The drama of a prisoner and the long-suffering woman/mother/child who waits for him was a cornerstone of the Depression–and Depression-era movies–when life was lived on the margins and the system created miscreants (see: Criminal, They Made Me A). Indeed, my great-uncle, Robert Tasker, a convict at San Quentin in the early ‘30s, wrote chain-gang and jailhouse movies upon his release.
A collision of West and East, the Chinese-made Dangerous Liaisons doesn’t run away from the -isms that typically imprison works of art in cages of politically determined rhetoric. With a wave of a cigarette holder, it pleads guilty of Orientalism, exoticism, Francophilism, gaze-ism and probably some others yet to be invented in the halls of academe.
Do audiences care whether a movie is biochemical (imprinted on film, as it has been for a hundred years) or digital (no film involved–images converted into numbers and then turned back into images when projected)? Probably not, although it appears that one day digital will have higher image resolution.
When we were young and just acquiring a taste for Junior Mints and Jujubes, a movie meant only one thing: fun. There were varieties of fun–thrilling, spooky, slapstick, virtually any of The Spawn of Godzilla–but that was the promise, and the joy, of going to the movies (along with meeting up with your friends and scoping out the other kids).
Passing through a tunnel on the way home after his first Homecoming dance, his first high school party and his first “special” brownie with the first friends he’s had since his best friend killed himself, Charlie looks up at Sam standing in the truck bed with her arms outstretched as Patrick cranks up David Bowie’s “Heroes” on the radio. With the lights rushing past them he turns and says, “I feel infinite.” And it makes sense in the suspended transition of growing up but not really going anywhere.
Written and directed by playwright Martin McDonagh (the sublime In Bruges), the beautifully cast Seven Psychopaths is right next door to ultraviolence but delivers big laughs to a tough-minded audience. The story is what used to be called zany, but it’s also foul-mouthed (sometimes inspiredly so) and inventive.
Being able to work on a film as remarkable and quietly revolutionary as Samsara, which opened in Honolulu last week, turned into a privilege lasting more than six years–five in production and over a year in editing (including seven re-edits). The call came nearly seven years ago, from Samsara director/cinematographer/co-editor.
Parts Of The Same Circle, which screens in HIFF on Sat., Oct., 20 at 11:30am, is a remarkable achievement in three ways: It is a Hawaii-made D.I.Y. feature that displays a consistent and compelling filmic sense, it pulls off the most difficult of dramatic structures (weaving multiple storylines into a single narrative) and it presents its subject matter–death–in a way that is neither maudlin nor fatalistic.
Beautifully put together, intelligently handled, wonderfully acted–and full of surprises–writer-director Rian Johnson’s Looper, a Mobius strip of a time-travel movie, is destined to be a classic, one movie buffs have been awaiting a long while. Twenty minutes in, and you know you’re in the hands of inspired moviemakers, chief among them the writer-director, who blends sci-fi and moving drama so adroitly that it becomes a real movie, not the usual toy sci-fi-er made for people who grew up on “dramatic” TV series.
There’s nothing like $4l2 million to come between friends, and so it is in Arbitrage, an overinflated item on the movie market these days. When a hedge fund magnate (an excellent Richard Gere) needs to cover a “hole” in his books–the aforesaid sum–he borrows it, abstractly, from a friend, and then defaults on repaying it.
The Spanish (-speaking) Film Club at the Doris Duke, held this week in conjunction with the Spanish cultural mission, is like a brief vacation. The cine-fiesta shows off familiar lives of quiet desperation, of selves disintegrating under the sway of family stresses–too much daytime television and mind-altering stimulants, among them love.
If the ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase is a barometer for the current state of Hawaiʻi’s independent film community, this year’s collection was notable for the number of women directors (four) and especially for showing that our local filmmakers can shoot, edit, stage fight scenes, spoof movie genres, and do pretty impressive animation. These are good skills to have, and all of the filmmakers represented in the festival are to be commended for their creativity and fluency.
For as long as we can remember, Chinatown has been notorious for drugs, homelessness and filthy streets. Some claim nothing has changed–and that it never will.
Bicyclists have long been overlooked by four-wheel riders on Honolulu’s congested streets. In the gleaming, armored pecking order of the road, cyclists are too often dismissed as lane hogs, hand-signaling nuisances and unfortunates who can’t afford cars.
The fate of some 1,525 acres of land at Hoopili in ‘Ewa may have been decided last Wednesday in Hawaii’s First Circuit Court. The decision might have gone differently, but the appellant attorneys’ strategy seemed to collapse as Judge Rhonda Nishimura picked it apart based on technical errors.
Last Thursday, May 9, the Caldwell administration revealed its action plan for solving Honolulu’s homeless problem. But at the City Council’s budget meeting the same day, Budget chair Ann Kobayashi wanted to know where the money for “Housing First” (see Cover Story, pg.
The Mayor Wright Housing project has been slated for major redevelopment by the Hawaii State Housing Authority (HSHA); requests for qualifications will be going out to developers in three to six months. Nonprofit group Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) wants to make sure the project’s tenants have a say in the redevelopment process, which could include major renovations or a total rebuild.
The Honolulu City Council held a special Committee on Transportation meeting on Tuesday, May 7, to go over its Complete Streets initiative with input from the department directors of Design and Construction (DDC), Planning and Permitting (DPP) and Transportation Services (DTS). At prior meetings, including the Moiliili workshop, community members pressed the idea of combining Complete Streets with Caldwell’s repaving projects, which Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and some councilmembers have said makes sense.
Not much to agree with my friend Doc Berry (“Limits of Growth,” April 17). None of the scenarios he posits will ever materialize.
In your Diary of May 8 (“End of the 27th)” you reported on SB 1214, passed by the Legislature. In their nimble way, the Legislature tacked the wheel boot prohibition on a bill that was intended to abolish the Commission on Transportation.
On Friday, May 3, at 3:45 p.m., I was driving town bound through the Wilson tunnel on the Likelike. I was parallel to another car, and there were several other cars following closely behind me.
Congratulations Honolulu Weekly on the recent Pai award for investigative reporting (“Boss GMO,” Jan. 4, 2012).
When the biofuel guys say that costs are “confidential” (“Big-foot Biofuel,” May 8), I reply that since I am the one who is going to end up paying the cost, I have a right to know. Frankly, when everybody tries to hide the costs, I smell rat …
The Foster Botanical Garden never ceases to inspire for an urban setting it is like a step back in time (“See the Flora,” May 8). If Koko Crater Botanical Garden contains the world’s largest plumeria collection as suggested, it may be thanks in part to the Prussian born Dr.