If the extent of your Greek cinematic knowledge is
limited to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma
you'd do well to widen your horizons at the MFA. They're unrolling the Festival Of Films From Greece an 11-day
series of films hailing from one of the world's most conflicted nations. The
festival opens tonight with Attenberg, Greece's
submission for Best Foreign Film for the 2012 Academy Awards, and highlights
include Pelican's Watch, a documentary about Europe's oldest vineyard, on
the island of Santorini, and the farmers struggling to keep it up and running.
Is the NYFCC indulging in crass self-promotion by rushing to be the first critics society to present its 2011 awards. Are they, as some people such as blogger David Poland insist, a "business call. not a show call," putting their impact on the film industry (i.e., the Oscars) above their responsibility to disinterestedly weigh the merits of the year's movies? It doesn't matter: they're already underway.
He took his inspiration
from Alfred Hitchcock by way of Jean-Paul Sartre and made ingeniously
suspenseful movies that were all the more powerful because of their existential
implications. That is especially true of The Wages of Fear (1953), the opening
film for the Harvard Film Archive retrospective The Complete Henri-Georges Clouzot, which runs through December 18.
Before the tryptophan from your roast turkey does you
in, you might want to top off your Thanksgiving Day by treating yourself to Labyrinth (1986), Muppeteer Jim Henson's
unheralded gem in which a young Jennifer Connelly stars as a girl who must
enter the surreal, Escher-like maze of the title, inhabited by some really big,
ugly Muppets, to rescue her brother from the Goblin King, played by David Bowie
having a bad hair day.
Sometimes it's hard to
explain why something becomes a pop-cultural phenomenon. Like the chimerical
heroes of Steve Barron's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), which - even
before this movie and its three sequels - dominated the '80s as a comic book,
Nintendo game, TV series, Pez dispenser, and so on.
It's been a dozen years
since the last Muppet movie. But a new one will be opening in a couple of days,
and you can prepare yourself by taking a look at the last one, Tim Hill's Muppets From Space (1999). Here's where Gonzo gets in touch
with his long lost alien family by means of his breakfast cereal. Bad idea; the
Feds kidnap him by à la E.
Called "the bad boy of
Buddhism," Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche left a monastery in India in the '60s for the West
where he smoked, drank, and caroused with women. He also helped transform the
counterculture with his teachings and meditation techniques, inspiring such
acolytes as Thomas Merton, Allen Ginsberg, Joni Mitchell, and David Bowie.
Laurel Nakadate knows how to get a rise out of people. Her work
explores the tyranny of the male gaze, but who exactly the victims are in her
videos, photographs, installations, and films is debatable. In her second
Wolf Knife (2010), a pair of teenaged
girls go on a road trip from Florida to Tennessee in search of one's
As good as George Clooney is as beleaguered Hawaiian nabob and
family man Matt King in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," 20-year-old
Shailene Woodley still steals the show as King's messed-up teenaged daughter Alexandra. Her
subtle, funny, and vivid performance will probably catch the eye of critics
groups and the Academy as the awards season approaches.
Among Peter Greenaway's
impenetrably beautiful and maddeningly symmetrical films, The Belly Of An Architect (1987) might be the most accessible. In it a rotund
Brian Dennehy plays Stourley Kracklite (a name worthy of Edward Gorey), the
designer of the title, who travels to Rome with his young wife (Chloe Webb) for
an exhibition of his favorite architect, the visionary 18th century genius Étienne-Louis Boullée.
On Saturday, another terrific Boston Jewish Film Festival ends
with a bang. Or maybe with a "Crash." The BJFF's final show, its "surprise screening," is Israeli
director Alon Zingman's debut feature "Dusk," which shares the multi-story, interconnected structure of Paul Haggis's 2004
Oscar winner, and like that film even has an auto accident as a central