As Above, So Below
It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…
Scott Jordan Harris is a film critic from Great Britain. Formerly editor of The Spectator's arts blog and The Big Picture magazine, he is now a culture blogger for The Daily Telegraph; a contributor to BBC Radio 4's The Film Programme and Front Row and Roger Ebert's UK correspondent.
He is the author of the book Rosebud Sleds and Horses' Heads: 50 of Film's Most Evocative Objects and the editor of the New York, New
Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco volumes of the World Film Locations
His writing has been published by, among others, Sight & Sound, The Spectator, BBC online, The Guardian, Fangoria, The Huffington Post, The Australian Film Institute, movieScope and RogerEbert.com.
He first went to a cinema to see Disney’s Pinocchio and the loud music, combined with the scary whale, made him cry. He was 22.
Bombay Sapphire and Geoffrey Fletcher gave short filmmakers a challenge. Scott Jordan Harris examines the results.
Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.
Our friend and colleague Jeff Shannon passed away yesterday. Scott Jordan Harris remembers Jeff's life and work.
Scott Jordan Harris picks his favorite piece of Roger's writing.
Scott Jordan Harris muses on the awful pleasures of the lowest-grossing film of 2012.
Roger was a titan in the film community, but he was also a beacon for the seriously disabled.
"Thrilla in Manila" is available on DVD, and in six parts on YouTube.
Joe Frazier was the toughest fighter I've ever seen. I keep a picture of him above my bed. It preserves, in one immortal monochrome moment, the most important punch Smokin' Joe ever threw: the left hook that floored Muhammad Ali, and retained Frazier's world title, in the final round of 1971's "Fight of the Century" in Madison Square Garden.
I love Jerry Lewis. I love Jerry Lewis so much that I have a friend who, whenever I mention Lewis online, sends me the simple two word message "Rupert Pupkin". That, of course, is the name of Robert De Niro's deranged wannabe in Martin Scorcese's "The King of Comedy". Pupkin is so obsessed with Jerry Langford, the comedian played by Jerry Lewis, that he kidnaps him and takes his place on his talk show.
Britain is overrun with film festivals. I wouldn't be shocked to learn we have more per hundred miles per year than any nation on Earth. But there is room for more, provided they are carefully conceived, intelligently programmed and don't overreach themselves in their early years. ID Fest, which ran this year between May 24 and 27, is a fine example.
Beginning in 2010, with a year off in 2011, ID Fest is "a boutique festival", with each instalment programmed around a specific theme branching from the larger theme of identity - hence "ID" Fest. As such, it separates itself from Britain's large international festivals; small, un-themed local festivals; and genre fests, of which there seem to be more each month. The first ID Fest investigated what it means to be English (as opposed to British) but the second had a far broader focus, befitting its ambitions to become a truly international festival. In 2012, its theme was heroism.
The saying in boxing is that "styles make fights". It means that two elegant matadors like Muhammad Ali, or two rampaging bulls like Joe Frazier, wouldn't have contested the classics fought by one Muhammad Ali and one Joe Frazier. The saying is true, and its truth extends beyond boxing to all sporting rivalries.
And, just as "fights" is not limited to boxing matches, "style" is not limited to physical methods of competition. "Style" includes styles of speaking, styles of thinking, styles of living. And, of course, "style" also includes skin color.