Maybe I'm getting a little soft, but I can't remember
getting the heebie-jeebies as often at the movies as in this past year.
Whatever the reason, I figure it's time to honor some of those screen moments
that are truly excruciating. And to do so, as my colleague Brett Michel
suggested, what better icon than the sliced eyeball in Luis Buñuel and Salvador
Dali's "Un Chien Andalou?"
Leslie Nielsen: 1926-2010
French New Wave director Claude Chabrol died a couple of months ago, but
not before compiling an astounding and prolific body of work that people are still
trying to catch up with. Inspector Bellamy (2009) is his last feature, and his only
collaboration with fellow French film icon Gérard Depardieu, who plays a man
whose vacation is disrupted by the arrival of his malicious brother and a
stranger with a noirish tale about murder and insurance fraud.
Although you might not know it from such recent releases
as Marmaduke and Vampires Suck, Fox studios
has over the years released some of Hollywood's best films - as this weekend's "20th Century Fox 75th Anniversary"
series at the Brattle Theatre attests. You can see for yourself with tomorrow's trio
of features: Alan Arkin's directorial debut, the seldom screened black-comic
gem Little Murders
(1971; 2:45 + 7:30 pm); Robert Altman's breakthrough masterpiece, M*A*S*H (1970; 12:15 + 5
pm); and John Carpenter's kung fu classic Big
Trouble in Little China (1986; 9:45 pm).
When humans go up against nature in films like 127 Hours, they usually
come out short. Such is the case also in Werner Herzog's compelling documentary Grizzly Man
(2005), in which the director finds someone almost as strange as himself,
Timothy Treadwell, who just wanted to share his life with the ursines of the
title in the Alaskan wilderness.
Based on two Henry James novellas, François Truffaut's The Green Room (1978) isn't considered one of his greats, but it's still a charming and
affecting parable of grief and loss, and it hardly ever gets shown. Truffaut
himself plays a WWI vet and widower who retreats to the title room, where he
amuses himself with his wife's possessions and pictures of battlefield
casualties - until Nathalie Baye enters his life.
With any luck, five of the acting Oscar nominations will go
to actors playing characters with Boston accents. Maybe they should have a
separate category for this, because the roles are becoming almost a cinema stereotype.
Here are seven criteria for an Oscar-worthy Boston accented performance:
1. Borderline psychotic
Everyone knows about
Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman, but the relatively unacclaimed Jerry Schatzberg also helped spark the great '70s film renaissance.
He'll be on hand this weekend at the Harvard Film Archive for the series "The
Cinematic Portraits of Jerry Schatzberg," introducing two of his films, both
starring Al Pacino.
As Neil Gaiman says about the title genius in Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, "He made Lou Reed look like Little
Orphan Annie." That's reason enough to see Kerthy Fix & Gail O'Hara's
documentary about one of the best and least famous of indie-rock musicians. It
screens this weekend at the Brattle with "special guests" TBA on Friday at 40
Brattle St, Cambridge
| November 19-21 | $9.
according to a recent "Newsweek" cover story,
has turned inward.The article points to Americans' disinterest in foreign
policy (only 3% in a poll think Afghanistan might be worth worrying about) to make its argument, but had
the story come out after the election, it might also have noted the voter
apathy, Tea Partiers notwithstanding, that resulted in 45 million fewer ballots
being cast in the 2010 Congressional races than in 2008.
Whether or not "Inception" gets any Oscars (Roger Ebert has
already claimed it for his top ten list ),
this parody is definitely a strong candidate for tthe 2010 Where's Whitey?
The hamster's performance is especially nuanced, in my opinion. More so, for example, than Ellen Page's inert presence in
Christopher Nolan's blockbuster.
Quite the contrast between interviewing Danny
Boyle, promoting "127 Hours," and
the other big name British director I chatted with last month, Stephen Frears,
promoting "Tamara Drewe." One is
vibrant, engaged, enthusiastic, candid, friendly, informative, and
The other is Stephen Frears.
At first we were intimidated by this grand old city,
the home of such fearsome monoliths as
the Habsburg Empire, Sigmund Freud, and wienerschnitzel. But we grew to love
the place, enjoying its imposing beauty, its rich culture, and its warm and
We were strangers in this vast place, so we lost our way more than
Sure, it was released only back in August, but the rabid
fan base for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
guarantees that it's never too soon for a revival of the Michael Cera
comic-book flick. The Brattle's return engagement kicks off with a late-night
screening, but the highlight comes on day two, when director Edgar Wright stops
by to present a double feature of Scott
Pilgrim and a director's choice that's yet to be revealed.
After seeing the biggest loser of the festival, "Red Shirley, here are the winners. Among the contenders for our jury towards the end were the aforementioned "Littlerock" and also "Marwencol," the great documentary that came out here in Boston back in April in the Independent Film Festival. The latter did win the "Der Standard" readers jury award but the FIPRESCI prize went to that Hungarian upstart, "Periferic," which meant that when I made the presentation at the awards ceremony I had a lot of difficult words to pronounce.