A pair of new books centering on film critic Pauline Kael — The Library of America's lavishly rendered The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael and Brian Kellow's incisive biography Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark — have resulted in an avalanche of recent Kael appraisals and reminiscences a decade after her death in 2001 and 20 years after her retirement from writing in 1991.
I can't quite remember when I became aware of Kael, but it had to be in my late teens, which is when I began to move beyond the Hollywood blockbusters of my youth and into deeper, more adventurous cinematic waters. I do know that my initial Kael exposure occurred after she had retired from The New Yorker, where she rather famously wrote film essays and reviews for nearly 25 years.
A curious collection of filmmakers populates this week’s opening films — from well-established veterans to foreign masters to newbies to practitioners of Hollywood product.
Pedro Almodovar’s entertaining Broken Embraces is laden with the Spanish master’s now signature traits: a rich narrative rife with emotional u-turns and sex galore; a healthy splash of mood-altering color; beautiful females, including longtime muse Penelope Cruz; and ample technical chops informed by a clear nod to film history.
The Sundance Film Festival's opening weekend is now in the books, and if occasional CityBeat contributor/Salt Lake City Weekly A&E editor Scott Renshaw is any guide, Park City, Utah, is again awash in movie mayhem.
Just a heads up that Cincinnati World Cinema tonight continues its screenings of The British Arrow Awards, a collection of British television commercials (or, as they're called across the pond, adverts) that put their American counterparts to shame.
In fact, as I wrote the other day, there is often more creative energy in one of these 90-second British adverts than in a two-hour Hollywood effort.
I said almost because there are still a few weeks left (the season traditionally runs Memorial Day to Labor Day) and, more importantly, there are still a handful of movies I've yet to catch — from high-profile studio stuff (like Cars 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the latest Harry Potter) to smaller indie offerings (like Buck and Project Nim, not to mention a host of titles that have yet to open here — most notably Miranda July's The Future, Michael Winterbottom's The Trip, Azazel Jacobs' Terri and Raúl Ruiz's Mysteries of Lisbon).
Tuesday has long been one of my favorite days of the week. Why? That’s when new music and movies traditionally hit stores for purchase and/or rental. Remember John M. James’ column/list of new albums that used to appear in CityBeat? I admit that was the first thing I turned to as a music-mad pre-CityBeat-staff college kid when I picked up the paper every week. Where are you, John?
Ever wonder what happened to the kid who played Chunk in The Goonies?
Wonder no more.
With the rollout of fall's higher-profile “prestige” pictures still a week away (including Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar Hoover biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio as the notorious FBI director), a pair of lesser-known films open here this week that are worthy of your attention.