A good movie starts with an idea. In the case of Holy Rollers, a news item about a drug bust involving Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn, New York inspired a novice producer to believe that this could be the springboard for a film…and he was right. Holy Rollers is a piece of fiction inspired by that factual incident. It’s modest in its ambitions but realizes them fully, in a deceptively simple, stragithforward film that’s both satisfying and thought-provoking.
Jesse Eisenberg is well cast as Shmuel, or Sam, a young man who’s working with his father in the garment business and studying to be a rabbi. Yet he feels restless and dissatisfied, frustrated over his family’s chronic lack of money. This makes him susceptible to the advances of—
Book Review: MACK SENNETT’S FUN FACTORY by Brent E. Walker
The first book I ever read about movie history was Mack Sennett’s autobiography, King of Comedy. I had been exposed to silent comedy shorts on TV and then in Robert Youngson’s ground-breaking documentary The Golden Age of Comedy. I was hooked, and simply had to know more about these fascinating slapstick films and the people who made them. So I went to my local library in Teaneck, New Jersey and borrowed Sennett’s book—one of the few then available about that era—and read it over and over again.
Sennett’s book was just as colorful as I’d hoped it would be. He told the story of how he drifted into the movie business in New York, attached himself to the great D.W. Griffith, got his first break, met and fell in love with beautiful Mabel Normand, convinced two bookies to finance his Keystone studio, discovered Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Harry Langdon, and—
The best thing I can say about Iron Man 2 is also the worst thing I can say about it: it’s a sequel. Kids will probably like it fine; there’s plenty of action and it’s easy to follow. But big-league comic-book movies want to appeal to adults as well as kids these days, and it’s not easy to serve both constituencies.
There’s also no reason a sequel can’t be good. The Godfather Part II and Toy Story 2 remain the pinnacle of such achievements—the exceptions to the rule. In the comic-book movie realm, X2 built upon the success of X-Men, and Spider-Man 2 improved upon—
Get the latest headlines from Leonard Maltin delivered to your inbox every day.