Get Carter (1971)
Oh, for the days when they made blunt and brutal noir
thrillers with names like Get Carter (1971; 2:30 + 7 pm) and Point
Blank (1967; 5 + 9:30 pm). In the former, directed by Mike Hodges,
Michael Caine stars as the title British hood who suspects foul play in his
brother's death and scours the grimy streets of Newcastle in search of remorseless payback.
being outclassed by foreign filmmakers in what it has always done best -
kicking ass? So one might conclude from the films showcased in the Brattle
Theatre's "International Asskicking! Repertory
Series," starting Thursday, August 2. In Pierre Morel's District B13 (2004; 3:30 + 7:30 pm),
the Paris of
the future has been walled-off, Escape
from New York-style, and left to the criminals.
In a sense,
Bill and Turner Ross' Tchoupitoulas could be considered
the documentary counterpart to Benh Zeitlin's highly touted, dreamlike fiction Beasts of the Southern Wild. In both
films children venture into the wilds of Louisiana,
one urban the other rural, with otherworldly results - and both films are
strikingly sui generis in their spirit and style.
Having whetted your appetite for extreme, gory
violence taking place in a domestic setting with House of 1000 Corpses this past weekend you might want to advance
to another version of the same scenario but with a metaphysical, postmodernist
twist. Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods contains allusions to
virtually every gruesome thriller ever made, deconstructs the whole genre, and
tosses in a mind-boggling twist as well.
The avant-garde shorts in the Balagan program Reflection/Refraction play with the
title concepts in unexpected and illuminating ways. They include Stephen
Broomer's Memory Worked by Mirrors
(2011), in which a mirrors reflecting the filmmaker's childhood home
metamorphose into a "mysterious portal;" Shambhavi Kaul's Place for Landing (2010), in which a child is drawn into a
kaleidoscopic world of shifting reflections; and Ben Pender-Cudlip's Sanjiban (2012), which records the
jubilant last days of the late teacher/filmmaker Sanjiban Sellew.
The late frontman for Boston band Morphine gets a
reverent and moving memorial in Robert Bralver and David Ferino's documentary Cure
For Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (2011). Employing interviews, concert
footage, and home movies, the film provides an in-depth look at the life and
career of the singer/bassist/songwriter and Boston-scene visionary who died on
stage in 1999 at the age of 46, and offers a glimpse into what made his music
unique, compelling, and influential.
It's All Relative [winner in the 2011 24 Hour Film Race]
In an era in which the average film costs about $100
million and takes years to make, the 24
Hour Film Race reduces the process to its basics, and then some. Teams were
given 24 hours (from May 18-19) to write, produce, shoot, and edit a complete
film after being assigned some obligatory parameters, including a requisite
theme, prop, and action.
At last it can
be said - Nicolas Cage: Greatest
American Actor. To back up those immortal words, the Brattle
presents a retrospective of his most memorable performances, which, given the
crazy shit he's done on screen, should be good. It starts tonight with Martha
Coolidge's Valley Girl (1983; Monday, June 11 @
7:30 pm, Tuesday, June 12 @ 5:30 + 9:30 pm), his first leading role, in which he plays a
punk wooing the title girl.
the sincerest form of fanboy flattery, hence the rationale of Star Wars: Uncut, a project that
divided up the original film into 15 second segments and distributed them to
deserving devotees, inviting them to remake the scenes as they saw fit. It's a
kind of Exquisite Corpse with droids and light sabers.
Sometimes two good causes, like housing for the poor
and environmental protection, can come into conflict. That sounds like what
happens in Bay of All Saints, a
documentary about impoverished people in Bahia, Brazil who live in palafitas,
hovels on stilts built above the sea of garbage amassing in the bay.
How did it come about that immigrants, who made our
nation what it is, are now being demonized by cynical demagogues for political
gain? A much needed corrective to this propaganda is The Young Writers And Leaders Project, a Portland, Maine,
community-service program which has been instrumental in producing The Whole World Waiting, David
Meiklejohn's compilation of short films about the lives, disappointments,
triumphs and dreams of 15 local teenaged immigrants (see Deirdre Fulton's
review on page 29).
There is no describing the films of Guy Maddin. You just have to take the
plunge. His latest, Keyhole, might be
a good place for the uninitiated to start; it definitely is something that his
fans must see. In it, Jason Patric plays Ulysses, a mobster who must search for
his beleaguered and apparently dead wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) hidden
somewhere in the labyrinthine family home.
word on Wes Anderson's new movie Moonrise
Kingdom (of which there's a free preview screening on Thursday, May 31 @ 8 pm)
is very positive, but in some ways his best film might be his first - the sunny
and absurd Bottle Rocket (1996; Wednesday, May 30 @ 10 pm + Thursday, May 31 @ 5:30 pm),
which was also the film that established, for better and worse, the brothers
Owen and Luke Wilson.
The ongoing "Reunion Weekend" series at the Brattle
Theatre might convince you that they really don't make them the way they used
to. Fifty years ago, instead of lining up to see The Avengers, you could see films by two of the greatest directors
of all time. Like Orson Welles's The Trial (1962; Monday, May 28 @ 1:30 + 7 pm), an
adaptation of Franz Kafka's inscrutable black comedy about inescapable
bureaucracy and persecution that might be one of the most brilliant uses of
architecture - and Anthony Perkins - in a film.
The billions spent warehousing convicts in
soul-destroying prisons don't seem to make much of an impact on recidivism or
crime rates. Maybe the solution is as simple as the word "om"? Documentarians
Andrew Kukura, Jenny Phillips, and Anne Marie Stein's The Dhamma Brothers
(2008) takes a look at a program at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in
Alabama, where the resident psychologist brought in teachers to instruct
volunteers in Vipassana Buddhist meditation.