"Platform is one of those great small epics," writes Darren Hughes. "It's ambitious and wildly catholic in its range of socio-political concerns, but it's also a very human and personal film. Jia [Zhangke] has the sensibilities of a novelist, I think. That's the easy part, though. What about the form of the film?"
"Watching Animal Crackers we not only are in the presence of the Marx Brothers we know and love, we are even perhaps in a slightly edgier Marxian universe that belonged more to their Broadway personas than to their later film personalities," writes Raymond De Felitta. "Indeed Animal Crackers is a transition film - bridging the gap between the 'toast of Broadway' Marxes and the newly film-savvy Beverly Hills bound Brothers."
Strange Culture saw its release on DVD last week. It's been well over a year since Lynn Hershman Leeson's film began making the festival rounds - Sundance, Berlin, etc. So you'd think that by now there'd be some movement in the case the film addresses, brought about by events that occurred four years ago, and that artist Steve Kurtz would not still be facing 20 years in jail with no trial date set as yet. But that, as the Guardian's Andrew Pulver reminds us, is the current open-ended state of things.
"Lost Highway's terrors are the primal intrusion on the helplessness of sleep," writes Nathan Kosub in Stop Smiling. "Where one sleeps, where one dreams - nothing is more vulnerable in the subconscious. And if Fire Walk With Me remains [David] Lynch's scariest movie for precisely that reason, Lost Highway makes the menace less explicit - less identifiable, even in the devil avatar of Robert Blake - and more troubling during the odd 3 am walk to the kitchen for a glass of water."
More from Nicolas Rapold, who writes in the New York Sun that Lost Highway "not only lights the way to Mr Lynch's spellbinding Mulholland Dr (2001), but stands up as a work that is at once disturbingly sensuous and heartless. The plot's split-identity reboot and luridly realized paranoia may feel more intelligible in 2008 (especially after the three-hour free fall of Mr Lynch's most recent film, Inland Empire), and there are at least two mind fornications in the film that rank among the director's best."
The film "has attracted a growing cult," writes Dennis Lim in Slate. "With its myriad doublings and insistent twinning of the sex and death drives, it has been a goldmine for psychoanalytically inclined scholars (including philosopher Slavoj Zizek), who have deciphered the plot in terms of repressed memory, wish fulfillment, and repetition compulsion.... Those who love or loathe Lost Highway, which Lynch co-wrote with novelist Barry Gifford, probably do so for much the same reason: It's visceral to the point of discomfort."
"On the heels of Lionsgate's excellent Jean-Luc Godard collection, comes its perfect complement and almost exact opposite, a box set of films featuring the French megastar Alain Delon, captured at the height of his popularity in the 1960s and 70s," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "Mr Godard and Mr Delon, political as well as aesthetic opposites, did come together for one highly publicized project in 1990, the coyly titled Nouvelle Vague. A standoff at best, it is not included in either of Lionsgate's sets, but let's hope this company has not finished its exploration of the nooks and crannies of French filmmaking."
"Strange how [Southland Tales]'s relentlessly referential and self-referential universe resembles two other releases of its moment in their formal ambition and density, Redacted and I'm Not There," writes Ray Pride of this "multi-tasking, hypertextual, grandiose, hallucinatory, howlingly vulgar, intermittently inspired, ungainly, unforgettable entertainment."
Glenn Kenny's "Monday Morning Foreign-Region DVD Report": Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage "is as striking and haunting a vision of the supernatural as Murnau's Nosferatu or Dreyer's Vampyr."
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker, Bryant Frazer, Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times) and Nathaniel R.
And of course, the Guru.
Online viewing tip. At Kevin Lee's Shooting Down Pictures, Matt Zoller Seitz on Raoul Walsh's The Died with Their Boots On.
Updates: "Lost Highway is not an artistic failure; in many ways, it's Lynch at his most daring, emotional, and personal," writes Jeremiah Kipp in Slant. "It has not achieved the same attention his other films have, though it makes a fitting companion piece to, and inversion of, Mulholland Drive in countless ways. When words failed at describing the harrowing, somnambulistic, maladroit tone, someone (perhaps Lynch himself) coined the phrase 'psychogenic fugue.' But when his work genuinely connects, even at its most base and bizarre, Lynch is one of the most pointedly realistic filmmakers in cinema, far more than most of his more naturalistic contemporaries."
"The Ice Storm (1997), newly Criterionized, makes the point with a cudgel: [Ang] Lee may have been Taiwanese, but his first all-American movie couldn't have been more American," writes Michael Atkinson for the IFC. "Bizarrely underrated and unawarded in its day (not a single Oscar nomination, though it did net a Cannes trophy for screenwriter James Schamus), the film on its face is a melancholic but bemused Mona Lisa portrait of a very particular time and place." Also reviewed is the new collection of films by Alain Resnais: "The 80s saw a Resnais renaissance, insofar as the director's touch got lighter and less pretentious, and his attraction to movies-as-gameplay became clearer.... The burning heart of the set... is Mélo (1986), a four character proto-melodrama (hence the title) based on a 1929 French play that in itself appears intent on boiling down the basic elements of romantic tragedy into a three-act iconography."
"To all those who rail against the media for overzealous reporting, taking advantage of those in crisis, or using underhanded methods to get a cheap scoop, meet your new hero, Alan Abel, whose lifelong pursuit has been to hang the media out dry," writes David Nanasi, noting the release of Abel Raises Cain on DVD at POV.
"In today's Times, Dave Kehr lays smack on the career of journeyman director J Lee Thompson, while defending King Vidor's questionable Solomon and Sheba in a roundup of Yul Brynner DVDs." So Robert Cashill steps up to defend Thompson.
Updates continue on second page!
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