It appears Halloween is leaking into November, as two horror-related film events supplement our weekly roundup of conventional movie-house releases.
First up, the annual HorrorHound Weekend is back, armed with another collection of curious “celebrities” — everyone from A Clockwork Orange's Malcolm McDowell and The Exorcist's Linda Blair to lesser-known figures like straight-to-video king Julian Sands (of Warlock fame), Bill Moseley (of House of 1,000 Corpses), Danielle Harris (of Rob Zombie's Halloween) and, of all people, Billy Bryant, who was the man inside Ghostbusters' Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume.
The Criterion Collection, film geekdom's favorite DVD/Blu-ray distributor, is offering a plush version of Lars von Trier's Antichrist this week. I've yet to procure a copy, but the “special features” — which I usually shun for a variety of reasons — look promising, including an audio commentary track by von Trier and professor Murray Smith; a collection of video interviews with von Trier and actors Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg; and a documentary about the film's notorious debut at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
It's already November? It seems like it just yesterday that The Hurt Locker took home a surprising (and much deserved) Best Picture win. We're now entering the stretch drive of the fall movie season, a period laden with the big studios' “prestige” films — those they believe have the best chance to grab awards love (thus bigger box-office numbers and the media attention that follows), none more important than that shown by the Academy.
Why can't Sam Rockwell find a movie that fully takes advantage of his singular talents?
Long one of our most expressive, instinctual and interesting actors, the 42-year-old Rockwell has added spice as a supporting player in a string of high-profile studios movies (Iron Man 2, Everybody's Fine, Frost/Nixon, Matchstick Men, Charlie's Angels and The Green Mile, among others) and has been compelling as a central figure in a handful of smaller films (Choke, Joshua, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Lawn Dogs and Box of Moon Light).
What's up with the rush of interesting documentaries in recent weeks? On second thought, make the years.
Many have called this the golden age of documentaries ever since Errol Morris and, to a larger extent, Michael Moore broke through and had relatively robust box-office and critical success in the late 1980s, cresting with the unprecedented frenzy that surrounded Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and continuing with Davis Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth, March of the Penguins and a flood of other unique contributions to the genre.
More recently, the last few weeks alone have given us such diverse docs as Catfish, Restrepo, I'm Still Here, Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman and even Jackass 3D, all of which are presented via different perspectives and techniques that challenge what a documentary is and should do.
Our movie-house winning streak continues, as this week delivers yet another collection of worthwhile options — from Davis Guggenheim's eye-opening documentary Waiting for Superman and Sam Taylor-Wood's John Lennon docudrama Nowhere Boy to the latest works from the irrepressible Jackass crew and the ceaselessly prolific Woody Allen. Even the right-wing “documentary” about the role government should play in our lives, I Want Your Money — which (not so) curiously didn't have an advanced press screening — looks intriguing/amusing if likely one-sided.
After months of sparse and, more importantly, mediocre (if not abysmal) movie options, recent weeks have give us a bounty of worthwhile offerings in a variety of genres — from art-house fare like Catfish, Jack Goes Boating, Lebanon and A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop to multiplex stuff like The Social Network and Let Me In and Easy A. And this week delivers yet more of both: Buried, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Secretariat and Never Let Me Go.
Add in the Cincinnati Film Festival, which opens today and runs through Oct. 16, and we have a smorgasbord of cinematic offerings from which to choose.
What's up with David Fincher? After giving us only one film (2002's Panic Room) in the eight years following 1999's gleefully subversive, zeitgeist-capturing Fight Club, the notoriously meticulous filmmaker is back with The Social Network, his third effort in four years following 2007's excellent Zodiac and 2008's out-of-character — it's essentially a straight-up love story — The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And he's not done yet: Fincher's American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is currently in production and will be out by the end of 2011.
Not that we'd ever want to steer you away from the pleasures of the movie house, but this weekend we won't be upset if you forgo the new cinematic releases — which, for the second straight week is rather robust — to hit the MidPoint Music Festival, which is also offering a few documentary films to complement its smorgasbord of musical options.
I've emerged from the darkness. After catching nearly two dozen films in six days at the Toronto Film International Film Festival, I've finally returned to life as we know it, still buzzing more from the gallons of coffee I ingested than TIFF's cinematic offerings.