December 7, 1990 |
The people who made "Genuine Risk" (selected theaters) would probably like us to believe they're taking a few risks themselves. But they aren't. It's a movie that fairly seethes with aspirations toward life on the edge, dangerous liaisons, the darkness beneath the everyday. Probably young writer-director Kurt Voss wanted the kind of high-style-gritty mix Stephen Frears achieves in "The Grifters." But "Genuine Risk," is safer, slighter: A formula job that only rarely breaks its mold.
January 23, 1993 |
If you snipped the skiing footage from "Aspen Extreme" (citywide) you might have enough for a pretty exciting 20-minute documentary. The shots of downhill racers skidding and slaloming down the steep slopes are diverting, and there's a beauty of a sequence involving an avalanche that should by all rights have won the cameramen Purple Hearts. As for the non-skiing stuff, it's strictly sudsville. T. J.
November 8, 2009
Nomo : With Fool's Gold and Vampire Weekend bringing African rhythms and textures to indie listeners, we recommend inquiring ears seek out this six-piece from Michigan. Mixing Fela Kuti's Afrobeat drive with contemporary nods to post-rock dissonance and looping electronics, Nomo is a cool-burning dance-funk party waiting to happen. Start with this year's "Invisible Cities" on Ubiquity Records. ESPN's "30 for 30": We've grumbled about the self-promoting sports network in the past, but they've nailed it with this gripping 30-part documentary series.
February 1, 2009 |
Sitting four rows behind his cousin at a private screening of "Friday Night Lights," director Peter Berg felt uneasy seeing H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger shift in his seat. Bissinger, Berg's cousin, wrote the book that chronicled the 1988 Permian High School football team from Odessa, Texas. Any insecurity was thwarted when Bissinger hugged Berg when the lights came up. "There wasn't much to say," Bissinger said. "I truly thought he did a beautiful job." Bissinger had worried any movie would simplify his narrative that wove together the team's collective and personal anxieties, the social and racial tensions in Odessa and the oil town's unhealthy obsession with the Panthers.
February 28, 1994 |
The biggest sack of defensive lineman Dennis Byrd's life--knocking into a hat the medical predictions that he would never walk again--is the stuff of the legendary "Brian's Song" (1972), although Byrd's movie has a sunny ending.
November 25, 1998 |
"Very Bad Things" is a lamentable film whose woeful qualities are heightened by the smugness and self-satisfaction of its creators. The unhappy writing and directing debut of actor Peter Berg, this sour item will undoubtedly wear its negative reviews as badges of honor, marks of having been too real, too honest and, most important, way too hip and trendy for the uninitiated to appreciate. The opposite is closer to the truth.