Home / Tag: film
Monday, July 7, 2008

Rebecca returns to Manderley

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” begins the narrator at the opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The woman speaking, the heroine of the emotionally harrowing classic, is never named. And that is only one of many intriguing twists in a movie that has lost none of its fascination over time. The title character of the 1940 film is never seen but always present. The woman called Rebecca died before the story begins...
Monday, July 7, 2008

Will WALL-E save the world?

Starting with Toy Story, Pixar Studios has produced the finest animated feature films for mainstream audiences since the days when Walt Disney was young. Pixar’s vivid animation was always executed with pioneering technology, but that would matter less if the scripts weren’t so funny, trenchant and intelligent. Even the dumbest Hollywood cartoon directors have figured out a formula to keep the kids happy and the adults amused. Pixar brings a more profound sophistication for a multi-generational audience, excelling beyond what contemporary Hollywood animated and live action movies usually achieve...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spike Lee versus Clint Eastwood

I am an unabashed admirer of Spike Lee movies, especially Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992). His achievements as a director are among the most notable of the last 20 years. Thus, I took to heart Lee’s recent criticism of Clint Eastwood for failing to use black actors in Flags of Our Fathers and its companion piece, Letters from Iwo Jima (both 2006). In fact, some 900 blacks participated in this bloody World War II battle, including my late uncle, Lonnie Brake, a U.S. Marine from Milwaukee. On the whole, though, Eastwood has an admirable record . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Robert Downey’s superhero

If you’re anything like me, you know of Iron Man from the Black Sabbath song, not the Vietnam-era comic book that inspired it. But out in the hinterlands of fandom, Iron Man remained a popular Marvel superhero, even if Hollywood never lifted him from pulp pages to the big screen. It wasn’t for lack of interest. The one-man panzer division moved from studio to studio, attracting and repelling actors and directors. After more than 10 years in development, Iron Man has finally arrived, with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and director Jon Favreau (Elf) behind the viewfinder.
Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Hollywood fairy tale

Ten years ago I described Tarsem’s feature debut as a director, The Cell, as an example of an emerging cinema whose impressions were visual more than verbal and whose visuals were achieved in part by quick montages of images. That Tarsem made his mark with the R.E.M. video “Losing My Religion,” as well as sneaker and soft drink ads, was held against him by critics who resisted the kinetic, jump cutting visual language of the MTV generation . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

From friendship to love?

Can close but Platonic friendship between man and woman grow into love and marriage? The romantic comedy Made of Honor explores the theme with humor and insight. One imagines the principal screenwriter, Adam Sztykiel, may have been close to the situation experienced by his protagonists, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Made of Honor is effervescent as champagne but packs an eight-proof kick below the bubbles. The sharp edges of the script are felt in the opening scene, set at Cornell in 1998 during a student masquerade dance . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Love, lust and empire

Famed Indian producer Ismail Merchant is dead, but the brand name he developed with American director James Ivory lives on. Before the Rains, by Indian filmmaker Santosh Sivan, bears the tag “Merchant Ivory Presents” and is the sort of production Messrs. Merchant and Ivory relished. Before the Rains is a carefully recreated and opulent period drama that explores the psychology of individuals grappling, and losing their grip, with the historical conditions of their time. Several important Merchant Ivory films examined the uncertain relations between East and West in colonial times, especially in India . . .
Friday, June 13, 2008

Today @ the Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater - 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. a

The Humphrey Imax Dome Theater debuts its latest film today: Mysteries of the Great Lakes. The cameras document some of the oddities hidden underneath the world’s largest lakes—from unusual fish to sunken ships—while the filmmakers tell of the environmental damage done to the lakes and what’s being done to . . .
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today @ the Humphrey Imax Dome Theater - 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

The Humphrey Imax Dome Theater’s most recent presentation, Grand Canyon Adventure, lives up to the promise of the final word in its title: It’s an exhilarating, fast-paced tour of the rivers of the Grand Canyon, complete with fast-paced river-rafting scenes. Of course, there’s educational merit, too: A pair of . . .