Birth of the Living Dead is a documentary about the making of one of my favorite films; Night of the Living Dead. It contains a treasure trove of trivia about how George A. Romero, NOTLD’s director and screenwriter, added the zombie to the classic monster roster with the help of a rag-tag group of investors and first-time actors and filmmakers. But unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and The Wolfman, zombies were added as a whole, as a collective. Forty-five years after NOTLD’s release, zombies are more popular than ever, which makes me a very happy man.
The “Catching Fire” in this case is about the fire that is civil discontent brewing in the 12 districts that will soon be the revolution. But also it is the fire that makes me slowly warm up to this franchise. I hated the first one so much that I walked into this with dread and left mildly surprised… How about that? I say that they did something right.
I had a strange sense of connection to Cold Turkey. Not that my family had dysfuntional holidays like the one we see here, but I think, if we had as many out-spoken members as the Turner family, we might have had similarly tumultuous Thanksgivings.
Whatever your feelings on the imprisonment and exploitation of sea mammals for profit – ambivalence, acceptance, unease or indignation – the sober, level-headed and extremely well-constructed documentary Blackfish is sure to open your eyes a little wider, introduce you to some aspects of the industry that you didn’t know, and perhaps, if you’re of the ambivalent or accepting camps, change your point of view. I’m in the indignant camp and it still taught me an awful lot about this dispicable industry.
A foolhardy concept from its very inception, Diana, which imagines the relationship, in the last three years of her life, between Diana, Princess of Wales, and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) is chock full of dialogue that no actor can possibly make work. If we are to believe this film, Diana and Hasnat’s early courtship, held essentially in secret at Kensington Palace, was composed of her making gags about the bounty of royalty (asked if she has any more wine, she replies “This is a Palace – we don’t run out of anything”), while he parried with poetic quotes and ludicrous, high-faultin’ babble (on surgery: “You don’t perform the operation – the operation performs you”).
Alexander Payne makes great movies. Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendents, all directed by Payne. To me, he’s like the Coen Brothers; even their weak movies are better than most other directors good ones. And as far as I’m concerned, Nebraska is no different. It’s more subtle, less like a big Hollywood film than most, but wonderful all the same.
Thor and his compatriots must stop Malekith from joining with the Aether or all of the nine realms could be destroyed. You know, it’s never just a cat stuck up a tree with these Norse Gods, is it?
Regardless of how you might feel about author Orson Scott Card’s comments about gay marriage, another possible reason you shouldn’t go see the film Ender’s Game, based on his classic novel, is because the film just isn’t that good.
Sandra Bullock has another huge hit on her hands. Everybody seems to love Gravity, and I’m no exception. I’d say I’m a mid-range Sandra Bullock fan. She rarely saves a film that’s careening toward the crapper from the first read-through (Demolition Man, Speed 2: Cruise Control), but she’s notched memorable performances in lots of great movies in different genres.
Beware of Mr. Baker, is a documentary about Ginger Baker, one of the world’s greatest drummers. It made me audibly express amazement twice, and only once because of his drumming. The film’s title is taken from a sign at the gate of Baker’s South African property–and talk about truth in advertising! B.O.M.B. begins, and ends, with Baker physically assaulting its director, who then laughs it off! Celebrity insulates, but some artists are so influential that it’s an honor to be in their orbit, even momentarily, regardless of the circumstances.