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  • April 24, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Maybe the newspaper movie, which I mentioned a few postings back as a "Dead End Trends," has got some life in it after all. I've been reminded that there is indeed a third film that falls into that category in addition to "State of Play" and "The Soloist" -- Rod Lurie's "Nothing But the Truth" -- thus fulfilling the hallowed "rule of three" that distinguishes a meaningless "trend" from a meaningless coincidence.

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  • April 14, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    As expected, Jody Hill's unconstrained black comedy "Observe and Report" has stirred controversy, in particular concerning a scene in which Seth Rogen's unstable mall cop character has sex with a woman played by Anna Faris who is semi-conscious and wasted. The scene, say the outraged critics, condones and encourages date rape, exploiting it for cheap laughs.

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  • April 10, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Having worked a few years as a security guard myself (and given the state of print journalism, might someday again; I can always put it on my resume), I can attest to the authenticity of Jody Hill's black comedy about the profession, "Observe and Report." So we already had a lot in common when we started our conversation (which was conducted before the Anna Faris date-rape scene became a media firestorm, although I did ask him about it).

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  • April 09, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Okay, now it's starting to get on my nerves. Not only has Ramin Bahrani been declared a founder of a new film movement by A.O. Scott and declared "the new great American director" by Roger Ebert, he just won a Guggenheim Fellowship. Why don't we just give him the Nobel Prize and be done with it? O the other hand, it probably couldn't happen to a nicer or more talented guy.

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  • April 08, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    PK: You've said that if Buñuel was going to make "Los Olvidados" today he'd make it in Willets Point.

    RB:Yeah.

    PK: Is it three films you've made or four?

    RB: "The Strangers" is a medium length film. It's like 60 some minutes, I think with the credits it's like 71. It was basically a thesis film. I was just finishing Columbia University and it was done in an Arts organization in Iran and it was kind of like I could go to Iran, live there and through this arts organization make a film.

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  • April 07, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    It used to be that someone had to make a bunch of films over several decades to earn a career retrospective. Now three seems to do the trick. As noted earlier "Adventureland" director Greg Mattola just had one at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. Now Ramin Bahrani will be similarly celebrated this weekend when he appears at the Harvard Film Archive which will be screening his three features (there is a fourth called "Strangers" that won't be on the program, but that is on the short side) "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop" and "Goodbye Solo."

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  • April 07, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    This is a little last minute, but you should not miss the opportunity to meet and listen to Mira Nair, the director of such films as "Salaam Bombay," "Mississippi Masala," "Monsoon Wedding" and "The Namesake," to mention a few. Not only is she a fine filmmaker but she is also a knowledgeable, intelligent and witty speaker, as I have witnessed first hand.

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  • April 06, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    As part of my job I’m supposed to spot patterns of themes, subjects, motifs and whatnot in movies and relate them to what’s going on in the culture at large. The Zeitgeist. The Big Picture. The rule of thumb is: two similar films is a coincidence, three is a trend. Needless to say a lot of these apparent trends go nowhere or mean nothing.

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  • April 01, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Is all of comedy destined to be variations on 80s classics like “Porky’s” and “Revenge of the Nerds?” Are they merely falling in the noble tradition of such coming of age classics as Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” and Fellini’s “I Vitelloni” but with vomit takes and fart jokes? Those are just a couple of questions I didn’t ask, and probably just as well.

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  • March 31, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    So here’s a guy who’s made three films since 1997 and already he’s got a career retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that his second film. the Seth Rogen cowritten/Judd Apatow produced raunchy teenaged comedy “Superbad” made over $120 million in the US alone and is now quoted by movie geeks everywhere.

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  • March 25, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Since there can be no Armageddon without the Antichrist, it’s a little unnerving that a new image from the mysterious Lars Von Trier project of the same name has just popped up. The film stars a still fit Willem Dafoe as a psychiatrist who retreats with his wife, played by Charlotte Gainsborough, to a cabin in the woods after the death of their child.

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  • March 24, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    (I’m hoping that this item is not as error-riddled as the previous. My apologies to Adam Roffman, Bobcat Goldthwait and Abba.)

    Now that I’ve got your attention about worthy local film happenings, you might want to head over to Waltham tomorrow to Brandeis University where Jewishfilm2009, the fine film festival annually organized by the National Center for Jewish Film, opens with the infuriating and frightening documentary “Waiting for Armageddon” by Franco Sacchi, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner (all three of whom will attend the screening, introduced by Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis).

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  • March 23, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    I never really understood the films of Alexander Sokurov until last night at the Chlotrudis Awards ceremony when the Chlotrudis players performed a musical number backing a montage of the director’s film “Aleksandra” and set to the tune of Abba’s “Fernando.” The film was one of the group’s nominees for Best Buried Treasure, and although it didn’t win (Margaret Brown’s “The Order of Myths” won the “Trudy” in this category), it did, in my opinion, get the best introduction in this very entertaining evening.

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  • March 20, 2009
    By Peter Keough


    The last awards ceremony of 2008, the Chlotrudis Awards this Sunday at the Brattle Theatre, is in many ways the best. And I say that only in part because I am participating in it (I’m giving out the Best Director Award).

    For 15 years now The Chlotrudis Society, a bunch of local cinephiles tired of seeing crappy movies get center stage, have given out their awards to the best films and performances of the year.


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  • March 16, 2009
    By Peter Keough

    Much of the following may be an exercise in irony. Or is it? I mean, when you talk about the band Rush and Lou Ferigno there’s got to be some irony involved, right? And a sitcom about catering? Actually, that sounds like it could be a funny idea. Finally, why John Hamburg is the Alfred Hitchcock of dumb comedies.

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