The Sundance Film Festival has become a hub for some of the world's best documentaries to be showcased. Mariel Hemingway, the grand-daughter of the iconic American writer Ernest Hemingway. Her family's history has been carved by depression and ill mental health. Running From Crazy explores that part of her family's history, and had its premier at the Sundance Film Festival.
Ernest Hemingway killed himself two weeks before Mariel was born, one of her sisters died of an overdose in 1998 and her other sister has been in and out of institutions for a decade. Mariel herself has battled with depression but now, speaking to the Globe and Mail, she says she's through it. "Some people are like, 'Wow, [Running From Crazy is] a heavy title.' Well, I don't see it as a heavy title. I'm like, 'Dude, thank God.' Crazy's gone. . There's fun in my life and I'm joyful. But there was a time when I really was not. . But I truly am no longer depressed. It's gone. I can honestly say that it's been years. I laugh at myself now, which is fun."
With Academy Award winner Barabara Kopple directing and Oprah Winfrey as executive producer it's got some heavy-weight backing behind it. Working with Mariel was a dream for Kopple. "What Mariel has, I mean, she's the dream of a documentarian," she said, "because you sit at the table with her and talk to her, and everything comes out, because she has a higher purpose for it. She really wants to shed light on suicide and mental illness."
Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.
Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review
The events later known as the rape of Nanking happened quickly, over just six horrific weeks at the end of 1937 and into 1938, and because the city was so cut off at the time and the war went on for eight more years, much of the story went untold for decades. It wasn't until writer Iris Chang documented the tragedy in her 1998 book The Rape of Nanking that the true scope of the horror was made apparent. It was that book that inspired Nanking, a highly effective documentary that uses interesting techniques to tell its remarkable story.
Continue reading: Nanking Review
Pretty much taking pot-shots at everyone he's ever known, every establishment he can think of, every vice there is, and--mostly--himself... that's your basic summary of Deconstructing Harry. Allen is vulgar and crass, wholly unlikeable... but hysterical. Maybe the funniest part of the film is the cast of stars he's lined up, all of whom do nothing but get spit upon the whole time! Suckers! (The movie is told half in reality, half as visualizations of writer Harry Block's (Allen) stories, thus, the large cast.)
Continue reading: Deconstructing Harry Review
Say what you will about the movie itself: The casting is either inspired or excruciating or both. Jürgen Prochnow as the older Schwarzenegger. Mariel Hemingway as Maria Shriver, and Nora Dunn as Ariana Huffington. Wow. Prochnow alone is terrifying: He doesn't really look much like Arnold (and he's about 120 pounds light), but they've done his hair up to make him look like a bizarro approximation of him. Hemingway and Dunn are equally disturbing: Hemingway lowers her voice an octave to play Shriver. Dunn sounds like she's been listening to Huffington on the radio for an hour, and this is her best approximation. I was disappointed that the producers didn't pull out a little guy to play Gary Coleman (who also ran for Governor) or get porn star Mary Carey to play herself.
Continue reading: See Arnold Run Review
Writer-director Rod Lurie is to political thriller cinema what Jackie Collins is to romance novels: high-gloss trash. The difference is that Lurie takes himself seriously.
Earlier this year his preposterous nuclear countdown yarn "Deterrence" was released after sitting on a shelf for two years. It starred Kevin Pollack as a US president snowed in at a Colorado greasy spoon getting unsolicited advice from a peanut gallery of patrons as Saddam Hussein's son revealed a secret nuclear arsenal pointed at our shores. Even more ridiculous than the plot was the "just kidding" manner in which it concludes.
Now comes "The Contender," a lurid yet didactic gavel-to-gavel drama about a vice presidential appointee embroiled in a sex scandal.
Continue reading: The Contender Review