If you’re looking for something film-related to watch, listen to, or read this weekend, try these on for size:
Go see ST. VINCENT (PG-13, 102 mins) – This is one I’ve eagerly anticipated and it does not disappoint. Tracy and I saw it with a full house and appreciative audience at a sneak preview Tuesday night. Word of mouth has been good enough that the Weinstein Co. expanded the number of screens for it’s nationwide opening this weekend so it’s probably playing at a theater near you (if you’re in the U.S.) If you’re a Bill Murray fan, there’s plenty here to like. If you’re NOT a Bill Murray fan I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by his textured, unflinching, believable performance. The entire supporting cast shines in a story that could have easily been treated in a manipulative and saccharine manner. Sure, it follows several movie-making conventions but it never disrespects the audience. Kudos and congrats to Ted Melfi for writing, directing and getting this movie out to the masses.
Watch LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF – this festival favorite and passion project of CalArts professor, Thom Andersen has been in distribution limbo for years due to the sheer tonnage of clips that had to be cleared and licensed. They finally cracked that code and now any film-lover can see this remarkable documentary. It’s exhaustive (169mins) but not exhausting. Originally completed in 2003 this comprehensive examination of how Los Angeles has been portrayed in the movies has been remastered for its first home video release. There’s a noir quality to the film that’s probably an extension of Andersen’s personality. This is a true labor-of-love-dear-john-mashup for a filmmaker, thinker, and Angeleno who loves his city. In case you’re not convinced check out the trailer here.
Listen/Read NOT TO BE MISSED: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film – When asked in an NPR interview why he calls movies his friends, Kenneth Turan replied, “Because they speak to me!” I get that. If you do as well, I think you’ll enjoy Turan’s passionate, informative and thoughtfully laid out book. Turan loves movies and it shows. But he’s also generous in the way he shares his favorite movies with the reader. I read the book earlier this year and find myself using it often as a reference. I’ve been able to track down several of the films unfamiliar to me on his list(s) and each has been as rewarding as he promised. The book is available in all formats and if you’d like to get a little taste of what’s in it, check out the aforementioned NPR interview (7mins 47secs) here.