FILM It is one of those hard truths one must learn to live with: Quentin Tarantino will always have seen more obscure exploitation movies than you. His new Django Unchained will arrive just in time for Christmas like a gift wrapped severed limb, leaving dedicated fanboy/fangirl types just weeks yet to immerse themselves in the world of spaghetti westerns to which it pays homage.Read more »
FILM In Ira Sachs' intensely discomfiting Keep the Lights On, Erik (Thure Lindhardt) is a Danish documentarian in late-1990s New York City, prodding his career along, spending time with friends, having casual sex with strangers. One of the latter is Paul (Zachary Booth), a publishing-house lawyer who first tells him "I have a girlfriend, so don't get your hopes up." Yet some time later they've become a tentative couple, then a live-in one.Read more »
The recent outcry over a "Team Supermodel" strut showing off British fashion during the Olympics' closing ceremony underlined a dichotomy: as much as people want the conventional glamour of the moment, they don't want to feel guilty about it, i.e. have it exposed by direct comparison to the purportedly natural physical beauty of athletes.
Yet there are parallels between these two groups, particularly in the realm of concerns about weight and drugs. Plus, being a sports star and a model are both roles that allow the performer to actually merit being "entitled." Everyone wants to be special — though of course that only works if other people aren't.
The disturbingly instructive new documentary Girl Model (opening Fri/14) makes a good case for not encouraging such desires in your child, because the likelihood is that someone will come along to exploit that desire, convincingly promise them fame, then leave them worse off than before, with debts accrued from the dream that didn't come true. "The first secret to a successful modeling career is to start modeling at five or ten years old," says an emcee at a cattle-call showcase early on in David Redmond and Ashley Sabin's film. It's Russia, where the relatively new capitalism trickles down even less than here, so the families are even more eager to turn little Svetlana into a moneymaker. But that way lies madness, or at least deceit and disappointment.
FILM It's easy to make fun of religion — particularly this election year — but when people aren't trying to kill or control one another over it, it's best to leave the subject alone. Why begrudge anyone whatever makes sense of the world for them, or gives comfort when in need?Read more »
FILM The much-abused Malvolio in Twelfth Night is far from a great man, but he makes the definitive statement about greatness: that some are born with it, some achieve it, etc. Option number three, however, doesn't really work for movies. No film has ever successfully had greatness thrust upon it, at least not by its maker. Yet every year there are a handful that seem to be handing themselves golden statuettes in every self-consciously majestic frame.Read more »