THE EARLY WORD: Girl Noir

For the first time since 2001 (and with completely different programming), The Secret Cinema presents a RARE NOIR DOUBLE FEATURE, showcasing two movies from the FILM NOIR genre — THE ACCUSED and THE BLUE GARDENIA — that are now under-seen, despite their classy credits. Both films were made by directors who began long careers in the golden era of German Expressionism, fled Hitler’s Germany, and arrived in Hollywood to continue their work, drawing on their experiences to produce some classic film noir in the process. Friday, November 9 RARE NOIR DOUBLE FEATURE 8:00 pm – THE ACCUSED 10:00 pm – […]

CINEMA: The Devil And Denzel Washington

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD (2007, directed by Sidney Lumet, 117 minutes, U.S.) AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007, directed by Ridley Scott, 157 minutes, U.S.) BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Talk about a Dream Factory. The modern Hollywood press machine now holds the power to make the backstory of a new theatrical release the front story, in a way that practically lets a film review itself. I’ve read, heard and viewed so many stories about how the 83-year-old master director Sidney Lumet was in top form with his latest crime drama, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, that it began to […]

CINEMA: She’s Lost Control Again

CONTROL (2007, directed by Anton Corbijn, 121 minutes, U.K.) BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC An ultimate music geek movie Control allows Joy Division ├╝ber fan, their one-time photographer Anton Corbijn, to reconstruct the dreary world of mid-seventies Manchester for this new biopic of band singer/lyricist Ian Curtis [pictured, right]. It’s a dazzling resurrection, in overblown black & whiteCorbijn gets every detail right in his obsession to summon the stark landscape that gave birth to Joy Division desolate vision. Once we get used to Control‘s austere beauty, we find a film hung up by the same problems that have always afflicted […]

CINEMA: The Horror, The Horror

THIRTY DAYS OF NIGHT (2007, directed by David Slade, 113 minutes, U.S.) EXHUMED FILMS 10th ANNIVERSARY 24- HOUR HORROR MARATHON! (Doors 11 a.m. TOMORROW, International House, 3701 Chestnut St., www.ihousephilly.org, $20 ) BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s you could always count on the weekend before Halloween to deliver some disreputable horror film to our podunk local movie theater. The tiny South Jersey town I lived in was packed with churches and real controversy ensued over attending the flick. Pastors would howl against it from the altars, teachers (particularly the openly devout ones) would […]

WORTH REPEATING: Triumph Of The Will

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Still from Triumph Of The Will directed by Leni Riefenstahl HERMAN GOERING*: Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. INTERVIEWER: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their […]

MAILBAG: Less Anderson

DEAR PHAWKER, Normally i wouldn’t comment, but man, by my watch — phawker were the only ones that nailed the review. love wes anderson, but i thought critics by and large gave this movie a huge pass. when a movie’s is this dull, and strangly lifeless; anderson’s whole thing starts to feel like a formula to me. and when it starts to feel like a formula — it cheapens the memories of movie’s past.. and that is a drag. nice job on stepping out on this one. JIM SUTCLIFFE PREVIOUSLY: The Royal Dressing Down PREVIOUSLY: Live And Direct From The […]

MAILBAG: The Royal Dressing Down

DEAR PHAWKER, At what age are snarky, dismissive film critics for online publications required to find a new schtick? Or is it acceptable for you characters to continue following the same script: praising early esoteric efforts from young directors, and then criticizing them for the same esotericness after their films have become more popular, because their later efforts fails to fulfill some abstract and ad hoc social contract to which you, in your infinite if largely uncredentialed expertise, choose to hold up films? This is, ostensibly, a movie review. And yet I learned precious little about the movie, and far […]

LIVE AND DIRECT FROM THE FIRST ANNUAL WES ANDERSON PHILADELPHIA PRESS CONFERENCE

BY JONATHAN VALANIA Well, this turned out to be kind of a bust. The publicists decided to move up the press conference from 3:30 to 3 PM, with just 15 minutes notice. What, do they think us podunks in Philly have nothing better do all day than interview Wes Anderson? Okay, even if that is technically true, it’s still unprofessional and inconsiderate. So I am standing in the hall way outside suite 561 of the Four Seasons, where the press conference is well underway. Through the door, I can hear the soft muffled huzzah of Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman […]

CINEMA: We Had To Kill Wes Anderson, To Save Him

THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007, directed by Wes Anderson, 91 minutes, U.S.) BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Wes Anderson is back with yet another elegantly arch Technicolor rendering of luxurious kitsch and melancholy mopery, winsome 60’s folk-rock and immaculate, intelligently-designed preciousness. Fans of Anderson’s trademark sad-eyed whimsy can rejoice, The Darjeeling Limited doesn’t stray much from the stylistic imprint he has single-mindedly pursued since his second film, the Prep School fantasy Rushmore. The rest of us can begin to ponder how much longer we have to give event status to the claustrophobic creations of this unadventurous auteur. Undeniably, Anderson has made […]

CINEMA: Masked & Anonymous

You could begin the story of Todd Haynes’s Dylan movie at the very beginning, about seven years ago, while Haynes was driving cross-country in his beat-up old Honda. But since Todd Haynes?s film about Dylan is as much about Todd Haynes as it is about Dylan (or maybe even more); and since Haynes is a filmmaker who, in midcareer at age 46, is doing his best to take the experimental into the multiplex; and, further, since those who don’t like the film are likely to consider it a kind of gorgeous indulgence, a bizarre experiment, the temptation is to skip […]