December 12, 1999 |
A month before a pair of former Penn State film-school students wrapped up filming a feature called The Hall Monitor, two teenagers at a high school in Littleton, Colo., shot and killed 13 people at the school. After the initial horror of the incident sank in, the filmmakers - Kevin Hartman of Audubon and Shawn Gioiosa of Altoona - felt another kind of dread: Who would distribute their movie now? Their fear turned out to be justified. Despite extensive efforts to market their satire on cinematic violence, Hartman, the film's director, and Gioiosa, the screenwriter, still don't have a deal - though they haven't given up on getting one. They know it's a tough sell: The Hall Monitor features a gun-toting pseudo-hero who keeps the high school corridors clear with a .44 Magnum.
July 16, 1999 |
In 1987 lingo, "The Wood" could be described as "stupid. " Jump ahead a dozen years and you would call it "phat. " The film takes a refreshing look at hip-hop culture in the '80s, undying friendships, and man's eternal fear of wedded bliss. Think "Wonder Years" with a lot more soul and a lot less white boys. The film, directed by Rick Famuyiwa, centers around three childhood friends who reminisce about growing up in Inglewood, Calif. Roland (Taye Diggs) gets last-minute jitters on his wedding day and disappears several hours before the ceremony.
December 23, 1998 |
Do not be wedded forever To fear, yoked eternally To brutishness. The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. - Maya Angelou - From "On the Pulse of Morning," delivered by the poet at President Clinton's 1993 inauguration ceremony. In her wrenching feature Down in the Delta, Maya Angelou offers a scene in a grimy Chicago pawn shop that evokes the stubborn hope of the lines she read moments after President Clinton began his first term of office on a windy January morning in 1993.
June 26, 1998 |
And he fell in love, and he got turned out and he dropped everything he was doing in the summer of 1995 to write a movie about it - a welcome cleanser for his soul. OK. "Turned out" is, as Chris Cherot puts it, a bit "harsh. " The turning out, he insists was "mutual. " But he was, nonetheless, deeply affected - so much so that this NYU film school dropout/self-described homeless guy put finger to laptop and created "Hav Plenty," his personal paean to buppie love gone awry.
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.