In the movies, romances fail for reasons of class, money, scandal, race, death, noble sacrifice or—more recently—fear of commitment. Shopgirl may be the first Hollywood love story in a long time to revolve around the inability to love.
Based on Gerald Clarke’s exhaustive biography, Bennett Miller’s Capote covers the six years that Truman Capote spent working on In Cold Blood. The film begins at a noisy New York cocktail party where Capote is the center of attention, regaling his friends with humorous anecdotes and observations.
Great plays tend to make mediocre movies. The elements that make a play successful don’t always provide the plot and visuals that are the keys to memorable cinema. Complicating matters further is the fact that theater is, by design, dialogue-heavy. The screenwriter who plans to cram long monologues or extended dialogues into the script is doomed.
As a boy, I was a slave to DC Comics. When the new issues of Superman, Batman, Action, Adventure and World’s Finest hit the stands, I was off to the drugstore to purchase and devour a fistful of 12-cent comics. It was a ritual that continued for many years, until I finally moved on to sports biographies.
Latino cinema has a long tradition of tweaking the Catholic Church for its supposed hypocrisy, involvement in secular politics and manhandling of sexual issues. Thirty-nine-year-old Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel now joins in with her own rants on the rigidity and absoluteness of Catholic doctrine, especially as it pertains to children.
In creating Revenge of the Sith, the third (chronologically) and final (cinematically) installment in the six-film Star Wars saga, George Lucas confronted a writing challenge unprecedented in movie history.
Love, lust, forgiveness, remorse, tolerance, sin, violence and death—these are just some of the themes engaged in The ,Ballad of Jack and Rose. It’s the third feature film by writer-director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity, Angela), a former painter and actress who is the daughter of the late playwright Arthur Miller.
Guilt and remorse over Nazi atrocities and the horrors of World War II have consumed Germany for decades, influencing politics, culture and the arts, including cinema. The rise of the German New Wave of filmmakers in the 1970s (led by Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and Rainer Fassbinder) was fueled in part by a desire to exorcise Germany’s dark past.
A pair of British imports explores faith of different kinds. Millions, directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is by far the slicker of the two. It is chock-full of glitzy visual effects, something to be expected from the man who directed the kinetic drug film Trainspotting.
Zana Briski is a New York photojournalist who went to India in 1995 to document the plight of women in a patriarchal society. In 1998 she encountered the prostitutes working in the red light district of Calcutta. She moved in with them and got to know their routines.
In 1994 Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in Kigali, Rwanda, risked his life to help save more than 1,200 men, women and children from the ethnic cleansing that wiped out nearly 1 million Rwandans in 100 days. Through this true story Hotel Rwanda tells the story of the genocide in Rwanda.
When Alfred Charles Kinsey was hired as an assistant professor of zoology at Indiana University in 1920, he began a two-decade study of the gall wasp, collecting over 1 million samples. He loved the gall wasp, he said, because each one was totally different from the others.
Scottish writer James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937) was a great success during his lifetime, with 40 plays, six novels and numerous works of nonfiction to his name. But he is remembered today for one play only: Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, first performed 100 years ago this December.
Road movies provide screenwriters with a built-in structure. It allows them, in the immortal words of the Queen of Hearts, to “begin at the beginning, go on until you reach the end, and then stop!” But what happens when an ending isn’t really the end? Or when the “real” end sends us down a different road altogether?
Seventeen-year-old Maria is a pretty Colombian girl frustrated with life in her small town. She has a monotonous job at a rose plantation; family responsibilities that eat up her paycheck; and a boyfriend who is content drinking with the guys and working as a mechanic.
The news that director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) was making a new version of the 1962 cold-war thriller The Manchurian Candidate provoked howls of protest from purists who didn’t see the need for an updated version of that memorable film (especially since it was out of circulation for 25 years—a political fallout of the Kennedy assassination).
Since bursting onto the national scene in 1989 with his celebrated documentary Roger & Me, Michael Moore has gone from being that goofy overweight filmmaker in tennis shoes and a baseball cap to being the resolute voice of the common American. His battles with the powers-that-be have cast him as a modern-day Frank Capra.