Ella Taylor http://krwg.org en 'Land Ho!' Takes An Agreeable Stroll Through Familiar And Unfamiliar Terrain http://krwg.org/post/land-ho-takes-agreeable-stroll-through-familiar-and-unfamiliar-terrain In a more market-driven neighborhood of the movie business, Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz's comedy about two retired gents let loose on Iceland would surely be released under the title <em>Geezers Do Geysers</em>. Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:31:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 70258 at http://krwg.org 'Land Ho!' Takes An Agreeable Stroll Through Familiar And Unfamiliar Terrain Trudging Uphill With Two Men And The Weight Of History http://krwg.org/post/trudging-uphill-two-men-and-weight-history With or without his knighthood, the legendary climber Sir Edmund Hillary stood 6-foot-plus in his stockinged feet and looked a bit like a mountain crag himself. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 69778 at http://krwg.org Trudging Uphill With Two Men And The Weight Of History A Not-Quite-Satisfying Look At A Notorious Career In Crime http://krwg.org/post/not-quite-satisfying-look-notorious-career-crime Many years ago I taught a course in the sociology of deviance to a class of fledgling Boston-Irish policemen. I enjoyed them enormously because they didn't write down everything I said and cough it back up on the test. A waggish friend called them "your heroic coplets."<p>The baby cops listened, with eyes only slightly rolling, to my earnest strictures about the connection between crime and social disadvantage. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 69260 at http://krwg.org A Not-Quite-Satisfying Look At A Notorious Career In Crime 'The Last Sentence': A Man Making History, But Made By It As Well http://krwg.org/post/last-sentence-man-making-history-made-it-well Like his magnificent 1996 film <em>Hamsun</em>, Swedish director Jan Troell's latest bio-pic is a richly detailed portrait of a great man riddled with flaws and undone by adulation.<p>On the face of it, Torgny Segerstedt seems the very inverse of Knut Hamsun, the Norwegian writer revered, then reviled during World War II for his Nazi sympathies. Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 68709 at http://krwg.org 'The Last Sentence': A Man Making History, But Made By It As Well 'Burning Bush' Finds The Fuel For A Desperate Act http://krwg.org/post/burning-bush-finds-fuel-desperate-act I was a college sophomore in London when Jan Palach, a shy young Czech student, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square in January 1969. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 68218 at http://krwg.org 'Burning Bush' Finds The Fuel For A Desperate Act Bringing A Book Phenomenon To The Screen, With Sadly Ordinary Results http://krwg.org/post/bringing-book-phenomenon-screen-sadly-ordinary-results Josh Boone's <em>The Fault in Our Stars</em> is the kind of careful, listless adaptation that makes a critic want to rave at length about the wonderful novel on which it's based.<p>Not that John Green's 2012 YA novel, a runaway best-seller about two cancer-ridden suburban teens in love, needs much of an introduction. Millions of parents read over their avid kids' shoulders about the brief encounter between teenagers Hazel, who has stage 4 thyroid cancer ("with mets to the lungs, but I'm okay") and Augustus, who lost his leg to bone disease. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:33:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 67706 at http://krwg.org Bringing A Book Phenomenon To The Screen, With Sadly Ordinary Results 'Maleficent' Tells The Fairy Tale From The Wicked One's Perspective http://krwg.org/post/whos-fairest-maleficent-reimagines-sleeping-beautys-stepmom Of all Disney heroines, Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, was the least inspiring. Not her fault: How much spark can you wring from a Forever Nap, especially one that's cut off by a kiss from a prince named after the Duke of Edinburgh?<p>Which may be why my 16-year-old, who's going through one of those inexplicable regressions into Disney toddler fare that seem to hit girls in their teens and beyond, made it through all of five minutes of the 1959 <em>Sleeping Beauty, </em>then went back to binge-watching <em>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</em>. Fri, 30 May 2014 13:52:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 67246 at http://krwg.org 'Maleficent' Tells The Fairy Tale From The Wicked One's Perspective Love Blooms In Midlife, But Halfheartedly http://krwg.org/post/love-blooms-midlife-halfheartedly No fewer than three comedies about finding love in midlife open this week, all of them shiny with major stars. Is it time to stop whining about the dearth of romantic comedy for mature audiences? Only if you prefer quantity to quality.<p>I haven't seen <em>Blended,</em> a Warner Bros. picture featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (talk about milestones, Gertie's turning 40!) as failed blind-daters marooned in a recreation park with their respective kids. Thu, 22 May 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 66694 at http://krwg.org Love Blooms In Midlife, But Halfheartedly From The Traditions Of Melodrama, A Woman Of Resolve http://krwg.org/post/traditions-melodrama-woman-resolve I teach in a film school, and if there's one genre I find it hard to get students on board for, it's classic melodrama. Perhaps because they've been reared on distancing irony and the suspension of belief, they misread the symphonies of pent-up emotion, the passionate address to questions of good and evil, of class, gender and race as phony. Thu, 15 May 2014 21:04:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 66214 at http://krwg.org From The Traditions Of Melodrama, A Woman Of Resolve 'Walking With The Enemy': An Occupation Poorly Rendered http://krwg.org/post/walking-enemy-occupation-poorly-rendered By the time the Nazis got around to taking Hungary in 1944, the country was already fatally compromised by its economic alliance with Fascist Germany and Italy on the one hand, and a shaky pact with Stalin on the other. Imagining that its loyalty to a protective leader, Regent Horthy, would save them from the fate suffered by other European Jews, Hungary's highly assimilated Jewish community fell prey (along with the Regent himself) to the extreme right-wing Arrow Cross party. Sun, 27 Apr 2014 19:00:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 64945 at http://krwg.org 'Walking With The Enemy': An Occupation Poorly Rendered 'Vivian Maier' Brings Nanny-Photographer's Life Into Focus http://krwg.org/post/vivian-maier-brings-nanny-photographers-life-focus Is an artist's life relevant to her reputation as an artist? Thu, 27 Mar 2014 22:52:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 62868 at http://krwg.org 'Vivian Maier' Brings Nanny-Photographer's Life Into Focus It's Either Art Or A Fire Hose, And We're Calling It The Latter http://krwg.org/post/its-either-art-or-fire-hose-and-were-calling-it-latter <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuOfpsz9MoM</p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 22:10:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 62377 at http://krwg.org It's Either Art Or A Fire Hose, And We're Calling It The Latter A Teen On The Hunt, And Maybe In Over Her Head http://krwg.org/post/teen-hunt-and-maybe-over-her-head Feared and feared for in equal measure, today's teenagers are prisoners of pop and punditry. Branded as bad seeds or delicate flowers, they take shape in the public mind as either neglected or overprotected by their parents, abused by or abusive of the Internet, oversexed or terrified of sex. Is coming of age the pits, or what?<p>Filmmaker Eliza Hittman doesn't shy away from such labels, or from the extremity of the teen years. But she wants to get inside the subjective particularities of the experience, as felt by a fragile 14-year-old. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 62362 at http://krwg.org A Teen On The Hunt, And Maybe In Over Her Head Sex, Smokes, And Deneuve On The Move http://krwg.org/post/sex-smokes-and-deneuve-move Unhinged by crises both monetary and amorous, a provincial Frenchwoman tells the employees at her restaurant, "I'll be back." Then she takes off in her ancient rattletrap with no escape plan beyond an illicit smoke and a drive to clear her addled head. Turns out she'll be gone a while.<p>Yes, there's a road movie in Bettie's cards. Yes, there will be formative ordeals. And yes, the payoff will be uplift, along with one of those toothsome <em>al fresco</em> country lunches where Mediterranean types wave their arms around and argue in friendly fashion.<p>But that payoff will be hard won. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 61880 at http://krwg.org Sex, Smokes, And Deneuve On The Move A Legacy Of War, Hitting Home Decades Later In Norway http://krwg.org/post/legacy-war-hitting-home-decades-later-norway Decades after the end of World War II, the partly burned body of a young woman was found in a wooded area near the Norwegian town of Bergen. Her possible connection to a long-simmering Norwegian scandal, one dating back to the war, became the subject of a novel by Hannelore Hippe — and, in turn, of <em>Two Lives</em>, a new thriller loosely based on that novel.<p>The movie, from German filmmaker Georg Maas, speculates indirectly on the woman's identity through another character — Katrine, a middle-aged wife, mother and grandmother with a comfortable life in a scenic Norwegian coast town. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 60920 at http://krwg.org A Legacy Of War, Hitting Home Decades Later In Norway Into An 'Adult World,' With A Quirky Coterie To Assist http://krwg.org/post/adult-world-quirky-coterie-assist <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbBSR1o6li4</p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 22:33:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 59922 at http://krwg.org Into An 'Adult World,' With A Quirky Coterie To Assist The Holocaust Recalled, Again, Through The Eyes Of 'The Unjust' http://krwg.org/post/holocaust-recalled-again-through-eyes-unjust With a running time of more than nine hours, Claude Lanzmann's monumental 1985 documentary, <em>Shoah,</em> was never destined to become a mass audience draw. But this sober, taxing, utterly absorbing attempt to document the Holocaust grows ever more essential precisely as our collective memory is increasingly eroded by the reductive shorthand of emaciated bodies or piles of shoes discarded by concentration-camp inmates as they went to their terrible fate. Thu, 06 Feb 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 59425 at http://krwg.org The Holocaust Recalled, Again, Through The Eyes Of 'The Unjust' On Campus, Two Weary Souls Find A Spark To Kindle http://krwg.org/post/campus-two-weary-souls-find-spark-kindle Long after many another serviceable movie premise has gone to its grave, the brief encounter will live and be well.<p>Talk about an unbeatable package: Nothing more urgently captures the disappointment of lives congealed by routine than does the sudden midlife romance; nothing so pointedly speaks to the undying desire for completion by another who understands and accepts us as no one else does; nothing so completely resounds with the fantasy of escape. Thu, 30 Jan 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 58933 at http://krwg.org On Campus, Two Weary Souls Find A Spark To Kindle Moving Through Middle Age, With A Song In Her Heart http://krwg.org/post/moving-through-middle-age-song-her-heart The Chilean matron at the heart of the wonderfully unsettling comedy <em>Gloria</em> looks like any ordinary woman confronting the familiar dilemmas of late middle age. For other reasons, though, you may feel as though you've met her before.<p>The film's director, Sebastian Lelio, is up to all kinds of mischief, the least of which is Gloria's abundant hairdo and outsized spectacles, which give her a slight but unmistakable resemblance to Dustin Hoffman in Sydney Pollack's beloved 1982 comedy, <em>Tootsie</em>. Thu, 23 Jan 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 58425 at http://krwg.org Moving Through Middle Age, With A Song In Her Heart Love And Struggle In The Shadow Of The Third Reich http://krwg.org/post/love-and-struggle-shadow-third-reich Knee-deep already in collective scrutiny of its painful World War II history, Germany wades in up to its own neck with a viscerally unsparing drama — originally a TV miniseries — set to screen in two parts in selected U.S. theaters.<p><em>Generation War</em> tracks five jaunty young childhood friends as they prepare to scatter from a Berlin bar in 1941 to do their bit for the Thousand Year Reich. Tue, 14 Jan 2014 23:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 57805 at http://krwg.org Love And Struggle In The Shadow Of The Third Reich Mommy Issues Writ Large For A Troubled Teen http://krwg.org/post/mommy-issues-writ-large-troubled-teen <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu-RPqn6YzQ</p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 57498 at http://krwg.org Mommy Issues Writ Large For A Troubled Teen In 'Lone Survivor,' Heroics Extend Only As Far As Survival, Solidarity http://krwg.org/post/lone-survivor-heroics-extend-only-far-survival-solidarity We are awash in war films, and why is it that nonfiction films such as <em>Dirty Wars</em> or <em>Iraq in Fragments</em> increasingly resort to the dramatizing techniques of narrative film, while fiction films strain toward procedure, as if to avoid the sticky business of interpretation altogether?<p>For the better part of its first hour, <em>Lone Survivor</em> — a fact-based procedural about four Navy SEALS dispatched to document the activities of a high-ranking Taliban operative in Afghanistan — rehearses preparation in obsessive detail. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 23:57:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 56665 at http://krwg.org In 'Lone Survivor,' Heroics Extend Only As Far As Survival, Solidarity Orbiting Dickens, An 'Invisible Woman' Or Two http://krwg.org/post/orbiting-dickens-invisible-woman-or-two <em>The Invisible Woman</em> is slow to build — but worth its wait in gold. A little over halfway through, this terrific drama bears fiercely down on the steep cost of being two of the significant women in the gilded life of Charles Dickens.<p>In a pivotal scene that reduced me to rubble, the long-suffering Mrs. Dickens (Joanna Scanlan) comes to call on Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), an aspiring actress and the latest in a long line of fragile-looking young women to find favor with the great writer. Tue, 24 Dec 2013 20:15:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 56544 at http://krwg.org Orbiting Dickens, An 'Invisible Woman' Or Two LaBute's 'Velvet Morning': Nothing Soft About These Surfaces http://krwg.org/post/labutes-velvet-morning-nothing-soft-about-these-surfaces I'll say this for Neil LaBute: The man sticks to his guns. Critics may carp about his sour vision of human nature, but he keeps plugging away at his micro-studies of the cruel struggle for interpersonal domination.<p>LaBute is a master of stagecraft, of course; I'm not sure why he works in film at all, other than to broaden his audience. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 56104 at http://krwg.org LaBute's 'Velvet Morning': Nothing Soft About These Surfaces Making 'Mary Poppins,' With More Than A Spoonful Of Sugar http://krwg.org/post/making-mary-poppins-more-spoonful-sugar "We tell ourselves stories in order to live."<p>That endlessly quoted line from Joan Didion's <em>The White Album</em> echoes with more than the usual resonance for the two adversaries duking it out for control over the movie adaptation of <em>Mary Poppins</em> in <em>Saving Mr. Banks</em>.<p>For 20 years Walt Disney, reportedly on his young daughters' say-so, had tried to wrestle a green light from P. L. Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 55755 at http://krwg.org Making 'Mary Poppins,' With More Than A Spoonful Of Sugar Among Israeli Teens, Complicated Questions Of Consent http://krwg.org/post/among-israeli-teens-complicated-questions-consent It's hard to think of a social issue more certain to drive people into blinkered encampment than the question of sexual consent. There are times when "no means no" seems like an incomplete response to an enormously touchy problem — especially as it affects teenagers, a demographic not known for prudent lust management.<p>Yet the title alone of <em>S#x Acts, </em>a new Israeli drama about the ambiguity of sexual consent, tosses off multiple meanings for audiences to chew on. Thu, 05 Dec 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 55276 at http://krwg.org Among Israeli Teens, Complicated Questions Of Consent Silent For Years, A Riot Grrrl Steps Back To The Mic http://krwg.org/post/silent-years-riot-grrrl-steps-back-mic To many baffled outsiders over 40, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/106311747/bikini-kill">Bikini Kill</a> frontwoman Kathleen Hanna was a weirdo riot grrrl bopping up and down onstage in her bra and panties, bellowing atonal revenge lyrics at anyone who'd keep her and her fellow women down.<p>To her ardent young following of 1990s Third Wave feminists, though, Hanna was an alt Messiah, hacking out a space for women in the punk-rock mosh pit and sounding an enraged alarm on behalf of victims of sexual assault.<p>Contrary to many media reports, she explains in the lively new biography <em>Th Thu, 28 Nov 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 54841 at http://krwg.org Silent For Years, A Riot Grrrl Steps Back To The Mic A Side Of Bettie Page You've (Somehow) Never Seen http://krwg.org/post/side-bettie-page-youve-somehow-never-seen A tantalizing nugget lies half-buried in Mark Mori's engaging documentary about Bettie Page, the 1950s pinup who's inspired an endlessly self-renewing retro-cult of fans both male and female.<p>In the middle of a screening of Mary Harron's <em>The Notorious Bettie Page</em>, it seems, a voice was heard yelling "Lies! Thu, 21 Nov 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 54400 at http://krwg.org A Side Of Bettie Page You've (Somehow) Never Seen A Rome Portrait, And What A 'Great Beauty'! http://krwg.org/post/rome-portrait-and-what-great-beauty The ghost of Federico Fellini hovers wickedly over <em>The Great Beauty</em>, a fantastic journey around contemporary Rome and a riot of lush imagery juggling past and present, sacred and profane, gorgeous and grotesque.<p>Opulence is both the movie's style and its subject — but then "wasting things is something that I like [to do]," said director Paolo Sorrentino in a recent interview with <em>Film Comment</em>. Thu, 14 Nov 2013 22:02:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 53921 at http://krwg.org A Rome Portrait, And What A 'Great Beauty'! One Big Lie, And All Of Lance Armstrong's Others http://krwg.org/post/one-big-lie-and-all-lance-armstrongs-others "I didn't live a lot of lies. But I did live one big one. It's different, I guess. Maybe not."<p>So said disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong to filmmaker Alex Gibney early this year, just hours after he confessed to Oprah that he'd doped during his seven wins of the Tour de France.<p>Gibney had been left gathering the tattered shreds of an almost-finished fanboy documentary about Armstrong's 2009 comeback to the Tour de France. Thu, 07 Nov 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Ella Taylor 53435 at http://krwg.org One Big Lie, And All Of Lance Armstrong's Others