May 16, 2013 |
Effortless and effervescent, "Frances Ha" is a small miracle of a movie, honest and funny with an aim that's true. It's both a timeless story of the joys and sorrows of youth and a dead-on portrait of how things are right now for one particular New York woman who, try as she might, can't quite get her life together. That would be the Frances of the title (the Ha isn't explained until the film's charming final frame), a joint creation of and career high point for both star Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach, who met on the director's "Greenberg" and co-wrote the script.
May 13, 2013 |
Since the publication in 1920 of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, "This Side of Paradise," his life and career have been scrutinized, studied and dissected in countless critical essays, articles and biographies. Hollywood too has been endlessly fascinated with his novels and short stories. In fact, there have been four feature adaptations alone of his 1925 Jazz Age novel, "The Great Gatsby," the latest being Baz Luhrmann's opulent 3D version that opened to big ticket sales Friday.
May 13, 2013 |
Matthew Rolston packed the cavernous JF Chen gallery in Hollywood on Friday night to introduce L.A. to his latest project, "Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits," a series of photographs featuring all-too-human ventriloquist dummies. Much of the early coverage of the book has focused on the eerie and absurd qualities of the dummies (the Huffington Post declared them "creepy"), but through the 5-by-5-foot portraits on view at JF Chen, Rolston was able to reveal much more. Most evident: The large format of the portraits emphasizes the human hand behind each doll face: the rosy cheeks, the bushy brows, the eyelashes brushed on, one by one. Where skin has cracked, where painted makeup has chipped, where the 24/7 smiles yield to the realities of time, Rolston's subjects feel the most human.
May 8, 2013 |
Lost works, home movies, industrial films, abandoned technologies and other assorted cinematic ephemera all fall under the umbrella of miscellany known as "orphan film. " The strange mix of the odd and slightly sad gets its own festival at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood this weekend. "The Real Indies: A Close Look at Orphan Films," presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in partnership with New York University and the Orphan Film Symposium, begins Friday night with the West Coast premiere of the restoration of "Portrait of Jason," Shirley Clarke's powerful 1967 hybrid of documentary and fiction, followed by a full day of screenings and talks on Saturday.
May 3, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - President Obama on Friday painted a sunny picture of a modern Mexico emerging from its past troubles, an attempt at rebranding that serves the political aims of both governments but clashes with the realities of a country beset by violence and poverty. On his second day of a swing through Latin America, Obama emphasized optimism about Mexico's economic future and offered a broad endorsement of President Enrique Peña Nieto's reform agenda. Speaking to a crowd largely made up of high school and college students, Obama pushed the next generation of Mexicans to continue to demand change.
May 1, 2013 |
In 1980, R. Crumb produced a set of 36 trading cards called “Heroes of the Blues.” It's a great little set, backing Crumb's drawings with short biographical sketches of performers such as Blind Blake , Charlie Patton , Big Bill Broonzy and Peetie Wheatstraw . If there's any downside to the project, it's that it doesn't cover enough territory. Only 36 musicians? That barely scratches the surface of this most quintessential of American folk art forms. As it turns out, this is the motivation for William Stout's “Legends of the Blues,” coming May 7 from Abrams ComicArts, which picks up where Crumb left off. Featuring 100 musicians, the book has little overlap with “Heroes ...” -- save, as Stout says, “ Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson , two bluesmen I just couldn't bear to leave out” -- making the projects complementary in the most fundamental sense.
April 22, 2013 |
In a grassy backyard in the small town of Griffin, Ga., about 25 miles south of Atlanta, actor Aden Young is rehearsing a fight scene for the upcoming Sundance Channel series “Rectify.” It's early August, and the steam heat has crew and onlookers grappling for the scant amount of shade available. But Young is practicing a series of complicated stunt punches and undercuts. Later in the air-conditioned lunch trailer, the only respite from the suffocating heat, the actor makes light of his working conditions.
April 5, 2013 |
Portrait studios at Sears and some Wal-Mart stores - the scenes of innumerable family photos - have unexpectedly closed as their operator, CPI Corp., goes out of business. The portrait provider said in a statement on its website that all of its U.S. locations have shut down “after many years of providing family portrait photography.” The St. Louis company has been making photo keepsakes for more than 60 years and offered its services at more than 3,000 North American locations, mostly in Sears and Wal-Mart stores.
April 1, 2013 |
David Sutherland is the director of three remarkable documentary films - I should say at least three, having seen only the last three - notable for their length and their depth: "The Farmer's Wife," from 1998, a 61/2-hour look at a farm family in crisis; the six-hour "Country Boys," from 2005, about two teenagers in Appalachia; and now "Kind Hearted Woman," set in North Dakota, Minnesota and southern Canada, which follows a Native American woman and...
March 14, 2013 |
The short and sweet documentary "Hava Nagila (The Movie)" is a lively portrait of what is arguably the most ubiquitous Jewish song or, as one observer wryly puts it, "the kudzu of Jewish music. " Though perhaps best known to recent generations as that infectious, hora-accompanied staple of bar mitzvahs and Jewish weddings, the tune has a significant 150-year history that's warmly tracked by director-producer Roberta Grossman, with an assist from writer-producer Sophie Sartain.