Maybe today's rom
coms would be better off if they just hushed a bit and aspired to the visual
wit of classic silent comedies like Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy (1924). In it Lloyd plays the title shy guy who
tries to compensate for his ineptitude with women by writing a macho dating
book. But words turn to action when he must stop the wedding of the woman he
fancies and engages in one of the most inventive, dazzling, and hilarious chases
Christopher Shea, our correspondent at the Berlin Festival,
a.k.a Berlinale 2013, files this report.
Set in World War II-era Foshan and Hong Kong, The Grandmaster traces the rise and fall
of Kung Fu master Ip Man. The movie is gorgeous, strange and
stylized, bouncing between tea houses and brothels and beaches and back alleys,
all with operatic sweep.
In Carlo Guillermo Proto's documentary El Huaso (2012), the director's father, Toronto
retiree Gustavo Proto, returns to his native Chile to fulfill his dream of
becoming the rodeo star of the title. But tests suggest that he might have
Alzheimer's, which could complicate, or maybe simplify his plans, since he intends
to end his life once his condition becomes hopeless.
It's a lot shorter than the Oscar show later this month, and
it's a lot more fun, as well. The Boston Society of Film Critics Annual Awards
and Screening takes place tomorrow night at the Brattle Theatre, and the featured film
will be Best Documentary winner How To
Survive a Plague (2012), with the director, David France, accepting his
award in person and sticking around for a Q&A after the screening.
More people should know about the University of Massachusetts
Boston Film Series, which offers outstanding recent
films, many of them local premieres, plus appearances by the filmmakers. This
year's spring program runs through April 25 and opens today with Nisha Pahuja's
The World Before Her (2012), a
compelling documentary that compares and contrasts two different, and equally
alarming, training camps for women in India: one for the Miss India beauty
contest and the other for a Hindu-nationalist paramilitary group.
Whether you like it or not, there's no stopping Lena Dunham,
creator of the much beloved, much criticized HBO show Girls (see Michael Braithwaite's piece online at thephoenix.com). She'll be at
the Museum of Fine Arts presenting Tiny Furniture (2010), the
micro-budgeted indie film that got her started and in which she plays a precursor
to the autobiographical protagonist of the TV show, encountering the same
trials of degrading romance, existential ennui, skewed feminism, and self-loathing.
Two entertaining, shrewdly satirical, and slyly profound
sci-fi movies helped salvage the '80s from the junk heap of cinema history.
Paul Verhoeven's brutal and hilarious RoboCop
(1987; 4:30 + 9pm) presaged the economic downfall
of Detroit with
its tale of a half-dead policeman rebuilt into a humanoid machine fighting
crime in the blighted city.
This Is Not a Film
Under house arrest in Tehran, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi managed
to smuggle his film This Is Not a Film
(2012; 7:30 pm ) out of the country by putting it on a flashdrive and sticking
it in a cake. Under house arrest in China, world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei
gets his message out via Twitter and other ironic acts of subversion, as seen
in Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never
Sorry (2012; 5:30 + 9:15).
I'm running a bit late with this. Like a month.The winner will be decided by February10 and be presented on that date at the Boston Society of Film Critcs Award Ceremony at the Brattle Theatre. Send in your votes now!
The Alpha Wolf in "The
Iggy, the Iguana in Jafar Panahi "This is Not a Film"
I know what you're saying -- we had iguanas a couple of years ago
for "Bad Lieutenant."
By Harlan Jacobson
Now did we say sex? Sex was certainly a vehicle for politics
in seven or eight films on my scorecard but didn't much seem to figure in the awards.
Outright sex for sex's sake were the straight sex pics.
Like Don Jon's Addiction (see previous Sundance item),
which divided audiences here but which can attract a commercial audience of
20-somethings and sneaky teens with its cheeky wit and its project to civilize
the young American male.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Benh Zeitlin's debut feature Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012; 3:30 + 7:30 pm)
raised some eyebrows by scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director,
Actress, and Screenplay. Eagle-Tribune
film critic Greg Vellante will explain the appeal of this sui generis, magical-realist tale of moonshine, squalid poverty,
childhood innocence, and environmental disaster as it opens the Brattle
Theatre's "(Some of) The Best of 2012" series.
The approaching end of the movie award season is a good time
to be reminded of the past masterpieces that this year's winners will
ultimately be compared to. Like Luis Buñuel's surreal/neo-realist Los Olvidados (1950; 6 pm), a tender,
and brutal, study of doomed delinquents, and Satyajit Ray's tragicomic The Music Room (1958; 9 pm), a tale of a
cultured nabob fallen on hard times whose final gesture of refinement is one
last concert in the title salon (1958; 9 pm).
occasionally dramatizes the plight of the disabled and mentally ill - as in
this year's highly touted films The
Sessions and Silver Linings Playbook
- it's not a subject they're very
comfortable with. For a more enlightening look at how those faced by various
mental and physical challenges cope and prevail, don't miss this series of nine
films that runs through February 5.
by Harlan Jacobson
Of course, the best day I had at Sundance this year at the
32nd festival since Golden Boy took over the failing US Film
Festival held in Salt Lake City and moved it a half hour southeast into this
backwater resort town, was the day I decided to do my form of Gonzo journalism.
I went to morning ski at Redford's Sundance ski resort, about 45 minutes
outside of Park City.
Why is it that of all contemporary filmmakers ,none has as
keen and capricious an insight into the adolescent spirit as Wes Anderson,
director of the Oscar-nominated
Maybe Steven Schlozman, MD, Associate Director of Training for the Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at the MGH among other distinguished
credentials, has the answer.