Whether or not they are the biggest game out there in
the cultural jungle, the three disparate artists in Ben Lewis's documentary
triptych Art Safari: Maurizio Cattelan, Matthew Barney,
And Takashi Murakami (2009), are a lot of fun. He takes
Cattelan's whimsical sculptures, Barney's surreal Cremaster films, and
Murakami's creepily childlike collections of oddities as seriously as they
deserve to be.
back in the '80s, when kids in the movies actually had fun? Alas, many of those
actors have since grown up and been in and out of rehab. Like those from
Richard Donner's The Goonies (1985), in which
Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and Corey Feldman play a bunch of goofballs who have a
cool adventure searching for pirate treasure.
To Be Heard (2010)
One the liveliest and most important film series in
these parts, the Doc Yard Presents returns with Amy Sultan, Roland
Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, and Deborah Shaffer's To Be Heard (2010; 7 pm), a real-life Precious in
which three South Bronx teenage girls expand
their lives and minds through poetry.
Following his reading of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers Du Cinemart Collection at the Brookline Booksmith Friday evening, Mike White returns to discuss an obscure gem of '70s exploitation
filmmaking, Greydon Clark's Black Shampoo
(1976), the story of a sexy African-American hair-salon owner who goes
ballistic with a chainsaw when his receptionist is menaced by the mob.
Deep End (1971)
An under-appreciated auteur of the Polish New Wave, Jerzy Skolimowski's career
peaked in the '80s with films like his masterpiece Moonlighting
(1982). The Harvard Film Archive offers a long overdue retrospective of
his career, The Radical Vision Of Jerzy Skolimowski,
starting tonight with Deep End (1971 | 7 pm), a coming of age story set in the
shabbier fringes of Swinging London, and Barrier
(1966 | 9 pm), a portrait of disaffected youth in '60s Poland.
Before he had them kill off a billion people in War
of the Worlds (2005), Steven Spielberg was more optimistic about
aliens. In fact, they signified redemption. For example, in Close
Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), Richard Dreyfus plays a
family man seized by visions that take him to a terrifying and ecstatic
rendezvous with the mother ship.
heroes of each of the following three films at the Brattle, separated by five
decades, are outsiders who are wiser than they appear. Gary Cooper plays the
title free spirit in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes To
(1936); he inherits a fortune and is besieged by scalawags until
he meets an honest woman (Jean Arthur) - or is she? In Gregory La Cava's My Man Godfrey (1936) William Powell plays a Depression-era bum - or is he? - picked up in
a scavenger hunt by a wealthy woman played by Carole Lombard.
Reputedly even more disgusting than Centipede, Srdjan Spasojevic's notorious A Serbian Film
has tested the stomachs of even the most hardcore splatter-porn fans around the
world. In other words, don't miss it. (For more insight into ASF and its extreme-horror bretheren, see Simon Paul Augustine's essay in this week's Phoenix
Born in 1912,
he's probably the oldest Japanese director you've never heard of, making the Masterworks of Kaneto Shindo
at the HFA essential viewing. The films include Shindo's harrowing and
controversial Children of Hiroshima
(1952; 7 pm), an uncompromising look at the A-bombing of Japan; his
masterpiece, Onibaba (1964; 9 pm) a Marxist parable about social
breakdown set in medieval Japan; and his most recent film, Postcard
(2010; May 30 @ 7 pm ), an autobiographical drama about a Japanese soldier who
sends his wife the title missive as he's shipped out to the Pacific in World
Is the prevalence of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in the
recently released Indie film Hesher a reference to David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986)? Dennis Hopper's endorsement of
that product, not to mention his use of a gas mask, are only a couple of
reasons to see one of the greatest surrealist movies since Un
chien Andalou It all starts with an ear that Kyle MacLachlan's
callow hero finds in a field, and ends with the blue bird of happiness, with
Laura Dern and Isabella Rossellini making erotically confusing appearances
along the way.
Since Stanley Kubrick died, Terrence Malick has had no
rival when it comes to obsessive, visionary directors who take forever to make
a movie. You can catch most of his œuvre in "Three Films By
Terrence Malick" at ArtsEmerson: his first and perhaps best, Badlands
May 20 @ 7 pm + May 21 @ 9 pm), the only crime-spree film to rival Bonnie
and Clyde; Days of Heaven (1978; May 20 @ 9 pm
+ May 21 @ 7 pm), perhaps the most visually beautiful American film ever; and The
New World (2005; May 21 @ 2 pm + May 22 @ 7 pm), which, well,
has lots of foliage.
Two prototypical New York artists collaborate in Public Speaking (2010), Martin Scorsese's documentary
portrait of acerbic writer and irrepressible conversationalist Fran Lebowitz. She discusses culture, politics, and
decades of New York memories while presiding over her booth in Manhattan's
The master of philosophical carnage, Park Chan-wook reaffirmed the ongoing world-class
status of Korean cinema with Oldboy (2003). In a precursor to Saw, a man finds himself inexplicably imprisoned in
a whimsical kind of solitary confinement. Fifteen years later, he's plenty
pissed off, so when he's released and given five days to find his tormentor,
he's ready for revenge.
The City Below (2010)
Every four decades or so, some German
filmmakers stir themselves into a frenzy of creative energy and revitalize
world cinema. Could this be happening with Christoph Hochhäusler and Isabelle
Stever, who are showcased in the Harvard Film Archive weekend program "The Berlin School Now"?
Stever's Gisela (2005; May 13 @ 7 pm) looks at
how the stolid existence of a suburban mom is disrupted, or maybe not, when a
knucklehead from her school days shows up.
In the tradition of Dogtoothand Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mexican director
Jorge Michel Grau's We Are What We Are (2010) explores what happens when family values are taken to an extreme. A father drops dead in the street, leaving the role of breadwinner to the eldestson, a fractious teenager. It's a lot to be responsible for, especially since
the family's bread of choice is human flesh.