We’ve gotten so jaded about the hackneyed, hyperactive “franchise films” that Hollywood floods us with each summer — X-Men Origins: Wolverine, anyone? — that we fail to recognize when the movie business comes up with a good new idea.
Steven Sebring spent 11 years working on this film about Rock icon/poet/activist Patti Smith, as worthy a subject for a documentary as anyone in Pop music. But his project at some point overwhelmed him.
Citing diminishing returns, the Cincinnati Art Museum has ended its relationship with Cincinnati World Cinema, a presenter of art films, classics, shorts collections and documentaries that had been using its auditorium since 2007. That has left the future unclear for those who feel Cincinnati needs a non-commercial outlet for such specialized films that otherwise wouldn't play here.
Actor Thomas Kretschmann, who played Wilm Hosenfeld, the German officer who aided Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) as he sought to escape capture in Warsaw in 1944, introduced me to the idea of German guilt during an interview for Roman Polanskis The Pianist.
The 25th Sundance Film Festival came to a close on Jan. 24, and for the first time in 15 years a CityBeat staffer wasn’t there to witness it. As was the case for many publications (as well as general film freaks and industry people), the shitty state of our economy forced us to skip Sundance’s unique mix of adventurous, independent moviemaking and hype-driven industry wheeling and dealing.
One reason it’s become so hard for new musicians to make an impact is because so many old ones — including deceased ones — are still being discovered (or rediscovered), thanks to the proselytizing efforts of those who somehow got turned on to their obscure work the first time around.
Movies as cultural events are rapidly becoming relics of the past. It's rare when a new movie can even come close to generating the enthusiasm that greeted old-school epics like 'Gone with the Wind' or relatively new-school blockbusters like 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars.' Home viewing has forever changed the way we watch movies. The essential big-screen theatrical experience has been compromised for the comforts of the couch or the portability of an iPod.
Each year, the multiplexes offer more translations from page to screen. A quick glance at 2008's literary screen gems features entries from the comic and graphic novel frames ('The Dark Knight'), breezy mass-market reads ('The Ruins') and more serious literary tomes ('Snow Angels'). The resulting films offer audiences the chance to feel like they’ve broadened their horizons, and the meaty roles attract top-notch performers seeking golden gifts from the Hollywood magi.
Choosing the year's best DVDs is a difficult task. The market has become so large, divergent, inclusive and specialized that comprehensive surveys are Herculean efforts, with the only guarantee being that something of worth is overlooked.