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!
Two films currently showing in area theaters are LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER and Woody Allen’s latest film BLUE JASMINE. Both are serious films about aspects of the human condition, and are recommended to audiences who are willing to view film as a mirror to real life.
A few years ago, it was unusual to come across a film made for the post-sixty-year-olds. Even among art house cinema films, the focus was pretty much on the thirty-somethings. Then, in 1999, Tea with Mussolini and its aging cast of Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith received art house distribution and made some money. Five years later, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith reteamed for Ladies in Lavender which also made a profit.
Two new DVD releases make for worthwhile viewing. The first is a packaged set of five incredible silent films from Flicker Alley. It’s called FRENCH MASTERWORKS: RUSSIAN EMIGRES IN PARIS 1923-1929, and features 5 films on 5 discs. THE BURNING CRUCIBLE and THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL are genuine masterpieces featuring one of the cinema’s most talented but forgotten stars, Ivan Mosjoukine.
ON APPROVAL, a British drawing room comedy from 1944, has just been released on Blu-ray. At a glance, this film would seem to be Clive Brook’s showpiece, since he produced, directed and co-stars. He also adapted Frederick Lonsdale’s smash hit play from 1926.
Many ethnographic filmmakers are – and always have been-- content to record and educate. Since the early silent film days, factual films of this sort have captured a straight-forward view of the lifestyles, rituals, and customs of isolated people from far-away places.
Daniel Day-Lewis viewing the Gettysburg Address in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House following a screening of the film, 'Lincoln', in the White House family theatre attended by United States President Barack Obama with the film director, screenwriter and many of the actors attending, including Day Lewis, who played Abraham Lincoln.
Its Oscar time and this year’s hopefuls include the youngest and oldest ever nominated for acting awards and four period pieces that could not be more different in the running for best picture.
The Oscars will be awarded this Sunday, and today we have film professors Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg in studio to share their picks and address your questions and comments on the nominees, nominees you think may have been overlooked, or even prospects for next year’s awards season.