If the medium is the message, then Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a masterpiece. Director Edgar Wright has tried to incorporate the look and feel of videogames in his adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels. The result is a film that grabs you right away with its lively, irreverent approach to storytelling…although the timing and attitude aren’t very different from Wright’s British TV series like Spaced, which starred Simon Pegg.
If you’re in New York City any time over the next two weeks and you’ve never seen “old-school” Hollywood 3D, make a beeline for Film Forum on Houston Street. Forget the untruths and distortions you’ve read about how primitive the process was in the 1950s and judge for yourself. You’ll have a great time, even if most of the movies aren’t great…and you won’t be wearing red-green glasses: that’s just one of the myths that’s been perpetuated by an ignorant press while touting new digital 3D.
To quote Film Forum’s press release, “The fifteen rare 35mm 3-D prints (not digital) in the series will all be run in the original dual-projector Polaroid system, employing a silver screen, special filters, two synchronized projectors (one for the left eye, the other for the right) and a super-cool pair of Buddy Holly-style 3-D glasses for each member of the audience. Film Forum is the only cinema in New York equipped to screen vintage double-system 3-D.” That’s because Film Forum’s program director, Bruce Goldstein, is a movie lover of the first order who does things right. Appropriately, the 3-D Fest overlaps with a tribute to—
At the recent San Francisco Silent Film Festival I acquired several recently-published books I hadn’t seen before. Now that I’ve spent time with them I feel duty-bound to spread the word.
Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs by Donna L. Hill is a beautiful paperbound book, all the more impressive because it was self-published. Hill, who runs the website rudolph-valentino.com, has spent the past thirty years researching her subject and gathering rare and revealing pictures. As Emily W. Leider, author of Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino, points out in her foreword, “The pictures tell us that long before he appeared in films, Valentino displayed a love of finery, a propensity for posing before the camera, and a preoccupation with his own image. An actor in life before he became one professionally, as an underemployed immigrant he would don a tuxedo and—
As a longtime 3D fan, I’ve been puzzled and discouraged to hear more than one director refer to “subtle use of 3D” in their films. Excuse me? I may be wrong, but I don’t think “subtle” and “3D” belong in the same sentence. The whole point of 3D is to provide an enhanced movie-watching experience. At its best, it can be a lot of fun—whether it’s Charles Bronson leaping out of the dark to pounce on Phyllis Kirk in House of Wax or a winged creature taking flight in How to Train Your Dragon.
Director John Chu decided to have fun with the medium in the new Disney dance movie Step Up 3D, and as a result his movie is—
I’m pleased to announce the debut of a new weekly TV show. After nearly four years of writing and hosting Secret’s Out on ReelzChannel, I am bowing to requests that I cover major Hollywood releases as well as the indies and foreign films I love. The result: Maltin on Movies, which debuts this Friday and repeats several times over the weekend.
This book may seem tangential on a site devoted to film, but music is one of my passions, and Artie Shaw was part of a show-business era that fascinates me; he remains one of my all-time favorite musicians. A brilliant clarinetist, he became a major star of the big band era with a string of hit records, including “Stardust,” “Begin the Beguine,” and “Frenesi.” If you insist on a Hollywood connection, he cut a wide swath through movieland and was married to four beautiful actresses: Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Doris Dowling, and Evelyn Keyes. (Connoisseurs of female pulchritude will want to note that he thought Betty Grable had
I’d like to extoll the virtues of a great comedy, but this isn’t it. A word of explanation: I come to Dinner for Schmucks at a disadvantage, because I love the French film on which it’s based, The Dinner Game (1998). I’ve also heard its creator, the brilliant writer-director Francis Veber, describe his filmmaking philosophy, and criticize Hollywood colleagues for always wanting to expand and complicate his material. (The Birdcage is the best translation ever made of a Veber property, but I still prefer his original, La Cage aux Folles.)
In spite of this, I honestly tried to approach Dinner for Schmucks with an open mind. I like the casting of Paul Rudd and especially Steve Carell, who—
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