Tag: film

Black Knight, Black Foolishness: Black Knight, starring Martin Lawrence, directed by Gil Junger

It seems an indulgence to read such a film for political insight or to critique it for lack of relevance: but because of the ongoing issues involving black identity and social participation, almost anything can become fodder for such concerns. The fact is that Martin Lawrence’s Jamal is a very recognizable character: his sense of fun and his irresponsibility can be seen on American streets on any given day.

A review of Broken Blossoms

David Wark Griffith’s Broken Blossoms, or the Yellow Man and the Girl (1919) is about a girl abused by her father, a girl who knows little joy until she meets a Chinese shopkeeper who befriends her; and the film’s themes, which encompass the differences between east and west, spirituality and materialism, and compassion and brutality, remain interesting; and the film’s narrative movement gains in complexity; and the film’s compositions—dynamic frames featuring expressive actors in settings full of detail—make compelling viewing.

Useful Misunderstanding: Observing Fassbinder’s Depair

What is understanding? Is it the identification of an idea, a feeling, an image, a texture, a structure—a form? Is it the articulation of a logic, or even a story, about an act, an idea, an image, an event, a place, or a person? One watches Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Despair, and one’s sense of which characters are in control and wise changes as the film moves.

A review of Stranger Than Fiction

However absurd the premise is, Stranger than Fiction is completely believable. However ridiculous the characters are, every one is absolutely realistic and multi-dimensional. Stranger than Fiction is a wonderful film, as easy on the eye and brain as any Hollywood blockbuster, but like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind manages to leave the viewer with more than they arrived with.

A review of Tell No One

The cost of beginning the film with so many curious perplexing events is that some sense has to be given to them at the end. This emphasis on explanation may derive from Coben’s source novel, but perhaps it is simply a characteristic, or failing, of mystery as a genre. Anyway, there is no tolerance for implausibility here, as one might find, say, in the films of David Lynch or the fictions of Harry Mathews and Ben Marcus.

Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland

The Idi Amin that Forest Whitaker presents in The Last King of Scotland is charming, earnest, friendly, instinctive, intense, mercurial, paranoid, punishing, relentless, shrewd, and very powerful: a dazzling personality, a frightening man. Although I had remembered, possibly too vaguely, Idi Amin’s brutality, I had been looking forward to Whitaker’s performance and the film months before seeing The Last King of Scotland, thinking that it sounded like a great opportunity for a unique actor.

Tradition and Conscience: Painter Kerry James Marshall’s Colorful Narratives

It had been a rather simple program: a documentary, some slides, a conversation, all part of the library’s February 2007 African-American history program, but the program has introduced, or reintroduced, us to an artist of our time, a young master (there was some questioning and quibbling about the 52-year old artist’s age near the end of the program).