5 items from 2011
"For a time in the mid-to-late 1920s," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times, "the art of the cinema meant only one thing to the serious-minded film critics of America and Europe: Soviet-style montage, or the art of cutting shots together in a way that would produce ideas and emotions beyond those expressed in the images themselves…. The montage vogue did not last long…. But the fascination of this road not much taken remains, as reflected in Kino's recent Blu-ray releases of Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin and his first feature, Strike, and now by a boxed set of eight films from Flicker Alley, Landmarks of Early Soviet Film. Part of the folklore of Soviet montage is that it was invented by the idealistic filmmakers of a newborn nation as a way of converting imported American movies from capitalist pettifoggery into proletarian uplift by rearranging sequences and redefining characters. Alas, none »
Director: Sergei Eisenstein Writers: Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Ilya Kravchunovsky, Valeryan Pletnyov Starring: Maksim Shtraukh, Grigori Aleksandrov, Mikhail Gomorov, I. Ivanov, Ivan Klyukvin, Aleksandr Antonov, Yudif Glizer, Boris Yurtsev In 1924, the Proletcult Theater decided to commission a series of eight films; entitled Toward the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the films were to trace the rise of the Communist Party from the late 19th century to 1917. The director of the Proletcult Theater, Valeryan Pletnyov, invited Sergei Eisenstein to collaborate with him on what was intended to be the fifth film in the series: Strike. The only of the eight films that ever achieved fruition, Eisenstein claimed that Strike was the most significant story of the series because it contained "the most mass action." Clocking in at 82 minutes, Strike was released as Eisenstein's first full-length feature film in 1925 (he made the immortally famous The Battleship Potemkin later in the same year). The »
- Don Simpson
We're used to spy films in which the communists are the bad guys – but the eastern bloc had its own secret agent screen heroes, too
A secret agent is attending a party in an elegant apartment. Beautiful young people wear the latest fashions, sip martinis and canoodle in corners. The spy slips into a back room and starts breaking into a safe. It looks like a scene from a James Bond movie – except this is communist Hungary, and the heroes are what western policy makers in the cold war would have called "them", rather than "us". The film is Fotó Háber, an ultra-stylish spy drama made in Budapest in 1963, and, like many of the films emerging from behind what was the iron curtain, it blows apart the glum, grey image of the eastern bloc from the inside.
That we have the chance to see Fotó Háber is thanks to a »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
Let the silly season commence with this expensive comic-book movie, which takes full advantage of its second-tier superhero, free casting rein and Asgard-sized budget to deliver some premium disposable spectacle. Hemsworth's beefy, impetuous thunder god is literally brought down to earth, where thanks to mortal hotties like Portman, he learns there's more to life than swinging a hammer around, but not much more.
Cedar Rapids (15)
The corruption of Helms's naive smalltown nerd via a debauched midwest insurance convention is as broadly amusing as you'd expect, striking a filthy-sweet tone somewhere between the Us Office and The Hangover.
Credit to Ray for straying off home turf, as a Boer veteran »
- Steve Rose
Netflix has revolutionized the home movie experience for fans of film with its instant streaming technology. Netflix Nuggets is my way of spreading the word about independent, classic and foreign films made available by Netflix for instant streaming.
This Week’s New Instant Releases…
Promised Lands (1974)
Streaming Available: 04/19/2011
Director: Susan Sontag
Synopsis: Set in Israel during the final days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, this powerful documentary — initially barred by Israel authorities — from writer-director Susan Sontag examines divergent perceptions of the enduring Arab-Israeli clash. Weighing in on matters related to socialism, anti-Semitism, nation sovereignty and American materialism are The Last Jew writer Yoram Kaniuk and military physicist Yuval Ne’eman.
Streaming Available: 04/19/2011
Synopsis: Directed by longtime star of independent German cinema Margarethe von Trotta, this reverent »
- Travis Keune
5 items from 2011
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