Monthly Archives: March, 2012

The Hunger Games: How a Real Film Emerged from the Deadly Arena of Young-Adult Movie Franchises

If we must have long, over-hyped film-franchise adaptations of annoyingly popular young-adult fantasy/sci-fi books (and it appears we must), then The Hunger Games from director Gary Ross and his co-writers trilogy author Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, State of Play) have figured out the way to do them. Some flaws aside (see below), […]

John Carter of Disney

Watching Disney’s cinematic red-planet boondoggle, I suffered a semi-serious film-critic/fan-boy crisis. Every time I tried to write about the film last week, my efforts derailed quickly into a frothing Inside Baseball rant about budgets and marketing and Industry Schadenfreude instead of the film itself. So does my lack of heartfelt interest in the relentlessly hyped […]

21 Jump Street Cuts Class, Gets Laughs

Despite my earnest appreciation of Johnny Depp, I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode of the original 21 Jump Street TV series, so from a cheap nostalgia standpoint I’m not the target audience for its remake 21 years later. In recent years, however, I’ve been a strong and vocal supporter of the children’s animated […]

Interview: Being Flynn‘s Writer-director Paul Weitz

At one point in our interview, writer-director Paul Weitz described his directorial career as “a checkerboard.” A game of Twister might be a more apt metaphor. Weitz and his brother Chris hit it big in 1999 when they co-wrote and directed the original American Pie. They went on to also co-direct the Chris Rock vehicle […]

W.E. Unhappy Few

You’ll be hard pressed to find a funnier line in a film this year than “Directed by Madonna.” Technically W.E. is not Madonna’s directorial debut—in 2008 she helmed Filth and Wisdom, a “comedy/drama/musical/romance” about a cross-dressing Ukrainian dominatrix with rock-n-roll dreams that made it to ten theaters in the United States. I was unaware of […]

The Lorax: Notes from a Seuss-icide

As you can imagine in this day and age of CGI singing Chipmunks and picnic-basket-stealing bears, there are myriad ways a big, mainstream, animated film could screw up a Dr. Seuss story, including paving over the good doctor’s gently clever whimsy with Shrek-y pop-culture shtick, lame jokes, and slapstick; stripping away (or worse, over-playing) the […]

Interview: Friends with Kids’ Writer-Director-Star Jennifer Westfeldt

Actress and writer Jennifer Westfeldt made her mark on the film scene in 2001 when she wrote and co-starred in the indie romantic comedy Kissing Jessica Stein about a young, straight woman who, frustrated by her dating opportunities with men, falls into a lesbian relationship. In her latest comedy, Friends with Kids, Westfeldt is once […]

“While all the other arts were born naked, [film], the youngest, has been born fully-clothed. It can say everything before it has anything to say. It is as if the savage tribe, instead of finding two bars of iron to play with, had found scattering the seashore fiddles, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, grand pianos by Erhard and Bechstein, and had begun with incredible energy, but without knowing a note of music, to hammer and thump upon them all at the same time.”

--Virginia Woolf