FILM Unless you're between the ages of approximately 8 and 16 (mental as well as actual years applicable), it's been difficult to avoid a serious case of superhero fatigue at the movies lately. If a particular weekend doesn't bring yet another comic book to life at several thousand multiplex screens near you, it's providing the same favor to a toy, video game, or some pre-existing movie franchise that might as well have originated from one of the above.
FILM Though the visibility of gays and lesbians in cinema remains (largely) confined to independent film, Rashaad Ernesto Green, in his debut feature Gun Hill Road, uses the creative freedom afforded by that closeting to explore issues of race and confused sexuality amid the Latino population of the Bronx.Read more »
Dreams and drawings, cats and fantasies, ambition and aimlessness, and the mild-mannered yet mortifying games people play, all wind their way into Miranda July's The Future. The future's a scary place, as many of us fully realize, even if you hide from it well into your 30s, losing yourself in the everyday. But you can't duck July's collection of moments, objects, and small gestures transformed into something strangely slanted and enchanted, both weird and terrifying, when viewed through July's looking glass.Read more »
FILM In 1983, Deborah Peagler was sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree murder in the death of her former boyfriend Oliver Wilson, whom two local L.A. gang members had strangled — supposedly at her behest, to access Wilson's life insurance money.Read more »
FILM "Legendary" is a term often applied to artists distinguished by either ubiquity or scarcity. Monte Hellman definitely falls in the second camp — nearly 80, he's just made his first feature in 22 years, causing a flurry of interest in the sparse 10 he made during the prior three decades he was, relatively speaking, active — movies hardly anyone saw when they came out since none were more than a blip on the commercial radar.Read more »
Actor Michael Rapaport probably didn't set out to make a hip-hop Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004), but that's pretty much where his portrait of A Tribe Called Quest ends up. The first half of Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is predictably worshipful, slathering on low angles and slow motion to cover mediocre live shows. More effectively, Rapaport traces the Queens group's brief incubation period and subsequent breakthroughs in what would later be called alternative or, more obnoxiously, conscious hip-hop. Read more »
Mikhail Kalatozov's career had a large hole in the middle, one that remains incompletely explained. Why were the two periods of his greatest work separated by roughly three decades? Why did he make almost nothing between? The answer definitely involved Stalin and his fickle cultural watchdogs, even if the full reason for such a long lull (or fall from favor) might never be known.Read more »
FILM When North Korea makes the news, it's usually under unpleasant headlines containing words like "nuclear" and "hostilities." What most Americans know of this secretive country is either drawn from these dire reports or formed via pop culture. Notable are Vice magazine's surprisingly illuminating North Korean travelogue, which "aired" online, and a pair of 2004 films: doc A State of Mind, about two girls training for the country's circus-on-a-terrifying-scale Mass Games, and, of course, Team America: World Police.Read more »