70 MINUTES | SOMERVILLE
THEATRE MAY 1 @ NOON| ALSO BROADCAST ON HBO2 ON MAY 18
As shown in Nic Dunlop, Ricki Stern, and Annie Sundberg’s taut,
compelling documentary, Burma
is a beautiful country, with mist-layered landscapes and otherworldly temples.
Other images, though, reveal the horrors of tyranny and civil war.
To judge from Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines's 1982 documentary Seventeen
(1982), teenagers 30 years ago were no less miserable than they are today. Made
for the Middletown Film Project, a series of documentaries about Muncie,
Indiana, that was a kind of portrait of Middle America, this chronicle of
high-school scandal, treachery, and despair was so disheartening and
controversial that it was rejected by PBS - only to go on to a successful
Another must-see film at the IFFBoston.
IVAN & IVANA
89 MINUTES | SOMERVILLE
THEATRE APRIL 30 @2:30 PM + MAY 1 @ 8:15 PM
Times were tough for
Ivan and Ivana in Kosovo in 2000 in the midst of the civil war, as the opening
of Jeff Silva's low key but moving documentary
shows: the place is a wasteland of ruins and burnt out vehicles and snow.
How good is this year's Independent Film Festival of Boston? So good we couldn't fit all our glowing
reviews on one page of hard copy. Here are eight more of them.
**1/2DRAGONSLAYER73 MINUTES |
SOMERVILLE THEATRE | APRIL 29 @ 9:15 PM
Something between a
hipster extraordinaire and an extraordinary nihilist, Fresno-bred amateur
skateboarder and professional train wreck Josh "Skreech" Sandoval is one of
those ideal drunken degenerate subjects who stays just conscious enough to give
Ben Affleck's The Town,
one of the best Boston-set gangster movies since The
Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), wouldn't have been possible without
local author Chuck Hogan's outstanding novel The
Prince of Thieves. This year's winner of his alma mater Boston
College's Arts Council Alumni Award, Hogan will be on hand for a Q&A after
a screening of Affleck's adaptation tonight.
With Republicans taking aim at abortion rights under
the guise of budget cuts, it's the right time to check out Heidi Ewing &
Rachel Grady's gripping documentary 12th and Delaware.
The title refers to an intersection in Fort Pierce, Florida, that's a microcosm
of the debate, with the local abortion clinic on one corner and a pro-life
organization's headquarters across the street.
If highly paid and trained trained professionals can take a year or two and spend $60
million or so to come up with a film like, say, "Arthur," what chance do
relative amateurs with no money and a 48 hour production schedule have of
making something good? Especially when they are constrained by arbitrary,
somewhat bizarre strictures, including a requisite line of dialogue (such as "Yes,
I mean I hope so!"), a character (Marty
or Mary Quinzani - second in command), and a prop (a magnet).
One of my fondest memories of the 60s was heading to Harvard Square
after school and hanging out at the arcade under the Brattle and then sneaking
into a screening of a movie like "Blow-up" upstairs. The shops down below had a
redolence of incense and weird soaps and other hippie products from bistros like
"Truc," scents that now are Proustian evocations for me, and in watching Antonioni's great film I
snuck into my first X-rated movie and got my first glance of pubic hair on screen, along with most of the rest
The Great Muppet Caper
Muppet movies have traditionally been the preferred
alternative to The Hollywood Squares
for stars on the wane, and as such they makes for classic cinema, as can be
seen in today's Brattle Theatre tripleheader. Dom DeLuise and Orson Welles
co-star with Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie (1978); John Cleese and Diana Rigg share the screen with Miss
Piggy in The Great Muppet Caper
(1981); and Joan Rivers and Liza Minnelli compare styling tips with Fozzie
Bear in The Muppets Take Manhattan
The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol (1965)
Unlike the recent Know-Nothing right-wingers who have
embraced the name, the Boston Tea Party, the great local rock venue of the '60s,
was truly revolutionary. So were the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol, and
the latter took his camera to shoot the former when they performed at the Tea
Party in 1967.
Offering films that engage with contentious issues of faith
and politics and inspired by a spirit of tolerance and compassion, the Boston Muslim Film
Festival draws to a close over the next
two weeks. Here are two upcoming films:
Screening for free tonight at 6 p.m. at the Goethe Institute,
the German-Afghani director Burhan Qurbani's "Shahada" vitalizes the
multi-narrative schematics of "Babel" or "Crash" with the intensity and
authenticity of such Fatih Akin films as "Head-on."
Source Code director Duncan Jones's dad, David Bowie, has
always had a bit of the movie bug himself, bringing his uncanny charisma to
films like Jim Henson's Labyrinth
(1986). Looking a bit like Lindsay Lohan after a bender, his Goblin King lures
a feisty teen played by Jennifer Connelly into the title maze, from which she
must rescue her kid brother.
Of late, animation has gone beyond kid stuff to
historical tragedy. Witness Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir (2008), a nightmarish, autobiographical
memoir of the 1980s invasion of Lebanon
from the point of view of a green Israeli soldier. The first film in the MFA's
"Hollywood Scriptures" series, it's followed by a panel discussion with Steven
Nisenbaum of the Harvard Medical School and Rina Folman, a psychologist at
UMass Memorial Health Alliance.