There are plenty of moments in its 150 minutes when Inception is flying in mid-air, uncertain whether there is a safety net or a parachute of coherent plot to explain its entire exhilarating enterprise. Don’t ask to have its theory of dreaming spelled out in foolproof detail, just know that the age-old love affair between dreaming and the movies has been reasserted. Above all, treasure the film’s serene lack of exhausting violence or ingenious cruelty.
I Was Born, But... (IFC Center)Wild Grass (Sony Pictures Classics)Alamar (Film Movement) A smart distributor, on whom be peace, has decided to give a theatrical premiere to an early film by Yasujiro Ozu. This is good news, not just because the film itself—I Was Born, But...—is endearing but because it draws further attention to this Japanese master. Much of Ozu is available on DVD, including this film, but more theatrical recognition may increase this country’s care for a wonderful artist. Ozu (1903–1963) began to direct in 1927 and made a total of fifty-four features.
Restrepo National Geographic Entertainment Human Rights Watch International Film Festival Let It Rain IFC Films “War is hell.” General Sherman’s three-word definition has never been surpassed. He meant to dispel prevalent notions about glory, which he called moonshine. Factual knowledge, he apparently thought, would diminish war. The still camera had already started to support him; now there are also film and video.
Two in the Wave Lorber Films Looking for Eric IFC Films No movement in any nation’s film history has had a greater effect, at home and abroad, than the French New Wave. Beginning in the late 1950s and cresting through the 1960s, it not only brought forth new and invaluable talents: it altered in some degree the expectations of audiences. Much has naturally been written about the New Wave.
Ajami. In a multi-ethnic district of the city of Jaffa, Arabs and Jews struggle among themselves and with one another in various prisms of crime and love. Co-directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli, it is swift, vital, and gripping. (In our upcoming 3/11/10 issue.) The Messenger. Two U.S.
The White Ribbon Sony Pictures Classics Creation Newmarket Films Michael Haneke, whose new film is called The White Ribbon, has given it a subtitle: A German Children’s Story. That is warning enough. This Austrian director is by now so distinctively established as a connoisseur of darkness--with Funny Games, about neighborliness as murder; with Caché, about the past seeping into the present; with The Piano Teacher, about the animal in the civilized--that his dainty subtitle must be seen as a deadpan tease.
And Showtime is about to present, in a ten-part miniseries, Oliver Stone’s “Secret History of America.” Don’t you wonder why, if Stone (and Michael Moore, for that matter) is right about the evils of capitalism, an enormous capitalist corporation has produced--and will now show--what is, almost by self-advertisement, a nutcase reconstruction of the American past, focusing on its enemies, who he seems to think have been traduced by historians? Someone named Jackson Creswell, from a website called Collider, seems to think that Stone “revel[s] in political controversy ...