November 16, 2012 |
AN UNDERFUNDED New York City middle school is the main focus of "Brooklyn Castle," the uplifting documentary story of how a chess program transforms the lives of inner-city students. Director Katie Dellamaggiore profiles Intermediate School 318, where teacher Elizabeth Vicary's after-school chess program had such a powerful effect on children that it became part of the curriculum and produced national champions. What becomes of a program so demonstrably successful and obviously effective?
November 15, 2012 |
We tend to think that our cultural icons arrive fully formed. We forget how much thought and work goes into becoming a legend. Crossfire Hurricane is about the early image-molding of the Rolling Stones. Of course tonight's HBO documentary (9 p.m.) also works exceedingly well if you're a fan of the band, love rock music, or just get off on the seedier side of spectacle. But since the subtitle is The Rise of the Stones , let's consider the film first as creation story. Directed and written by Brett ( The Kid Stays in the Picture )
November 11, 2012
Movies Brooklyn Castle This documentary looks at the struggles and successes of a Brooklyn junior high school chess team. Lincoln See Steven Rea's preview on this page. A Royal Affair An 18th-century Danish queen falls for the doctor treating her insane husband. Various languages with subtitles. Silver Linings Playbook See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy This documentary looks at an Appalachian farm where hardcore skater, punk rock, and hillbilly culture collide.
October 19, 2012 |
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - In the thick of the presidential campaign, a documentary about a political wife wouldn't seem to offer respite from the clatter. But that's exactly what Ethel , an intimate, affectionate look at Ethel Kennedy by her youngest child, manages to do. It's a heartfelt reminder of public service's rewards and heaviest demands, elements that can be lost in the moment's rough-and-tumble. It also honors a rarely interviewed Kennedy wife who was eclipsed by her more glamorous sister-in-law and sister in tragedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
October 17, 2012 |
IN A PLACE like Joe Frazier's Gym, decent people tried to teach decent values to young people, despite their own pressures. And they hung on. "And the old heads have hope, and the young people represent that hope for them. So they try to bring a young person along . . . try to encourage him to do the right thing, knowing full well that the streets can get him any day. " That's how Elijah Anderson, the noted Yale sociologist, described the importance of Frazier's Gym in the film "Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears.
October 11, 2012 |
Ann Boccuti says that when people look at her, a young Chinese woman, they assume she might not speak English. It happens even on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she's a 19-year-old sophomore. "I'm treated as an immigrant," she said in an interview. Boccuti, of Lansdale, spent the first 17 months of her life in a Nanchang orphanage before being adopted by a white couple and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs. She is unique. And one among thousands.
October 7, 2012
End of Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña are best friends and patrol car partners, cruising the mean streets of South Central L.A. in David (Training Day) Ayer's visceral, violent cop thriller. R Looper A slam-bang blast of a time-travel thriller, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as a guy named Joe - yes, they're the same guy, separated by 30 years in the dystopian future and brought together when Young Joe, a hit man, gets a job to kill Old Joe. Emily Blunt co-stars, as the mother of a kid with weird powers.
October 5, 2012 |
CHARISMATIC, imperious and quick-witted, Diana Vreeland ruled in the world of couture and cutting-edge culture for more than 50 years as the editor of Harper's Bazaar , then Vogue , from which she was unceremoniously fired in 1971. Remarkably, much of that sizzling sensibility was caught on film and has been stylishly stitched together with her personal history in the scrumptious new documentary "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. " Her story, as much a portrait of an early-day feminist as that of a fashion maven, traces a career that got its start in the '20s and was winding down just as the second wave of the women's movement was gaining traction, ushered in by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in 1963.
September 7, 2012 |
WONDER WHERE the old-fashioned heart and humor at the core of Paul McCartney's music came from? Answers can clearly be found in his recent foray album into jazz-tinged American pop standards, "Kisses on the Bottom," featuring ditties like "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive. " This is music McCartney was spoon-fed as a Liverpool lad, "especially at New Year's Eve parties at Uncle Joe or Aunt Jan's where they'd roll the carpet back, get the piano out and sing all these songs," he recalled.