Recent documentaries like Sweetgrass
almost mystically put the viewer in touch with the purity and rhythms of
nature. Equally transcendent is Michelangelo Frammartino's Le
Quattro Volte (2010). Contemplating an old man, a goat,
a tree, and some charcoal in the idyllic setting of Calabria, Italy, the film
pretty much sums up all there is to know about life and death.
Two years ago Lee Daniels's Precious
(2009), an adaptation of the novel Push by
Sapphire, confronted viewers with its hardscrabble, intense story about an
unwed teenage mother beset by inner-city and family turmoil. It defied the odds
and became an Oscar-winning commercial hit (Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique;
Best Adapted Screenplay for Daniels).
Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler
(2008) introduced many moviegoers to the sweaty, bloody, brutal world of
professional wrestling on the fringes of the WWE. Robert Greene shows us more
of this subculture in his documentary Fake
It So Real, in which he explores with cinema-vérité
intensity the dedicated gladiators of the Millennium Wrestling Federation of
Lincolnton, North Carolina.
Nino Rota's famous theme for Fellini's 8-1/2
Imagine Hitchcock's Psycho or
Scorsese's Taxi Driver without the lacerating, haunting music - or The
Godfather films and Fellini's 8-1/2 without
the lush scores of Nino Rota. Still masterpieces, just . . . not
the same. The music without the movies, however, is well worth a listen as is
demonstrated in the program Music For Movies: A
Celebration Of Bernard Herrmann And Nino Rota at the
Brattle, which is also currently running a series of each composers' films in
honor of their centennials.
Superman II (1980)
Remember Terence Stamp as General Zod in Superman
(1980)? He might prefer to forget it himself, and you might not want to see the
whole film in order to catch his performance, but it's all there in the trailer
featured in this year's Trailer
just one of many in this annual collection of trashy coming attractions at the
Does a penthouse apartment in a skyscraper give you a
better perspective on the ills of the society down below? In his documentary High Rise, director Gabriel Mascaro interviews
the inhabitants of posh spots in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and
Recife and asks them tough questions about injustice, insecurity, the future,
and the availability of parking.
"You talkin' to
me?" has to be the most repeated movie quote of all time, although "Make my
day" and "We're not in Kansas anymore" might be close seconds. Actually, those
last two might also fit comfortably in Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Taxi Driver (1976), screening all week in a newly
restored version at the Brattle.
Block cast an uncompromising but compassionate eye on
his parents a few years back with the highly praised documentary 51
Birch Street. Now he flips to the opposite generation, profiling
his only daughter, Lucy, in The
Kids Grow Up, a look back at her life as she is about to go
to college. It regards this universal experience with a poignant personal
insight, and Block himself will be on hand to discuss it when the film screens
as part of The DocYard series at the Brattle Theatre at 40
Brattle St, Cambridge | Monday, June 20 @ 8 pm | $7.
If you're tired of the spiffed-up, romanticized tough guy in Casablanca
you might want to balance your image of Humphrey Bogart with his bandy-legged,
deluded scalawag in John Huston's The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
(1948), the best Hollywood depiction of greed
since, well, Greed (1924). It's the old story of gold coming
between friends, with John's dad Walter winning an Oscar as a wise old coot and
the great Alfonso Bedoya as Gold
Hat, the bandito who utters the immortal words: "Badges? We don't need no
badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" It's at the Brattle
Brattle St, Cambridge| Sat, June 18-Sun, June 19 @ 12:30 pm |
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.
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.
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.