Reviews Archive for September, 2008

How The West Was Won

When it was made, the story in How the West Was Won concluded at a point that reached the lifetime of some of the 1963 MGM film’s oldest viewers (and background extras), so that its own narrative span, depicting in an episodic fashion, the gradual settlement of western America during the Nineteenth Century, could present a…

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Birds of Prey

Too comic booky for the masses, or even the WB subset thereof, the short-lived Birds of Prey TV series, about female crime fighters in ‘New Gotham City,’ has finally been delivered to the medium where it can be the most appreciated, as Warner Home Video has released Birds of Prey The Complete Series, a four platter set…

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The Secret Life of Bees Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

Fox Searchlight’s The Secret Lives Of Bees actually plays… and not just for girls. It’s in the spirit of Sounder and the Toomer story in The Great Santini and To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s clearly Dakota Fanning’s coming out party as a young woman, a stark contrast fromHounddog, which smelled of her exploitation by a well-intended by overreaching writer/director….

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Confessions of a Festival Junkie: Dayzzzzzz

Following the flood of weekend movie junkets, it seemed an apt time for some serious business. There had been speculation that Steven Soderbergh’s Cannes premiered Che had finally made a deal for North American distribution rights but all players involved kept their cards very close to their chests. There were other murmurings and speculative questions that…

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Blindness Directed by Fernando Meirelles

There’s something a bit daunting about the fact that two of the most acclaimed films coming into the Toronto International Film Festival are titled Hunger andBlindness. Both premiered at Cannes with Blindnessreceiving the prestigious opening night slot and Hungerwinning the Camera d’or award for best first feature. I prefer Blindness, at least the type one encounters cinematically. Based…

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Lovely, Still

There have been some good films so far, but with the talent involved, good shouldn’t be a surprise. But the first “wow, didn’t see that coming” for me is Nik Fackler’s Lovely, Still… a tiny movie about age and love and family, small in scope, but movie stylized, with two home run performances by Martin Landauand Ellen Burstyn. I…

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Rachel Getting Married Directed by Jonathan Demme

Rachel Getting Married is the best Altman movie in 15 years. Of course, this film is not by Robert Altman, but byJonathan Demme, one of America’s great filmmakers, of a generation that came up behind the Altmans and others of the early 70s, who made his first high profile film, Melvin and Howard, one decade after…

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Tears For Sale Directed by Uros Stovanovic

Mike Leigh’s advice was well taken, as Uros Stovanovic has the kind of visual muscle to make him one of the next hot candidates for a Hollywood slot. The film is, essentially, a fairy tale filled with dark jokes, estrogen, sex, and explosions. Simplifying the story is probably a mistake, but I will offer the broadest…

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Reviews

Woody on: The DVD Wrapup: ET, Vietnam, Big Sick, Glory, Certain Women, The Hero, Hana-Bi, By the Time It Gets Dark, The Prison, The Flesh, Moderns … More

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Ray Pride on: The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

RAY WEIKEL on: The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

estes1963 on: The DVD Wrapup: Drive Angry, Once Upon a Time in the West, Adua & Her Friends, A Clockwork Orange, Undertow, The Joke, Passion Play, Kaboom, Harvest ...

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The sad and painful truth is that pretty much everyone in this town knew who Harvey was. I have had long talks with my most liberal friends. Did we know he was a rapist? We didn’t. But did we know that for decades he has been offering actresses big careers in exchange for sexual favors? Yes, we did — and make no mistake, that is its own kind of rape. And did we all — or did any of us — refuse to do business with him on moral grounds? No. We ALL STAYED IN BUSINESS WITH HIM. I have never done business with Harvey but I can tell you with certainty that I would have — because I was recently approached by a film festival he sponsors. They asked me to submit my short film for their consideration and I did it without thinking twice. I am a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and a vocal one at that. So why didn’t I think twice? Because this entire town is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to an horrific extreme. If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career.”
~ Showrunner Krista Vernoff

From AMPAS president John Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is not only one of the visual landmarks of the silent era, but is a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order. The actress Maria Falconetti gave one of the most profoundly affecting performances in the history of cinema as the Maid of Orleans.

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry—and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.

After Saturday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Academy issued a passionately worded statement, expressing not only our concern about harassment in the film industry, but our intention to be a strong voice in changing the culture of sexual exploitation in the movie business, already common well before the founding of the Academy 90 years ago. It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.

Yours,
John