrative, for the Independent.
"There was resistance to the idea of Russians going into the theatre to get more Herzen and Belinsky. They were sick of having Herzen and Belinsky shoved down their throats in high school." In the New Yorker, Tom Stoppard tells Masha Lipman about a few surprising discoveries he's made as he tries to get a production of The Coast of Utopia off the ground in Moscow.
Jonathan Jones at Alternet on The Nativity Story: "Although the film is supposed to remind us about the humble beginnings of Jesus, the real message behind the most expensive religious movie ever backed by a major motion picture studio is that there are huge profits to be made by producing wholesome films with Christian themes."
Religion in Hollywood itself is mystifying to all of us, but particularly to Europeans. Susanne Weingarten tries to explain what's going on over there to Spiegel readers.
Adam Resurrected, just so you know, has nothing to do with Jerry Lewis's The Day the Clown Cried. Matea Gold reports in the Los Angeles Times.
Dorota Hartwich has a short talk with Peter Greenaway for Cineuropa.
"One would have thought - or maybe just hoped - that the outrages concerning Twentieth Century Fox's mishandling of Mike Judge's Idiocracy would come to an end with the film's upcoming January DVD release." Nope. At Screengrab, Bilge Ebiri has the latest as well as a handy guide to past coverage.
"[R]ewatching Little Shop of Horrors this past week," writes Edward Copeland, "the movie still holds up as one of the best movie musicals to come out in the post-death-of-movie-musicals era."
"Welcome to the future of Hollywood." Sony didn't need a Pirates-sized blockbuster to break $1.5 billion domestically this year, notes David Poland, and it's not a matter of more eggs, but rather, more baskets.
Online browsing tip. Silent film posters at the Ernst Gallery. Via Rashomon.
Online listening tip. A sampling from Chateau Flight's soundtrack for Les Vampires.
Online viewing tip #1. The trailer for God Grew Tired of Us at Beliefnet.
Online viewing tip #2. Scott Macaulay's found a fun "modern day Zapruder film, playfully debunking" the video of Michel Gondry "solving" Rubik's Cube with his feet.
Online viewing tip #3. AICN's Quint'll point you to the trailer for Ocean's 13.
Online viewing tip #4. Anne Thompson: "With both The Good Shepherd and We Are Marshall hitting holiday theaters, here's Matt Damon's dead-in imitation of Matthew McConaughey on David Letterman."
Online viewing tips, round 1. Cinematical's Jessica Barnes's got a trailer for Alexander Payne's King of California. And Chris Uhlich's got one for Shooter (Antoine Fuqua directs Mark Wahlberg).
Online viewing tips, round 2. Just skip the intro: Very Funny Ads.
Posted by dwhudson at December 20, 2006 2:16 PM