Friday, January 20 2006
Though she met any number of violent ends on screen, it is comforting to know that Shelley Winters died of natural causes at her home in Beverly Hills.
Friday, January 13 2006
Dark, complex, and intelligent, Gargoyles is an animated series from the mid-'90s that's become something of a cult favorite, and deservedly so.
Thursday, January 12 2006
It's not like violence is a new theme in movies. And yet, even acknowledging that cinema was conceived as a venue for the display of violence -- comic, dramatic, horrific, pornographic -- 2005's permutations provide notably acute commentary on the world beyond movies.
The most important music video of 2005 is Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends.' It offers a nuanced look at how the ongoing war and the past four years of U.S. politics have eroded the faith of many Americans in the values, spirit, and future direction of a country that calls itself 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.'
Wednesday, January 11 2006
Space won't allow me to mention every worthy performance I saw this year. So I'm going to start throwing out names, confident that I will forget several people I meant to mention.
All of the best rock docs I saw on DVD in 2005 illustrate how fame fucks things up.
Tuesday, January 10 2006
It wasn't a great movie year, though not for lack of trying. Looking over the year's releases, you see many with a great performance, a smart script, interesting themes, or that old and potentially damaging chestnut, good intentions. But why weren't more of them great?.
Can good performance save a bad film? It depends on the film's degree of awfulness, but certainly, strong acting helps. It's one of the reasons I own a little movie called Serial Killing 101 (2004).
Monday, January 9 2006
Many films in 2005 dealt explicitly with the effects of fear, reflecting a world where outrage and terror have stewed into perpetual anxiety. This year, comedy and horror movies were in meager supply, and dread seeped into every other type of film, from indie drama to summer blockbuster.
Francis Ford Coppola got it half right. A decade or so ago, he opined that the film industry would soon be overrun by teenagers with portable cameras. These indie moviemakers, rebelling against the studio system, would use their backyards as back lots to make their own 'outsider' entertainment.
Thursday, January 5 2006
What is love? How does one become a superhero? Is violence something inherent inside you?
Overall, not a bad year for an entertainment entity long written off as a cultural wasteland. There's some definitive new growth among the arid averageness.
The main reason why digital won the format wars was the ongoing desire to accept film as an art, not a commodity, and in return making discs that preserve and enhance the medium.
Thursday, December 22 2005
Claude Chabrol is not only one of the most prolific of the New Wave filmmakers (over 50 films in nearly 50 years), but also committed to genre-based narrative.
Thursday, December 15 2005
With each epithet and curse, Pryor shed light on the humanity of those folks who live a reality defined by the dirty, nasty business of race, gender, and poverty in the United States.
Thursday, December 1 2005
It's getting noticeably colder now we're in December, and if you listen carefully, you can already hear Santa Claus checking his list. For the second time.
Thursday, November 10 2005
Benji is a child's movie, complete with stereotyped characters, cheesy jokes, and goofy kid-pleasing pratfalls that make parents cringe. But its quiet moments verge sometimes, improbably, on the sublime.
Wednesday, November 9 2005
Torino hosts a series of intimate film festivals, including Cinemambiente and Festival Cinema delle Donne. Younger filmmakers are especially well received, with public school screenings and student juries at both festivals.
Friday, September 23 2005
Nestled in exclusive artistic and geographic majesty, Telluride is a film lover's feast of the senses.
Robert Wise adapted to his subject matter, believing the genre and the story dictated the manner in which the movie was made, not the other way around.