The title The Bitter
Buddha, a documentary about alt-comic Eddie Pepitone, sums up a certain style
of standup comedy: a core of Zen calm surrounded by snide hilarity. This wacked-out,
veteran comic's comic has not attained the marquee status of some of those he has
inspired, many of whom, including Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, and
Patton Oswalt, are interviewed in the film to explain his impact and appeal.
It's hard to believe, after Life Is Beautiful and all the other the unwatchable films he has
made since that inexplicable Oscar winner, but Roberto Benigni used to be a
funny guy. At least, he is in Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law (1986), where he, Tom Waits, and John Lurie play a trio
of prison mates who escape and torment themselves as they slog through the Louisiana bayous in a
hilarious search for some kind of redemption.
As a writer and someone who spends most of waking life cocooned in words, I find the notion of aphasia, the diminished ability to process language usually brought on by stroke or brain injury, incomprehensible, terrifying, and fascinating. Hence the great value of Vincent Stragas documentary "After Words," made with Boston area medical professionals and featuring interviews with such experts as Oliver Sacks and Jerome Kaplan.
Booze, drugs, sex, and genius - the life of the late great
auteur Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel
Without a Cause, In a Lonely Place,
and many other iconic masterpieces, had the stuff of several Hollywood legends,
and his wife Susan shared a lot of it. She'll be a guest of Phoenix
critic Gerald Peary at BU Cinémathèque's An
Evening with Susan Ray
Japanese documentary filmmaker Masao Adachi not only
preached revolution in his fiery agit-prop films, he practiced it too,
following up his pro-Palestinian-resistance newsreel/screed Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (1971; 9 pm) by abandoning film
to join the Japanese United Army in Lebanon, where he was
arrested in 2002.
What with all the turmoil worth looking into in the world today, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided that they had better things to do than probe into the collusion between the CIA and the makers of "Zero Dark Thirty." They announced the end of the investigation on Monday. Say, wasn't that the day after the Academy Awards, in which "ZDT" ended up only getting a measly tie with "Skyfall" for Best Sound Editing after months of bogus persecution from politicos and pinheaded pundits? So I guess it was mission accompished for this crack group of legislators.
When you think of the land that gave us Heidi, cuckoo
clocks, and cheese, the topic of child abuse is not likely to come to mind.
Nonetheless, from 1800 to the 1950s Switzerland farmed out hundreds of
thousands of orphans and wayward youths to workhouses where they served as
virtual slaves. In a presentation by the Goethe Institut, Swiss filmmaker
Markus Imboden dramatizes this Dickensian injustice with this tale of Max, a
12-year-old boy sold to a farm family, where he is forced to work and treated
Leos Carax makes public appearances almost as infrequently
as he makes movies, so the two together is a rare treat. As part of the Harvard
Film Archive's retrospective "Overdrive: The Films of Leos Carax," the sui
generis French auteur will present and discuss his latest opus, the delightful,
madness-inducing Holy Motors
The Coolidge Corner Theatre continues its Django Unchained-inspired blaxploitation @fter Midnite movie series with Jonathan
Kaplan's Truck Turner (1974). Like Django,
Truck (Isaac Hayes) is a bounty hunter, but he's not as much of an idealist. He
doesn't seek justice, or even the rescue of his beloved, but rather $1000 for
bringing in a pimp named Gator.
Stanley Kubrick's The
Shining (1980) is the happy hunting ground for those prone to byzantine, if
not paranoid, movie interpretations (the upcoming documentary Room 237 explores just a few of these).
So it's well worth watching again no matter how many times you've already seen
the kid riding the Big Wheel down the endless Overlook Hotel corridors, or the
flirty, naked, decomposing woman in the tub, or the creepy Diane Arbus twins,
or the diabolical bartender, or Jack Nicholson with a grin and an axe saying,
Though One Life (2011)
offers the usual anthropomorphic wildlife-documentary narrative - baby animals and
their parents - spoken by a resonant, top-tier actor - Daniel Craig, in this instance - the cinematography is especially
striking, and the creatures and their survival tactics have to be seen to be
Some experiences need to be shared to be endured. The
Academy Awards is one of them. Every year the Brattle Theatre complies by
throwing a pre-program bash. Okay, it's $75, but it goes to a good cause, the
Brattle Foundation, and it gives you a chance to put a buzz
on before Oscar-show host Seth MacFarlane starts reprising his Family Guy voices and so that even if Les Misérables wins Best Picture, you'll
be having such a good time you won't care.
Vic+Flo ont vu un ours
Just out of female prison for sentences we never learn the
details of, Vic and Flo move into Vic's quadraplegic uncle's remote Quebec home, more for
the bed, board and isolation than out of any sense of filial piety. Soon enough
their past comes back to haunt them, in the cute but sadistic form of Jackie, a
sociopath from back in prison, who Flo made the mistake of crossing some time
As suggested by the title, Rob
Grant's Mon Ami (2012) is a buddy movie, but with a twist - as well as
slashes, chops, spurts, gouges, and other standbys of the slasher genre. The
two friends of the title plan a kidnapping, and it goes so gruesomely, hilariously
wrong that they make the culprits in Fargo look like
The Master of Suspense got a raw deal in the lousy, recent
biopic bearing his name, but the Coolidge Big Screen Classics series showcases
his greatness with its screening of Rebecca
(1940). In it, Joan Fontaine plays a fresh-faced ingénue whose fairy-tale
marriage to a morose, elegant widower, played by Laurence Olivier, is disrupted
by two women, one of whom is dead.