The Grand Budapest Hotel
As much as "The Grand Budapest Hotel" takes on the aspect of a cinematic confection, it does so to grapple with the very raw and,…
"Room 237" is a captivating and engrossing new documentary exploring the covert symbols and whacked-out theories that have obsessed ardent fans of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror film, "The Shining." From a personal secret statement about the Holocaust to a cryptic confession about his involvement in a supposed NASA cover of the Apollo 11 moon landing, "Room 237" offers the wildly diverse interpretations of five obsessed film fanatics regarding Kubrick's possible hidden intentions. Katherine Tulich interviewed the film's LA based director Rodney Ascher and producer Tim White for this video report.
"This is the best use of 3-D I've ever seen," I say to Ang Lee. And I mean it. His "Life of Pi," based on Yann Martel's novel about a shipwrecked boy, is an astonishment, not least because it never uses 3-D for its effect, but instead as a framing device for the story as a whole. There are, for example, shots where the point of view is below the sea's surface, looking up at the boat and into the sky beyond. The surface of the sea seems to be an invisible membrane between the water and the air. I've never seen anything like it.
There's a tense scene in Ben Affleck's new thriller "Argo" that dramatizes how the magic of Hollywood is potent all over the world. The movie, based on a true story, involves a cockamamie scheme to rescue six American embassy workers during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by passing them off as location scouts for a non-existent science-fiction epic.
Andrew Sarris, who loved movies, is dead at 83. He was the most influential American film critic of his time, and one of the jolliest. More than anyone else, he was responsible for introducing Americans to the Auteur Theory, the belief that the true author of a film is its director. Largely because of him, many moviegoers today think of films in terms of their directors.
In its own way, the success of the Iranian film "A Separation" is as remarkable as the success of "The Artist." Neither one seems made for an American audience. One is silent and black and white. The other is from Iran, a nation not currently in official favor. Both just won Academy Awards nominations, following their victories at the Golden Globes last week. "The Artist" had ten, and "A Separation" was nominated not only for best picture but, in a surprise, for Asghar Farhadi's original screenplay.
When she was not yet five years old, Tilda Swinton told me, she saved the life of her brother. At least that's what everyone told her, and praised her for, and only little Tilda knew that soon after he was brought home from the hospital she intended to murder the baby.
To borrow a line from "Citizen Kane," I knew Oprah before the beginning, and now I know her after the end. The remaining episodes of her show bring to a close the most phenomenal run of any talk show host in history and ring down the curtain on the second act of a life that seems poised to have many more. What lies ahead? Her new cable network, we know. But I suspect she also has a future in high public office.
Sidney Lumet was one of the finest craftsmen and warmest humanitarians among all film directors. He was not only a great artist but a much-loved man. When the news of his death at 86 arrived on Saturday, it came as a shock, because he had continued so long to be so productive.
Who was the first person brought to trial and faced with the death penalty for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Most people can be forgiven for thinking it was John Wilkes Booth. They would be mistaken. It was a woman named Mary Surratt, whose connection with the plot against Lincoln remains a matter of debate.
Elizabeth Taylor, who was a great actress and a greater star, has died at age 79. Of few deaths can it be said that they end an era, but hers does. No other actress commanded more attention for longer, for her work, her beauty, her private life, and a series of health problems that brought her near death more than once.