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.
March 20, 1992 |
For nearly a decade now, laserdiscs have used extra audio tracks to provide commentary by filmmakers, actors and critics. These special discs, usually priced at $80 to $125 apiece, have been restricted mostly to established classics on the order of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane. " But this week the Criterion Collection is offering a timely, lower-priced exception: a $50 disc of John Singleton's 1991 critical- commercial smash, "Boyz N the Hood. " Just 24, Singleton recently displaced Welles as the youngest filmmaker ever to win an Academy Award nomination for best director.
May 29, 1987 |
Since their very beginnings, movies have offered a refuge in fantasy for the masses, and - at least in Hollywood - it's an axiom that audiences don't want to see films portraying the drudgery and dullness they are trying to escape. Even in the greatest American films about poverty - such as John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath - there is optimism about the human spirit, and the power of determination and perseverance against the odds. Henry Fonda's Tom Joad is a quintessential American hero and a man who would shake his head in dismay at Macabea, the ill-starred protagonist in Suzana Amaral's Hour of the Star.
December 9, 1988 |
Not to put too fine a point on it, Angry Harvest is a masterpiece. Agnieszka Holland's film, which deserves to be as celebrated as The Diary of Anne Frank, enjoys a belated premiere tomorrow night at the Gershman YM/ YWHA. Though Harvest reaped Holland a 1985 Oscar nomination for best foreign film, the Warsaw-born, Prague-trained writer/director is remembered in this country as the scenarist of Anna and Danton. The least well-known and perhaps most accomplished of postwar, Eastern-bloc filmmakers, who include Milos Forman, Ivan Passer (with whom she went to film school)
February 7, 1992 |
When comedian Steve White was a sophomore coming up at Roosevelt High on Long Island and Eddie Murphy was a mighty senior there, White wasn't dreaming about how maybe one day he'd enter his own movie at the Cannes Film Festival. "No," he said, laughing, "I was talking about going to Arthur Andersen (the giant accounting firm). "I didn't want to be one of the regular knuckleheads. I wanted to have a future. I was thinking about having a Lamborghini. " Thanks to a college English teacher who told him he just couldn't see White pushing a pencil for a living, the Murphy connection and his own talent, the only numbers White is crunching these days are his own. White, 26, nailed down his accounting degree at Adelphi University in Garden City by day while developing his comedy career by night in Long Island and Jersey clubs.
February 8, 1991 |
Film censors in China banned Peng Xiaolian's Women's Story for what they called "morally deficient female characters. " Chinese film critics said "it was a bad movie, that it was too melodramatic, that the women weren't beautiful and that they cried too much," the 37-year-old director recalled recently, sitting in her tiny apartment in Greenwich Village. Once abroad, however, Women's Story, which shows how such feudal influences as forced marriage and compulsory abortion still pervade women's lives in rural China, fared much better.
August 6, 2000 |
For whatever reason, Dizzy Gillespie looks almost comfortable on the same wall as the Sex Pistols. The Beatles mingle with Judas Priest. And Blair Elliot fingers his goatee, smiling. Elliot, 32, owns Doylestown's Siren Records, Bucks County's primary portal to vinyl records, underground music and independent-music culture. "We find a nice balance with the people who come here," he said, standing midstore in an off-white Sun Records T-shirt and shorts. "Some are kids, amateur DJs looking for indie hip-hop.
February 25, 2005 |
It's been six years in the making, but Philadelphia filmmaker Rel Dowdell will finally premiere his debut, Train Ride, his straight-to-video feature film, tonight at International House. Dowdell, 31, a graduate of Central High and Fisk University, was the first African American to win the short-subject grand prize, for Train Ride, at Boston University's film school. Dowdell teaches screenwriting at Philadelphia Community College and Boston University. Question: What were your favorite movies growing up?