I want to clarify a little something I wrote in my review of the new Angelina Jolie shoot-em-up, Wanted, which is based on a graphic novel series by Mark Millar, J.G. Jones and Paul Mounts. I remarked that the film's hyper-stylish portrayal of magical hitmen "proves that graphic novels don't have to be about superheroes to provide material for silly movies."
I read the Wanted graphic novel over the weekend, after I'd seen and reviewed the film, and must acknowledge that my last line, though technically correct, deserves elaboration. While the Wanted film depicts a thousand year-old group of assassins called The Fraternity, the graphic novel is about comic book-style supervillains, not hitmen (or superheroes).
In this week's "View from the Couch" DVD column, Charlotte's Creative Loafing film critic Matt Brunson spans the spectrum of new releases. He takes on new films Definitely, Maybe as well as The Spiderwick Chronicles, Be Kind Rewind and 10,000 B.C., but also has takes on releases of older films such as The Furies and Xanadu.
For me, the most intriguing of the releases is the Criterion Collection's release of 1950's The Furies, a darker take on the Western genre and featuring the legendary Walter Huston in his last role and Anthony Mann directing his first Western. It also features one of my all-time favorites, Barbara Stanwyck. Check out this awesome scene. No wonder Matt finds the relationship between the film and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.
(Image courtesy The Criterion Collection)
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There are a lot of reasons for this, some of which speak to how audiences both gay and straight related to both traditional musical theater and rock n roll. The best thing about Hedwig and the Angry Inch is how it can unite all theater-going (and some non-theater-going) audiences.
1) The Wrights perform at Eddie's Attic with Scott Miller.
2) Tibetan Sacred Arts, a night of cultural art and philosophy, is at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.
3) Dunwoody Library hosts screenings of new independent and foreign films at the Film Series Movement.
4) Denis Johnson discusses and signs Trees of Smoke at the Decatur Library.
5) Flicks on Fifth continues with The Bourne Ultimatum at Technology Square in Midtown.
(Photo courtesy the Wrights)
The Fox Theatre has announced that, true to form, four of the current summer's most successful movies will be screening at the vintage movie palace Coca-Cola Film Festival in August. Of August's seven slots, the Fox has filled four:
Sex and the City: Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Iron Man: Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Kung Fu Panda: Aug. 10, 2 p.m.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Still to be determined are the three films for 7 p.m. Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 and 2 p.m. Aug. 30. It would be cool if the remaining Aug. 30 film were Raiders of the Lost Ark, pairing up with Crystal Skull. The Indiana Jones films pay tribute to exactly the kind of cliffhangers that played at the Fox Theatre in its heyday.
(Photo: David James/© 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Do you enjoy classic animated characters like Homer Simpson and Beavis and Butt-Head? SPIKE & MIKE'S SICK AND TWISTED ANIMATION FEST is bringing the next generation of characters in animated short films to Atlanta. The Spike & Mike fest has been pushing the boundaries of animation for 25 years with edgy characters and adult comedy. This year's fest, continuing Sun., JUNE 22, features Oscar-nominated "Rejected" by Don Hertzfeldt along with Spike & Mike classics and new animators. Through June 26. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. asifa-atlanta.blogspot.com.(Image courtesy Spike and Mike)
As most of our readers know, our Creative Loafing empire spans the greater Southeast, and one of the many charms of this regional domination is CL Charlotte film critic Matt Brunson and his "View from the Couch" DVD column. In this week's column, Brunson takes on the Dirty Harry collection, High Noon, Jumper and Under the Same Moon. Here's his key point about Clint Eastwood's greatest recurring bad-ass this side of spaghetti Westerns.
On one hand, it's clear that Harry has little use for liberal laws that protect potential criminals (critic Pauline Kael famously called him a "fascist"), yet the character was championed by the other side for being so decidedly anti-Establishment. (And who among us doesn't side with Harry when he tortures the guilty Scorpio in order to save a little girl's life?)
(Image courtesy Amazon.com)
Jellyfish is a quirky little excursion into magic realism by Israeli author-turned director Etgar Keret and his partner, Shira Geffen:
Winner of the 2007 Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jellyfish often stays afloat on a visual charm that floods its aquatic metaphors. In the opening shot, we see Batya (a subtly expressive Sarah Adler) standing with her departing boyfriend in front of what looks like an aquarium's façade. But as he and his truck pull away, so does the background, revealing a Tel Aviv street scene. Reality bites, and much of Jellyfish is spent watching its women struggling to navigate life's choppier waters.
Then there's The Singing Revolution, a documentary by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty about the impact of Estonia's deeply entrenched musical culture on its struggle for independence from the Soviet Union:
That passion is laid out in a methodical but poetic fashion, as [actress Linda] Hunt's narration explains the nation's love of music as best heard at its annual Song Festival. The sights and sounds of witnessing 30,000 voices unified in one song and in particular, the nation anthem born under occupation, "Land of My Fathers" come off as a moving metaphor. The camera pans and scans the people, young and old, as they defiantly sing for their common identity: "For her a hundred times I shall give my life. You are still alive in my heart."
Both open today (Friday) at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Here's the trailer for The Singing Revolution
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This weekend the Center for Puppetry Arts welcomes Handmade Puppet Dreams III, the third installment of the successful puppetry film festival presented by Heather Henson (yes, Jim Henson's daughter).
The event features 11 short films by independent puppeteers, including Miss Pussycat and Quintron's "Trixie and the Tree Trunks," Jason von Hinezmeyers "In Private," and more. The festival is intended to showcase these artists' talents, and the puppets performing are all handmade especially for the medium of film.
Handmade Puppet Dreams III is a part of the Center for Puppetry Arts' Film Series exploring storytelling through puppetry. The screening takes place on Saturday, June 21, at 8 p.m. at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
And for those of you who like pulling strings and putting your hands in things, submissions are currently being accepted for next year's collection of Handmade Puppet Dreams.
(Photo courtesy Heather Henson)
Emmy-winning actor and favorite Atlantan Leslie Jordan is going to be all over Atlanta this weekend and beyond, all in honor of the recent release of his memoir, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet. The former "Will and Grace" guest performer is one of those guys who's just funny once he opens his mouth; I firmly believe that he could read the mayor's budget-cut proposals and get a laugh. (His 2006 interview with Curt Holman proves as much.)
Jordan will be plenty busy over the next few days, starting Saturday with a book-release appearance at Outwrite Books. The reading/signing starts at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free. He follows that up with a two-night stand at the 14th Street Playhouse with his one-man show of the same name, Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m.
Unfortunately, the status of the sitcom "12 Miles of Bad Road" (in which he co-stars) seems hopelessly up in the air, according to this article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Anyone know anything different? Perhaps Leslie will enlighten us, in a way only he can, as he shows in this clip taken during his recent Stonewall Columbus fundraiser.
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