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  • November 29, 2007
    By webteam

    “Depressing,” unsentimental or subversive (ie: made for adults) movies don’t win many awards or many fans back here in the USA, as a couple of recent news stories reminded me.

    Here, it seems, taboos, conflicts and anxieties are more conspicuous by their absence on screen than by frank and courageous confrontation and analysis.

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  • November 26, 2007
    By webteam

    When asked what he was looking for in a winning movie, the Jury President Jiri Menzel (director of the great, bittersweet 1968 Czech New Wave classic “Closely Watched Trains”) said “I hope to find a nice film about people." Sorry, wrong festival. As noted below, what you’ll find here is a lot of alcoholism, child abuse, intractable depression, violence against women, dead cats, faux cynicism, genuine cynicism, corrupt officials and overall despair.

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  • November 24, 2007
    By webteam

    As it turned out we did have Thanksgiving dinner in Thessaloniki. The festival organizers were thoughtful enough to throw one for the Americans in town, and so I was fortunate enough to have Turkey in an Italian restaurant in Greece with Danny Glover, John Sayles (John Malkovich had already left), numerous American critics.

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  • November 22, 2007
    By webteam

    Another Thanksgiving in a country without Thanksgiving.

    Speaking of family get togethers, fathers are definitely taking a beating at this festival. In addition to the "Hamlet" mentioned before, several other films offer a dark view of paternity and the legacy of inherited evil. In "Vasermil," no dads are present, and good riddance ("Do you want to turn out like your father?).

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  • November 20, 2007
    By webteam

    Chances are John Malkovich might have been in a sour mood during his master class, the legions of statuesque female fans notwithstanding. At the ceremony where he received the Golden Alexander he thanked, among other worthies, British Airways for "helping me to evade my tendency to overdress by losing my luggage." Otherwise he seemed gracious and pleased by the encomia heaped on him by the presenters, who hailed his ability to merge into a role using various hairpieces, though they didn't mention any in particular or show any clips (ironically, they did screen "Being John Malkovich," in which he plays himself in the most solipsistically way possible).

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  • November 18, 2007
    By webteam

    Athens, being the cradle of Western civilization and all, might overshadow its northern rival, Thessaloniki. But the less touristy Thessaloniki is still the second largest city in Greece. Historically it's nothing to sneeze at, either, founded back in the 4th century BC by Cassander, one of the late Alexander's generals, who named it after his wife, the world conqueror's half sister, perhaps to make up for the fact that he murdered her mother to take over the throne.

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  • November 15, 2007
    By webteam

    Let me join the chorus in saying that a cultural era passes with the death of Norman Mailer, a time when writers (and filmmakers and artists in general) were regarded as something heroic and iconic and not just purveyors of products and backdrops for corporate advertising. Also, I’m personally pissed off because I was looking forward to the next two installments of Mailer’s Hitler trilogy that began with the publication this year of “The Castle in the Forest

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  • November 12, 2007
    By webteam
    Note that this conversation took place before the World Series and so Brolin was not entirely stating the obvious when he made the prognostication toward the end. Since things took a fairly chatty, friendly turn I regret not asking him more provocative questions such as what it was like to see his then girlfriend Minnie Driver take up with Harrison Ford on the rebound after their break-up some years back.

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  • November 09, 2007
    By webteam

    Josh Brolin plays some really tough guys in his two new movies “American Gangster” and “No Country for Old Men,” and after a confusing encounter in the hotel lobby when I did a double take and he may or may not have misinterpreted it, I wasn’t about to begin the conversation by saying that I saw him one night in the parking lot of a fish and chips place on Martha’s Vineyard with Diane Lane clinging to his arm.

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  • November 02, 2007
    By webteam

    As I’ve mentioned before, whenever I wax a little political or philosophical in discussing films like, oh, "300" or any of The Lord of the Rings movies or any other movie in which crypto fascist fanboys can act out their sad little gotterdammerung fantasies, I am always reminded , “It’s only a movie” (among other usually unflattering or otherwise anatomically dubious suggestions).

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