From the Archive: The Constant Gardener

It’s about time for a new Greatish Performances post, and I’ve been mulling over which acting feat to select. One that I’ve batted around as a possibility ever since I launched (or, being honest, stole) the series, is Rachel Weisz’s Oscar-winning turn in The Constant Gardener, if only because it seems to be largely forgotten (she’s not the only supporting acting winner from the decade that is rarely invoked as such). By the time of the awards ceremony, I probably felt as strongly about Weisz deserving the win in her category as any other performer (and this was the year of Philip Seymour … Continue reading From the Archive: The Constant Gardener

Spectrum Check

I had the blessed relief of a very light week at Spectrum Culture. The only piece of mine that went up was a review of the new film from Fernando Meirelles, which takes him yet further from the spectacular promise of his debut. I thought things couldn’t get much more dire than Blindness. Little did I know he’d adopt the multi-strand pile-up of coincidental misery typified by Babel and its tiresome brethren a few years ago. Luckily, I have a week off from movie reviews. After this one, I feel like I need it. Continue reading Spectrum Check

Top Fifty Films of the 00s — Number Twenty-Six

#26 — City of God (Fernando Meirelles with Katia Lund, 2002) I mean it as about the strongest compliment I can muster when I assert that City of God is reminiscent of Martin Scorsese at his rawest and most freewheeling. When confronted with a film as bold and rivetingly cavalier as this, it’s tempting to say that the filmmakers were happily oblivious to the “rules” that they’re theoretically supposed to follow. They haven’t lost their personality yet, subsumed their reckless instincts to the rigidity of safe, by-the-book filmmaking. Sometimes that’s true, but I don’t think it’s applicable here. The Scorsese … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 00s — Number Twenty-Six

Theatre goddess, film destroyer, New York girls are sure to enjoy her

The Women (Diane English, 2008). This remake of the 1939 George Cukor-directed comedy had been in development for so long that I swear we reported on it on the movie review radio show I co-hosted in college. That show ended in 1993. Watching the finished product, it’s easy to understand what inspired the reluctance. Similarly, the easiest explanation for the project finally coming to fruition is sheer attrition: Diane English must have simply outlasted the studio execs with sounder taste. As nice as it is to see the rarity of a movie filled with female characters, it would be nicer … Continue reading Theatre goddess, film destroyer, New York girls are sure to enjoy her

Oh the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on

Trouble the Water (Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, 2008). It would be easy to make a documentary about the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans and the equally disastrous governmental response that is grounded in apoplectic anger, especially since indignation seems to be the default starting point for many current non-fiction filmmakers. Deal and Lessin create something more delicate, more nuanced, more complicated, and, because of these qualities, far more fascinating. The hook of the film’s first half is on-the-scene camcorder footage taken by Ninth Ward resident Kimberly Rivers Roberts as her neighborhood and then her home floods during … Continue reading Oh the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on