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Best Foreign Language Nominee Takes Shelter In the Depths

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Stories about the Holocaust lead to questions at the heart of our humanity. Beyond what it means to be human — Dr. Cornel West’s assertion that the human urge is to engage in the fierce struggle to live with the inevitability of death — what is it that we, in any given moment or situation, would be willing to do to survive or to protect the life of another?  

Talking About Friends, Kids and Production

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Julie and Jason take notes as the arrival of children seems to rip the romance out of the relationships of their coupled friends, the ever-horny Ben and Missy and the humorously rock-solid Leslie and Alex. The six are lively and cultured New Yorkers enjoying their version of Sex and the City, but all of them are vaguely aware, in theory, that kids will challenge their ability to dine out in style and vacation with ease.
  

Iranian Film Shows Family as a Necessary Fabric

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Separation presents Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Maadi), a couple caught in a legal battle. Simin wants a divorce, so she can take their daughter and flee the social oppression of Iran, with its restrictions on women, education and civil liberty.  

Gus Van Sant Continues Down His Own Unique Path

2 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Few contemporary filmmakers can claim a career as interesting as Gus Van Sant’s. The 59-year-old director studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design before shifting his studies to film. He tried his hand at Hollywood after graduation, but soon moved his home base to Portland, Ore., a place where his artier leanings would flourish.   

Wim Wenders’ Pina Projects ‘Dance Theater’ in 3D

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The idea of “dance theater” (“Tanztheater” in German) evolved from expressionist dance in 1920s Vienna, with a new form developing and spreading throughout Central Europe beginning in 1917. The term re-emerged during the 1980s and Pina Bausch, a student of one of the leaders of this school of dance, became a new school practioner of note.    

Embracing the Tao of Bruce Lee

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 8, 2012
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, this Year of the Dragon, Bruce Lee, the legendary “Little Dragon” returns to screens for a select two-night-only event in 60-plus cities across the country. I Am Bruce Lee, the new documentary feature from Pete McCormack offers up the cultural icon as a mirror into the interwoven matrices of life, spirituality and philosophy.  

The More the Academy Changes...

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Let the games begin. For audiences tired or uninterested in the arcane goings-on of the numerous guilds and critics organizations all attempting to exert some power and influence over the hearts and minds of Academy voters, Tuesday, Jan. 24, must have seemed like the arrival of Christmas after a series of unimaginable postponements and botched rainchecks  

A Dangerous Method (Review)

David Cronenberg allows actors’ methods to shine

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Danger has been a factor in the recent films of David Cronenberg, but the tension and anxiety has been focused on the physical, the threat of bodily harm and the need to determine where said harm would originate.    

Michel Hazanavicius Lovingly Re-Creates the Silent Film Era

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Critical backlash and a groundswell of negativity rises at this time of the year in the world of film. The various creative guilds and the major critics groups have issued their nominations for the best films and performances of the past year.    

(The Lack of Real) Carnage

1 Comment · Tuesday, January 10, 2012
It seems fitting to note that Carnage, the new film from Roman Polanski, is an adaptation based on Yasmina Reza’s play Le Dieu du carnage, which translates in English to God of Carnage. Reza penned the screenplay, and much attention was paid to the omission of the “God of” as Carnage arrived in theaters.    

Bolt of Melancholic Blue

Lars von Trier artfully presents the end of the world in Melancholia

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Jonathan Demme gave audiences Rachel Getting Married, with its melodramaitc depiction of the pre-wedding battle royale between two sisters and complex relationship matrix that weaves among the larger clan and nearly derails the celebration. There would be blood drawn, but there would also be absolution and an inevitable resolution for all parties. Dogmatic director Lars von Trier artfully proposes no such thing.  

The Screening of Life

Ten films that made 2011 one for the ages

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I have to let you in on a little secret that helps me to define just how special a year in film has been. If a narrative or thematic thread emerges, in particular one that laces through the films that end up earning the top spots on my Top 10, then I have to rank the year in question as one of the greats.  

Is This Real Life?

As usual, compelling documentary films abounded in 2011

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It irks me to go into a video store that has separate sections for “dramas,” “comedies,” “action” and then, somewhere way in the back, “documentaries.” (Blockbuster calls them “special interest.”) A good documentary can have every bit the drama, comedy, action, romance, etc., of a fictional film. Often, more.    

The Girl Also Rises

David Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo leaves a truly indelible mark

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Swedish translation of the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy is Men Who Hate Women, and the 2009 Niels Arden Oplev adaptation made sure to lay that hatred bare, introducing audiences to the Vanger clan, a Swedish industrial family of the first order with deep and long ties to the Nazis and unhealthy animosity for any with sympathies aligned alongside the better nature of man or God.  

This Is The End?

In 2011, the most ambitious movies often featured inconclusive conclusions

1 Comment · Wednesday, December 21, 2011
One of the most frustrating things about movies — good movies, with quality actors playing interesting characters — is that they too often resort to clichéd endings to wrap up their stories. That’s why it’s refreshing to see that 2011 brought us a spate of movies with quizzical, ambiguous endings.