Luis Lopez and Trisha Ziff’s documentary focuses on what might be the single most famous photographic portrait of the 20th century: Alberto Korda’s image of the beret-wearing Ernesto “Che” Guevara.The photograph itself was cropped down from a larger picture that showed Guevara at the 1960 memorial service for the victims of the La Coubre explosion. [...]
Originally broadcast on HBO, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s re-imagining of the rise and fall of Winston Churchill’s wartime government is fueled by Brendan Gleeson’s wonderfully irascible interpretation of the celebrated leader, which won a richly deserved Emmy Award.Outside of capturing the distinctive physical and vocal dimensions of Churchill, Gleeson also taps into the leader’s brutally contradictory personality. [...]
The extraordinary story of Hannah Senesh (1921-1944) is not very well known to most people, so there is reason to be grateful for Roberta Gossman’s wonderful documentary.The daughter of a prominent Jewish family in Budapest, Senesh fled her native country for British-mandated Palestine prior to the outbreak of World War II. In 1943, she joined [...]
By: Jessica Baxter On the surface, it might seem like just another Awkward Michael Cera Comedy. It’s true that element is present, but it’s also so much more. “Youth in Revolt” is the story of a precocious Bay Area teenager named Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) whose affinity for Frank Sinatra and Italian cinema only briefly [...]
The focus of this documentary is the advocacy group Combatants for Peace, which is made up of members of the Israeli Defense Force that refused to go on duty in the occupied territories and former Palestinian resistance fighters who are eager to pursue Gandhian nonviolence as a means of gaining statehood.Members of both sides needed [...]
by Brad Cook“If someone had to be the cartoon of punk rock, it might as well be Sid. He was pretty good at it,” Siouxsie and the Banshees bass player Steve Severin says during this documentary. He later comments: “One of [the Sex Pistols] had to die to make the myth work, and Sid was [...]
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “gay man”? Stereotypes would insist that such individuals are sissified and campy, along the lines of Paul Lynde. Christopher Hines’ documentary “The Bull Factor” is designed to pull down the dreary stereotypes and show that gay men come in masculine shapes and sizes – blue [...]
Katie Cadigan and Laura Murray’s compelling documentary traces how a group of concerned parents created a grassroots program that changed how the medical profession and the wider society viewed schizophrenia. In the post-World War II years, psychiatrists were too ready to dismiss schizophrenia in a pseudo-Freudian manner: it was considered to be the damage created [...]
Phil Grabsky’s documentary covered 25,000 miles across Europe to retrace the life and career of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The good news is that the real Mozart was eons removed from the crass buffoon portrayed by Tom Hulce in the Oscar-winning film version of “Amadeus.” The great news is that the real Mozart was a truly [...]
by Elias Savada While the songs are familiar, I never caught the Broadway show with book by Arthur Kopit and music by Maury Yeston—either the 1982 original directed by Tommy Tune or the 2003 revival, both Tony Award winning productions. Like Mel Brooks’ The Producers, Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine reflects a cinema to theater [...]
Peter Jackson’s head must have been spinning as he read Alice Sebold’s disturbing if obvious novel, “The Lovely Bones.” After viewing the film version, we’d guess that the novel brought many a fantastical set piece to the filmmaker’s vision. The otherworld of the novel’s dead girl, Susie Salmon, suggests all sorts of whims: trees bursting [...]
This DVD double feature, which is being released ahead of the Robert Downey Jr. film “Sherlock Holmes,” offers a pair of films from Universal’s popular 1940s series of Sherlock Holmes adventures, starring Basil Rathbone as the world’s greatest detective and Nigel Bruce as his sidekick Dr. Watson.“Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror” (1942) was [...]
If one subscribes to the manufactured buzz emanating from Hollywood, Jeff Bridges is due for an Oscar for his “Crazy Heart.” If that is the case, it says very little for Academy Award quality control.Bridges plays Bad Blake, a has-been country music star who finds himself, at age 57, playing bowling alleys and cheap bars [...]
At no family dinner on the planet would a tearful tyke yell at her father: “You’re just mad because Mom would rather sleep with Uncle Tommy than you!” It’s a moment that shouldn’t have made it to the final cut of “Brothers,” Jim Sheridan’s remake of a 2004 Danish film about the impact of battle-triggered [...]
Chinese film director Chen Kaige, best known for his 1993 “Farewell My Concubine,” helmed his first opera production with this lavish interpretation of the Puccini warhorse, which opened the 2008 Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia, Spain. Tiziano Mancini’s video record of the production brilliantly captures the best of Kaige’s vision for “Turandot” – a wonderfully [...]
The economy is in the toilet and people are being laid off. Who ya gonna call?Ryan Bingham, dashing corporate downsizer.The month-long trifecta of films featuring the ever pleasing George Clooney began with The Men Who Stare at Goats, (which wanted us to consider the silly, amusing, and inspiringly stupid things our military does in pursuit [...]
By: Jessica Baxter “Sometimes you remember a week for the rest of your life,” says blue-eyed puppy dog Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) to his jaded, older love interest. That’s certainly true if your week involves scoring a bit part alongside Orson Welles. The trouble lies in how to keep Orson from outshining everything and everyone [...]
“Invictus,” the new bad movie from Clint Eastwood, perpetuates the soggy myth that decades of virulent racial distrust can be overcome if everyone roots for the same sports team. In this case, the team is the 1995 South African rugby team that represented the post-apartheid nation during the early years of Nelson Mandela presidency.The film [...]
Right off the bat, Scorch Atlas asserts itself as, if not the coolest-looking book you’ve ever fanned between your fingers, on the short-list, interior and exterior alike. Trot it out to the right café or park bench, and people will crane to try to discern what you’re reading. Visually, its obvious allusion (though a Google [...]
Christopher Swann’s 1999 documentary, which is now being re-released on DVD, is a compelling celebration of one of the most enigmatic masterpieces of 15th century Italian art: Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the 16-year-old Ginevra de’ Benci.The portrait is significant at many levels: it was da Vinci’s first commissioned portrait (he was 22 when he [...]
Georg Wübbolt’s documentary, originally produced for German television, focuses on the conductor Herbert Von Karajan’s near-obsession with capturing his work with the Berlin Philharmonic on video.Karajan initially opposed the small screen medium, claiming the visual and audio quality of the 1950s-era television productions could not properly recreate the impact of a concert hall setting. But [...]
British filmmaker Andrew Evans asks many questions in “PetroApocalypse Now?” regarding the state of the world’s oil supplies. The answers he receives, however, are contradictory.On one side, there are those who argue the world is facing a peak oil situation where demand will soon outstrip supply – and it is possible it could be happening [...]
It would be an understatement to say that Roth has never excelled at writing women characters.
Finally, an unauthorized peek at a crucial period of a classic band that doesn’t suck! You’ve surely seen the recent Dylan and Beatles videos that feature still photos, lame background music in keys that suggest the artists’ music but can’t use it because of copyright. The Who, The Mods and the Quadrophenia Connection is actually [...]
First, I am not the strong reader I might like to be. Second, I found Chronic City tedious, boring, and uninspiring. Third, the second might find cause in the first.
Glittery and disco-flashy, but never indulgent, Greenman’s novel is so fluid that one probably won’t pick up on the key changes…
No one who is a fan of Lorrie Moore, or of coming-of-age novels rich in wit and specificity, should resist reading A Gate At The Stairs.
Pain is one of the particles forming the novel’s packed core. The story focuses (largely) on graying-haired Harry, a man who once suffered a loss that left his life in shambles.
The characters in these stories are all recovering from the demise of a major relationship: a broken marriage, neglectful parents, ungrateful children, lack of sex, sexual abuse, and overall disillusionment with the people closest to them.
Those expecting this documentary to be about the mind-expanding, space-travel inducing, true sacred portal to the gods types of mushrooms, you have to wait until the latter half of the film. The first part is about plain old yummy wild mushrooms, and the people who love them, hunt for them, and hold festivals in honor [...]