In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb fahrenheit eleven nine

Fahrenheit 11/9

The messiness of Moore’s film starts to feel appropriate for the times we’re in. With a new issue being debated every day, is it any…

Thumb american chaos doc

American Chaos

A heartfelt but scattershot documentary that tries to get inside the mind of Donald Trump's America, but mainly succeeds as a snapshot of the 2016…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

We don't want to remember the sadness

• Grace Wang in Toronto, whose four-part video interview with Chung is below her essay.

Lucky life isn't one long string of horrorsand there are moments of peace, and pleasure, as I lie in between the blows.

- Lucky Life by Gerald Stern

Ringing true to the poem the film is inspired by, Lee Isaac Chung's "Lucky Life" avoids the typical horrors of cookie-cutter narratives, and belies itself to moments of peace and pleasure that lull within its memory-shaped form.

Continue reading →

From the Valley of the Wind

There is a point in Homer's "The Odyssey" where Odysseus is washed ashore from a shipwreck.A young woman comes to his aid, rescuing him from his end. She was Nausicaa, lover of nature, and eventually serving as a mother of his rebirth. In Hayao Miyazaki's first masterpiece "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" he heralds a protagonist of similar inspiration, whose own odyssey and heroism would take on Homeric proportions.

Continue reading →

A man with inklings of a soul

The 60s were a rough transition for America. Major shifts seemed to be occurring in every fabric of society from civil rights to sexual mores. The worsening course of the Vietnam war fueled distrust in political institutions. Women's rights highlighted a breaking from oppressive traditions. The old seemed to be fading away more radically than ever before.

Like the era it was made in, "Hud" was a key shift. As film critic Emmanuel Levy correctly puts it, it is "a transitional film between the naive films of the early 60s and the more cynical ones later in the decade." Though it plays as a compelling drama of small town life and family tribulation, through its lens of father-son conflict, it also captures the angst in the loss of authority, the gap between of two different generations, and an elegy for the good ole' days.

Continue reading →

The offer we cannot refuse

May Contain Spoilers

Behind every great fortune there is a crime. - Balzac

So states the prologue of Mario Puzo's novel, "The Godfather," a debatable statement that rings true nonetheless. It certainly feels like "the truth" after visiting this world. Does it mean that the Corleone family was completely amoral? Not at all, and that is what separates this material from just about every previous gangster film. This family provided justice and protection to those who couldn't get it elsewhere. They also gave them gambling, women and liquor--but heck, they did draw a line at drugs. If there is one thing that Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola evidently were clear about, it's that black or white characters aren't particularly exciting.

The phenomenal success of the Godfather Trilogy can basically be attributed to the decision on the part of Paramount executives to put their helm in the hands of a master filmmaker at his very peak who also happened to be one of the few raised in a family with the precise sensibilities required to take the material from Mario Puzo's best-selling novel and make it feel absolutely real.

Continue reading →

Encounters at the End of the Mind

May Contain Spoilers

There are a few spoilers here. Because I am mentioning that there are spoilers, I am implying that there are things you do not want to know in advance, thus making you curious, thus lifting your expectations higher than they should be, thus making it harder for you to enjoy the film. So, enter at your own risk.

Occasionally I receive a paper from a student that is so outstanding in content and ideas, that in grading it I am compelled to overlook the shortcomings in argument, style and polish. Such is my experience with Christopher Nolan's "Inception." This movie is very ambitious, not only in the ideas it explores, but also in the expectations it has of its audience. In my estimation, having watched the film on a giant screen with a packed theater of cheering, laughing, and groaning moviegoers at a popular suburban multiplex, it fulfills its ambitions of big-budget intelligent storytelling.

Continue reading →

To travel and live without reasons

May Contain Spoilers

When I observed the lifestyle of Ryan Bingham in Jason Reitman's wonderful movie "Up in the Air" early in this year, Lawrence Kasdan's 1988 movie "The Accidental Tourist" came to my mind. Like Ryan, Macon Leary (William Hurt) knows a lot about traveling around by plane. He can tell you how to pack your bag as small as possible.

Continue reading →

Is a reasonable doubt unreasonable?

May Contain Spoilers

The dissection of a real life legal case from every possible point of view may be the main subject from Barbet Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune" but the heart of the film unquestionably resides in one of the most amazing acting performances in the history of cinema: Jeremy Iron's portrayal of Claus Von Bulow

The real Von Bulow was indeed convicted to a thirty year term for the murder of his socialite wife Sunny, played by Glenn Close, but the movie, without taking sides, does make it clear that his sentencing was somehow influenced by the court of public opinion in which everybody believed Claus was guilty, he had to be, he certainly seemed like a man guilty of something.

Continue reading →

He wants to marry a hairdresser

May Contain Spoilers

"Film is the medium that gives room to our fantasies, most of the time harmless, since they are fantasies. The cinema is often more beautiful than life, if only because we write the screenplay." - Leconte

The Hairdresser's husband (1990) is a film so fantastical, so sensual, so romantic, that you can not help but sigh in ached longing...a longing that, deep down, you know is untouchable, but how good it is to be drenched so thoroughly in it in a French hairdressing salon, on sunny afternoons and stormy nights?

Dreamers. Lovers. However they came to be we do not know, and it does not matter. They are so content together, indeed so happy that they seem immune to the ravishing of life's toil. Passion consumes their lives. The day begins with it, and ends with it.

Continue reading →

A boy's best friend is his mother

May Contain Spoilers

It's quite easy for someone to enjoy film. Loving film is completely different. For those who see films enjoy them, yet only those who can read film truly love it and understand it as an art form.

Hitchcock is probably the most well known director of all time. There is no absolute answer to what his crowning achievement is. A lot of critics prefer "Vertigo." Taste varies from one film lover to the other. "North by Northwest", "Notorious", "Vertigo", "Rear Window", "The Birds", "Shadow of a Doubt", "Strangers on a Train", "Rebecca", "Suspicion", "The 39 Steps" and "Psycho" are among his most loved.

The truth is there is no such thing as one ultimate Hitchcock masterpiece, there are only favorites.

Continue reading →

The People vs. George Lucas

May Contain Spoilers

A documentary called "The People vs. George Lucas" gives disgruntled, hard-core, "Star Wars" a chance to vent on the decisions George Lucas has made over the last several years, regarding the alterations to his beloved original trilogy as well as the overall outcome of that series' prequels. It may be safe to say that these fans' gargantuan expectations were not fully met.

I have to wonder if such expectations were realistic to begin with, I also ask myself if it was the world we live in today that drastically changed the rules of the game for the release of the maligned prequels. Let's face it, the insufferable Ewoks never had to face the same fate that Jar Jar Binks did when days after the release of the first prequel, a web site called www.jarjarbinkssucks.com became the talk of the web in its early days.

Continue reading →