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by Jason Gargano 12.18.2009
at 05:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Awards Season Mania

The movie awards season kicked into overdrive Dec. 15 with the announcement of the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards nominations. I’m typically the first one to criticize the Globes’ often banal, stars-and-studio-influenced nominations, but this year’s crop seems more discerning than usual.

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by Jason Gargano 01.12.2011
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DGA Announces Top Docs

The Directors Guild of American today announced its nominees for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries” for 2010: Lixin Fan's Last Train Home; Charles Ferguson's Inside Job; Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of the Eliot Spitzer; Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman; and Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger's Restrepo.

There's no denying that the Guild had a tough job in narrowing the field — it was another stellar year for the ever-evolving genre — but only two of the final five would have made my list: Inside Job (read my interview with Ferguson here) and Client 9, both of which appeared on my top 10 list of 2010 films.

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by Jason Gargano 03.03.2011
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Franco and Hathaway Shine in Day Jobs

In an obvious stroke of marketing synchronicity, it’s no coincidence that James Franco’s and Anne Hathaway’s recent films are being released on DVD/Blu-ray this week, just a few days after the duo hosted Hollywood’s biggest yearly extravaganza of pomp and self-congratulation.

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by Jason Gargano 03.11.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Kevin Smith Goes DIY

Writer/director Kevin Smith's self-financed Red State 13-town, movie tour hits Ohio on Monday with a stop a Clark State Performing Arts Center, which is about a 90-minute drive north of Cincinnati in Springfield. Described as “a horror/comedy/satire about a Westboro Baptist Church-esque fundamentalist community that murders those it finds abominations in God's eyes (aka gay people),” the film premiered to mixed reviews and a small group of protesters at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 22.

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by Jason Gargano 07.30.2010
at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Searching for the Best of 2010 (So Far)

By now I typically unveil my favorite movies from the first half of the year. Yet looking back on the first six months of 2010, only two films —Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3 and Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop —have discerned themselves as unqualified contenders to make my year-end list.

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by Jason Gargano 08.20.2010
at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: The Balcony Is Closed

The final episode of At the Movies aired last weekend, marking the end of an era that began more than 30 years ago.

Featuring a pair of geeky Chicago-based film critics — Roger Ebert from The Sun-Times and The Tribune's Gene Siskel — the long-running show debuted as Sneak Previews in 1975 before switching to At the Movies in 1977. The premise was simple: two people talking about that week's releases with passion, intelligence, wit and personality.

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by Jason Gargano 06.19.2009
at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Calm Before the Storm


With what is likely to be the summer’s biggest box-office splash (Michael Bay’s latest Transformers outing), high-profile drama (Michael Mann’s Johnny Depp-led Public Enemies) and satirical (and likely controversial) comedy (Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno) looming in the near future, we actually have a solid collection of new releases this week, led by a pair of art-house gems and what looks to be a surprisingly effective romantic comedy.

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by Jason Gargano 10.06.2008
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Bush Wacks Cinema

Longtime film critic/historian Jonathan Rosenbaum has been staying busy since his departure/retirement from the Chicago Reader. In addition to his ongoing DVD column for CinemaScope, Rosenbaum recently wrote a lengthy piece on 100-year-old Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira (yes, he’s still making movies!) for Film Comment, he took part in a “Criticism in Crisis” panel at the New York Film Festival and unveiled his new Web site, JonathanRosenbaum.com.

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Presented essentially in blog format, the site features many of his archived Reader reviews (with more coming every week) as well as new musings on myriad film topics, including an essay on cinema trends during the George W. Bush years entitled “Bushwacked.” Incisive on a number of the levels, the piece — originally written for the latest edition of the Time Out Film Guide — discusses how our rapidly fracturing cultural sphere has impacted movies (and moviegoing) before moving into an investigation of how this development parallels President Bush’s own bubble mentality. (It’s a dismaying turn of events I like to call the Death of Context.)

Of course, Rosenbaum’s diagnosis is often dire, effectively linking Bush’s blissfully ignorant governing techniques with the rapidly changing landscape of serious film culture. Fittingly, he also writes about the various Iraq War-based films that have sprung up in recent years, most of which have garnered disinterest from the public at large while nevertheless providing a vital history the mainstream media has either glossed over or ignored altogether.

And, ever the contrarian, Rosenbaum couldn't help but get in another dig at No Country for Old Men, which he considers the most overrated film of 2007.

That last opinion aside, “Bushwacked” is essential reading.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 05.21.2010
at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Devaluation of a 'Star'

Peter Biskind — a former Premiere magazine editor and longtime journalist who wrote the fascinating, endlessly entertaining book about the 1970s American movie scene, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls — recently published a biography called Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America.

I’ve yet to read the book, which, among other things, apparently tells us that Beatty might have slept with more than 12,775 woman — a number that doesn’t include “daytime quickies, drive-by blowjobs, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on.”

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by Jason Gargano 08.03.2011
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48 Hour Film Project Is Nearly Here

The latest 48 Hour Film Project: Cincinnati rapidly approach. Founded by in 2001 by a pair of independent film producers in Washington, D.C., the project has now spread to 80 cities — I think this will be the eighth Cincinnati version — on five continents.

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