We’re still making our way through the "United 93" reviews (which, despite their surprising sameness in sentiment, we still find more interesting than the film itself). David Segal at the Washington Post was at the Tribeca premiere, and writes about the surreality of the first 9/11 Hollywood blockbuster:
The theater was filled with relatives and friends of those who died that day, and at the end of the film, the section where they sat — in rows of seats in the balcony — dissolved into a collective wail of grief. Have you ever heard 100 people crying at the same time? Sounds simply don’t get any sadder.
And evenings don’t come much stranger. This was the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival and that meant that alongside the deadly serious business of this horrific national tragedy was the utterly silly business of a hip movie premiere. These two elements, let the record reflect, don’t mix well. It was like a showdown of crass versus poignant. A squadron of public relations aides were in combat mode, chaperoning celebrities down a red carpet and introducing them to correspondents from shows such as "Entertainment Tonight." There were paparazzi on hand by the dozens, not all of them happy with the level of talent.
"All B-listers," said one, grimacing a little as he struggled for a better view of Tom Selleck, Carol Kane, Gabriel Byrne and Steve Buscemi. "They said Halle Berry was supposed to be here, but I think she bailed."
Ah, that makes us laugh through our tears…or are we weeping through our laughter? David Usborne at the Independent presents a more removed report on the premiere and on Paul Greengrass‘ involvement in the film. And over at the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller attempts to canonize the film in essay form.
Thus it follows that the real measure of the force of "United 93" may
not be box office receipts or tallies of Oscar nominations — much as
the film’s makers would doubtless appreciate such compliments — but
rather how long it retains this status as an event, not a movie. As a
dampened finger in the cultural wind.
At the Toronto Star, Peter Howell commends the film’s refusal to go for an easy jab at the administration, and, after making fun of Roger Ebert‘s dubbing "American Dreamz" "daring" for it’s heavy-handed presidential depiction, finally wondering "Is there nobody in Hollywood who can make light of the U.S. president without resorting to spitballs and silly faces?"
In a piece from last week in the London Times, Garth Pearce talks to Tom Hanks about how the "Da Vinci Code" controversies will affect his standing as weeper king of the world, not realizing that Hanks completed his transmutation to plastic long ago, and now can be cleansed of any controversy simply by being run through a cold rinse in your typical household dishwasher.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, Ruthe Stein checks in on Eric Steel’s Golden Gate Bridge suicide doc "The Bridge" (which is, full disclosure, an IFC Original), which had it’s premiere at Tribeca and which screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival on Sunday. Steel’s doc attracted controversy before it got out of production, with Bridge officials claiming Steel misled them with regards to his intentions behind filming on the famous landmark. Stein checks out crowd reactions.
Loie Hayward, a 59-year-old legal secretary from San Francisco in the audience, said she had mixed feelings about "The Bridge’s” depiction of people jumping to their deaths. "But I’m just about as much a voyeur as anyone else is.”
Paul Lewis in the Guardian presents the following list of the ten most controversial film ever made, lifted from Time Out‘s just-published "1,000 Films That Change Your Life" guide.
1. "SalÃ²" (1975) Pier Paolo Pasolini
2. "Natural Born Killers" (1994) Oliver Stone
3. "Crash" (1996) David Cronenberg
4. "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988) Martin Scorsese
5. "The Devils" (1971) Ken Russell
6. "Pretty Baby" (1977) Louis Malle
7. "Birth of a Nation" (1915) DW Griffith
8. "Straw Dogs" (1971) Sam Peckinpah
9. "Monty Python’s Life of Brian" (1979) Terry Jones
10. "Bandit Queen" (1994) Shekhar Kapur
And at indieWIRE, a controversy far less salacious but just as heated: Eugene Hernandez reports on Monday night’s Tribeca panel discussion on changing distribution platforms with Steven Soderbergh, Ashwin Navin of BitTorrent, Todd Wagner of Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures and the MPAA’s Dean Garfield.
+ A Red Carpet Tragedy (Washington Post)
+ Cinema tackles terror: Courage on a day of death (Independent)
+ ‘United 93’: More than a movie. It’s a choice. (Chicago Tribune)
+ Old slurs die hard (Toronto Star)
+ Welcome to the dark side (London Times)
+ Film Ignites the Wrath of Hindu Fundamentalists (NY Times)
+ Golden Gate Bridge suicide film draws crowd at festival (SF Chronicle)
+ Torture, necrophilia, and a very naughty boy: the films that shocked us (Guardian)
+ TRIBECA ’06: In a Time of Change for the Movie Business, Talking About Emerging Distribution Platforms (indieWIRE)