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.
January 16, 1997 |
After weeks of politicians posturing, editors editorializing, and commentators commenting, the people of North Penn got their first look last night at a controversial documentary film about last year's school board election here. When the lights came up, the audience of about 350 at Marjeanes Caterers applauded for about half a minute. And then the filmmaker, Ginny Reticker of New York, faced her audience - supporters and critics. New School Order, which will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next week, was probably not an enjoyable film for most of this audience, because it is a documentary of a community in conflict.
June 7, 1996 |
Billy Zane wants to do musicals. The star of "The Phantom" is so well known for his sexy roles in erotic thrillers that he's practically his own genre at TLA Video. But his ambition is to be more of a Gene Kelly type. Raised on the musical spectacles of MGM, Zane can sing and dance, and wants the chance to show that off on celluloid. "That degree of high entertainment and audience feel-good ma-terial inspired me," Zane says. The Chicago native grew up with parents who encouraged his theatrical ambition.
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.
November 3, 1995 |
Bill Haley made his first film when he was 10. He pilfered his father's old spring-wound Sears movie camera from the bedroom closet and cast his brother as a spaceman. When he was a teenager, Haley bought a Super 8 model and began imposing on family and friends. At age 32, his passion never having abated, Haley is still making movies. His latest, an hour-long feature called Love of My Life, will have its Philadelphia debut at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at the International House, 37th and Chestnut Streets.
October 26, 1995 |
In this era of the celebrity film director, we've become accustomed to "the making of" shows that amount to half-hour commercials for the latest would-be blockbuster. It's refreshing, then, to hear directors talking at length about their early days, when they were on the outside looking in. Twelve such interviews, originally seen on the Movie Channel, appear on two tapes by Rhino Home Video (120 minutes each, $39.95, or both for $59.95) and will debut today under the name First Works.
October 13, 1995 |
He seemed to enjoy giving orders to Sister Beatrice. "Take one step at a time. Move very slowly. Take another step. Pause. Take another. Good. OK. Quiet. Action. " At his command, the elderly nun, leaning on her walker, moved down the long marble hallway. "OK. Sweet. Cut. " Manoj Night Shyamalan was in the motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy in Merion, telling a small group of nuns what to do. They listened obediently. It was almost as if he had turned the tables on his old teachers, except for one thing.
August 18, 1995 |
A young man from a tony neighborhood and the best schools is working as an advertising executive in Philadelphia when, one evening, he picks up a hitchhiker, a mysterious woman who makes perfume for a living. The woman invites him to her house in the suburbs, and before he knows it, he is traveling through dream worlds via her hypnotic fragrances. This is not the concept for a Calvin Klein commercial. It is the plot for an independent feature film by 22-year-old Bill Tomlinson of Gladwyne.
July 27, 1995 |
The invitation intrigued me. It was for lunch with a group of law students working this summer at Philadelphia law firms. Why would young legal eagles - future masters and mistresses of the universe - want to break bread with a mere journalist, who'd rather wear sandals than dress for success? Not that lawyers and journalists don't have much in common - a love of debate, of language, of minding everyone's business but our own. Still, it's a long way from the Daily News to the carpeted legal realms where my hosts are toiling this summer.
November 2, 1994 |
When Kevin Smith was 21, toiling 16 1/2 hour days as a clerk at the Leonardo, N.J., Quick Stop, a fortuneteller studied his Yoo-Hoo-splattered palm and predicted that he would not work in convenience stores all his life. "Thank God," scribbled the two-time college dropout in his journal. As Smith noted in his diary, according to the palm reader, "I will be skilled in my profession. He says I'll graduate college with good marks. (Please, God, let it be film school.)" When he was 23, by then a film-school dropout as well, Smith found that the quickest way out of the Quick Stop was to make a rowdy comedy about his experiences in that fluorescent-lit inferno and the video store next door.