Tag Archives | featured

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN pleases while it lasts

These days, you can scarcely hit a Cineplex without tripping over at least one biopic, a phenomenon I chalk up to the same one that makes reality TV so proliferate: people tend to thrill over the idea that
anything really happened, like, ever. But as thrilling as some human lives may be conceptually, rarely do any produce a satisfying narrative arc.

As a species, we tend to make the same mistakes over and over until we fade out– more the stuff of early Warhol installations or daytime soaps than a two-hour feature. Most biopics are either factually sound and dramatically dull (Sylvia, Ray), or historically inaccurate (Walk the Line). The best ones limit themselves to a very specific theme or period in a person’s life (Capote, Frost/Nixon). So structurally at least, My Week With Marilyn, based on memoirist Colin Clark’s short-lived dalliance with Marilyn Monroe during the 1956 filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, seems ahead of the game.

Continue Reading →

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia Is a Masterpiece

Lars von Trier is not a brother who provokes a neutral response. There are those who feel he can do no wrong, and then there are naysayers like me. Although I consider Dancer in the Dark one of the best movies of the last decade, I swore I’d never sit through another of his films after suffering through the school-play machinations of Dogville. A guy who so unilaterally criticizes America without ever having stepped foot on its soil deserves a similar boycott, I declared.

But now that he’s taken psychological projection to unprecedented proportions, he’s become downright fascinating.

Continue Reading →

You Say Fact, I Say Fiction: I’m Still Here and Catfish Call the Whole Debate Off

We’re all back to school in one way or another—including the film world, who is rolling out all the top guns for Oscar consideration right around now.  To that end, I’ve seen a bevy of fascinating, and fascinatingly flawed, films in the last few weeks. The two haunting me most are the docs I’m Still Here, Casey Affleck’s exploration into brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix’s ostensible nervous breakdown, and Catfish, about 24-year-old NYC photographer Nev’s curious relationship with an 8-year-old painter and her talented Michigan family. The old news, and even older hat: controversy swirls around both docs, whose authenticity has been called into question ever since their initial screenings. In the case of I’m Still Here, of course, Affleck invited that controversy, especially since he declared this week that he and Phoenix staged the breakdown, including the actor’s legendarily dissociative Letterman performance. Many critics and (fewer) members of the general public are now up in arms.  How dare he prank us? Who does he think he is? Who does he think we are?

L’Shana Tova, indeed. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy