The latest film from director, Alfonso Cuaron (Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN), is a beautiful example of how far technical magic has gone. Though it suffers from a rather simplistic story line, the 3D artistry of the created world of outer space is enthralling.
For the second time I have tried to see Wally Shawn’s hit revival at the Public, “The Designated Mourner,” and twice I have gotten just thisclose to winning one of the prized twenty-dollar tickets. But always, I’m one or two souls away from the Golden Fleece when they announce they have no more seats.
Woody Allen has managed to tell a juicy, colorful social tale rife with undertones that speak volumes of the dark times we are living in. He manages to make the characters’ lives not only theirs, but ours – whichever side of the dollar we have found ourselves on.
When Andy Lee and I decided to do a film about London’s first mayoral race and particularly front-runner Malcolm McLaren, I was under no illusions. Malcolm had a difficult reputation and though I had spoken to him a few times about his thoughts on the coming millennium, we had never actually met. Still, I was impressed with his gift of gab and figured he’d be a live wire and fun to document.
I found Alexandra McGuinness’ debut film LOTUS EATERS disturbing. It is shot so beautifully, in a ’80s soft black and white palette, with gorgeous close-ups of perfect young faces, as if torn from a fashion spread. So from the first frame, visual appetite is up, but very quickly dissipated by the backbiting, nastiness of this spoiled group of 20-somethings. They had me yearning for Eliza Doolittle. Who are these kids? Why aren’t they looking for jobs? And how can I share some of their lifestyle?
The personal is the personal would best describe CHRONICLING A CRISIS, the latest effort by filmmaker and novelist, Amos Kollek. Kollek, an Israeli, has had a long career with a string of female-led films, including HAPPY END with actress Audrey Tautou. That HAPPY END was not a success is lucky for us as it encouraged him to put the lens on himself, juxtaposing his own aging process with the aging and death of his prominent father, Teddy Kollek, long-time mayor of Jerusalem and a drug-addled sex worker, Robin, who becomes both his muse and his barometer for understanding life’s wicked curve balls.
COOK COUNTY has the feel of really being there and at the same time wishing you could get the next bus to anywhere else. In this beat town in East Texas, a dysfunctional family tries to make sense of itself in a world that offers little hope or understanding. They live with consistent lack of jobs, crap food and a desperate vision for a future; remnants of the American dream epidemic that still holds them in its thorny claw.
A few years back I stood on the rim of Hunter S. Thompson’s memorial service in Woody Creek. I almost made it in on my Abbie Hoffman credentials (director of MY DINNER WITH ABBIE – ed.), but alas, was deported to the side of the road with what I call real journalists. Yammering on, I made the social faux pas of suggesting that if Mr. Thompson were alive, he might be put off by seeing shadows of his former self forced to stand outside the holy circle of the glam pack. I got quoted and my pre-booked interview with his widow was promptly cancelled.
Oh it was a time… BLANK CITY, a new doc by first time filmmaker Celine Danhier studiously explores the history of the No Wave filmmaking of New York in the 70’s. BLANK CITY takes its title from one of its stars, filmmaker Amos Poe whose pivotal BLANK GENERATION let the punk cat out of the bag, rough and ready and uninhampered by technique and budget. Celine clearly has fallen in love with this period of New York, much in the way, Americans before her felt and feel about the New Wave in France.