It's a sad fact that we often do not recognize someone's
greatness or the significance of their contributions until they pass away. Such
is the case with that late, great ape, Cheetah (or Cheeta, as he preferred to have his name spelled) who passed away Christmas
Eve at the age of 80. And so belatedly, to acknowledge this legendary hominid,
we have decided to posthumously award him the "Where's Whitey?" lifetime
42nd Street (1933)
Back in the Depression days Hollywood
knew how to turn economic and social injustice into entertainment. Mervyn
LeRoy's Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933; 5:30
+ 9:30 pm) starts with Ginger Rogers wearing only gold coins as she sings and
dances in Busby Berkeley's saucy and satiric "We're in the Money" number.
This has been a great year for performances on screen,
especially from animals. Which makes the winner of the annual "Where's Whitey?"
Award for Best Animal Actor especially challenging and rewarding.
For those unfamiliar with this prize the name comes from Korean
director Kim Tae-kyun's "Crossing," which I saw a while back at the Palm
Springs Film Festival.
Once again my colleagues here have been kind enough to share their picks.
More to follow.
Ten Best in Order:
A Dangerous Method
Bill Cunningham New York
Not many shopping days remain for those buying holiday gifts
so if you were thinking of getting me a little something, this boxed set of
Krzysztof Kieslowki's "Three Colors" trilogy,
one of my all-time favorites, would have been a perfect stocking stuffer had
the kind Criterion people not already sent me a copy.
Spoiled boys and girls
demanding extravagant gifts for the holidays might better appreciate their good
fortune by watching Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's City of Lost Children (1995), though they may want to take their parents
along, as it's R-rated. A mad scientist kidnaps kids and takes them to the
island asylum of the title where he extracts their dreams to rejuvenate himself
via a kind of psychic vampirism.
If you were wondering where the basic concepts behind
Coke commercials, Mitt Romney ads, and advertising and propaganda in general
come from, you should take a look at Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925). His silent
version of the 1905 mutiny on the title Russian warship marks a high point in
montage, the technique by which he edits disparate images into a dynamic fusion
that compels audiences to buy something they might otherwise not be interested
in - in this case the Bolshevik Revolution.
Henri-Georges Clouzot has often been compared to Hitchcock,
but even the master of suspense couldn't come up with some of the excruciating
twists that are in the French director's masterpiece Diabolique (1955). The mistress (Simone Signoret) and the
wife (Vera Clouzot, the director's spouse) of the headmaster of a miserable
boarding school agree that the guy is a pig and plot to do him in.
The holidays inspire both romantics and cynics, and
the Brattle Theatre is offering films for both points of view. If you decide to
catch the screening of Rare
tonight - and subsequently need a good dose of authentic holiday cheer - then
you can counter that with a viewing of Frank Capra's classic It's
A Wonderful Life (1946), which screens through December 20,
starting this afternoon.
A band that can play back-up to acts ranging from Bing
Crosby to the Beach Boys must have some chops, which was certainly the case of
the eponymous ensemble in The
(2008). Directed by Denny Tedesco, son of Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, this
documentary might have the most eclectic soundtrack since Woodstock
boasting some of the many hits that the group played on, including "Be My
Baby," "California Girls," "Strangers in the Night," "Mrs.
So, to wrap up the 2011 Boston Society of Film Critics awards:
BEST PICTURE: "The Artist"
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE PICTURE: "Incendies"
BEST ANIMATED FILM: "Rango"
BEST DOCUMENTARY: "Project Nim"
BEST DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
BEST NEW FILMMAKER:Sean Durkin for "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Winner in sudden death fourth round was Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies." The runners up: Asqhar Fahardi's "A Separation" and Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry."
After two rounds, it's "The Artist" by Michel Hazavicius. Runner up was "Hugo." "Margaret" was second runner-up, adding further justification to our statement of censure against Fox Searchlight.
Winner in the first round by a knockout: "Rango" by Gore Verbinski. No runner up!
The winner is "Project Nim" by James Marsh; runner-up "Bill Cunningham New York" by Richard Press.