"The coincidental releases this week of a pair of cult staples - Freaks and Geeks (in a deluxe 'yearbook' set) and Bottle Rocket (in a Criterion edition) - make for an intriguing compare-and-contrast exercise," writes Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times. "Since these early efforts, Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson have emerged as the twin kingpins of misfit man-child comedy." Related: "Owen and Luke Wilson's mom is apparently a pretty kick-ass black-and-white photographer and she documented tons of the Bottle Rocket boys adventures." The Playlist samples the work of Laura Wilson.
"Five years down the line, All the Real Girls retains its position as one of the most visually distinctive American independent films produced," writes Vadim Rizov at Screengrab. It may also be "one of the most influential films of the decade."
Jonathan Rosenbaum on Chris Marker: "[G]iven the vicissitudes of Marxist causes over most of the 20th century as well as the span of his travels, second and third thoughts are an essential part of the process of sorting things out. It's a private activity in some ways, yet one that he feels moved to share openly with an audience, at least within certain parameters. That's why it qualifies as a first-person cinema..., exemplified above all by Sans Soleil (1982), his testament and his masterpiece."
"One of the crucial figures of Austrian cinema was Canadian: John Cook (1935 - 2001), self-confessed 'Viennese by choice' made only four films in his adopted country, which have achieved nearly mythical status in Austrian film circles." Christoph Huber at Moving Image Source on the occasion of the release of Langsamer Sommer & Schwitzkasten, a two-disc collection of four films from Edition Filmmuseum.
Craig Keller on Cindy Sherman's Office Killer: "So what makes it something more than a 'sly satire'? - This film that subverts its own delivery, that satirizes the 'sly satire', is, after all, trafficking in arch-subtle distinctions." Related: Sherman has a show at Metro Pictures (through December 23), reviewed by Jerry Saltz for New York. Steven Kaplan comments.
Andrew O'Hehir introduces his interview with William Friedkin for Salon: "To claim that Friedkin must be a homophobe, or [Mart] Crowley a self-loathing gay, for creating such a bitter, strange and angry work is to misunderstand everything about The Boys in the Band - its context, its subject, its meaning. In fairness, I should add that contemporary gay audiences and artists seem to have embraced the film. In a mini-documentary on the DVD, playwright Tony Kushner describes The Boys in the Band as a profoundly influential masterpiece, and I think he's right. If it isn't quite the Invisible Man of gay culture, it might be the Native Son."
Marilyn Ferdinand explains why she comes down so hard on The Man with the Golden Arm: "I'm not here to defend [Nelson] Algren and his place in literature - only the integrity of his vision and the respect that it ought to have received from [Otto] Preminger. Instead, the director chose to make a Hollywood picture with Hollywood stars and a Hollywood ending. He could have done that with hundreds of books. He chose The Man with the Golden Arm because he wanted to blow a raspberry at the Production Code - it's just that simple. He, like so very many other producers and directors, had no use for the lives Algren felt worthy of notice."
Speaking of Preminger: Fernando F Croce in the Auteurs' Notebook: "Preminger's 'big issue' works are often compared unfavorably with his earlier noir classics. Like Exodus and The Cardinal, Advise & Consent showcases a scope that may be too broad for genre fans who prefer the seductive ambiguities of Laura, but, also like the other late pictures, it remains scrupulously sensitive to the human frailties that made their subjects controversial to begin with. As the country begins a new political chapter, it should be valued as a reminder that, even in well-oiled machines, there are people caught between the gears."
Michael Atkinson at IFC on Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World: "The film won't turn casual filmgoers into die-hard Herzogians; what they will find is the most poetic and idiosyncratic of Discovery Channel documentaries."
Chungking Express "is among Wong [Kar-wai]'s most exciting films and is an early precursor to the expressive odes to romantic longing that have come to define his work." Matt Noller in Slant.
Spurious posts Karrer's monologue from Béla Tarr's Damnation. Via wood s lot.
Glenn Kenny: "This week's DVD report asks the burning question, 'Why do you have to go to Japan, figuratively speaking, to get a Blu-ray of Minnelli's great An American in Paris?" At the Auteurs'."
Via James Wolcott, Dennis Perrin offers a guide to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 3, "840 minutes of great television, special features, interviews, and entire segments that the CBS censors clipped from the original programs.... Among the many things you notice while moving through the discs is just how tight the Smothers Brothers were and remain as a comedy team. Their timing is sharp, their chemistry undeniable."
"Originally a three part story aired in 1964 as part of Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and a bit later as a theatrical film elsewhere in the world, Dr Syn is very much in the Robin Hood and Zorro mode, with a wee bit of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde thrown in," writes DK Holm for the Vancouver Voice. "Part of Disney's commercial cunning is to reduce the need for a love interest, which is sloughed off onto secondary characters (Eric Flynn, Jill Curzon), leaving Dr Syn a dashing yet unencumbered heroe, sexy for boys without being sexual."
Ed Howard: "Bell, Book and Candle is a fanciful, charming, lightweight love story, a low-key comedy about magic and love, and whether there's really any difference at all between the two."
"The Merchant of the Four Seasons reveals what Fassbinder called his preference for 'truth-telling over story-telling,'" writes Steve Garden in the Lumière Reader.
Thomas C Renzi, author of Cornell Woolrich from Pulp Noir to Film Noir, has the Noir of the Week: Fear in the Night. "As a faithful adaptation, [Maxwell] Shane's film works extremely well."
Online viewing tip. The NYT's AO Scott on Babette's Feast. Related: Kevin Kelly's list of "Five Food Movies" at the SpoutBlog and more Thanksgiving movies from suzidoll at Movie Morlocks.
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker, DVD Talk, Jürgen Fauth & Marcy Dermansky, Flickhead, Ambrose Heron, Harry Knowles, Movie City News, Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times) and Slant.
And as always, the Guru.
Posted by dwhudson at November 25, 2008 1:31 PM
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