Archives for April 2011



“Cinema Komunisto” is an exquisitely detailed, heartfelt look at the former Soviet Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s thriving yet little-known film industry, circa post-WWII to 1980. Josip Broz Tito, the celebrated war hero, Prime Minister and eventually president-for-life during this time period, was a lover of grand-scale Hollywood films, which began to be shown in Yugoslavia after the country’s ... more >

TFF’11 – Rid of Me

Jarringly funny--with a caveat

At the beginning of James Westby's “Rid of Me,” a frowning, diminutive thirty-something woman—rendered alarmingly feline by bursts of Goth makeup—and an icy blonde princess stride past each other, in slow motion, in a supermarket. “You bitch,” the blonde mutters under her breath. Upon which, the Goth girl, without breaking a sweat, jams her hands down her skirt and smears menstrual blood all over ... more >

Scream 4

There's someone at the door
Lucy Hale, Shenae Grimes, Neve Campbell and Dane Farwell
Directed by Wes Craven

The saying goes, “There are no more original ideas”. Whether you agree or not, there are still films that push boundaries, tell original stories and, especially in the horror genre, scare the hell out of us. Wes Craven continues his Scream saga by stating the obvious – these films rehash the same story line and really aren’t that scary. Then he presents us with exactly that. "Scream 4" is ... more >

The Conspirator

A river runs through it
Robin Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, and James McAvoy
Directed by Robert Redford

Robert Redford is a good man. He is earnest and decent and his heart is in the right place. He is also an essential figure in cinema as he has single-handedly probably done more for cinema—with the Sundance Festival and Sundance channel and other film-related ventures—than anyone else in the history of this art. The late Henri Langlois, one of the founders of the Paris Cinémathèque and its head ... more >

Atlas Shrugged

Finally a screen adaptation of the eponymous book
Taylor Schilling, Paul Johansson and Michael O'Keefe
Directed by Paul Johansson

Much to my surprise, the matinee at which I saw “Atlas Shrugged, Part I” drew a pretty sizable crowd, considering that it was a beautiful day and life is short. The intended audience for this film is apparently larger than I thought, and I'll confess that I suspect I'm not among it. I have not read the arboricidal tome on which it is based, nor anything else by Ayn Rand. Beyond that, there's ... more >


Kids a-gunnin. What next?
Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett
Directed by Joe Wright

In 1994 Luc Besson directed “The Professional,” a stark drama about a contract killer who befriends a preteen rebel. In that movie a young Natalie Portman wielded her gun for about fifteen seconds but the distorted image was a memorable one, and the ploy was used in other movies like “Kick Ass” and, most recently, in “Hanna,” directed by Joe Wright. Our gun-toting, gravity defying, ass-kicking ... more >


Not your average profession
Bob Ashman, Maria Ashman and Robert J. Ashman
Directed by Mark Goffman

If you’re anything like me, when someone mentions "ventriloquist" the first thing your mind conjures is that priceless scene in “Best in Show” in which Christopher Guest does an unconvincing routine in the back of an RV. At just the right moment, the dummy’s eyes look at Guest seemingly of their own accord and the effect is hilarious. Now imagine watching a similar scene but having it be not ... more >