Since last month, big-screen viewing has been a mix of awesome and disappointing. The two films I most was looking forward to were Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and Darren Aronofky’s NOAH. Both were outstanding visually but in need of script doctoring.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary season, Performing Arts of Woodstock is presenting Oscar Wilde’s play, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center right in the town on Rock City Road.
The works of British producer, writer, director Richard Curtis express feelings about love and the human condition in a unique way. Curtis is a topnotch student of life on our complicated planet. At times his take is so bittersweet and yet so comedic that he seems to have Charlie Chaplin whispering in his ear. But it’s not the Chaplin of the 1920s; Curtis knows modern life.
Shirley Temple died recently at the age of 85. Her film career began when she was about 4 years of age, and she starred in motion pictures with phenomenal success through the age of 21. During the mid-late 1930s, her box office power outdid the power of such stars as Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. At that time, when much of the population of the United States was struggling through the Great Depression, little Shirley Temple was dancing, singing, and genuinely charming her way into the hearts of a nation.
One film that is drawing attention at award nomination ceremonies is PHILOMENA, the story of a real-life Irish-Catholic woman named Philomena Lee. The film relates the story a teenager in the 1950s, who met a young man one evening at a fair and wound up having a one-night sexual encounter with him—her first time having sex. She never saw him again.
The silent film era from the start of the 20th Century through the end of the 1920s was a rich time in American entertainment. Rich, poor, immigrants new to our nation—they all sought out the new and wondrous moving shadows which looked so clearly like real life. By the mid-teens, the Hollywood studio system and movie companies in Chicago, New York, and parts of New Jersey, as well as Florida and Maine, were churning out thousands of short films and feature-length entertainments for mass consumption.
The silent film era from the start of the 20th century through the end of the 1920s was a rich time in American entertainment. Rich, poor, immigrants new to our nation—they all sought out the new and wondrous moving shadows which looked so clearly like real life. By the mid-teens, the Hollywood studio system and movie companies in Chicago, New York, and parts of New Jersey, as well as Florida and Maine, were churning out thousands of short films and feature-length entertainment for mass consumption.
When German director Margarethe von Trotta makes a film, I rush to see it. Her previous works include powerful portrayals of strong-minded women who come up against the Establishment and boldly act to change society as they see it. She is a fine director, writer, and actress whose films go back to New German Cinema.
Sarah Polley’s unusual documentary, STORIES WE TELL, was released on DVD earlier this month. It is an outstanding genre piece and a fascinating study of human behavior. If one views it as a low-budget Canadian production about a Canadian show-business family, it might just get lost in the shuffle of Fall video releases. That would be a shame, because STORIES WE TELL has plenty to say—and a very creative way of saying it!