Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Theaters: "Con Artist"

Well, people certainly have their opinions on Mark Kostabi, and several of them get a chance to share them in Michael Sladek’s documentary portrait Con Artist. When asked about his reputation in the art world, one replies, “In the art world, I’ve never heard anything good about him.” Another likens Kostabi’s work to Applebee’s, and then corrects himself: “Applebee’s aspiring to be Olive Garden.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New on Blu: "Sherlock Jr./Three Ages"

In 1917, when Buster Keaton completed his first day of shooting on his first motion picture, the Fatty Arbuckle comedy The Butcher Boy, he had a job to do. “Well, the first thing I did in the studio was to wanna tear that camera to pieces,” he recalled, decades later. “I had to know how that film got into the cutting room, what you did to it end there, how you made things match, and how you finally got the picture together.” Many of his films were infused with that curiosity, that gadget-man’s exploration of the camera and the projector, but none of his films spoke so clearly to his love of the form—and the possibilities of it—than his 1924 picture Sherlock Jr.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On DVD: "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale"

John Cazale appeared in exactly five motion pictures before he died of cancer at 42. But the five films he made were among the best films of Hollywood’s richest decade. If you could only appear in five movies, you could do a lot worse than The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. His entire filmography was nominated for the Academy Award.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On DVD: "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is pure pleasure, a zippy Pop grab-bag, a joyous celebration of comic books, video games, rock music, fast movies, dumb TV, and (apparently) whatever the hell else struck director Edgar Wright’s fancy. Based upon a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley (unread by me), it is a big, noisy, giddily energetic little corker of a picture, utterly ridiculous—gleefully so, in fact—but uncharacteristically sweet and good-hearted as well. It’s just fun, plain and simple, and anyone who can’t enjoy it has clearly forgotten how to have a good time at the movies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On DVD: "You Don't Know Jack"

You Don’t Know Jack is a jokey, crap title for a genuinely great movie—one of the year’s best, as a matter of fact. That director Barry Levinson and star Al Pacino apparently have to go to pay cable (it originally aired on HBO) to make a film of this quality is a sad commentary on the state of mainstream moviemaking; nothing either of them has put out theatrically in the past decade can even approach it. This is intelligent, professional filmmaking of the highest order.