A baby bear ran in front of my car as I drove to the Telluride Film Festival on Aug. 30, then scampered up the steep roadside cliff. In town, I ran into Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris, in Telluride to promote his new book A Wilderness of Error, about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, and to introduce the premiere of Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Act of Killing. I told Morris I wished he also was presenting the film he tried and failed to make, a dual narrative featuring scenes from the 1984 TV movie Fatal Vision, which convinced about 30 million people that MacDonald is guilty, alternating with scenes showing gaping falsehoods in the prosecution's argument. "I tried to make the movie for years," said Morris, who stubbornly turned it into a book instead. "I thought it would be commercial." COMPLETE COVERAGE: Telluride Film Festival I realized that Morris resembles a bear: like the filmmaker bear on Dave Eggers' brilliant poster for Telluride 2012, he is playful, willful, … [Read more...] about Telluride 2012: Errol Morris, Ken Burns Welcome the Next Great Documentarians
Winter and Spring 2018 are packed with everything from Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to X-Men films, Pacific Rim and Tomb Raider installments, and multiple Steven Spielberg projects. Things will cool off a bit at the start of the new year, following December’s barrage of late year awards season contenders and crowd pleasing tentpoles (led by Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). However, it won’t be long before things pick back up and big franchise movies – as well as buzzed about filmmaker offerings – begin flooding theaters again.Acclaimed storytellers like Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Wes Anderson, and the king of blockbusters himself, Mr. Spielberg, will be unveiling their latest directorial efforts over the first four months of 2018. The Last Jedi costar John Boyega and Welcome to the Jungle headliner Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson aren’t resting on their laurels either and have fresh … [Read more...] about 2018 Winter & Spring Movie Preview – The 15 Films to See
When a film's premise revolves around a boy's journey to a post-apocalyptic island inhabited entirely be talking dogs, it would hardly seem like material inspired by a real-life place. But perhaps that's just the case with Wes Anderson's latest stop-motion animated feature, Isle of Dogs, which will be making its world premiere as the opening title of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday.Starring much of Anderson's usual ensemble — this time: Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, among others (including Yoko Ono) — Isle of Dogs is set in a dystopian future Japan in which dogs have been quarantined on the remote eponymous island due to a "canine flu." When a Japanese boy named Atari (voiced by newcomer Koyu Rankin) ventures to the island to find his lost dog, Spots, the exiled hounds unite to help him evade the Japanese authorities who are, of course, in hot … [Read more...] about Was Wes Anderson’s Latest Film Inspired by Japan’s Real “Isles of Animals”?
The HBO series The Night Of told a brutally effective and psychologically layered story of a young New Yorker from a good Pakistani-American family caught up in a nightmarish spiral of criminal justice in which his ethnicity alone rendered him guilty in many eyes. Monster chronicles a similar experience involving a black Harlem high school senior with ambitions to become a filmmaker, who gets charged as an accomplice in a lethal armed robbery. The big difference is that in graduating to features from a busy career in music videos, commercials and photography, director Anthony Mandler can't get out of his own way.Based on the 1999 young adult novel by Walter Dean Myers, the film was scripted by Radha Blank, Cole Wiley and Janece Shaffer, who make a colossal error by adhering too closely to the book's use of a third-person screenplay as a key narrative device."Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a movie," says 17-year-old protagonist Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) in the first of … [Read more...] about ‘Monster’: Film Review | Sundance 2018
Dir/scr: Bart Layton. UK-US 2018. 116minsWriter/director Bart Layton (The Imposter) picks up the heist film and hurls it into new territory with American Animals, a supremely-crafted doc/fiction hybrid which is genuinely innovative, pleasingly entertaining and deliciously more than the sum of its parts.It’s rare to see a film which genuinely breaks new ground, which is why the picture should be embraced with gleeA buzzed-about title in advance of its Sundance screening, American Animals will test the 2018 market; this is a film which will be desired by all and should play well on all levels – festival, theatrical, streaming – but at what price? A potential Point Break or Fight Club of its generation, it arrives in a different commercial landscape; it’s a game-changing film which demands the same in support to make the impact it deserves.Craft is outstanding on all levels here; from the intricate jigsaw of the fact/fiction script through to acting, lighting, … [Read more...] about ‘American Animals’: Sundance Review