Film Archive for September, 2010

Dear Chris Noth: Critics Killed SATC? Seriously?

Apparently Chris Noth, aka Mr. Big of the Sex and the City franchise, thinks the power of the film critic pen is strong enough kill off any future SATC movies. New York Magazine caught up with Noth at the premiere for Jack Goes Boating, where he had these words of wisdom to share about SATC’s future sequel prospects:
Read the full article »

4 Comments »

True Grit Teaser. Yum.

I just finished watching the teaser trailer for True Grit for the third fourth fifth time, and I am hooked.

The shots in the trailer certainly have that Coen stamp all over them, but the thing I found most interesting was the choice to laud the Oscar wins of Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon and the Oscar nom of Josh Brolin as much as the film itself.

Even the mention of directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen is appended by “Academy Award winning directors of No Country for Old Men.”

That’s a lot of Oscar mention in a one-minute clip. If you didn’t think the Coens and Paramount were gunning for the Oscar race before now, you can’t help but have “True Grit” and “Oscars” married in your mind after watching it.

The allusion to No Country for Old Men interested me as much as the Oscar-pimping, though … referencing that particular Coens’ film tells you a lot about what to expect tonally of their take on True Grit. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see it.

Oh, and that song? Sublime. More, please.

5 Comments »

Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Up until the last ten minutes or so, I was really digging Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. It’s not that we needed to revisit Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko (Michael Douglas), that classically evil rich white bad guy who preceded (some might say, foretold) all those rich (mostly) white (mostly) bad guys who built the dicey house of financial cards that very nearly collapsed the world economy when the bubble burst in 2008. But I didn’t mind seeing how director Oliver Stone thought Gekko would have evolved after spending those years behind bars.
Read the full article »

2 Comments »

Review: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Woody Allen‘s latest effort, You Will Find a Tall Dark Stranger, finds the director returning to Europe — the fertile ground which, in recent years, has served as the setting for the excellent Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the fair-to-middling Cassandra’s Dream and Scoop. This time around he’s back in London with a story about the futile, perpetual human desire to chase after that ever elusive greener grass.
Read the full article »

Arthouse Redux: Themes of Forgiveness

This past Sunday, the sermon at our Unitarian church was about the Jewish High Holy Days Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the bookends of the “Days of Awe” on the Jewish calendar. Yom Kippur is, of course, about atonement and repentance, and all the talk in the sermon about Yom Kippur got me thinking about two very different films in which forgiveness is a theme.
Read the full article »

2 Comments »

And Now, a Brief Break for Something Only Vaguely TIFF-related

Okay, this is interesting (at least to me).

I’ve been tracking this Bradley Rust Gray lesbian-werewolf project, Jack and Diane, since way back in 2008, when Ellen Page was attached to the project with Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby, then suddenly not attached post-Juno’s success.

So as I was poking around on IMDb to learn a bit about the star of Dirty Girl — who is, interestingly enough, named Juno Temple — I stumbled across the intriguing bit of info that Temple is now listed on Jack and Diane’s IMDb site as playing the part of Diane in the project, with Riley Keough, who played twin sister to Dakota Fanning’s Cherie Currie in The Runaways, now listed as playing Jack. Huh.

Bear in mind that my only source for this is IMDb, so this isn’t exactly earth-shattering investigative journalism. Just a random bit of info on a project I’ve been following interest for a long time now. Now, if only the film actually gets made, and is actually good, we’ll be getting somewhere.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled TIFF coverage …

TIFF Review: Made in Dagenham

The film with the strongest “female empowerment” vibe at TIFF may just be Made in Dagenham, a film about the feminist movement taking over an unlikely corner of working class England in 1968, when female factory workers who sewed seat covers for the Ford Motors plant went on strike.

For once, we have a film about women where they do something interesting and important, and talk about things other than the men in their lives or fashion. Hallelujah. It’s kind of the anti-Sex and the City — a Norma Rae tale of the British working class with a vibe tonally similar to Calendar Girls (also directed by Cole) or The Full Monty (not directed by Cole), so if you liked either or both of those films, you’ll almost certainly like this one.

Made in Dagenham stars Sally Hawkins, whose presence in a film is always a good thing; Toss Bob Hoskins in the mix, and you up the odds considerably of the film being a winner.

Hawkins plays Rita O’Grady, a wife, mother and factory worker at the Dagenham factory where she works alongside 186 other women sewing custom-made seat covers for Ford cars. The women are downgraded to “unskilled labor” and end up striking not just to be reinstated to “semi-skilled” but for equal pay, at a time when the tide of feminism was rising and threatening to sweep the corporate world by storm. This film is really about much more than this particular strike at this particular point in history, though; it’s about what’s fair, what’s “right” versus what’s a “privilege,” and the need to stand up for what you believe in, even in the face of adversity.

The film dramatizes how the men — both in management and the women’s own husbands — are at first patronizingly tolerant of “the girls” going on strike, but when push comes to shove and their own jobs at the factory are jeopardized by the shutdown, it’s another story. Although the women supported their men when they went on strike, the shoe being on the other foot doesn’t fit quite as well with the male perspective on women’s place in society.

And to an extent, that’s every bit as relevant today as it was in 1968, the year in which I was born. I work, and travel for my job, and I’ve experienced a lot in my own career having people dare to question my commitment to my family and whether my work conflicts with that — something I daresay my male colleagues have largely never had to deal with. Things have changed a lot on the one hand with regard to women in the workplace and pay (although we still have yet to achieve that whole “equal pay” thing across the board), but on the other hand societal attitudes towards working women haven’t changed all that much over 40 years later. We’ve still got a long ways to go, baby … but it’s thanks to women like Rita O’Grady that we’ve come as far as we have.

I could see Made in Dagenham playing very well to the female audience in America with the right marketing and enough critical support behind it; it’s a relevant film about an important topic, and moreover it’s enormously entertaining. In addition to Hawkins and Hoskins, by the bye, Miranda Richardson is on-hand as British Labour Party firebrand Barbara Castle, and she does a hell of a job bringing that great lady to life.

Overall, Made in Dagenham is solid, entertaining, even inspiring. I’d love to see this film get a little momentum behind it, because Hawkins is every bit as good in this film as she was in Happy-Go-Lucky.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I always thought that once I had lived in Chicago for a while, it would be interesting to do a portrait of the city – but to do it at a significant time. Figuring out when would be the ideal time to do that was the trick. So when this election came around, coupled with the Laquan McDonald trial, it seemed like the ideal time to do the story. Having lived in Chicagoland for thirty-five-plus years and done a number of films here, I’ve always been struck by the vibrancy of the city and its toughness. Its tenderness too. I’ve always been interested in the people at the center of all the stories. This is a different film in that regard, because we’re not following a couple of individuals over the course of the project in the way that a lot of the films I’ve done have, but I still feel like people’s voices and aspirations and hopes are at the center of this series.

It wasn’t easy. We started back in July 2018, it was actually on the Fourth of July – that was our first shoot. It’s like most documentaries in that the further you go along the more involved and obsessed you get, and you just start shooting more and more and more. We threw ourselves into this crazy year in Chicago. We got up every day and tried to figure out if we should be out shooting or not, and what it is we should shoot. We were trying to balance following this massive political story of the mayor’s race and these significant moments like the Laquan McDonald trial with taking the pulse of people in the city that we encounter along the way and getting a sense of their lives and what it means to live here. By election day, Zak Piper, our producer, had something like six cameras out in the field. You could double-check that, it might have been seven. We had this organized team effort to hit all the candidates as they were voting, if they hadn’t already voted. We hit tons of polling places, were at the Board of Elections and then were at the parties for the candidates that we had been able to follow closely. Then of course, we were trying to make sure we were at the parties of the candidates who made it to the runoff. So, yeah, it was kind of a monster.”
~ Steve James On City So Real

“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho