As I wrote a few days ago, the local movie landscape gets a shot in the arm with today's opening of the Kenwood Theatre, which will be run by Theatre Management Corporation (TMC), the same outfit that operates the Esquire and Mariemont theaters.
The Kenwood will offer a similar mix of independent fare and mainstream Hollywood features across its nine screens. Sure enough, the theater's first crop of openings includes two documentaries (Cool It and Last Train Home) from small indie distributors; another gem from independently minded Sony Pictures Classics (Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe); and the latest in the Harry Potter juggernaut (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I), which will occupy three screens.
Vincent Cassel might play tough, wild-eyed guys in the movies, but he’s pussycat in “real” life. I interviewed him for a David Cronenberg film, Eastern Promises, a few years back, and he couldn’t have been more accommodating and personable, which is not always the case with actors who are forced to do publicity for their films (their attitude often depends on whether — and whether they realize — the movie they are promoting sucked or not).
The 43-year-old French actor is certainly a far cry from most of the big-screen characters he’s played over the years — an eclectic collection of roles that range from socially awkward to acutely neurotic to downright psychotic.
More than a year after the Showcase Cinemas inside Kenwood Towne Centre closed suddenly (which was preceded by the unfortunate shuttering of the plush, old-school Kenwood Twin across the street back in 1995), the local movie landscape gets a shot in the arm with the opening of the Kenwood Theatre(7815 Kenwood Road) on Friday.
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.