"In the midpart of the 20th century, the problem progressive Hollywood films confronted was American racism; the social-problem films of the 21st century confront an abstract evil. These films ask: How can a God allow so much evil to exist? Is evil simply human and apart from God? Is God even in the world?" Charles Mudede
, in the Stranger
, on Beyond the Gates
, Hotel Rwanda
, Blood Diamond
and a handful of other films set in Africa: "If the love of all love (European humanism) can overcome the evil of all evils (Africans who have totally gone bananas) then it can overcome anything, and that is the core message of these films."
's next feature will be The Cheese and the Worms
, based on the book
by Carlo Ginzburg, "an account of a 16th Century 'heretic,' a peasant named Menocchio
who, to put it simply, did not buy into the prevailing religious philosophy," as DK Holm
describes it in his introduction to an interview with screenwriter Alan Greenberg, who's put his "fascinating and gripping" screenplay
"Easily among my favorite films of all time, Chris Marker
's perplexing documentary/travelogue Sans Soleil
, stretches the genre to its breaking point," writes Dave Micevic
, pleased as punch to hear that Criterion
will be releasing it on DVD in June.
"For Stalin admirers, of whom there are many in Russia, the series [Stalin Live
] is an entertaining and educational look at the man who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower," writes David Holley
in the Los Angeles Times
. "To critics, it is a dangerous distortion of history that threatens to misinform a younger generation about a leader responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and reinforce a trend toward greater authoritarianism in politics."
watches five films: "For me, they all point out the fallacy that formalism must restrict itself to addressing the limits and variations of its own form. It cannot; instead, formalism must invoke other media and forms - real life being only one of them - in a way that is not explicitly representational. This is evidently not easy to do, but one glance at Godard
reminds me of the ever-fruitful possibility."
on another one of those "Forgotten Gems of the 70s," Dynamite Chicken
: "The roster of names in the opening credits is impressive to say the least, and it includes major boho figures such as Paul Krassner
, Peter Max
, Allen Ginsberg
, Al Goldstein
, Lenny Bruce
, Joan Baez
, Malcolm X
, The Velvet Underground
. The film consists of a series of thematic segments, loosely (very, at that) linked by footage of Richard Pryor
(who is listed as the 'star' of the film) riffing directly into the camera while wandering around a beat-up playground somewhere in New York City." Sounds like a must-see.
At Bad Lit
heads out in search of more than just a passing knowledge of Kurt Kren
and comes across some fine material indeed.
"Hyping David O Russell
's upcoming adaptation of Sammy's Hill
to the Hollywood Reporter
, producer Doug Wick
said, "It will do for Washington DC what Talladega Nights
did for race car driving." Oh... I'm not entirely sure Russell will see it that way." Brendon Connelly
runs an excerpt from the novel, written by Kristin Gore. And yes, she's Al Gore
discovers a possible antecedent to Pan's Labyrinth
For Time Out
, Mark Salisbury
recalls a visit to the Sunshine
While Manhattan, Kansas
carries on touring the country, director Tara Wray
is also taking her company from NYC to Vermont to begin work on a documentary on the Center for Cartoon Studies
"The smug yuppie centerpiece of Whit Stillman
's pro-bourgeoisie gabfests, Chris Eigeman
switches gears in The Treatment
, embodying an erudite prep school English teacher beset by ambivalence about his upper-crust professional milieu," writes Nick Schager
In the New York Times
"Meet the Robinsons is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time," writes AO Scott. "Zippy if forgettable," agrees Dennis Lim, though he focuses his review for the LAT on the 3D version, which "is simply an excuse to have characters and objects lunge in the general direction of the viewer."
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder "stake an early claim to being the comedy couple of the year," writes Stephen Holden. "It comes as a huge relief to find that as Blades of Glory speeds along, it avoids going to the obvious, ugly place for cheap laughs." It "has enough vestiges of that kind of creative cheek to keep you contentedly in your seat." More from Nick Schager in Slant, Richard Corliss in Time, Kevin Crust in the LAT, Stephanie Zacharek in Salon, Erik Davis at Cinematical and Dana Stevens in Slate, where Josh Levin answers the question, "Why is Will Ferrell Funny?" with a video slide show.
Stephen Holden: "Summer in Berlin, Andreas Dresen's microscopic examination of the humdrum lives of Katrin (Inka Friedrich) and Nike (Nadja Uhl), best friends who live in the same Berlin apartment building, is a pointedly unglamorous slice of life that could be set in any urban neighborhood where real estate prices haven't gone through the roof."
"The Hawk Is Dying is a dreary study of male angst groaning beneath the weight of its own symbolism," writes Jeannette Catsoulis.
Matt Zoller Seitz on Sacco and Vanzetti: "[T]he movie's meat-and-potatoes style seems less a failure of imagination than a means of putting in the foreground its subject matter." Related: indieWIRE interviews director Peter Miller.
For some time now, visitors to the Filmhaus on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin have been able to view letters exchanged by Ernest Hemingway and Marlene Dietrich, but as Ashley Parker reports, a new round of about 30 more is being made public, and they're rather sweet. Hemingway: "What do you really want to do for a life work? Break everybody's heart for a dime? You could always break mine for a nickel and I'd bring the nickel."
Ben Brantley: "The substance is in the silences in The Year of Magical Thinking, the arresting yet ultimately frustrating new drama starring Vanessa Redgrave that opened last night at the Booth Theater."
"Those who don't like a rogue's progress, preferring to cluck from a distance over the skeevy habits of today's rich bachelors, should skip Sons of Hollywood," writes Virginia Heffernan. "But then they should also skip the novels of Henry Fielding, George Eliot and Anthony Trollope, not to mention Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II."
"There's no shortage of Iraqi war documentaries, which actually works to this film's advantage," writes Peter Hartlaub. "The Prisoner doesn't try to put the entire war in context or offer broad solutions. It's a focused slice of the war, covering an issue that you've probably wondered about but haven't seen in many other places. What happens to Abu Ghraib prisoners who didn't do anything wrong? What is life like in the prison? How does someone like Abbas feel about the United States now?" Also in the San Francisco Chronicle, Walter Addiego and G. Allen Johnson on Grbavica, Nomad and A Zen Life: DT Suzuki. Related online listening tip: Joel Heller talks with Prisoner filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein and Benjamin Thompson, "who as a member of the 391st MP Battalion, Army Reserve in Columbus, OH, was sent in Feb 2004 to Abu Ghraib," and is featured in the film.
At Cinema Strikes Back, Mike M talks with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg about Hot Fuzz and many other movies as well.
John Davidson reviews John Heilpern's John Osborne: The Many Lives of the Angry Young Man for Stop Smiling.
"Did The Caiman decide the [Italian] election?" wonders Patrick Barkham out loud. "[Nanni] Moretti, who won lavish praise and the Palme d'Or in 2001 for The Son's Room, laughs. 'I tried to make a good film - that was my intention,' he says. 'If some people changed their minds, then that's good.' Unlikely to succumb to false modesty, Moretti is more like a minister side-stepping a spending commitment, unwilling to make definitive statements."
Also in the Guardian:
Peter Bradshaw on Days of Glory. More from Tim Robey in the Telegraph, Anthony Quinn in the Independent and Ryan Gilbey in the New Statesman. Related: "Thousands of Gurkha veterans hope an Oscar-nominated film which helped to change French law to provide proper pensions to Algerian troops who fought in the second world war will have a similar effect on the British government," reports Duncan Campbell.
David Thompson profiles Hilary Swank. Related: "Hilary Swank is developing a remake of Patrice Leconte's Intimate Strangers for Paramount Pictures with an eye to star and produce," report Dave McNary and Pamela McClintock in Variety. Also, Time readers have ten questions for Swank.
M Night Shyamalan's "paranoia thriller The Happening... will star Mark Wahlberg as a science teacher whose family flees an apocalyptic force threatening humanity."
Jake Horsley: "Mobile phone movies are the latest development in the ongoing war against teenage boredom, and the first is coming soon, distributed by O2, Orange and T-Mobile."
Cahiers du cinéma has ten questions for each of the five candidates in France's presidential race. In French, naturally.
Online browsing tip. Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing: "Today on the Modern Mechanix blog, an incredible, five-page spread about the making of Snow White, from the January 1938 issue of Popular Science."
Online viewing tip #1. Nathaniel R finds the original edit of his She's a Bitch... At the Movies.
Online viewing tip #2. trailer for Novel Reflections on the American Dream. Via the Literary Saloon.
Online viewing tips, round 1. David Lynch on product placement. Via Fimoculous, also pointing to Manufacturing Consent.
Online viewing tips, round 2. ScreenGrab's "Most Important Nude Scenes of All Time."
Posted by dwhudson at March 30, 2007 3:52 PM