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Fade to black

February 23, 2008

From Billy Wilder's 1960 gem, "The Apartment":

"That's the way it crumbles ... cookiewise."

Posted by J.A. Montalbano at 08:54 AM | | Comments (0)

Oscar madness: Go "Blood"

February 22, 2008

It's so uncool to admit this, but I love the Oscars. In an age of Part 3's and "Meet the Spartans"es, the Oscars give us a chance to talk about and debate actual high-quality movies. Sometimes it's good to remind ourselves they still exist.

Continue reading "Oscar madness: Go "Blood"" »

Posted by Phil Parker at 08:43 AM | | Comments (0)

DVD review: "American Gangster"

February 19, 2008

Deleted scenes are just that for a reason. The "American Gangster" DVD includes two versions of the film - the theatrical version and a special, 18-minutes-longer extended edition.

This movie was No. 1 on my best of the year list. Even though it's since become clear that "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men" were the year's defining films, "Gangster" rates as a seriously great movie - a full-throttle gangster epic and a completely true story.

It was an "A" in the Tribune the day it was released. If the extra footage had been included, it would have been a "B." What's funny is that another Ridley Scott film fresh out on DVD - "Blade Runner" - showed that sometimes including unseen footage can make the movie better. In the case of "Gangster," it only hurts.

Continue reading "DVD review: "American Gangster"" »

Posted by Phil Parker at 07:48 AM | | Comments (0)

What we've learned

February 18, 2008

Hans-Joachim Klein, 1970s revolutionary terrorist, reflecting on life's lessons in Jessica Yu's "Protagonist":

"Nowadays I would never say I know everything. I know nothing. All I know is that I don't know. This is Socrates.

"That's what I know."

Posted by J.A. Montalbano at 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)

Protagonist II

February 12, 2008

Hans-Joachim Klein, a revolutionary freedom fighter turned terrorist in the 1970s, reflecting on his transformation in Jessica Yu's "Protagonist":

"In the beginning these were heroic objectives, things we thought were proper, clean and achievable. And as time went on we got stuck in an intellectual mud, where, in may ways, we were worse than those we accused. We had a saying: The farther away the revolution, the better it looks."

Posted by J.A. Montalbano at 11:09 AM | | Comments (0)


February 11, 2008

Jessica Yu ("In the Realms of the Unreal") studies four men -- and Man -- in "Protagonist," inspired by the writings of Euripides.

One of the passages acted out by puppets:

"No man on earth is truly free. All are slaves of money or necessity. Public opinion or fear of prosecution forces each one, against his conscience, to conform."

Posted by J.A. Montalbano at 02:00 PM | | Comments (0)

The queen is in the counting house ...

February 08, 2008

This song is from "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone," yet another hypnotic film from Ming-liang Tsai ("Goodbye Dragon Inn," "What Time Is It There?"). It is sung by a woman in a subway station, accompanied by a man playing an irresistible guitar riff:

"A pocketful of uncooked rice
and six little birds
put into a cooking wok
When they are cooked
the birds will sing
They must be tasty
for they are for the king
The king is in the house
doing his accounts
while the queen is in the kitchen
eating bread and sugar
The maidens are by the pond
drying the flour in the sun
A little black bird comes
and pecks her little nose."

Posted by J.A. Montalbano at 07:59 PM | | Comments (0)