I was fortunate during my tenure at IMDb and after producing ZOO to travel to film festivals. With ZOO I attended Sundance, Cannes and Sarajevo. Going to Cannes was a life changing experience. Standing on the red carpeted steps, turning around and seeing the mass of people, flashbulbs, film people…I was in heaven. Sarajevo was an opportunity that I jumped at when the director and cinematographer were unable to attend. It was in August and it was hot. I stayed at the Holiday Inn where some of the siege fighting occurred. It might sound cliche, but I still felt the war around me. During IMDb I attended Sundance another few times, SXSW and my most favorite of all, Toronto. Now that those 2 lives are over, I have to make my own festivals in Paris.
My selection for foreign films in the cinema are scarce but I am able to see quite a bit on iTunes and my friend here who has contacts in LA has been getting a lot of screeners of new releases which has gotten my blood flowing again with new cinema. I have also been throwing in some old movies too which I will be reviewing along with any other relevant films for the post.
I hope you enjoy and can get some recommendations for time investment and savior.
GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT — “A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.” This was made in 1947 right after the end of WWII. It was quite controversial for it’s time and well worth it. I watched it on a Sunday afternoon and I highly recommend it.
THE MAN IN THE GREY SUIT — After watching the GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT, I wanted another Gregory Peck movie and this one seemed quite interesting. Some plot areas seemed progressive for the time (1956) but the over all film was worth the time. Another Sunday afternoon movie.
HITCHCOCK — There are 2 redeeming qualities about this movie. The first being Helen Miran’s character and dialogue. She carried the movie for me and she had a great monologue putting Hitchcock in his place for her taking second fiddle to him during his career, but I had felt I’d heard it before. Also, Anthony Hopkins was a really weird Hitchcock. The second redeeming quality came near the end with one interesting scene when Anthony Hopkins reacts to the audience watching PSYCHO. That’s all I can say about the film. If you’re dying to see it, go to a matinee, otherwise, I’d probably skip it.
WEST MEMPHIS–This is the final chapter of a trilogy of the West Memphis 3 who were wrongly convicted of killing 3 young boys in Arkansas. It is a very good documentary and you don’t need to see the first 2, but be warned there are a lot of gruesome photos of the small boys after their murder. I closed my eyes and was fine, and I felt the rest of the movie was well worth it. It’s another sad day in our justice system for these innocent men’s lives being ruined by the corruption of politics and ego.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK — I am sure most everyone has heard about this movie and it’s is quite good. It’s not as good as THE FIGHTER, but definitely worth a watch. The pacing and editing is very good. I felt the music was a bit obvious but my movie friend in Paris disagrees with me. So you be the judge! But I love David O.Russell who made some of my favorite films: THREE KINGS and FLIRTING WITH DISASTER. I am happy he’s still making good quality films.
ZERO DARK THIRTY— This film was not what I expected. I knew I wanted to see it but I expected the tempo to be more similar to THE HURT LOCKER but it was slow and methodical. Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke were fantastic. There was a bit of camera shake in the beginning that I either got used to or it mellowed out. Either way, this film and ARGO are some of my favorite real-life chronicles I’ve seen in awhile.
DJANGO UNCHAINED–I was very resistant to see this movie but I am glad that I went. Quentin Tarrantino is an excellent dialogue writer and that was never more prevalent than in this film. There was once scene with a bunch of men on horses with white KKK type masks arguing and I have not laughed that hard since I watched I LOVE YOU MAN for the first time. It made the other 2:35 minutes worth while. I may sound like a prude, but I do feel that there were 2 excessively violent scenes which were unnecessary and it seemed he was playing to 15 year old boys. It’s a shame to ruin such fantastic writing with the crude violence.