One of the most compelling and poignant new films to go into release this summer is a documentary: LIFE ITSELF, in which Steve James (of HOOP DREAMS fame) offers a warm tribute to one of the all-time-great film critics. That would be Roger Ebert.
As filmmakers go, Fritz Lang and William Castle are as dissimilar as Billy Wilder and Edward Wood. Lang, who directed various classic silent films in Germany before escaping the Nazis and coming to Hollywood, is a certified auteur, while Castle is best known for producing and promoting gimmicky low-budget scare films mostly during the 1960s. But the two are linked in DARK CRIMES: FILM NOIR THRILLERS, VOLUME TWO, a DVD compilation released by Turner Classic Movies.
Coming-of-age films have long been a moviemaking staple. Stories featuring young people who are attempting to define themselves, to relate to their elders while figuring their place in the world, certainly are appealing both dramatically and as subjects that will attract the audience demographic that the movie industry so desperately covets.
One new film that I have been long-anticipating is GET ON UP, a biopic which chronicles the life and times of James Brown, one of the seminal figures on the American musical scene during the infancy of rock, roll, and soul.
The number of children who for one reason or another go missing not just in the United States but across the globe is staggering, maddening, and heartbreaking. The saga of one such occurrence is told in SIDDHARTH, a heartfelt, quietly shattering new film.
I recently attended the Festival Cinema Invisible, now in its third year, which features an array of new Iranian films, all of varying length. What struck me was the generally high quality of many-- but not all-- of the films, not to mention the universality of their subjects.
World War II may have ended in the mid-1940s. The concentration camps were liberated and those who survived the horrors of the era were supposed to get on with their lives. But for many, the war never really concluded. The brutality of the time and the decisions made by individuals of all backgrounds reverberated through their souls, in many cases for the rest of their lives.
These days, more than ever before, baseball-- otherwise known as America's Pastime-- is a truly international sport. According to the Associated Press, 28.1 per cent of current major leaguers were born outside the United States. They hail from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Korea, Australia... And the potential for finding big league talent outside the U.S. is examined in MILLION DOLLAR ARM, the story of a sports agent, played by Jon Hamm, who heads off to India in search of players who just might become the next fireballing big league hurlers.