Ed Goldberg's blog

Paleolithic Art by our ancestors, now playing in a 3-D documentary

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Cave of Forgotten Dreams (3-D Doc 2010)
Director: Werner Herzog

Herzog may be a genius, and he is probably a little nuts, too.  Thank heaven for that.
All of this is evident in this documentary about cave paintings discovered in Chauvet Cave in the south of France in 1994.  Access to the cave is restricted because of the fragility of the place itself and of the art, which is between 23,000 and 30,000 years old.  Human breath is enough to spawn molds and other bacteria which degrade the paintings, and the minerals in the caves, over time.  This has already occurred at other sites in Spain and France.

NWFC Deneuve Retrospective, Miranda July at the Hollywood Theater

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Miranda July at the Hollywood Theater
This is a press release from the Hollywood.  Miranda July has a new film about to be released.

MIRANDA JULY TO VISIT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE MAY 6th and 7th
(Portland, OR), Apr. 19, 2011 – In partnership with Portland State University’s Social Practice MFA program led by Harrell Fletcher and Jen Delos Reyes, and with support from Roadside Attractions, the Hollywood Theatre will host Miranda July on May 6th and 7th, presenting advanced screenings of her latest film “The Future,” as well as a shorts program featuring her early work.  

A bunch of new(ish) movies

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After some computer prooblems are resolved (I hope), here are some reviews for current and recent films.

 

Meek’s Cutoff
Director: Kelly Reichardt
With: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Will Patton, Shirley Henderson, Zoe Kazan, Rod Rondeaux

First, I don't want to discourage anyone from seeing this movie.  It has many virtues.  Pacing and a dense story line are not among them. 

The Jewish Film Festival at the North West Film Center

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This annual event showcases films by and about Jews and Jewish life.  I have seen four of them, and I can only recommend one as worth going to.
I saw 36 Righteous Men, a documentary about the discovery of a new one of the Righteous, a Hassidic legend that these men’s very existence mitigates for humanity in heaven, and that a new one must be found and developed upon the death of another.  It was old stuff to me, true, but the film was mostly uninteresting in and of itself.

Battle: Los Angeles, now playing

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Battle: Los Angeles
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
With: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, etc.

I suppose it’s okay for a movie to borrow from other sources, as original ideas seem to be at a premium these days.  (Recalling that mediocre artists borrow, and great artists steal.)  But, to borrow ideas and then do nothing with them just seems pointless.
This movie has antecedents in War of the Worlds, both the Wells and the Welles versions, Independence Day, District 9, and even that little-but-mighty cheapie Monsters, from last year.

Catching up on movies already open (3/7/11)

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The Adjustment Bureau
Director: George Nolfi
With: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp

The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF), Part One

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The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF), Part One
Website: festivals.nwfilm.org/piff34

A city the size of Portland is fortunate to have a facility like the Northwest Film Center, and very lucky to have the PIFF, now in its 34th year.  We very often get to see movies before they open in New York or Los Angeles.
There are even more films, and venues, than usual this year, and because I sometimes attempt to have a life outside my reviewing duties, I don’t get to see every film in the festival.  So, I have cherry-picked a few, and will update this list whenever I can.
Oh, and I guarantee that two of these movies will be the weirdest you see all year.
Here’s what I have seen so far.

The Man Next Door
(Argentina)

Wild Target, opening today (Feb. 4) at The Hollywood

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Wild Target (British 2010)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
With: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman

Slight, very silly, and very endearing.  One in the “human side of paid assassins” genre, plus the small, character-driven English film.
Maynard (Nighy) is a middle-aged hit man hired to kill a young woman, Rose (Blunt).  Completely against his instincts, and his code as an assassin, Maynard not only spares her, he falls in love with her.  Who wouldn’t?

Up and Down at the Movies, the weekend of Jan. 28

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Biutiful (Mexican/Spanish)
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
With: Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, etc.

What to say about this movie?  The director, who also gave us Babel, has created a deeply despairing and downbeat film, and an over-long one.  There is a subplot given much time at the beginning of the story that simply disappears by the end of the film.  Maybe it was just one more attempt to provide “depth” for his main character, Uxbal (Bardem), a petty crook in Barcelona.

Movies opening this weekend (Jan. 14, 2011)

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The Green Hornet
Director: Michel Gondry
With: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz,Tom Wilkinson, David Harbour

I started listening to The Green Hornet on radio in the 40s.  The show emerged from the Detroit pulp factory of George Trendle on WXYZ radio, home also of The Lone Ranger.
It has been filmed before, as serials, and appeared on 60s TV in the campy Batman vein, notable only for the presence of Bruce Lee as Kato.
The current film project has been hanging around waiting for someone to actually make it for years.  When I heard that Seth Rogen was involved, I sensed disaster.

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