As expected, someone has figured out a way to blame the movies
for the mass murder at Virginia Tech. No, it wasn’t the fact that someone with
a long record of mental illness, suicidal impulses and stalking women could
walk into any WalMart in Virginia
and buy enough firepower to kill 32 people. It was because the guy was one of
the 200 or so people in America,
mostly critics like myself and others who recognized it as an outstanding film,
who saw the South Korean filmmaker (there’s a connection!) Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy.
It didn’t take long for the first presidential candidate to get on the censorship bandwagon, and we can thank Don Imus for that. Or maybe Al
Republican presidential nobody Mike Huckabee says that if Imus
gets the boot for “offensive comments,” so should everyone else, like Rosie
O’Donnell and Bill Maher.
Despite successfully keeping the film out of the grasp of
local alternative weekly reviewers, “Grindhouse” still laid an egg over the
Easter weekend. It is a deflation of overhyped expectations on a par with last
year’s (not as overpraised as “Grindhouse,” but nonetheless enthusiastically
received by critics who should have known better) “Snakes on a Plane.
Since the “Grindhouse” people decided not to screen the film
until Wednesday night, way too late for alternative weeklies, my review
won’t appear in print until next week. If you’re interested in an early look,
however, here’s what I wrote:
Too bad Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino didn’t make
the “Prevues of Coming Attractions” — Rodriguez’s “Machete” and Rob Zombie’s “Werewolf
Women of the SS” — into their “Feature Presentations” in this “parody” of a 70s
Z-movie twin bill.
None of us is getting any younger, and it’s probably just as
Maybe it was the memento mori of an orange Mickey Rourke spotted
recently in Miami
that leads me to that conclusion. At any
rate, some recent movie developments seem to confirm its truth. Like Darren
Aronofsky’s Fountain of Youth folly, “The Fountain,” which earned him withering
reviews and pitiful grosses.
Only 20 months to the next election, and not a
single presidential candidate has taken a stand against Hollywood
indecency. But they will, they always do. How can they resist the gift of the
perfect kneejerk campaign canard? One that allows them the maximum of
indignation with the minimum of consequence? They figure no one is going to come to
the defense of pornographers or peddlers of violence on the screen except maybe
awayward ACLU lawyer or film critic and believe the vast majority of Americans will share their outrage at how sex or violence in the
movies or in the media causes problems ranging from juvenile crime to Abu
The 13th annual Chlotrudis Awards (named, as I’m sure you remember,
after the two cats Chloe and Trudy)
occurred over a week ago at the Brattle Theatre, so I apologize for keeping
those who’ve been anxiously waiting for the results to find out how they did on their office pools.
(Hint: Eddie Murphy still got snubbed).
The success of “300” (which I liked) and “Ghost Rider” (which I
haven’t seen) has some industry experts — Peter Bart of “Variety” and
Patrick Goldstein of the “L.A. Times”
for example — questioning the validity of elitist film critics reviewing films
that appeal to the masses, i.e.: cutting
edge pop culture afficiandoes.
So far “300” has probably made enough money to pay each of the Spartans at
Thermopylae, or their survivors, about 300
grand apiece. So I figured I should chime in with my opinion. Here’s the review
I wrote for broadcast on WFNX followed by few extra comments and observations.
As expected, “Red
the Fipresci Award. It also won the Miami Festival’s Knight World Competition
Prize, which pays $25,000. The Fipresci Prize pays nothing. All we offer is
glory. Let me put it this way: that 25 grand from the Knight Prize might last a
week — a week-end at most at South
Beach prices — and all
the “Red Road”
people (the award was accepted by actor Tony Curran, who looks like he might
enjoy a good time) will have afterwards is a headache and embarassing memories.
The Miami Festival differs from others not only in the racy surroundings against which its film must compete but also in that the quality of the films seems to have peaked early rather than starting slow and building up steam. The last half dozen or so movies just haven't been winners. Nonetheless, they play out certain themes I've noticed.
I've been to a lot of film festivals, but none quite like Miami. At the hotel, for example, pneumatically perfect women lounge topless and nearly bottomless on the chaise lounges and enormous mattresses alongside the lantern-lit pool. Walk down Lincoln Road Mall to the movie theatre and you pass a man with no arms painting with his feet, another man walking six Italian greyhounds, hundreds of scantily clad college students on Spring Break, assorted clowns, tanned panhandlers, myriads of tourists, scores of upscale bistros and boutiques and a million parrots squawling in the palm tress.
Now that he’s finally won a Best Director and Best Picture Oscar
after four decades of brutal, brilliant filmmaking, Martin Scorsese can settle
down and do what he’s always dreamed of -- adapt children’s literature?
Though Scorsese announced on Tuesday that his next project is
a collaboration with Mick Jagger on “The Long Play,” the story of forty years
in the career of two pals in the music business, a recent Variety story has him
working on Brian Selznik’s 526 page innovative picturebook/young adult novel, “The Invention of
1. Although it did deplete from my woeful prediction score ,
I’m glad Martin Scorsese was vindicated by the Academy ,
winning four Oscars including Best Picture and Director, unlike Robert Altman
who had to content himself with the Lifetime Achievment award and a posthumous
round of applause. Nonetheless, the most poignant moment in the show for me was Scorsese looking on from the wings as producer Graham King accepted the Best
Picture award for the passable "The Departed."
Last night I was watching the film “The Situation”
(it opens March 2 at the Kendall) on DVD, a love triangle set in the Sunni
Triangle directed by Philip Haas and starring Connie Nielsen, and by the time
it got to the third IED explosion and the fifth sectarian assassination I
thought, this is entertainment? I might as well be watching the news.