FILM A lot of people have been busting filmmaker Wes Anderson's proverbial chops lately, lambasting him for recent cinematic self-indulgences hewing dangerously close to self-parody (and in the case of 2007's Darjeeling Limited, I'm one of them). Maybe he's been listening. Either way, his new animated film, Fantastic Mr. Read more »
FILM NOIR FEST The Columbia trademark: a literal goddess swathed in virginal white robes, she serenely holds aloft a torch à la the Statue of Liberty. What say we gussy her up in black satin and replace that blazing torch with a hot little .45? It seems apropos, considering the Roxie Theater is hosting a "Best of Columbia Noir" retrospective. But does the program manage to eclipse all that angelic light? Yes and no. Read more »
TV DAMES I'm sure you've heard: the critically lauded Mad Men's characterizations are subtle and layered. Its insights into contemporary society, as viewed through the prism of 1960s-era domestic and professional life, are at once nuanced and precisely rendered. Its dialogue is rich in subtext and dramatic allusion. In short, it's, you know, deep.
But, also, the outfits really rock. And so do the fabulously messed-up women who wear them. Take vixen head-secretary Joan Holloway, as portrayed by flame-haired siren Christina Hendricks. Read more »
CULT HORROR "I am a genre terrorist," legendary Italian "B" filmmaker Lucio Fulci professes in an interview on the freshly released two-disc edition of his 1990 film Cat in the Brain (Grindhouse). Read more »
Easily capturing the paradoxical essence of the world's largest megalopolis seems about as likely as a phalanx of harajuku girls uniformed in Little Bo Peep costumes successfully scaling Mount Fuji. Read more »
A painter, poet, jazz musician, and political activist, Viggo Mortensen is a mass of complicated, sometimes conflicting energies and interests. He's as macho and swarthy as they come, but with a contemplative thirst for truth. He's shy, but a bit of a motormouth (and can run on in at least six different languages). Read more »
Be warned: the following is in no way a professional, measured critique of the career and oeuvre of one Jim Henson, master puppeteer, kiddie empire creator, and upcoming Yerba Buena Center for the Arts retrospective honoree. Oh, no. Below are the semicoherent ravings of a Muppet-philiac Henson fangirl. Read more »
Starving is overrated. No matter how romantic your notions of the long-suffering, misunderstood artiste, it's hard to get around the fact that you'll never get that big one-person show if the rain reduces your paintings to gesso mush because you don't have a roof to put over them.
It's being released to coincide with World AIDS Day, but Thom Fitzgerald's 3 Needles isn't so much about AIDS as it is blood — human hemoglobin seems to pour from every frame. Part Holy Communion, part arsenic-laced Syrah, it's constantly being wielded by the film’s characters as a weapon in their desperate struggles to survive both the disease and its political and social ramifications.
The movie's sweeping triptych of stories spans three continents. Read more »