Archives for March 2009

When Lightning Struck…

Ever been struck by lightning while watching a movie?That is to say, can you remember an occasion when a particular moment in a movie changed the way you watch movies?Was there a foreign film that opened the door to an appreciation of subtitled movies? Or a sequence that made you interested in something other than just The Story?In the last pages of Through a Screen Darkly, I wrote about Mike Hertenstein, the guy behind the Cornerstone festival's excellent film program Flickerings. I … [Read more...]


Hi,Michael Leary and I are happy to announce the release of Filmwell (, a new website that will be updated daily with essays, film and DVD reviews, and news on cinema off the beaten track. Founding Filmwell contributors include widely published authors and critics, as well as film festival programmers and educators. Filmwell content is dictated by the whims of its contributors, who frequent national festivals, scour DVD catalogs and screening schedules, and are otherwise … [Read more...]

Hello, “Goodbye”

A.O. Scott's review of Ramin Bahrani's third feature Goodbye Solo has reached out from my laptop screen and grabbed me by the eyeballs.Here are a few snippets: … [Read more...]

“Wise Blood” is Coming to Criterion

This may be the only thrilling opportunity I have to tag a post with both "Flannery O'Connor" and "The Criterion Collection." So here goes...The Criterion Collection is already wondrous beyond all measure, but do they really have to show off like this?They're adding John Huston's legendary 1979 adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood in May. … [Read more...]

Browser: U2 speaks. Filmmakers & Critics Pick Favorites. Buddy Miller.

Here's one of the best U2 interviews I've seen, filmed in Fez.It's not a very *professional* interview -- the interviewer asks redundant questions and keeps getting interrupted. But the band seems relaxed, in good humor, and full of surprising answers. You'll find out who Larry Mullen Jr.'s favorite band (besides U2) really is. And you'll find out what "Get On Your Boots" really about. Biggest surprise: The call to prayer begins in the town behind them, and the band chooses to stop the … [Read more...]

Wild Things!

They make my heart sing!I recently listened to an archived interview by Terry Gross with author Maurice Sendak. It brought back memories of the strange emotions I felt as a child whenever I read Where the Wild Things Are. That I feel those same feelings watching this trailer is very promising indeed. If I feel them as I watch the film itself, it will be something truly wonderful. And Spike Jonze might be just the man to make that happen.I also think this is my all-time favorite match … [Read more...]

The Return of Majid Majidi

For a short while, Majid Majidi was my favorite Iranian filmmaker.But then again, for a while, he was the only Iranian filmmaker that I could name.I'm still a beginner when it comes to international cinema, but while I've found other Iranian artists whose work is more exciting for me, I'm still eager to check out anything this director does. I suspect that if any Iranian filmmaker is likely to win a big following in America, it's Majidi. And his new film is winning some persuasively … [Read more...]

Subtitles Matter.

I have a favorite t-shirt. It's from the Flickerings film festival. It's bright red, and on the back it says "So many subtitles, so little time."I have friends who groan when they learn a movie is subtitled, and some of them lose interest entirely when they learn a film is in a foreign language. Me, if I charted my rate of enjoyment, I'd probably find that I enjoy films from outside of America far more often than enjoy films made in America. Subtitles don't bother me at all. In fact, lately … [Read more...]

“Knowing” Remarks from Ebert and… Well… Others

Roger Ebert bothered many film critics and moviegoers when he turned in a four-star review of Alex Proyas's new film Knowing. Today, he's defending his rave review.Meanwhile, Christianity Today's review was posted last week -- more high praise.But that review inspired backlash too. Here are a few of my favorite lines from the comments of CT Movies readers: "Although there are some shorts which may show a little cleavage, it's never done sexually..." Shorts which show cleavage? I've … [Read more...]

Pixar’s “Up” at Cannes; Pete Docter Talks Faith and Filmmaking

I'm happy to see Pixar's new film opening on the kind of platform that the studio deserves. Up is opening the Cannes Film Festival with a presentation in Disney Digital 3-D on Wednesday May 13th, 2009. That marks the first time an animated film has opened the festival. Wish I could be there.Writer/director Pete Docter was interviewed in Radix (thanks to the CT blog for the link) back when Monsters Inc. was released. Here's an interesting excerpt: Radix: How would you say that being a … [Read more...]