Friday, March 17, 2006

DC Filmmaker Retrospectives

Residents of Washington, DC, have the chance to catch two filmmaker retrospectives this weekend. First, the ongoing salute to Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse -- a contemporary of Mizoguchi and Ozu, and forerunner of Kurosawa -- continues this weekend at the National Gallery of Art (East building), the Freer Gallery, and the AFI Silver Theater. (It continues on weekends through the end of April, with more than thirty films in the series.) Second, the AFI Silver, the nicest cinema in the DC area, is hosting a retrospective of Terrence Malick's career as part of this year's DC Environmental Film Festival. Highlights include a Saturday night screening of The New World (which if the theater listing is correct, will feature the 150-minute cut offered to New York theaters in December), and a new 35mm print of Days of Heaven on Sunday.

On a related note, Dave Kehr claims that Malick's editing style is a product of new-fangled video technology, but as Days of Heaven and Badlands make clear, Bruce Weber's idiosyncratic editing for Malick's films predates Avid. And via Kehr, an interesting if underdone essay from J. Hoberman of the Village Voice about how Malick's New World gained an unexpected cult following among film snobs. My own humble if skeptical offering to the cult may be found here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Welcome to Cinema Hell

Now playing on 24 screens in the Eighth Circle of Hell, it's Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector!

But just in case you thought that mainstream cinema couldn't sink any lower, the pro-terrorist movie V for Vendetta is coming to Middle America multiplexes this Friday -- with a wide national release, a loud chorus of critical acclaim, and a blockbuster publicity campaign.

Forget Oscar nominees like Good Night, and Good Luck or Capote. Crass comedies like Larry and Unabomber-ish manifestos like V are what Hollywood thinks moviegoers want to see.

What if Hollywood is right?

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