April 2, 2014 |
If you haven't made it to "Bad Words," Jason Bateman's directing debut and sarcastic takedown of the spelling bee game, it's just become much easier to indulge in this guilty pleasure. Like Bateman's 40-year-old Guy with a grudge and unbeatable spelling chops, the movie is turning up everywhere now. The competitive spelling world, teeming with bright kids, obsessive parents and rigid educators, proves to be rich terrain for a caustic, clever comedy. The actor-director puts himself in good funny company too - Kathryn Hahn and Allison Janney among others.
March 20, 2014 |
New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane is catching heat for his recent profile of Scarlett Johansson , which detractors say fawns over the actress without bothering to comprehend her. Johansson has two films coming out on the same day (April 4): "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Under the Skin," and has recently been linked to separate controversies involving SodaStream and Woody Allen. As critics of Lane's profile point out, he devotes much of it to cataloging Johansson 's allure, describing "the honey of her voice" and declaring that she "looks tellingly radiant in the flesh" or seems to be " made from champagne.
March 8, 2014 |
We live in an age of artistic appropriation. Recording artists freely "sample" music created by other people, visual artists stretch the concept of "fair use" to create art from photographs they did not take, and a young novelist in Germany was unconcerned when pages of someone else's writing were found in her own novel. "There is no such thing as originality," she said, "just authenticity. " By those standards, what the British theater group Kneehigh has done to David Lean's classic romantic melodrama "Brief Encounter" is mild indeed.
February 15, 2014 |
The first months of the year are, by consensus, the bleakest of cinematic times. But not so much if, like me, you are a lover of documentaries, someone who revels in the pleasures of the nonfiction film. Proofs of the remarkable strength of documentaries in this day and age are manifold right around now. If you were fortunate enough to go to last month's Sundance, for instance, a prime nonfiction showcase that this year screened some 40 documentaries from around the world, you got a peek at the best of what 2014 will offer.
January 21, 2014 |
Does James Franco ever sleep? In the past year, he's starred in such diverse films as "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Spring Breakers" and "This Is the End"; directed art house efforts like "Sal" and "Interior. Leather Bar. "; mentored Gia Coppola in adapting his book "Palo Alto Stories" into a film; been roasted on Comedy Central; mounted an unusual Oscar campaign; and even parodied a Kanye West video for good measure. Now a new trailer has been released for his directorial effort "Child of God," adapted from the novel by Cormac McCarthy.
January 13, 2014 |
A week after "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen reportedly was ridiculed as an "embarrassing doorman" at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, critic Armond White has been shown the door himself. The critics group voted Monday morning to expel White from its ranks, member Owen Gleiberman confirmed in an online post. White, the editor and movie critic of City Arts, has denied reports that he heckled McQueen while the British filmmaker was accepting a directing award last week, but Gleiberman wrote : " I was sitting about 40 feet away from him, and though I couldn't make out everything that was said, I can testify: Everyone at my table lurched around to see where the loud, jeering, disruptive comments were coming from.