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.
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 friend recently asked my opinion about what films the Academy might nominate for Best Picture this year.
“Uh, I have no idea,” I responded.
It's pretty late in the year to be saying that, but, of course, I rarely think about the Oscars until I absolutely have to. Then there's the fact that few of the films released so far this year seem to possess what typically piques the Academy's interest (note that anywhere from five to 10 films can now be nominated).
Emilio Estevez has been making movies nearly as far back as I can remember going to movies.
My first memories of Estevez date back to 1983's The Outsiders, in which he was but one of many young actor dudes (including but not limited toTom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Matt Dillon) to grace Francis Ford Coppola's slick, black-and-white adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel. That was followed by Alex Cox's Repo Man, which I wouldn't see until several years after its 1984 theatrical release (when I was old enough to rent it for myself) and which probably stands, at this late date, as the best film with which Estevez has ever been associated.
A pair of worthwhile documentaries that got criminally brief local theatrical runs hit the street this week via DVD/Blu-ray. Each is a nice stay-at-home viewing option on a crappy, rain-infested day like today.
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.
The arrival of October typically means we get a more thoughtful round of offerings from the Hollywood Industrial Complex. Yet even a cursory glance at this week's batch of high-profile releases reveals options more in line with the stuff we get during the summer months: a lame-looking comedy (The Big Year) filled with actors who have seen better days; a prequel of a remake of a horror classic (The Thing) directed by a curious-named newcomer and featuring a largely unknown cast; and a remake of a 1980s staple (Footloose) that is so of its time that it's hard to image it being updated for contemporary consumption (tt stern-enzi's review below reveals that to be an accurate assumption).
George Clooney's The Ides of March opens today. Given the avalanche of local press its already received (mostly by the endlessly smitten Enquirer, but also via hordes of social-media geeks), need much more be said about the behind-the-scenes aspects of Clooney's political thriller? (If you answered “yes” to that question, read my interview with Ides of March actor Max Minghella here.)
The burning question now is whether The Ides of March is any good.
The Ides of March is nearly here. George Clooney's political thriller, partially shot here in Cincinnati, opens wide tomorrow, and the film's publicity blitz is now in full effect with TV spots flooding the airwaves (you know, the ones pimping Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers' typically overly exuberant blurbage) and Clooney himself doing a few selected interviews.
While CityBeat unfortunately didn't get one of those interviews (our bribe of complimentary CB T-shirts and a pass to the MidPoint Music Festival apparently weren't sufficient enough to sway his handlers; we instead talked to Ides actor Max Minghella), Clooney will appear on tonight's episode of The Charlie Rose Show on PBS to discuss the film. It's probably no surprise, then, to learn that Clooney's character in Ides — an articulate liberal Pennsylvania governor who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination — appears on Rose's show in the film.
New Cincinnati Film Festival (CFF) Director of Programming Brandon Harris isn't shy about pimping the quality of his choices for this year's fest: “This represents the most ambitious and internationally acclaimed program of films ever screened in Cincinnati.”