Film Review

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?: Where’s Dante When You Need Him?

While viewing Sion Sono's Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, at times I couldn’t tell if the Japanese director was a deliciously inept fan of Tarantino and Jerry Lewis or a bizarro pro gleefully upending a genre or two or three. Not until I checked out his credits on IMDB (over 31 features), and sat down with two of his earlier features, could I assume here’s a gent at top of his game, whatever that game might be. Read more »

Television: The Future of Cinema?

 

Since the development of the moving picture camera in the late 19th century, the world, especially Americans, has been fascinated by the silver screen. For a time, people shut out the cold reality of the Great Depression with Shirley Temple's iconic curls, and legends such as Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, and Katherine Hepburn roamed Hollywood lots and ordered Cobb salads at the Brown Derby. For awhile it seemed that our infatuation with Hollywood would never end, but the most recent decade has seen both its revenue and cultural significance decline, and many industry experts are scrambling to understand how movies have slipped from the spotlight. Internal changes show that studios have reinvested quite a bit of their resources into television production, and although Hollywood has been a television oriented town since the late -1950s, it had never stepped on film profits until fairly recently. Read more »

Two Shots Fired: Deadpan Hilarity in Argentina

It's that time of year again when crowds descend upon Lincoln Center to experience world cinema worthy of the ultimate accolades, the most hyped Oscar-worthy Hollywood offerings of the year, experimental programs that expose the versatility of the medium, and shorts that announce a whole spate of new, young directors who will no doubt blow our minds in the future -- or at least supply us with a few major catharses. Read more »

Nick Cave - 20,000 Days on Earth

"I wake, I write, I eat, I write, I watch TV..." so says rock icon Nick Cave in his opening narration voiceover. And in doing so lays out the template of this exceptional documentary. Of course, if you know the artist Cave, you will know that his life isn't quite that simple. And while the film plays like a day in the life of Nick, from the opening scene of him waking up in bed next to his wife Susie to final crescendo of an evening performance of an absolutely riveting live version of "Higgs Boson Blues" from his last album, it is everything in between that really explores and exposes the artist as a work in progress. Read more »

Starred Up: A Return to Oz

There’s nothing like a family reunion, especially when it takes place in a British penitentiary

And for new inmate Eric Love (Jack O’Connell), who last recalls being with his pop, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn), when he was a five-year-old, it should be especially poignant. After all, there he was bouncing upon dadda’s knee, a knee that’s been doing hard time ever since. Read more »

George Romero: The Master of Socially Conscious Horror

Few filmmakers can be said to be as prolific and influential as George Romero. An icon of the zombie film genre, Romero’s love of horror traces back to his youth, and watching classic monster films such as Frankenstein and Dracula. Romero’s love of these films set him on a path to not only create horror films himself, but to change and redefine the genre for decades to come. Read more »

Lilting: A Four-Hanky Work of Art

Lilting is about loss times two. Mother and partner divided when their love object was alive. Battling still after his unexpected death. But although you will get teary eyed, the film is not depressive by any measure. Read more »

New Fest 2014 (Part 2): Best Men, Wet Men, and a Tranny Chanteuse

Within the past week, two former gay students of mine texted to relate their agony at not having boyfriends and the inability to see any in their futures. All the potential Romeos they meet are just interested in one-night stands or are on the down-low. No love on balconies.  Read more »

NewFest 2014: Rubber, Leather, Hookers, and Cupcakes

If you still have an affinity for books, there can be few more choice summer reads than Edmund White's 2005 autobiography, My Lives. Divided into nonlinear sections devoted to his relationships with his parents, his hustlers, and his female entanglements, there's also a chapter entitled "My Europe." Herein White notes how while in the Paris of the 1980s, he became aware that petite green beans are tastier than their larger cousins. He also recounts how the social theorist Michel Foucault, a pal of his, noted that while "'gay philosophy' and 'gay paintings' were meaningless notions...writing gay fiction was legitimate since it enabled us to imagine how gay men should live together." Read more »

Sex Tape or The World’s Longest iPad Commercial

Jake Kasdan is to directing comedy what Friedrich Nietzsche is to baking apple strudel. Not much.

As with his Bad Teacher (2011), which also stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, Kasdan takes a promising concept and lays waste to it. The highly workable concept is a simple one: a sexually active couple, Jay (Segal) and Annie (Diaz), copulate like bunnies on ecstasy until they wed. Two precocious children later, the O in orgasms has moved on to the O on Cheerios boxes. He now is a music producer, I believe, and she blogs a column entitled "Who’s Yo Mommy?" Yes, copulation is no longer a spontaneous act for this duo. Instead, it has to be planned for ahead of time. Read more »

15th Annual LatinBeat: Cinema from the South Comes Calling

With the advent of this year’s LatinBeat (July 11-20), The Film Society of Lincoln continues on its quest to unearth the best and most challenging of Latin American cinema, including the product of Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador.  Read more »

Fritz Lang and Metropolis

Metropolis (entire movie, above), the 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, is regarded as one of the most important and influential films of all time. The world’s first epic science fiction movie, it continues to serve as  inspiration for countless films, and forced humanity to look critically at it’s increasingly complex relationship to industrial and technological growth. In cinematic terms, evidence of its influence can be seen everywhere from to Soylent Green to Snowpiercer. Read more »

Tammy: Where’s Debbie Reynolds When You Need Her?

Every woman I know who is even slightly skinny-disabled adores Melissa McCarthy, and why not? She comes off as warm, joyful, and totally comfortable with her poundage in all of her print and TV interviews.  Off-screen she’s a role model and an inspiration. And on-screen, she has perfect comic timing, a puppy dog’s smile that emerges now and then from her gruffest characters, plus a huge dose of self-respect. Hollywood probably hasn’t had a box office star like her since Marie Dressler in the Thirties, one who has so upended what a star should be. McCarthy might just be the anti-Julia Roberts. Read more »

Snowpiercer: Come On, Baby, Do the Loco-Motion!

Virtuoso devisers of works of science fiction envision a reality that is both fantastical and palpable. They mold metaphoric manifestations of the coming times that are inevitable considering the current carryings-on of their fellow man. Read more »

By Grace Alone: Warhol Superstar ULTRA VIOLET, 1936-2014

Very few of Andy Warhol's anointed "superstars" managed a long shelf-life. They simply were too wild, too beautiful, and too damned. There were the poor little rich girl Edie Sedgwick, the transgender icon Candy Darling, and the husky, glacial, heroin-swamped charm of Nico. All gone, along with a cavalcade of others; too soon and in the 20th century. Ultra Violet survived into this one, and originally arrived as a somebody already in the anybody everybody world of The Factory. Read more »

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