Awards fodder: ‘Black Swan’ and ‘The Fighter

Two films earning significant buzz, “Black Swan” and “The Fighter,” are rather similar in their subject matter (both follow a devoted-but-troubled athlete and the individual struggles to make it to the top of their respective fields), their critical reception (both are at 88% at Rotten Tomatoes) and at one point both shared the same director, Darren Aronofsky.

But they both take decidedly different paths to tell their tale, and only one does so effectively. Continue reading

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Sundance Docs: ‘Gift Shop’ and ‘Catfish’

There are two films, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, that are currently in possible contention for awards season and are challenging what we classify as “documentary.” They could not be more diametrically different in approach in subject matter. “Catfish” is a whisper of a film demonstrating the power of the internet on our social interactions
and interpersonal relationships. And “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a hyperkenetic examination of the underground movement know as
street art and all of its mischief-making inhabitants. Continue reading

What ‘The Hole’ went wrong?


Despite his moderate successes (“Gremlins,” “The Howling,”) prolific director Joe Dante remains relatively unknown outside sci-fi and horror circles.

So perhaps it should come as little surpass that his latest, “The Hole,” is struggling to find a U.S. distributor. It’s quite a shame, for it is not only the most polished, accomplished work the director has released in years, but it is also one of the few films that can adequately be called a “family horror” film, a genre which he may not have created, but has certainly perfected.

The film was screened at a special Saturday evening screening during the closing days of the New York Film Festival, held October 5 through 10. The screening was not only attended by the director himself, but his frequent collaborator, the equally talented John Sayles. The film was presented in 3-D, but unlike many other “retrofitted” films (which are filmed in 2-D and get the 3-D treatment in post production), the film was shot using cameras made for the format. Continue reading

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