Inside Llewyn Davis
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it…
I saw my final film of Sundance 2010 here in Chicago. It was my best Sundance experience, and I want to tell you why. The film was "Jack Goes Boating," the directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It played here in the Music Box, as part of the "Sundance USA" outreach program, which has enlisted eight art theaters around the country to play Sundance entries while the festival is still underway.
The Music Box is the largest surviving first run movie palace in Chicago. It is deeper than it is wide, and has an arching ceiling where illusory clouds float and stars twinkle. Many shows are preceded by music on the organ.
The four top jury prizes at Sundance 2010 were awarded Saturday night to Debra Granik's "Winter's Bone" for best U. S. drama, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's “Restrepo” for U. S. documentary, David Michôd's “Animal Kingdom” for world drama, and Mads Brügger's “The Red Chapel" for world documentary. A special jury prize went to Mark Ruffalo's “Sympathy For Delicious.”
He is a viper, a parasite, a stalker, a vermin. He is also, I have decided, a national treasure. Ron Galella, the best known of all paparazzi, lost a lawsuit to Jackie Kennedy Onassis and five teeth to Marlon Brando, but he also captured many of the iconic photographs of his era. At 77, he is still active, making the drive from his New Jersey home and his pet bunny rabbits through the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan, the prime grazing land of his prey.
I had an idea, as many of us do, about Gallela and the species of paparazzi. It was a hypocritical idea. I disapproved of him and enjoyed his work. Yes, he comes close to violating the rights of public people, and sometimes crosses the line. He certainly crossed the line with Jackie's children.
Sometimes two films set up an uncanny resonance with one another. I saw two documentaries back to back. One filled me with hope and the other washed me in despair. They were both about the education of primary school children.
"A Small Act" centers on the life story of Chris Mburu, who as a small boy living in a mud house in a Kenyan village had his primary and secondary education paid for by a Swedish woman. This cost her $15 a month. They had never met. He went on to the University of Nairobi, graduated from Harvard Law School, and is today a United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.
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The first five Sundance entries I've seen are the kinds of film the festival exists to showcase. It is possible that many of them won't ever open in most of the places you readers live, but you've impressed me with your resourcefulness in finding them anyway (and no, I don't mean piracy). You guys demonstrate that if you want to find a movie badly enough, you often can.
One of them, "Homewrecker," is for rent right now via YouTube, in keeping with the festival's Reinvention/Rebirth/Renewal and its embrace of new distribution channels such as the net and regional art cinemas.
That one and "Armless" are playing in the new Sundance section named NEXT, which specializes in movies with "low to no budgets." The guidelines specify budgets below $500,000, and both of these look closer to half a million than to "no."
What if there's not an answer? What if Michael Haneke's "Cache" is a puzzle with only flawed solutions? What if life is like that? What if that makes it a better film? I imagine many viewers will be asking such questions in a few years, now that Martin Scorsese has optioned it for an American version. We can ask them now.
There's only one way to discuss such matters, and that's by going into detail about the film itself. I hesitate to employ the hackneyed word "spoiler" here, because no one in his right mind should read this without experiencing the film. I won't even bother with a plot synopsis. You've seen it.
The mystery, of course, involves the identity of the person or persons sending the videos which disrupt the bourgeois routine of a Parisian family. The interim solution by many viewers seems to be that Pierrot, the evasive and distant son, is their source. This despite the fact that the movie also places suspicion on Majid, the childhood victim of Georges, and on Majid's own son.
AP -- BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" won best drama at the Golden Globes and picked up the directing honor for James Cameron on Sunday, raising the "Titanic" filmmaker's prospects for another Academy Awards triumph.
To: Rush Limbaugh
Fifty years ago, a brief letter to the editor of a student newspaper led to a national furor over academic freedom. When it broke in 1959, the Leo Koch Case dominated front pages and newscasts. It remained a story for three years. Today it is so thoroughly forgotten that not even Wikipedia, which knows everything, has heard of it.
I was on the campus the whole time and later edited the same campus paper, but I don't want to write about the case. I want to write about what was said in the letter.
It was published in the autumn of 1960. Let me take you back on a trip through time. That was a Puritan era by today's standards.
AP -- The science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" has earned James Cameron his latest nomination for the top honor from the Directors Guild of America. Cameron won the guild prize 12 years ago for "Titanic." Also nominated are Kathryn Bigelow for the Iraq War drama "The Hurt Locker," Lee Daniels for the Harlem teen tale "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire," Jason Reitman for the recession-era story "Up in the Air" and Quentin Tarantino for the World War II hit "Inglourious Basterds."