We meant to post a link to the Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon on Friday, but now it’s massive and complete. We particularly recommend Matt Zoller Seitz‘s compilation post over at The House Next Door, Bilge Ebiri‘s piece on "Graham Greene vs. Shirley Temple," Peet Gelderblom‘s reflections on Armond White, and more, and more.
"The Million Dollar Hotel" (2000)
Wim Wenders‘s little-seen film raises a rarely asked question: Is Mel on a leash scarier than Mel unloosed? Third-billed, he plays an FBI agent investigating a mysterious death in a supremely seedy hotel in downtown LA. His character, Skinner, wears a neck and back brace that barely allows him to move. He was also born with a third arm (later amputated). "I could play the violin and wipe [myself] at the same time," he boasts. It’s the weirdest onscreen mind-body relationship since Dr. Strangelove’s.
John Waters posts his top 10 films of the year over at Artforum â€” we’ve been frantically trying to get a few last titles under our belt before posting ours next weekish, and yes, sometimes this is a ridiculous job.
In one sense, Disneyâ€™s choice of subjects was bizarre. How would all these feudal formulasâ€”the princes who crown the climaxes of â€œSnow White,â€ â€œCinderella,â€ and â€œSleeping Beautyâ€â€”play in a modern republic? In the event, they scarcely mattered. Nobody leaves those movies pining for the unfailingly limp human males into whose arms the spunky heroines fall. Indeed, to criticize the Disney corpus as pap ignores the fact that pap was the thing that Disney, at his best, did worst of all. What lodges in the brain, after Snow White has been yanked out of her glass casket, is the macabre punch of the buildup: the poisoned apple rolling from her outstretched hand, the witch transfigured from a snotty Joan Crawford figure to something yet more disturbing. (Her voice was provided by Lucille La Verne, who is said to have managed the transition to a cackle by the simple expedient of removing her false teeth.) As for the sight of the threatened girl haring through the forest, pursued by a posse of swirling leaves, with the branches clawing at her clothes, it possesses not just the sharp-toothed, half-Teutonic atmosphere that Disney could reliably conjure from his artists; it is also edited with a violent sophistication that chops straight into childrenâ€™s dreams. For a moment, it looks like Eisenstein.
Charles Solomon at the New York Times writes that "[a]fter a hiatus of nearly 50 years, Walt Disney Studios is getting back into the business of producing short cartoons, starting with a Goofy vehicle next year."
Shailendra Dwivedi of Indore, near Bhopal, the capital of central Madhya Pradesh state, said the scene from the movie, titled "Dhoom 2," lowered the dignity of Indian women and gave an obscene message to youth.
Barbara is a brilliant addition to cinema’s regiment of monstrous females. Think of Kathy Bates in Misery; Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?; or Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George. It’s not often cinema is brave enough to offer us a wholly unlikable female lead – which is what makes them so powerful. By contravening proper feminine modes of behaviour and dress, these women refuse to accept the patriarchal order. They are also great fun: we get to live out their transgressive behaviour without any of the consequences.
+ Welcome To The Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon! (No More Marriages)
+ 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT ALTMAN (Stop Smiling)
+ The once & future Mel (Boston Globe)
+ Best of 2006: Film (Art Forum)
+ WONDERFUL WORLD (New Yorker)
+ For Disney, Something Old (and Short) Is New Again (NY Times)
+ Stars face court action over kiss (Reuters)
+ Story Of The Scene: ‘Don’t Look Now’ Nicolas Roeg (1973) (Independent)
+ Far deadlier than the male (Observer)