Archives for August 2010


Eat, Pray, Love

A well-known set of circumstances
Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem
Directed by Ryan Murphy

Eat, Pray, Love is not your typical chick flick. Julia Roberts, as author Elizabeth Gilbert, spends much of the film feeing depressed and lost, and the story gives us only intermittent moments of the spontaneous, over-the-top bliss that characterizes this genre. In fact, Eat, Pray, Love is almost its own genre--the self-help kind. After being married for eight years (to a character played by ... more >


Fearless men and killer waves
Monique Marrier, David Sanderson and Kelly Slater
Directed by Dana Brown

Dana Brown ("Step Into Liquid," "Dust to Glory") grew up in the world of competitive surfing. So it's natural that as a filmmaker he should return to this scene for inspiration. His latest film focuses on the Triple Crown of pro surfing, a nearly two-month competition that takes place on the gorgeous beaches of Oahu’s North Shore. The waves that crash against this beach, we are told, are the ... more >


The Godfather

From a critic's festival diary

(Film critic Kevin Bowen is visiting his hometown of El Paso, Texas and attended the third annual Plaza Classic Film Festival.) The Godfather (1972, d. Francis Ford Coppola) My Godfather observation on my recent viewing: Fredo is gay. And Moe Greene is his lover. And this is the rarest, deepest and most vital secret of The Godfather saga. No, this isn't a gaydar thing: I'm not picking on ... more >

The pool party

From the Film School's Vault

Sara Zandieh’s short The Pool Party lasts fourteen minutes but feels fleshed out enough to be worthy of a feature-length film, the narrative touching on simple but edifying truths. Khani is a domestic servant who struggles to keep up with his mistress’ demands and endures the constant humiliation of his lower-class standing in a posh Iran. He hurriedly gets to the house in the morning only to ... more >

The Wildest Dream

Why climb it? Because it's there.
Conrad Anker and Hugh Dancy
Directed by Anthony Geffen

At age 7, George Mallory sneaked out of his parents’ home in a Cheshire, England, village and climbed the church steeple. At age 38, he died on Mount Everest, a few hundred feet from the summit—on his way up or on his way down. Whether he did or didn’t reach the summit on this, his third Everest expedition, remains to this day a vexing question. Is George Mallory, twenty-nine years before Edmund ... more >

Last Letters from Monte Rosa

The gruesome task of humanizing the villain
Daniel Asher and C.J. Barkus
Directed by Ari Taub

Filmmaker Ari Taub's Last Letters from Monte Rosa is about as low impact a war movie as they come, a roughly eighty minute-long drama that eschews the you-are-there intensity of Saving Private Ryan or Das Boot (the latter clearly a thematic influence) for the more relaxed, episodic feel of Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One. Like Boot and Letters from Iwo Jima, Letters takes on the formidable ... more >

Where in the world is BILLY CRUDUP?

Billy Crudup's career has been on the rise lately. But was there a lull before that? It's hard to say. This coming weekend he will be appearing alongside Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in "Eat, Pray, Love." And--rare feat--he has the starring role in a project still in production called "The Convincer," which sources tell me will be out sometimes in June of 2011. So what's eating Billy Crudup, ... more >