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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 . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Action-adventure in middle school

Sylvester Stallone’s grimacing killing machine, Rambo, became a symbol of jingoism in the Reagan era, applauded by many Americans and derided by others. Those with a queasy sense of irony even found him funny. In Son of Rambow (so spelled because of trademark difficulties), British writer-director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) would have us believe that the bulletproof avenger was capable of liberating the human imagination and inspiring a generation . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From the Matrix to the playpen

I was born a year too soon for the “Speed Racer” television show. Other than overhearing the irritatingly insistent theme song, I was never exposed to it. “Speed Racer” was kid stuff—a show for fourth graders when I was ready for grade five. Those are the years when minute age differences can make all the difference in the world.
Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today @ the Times Cinema - 1:30 p.m.

A bachelor photographer reconnects with an old love in the 2006 drama The Favor, only to lose her in a freak accident. He tries to be a father to her orphaned 16-year-old son, but the kid is more interested in creating chaos than bonding. The film, which screens this at the Times Cinema at 1:30 p.m., milks plenty of . . .

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