Ever since it won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler has beet hotly anticipated and those not lucky enough to catch it in Toronto or at the NY Film Festival should now understand why. While The Wrestler is continually being referred to as the filmmaker’s return to form or other such hogwash from people who didn’t see the beauty in his last film, The Fountain. Thankfully, his latest has no such barriers to its success and this exceptional film is one of the best-reviewed films of the year.
The Wrestler is being compared to Rocky and while it is similar in a few superficial ways, its core message and lead character are distinctly different. Rocky was a bum. He wasn’t a had been, he was a “never was.” He’d never been close to a contender and was more like On the Waterfront‘s Terry Molloy (except that Rocky eventually became “somebody,” of course). On the other hand, The Wrestler‘s Randy “The Ram” Robinson (achingly played by a resurgent Mickey Rourke) was a superstar.
Continue reading Theatrical Review: The Wrestler
So it’s that time again. It snuck up on me because I was unable to make it up to Toronto this year which is in and of itself, a minor tragedy. I love the Toronto International Film Festival and all its attendant studio pomp and circumstance. But that’s no matter. What’s passed is past. It’s New York Film Festival time and for pure film geek glee, it’s right up there. Sure, some films suck and the program is often lacking in real surprises, but honestly, that’s not what I really look for in the festival. Should it take more chances? I think so, yeah. For example, the omission of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York has ruffled a few feathers this year and the the overall predictability of the selection from year to year has been bemoaned on the circuit for years. That said, it’s not an industry event. It’s for the public and none of these films have played in New York. All in all, it’s one of my favorite film events of the year and not just because I love the opening night party/after party.
I don’t always go to Cannes or Toronto and as a result, the NYFF often has 15-20 films I haven’t seen and this year, it’s got more than that. Not only that, but almost every film in the main selection has a full press conference following the press screening, something which only a handful of festivals provide. It has also provided me with one of the more surreal moments of my life in the form of John Ritter in 1996.
Continue reading NYFF 08: Che, Cantet, Rourke And….David Bowie!
Written and Directed by Darren Aronofsky
I wasn’t as prolific about this film upon release as I could have been, to be honest. In an email I sent to Darren Aronofsky and Eric Watson after I saw the film I wrote: “Along with a very talented group of people, you have created a beautiful, thoughtful, and heartfelt film” and of course, I told everyone I knew how the same thing. Some of them scoffed at me (most of them never having actually seen the film). I didn’t write a review for this blog and I wasn’t assigned to review it for any other outlet and for that, I am sorry. I certainly talked it up and considering how many people know, my mouth may be mightier than my pen. However, in the 8+ months since I saw the film, the traffic for this blog has grown approximately 500%, so maybe, just a little bit, I can influence a few more people.
Continue reading DVD Review – The Fountain
In response to fellow blogger Tom Hall‘s call to arms, as well as the 2006 indieWIRE Critics’ poll I am posting my year end list. I have violated the rules laid down by Mr. Hall and indieWIRE because I felt like it and because I have trouble following directions. I have doubled the performance categories and thrown some runners up, as well as a few “worst of the year” mentions. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my blog, my rules!
Also, there are many films I have yet to see, including The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, L’Enfant, Army of Shadows (returning soon to Film Forum!), Old Joy, Casino Royale, Borat, Half Nelson, The Last King of Scotland, Volver…. now it’s just getting embarrassing. As a result, I get the feeling I will be monkeying with my list as the year winds down this week. The “best first feature” section is especially barren for me, not having seen any of the indieWIRE-listed films. That said, I am pretty ok with my choice. As for the “best documentary” category, I am woefully unprepared for this one. (Jesus, I am getting more and more pathetic as this goes on….). I am therefore leaving it blank and hope to fill it in at a later date.
On with the poll!
Continue reading 2006 indieWIRE Blog Poll