With some film festivals, you don't know what you're in for.
Not so with the fifth - or "Five-ever" - Experimentally Ill Film Festival.
According to festival co-founder Michael Phelan O'Toole, it is the "filmic
answer to punk rock." Among the shorts screened are Dan Lucal's Parking Spot, Mike Messier's Wrestling with Sanity trilogy, and Mick
Cusimano's gorilla-suited Monkey Do,
The urtext of the police procedurals that now dominate TV, Jules
Dassin's noirish The Naked City (1948)
employs pseudo-documentary techniques and on-location photography to chronicle
the efforts of two New York City detectives (Barry Fitzgerald and Howard Duff)
to solve a pair of murders. Still holds up, and then some, in this age of CSI
Every year the Boston Turkish Festival's Documentary and Short Film Competition does me the honor of making me one of the judges. I haven't had a chance to watch any of the films yet, but that doesn't mean you can't, as the Festival starts tonight with a set of shorts at 7:45 pm at the Museum of Fine Arts. The program includes L.
For some, the crew of the Starship Enterprise will forever
be Captain Picard, Data, Troi, Worf, and the rest. You can see them again in "Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Celebration
of Season 2," a special event featuring two programs from 1988, "Q Who?" and
"The Measure of a Man," the latter supplemented with 12 minutes of previously
Two tough-minded movies at the Brattle celebrate those folks
whom Mitt Romney was referring to with his unfortunate 47% remark. In Do the Right Thing (1989; 7 pm) Spike
Lee directs and plays a pizza deliverer who discovers that sometimes the right
thing involves a trashcan and a plate glass window. And union stalwarts played
by Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto, and Harvey Keitel become unlikely criminals in
Paul Schrader's Blue Collar (1978;
4:30 + 9:30 pm).
As proven in "Comedy Marathon: Universal Pictures
Celebrating 100 Years," the aforementioned studio cornered much of the comic
market in the '40s with stars W.C. Fields, here represented by The Bank Dick (1940; 3 pm) and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941;
4:45 pm), and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, yukking it up in Buck Privates (1941; 11 am + 6:30 pm)
and Abbott & Costello Meet
Frankenstein (1948; 1 + 8:30 pm), all screening at the Brattle.
And you thought your holiday was difficult. Woody Allen
balanced his talents for the comic and dramatic in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), in which he also plays the
ex-husband of the title sibling, played by soon to be ex-flame Mia Farrow. They
join Hannah's two sisters played by Dianne Wiest and Barbara Hershey for a
family Thanksgiving dinner with extra helpings of infidelity and neuroses.
Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman had a lot of pressure on
him when he put together his Palestine
(later Israeli) Philharmonic in the 1930s; the Jewish musicians who didn't make
the cut were likely doomed to be victims of the Holocaust. Orchestra of Exiles, Josh Aronson's harrowing, but uplifting doc
about this amazing story will screen starting Friday, November 23 and throughout the week at the MFA.
have any doubt that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
(1960; 5:30 pm) is the most perverse and frightening film ever made, take
another look when it screens tonight at the Brattle. Then stick around for a
free sneak peek at Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock (2012; 8 pm), a behind-the-scenes
drama about the making of Psycho, starring Anthony Hopkins in the
According to "The Biology of B-Movie Monsters," a scientific
paper by Professor Michael C. LaBarbera (see the Fun List, page TK), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957; 5:30
+ 9:15 pm) would have to eat his own body weight every day just to survive.
Thanks for spoiling that fantasy, Teach. Luckily, we can still believe in The Creature from the Black Lagoon
(1954; 7:30 pm).
Contrary to Sacha Baron Cohen's depiction of the country in Borat (2006), Kazakhstan
boasts one of the world's most original and thriving film industries. See for
yourself at the MFA series "Flowers of the Steppe: A
Festival of Kazakh Cinema," which begins Wednesday, November 14 with Ermek Shinarbaev's Letters from an Angel (2009) and
continues through Sunday, November 18.
Lightning Over Braddock (Final Sequence)
Described as a "national treasure," Tony Buba offers
legitimate insight into the American working class with his unique
documentaries. He'll be presenting his first feature, Lightning Over Braddock (1988), and other work in the Brattle's
program, "An Evening with Tony Buba."
An environmental warning before people even knew there was
an environment, Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)
features a giant octopus provoked by H-bomb testing into destroying San Francisco. It makes
sense when you see it, especially when University of Chicago professor
Michael LaBarbera explains the monster's biology when he hosts this session of
Science on Screen series at the Coolidge.
Though I can't really discuss the film
because of the studio embargo imposed until the release date, November 16, I thought
I'd share this observation about director Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom
Stoppard's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina." The film has confused some because of its structure, a kind of play within the
film with stage sets, musical numbers, and other artifices.
The Hurt Locker
Paul Thomas Anderson said that his film The Master, in which a shell-shocked WWII vet tries to return to
normal life, was inspired in part by William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946; 6 pm), the revered classic
dealing with the same subject. If you haven't seen it, here's your chance,
likewise Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning Iraq War masterpiece The Hurt Locker (2008; 9 pm).