December 28, 2012
BUCKET LIST ITEM achieved: Shake the hand of the man who wrote the best TV episode ever. The man turns out to be David Chase, so you think this is another genuflection from some "Sopranos" groupie. Not so. Chase, in his younger days, also wrote for "The Rockford Files," another great show, though less exalted. Turns out Chase, as I sort of suspected, authored my favorite episode. PI Jim Rockford gets stuck with a hippie client on the run from a fraudulent New Age cult. She frustrates the detective by answering questions with far-out non-sequiturs: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
April 6, 2012 |
"DIE HARD" goes condo in "The Raid: Redemption," a frenzied Indonesian action movie whose action credentials are through the roof. Here's the brutally simple premise: A team of heavily armored cops enters the ground floor of an apartment high-rise owned and occupied by a crime kingpin protected by several floors of armed thugs. It's an action movie in three acts - automatic weapons, blades, then fists. The higher the cops go, the more elemental the combat. In truth, though, most of the officers don't go very high.
March 1, 2012 |
BEFORE Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim were famous for being funny, they were Temple film geeks, watching David Lynch movies and David Byrne videos. "At that point in our lives, the idea of comedy was not something that seemed possible; in fact, it wasn't even a cool thing to think about. We were in bands, or doing film installations. It wasn't like we were ever part of a sketch group," said Heidecker, whose decidedly weird first comedy, "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" opens tomorrow.
May 26, 1993 |
To direct a first film is always a daunting task. To write, produce, star in and direct, more daunting still. And to shoot it in India, where you don't speak the language? "Nothing in film school prepared me for any of this," says 22-year-old auteur M. (for Manoj) Night Shyamalan, speaking to the camera in the prologue of Praying With Anger, which makes its world theatrical premiere Friday at the Ritz Five. Shyamalan, who grew up in Penn Valley, the son of two Indian-born physicians, was supposed to follow in the family tradition.
September 6, 1992 |
Gregg Araki's The Living End isn't going to play well with the "family- values" crowd. If, somehow, the film had found its way onto the giant video screens at last month's Republican convention in Houston, it would have prompted a stampede of epic proportions. ("Gay Pic Sends Pols Packing. ") Which would have suited Araki just fine. After all, The Living End - a frenzied, lovers-on-the-lam movie that opened in Philadelphia at the Ritz at the Bourse on Friday and has been breaking attendance records in art houses on both coasts - is dedicated to the "hundreds and thousands who've died and the hundreds and thousands more who will die because of a big white house full of Republican . . . " - well, full of Republican not-nice-guys.
March 27, 1994 |
In Carlo Carlei's blistering debut, Flight of the Innocent, the Italian police finally catch up with the men who kidnapped and murdered a millionaire's son. It is the middle of the night in the empty central piazza of a small town. As the cops screech into the square, veteran moviegoers await the inevitable shootout, with its flying bodies and chattering Uzis borrowed heavily from earlier, and invariably better, gangster movies. Instead, Carlei shoots the gunfire from viewpoint of a 10-year-old boy who has been wounded by the thugs.
March 6, 2011 |
George Nolfi , the man behind the just-released Matt Damon - Emily Blunt thriller The Adjustment Bureau , graduated from a different kind of film school than most folks in the business. There's no name or campus, and the admissions policy is highly selective. It does help to have written a few screenplays - say, an espionage action franchise, maybe ( The Bourne Ultimatum ), or one of those cool A-list heist pics ( Ocean's Twelve ). "I had a couple of really big advantages," concedes Nolfi, who has degrees in public policy (Princeton)
September 12, 1997 |
One of the emptier buzzwords of the '90s is the use of closure to describe a stage of healing in the face of shattering loss. It takes only moments in the company of the parents in Spike Lee's extraordinary and wrenching 4 Little Girls to realize that their shared grief is beyond such solace. They've lived with it for more than three decades, but the pain etched into their faces suggests the tragedy might have happened a few hours ago. Lee's wisest decision is to make the scope of their bereavement the centerpiece of his documentary.
February 25, 2000 |
Laugh at Long Island if you like. Eric Mendelsohn, the writer and director of the poignant new film "Judy Berlin," has found unexpected poetry in the suburban cul-de-sacs that most movies only mock. Gawk at Gwyneth, eyeball Julia, or stand in awe of Meryl's acting chops. Mendelsohn thinks that Barbara Barrie is a true national treasure, "one of America's finest living actresses," who just doesn't get enough to do these days. Born, raised and happy to keep visiting his parents in Old Bethpage, Mendelsohn won the best-director prize at last year's Sundance Festival for "Judy Berlin.
May 1, 1996 |
When it comes to historical films, Hollywood is notorious for never letting facts get in the way of a good story. When the subject is alive or is survived by family and friends who can defend his or her reputation, a firestorm of controversy - and free publicity - is guaranteed. Just ask Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, the Philadelphia-born screenwriters who won a well-merited Oscar nomination for their inspired script for Oliver Stone's Nixon. Aspiring writers and interested moviegoers will have the chance to do just that at a Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema seminar the pair will host tomorrow afternoon.