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  • November 15, 2007
    By webteam

    Let me join the chorus in saying that a cultural era passes with the death of Norman Mailer, a time when writers (and filmmakers and artists in general) were regarded as something heroic and iconic and not just purveyors of products and backdrops for corporate advertising. Also, I’m personally pissed off because I was looking forward to the next two installments of Mailer’s Hitler trilogy that began with the publication this year of “The Castle in the Forest

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  • November 12, 2007
    By webteam
    Note that this conversation took place before the World Series and so Brolin was not entirely stating the obvious when he made the prognostication toward the end. Since things took a fairly chatty, friendly turn I regret not asking him more provocative questions such as what it was like to see his then girlfriend Minnie Driver take up with Harrison Ford on the rebound after their break-up some years back.

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  • November 09, 2007
    By webteam

    Josh Brolin plays some really tough guys in his two new movies “American Gangster” and “No Country for Old Men,” and after a confusing encounter in the hotel lobby when I did a double take and he may or may not have misinterpreted it, I wasn’t about to begin the conversation by saying that I saw him one night in the parking lot of a fish and chips place on Martha’s Vineyard with Diane Lane clinging to his arm.

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  • November 02, 2007
    By webteam

    As I’ve mentioned before, whenever I wax a little political or philosophical in discussing films like, oh, "300" or any of The Lord of the Rings movies or any other movie in which crypto fascist fanboys can act out their sad little gotterdammerung fantasies, I am always reminded , “It’s only a movie” (among other usually unflattering or otherwise anatomically dubious suggestions).

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  • October 31, 2007
    By webteam

    For those countless Michael Haneke fans who have been putting off attending screenings of his films at the Harvard Film Archive and the Museum of Fine Arts, don’t wait any longer. There are a couple more shows scheduled at the MFA this weekend. Dismayed by the poor turnout for the series. one programmer who chose to remain anonymous said he despaired of the current audience for serious cinema in Boston, let alone the United States

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  • October 26, 2007
    By webteam

    Many of those who meet Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke in person are surprised at how jolly and gracious he is given the cold-blooded brutality and perversity of his films. Myself, I was surprised to see how much he resembled Lloyd Schwartz, Pulitzer Prize winning Phoenix classical music critic and a jolly and gracious fellow himself.

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  • October 24, 2007
    By webteam

    As I was pondering what to go as to the many Halloween parties I haven’t been invited to, it occurred to me -- this is how we can save the democratic system. Instead of another one of those boring, repetetive and frankly embarassing “debates,” why not have the candidates dress up as their favorite movie monster and let the voters pick the scariest? I have some suggestionsto start them off.

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  • October 10, 2007
    By webteam

    At this point I began to suspect that maybe these dropped calls were not entirely accidental. Maybe he was getting defensive or even angry. Judging from his response when I finally called back, the comparison to “In the Mood for Love” seemed to touch a nerve. However, when I got into more sensitive areas, like whether the hard core sex in the film might drive first time actress Wei Tang into the loony bin, as was the case with Maria Schneider in “Last Tango in Paris,” there were no more disruptions (the static was still pretty bad and, let’s face it, the guy’s English isn’t as fluent as his filmmaking).

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  • October 05, 2007
    By webteam


    I recently interviewed Ang Lee about his new film “Lust, Caution,” an adaptation of a short story by the revered Chinese auther Eileen Chang He was on a cell phone, riding or maybe even driving through New York while talking to me. This is an arrangement I don’t recommend. The reception was frequently garbled — maybe on both ends, because Lee’s answers were sometimes — and every ten minutes or so cut off.

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  • October 02, 2007
    By webteam

    Sixteen years ago I made the mistake of playing pundit when “Time” magazine asked me for my opinion on Ridley Scott’s “Thelma and Louise.” “Ten years from now,” I intoned, “it will be seen as a turning point.” So much for prophecy. And they never asked my opinion about anything ever again.

    So I was encouraged a couple of weeks ago when Judith Warner in her “New York Times” blog “Domestic Disturbances”

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  • September 21, 2007
    By webteam

    I find it kind of serendipitous that the release of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” takes place in the midst of the growing controversy about the Jena Six. As you probably know, several thousand people have marched in that small Louisiana town protesting the draconian punishments meted out to African-American high school students goaded by racial harassment (including a noose hung from a tree) into assaulting a white classmate.

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  • September 18, 2007
    By webteam

    As the media gratefully takes a pass on Iraq, the election or anything else of depressing substance for the golden opportunity for endless inanity presented by the new OJ case, the success of the upcoming spate of War on Terror related movies seems in doubt. After all, don’t people go to the movies to escape the troubles of the world rather than be confronted with them? And when the news itself doesn’t even want to think of all that bad stuff, what chance does “In The Valley of Elah” (which I think is a crock, but that’s not my point) have against, say, “Good Luck Chuck?”


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  • September 16, 2007
    By webteam

    Wrapping up the Cronenberg interview, a few notes on synchronicity, Soviet motorcycles, nepotism, Martin Amis and some gratuitous references to Russian literature.

    PK: Have you had that happen before in other films, where the theme or some other elements of the film suddenly became reflected in real life.

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  • September 14, 2007
    By webteam

    With two studio films in a row, is Cronenberg selling out? It’s not the kind of question you want to ask even when he’s three hundred miles away on the phone. Note above how I failed to follow up on asking him whether his films have influenced the trend of the “Saws” and “Hostels” (chances are, however, that his answer would be “no.

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  • September 12, 2007
    By webteam

    Terror can be good for you, or so might argue David Cronenberg. He should know, having made some of the most terrifying films of the last thirty years or so, such as “Shivers/They Came From Within” (1975), “Rabid” (1977) , “Scanners” (1981), “Videodrome” (1983), "The Fly"(1986), "eXistenZ" (1999). He’s moonlighted lately in the gangster genre with his last two films, "A History of Violence "(2005) and "Eastern Promises," in the gangster genre (though Cronenberg has said the former is more of a Western).

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