Det. Thorn: "I know, Sol, you've told me a hundred times before. People were better, the world was better..." Sol: "Ah, people were always lousy... But there was a world, once." Soylent Green
#434 | March 27, 2012
Film of the Week: Hunger Games
As much a spectacle for Halftime in America as the GOP primary circus, if vastly more sober-minded, The Hunger Games serves itself up as an Orwellian reality show in which a future parallel USA has ceded democracy to the totalitarian rule of the 1%, made recognizable by their goofy Ziggy Stardust costumes with hair by Edward Scissorhands. Nothing if not cross-reference-able, this adaptation of the Suzanne Collins' young-adult blockbuster is far too many movies in one to merely merit accusations of ripping off Battle Royale. Unfortunately, that's one of the more entertaining things about it. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, David Lean Directs Noel Coward: Blithe Sprit, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress. 
  • What We're Watching: World on a Wire (Criterion), The Swell Season. 
  • Explore: Retro Active - Battle Royale, The Deep Blue Sea, SXSW 2012 - Critic's Notebook #3.  
  • Contest: Columbus Circle DVD Giveaway!
Perennial GreenCine favorite Roger Corman (he figures prominently in our B-Movies Primer, and we interviewed both Roger & Wife for a podcast) is celebrated in this doc from genre fan Alex Stapleton who is of the belief that "Corman’s lasting legacy is not only as one of the true greats of indie cinema, but also as a generous human being who encouraged and inspired other artists and gave them a chance," such as a young Jack Nicholson and countless others (Collider). "Cheerfully turning out low-budget shlockbusters, Corman emerges as the very incarnation of never-say-die American entrepreneurialism and capitalism, celebrating naughtiness, absurdity and fun," adds Peter Bradshaw.
Corman's World
Criterion's newly released set David Lean Directs Noël Coward  contains some previously released films (Brief Encounter, In Which We Serve), but contains 2 new to DVD works that celebrate the collaboration between director and playwright: This Happy Breed and Blithe Spirit. Blithe Spirit, the duo's third collaboration together, has Lean taking some liberties with the light-hearted supernatural comedy of manners. "Everything about Lean’s film makes Coward’s material heavier and more palpable. We have Coward’s comedy, but we have it as if under glass, available for analysis in a way that a play in performance never is," writes Geoffrey O'Brien for Current. Margaret Rutherford turns in a stellar performance as Elvira the ghost, with O'Brien adding "Rutherford’s inspired performance is one of the great comic turns on-screen, as it apparently was onstage."
Blithe Spirit
Devoid of talking-head interviews, this documentary takes the fly-on-the-wall approach to its subject: the final menu at the world's most forward-thinking restaurant, El Bulli (previously reviewed for GreenCine Daily). "With each meal spanning 30 courses, each reservation booked the day after the previous season ends, it seems like the kind of place whose administration alone could warrant its own documentary. Instead, director Gereon Wetzel profiles the passage from idea to plate, beginning at the restaurant's workshop in Barcelona, ending with a celebratory slideshow of its completed menu," describes Jesse Cataldo at Slant.
El Bulli
What We're Watching
World on a Wire (Criterion)
I really don’t want to say a thing about World on a Wire. I wish you could just take the above five-star rating to heart and watch it, untainted by any sort of preconceived notion other than how awesome it is. That said, I’ll try my best to describe its awesomeness while tiptoeing around the finer points of the plot. World on a Wire is a made-for-German-television science fiction film directed by enfant terrible Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The film is set during an approximation of the present in a Euro-metropolis.  Read more >>
More like this  AlphavilleInception
The Swell Season
Among its other accomplishments, the new documentary The Swell Season manages very clearly to differentiate fan bases: that of the fans of the 2006 movie Once (which starred the subjects of this new film: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová), or the fans of the performers themselves. Fans of the former -- such as myself, who found Once a tiny, no-budget marvel with a lovely story, some wonderful songs and a bittersweet ending about as close to perfection as movies get -- can only feel supremely indebted to John Carney, the writer/director of Once, who, probably more than anyone, brought this film to fruition with his sense of pacing, subtlety and story-telling skills. Read more >>
More like this  OnceDig!
[This week's "Retro Active" pick is inspired by the battle royale within the new franchise du jour The Hunger Games.] Generational conflict takes on gory dimensions in Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 cult classic about a dystopian future where unruly kids are dealt with via death sport. Released to widespread controversy in its native Japan—and never given a proper American theatrical release, in part because of post-Columbine fears about its focus on murderous kids... Read more >>
Battle Royale
Film of the week: Deep Blue Sea. Terence Rattigan's 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea has been filmed before, but all director Terence Davies remembers of the 1955 incarnation (which he saw during childhood with his mother) is a shot of Kenneth More walking down a staircase. It makes sense that his version is less an adaptation than a hallucinatory recollection, a mostly wordless rendition of a wordy drama. Rachel Weisz is Hester Collyer, her most tightly coiled and miserable screen character since 2005's The Constant GardenerRead more >>
Deep Blue Sea
SXSW 2012: Critic's Notebook #3. Steve Dollar brings us this dispatch covering the films  Sun Don't Shine, Tchoupitoulas, Francine, The Imposter, and more. He also recaps our festival coverage by giving awards to "Best indie flashback," "Best Beards," "Best high concept," "Best neglected genre," among others. Read more >>
Sun Don't Shine
A dark and suspenseful thriller starring Selma Blair as an agoraphobic heiress confronted with a murder next door and new tenants to boot, Columbus Circle, made its debut on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand on March 6, 2012, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. And here's your chance to win a copy of Columbus Circle on DVD! Read more >>
Columbus Circle

Dystopian Death Sport


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