As if rising with the temperature, the second quarter of the movie season is shaping up pretty nicely.
After months of stagnation, the Esquire and Mariemont theaters have finally mixed up their bookings in recent weeks, bringing in such worthwhile (if often little-seen) fare as Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The Class, Examined Life, Is Anybody There?, Paris 36, Sin Nombre, Sunshine Cleaning, Sugar, 12 and Tyson.
Who better to explore the life of Mike Tyson than James Toback? The two are mirror images in many ways.
The 64-year-old director of such highly personal, often indulgent films as Fingers (1978), The Pick-up Artist (1987), Two Girls and a Guy (1997) and Black and White (1999) is a noted lothario (despite resembling a balding bear) and a gleefully narcissistic provocateur whose elemental instincts often overwhelm his obviously elevated intellect.
Nearly 30 years ago, in an essay entitled “Why Are Movies So Bad? Or, the Numbers,” film critic Pauline Kael wrote that “the movies have been so rank the last couple years that when I see people lining up to buy tickets I sometimes think that the movies aren’t drawing an audience — they’re inheriting an audience. They’re stung repeatedly, yet their desire for a good movie — for any movie — is so strong that all over the country they keep lining up.”
Movieline is back. Sort of.
Launched in 1989, the magazine was — like the beat it covered — a glossy, gossipy, A-list-laden Hollywood wank-fest full sometimes vapid, usually smart, almost always entertaining content. (I still have a copy of the issue with Wild at Heart’s Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern on the cover.
Seth Rogen’s rapid rise atop the comedic heap has been a welcome reprieve from the well-scrubbed, chiseled faces that dominate Hollywood’s leading-man landscape.
But how will Rogen handle success? Can he keep from going down the road of the similarly unconventional, increasingly one-note Jack Black?
This week’s new releases are a curious hodgepodge ranging from a big-budget studio retread (Fast & Furious) to an experimental feature by a 79-year-old enfant terrible (Pere Portabella's The Silence Before Bach, which opened in New York City more than a year ago). Lodged in-between is a pair of movies that debuted to mixed responses at the Sundance Film Festival (Sunshine Cleaning in 2008, Adventureland earlier this year), both of which feature strong casts and capable directors.
Is anyone else as jazzed as I am about the new Star Trek film? It looks like a thrilling ride.
It's due in theaters May 8, and there's already a sequel planned.
Live long and prosper
Is it just me or are there far fewer movies being released this year?
It’s not just me. A quick look back reveals that 24 different films appeared in at least one local movie house in March 2008. By contrast, 14 films will have been released over the same period in 2009.