"LACMA's weekend series Fuller at Fox zeroes in on a blazing trail of six signature works for Darryl Zanuck's (now-75-year-old) studio — what the director called 'a new period of creativity and accomplishment,'" writes Nicolas Rapold, previewing Fixed Bayonets!, Hell and High Water, Pickup on South Street (image above), House of Bamboo, Forty Guns and China Gate.
Also in the LA Weekly, Karina Longworth: "Friday night, the parking lot of the nearby Proud Bird restaurant will play host to a literal blank screen, for a Tarantino-introed projection of Jackie Brown. It's the first stop on this year's Rolling Roadshow Tour, a traveling production organized by the folks behind Austin's Alamo Drafthouse, which mounts outdoor screenings of modern classic films at the locations where they were made." And in Jackie Brown, "the old 'one last score' banality is recharged by the ugly truth of ordinary mortality."
In the Los Angeles Times, Susan King has a round up of local goings on and Kevin Thomas previews the second part of a series at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Centennial Celebration: The Films of Akira Kurosawa. On a related notes, Paul Matwychuk's "Kurosawa Project" rolls on.
IN NEW YORK
"It's not every day you see a retrospective honoring Isabel 'Coca' Sarli, the Argentine siren whose work with director (and eventual husband) Armando Bo resulted in one of the most prolific, searing and sensational partnerships of the 1960s and 70s," writes ST VanAirsdale, introducing his interview with Sarli for Movieline. "Starting Friday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the weekend-long series Fuego: The Films of Isabel 'Coca' Sarli, a collection of five Sarli classics (Fire, [Naked on the Sand], Flesh, The Virgin Goddess, and The Female: 70 × 7 supplemented by the new documentary Carne Sobre Carne)."
Daniela Bajar talks with Sarli as well for Film Comment and Eric Kohn points us to this fun intro and outro John Waters recorded for a broadcast of Fuego (Fire) during the VHS era:
"'It didn't have normal sex,' Howard Hawks once said of his great 1953 musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the only film that Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell made together — and one of the few Hollywood musicals that feature women as the two leads." Melissa Anderson for Artforum: "Molly Haskell, continuing the emphasis on aberrant behavior, praised the director for 'creating a whole world which revolves on a principle of unnatural sexuality.' Not normal, unnatural: code for lesbian? Whatever Hawks and Haskell meant, their cryptic, open-ended terms resonate profoundly for certain fans of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which will screen at Film Forum in New York in a new 35-mm restoration August 6 through 12."
More from Christian Blauvelt (Slant), Richard Brody (New Yorker), David Fear (Time Out New York), Daniel Kasman (here in The Daily Notebook) and Nicolas Rapold (L).
"Another Blonde debuts across town at Anthology," notes Nick Pinkerton in the Voice. "Playing the namesake role in Manoel de Oliveira's 64-minute film-novella Eccentricities of a Blonde-Hair Girl (2009) is Catarina Wallenstein.... Feminine acquisitiveness is played for burbling comedy (Gentlemen) and tragedy (Eccentricities).... The elegant (but decidedly minor), droll (but never funny) Eccentricities appeals to refined tastes and speaks of antique obligations, while Gentlemen's glittering 'Get that ice or else no dice' never went off the radio."
"Oliveira brings a dry, sensual elegance to this story of hearts confounded by circumstances and silences, and he portrays social formalities as mating rituals for human animals on the verge of brutality," writes the New Yorker's Richard Brody. More from Simon Abrams (New York Press), Nigel Andrews (Financial Times), David Jenkins (Time Out London), Stephen Holden (New York Times), Anthony Quinn (Independent), Jeff Reichert (Reverse Shot), Tim Robey (Telegraph), Jonathan Romney (Sight & Sound), Steve Rose (Guardian), Keith Uhlich (TONY), James van Maanen and Neil Young (Tribune).
"A cynic could say that Chinese director Lou Ye has used his frequent run-ins with his country's censors to compensate for his films' flaws," writes Steve Erickson in Gay City News. "His previous film, Summer Palace, included explicit sex — more than I've ever seen in a mainland Chinese film — and references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. It screened at Cannes in 2006 without permission from the Chinese government. Consequently, they banned him from making films for five years. Ye found a way around the ban, financing Spring Fever with money from France and Hong Kong. He was obviously going for a raw look here, but the results bear the scars of a low budget."
"Spring Fever, like Purple Butterfly before it, reveals Lou's propensity for losing himself to the soap-operatic," finds Ed Gonzalez in Slant. More from Simon Abrams (New York Press), Richard Brody (New Yorker), David Fear (TONY), Stephen Holden (NYT), Dan Kois (Voice), Michelle Orange (Movieline) and James van Maanen. Interviews with Lou Ye: Dennis Lim (NYT) and Damon Smith (Filmmaker). At the IFC Center.
"The Danish film Brotherhood, which won 'Best Film' at last year's Rome International Film Festival, arrives with a scenario that makes it easy to dismiss," writes Chuck Wilson in the Voice. "Two young men, both members of a neo-Nazi street gang, fall in love. Sounds trashy, sounds silly, but first-time director Nicolo Donato, who wrote the screenplay with Rasmus Birch, and a superb ensemble refuse to wink, resulting in a film that constantly subverts expectation." More from Steve Erickson (GCN), David Fear (TONY), Stephen Holden (NYT), Andrew Schenker (L) and Bill Weber (Slant). At the Cinema Village.
"Last Letters From Monte Rosa, we're told in an introductory segment, is based on a recently discovered bag of missives written by German and Italian soldiers during the waning years of World War II." Andrew Schenker in the Voice: "But set aside the Eastwoodian framing device — the need for proof of authenticity in a fictional work went out with the Victorian novel — and Ari Taub's film is a rich tale of moral complexity tinged with an invitingly surrealist air."
But in Slant, Chuck Bowen finds it to be "another collection of lifeless stereotypes: the torn Lieutenant, inhumanly steadfast on the outside, morally tortured on the inside; the naïve innocent, preoccupied with a harlot he idealizes back home; the fat civilian schemer, outwardly mercenary, who might have a heart underneath his opportunistic facade; the chubby, baby-faced killer; and so on." More from Mike Hale (NYT); James van Maanen talks with Taub. At IndieScreen.
"The anticlimactic child in Patrik, Age 1.5 isn't as nightmarish as Rosemary's Baby or the man-eating wooden branch-sucking-on-a-pacifier in Jan Svankmajer's Little Otik," writes Diego Costa in Slant, "but it sets off just as much anxiety. The problem here is that well-to-do gay couple Göran (Gustaf Skarsgård) and Sven (Torkel Petersson) were expecting a one-and-a-half-year-old baby, but due to a typo in a Social Services letter, they are actually given a 15-year-old homophobe of a kid from the Swedish ghetto with a history of arrests involving knifes."
Andrew Schenker in Time Out New York: "How Göran and his new charge bond (party boy Sven quickly splits) is the stuff of time-tested trite melodrama, yet Ella Lemhagen's film is saved from total feel-good irrelevance thanks to its consideration of the complex tensions between a rigid society — represented by a candy-colored, hyperreal suburbia — and its least 'conventional' members." More from Jeannette Catsoulis (NYT), Ella Taylor (NPR), James van Maanen Chuck Wilson (Voice). At the Quad Cinema.
"In The Kid: Chamaco, a gauche but likable first feature from Miguel Necoechea, a Mexican boy dreams of becoming a famous boxer," writes Jeannette Catsoulis. "In his way are poverty, an abusive father, a corrupt cop and a bad case of asthma; in his corner are a washed-up Olympian and a kindly American doctor. Since the doctor is played by none other than Martin Sheen, we know the cinema gods, at least, are on the kid's side." At the Village East.
Also in the NYT, Neil Genzlinger: "There are moments during the slog through Lucky Days, a dreary vanity project by Angelica Torn, that you think the whole thing could be a very, very deadpan parody. But eventually you have to acknowledge that this unpleasant drama set on Coney Island isn't deadpan; it's just dead."
Meghan Eckman's documentary The Parking Lot Movie is a "valentine to the male ticket collectors — most of them overqualified anthropology and philosophy grad students, poets, and musicians like former employee and current Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew — who spend their days and nights managing both the establishment's sundry automobiles and their equally diverse, often unpleasant, owners.... It's a nonfiction Clerks with reflections on identity, self-worth, and communal civility subbing in for Star Wars chitchat, with only a runtime-padding climactic music video bogging down its otherwise amusing slice of subcultural life." More from Neil Genzlinger (NYT), Adam Keleman (Slant) and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail). At the ReRun Gastropub Theater.
Aaron Hillis in Time Out New York on Mundo Alas: "Treasured in his homeland as 'The Bob Dylan of Argentina,' folk-rocker and codirector León Gieco stars in this sweet but thankfully not sappy road-trip concert doc, showcasing the talents of his young touring band, all of whom are overcoming disabilities, ranging from quadriplegia to Down syndrome..... Inspiring if straightforward, the film boasts music that makes for a pleasantly innocuous soundtrack to buying Frappuccinos." More from Neil Genzlinger (NYT), Joseph Jon Lanthier (Slant) and Nick Schager (Voice). At the AMC Empire 25.
Criterion has another excellent "Friday Repertory Roundup" and the Globe's Ty Burr picks out the best of what's showing in Boston.
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