Sam Green, co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary, The Weather Underground, breaks his silence at All these wonderful things: "As depressing as this whole Bill Ayers thing has been, I am hopeful about one thing, and that is that I don't think that it will work. It was pathetic enough when Hillary trotted this shit out, but today, with the financial meltdown and all the other real issues that we're facing, I just can't see how this desperate, bankrupt ploy by McCain and his VP-pick will turn things around."
"Was A Face in the Crowd another of those films they just couldn't handle on first-run (along with Ace in the Hole, Vertigo, Touch of Evil, and others) or are historians selling us a bill of goods that folks were too dumb then to get it the way we do now?" asks John McElwee. "Wishful modern thinkers say A Face in the Crowd touched a nerve in 1957. My indication is that it simply tanked, but not from lack of trying."
"With its two-dimensional figures and flattened perspectives, the Walt Disney classic Sleeping Beauty imitates the look of an illuminated manuscript from the Middle Ages, but its bright, buzzing colors - aquamarine, chartreuse, magenta, goldenrod - are unmistakably those of midcentury America." Dave Kehr in the New York Times: "It's as if a Book of Hours had been crossbred with an Amana appliance catalog. Those colors practically soar off the screen in the new Blu-ray version of Sleeping Beauty that Disney released last week, making it the first of this studio's perennials to appear in that new, high-definition format."
Somewhat related: In the Guardian, artist Jake Chapman argues that "Bambi is the corrupter of innocence."
"During an era in which class barriers were every bit as unbridgeable for most people as they are today, the notion of a magical form of class mobility in which music and love ultimately counted for more than money was irresistible to an audience that couldn't afford luxuries," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum. "Making fun of itself throughout, [Rouben Mamoulian's 1930 musical] Love Me Tonight revels in the sort of absurdities that such a fantasy entails."
"It took the French to recognize noir for what it was, and, in the personage of pulp archangel Jean-Pierre Melville, to transform the noir paradigm into a full-on dark night of existentialist tribulation," writes Michael Atkinson for IFC. "The two Melvilles to get newly, ravishingly Criterionized, Le Doulos (1962) and Le Deuxième Souffle (1966), are studies in the famous genre's evolution from haphazard Zeitgeist to the expressionistic poetry of modern alienation." Also: The Last Laugh "plays like a parable on service industry exploitation, a downsizing nightmare, and thus it is not far from Kafka, or from modern American society."
If you had to choose one single indispensable DVD, what would it be? PopMatters asks 30 people - and you.
"Moontide (1942), one of three new releases in the ongoing Fox Noir series, and a major discovery for most of us, was a proto-noir especially informed by European tastes," writes Josef Braun. "Fritz Lang was its first director before the more utilitarian Archie Mayo took over, and Lang's moody aesthetics remain very much intact."
"Giant steps are being taken in the English-speaking cinema world to help us poor audiences finally get to see the many, many masterpieces of human vivacity and emotion created by French director Maurice Pialat," writes Daniel Kasman. "That the work is currently being done over the pond by the Masters of Cinema DVD company in Region 2 and not here in the US in our neglected region is a blessing obviously mixed but optimistic: the films look great, and this is the only place we will get to see them subtitled in English." Also in the Auteurs' Notebook, Glenn Kenny on Police: "It's fascinating to watch as Pialat's film, which was conceived as a sort of star-studded comeback for the director (his prior picture, À nos amours, while acknowledged as a classic today, did poor business in France) evolves from a kind of procedural into a typically probing and painful study of loneliness and rage."
"One of the net effects of sitting through [Ozploitation doc] Not Quite Hollywood is that it made me want to immediately see every single film they featured that I haven't seen already," writes Moriarty at AICN. "And while I was at the festival, I mentioned that to Don May, owner and poobah of Synapse Films, a great DVD label that I've written about at length here over the years. He smiled and said, 'I've got a ton of those films coming out.'" A DVD roundup.
Robert Davis at Daily Plastic on Richard Attenborough's Chaplin: "[I]s [Robert] Downey Jr who makes the film more than a regrettable footnote; thanks to his out-of-band contribution, it's a regrettable footnote with an asterisk that reads 'outstanding performance.'"
"Monty Python clearly owes a lot to this team." Susan Stewart on The Best of... What's Left of... Not Only... but Also..., a collection of the remaining eight episodes of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook's late-60s show for the BBC.
Steve-O's double feature at Noir of the Week: The Bank Job (2008) and Armored Car Robbery (1950).
Online viewing tip. Bryant Frazer takes a "look at a crucial 'dream sequence' from Ingmar Bergman's Persona, drawing on ideas in the book Mindscreen by Bruce Kawin and putting it in context with the rest of the film."
Online contest. "The Unusual Times' 50 Favorite Films Featuring Freaks and Oddities DVD Giveaway."
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker, Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical), Paul Clark (Screengrab), DVD Talk, Ambrose Heron and Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times).
And of course, keep your eye on the Guru.
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