"Nobody walks out on me! Not even myself!"- Head
#366 | November 30, 2010
Though it encompasses seven films released between '68 and '71, America Lost and Found: The BBS Story, a new set from Criterion, may feel like a fin-de-siècle time capsule of a Sixties‹now variously fossilized, romanticized and idealized‹but it's also a jolt. The shotgun blast that ends Easy Rider, the most mythologized film in the collection, may have symbolically killed off an era and its utopian concepts of freedom, but it also signaled the arrival of a surging wave in American movies. Steve Dollar has more on these films from this production house/countercultural engine room, BBS - which took its name from the initials of its three principals (Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider and Steve Blauner)...More >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: Valhalla Rising, Waking Sleeping Beauty, and more.
  • What We're Watching: Cairo Time, Lennon Naked, The Extra Man.
  • Explore: All Good Things.
"When it comes to crazy, violent, semidelirious, testosterone-laden, proto-Viking tales about a mute visionary one-eyed warrior who breaks skulls," writes Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Valhalla Rising is pretty great." Writes Andrew O'Hehir: "Lots of movies about the Middle Ages can do the mud and blood -- though we sure see a lot of both here -- but in this movie it's like [director Nicolas Winding] Refn has ripped you out of time and dropped you there." See also our podcast interview with director Refn. "These ain't your daddy's Vikings," indeed.
The story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions... and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history. "A surprisingly intimate behind-the-scenes documentary," writes Tasha Robinson. Director Don Hahn "tells the story in such a lively, humorous fashion that it may well even have disarmed the Disney PR machine." Adds Roger Ebert: "The film gives good screen time to the artists who created the films with their own minds and hands and work in collaboration. There's even a glimpse of young Tim Burton, chained to a drafting board."
Also out today: Cairo Time [see more below]; Going the Distance; Knight & Day [fairly dumb at times but action romp with Cruise and Diaz is also quite fun]; Liverpool; Sorcerer's Apprentice [Blu-ray] .

New and Coming Releases lists | Your Queue | Discuss! | GreenCine's review blog: Guru | GC Member Reviews and Lists | New DVD Spotlight
What We're Watching
How unusual to see a love story for adults, one that takes its sweet time (yes, the Cairo Time of the title) while it alternately surprises, soothes and shakes you up. But quietly. Though it seems aimed at older audiences, it was made by a youthful filmmaker: Ruba Nadda, a Canadian writer/director with Middle-Eastern roots who is still in her 30s. To reap the full benefits of the film, you must be willing to enter the soul of the protagonist, a happily-married, middle-aged woman (Patricia Clarkson) arriving in Egypt for a vacation with her husband (employed by the United Nations and posted in Cairo)..." Read more >>
A John Lennon mini-revival is underway, with Sam Taylor Wood's recent theatrical release Nowhere Boy focusing more on the enigmatic Beatle's adolescent struggles and this 2010 BBC TV production Lennon Naked, which whips forward through a few seminal moments in Lennon's life from 1964 to 1971, as both the world at large and Lennon's own world went through extreme changes. The BBC film explores how Lennon dealt with that rocky upbringing and ways it affected his relationships as an adult, with friends and family (including his sensitive son Julian). The sudden death of manager Brian Epstein, often called "the Fifth Beatle" for his importance to the band, is another event that, as depicted in the film, made Lennon resentful and empty. And Lennon's long-estranged father...Read more >>
American eccentrics overflow the work of film-making duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, from what you might call the eccentric celebrity-dining pictured in their 1997 debut film Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's to their masterpiece -- one of the more original American films in recent memory -- American Splendor. Even their so-so, somewhat misfired adaptation of The Nanny Diaries was saved by the eccentricities of its lead character (and the fine performance by Laura Linney, an actress who finds the latent oddities in all her characters). Berman and Pulcini seem more than intrigued by and attracted to the oddballs among us; they actually champion them... Read more >>
Vadim Rizov doesn't find a lot of good things in the new film All Good Things, but he does find several main points of interest. "The first is that it's actually being released after years in the Weinsteins' post-Miramax purgatory (director Andrew Jarecki was forced to buy the film back). Secondly, it's Jarecki's follow-up to Capturing the Friedmans, one of the most discussed documentaries of the last decade or so, thereby automatically meriting attention for his first narrative feature..." Read more >>

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