The Movie Review: 'Fame'
September 25, 2009
Way back in 1980, when the Oscar-winning theme song of the movie Fame declared "I'm gonna live forever," it was easy to believe the lyric was an example of artistic license. Now, it's not so clear. With almost Biblical tenacity, the film begat a television series which begat a stage musical which begat a reality show. When that last iteration was cancelled after a single season in 2003, it was possible to imagine that the longest 15 minutes in show business history had finally ticked to a close.
Films Worth Seeing
September 21, 2009
The Baader Meinhof Complex The giant wave of terrorism that swept Germany in 1967-1977, led by the so-called Baader Meinhof gang, is here treated intelligently,, revealingly.
The Movie Review: ‘The Informant!’
September 18, 2009
So this is what Matt Damon has been keeping bottled up during all those taciturn hours playing Jason Bourne. In Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, Damon plays--and plays very, very well--a character in every way the opposite of his efficient, amnesiac superspy: a babbling bumbler who goes undercover for the FBI to gather information against his own employer but winds up exposing mostly himself.
The Movie Review: 'Jennifer's Body'
September 18, 2009
"Hell is a teenage girl," Jennifer's Body announces in its opening moments. But the film's thesis is really more particular: Hell is a teenage girl who has been unsuccessfully sacrificed to Satan by an alt-rock band and, as a result, finds that she has become a flesh-eating demon. It's a difficult case to contest. After a brief prologue that finds the movie's good-girl protagonist, Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried), kicking ass and taking names in a penitentiary somewhere, the movie rewinds to explain how she arrived at this unhappy juncture.
What Tyler Perry and Bill Cosby Have in Common: On the Occasion of "I Can Do Bad All By Myself"
September 14, 2009
At a Christmas party in 2004, a cousin asked me "Do you like Medea?" For a minute I was a confused, since it didn’t seem to be the occasion for sharing our impressions of Greek mythology. But it turned out she was talking about Madea, the massive, loudmouthed, pistol-packing black grandmother who Tyler Perry performs as in drag in a series of "chitlin' circuit" touring shows. Perry sells DVDs of the shows on line, and ten minutes after my cousin put one on I was hooked. I’m not alone. Madea was the biggest new phenom in black America until Obamamania.
From the Inside of a Tank: Israeli Film Wins Venice Grand Prize. The Film that Haughty Jane Fonda Wants No One To See
September 12, 2009
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest celluloid gala in the world. Not as vaunted and haunted by the publicity machines but intellectually more serious than Cannes. The Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia, a most prestigious element of the Venice Biennale, bestowed its Golden Lion award, its top honor, on an Israeli film called Lebanon. It is a relentlessly honest film about war itself but also specifically about Israel's first real war in Lebanon.
Death and Dailiness
September 05, 2009
The Baader Meinhof Complex Vitagraph Films Still Walking IFC Films From Germany comes a film about German terrorists. Fittingly stark and dynamic, it focuses on the Baader Meinhof group that flamed from about 1967 to 1977, and it offers its explanation of the group’s existence.
Films Worth Seeing (9/4/09)
September 04, 2009
The Baader Meinhof Complex. A dynamic and fascinating account of the German terrorists of the 1970s. We enter the graphic story with the leaders, understanding their anger with the post-Nazi moral torpor.
August 15, 2009
Quiet Chaos -- IFC Films The Girl From Monaco -- Magnolia Pictures Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.
August 12, 2009
QUIET CHAOS IFC FILMS THE GIRL FROM MONACO MAGNOLIA PICTURES Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.