The always indispensable Not Coming to a Theater Near You has spent the recent weeks exploring and celebrating the work of cinematic collaborators Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. I’ve reviewed one of the filmmaking duo’s later efforts: The highly entertaining and strange Post WWII farce A Foreign Affair. Reading all the wonderful essays reminds me there’s a world of great films beyond the surface of entrenched film canons.
The Walking Dead: Season 1 is the beginning of a beautiful and bloody long-term epic. But with only six episodes last Fall, we only got the tip of the iceberg. The show is uneven in certain parts, but overall a highly enjoyable genre hybrid made up of equal parts action, horror, and melodrama. I highly recommend investing your time, because the best has yet to come.
Here’s a recent piece covering another gem from Francois Truffaut, one of my favorite directors of all time. The Soft Skin is a deceptively dark melodrama, almost pitch black in its skewering of French institutions like marriage, academia, and politics. I reviewed it for the film’s week-long theatrical run at New York City’s Film Forum from March 11-17. If you live in or around NYC, I highly recommend checking it out.
Sometimes looking back at childhood classics ends up tainting their memory with a jaded adult perspective. I dealt with this concern in my review of Walt Disney’s Bambi, just released in a nice Blu-ray package for the first time. I’d forgotten (or maybe never realized) how little conventional “plot” there is in the film, replaced with small nuances of nature’s cycles, character development, and minimal well-placed dialogue. Not one of my all-time favorite Disney’s, but certainly a stunner in many regards.
I look at Jacques Tourneur’s excellent western Wichita for my second “B Role” column at The House Next Door. The film deals with the Earp legend in very interesting ways, one of which is representing his origin story as almost pre-ordained and fated.
Finally, it is official! I’m excited and humbled to announce that I’ll covering the 2011 Festival de Cannes for Slant Magazine and The House Next Door. The rumor mill is already churning at light speed, with a purported lineup that would be the festival’s strongest in years. There should be new films from Malick, von Trier, Almodovar, Cronenberg, Allen, the Dardennes, Arnold, Moretti, and van Sant, just to name a few. May can’t get here fast enough.