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Heroism of a King Captured on Film in the Movie of George VI

Sat, 8 Jan 2011 11:27:02 EST

“The King’s Speech” is, as advertised, a riveting view, even for those who might have no special interest in the history so vividly described in this new film. King George VI always has been one of the 20th century’s most uplifting examples of rising to the task. He was thoroughly overshadowed by his glamorous brother David, King Edward VIII; and his natural shyness was intensified by a paralyzing stammer. He actively wished not to be king, and would have gotten his wish had David’s liaison...



Paul Newman, Actor, Succumbs to Cancer at 83

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 10:14:24 EST

WESTPORT, Conn. — Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario, and the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money," has died. He was 83. Newman died yesterday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, his publicist, Jeff Sanderson, said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends. In May, Newman he had dropped plans to direct a fall production of "Of Mice...



Secretariat Thunders Onto the Screen In a Magnificent Movie

Sun, 10 Oct 2010 07:49:24 EST

One of the memorable moments in my newspaper life — a span filled with wars, politics, and other dramas, high and low — is the one that flashed by in the spring of 1973, when I found myself jammed up directly against an infield fence at Churchill Downs by a crowd that had surged forward for the 99th running of the Kentucky Derby. There was nothing between me and the finish line save for a bit of wire and wood and a few feet of air. When Secretariat thundered across, a fan, sitting on the...



'Che': It's a Long Story

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

During last night's post-screening press conference for "Che," the two-part, 268-minute film based on the life of Ernesto "Che" Guevara that makes its debut at the New York Film Festival on October 7, the film's director, Steven Soderbergh, addressed a fundamental irony at the heart of his ambitious and technically polished new project. Though Che Guevara dedicated his life to fomenting Marxist revolution intended to abolish capitalism, the Argentine physician-guerrilla's name and image have...



Stripping Down the Comic With Alan Moore

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Most writers are boring, and the less they're allowed to talk about what they do behind closed doors, the better. But some writers are verbal rock stars, able to tear off entrancing philosophical riffs or to lay down a hypnotic anecdotal solo upon request. One of the few modern writers who can entertain a general audience is Alan Moore, Britain's bard of the industrial wastelands of Northampton, and the man whom people call the world's greatest living comic-book writer. (Mr. Moore has made it...



Down in the Delta, Hope Is a Stranger: 'Ballast'

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

In most movies involving a suicide, the act unites people beneath the umbrella of mourning and reconciliation. This is not the case in the universe envisioned by Lance Hammer in his stark, sensational first feature, "Ballast," which begins a two-week engagement tomorrow at Film Forum. Clearly influenced by the raw, staccato style of the Dardenne brothers, who typically drop their audience into the middle of a story without the signposts of exposition, dialogue, or conventional plot structure...



Surveying a Week of Stories

Mon, 29 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Like the opening bell at a Triple Crown race, Laurent Cantet's "The Class" launched the New York Film Festival into a sprint on Friday evening, making way for two gala opening-night events and a weekend of packed screenings uptown. Now the festival enters its first full week as a showcase for groundbreaking international fare. From a programming standpoint, much of the attention has fallen on the festival's weekend programs: the opening-night and closing-night programs, as well as this...



Also Opening This Weekend

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

BOOGIE MAN: THE LEE ATWATER STORY Unrated, 86 minutes "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story," which opens Friday at Cinema Village, is a comprehensive look at its titular subject, the blues guitar-playing political rogue whose rambunctious rise from local elections in South Carolina to chairman of the Republican Party made him a household name. He mentored Karl Rove and President Bush and played a crucial role in the elections of presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Before dying in 1991, at age...



New York Film Festival Goes Around the World and Back

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

The noncompetitive, keenly curated New York Film Festival, which begins its two-week run Friday, is neither a far-ranging marketplace nor a prelude to an awards night. Therefore, it's tempting to look upon what is, by the increasingly popular "more is more" programming standards of Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, and Tribeca, a comparatively small slate of 28 contemporary features as a reliable bellwether of global cinematic trends. In the four decades since its creation, Lincoln Center's autumn...



NYFF Opens Albert Lewin's Magic Box

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Though the likely audience favorite among the revivals in the 46th New York Film Festival will be the restored version of Max Ophuls's "Lola Montès," an equally glittering cinematic jewel is sure to get audiences talking. As part of Martin Scorsese's ongoing preservation and presentation work, Albert Lewin's 1951 romantic fable "Pandora and the Flying Dutchman" will unspool at the festival on October 10 in a new print from the George Eastman House. This new edition returns the film's...



A British Artist Plumbs the Politics of Hunger

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

'Full-bodied cinema" is one way of describing "Hunger," the extraordinary debut feature by the British artist Steve McQueen that will screen this weekend at the New York Film Festival. Often grueling but never gratuitous, the film relives the incarceration of members of the Irish Republican Army in the infamous Maze prison near Belfast, specifically the 1981 hunger strike led by Bobby Sands until his death. The immersive film, full of sensual texture and finely isolated detail, is at once...



'Choke': Hard To Swallow

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

We keep waiting for "Choke" to up the ante, to elevate its crude antics into some kind of ethos. Instead, the story keeps asking us to search an emotional vacuum for hints of humanity that simply are not there. It's almost as if first-time director Clark Gregg failed to sit down with his cast and discuss the tone of the project. As the movie reaches for loony absurdity, the actors play their caricatures with gusto and conviction. Considering the peculiar particulars of the plot, "Choke," which...



Barbet Schroeder Can't Be Killed

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Even though his retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcinématek alludes to his "mad obsessions," Barbet Schroeder seems entirely measured and sensible. The affable and erudite Iranian filmmaker acts more like a wily anthropologist, irresistibly drawn into the unruly thicket of human nature, eyes wide open, unsure of exactly what he will find. "I take reasonable risks," the 67-year-old Mr. Schroeder said. "I know it looks crazy." Film history marks him as a key player in the French...



'Eagle Eye': Let It Go to Voicemail

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

If one is inclined to entertain the notion of hurling one's cell phone into traffic, immersing it in water, or doing whatever else it takes to make it stop delivering bad news, garbled messages, and unsolicited contact from without, "Eagle Eye," a new thriller from Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks creative brain trust, may be just the ticket. Within the first reel, slacker Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) gets drawn and quartered by his phone. First, a voice belonging to Jerry's mother delivers the worst...



'The Lucky Ones': Nothing Salves the Soul Like a Road Trip

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

There are so many untold stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the intentional implausibility of "The Lucky Ones" is truly cause for concern. Have we already given up on trying to transmit any shred of reality to the big screen? Is this all we have left to expect from our filmmakers — the ongoing wars reduced to prologue, used solely to add an air of gravitas to the most routine Hollywood melodrama? Screenwriters Dirk Wittenborn and Neil Burger (the writer and director of the...



'Nights in Rodanthe': Contrived Hollywood Archetype Seeks Same

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Nicolas Sparks is the Stephen King of the mush-brained romantic novel and, like the prolific schlockmeister of "Carrie," "Pet Sematary," and "The Stand," the author has found true love in Hollywood. Producers can't option his four-hankie epics of transformational passion fast enough. "Nights in Rodanthe" is the fourth big-screen adaptation of Mr. Sparks's work, following "The Notebook," "Message in a Bottle," and "A Walk To Remember." Like those movies, "Nights in Rodanthe" offers the kind of...



Movies in Brief: 'Wild Combination'

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Anyone who mythologizes the glory days of East Village bohemia will watch Matt Wolf's "Wild Combination," which opens Friday at IFC Center, with a frog in his throat. Sympathetic enough to count as a fan's hagiography, this modestly mounted documentary details the life, death, and artistic evolution of Arthur Russell, one of the most remarkable figures to emerge from the downtown New York music scene of the 1970s. An Iowa farm boy turned avant-everything cello player, Russell (1952-92) was a...



Movies in Brief: 'The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela'

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Much as its subject — a 20-something Filipino pre-op transsexual named Earvin who rechristens him/herself Raquela — this curious film is never quite here or there. The Icelandic director Olaf de Fleur Johannesson discovered Raquela working the streets in an impoverished sector of Cebu City, Philippines, and decided he had the basis for a fascinating documentary. But he lacked the budget to shoot a proper feature. Instead, Mr. Johannesson created a hybrid. Though it is filmed with an intimate...



A Spike in the War Chest

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Spike Lee sometimes makes movies that are too provocative for critics to think straight. It's hard to imagine, say, his complex 2000 satire on race and the press, "Bamboozled," enjoying widespread acclaim upon its release, no matter its quality. But Mr. Lee's new World War II film, "Miracle at St. Anna," which opens Friday, is not an example of the director's volatile filmic chemistry blowing up the laboratory. It's just not very good, never mind compelling enough to sustain a 160-minute sprawl...



If You Can't Punch Someone, Run Him Over

Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

There's no crying in rugby. At least, that seems to be the mantra of stern, proud, and punchy coach Richard Penning (Neal McDonough). When he loses, he doesn't shake his opponents' hands. When his team is floundering, he sends in his son, Rick (Sean Faris), to make a dirty hit. In fact, he has such a distaste for losing that when Rick is arrested for driving drunk after a crash that almost kills his girlfriend, Richard essentially disowns him. As much a story about fatherhood and masculinity as...



'Alexander Nevsky': Chopping Down the Grand Teutons

Thu, 25 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

More than once in Sergei Eisenstein's "Alexander Nevsky," the titular 13th-century hero appears to stare down right into the audience as he delivers his solemn exhortations to the people. That's no accident, because the audience, of course, was "the people" — namely Soviets in 1938 facing a rising Nazi regime. Eisenstein's film was a functionally and folksily rousing piece of socialist realism, in line with the imperatives of the country's most executive of producers: Stalin. It was also, for...



MoMA Snatches Two From the Art House

Thu, 25 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Two films from last year's New York Film Festival lineup are returning to the city this week for their theatrical engagements on the eve of the festival's latest edition. Béla Tarr's "The Man From London" opened Monday and Carlos Reygadas's "Silent Light" opens today, both at the Museum of Modern Art. Based on the novel by crime author Georges Simenon, "The Man From London" concerns railroad switchman Maloin (Miroslav Krobot), who witnesses a murder and recovers a suitcase full of stolen money...



Italian Director Florestano Vancini Dies

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Italian director Florestano Vancini, whose first film in 1960 won a Venice festival award, has died in Rome. He was 82. His native city of Ferrara said Tuesday on its Web site that Vancini died September 18 after a long illness. Vancini's film, "Lunga Notte del '43" — which means "the long night of '43" in Italian — captured the Venice Film Festival award for best first work. Another Vancini film, "Il Delitto Matteotti," or "The Matteotti Assassination," won a special award in 1973 at the...



A Director Creates 'Ballast' in His Soul

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Had circumstances broken another way, Lance Hammer might not have spent the past five years creating "Ballast," which opens next week at Film Forum. The film, set against the desolate yet stirring winter vistas of the Mississippi Delta, is a parable of loss and redemption that won top prizes for directing and cinematography at last year's Sundance Film Festival. It was born of an almost happenstance occasion of wanderlust and a foreseeable bout of frustration with the Hollywood machinery. "It...



Cantet Jumps to the Head of 'The Class'

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

People assign a lot of terms to the films of the French director Laurent Cantet, terms that typically point to the social themes of his stories or the naturalism of his methods. Mr. Cantet, who frequently wraps his fictional tales in documentary threads, has spent the last decade focusing chiefly on the ways in which class differences tug at the soul of a society. In 1999, Mr. Cantet made "Human Resources," which parlayed a family scuffle into a labor dispute, with a white-collar son finding...



The Melting Pot

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

This Friday, the curtain will rise on the 46th New York Film Festival with Laurent Cantet's award-winning classroom drama, "The Class." Sixteen days later, it will fall with the bloodsport climax of Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler." Smack in between, Clint Eastwood's period mystery "Changeling" will serve as the festival's centerpiece. In a way, the eye-catching range of these three tent poles signals the festival's perennial tensions between the new and the familiar, convention and...



Savannah Festival To Honor Malcolm McDowell

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Malcolm McDowell, who starred in the 1971 film classic "A Clockwork Orange," will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 11th annual Savannah Film Festival. The festival, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., will run October 25-November 1. "A Clockwork Orange" will be screened back-to-back with Mr. McDowell's 2007 film "Never Apologize," a documentary about the late British stage and film director Lindsay Anderson, who was a mentor to the 65-year-old...



Salvaging a Forgotten Director

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

A troubled movie production, parented by too many writers and directors, usually ends in catastrophe. So it is no small thing when a director swoops in to salvage a debacle, creating immediate profit and enduring pleasure. A series of neglected films, released today from Columbia Pictures under the inexplicable title "Martini Movies" (do you have to imbibe a few dry ones to endure them?), offers three slick, big-star vehicles from the early 1970s — "The Anderson Tapes," "The New Centurions,"...



Passing Strange, Moving on to Life at IFC Center

Mon, 22 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

It's been a while since we've had a bona fide documentary blockbuster. But as far as Thom Powers, a documentary programmer at Toronto International Film Festival and the organizer of the weekly Stranger Than Fiction documentary series at Manhattan's IFC Center, is concerned, the rumors surrounding the genre's demise are greatly exaggerated. "There have been plenty of doom-and-gloom articles about the documentary market, but these pieces often focus on the wrong indicators, looking only at...



Cuban Moviemaker Humberto Solas Dies at 66

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solas has died from cancer at age 66. His works include the seminal 1968 film "Lucia," which examined the Cuban woman during three distinct historical periods. Working with the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, he also made "Manuela" (1966), "Un dia de noviembre" (1972), "Cantata de Chile" (1975), "Cecilia" (1981), "Un hombre de exito" (1986), and "El siglo de las Luces" (1991). Solas's more recent films include "Miel para Oshun" (2001) and "Barrio...



San Sebastian Film Fest Opens

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

The San Sebastian Film Festival opened Thursday with a star-studded retinue including Woody Allen and Meryl Streep due to stroll the elegant promenades of the seaside city in Spain's northern Basque region. A total of 15 films, most of them European, will compete for the Golden Conch award at the 56th edition of the fête — a gathering proud of its product, even if it lacks the crowds of the film festivals in Venice and Cannes. The chairman of the jury is American director Jonathan Demme, known...



Movies in Brief: 'All of Us'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

The documentary "All of Us" follows a young doctor doing her residency in the South Bronx and working with predominantly black female AIDS patients. It would be easy to haul a preconceived notion into the theater of what this film is going to be about, but prepare to be surprised and enlightened. As the title aptly suggests, this is a film and subject matter that concerns just about everyone. Documentary films tackling political or social subjects too often take on an activist slant that...



Movies in Brief: 'Fräulein'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

"Fräulein," a new film about sisterhood, shared heritage, and maternal instincts uniting two expatriates who have little else in common, is the cinematic equivalent of a sweet and satisfying short story. It's sincere and somewhat sentimental, but never overtly manipulative. A synopsis of the plot really doesn't do the film justice, because the premise of director Andrea Staka's Tribeca Film Festival entry reads like the most hackneyed chick flick imaginable. Ruza (Mirjana Karanovic) is a...



Movies in Brief: 'A Thousand Years of Good Prayers'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Mr. Shi (Henry O), the lead character in Wayne Wang's new film, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," suffers from the occasional translation problem. Visiting America from China, he interacts with strangers in broken English with surprising ease. But it is in emotional discussions with his daughter that he has trouble communicating. Adapted from a short story by Yiyun Li, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," which opens Friday at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, follows a widower who has come to America to...



Vojtěch Jasný's Cinema of Freedom

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

In the 1970s, when the Czech filmmaker Vojtěch Jasný was struggling in exile from his Communist-run homeland, he came to the German writer Heinrich Böll for guidance. Böll offered a simple reminder: "He said three words: 'Patience, Vojtěch, patience,'" Mr. Jasný, 79, recalled recently. Patience was a necessity for the director, who lived through World War II, Communist rule, exile, and all the accompanying turmoil before alighting in America in 1984. Beginning Friday, Anthology Film...



The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: 'The Duchess'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Barely more than a decade after that tragic dash through Paris and the unhinged, hysterical carnival of lamentation that followed, it is no great surprise that Princess Diana continues to cast a shadow over popular culture, particularly in the country where she once seemed destined to be queen. It is, nonetheless, disappointing to detect that elements of her tawdry, strip-mined melodrama have been slipped into Saul Dibb's new film "The Duchess," which arrives in theaters Friday. The British...



Buying and Selling Justice in Rio: 'Elite Squad'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

According to Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura), the narrator and dramatic catalyst of José Padilha's fiction film debut "Elite Squad," on the mean streets of modern-day Rio de Janeiro, "the drug gangs and the police had to work out ways to get along." The captain, leader of a cadre of the titular paramilitary cops called BOPA, initially presides over a flashy but quotidian cinematic tour of Rio after dark, rendered in a style and tone similar to the kinetic view of Brazil's urban underworld in...



How the West Was Lost: 'Appaloosa'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Whenever more than two movies set in the Old West come out, reflexive discussions about the rebirth of the Western sprout up like mining towns and just as quickly fade away. It certainly happened last fall, when "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "3:10 to Yuma," and "There Will Be Blood" offered three worthwhile entries in the genre. A year later, that Western surge is still too fresh in the collective mind for this year's fall previews to make much fuss over Ed...



Seeing Things for the First Time: 'Ghost Town'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Love may be a many-splendored thing, but when it comes to capturing the euphoria of new romance on the silver screen, it can be a hard sell. We all know the flashy love epics, where seduction occurs naturally and effortlessly between two impossibly beautiful people, usually via love at first sight. But what of the movies in which two ordinary humans scratch and claw their way through a maze of neuroses, foibles, and missed opportunities to find that love is possible even for the distinctly less...



Doom With a View: 'Lakeview Terrace'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Two years ago, Neil LaBute, the bad boy button-pusher of cinema who has lately been more the rage onstage than on-screen, unveiled a remake of Robin Hardy's 1973 men-versus-women thriller "The Wicker Man." Cast largely with small-time actors, Mr. LaBute's version nonetheless starred Nicolas Cage, who wound up digging a ham hole so deep that the entire movie slid down with him and became a giggle-inducing exercise in high camp. Now Mr. LaBute is back with another hot-button thriller, this time...



Spike Lee Goes to War

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

According to the standard hubbub that greets each new Spike Lee movie, the director makes controversies for a living instead of films. To be sure, Mr. Lee, one of the most fearless voices in contemporary American cinema, is quotably outspoken. But when he talked recently about "Miracle at St. Anna," his forthcoming film about a group of black soldiers hiding in an Italian village during World War II, the first topic wasn't wars of words but war movies. "I've always wanted to do one, I just...



Fight for Your Right To Fight: 'Battle in Seattle'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

One doesn't have to agree politically with a movie to appreciate the skill with which it was made or, for that matter, to enjoy it. To combine a bad film, however, with worse politics is to add insult to injury, which brings us to the topic of "Battle in Seattle," a ham-fisted, sanctimonious blend of leftist agitprop, by-the-numbers melodrama, and excruciating self-righteousness that arrives in theaters Friday. If you are currently taking orders from Rage Against the Machine, Michael Moore, or...



An Unspeakable Act: 'Hounddog'

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Known colloquially as "The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie" since its premiere at last year's Sundance Film Festival, Deborah Kampmeier's "Hounddog" arrives in theaters Friday after a long distribution struggle with a handicap that it just can't shake. Young Ms. Fanning plays Lewellen, a motherless 12-year-old growing up poor in the Deep South circa the mid-1950s. Living with her bitter grandmother (Piper Laurie) and disturbingly callous father (David Morse), Lewellen distracts herself from the...



Also Opening This Weekend

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

IGOR PG, 86 minutes John Cusack leads an all-star voice cast that includes Jay Leno, Molly Shannon, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, and Jennifer Coolidge in this computer-animated comedy about a hunchbacked lab assistant. Igor has earned his Yes Master Degree and knows he has what it takes to win first place in the annual Evil Science fair. So when his cruel master suddenly dies a week before the Fair, Igor enlists the help of some friends around the lab to help him make his dream come true. With...



The Fleeting Passion of Jean Vigo

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

It is difficult to find even lovers of film who are familiar with the gentle magic of the late French director Jean Vigo. Most have never heard his name, not that they can be blamed: Vigo was born in 1905 and died in 1934 from tuberculosis at 29. His career lasted only four years, his films were not considered anything special, and it would be another decade before his magic was to be seen, felt, and studied, first in France and then elsewhere. For the next two weeks, Vigo's two best works will...



Bette Davis Gets Own Postage Stamp

Thu, 18 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Movie legend Bette Davis is being remembered on a new U.S. postage stamp that does that iron-willed image justice. The 42-cent commemorative stamp, being released Thursday in Boston, features a portrait of Davis as she appeared in the 1950 film "All About Eve," in which she played Margo Channing, an aging stage actress battling to save her career as a younger woman schemes to replace her. Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for that performance. Indeed, she collected 10 nominations...



Ryan O'Neal, Son Arrested for Drugs

Thu, 18 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Ryan O'Neal and his son were arrested Wednesday morning after authorities said they found drugs at the actor's Malibu home during a routine probation check. Investigators suspect both men had methamphetamine, but the substances still need to be tested, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies and probation officers went to Mr. O'Neal's home for a routine check of his son Redmond, who is serving three years of probation after pleading guilty in...



Waiting for Oscar

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

Each September, the fall movie season springs to life with the same one-two punch: the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. In the span of only three weeks, hundreds of new films are introduced to the critical community. Still, it came as little surprise two weeks ago when the top prize at Venice, the Golden Lion, was awarded to a familiar name: Darren Aronofsky, the art-house sensation behind such epics as "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Fountain." But Mr...



Dragging Kennedy Into a New Fight

Tue, 16 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

At its best, counterfactual or "virtual" history (to use Harvard historian Niall Ferguson's term), the exploration of what might have happened if history had not taken a certain turn, can be a fascinating intellectual exercise, a "what if" that illuminates what did happen. Unfortunately, "Virtual JFK: Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived," which begins a two-week run at Film Forum tomorrow, is neither fascinating nor illuminating. Helmed by first-time director Koji Masutani, and featuring Brown...



Pierre Rissient Is the Man To Know

Tue, 16 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EST

A simple Internet search for the name Pierre Rissient turns up little more than an assistant-director credit on Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," two director credits of Mr. Rissient's own for films made in the Philippines and Hong Kong, and a host of appearances in documentaries about film luminaries such as Budd Boetticher and Fritz Lang. It's sparse notice for a man revered by filmmakers of all ages around the world, from Clint Eastwood to Werner Herzog to Quentin Tarantino, all of whom exalt...