The latest and greatest on Blu-ray and streaming services, including The Infiltrator, Cafe Society, Blood Father, and a Criterion edition of Boyhood.
Marie writes: As the dog days of summer slowly creep towards September and Toronto starts getting ready for TIFF 2013, bringing with it the promise of unique and interesting foreign films, it brought to mind an old favorite, namely The Red Balloon; a thirty-four minute short which follows the adventures of a young boy who one day finds a sentient red balloon. Filmed in the Menilmontant neighborhood of Paris and directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, The Red Balloon went on to win numerous awards and has since become a much-beloved Children's Classic.
Marie writes: Now this is something you don't see every day. Behold The Paragliding Circus! Acrobatic paragliding pilot Gill Schneider teamed up with his father’s circus class (he operates a school that trains circus performers) to mix and combine circus arts with paragliding - including taking a trapezist (Roxane Giliand) up for ride and without a net. Best original film in the 2012 Icare Cup. Video by Director/Filmmaker Shams Prod. To see more, visit Shams Prod.
Another much-anticipated film by one of the big names in this year's Cannes competition premiered this morning -- "Melancholia" by Lars von Trier. It's no secret that this apocalyptic science fiction drama ends with the destruction of the earth, since that is revealed in the first few minutes of the film. The character played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, neatly summarizes von Trier's dark pessimism with the line, "The earth is evil; we don't need to mourn for it." What is rather amazing is that a film about the destruction of all life (and von Trier posits that we are alone in the universe) could be so turgid.
That said, I think I rather prefer von Trier's wacko view of the cosmos in "Melancholia" to Terrence Malick's in "The Tree of Life." With the ingredients von Trier had to work with, it's surprising that he didn't make a better film. Following the various forms of desecration and transgression that are the hallmarks of "Antichrist," it's as if he felt the need to top himself with an even more outrageous concept, but forgot to figure out what the outrageous part would be.
"Melancholia" examines the relationship of two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in the final days before the planet named Melancholia is due to collide with the earth. The story falls into two parts. The first is named for Justine, who is blonde, conventionally pretty, and mentally unstable. The second is named for Claire, who is Justine's opposite in every way, not only in her lean, dark-haired appearance, but in her down-to-earth competence in managing the stuff of life.
I didn't attend the April 30 critics' screening for "Thor" because it was at the same time Ebertfest was showing "A Small Act," about an 88-year-old woman named Hilde Back. She'd flown from Sweden, and I wanted be onstage to present her with the Golden Thumb. Missing "Thor 3D" was not an inconsolable loss, because Richard Roeper covered it for the paper and I was able to see it in Chicago in nice, bright 2D. The house was surprisingly well-populated for a 8:50 p.m. screening on a Monday, suggesting that some people, at least, will make an effort to avoid 3D.
"Thor" is failure as a movie, but a success as marketing, an illustration of the ancient carnival tactic of telling the rubes anything to get them into the tent.
From the Grand Poobah: Netflix is great, but they don't have everything and seem to be weak on silent films. Here's a pay site streaming a large and useful selection of high-quality films, world-wide....
Marie writes: when Roger told me about this place, I signed-up to see if I could watch one their free movies? Yup! I can stream MUBI in Canada; though content will vary depending on where you live (that's also case with Netflix Canada) and so nothing new there. And after looking through their current catalog, I can report that they do indeed have some rare movies - stuff I've never found anywhere else. I even read that Martin Scorcese is a member.
CANNES, France--The so-far disappointing 2003 Cannes Film Festival stirred from its torpor over the weekend with sex, violence and dogma. This being Cannes, dogma got the most attention, as Lars Von Trier, a founder of the minimalist Dogma movement, unveiled his three-hour "Dogville." This is one of the most confounding and exasperating films of the festival, and maybe it is brilliant, but I will not be able to determine that until I have recovered from the ordeal of sitting through it.