After reading the
story about Rep. Peter King threatening to investigate the White House's
cooperation with Kathryn Bigelow for her upcoming Bin Laden film, I started wondering again about whether or
not women have gained any ground in Hollywood
since Bigelow won her Oscar.
Well, last year was kind
of a wash, Oscar-wise" Lisa Cholodenko ("The Kids Are All Right") and Debra
Granik ("Winter's Bone") got Best Picture and Best Screenwriting nominations
but not Best Director and ended up winning nothing.
Disco. Bad hair. Roller skates. Scott Baio. Will we
ever get enough of the glorious bad taste of the '70s? All these elements, plus
an appearance by legendary dwarf Billy Barty and the late Patrick Swayze in his
first big role, come together for one huge hurrah in Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). Swayze
plays Ace, leader of a hardboiled roller skate gang that tries to take over the
title roller disco rink the night of the big dance contest.
"Wild Night in Reno"
As was seen in a program last year at the HFA, George
Kuchar is best known for his no-budget, John Waters-like trash epics made with
his brother Mike. But he has a more romantic side, as well (as in Caspar David
Friedrich), which can be seen in another HFA series, George Kuchar's Weather
Diaries, a collection of short
films he made over the years about the extreme weather in Oklahoma, and the folks who love it.
In addition to being the big shot director of
blockbusters like Spider-Man, Sam Raimi is a master of splatter, as evidenced
by Army Of Darkness (1992), the concluding chapter of his Evil
trilogy. In it the legendary Bruce Campbell returns as Ash, the wisecracking
hero of the earlier films, who gets transported back to a grisly 14th century
where he must fight the power of black magic and visceral special effects to
retrieve the Necronomicon, his ticket back home.
Video slightly NSFW
Nine years after nearly ending his extraordinary film
career with his brilliant, disturbing, and reviled Peeping
(1960), Michael Powell returned to the screen with a bit of voyeurism that was
easier on the eyes. Age
Of Consent (1969), which would prove
to be his last feature, stars James Mason as an aging artist who retires to an
Australian island to seek inspiration and finds it the form of a nubile, often-nude
beauty played by a 20-something Helen Mirren.
Perhaps more than any breakdown in the social order since
the L.A. riots of 1992, the recent London turmoil
has disrupted Hollywood's
business as usual.
A screening of a Sundance favorite at the Curzhon Soho
Cinema came to an abrupt end because of a power blackout, apparently due to the
rioting. Ironically, the film being screened was Steve James's "The
Interrupters," about volunteers in Chicago
who intervene to stop gang and other violence.
Here at the Phoenix,
we have an inkling that we'll be speaking with South Boston-bred
filmmaker-actor Michael Yebba quite a bit over the next few years.
He's been making moves behind important scenes for about five years
now, and a lot of those moves are about to be played out at a
For now, with the
hometown premiere of his short film Bad Blood coming up this
Wednesday, we caught up with Yebba, to give him a chance to
personally introduce himself to the city he intends to illustrate on
screen for years to come.
Many of the best American directors of the last four decades, including
Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, and Jonathan Demme, took lessons early on from
what Demme and others have termed "the Roger Corman school of filmmaking" - the
B movie mogul's studio New World Pictures. Given tiny budgets and a formula
framework to work with, these auteurs-in-the-making were otherwise free to
exert their creativity, learning in the process how to make the most of limited
resources and how to manipulate generic conventions into personal, poetic films
that also pleased audiences.
Recent documentaries like Sweetgrass
almost mystically put the viewer in touch with the purity and rhythms of
nature. Equally transcendent is Michelangelo Frammartino's Le
Quattro Volte (2010). Contemplating an old man, a goat,
a tree, and some charcoal in the idyllic setting of Calabria, Italy, the film
pretty much sums up all there is to know about life and death.
A recent SkyNews poll gave Dame Helen Mirren, who is 66, this year's Body of the Year award. She got 17.65% of the vote. Second place went to 48-year-old Elle McPherson. Which goes to show that people prefer their beauty to be ageless..
Mirren still feels no qualms about flaunting her assets, as can be seen as recently as 2005 when she romped with Cuba Gooding Jr.