We didn’t need the Academy Awards to tell us that Kathryn Bigelow is a really good director — she’s been that for more than 30 years.
On the morning of Feb. 28, 1958, a school bus carrying 48 elementary and high school students ran over an embankment and plunged into the Big Sandy River in Prestonsburg, Ky. Twenty-six kids and the bus’ driver lost their lives in the crash, forever altering the small, close-knit Floyd County town’s inhabitants.
Michael Crisp’s appropriately somber documentary, The Very Worst Thing, meticulously re-creates the events surrounding the accident via vintage radio recordings and photos and modern-day interviews with people — from a survivor of the accident to those who want to keep the victims’ legacy alive — connected to that day more than 50 years ago.
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.
Versatile special-effects maestro Shane Mahan knows his summer blockbusters — he's worked with everyone from Steven Spielberg and James Cameron to Tim Burton and Jon Favreau.
"They are the best communicators, and I think they’re also the best visionaries,” Mahan says.
Mahan is something of a visionary himself.
Who better to explore the life of Mike Tyson than James Toback? The two are mirror images in many ways.
The 64-year-old director of such highly personal, often indulgent films as Fingers (1978), The Pick-up Artist (1987), Two Girls and a Guy (1997) and Black and White (1999) is a noted lothario (despite resembling a balding bear) and a gleefully narcissistic provocateur whose elemental instincts often overwhelm his obviously elevated intellect.
This time I was struck by how different Jaws is compared to the sleek, sequel-laden, CGI-driven summer fare of today. Watching a drunken Quint (a thoroughly convincing Robert Shaw) stomp aroundJaws' grimy, pathetic boat — which is a character unto itself — is welcome aesthetic shift from the alienating pixelated mayhem of Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America and the like.
Oscar season kicks into high gear this week as two of the year’s most talked-about films finally open here: Gus Van Sant’s Milk and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.
I try to stay away from movie trailers as much as possible — either because they rarely give you an accurate idea of what a movie is truly about or because they reveal the entire thing in two minutes. (On the other hand, I suppose I'd rather spend a few minutes with something like Tron: Legacy or The Tourist than sit through two mind-numbing hours.)
An example of the first reason is on display in the difference between the theatrical trailer version of No Strings Attached (which is set to open wide Jan. 21) and its much racier red band version.