A celebration of director David Lynch's filmography in anticipation of an upcoming retrospective at the IFC Center in New York.
A holiday gift guide compiling RogerEbert.com's reviews of Blu-ray/DVD releases and boxed sets and a few more books from 2014.
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.
Is it love at first sight? It's certainly lust at first sight between them in the beginning. Something clicks inside. They soon begin their secret affair, and then, motivated by their common desire to escape from the world they're stuck in, they hatch a scheme to solve their problems once for all. They have a good plan. They can succeed if they carefully tiptoe along the thin line they draw. However, in the world of film noir, it is usually easier said than done.
Superheroes may have been born in comic books, but they were made for the movies. Defying the laws of physics, and occasionally the laws of society, they tend to be transgressors whose supernatural powers (or costumes and gadgets) enable them to surpass the abilities of mortals when it comes to maintaining stability and order -- or, at least, exacting revenge -- whether they act on behalf of themselves or society (or the cosmos) at large. "Truth, justice and the American Way," as the Man of Steel might put it.
Q. Everyone is up in arms over "Hannibal" getting an R instead of an NC-17. What about the PG-rated "See Spot Run," the most disgusting excuse for a "family" movie I've ever seen? You've no idea the sensation I got when I took my four- and eight-year-old kids to a movie that tried to get laughs from a man's testicles getting bitten off by a dog, and David Arquette trying to make a Chaplin-type ballet out of falling into doggy-doo. Where are the censors when you really need them? (Steve Bailey, Jacksonville Beach, FL)
Q. My 10-year-old son and I took off half a day so we could see "Jack," our favorite actor's "sweet little movie," as Robin Williams described it on Leno. I was stunned by the highly sexualized depiction of boys in the fifth grade. Since we have one, I can assure you that Penthouse magazine is really not part of the picture at this developmental stage. My greatest concern was the conduct between Fran Drescher and Robin Williams. None of the little boys were laughing or even connecting with the weird scene of Williams pawing his friend's mother. The french kiss was offensive, and proved that somehow Hollywood felt it had to even the score by showing that boys can be exploited by women. What was the point? This was hardly intended for the same audience as "The Graduate" or "Summer of '42." My son's reaction was confusion and disgust as he tried to figure out why this was in the movie. My reaction was, the movie was a colossal betrayal by Mr. Williams. FYI, I am a lawyer and have spent much of my professional career involved in the representation of children and the creation and implementation of laws related to child abuse and neglect. Please consider the content of the movie as people need to at least be aware that it is hardly the benign little story it is cracked up to be! (Myra Werrin Sacks, Harrisburg, Pa.)
Q. Do you think that because you've reviewed so many movies, your opinions may not reflect that of the public? If you say the storyline has been overused, does it mean it isn't a good movie to other people who haven't seen as many movies as you? Others may think it's an original storyline and enjoy the movie. Is it possible to be an objective movie critic? (Andy Chin, San Diego)
When he made his first movie, back in the mid-'60s, William Friedkin was such a foe of capital punishment, he took it as his subject. His documentary defended Paul Crump, a man on Death Row in Illinois. Friedkin didn't think he belonged there: "I thought he was innocent, but I remember seriously arguing with the family of his alleged victim that even if he was guilty, he shouldn't be killed - because he was now a different man than he was then."
Bora Bora, Society Islands -- To get here you take off from Honolulu and fly into tomorrow, crossing the international date line for a refueling stop on Samoa. Then you fly back into yesterday and land on Tahiti, switch to an Air Polynesia flight to a coral landing strip, take a motorboat for another hour's journey, and arrive after dark at the island James Michener called the most beautiful in the world. It's a long way to go to visit a movie location, but then Dino De Laurentiis went a long way to shoot his movie.
"It was just a year ago at this time," Jessica Lange remembered. "The screen tests were on Dec. 17 and 19, and then I went home for Christmas. And I said to my folks, I've got some news for you that you're not going to believe. I'm, ah, I'm going to star in 'King Kong'..."
Film House in Stockholm - The lunch break always comes precisely at noon, as if Ingmar Bergman has a built-in timepiece, one of those clocks that are always ticking away in his movies. The director retires to his tiny cell across from the sound stage to eat fresh fruit and think about the afternoon's filming.