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  • December 13, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    The thing about CGI effects is that they dispel one's willing suspension of disbelief in the wonders they simulate. We'll bet that '50s audiences watching the feats of the giant alien robot Gort in Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - feats that were put on screen the old way - really believed that some day we'd have humanoid machines with undying loyalty who could evaporate tanks.

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  • December 12, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    In what looks like a trend among critics groups, the Boston Society of Film Critics gave a big helping of their awards, including Best Picture, to "The Social Network." A bit more offbeat are its choices for best documentary -- "Marwencol" -- and Best Foreign Language Film -- Bong Joon-Ho's "Mother."

    Here's the wrap-up:

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  • December 10, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Every year, we need a film that serves as a complement to (or an antidote for) It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. This year, the Coolidge Corner Theatre is obliging with Jon Favreau's Elf (2003), in which, with demented and innocent puerility, Will Ferrell plays a human child raised among Santa's helpers in the North Pole who goes in search of his real father.

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  • December 08, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Combine David O. Russell, the talented maverick director known for getting in a fistfight with George Clooney on the set of Three Kings (1999) and humiliating Lily Tomlin while making I Heart Huckabees (2004) with Christian Bale, the brilliant, tightly wound actor who attained internet mash-up notoriety with his obscene tirade at a hapless member of the film crew during the production of Terminator: Salvation (2009), and you would think you'd have some fireworks.

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  • December 08, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    The MPAA is now up with going down. Now if only something could be done for Jafar Panahi...

  • December 07, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Persecuted filmmaker Jafar Panahi finally got his day in court a couple of weeks ago, whatever that might mean in the Iranian justice system, and released a statement defending his right to create such amoral, treasonous films as "Offside" (2007) and "Crimson Gold." (2003). In it he said in part, "[Y]ou are putting not only us on trial but the socially conscious, humanistic, and artistic Iranian cinema as well, a cinema which tries to stay beyond good and evil, a cinema that does not judge nor surrender to power or money but tries to honestly reflect a realistic image of the society."

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  • December 06, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Those intrigued by the glimpse of F.W. Murnau's work on offer in the Harvard Film Archive's current Weimar series will want to take in his masterful Hollywood debut, Sunrise (1928). A tale of greed, desire, and folly, it features stunning visuals as Murnau's camera moves with the freedom and grace that his characters so tragically lack, and Berklee students will be accompanying it with live music as part of the Coolidge Corner Theatre's "Sounds of Silents" series at 290 Harvard St, Brookline | December 6 @ 7 pm | $20; $17 students, seniors | 617.

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  • December 03, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Hey, it's only a huge US ally and a model secular Muslim nation. Turkey also turns out some wonderful movies, many of which show up in the annual Boston Turkish Film Festival Competition, which, now in its 15th year, features a fascinating assortment of shorts and documentaries vying for the festival's top prizes.

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  • December 02, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Perhaps the most innovative work in the art of the moving image takes place in TV commercials, as is evidenced by those chosen for the Art and Technique of the American Commercial Award, the winners of which are entered into the Museum of Modern Arts Film Archive. They will be screening in a program that takes place at 7:30 pm, followed at 8:30 pm by another selection of ads from the Winning British Commercials 2010

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  • December 02, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Laugh, cry, or gasp -- in horror, delight, or incredulity -- but chances are you won't be bored by Darren Aronofsky's sui generis extravaganza, "Black Swan." He feels pretty good about it, anyway: he's relaxed, dapper looking with his new moustache, and cracking jokes as he answers questions at a press conference for the film at the appropriately rococo, near kitschy lobby of Hollywood's Pantages Theatre.

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  • December 02, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    One of the more civilized tools of social change is cinema, and the Boston Latino International Film Festival is doing its part to calm the recent anti-immigrant hysteria by showing movies about the immigration experience. It opens today with Theo Rigby's documentary short "Without a Country," in which an undocumented Guatemalan family are arrested after living in the US for 17 years as productive, law-abiding citizens.

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  • December 01, 2010
    By Peter Keough

    Perhaps the most tragic aspect of this tragic epidemic are the images of the children ravaged by it. In his latest documentary "Kids Living With Slim" (2010) local filmmaker Sam Kauffmann followed seven African children suffering from the disease (known as "Slim" in many African countries) for several years, achieving an unforgettable, harrowing, and inspiring insight into a plague that remains devastating.

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