This is really just an excuse for us to indulge our unavoidable Armond White fixation. In his latest effort, M. White takes on David LaChapelle’s "Rize," and illuminates exactly why we can’t look away from his reviews (we mean that both in an entranced and in a "Check it out, a car crash!" way). He starts off by acidly cutting into exactly what’s off-putting about LaChapelle’s undeniably cool-looking dance doc:
Fashion photographer David LaChappelle wears two hats as the director of the documentary "Rize." First is a backwards baseball cap to prove he’s a style maven. The second (if you look hard) is a safari hat. "Rize" gives one the impression of a great white hunter snapping pictures of wildlife in deepest, darkest Africa. LaChappelle’s video-slick view of black-youth dance culture in South Central Los Angeles is just a new form of racial stigma.
But then, he indulges his worst habits, which would be his obsession with what other critics think and how they’re wrong, wrong, wrong, and his insistent on trumpeting ignored some appallingly bad, seemingly selected at random film:
LaChappelle sells this distorted sociology to the same gatekeepers who ignored the astonishing street choreography in "You Got Served." That musical-drama, vibrantly staged by music-video veteran Chris Stokes, asked audiences to imagine the ambitions and emotions of black teens. "Rize" merely insists they be objectified.
"You Got Served." "You Got Served"?! For fuck’s sake. Excuse us while we have a Don Music moment…
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Ahhhh. Anyway, at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Johnny Ray Huston’s review of "Me and You and Everyone We Know" is really just an excuse to reminisce about when they both lived in Portland and used to hang out. It’s nice: "I remember lending July a copy of AgnÃ¨s Varda’s "ClÃ©o from 5 to 7" and how much she loved the film â€“ with an intensity matched only by her wonder at discovering we shared the same birthday."
Kenji Uchida is a young, fairly unknown Japanese director whose film "Unmei Janai Hito (A Stranger of Mine)" was unexpectedly accepted into the Cannes International Critics’ Week, where it picked up three of the smaller awards. Mark Schilling reviews the film for the Japan Times ("as a Hollywood calling card, as well as a comedy in a minor key for smart people, ‘Unmei’ succeeds well enough"), and interviews Uchida.
+ Krumpled (NY Press)
+ Crazy, fantastic world (SF Bay Guardian)
+ A little more Wilder please to really hit the mark (Japan Times)
+ A prize-winning directorquite happy to have a laugh (Japan Times)