FILMFEST PICKS: End Of The Line; Woman On The Beach; Life & Lyrics; Dead Daughters; The Kovac Box

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC With the end of the second and last weekend of the Philadelphia Film Festival, I head into the last few days of screenings with that feeling of having finished a wonderful meal but still wanting to stretch and make room for dessert. I caught some pretty choice films this past weekend. I became addicted to the Black Lizard reprints of David Goodis’ pulp fiction novels in the late ’80s and have waited nearly 20 years to see the film he scripted and which was shot in his hometown of Philly, the 1957 film noir The […]

FILM FEST PICKS & PANS: Dante’s Inferno; Wicked Flowers; Book Of The Dead; Severance

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Heading into its last weekend, the 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival unleashes the big celebrity guns, giving us this year’s American Independent Award winner, Dermot Mulroney. I spent a few minutes this week trying to stoke a friend’s memory on exactly who the very recognizable Mulroney is, and finally had to give up. His specialty in nearly 20 years of film acting has been in supporting roles, often playing ingratiating nice guys who are romance-bait for the female lead. He’s worked with Altman on Kansas City, with Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding and most […]

FILMFEST SPOTLIGHT: Meet Elizabeth Fiend

At no time in recorded history have we possessed so much knowledge about health and nutrition, nor have we ever had such vast and effective machinery for disseminating that knowledge — and yet we live in hi-tech Dark Age with the vast majority of the global population essentially ignorant or confused about the basic facts of their own biology. How did this happen? Well, that’s whole six-part mini-series in and of itself, but the short answer is that the bottom line of many a multi-national corporation is dependent on that ignorance, and vast sums of money are expended to maintain […]

THE EARLY WORD: Somebody Bring Imus

1915’s “Birth of a Nation” was the film that simultaneously launched the modern movie industry and gave the Ku Klux Klan a foothold in the 20th Century. Friday night is the Philly premiere of a film project that DJ Spooky calls “a digital exorcism” .. taking the original 1915 footage and doing a live 3-screen video/audio remix that turns the tables on the original.. It all goes down this Friday night 4/13 at the Gordon Theater, Rutgers-Camden.. DJ Spooky will be there at 6pm for a FREE roundtable discussion with the RU-C departments of film and African-American studies.. More info […]

FILM FEST PICKS & PANS: See Edith Piaf’s Biopic, Hear ‘Whispering Of The Gods,’ Endure ‘Princess’

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC From Dr. Shock to Gary Heidnik to Exhumed Films, Philadelphia has always been Horror City. And one of the elements that makes the Philadelphia Film Festival unique is the generous selection of horror films they present, under the heading “Danger After Dark.” Business-wise, it’s a smart move, and the screenings tend to draw a younger crowd. Artistically, they’ve managed to ride on the upside of a growing international wave of interest in horror. Last night, I saw the Danish animated revenge saga Princess, which is a good example of how the “Danger After Dark” category […]


BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC In my years devising strategies for tackling Film Fests I always skipped attending offerings like A Comedy of Power. It has nothing to do with the quality of Claude Chabrol’s latest thriller, it is just that you should get ample chance to catch up with the film during its regular run or on home video. Chabrol is a dependable talent who has had his films distributed in the states beginning with 1968’s Les Bitches through 2003’s Flower of Evil. However since A Comedy of Power opened in New York way back in January, the era […]

HEY LADIES: Dirk Diggler Is Comin’ To Town

Mark Wahlberg has decided that Philadelphia is The Happening place to be. The actor, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed, has signed on to star in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan‘s apocalyptic thriller — set to begin filming in the City of Brotherly Love this fall. Wahlberg will reportedly play a family man determined to do whatever it takes to save his loved ones from a cataclysmic crisis. [via]


BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC With films from 41 countries in this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival, it is tempting to treat the two weeks like a whirlwind tour; you can scramble like Bond across every continent and study the faces of people worlds way. As exotic as such globetrotting is, let’s not forget this is Philadelphia, and things can get pretty curious right here, as well. Andrew McElhinney wrote in the current Philadelphia Weekly about two local filmmakers whose shorts go on tonight at the International House as part of a program titled Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild Wild Women […]

FEST PICKS: ‘Happy Endings’; S&M; Here’s Johnny

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC I dropped into TLA Video’s South Street store on Friday and found the staff frantically scurrying to serve the Philadelphia Film Festival’s advance ticket buyers, so it appears the opening weekend got things off to a smashing start. I didn’t make it out from under my pile of Festival home-screeners until late Sunday night, but was happily surprised to see the screening of 12:08 East Of Bucharest a good three-quarters full; not bad for a Romanian comedy. The film, which examines the different memories of a town’s citizens over who showed bravery as Communism fell, […]

REVIEW: ‘I’d say this is a movie from a fellow insecure about his modest achievements, who no longer impresses women with his knowledge of Sam Fuller films and now fantasizes about killing them along the side of the highway.’

GRINDHOUSE (2007, directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, 191 min., U.S.) BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC What has happened to Quentin Tarantino? There was a time when the Animals were considered as good as the Stones, a time when Stallone was touted as the next Brando and a time when Tarantino was thought of as one of the next important American filmmakers. Grindhouse, a double feature pairing “Death Planet,” from Sin City‘s Robert Rodriguez, with “Death Proof,” a new feature from the only video store clerk to win Golden Palm at Cannes. With it, Tarantino extends his vacation from […]


BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC It’s the opening weekend of the 16th annual Philadelphia Film Festival and we’re sitting on the ass end of winter, so no one has to feel bad about being inside, in the dark, on a perfectly beautiful day. Surely you have many more sunny days in Rittenhouse Square in your future, but when will you get another chance to watch silent Our Gang shorts with Leonard Maltin? While Maltin’s taste in contemporary film can be a bit prim, his love of early Hollywood animation and the world of comic shorts better reveal his importance as […]

HOLLA: At The Film Fest Opening Night Partay

  BY JAMES DOOLITTLE In nonchalantly telling my spouse that the reason I showered yesterday for the first time in two days was to attend the opening gala for this year’s Philly Film Fest, her question of “where” produced another, even more obvious question: Why was the Film Society holding this year’s fest at a strip club. In and of itself, an honest query, but a quick review of the Penthouse Lounge & Grille‘s website reveals a stated attempt to provide Philadelphia with “an upscale concept restaurant”, which based on last night’s shindig means a tray of coconut shrimp is […]

All Of This Happened While You Were Sleeping

Sharon Pinkerson & Paul Rudd, Film Fest Opening Night Party, Penthouse Club [Photo & FLICKR by JONATHAN VALANIA] Brian Fantana: [about Veronica] I’ll give this little cookie an hour before we’re doing the no-pants dance. Time to musk up. [opens cologne cabinet] Ron Burgundy: Wow. Never ceases to amaze me. What cologne you gonna go with? London Gentleman, or wait. No, no, no. Hold on. Blackbeard’s Delight. Brian Fantana: No, she gets a special cologne… It’s called Sex Panther by Odeon. It’s illegal in nine countries… Yep, it’s made with bits of real panther, so you know it’s good. Ron […]