Walter Murch, yes the Walter Murch, travelled all the way to Aberystwyth to take questions on his film, Apocalypse Now.
Okay, so Murch was only the sound stylist, right? An editor, not a director, star, screenwriter or even a producer. Producers take home the best picture award, directors get to be thought of the auteur, actors get famous, screenwriters can say they thought it all up, but without people working below the line there’s only so much you can do.
Not everyone agrees with the academy results. Rather than predicting who would win the big awards, we’ve decided to wait for the elites to pick their winners and then list the films that we enjoyed the most. Continue reading “Our top picks for 2017”
At Ptara, I directed two microbudget feature films. Make that nanobudget.
One had a crew of two (excluding the three actors, who also crewed, and a few kids who helped out on sound one day), and the other was basically me editing a large variety of footage to make it coherent. There were challenges in both, and everyone learned a lot. And, what these films lack in production values is made up for in performance and storyline.
By contrast, Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” had a budget that was about 1000 times either of my films. He worked with a much more expensive kit and a more experienced cast and crew. Yet, “The Room” was filled with continuity errors, bad acting, and an incoherent plot.
“SenatorJPO” appeared to be going places. He was an honors student at Wisconsin’s finest Universities, with a BA and MA to his name. Then he graduated and appeared to be lost in the reality of underemployment.
He’s now taking on the educational establishment, as well as public radio, with his own public service radio show. For two hours every Friday, SenatorJPO gives his “rebuttal” to the information (or misinformation) supplied by the WPR radio station run by the university. Continue reading “Review: WPR rebuttal”
I hate to start a review with a spoiler, but knowing your history is always a spoiler. And, if you don’t know your history, historical films often lack interest.
Spain was backward during Franco’s dictatorship, just as fundamentalists in the middle east are making their own countries backward. Much of Europe only truly emerged from the dark ages in the past 200 years, some parts have yet to emerge.
This documentary “Las Maestras de la Republica” is a story about education in a time between extremes, not only Franco’s extreme, but the extreme of the other guys. The Second Spanish Republic was not a bed of roses, and the documentary skims over most of the problems of that regime. Instead, it focuses on the new found equality of Spanish women through education, especially the role of teaching. Continue reading ““A short course of nothing” review of “Las Maestras de la República””
I purposely avoided Moliere, Shakespeare in Love, and almost every other movie about a playwright. I do this because I respect writers like Shakespeare, and I find their period fascinating. I likewise avoid most movies about Thomas Jefferson. I prefer the Jefferson that I read in his letters, or from his contemporaries, to the cartoon lecher that Hollywood spoon feeds us with.
It ain’t just reverence and respect for the past, I don’t like the glossy misinterpretations. Those movies about great people are often like sampling Mozart into some kind of techno elevator music. Continue reading “Topsy Turvy (1999) Review”
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE meets AMELIE POULAIN. Or, the grandmother of both films.
Le Rayon Vert is a classic. It’s not black and white, it’s not silent, and you probably never heard of the actors. The director’s name, Eric Rohmer, may easily be confused with a military general.
It’s title is apparently taken from a Jules Verne novel, but this is no sci-fi. No, Le Rayon Vert is the same down to earth, independent filmmaking that made Napoleon Dynamite seems so at home with audiences. And the main character is sort of the kind of hopeless romantic as Amelie. Only, she’s a bit more self-absorbed and socially maladroit, perhaps like young master Dynamite. (Or a female, French version of him.) Continue reading “Review: Le Rayon Vert”
Like many of today’s historical films, Mysteries of Lisbon is long (very long). Before investing four and a half hours in a movie, it might be an idea to read a review or two. After I invested my four and a half hours, ideas for reviews kept invading my head. But there are so many things to talk about, the director’s style, the actors, the camera work that one observer called “unobtrusive”, the level of history, it was hard to settle on something.
Sure, I could write a PhD thesis, researching the director’s life and speculating how that influenced the production, but I’m not interested in that. Instead, I’ll answer the two questions I think every reviewer should answer. Did I like the movie? And, how do my readers know if they’ll like it? Continue reading “Mysteries of Lisbon: A historical film.”