Category: Film

ALIBI

For me the most interesting aspect of ALIBI is the fact that at this point (1929) the film industries of the US, Britain, Germany and France were equally capable of producing this type of film. The urban crime drama may have been pioneered by the French feuillade whose roots go back to written literature but it was perfected by Lang and the German School. Film Expressionism cried out for the geometrical shapes and dark shadows of the urban setting and the speed of what was just becoming known as ‘modern life’. After all it was only in 1920 that 50% of the American population lived in cities even though the Jeffersonian ideal of the rural ideal was to linger in both film and literature until WW2.

THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND

Forget whatever else you might have heard about THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND. When it came out no one really had it figured out. It did not fit neatly into the Peckinpah canon and it took a while after his death for a broadly philosophical-aesthetic of Peckinpah to be established to shoehorn various elements to make a coherent (but incorrect) analysis possible.

BLIZNA aka THE SCAR

BLIZNA (THE SCAR) Stephen Bednarz is a successful manager who is handed a plum assignment: to construct a huge synthetic fertilizer factory and a new town to go along with it. The magnitude of the project is stunning. It involves not only the preparation, design and construction of the plant but the social services of the town built for the plant’s workers.

IN THE FACE OF EVIL: REAGAN’S WAR IN WORD & DEED

Disappointing biopic. Whatever your personal thoughts are about the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was a key participant in the dramatic shift of the geopolitic at the end of the 20th Century. This film is a mess, self-serving to the Religious Right who feel Reagan could do no wrong and should receive sainthood. As a Lincoln Republican and son of a Goldwater Democrat I was expecting a warts and all serious, balanced documentary about Reagan’s rise from affable Hollywood “B” actor to concerned citizen to “Leader of the Free World”.

BROKEN FLOWERS

If you have something to do you might not appreciate a friend’s suggestion that you accompany them on a road trip with no set destination just for the hell of a ride. Then again, if you have nothing better to do it might be just the thing. Likewise, if you don’t mind visiting planet non sequitur taking the BROKEN FLOWERS ride will be somewhat rewarding. If on the other hand you’ve got plenty on your plate and you demand a certain modicum of logic you might find BROKEN FLOWERS terminally aggravating.

BATMAN BEGINS

Jam-packed with sexy actors, cheeky banter and explosive action, Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS re-paints this classic anti-hero comic by tackling the character’s childhood fears. Opening the film with an 8-year-old Bruce Wayne falling down a well welcomes the audience to the birth of an iconic symbol. “Why do we fall down? So we can learn to pick ourselves up,” is a recurring theme in the film that follows this tortured hero along the path to becoming a better person. More than just another comic book movie, BATMAN BEGINS will touch your heart and bring a shining hero down to earth.

BLACKOUT aka CONTRABAND

What a delightful film this is. It’s true that this film is concocted out of the same ingredients of contemporary Hitchcock film – spy suspense and romance between standoffish lovers wrapped up in a crust of a comedy of manners but it’s interesting to see the results from a different chef.

LADDER 49

The film pushes all the emotional buttons to tell an almost crackerjack tale of a young man’s journey from eager beaver new guy to seasoned veteran who has seen his best friend die on the job, his wife give birth to two children and become the typical fireman’s wife while holding back her fears about her husband’s dangerous career, and the time when mortality rears its ugly head and you are forced to decide how you plan to live out the rest of your life. When you’re a member of the Brotherhood of the Bravest, there is only one decision you make.

CONTROL ROOM

The TV station the George W. Bush regime loves to hate (“Osama Bin-Laden’s mouthpiece” – Colin Powell) gets its close-up in this controversial new film by director Jehane Noujaim “StartUp.com”.

THE DREAMERS

Make no mistake, THE DREAMERS is better than a not bad film. Its pretty OK but still something of a disappointment. The film is supposedly set in Paris in the Spring of 1968 and begins with footage of the battle for the Cinematheque Francaise both original and recreated. Instead of staying in the streets the film retreats to the interior of a grand apartment where the three principals spend most of the following film. It reminds me of the film 1969 (1988) in which while the world around is exploding in crazy ways the principals can only watch from afar as they work out their own personal what used to be called hang-ups.