August 12, 2010
The Sicilian Girl Music Box Films Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Arthouse Films Long ago it expanded into other places, but to think of the Mafia is to think first of Sicily. Partly, of course, this is because of the many films about the Sicilian Mafia, so many that they constitute a genre, and none of which, as far as I have seen, has been less than good. Now comes The Sicilian Girl, which sustains the genre in expected and unusual ways. The expected ways, shamefully gripping, are, as always, the threats and businesslike killing.
Where Does Ethan Edwards Go?
August 04, 2010
Let me say straightaway that this is a very thoughtful, observant book, well worth the time for any reader who takes Hawks, Ford, and the Western seri
Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With ‘Inception’?
July 21, 2010
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.
Early and Late
July 03, 2010
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.
Fact and Familiarity
June 16, 2010
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.
May 21, 2010
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.
Three On A Match
May 10, 2010
The three of them, SKG, appeared in the Verandah Room of the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills on the morning of October 12, 1994, to say that they wer
Kauffmann: Films Worth Seeing
February 19, 2010
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.
January 30, 2010
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.
CBS Owns Showtime, Showtime Partners With Oliver Stone, Oliver Stone Is a Historical Fabricator ... And Hates Democracy Besides
January 12, 2010
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 ...