A few months ago, when that film about Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega going to Target and then going to Arby’s came out, we longed for someone to put together a list like this week’s at the Onion AV Club â€” we were not up to the challenge ourselves. They cite Christopher John Farley’s 2000 Time article "That Old Black Magic":
Farley explains them this way: "Hollywood screenwriters don’t know much
about black people other than what they hear on records by white
hip-hop star Eminem. So instead of getting life histories or love
interests, black characters get magical powers." Facile? Sure. But an
awful lot of movies, especially from the past decade, fit the bill.
And, for the record, only two of their 13 choices involve Freeman.
Still, I usually answer questions about the greatest film of all time by immediately throwing in my two runners-up: Kenji Mizoguchiâ€™s Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and Jean Renoirâ€™s La RÃ¨gle du Jeu (1939). Then, if I can grasp the questionerâ€™s lapels long enough (much like Coleridgeâ€™s crazed Ancient Mariner), I rattle off the rest of my all-time ten-greatest list: Alfred Hitchcockâ€™s Vertigo (1958), John Fordâ€™s The Searchers (1956), Orson Wellesâ€™ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Luis BuÃ±uelâ€™s Belle de Jour (1967), F.W. Murnauâ€™s Sunrise (1927), Charles Chaplinâ€™s Modern Times (1936) and Buster Keatonâ€™s The General (1927).
Some days you feel like a true cinephile; other days you feel like you’re just a dabbler. Reading that paragraph makes us want to curl up under our desk, unable to bear the shame of being such a dilettante â€” were we to ever find ourselves talking to someone with handy lapels to grab, we’d be hard pressed to commit to even a definitive all-time top three to bellow in that person’s face.
"It’s very hard to stay away from religion. We’re talking about a realm of experience that gives us our greatest meaning," says Vamsee Juluri, a Hindu and a professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco. " ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ gives us the language of universal religion at a time when it’s very hard to do that in the popular culture."
This isn’t an angle that even crossed our mind when we saw the film â€” doesn’t that equate religion to a fanciful but ultimately somewhat harmful escape from the daily hardships of life?
"Every night, I watch a film, usually an Asian one. Iâ€™ve watched a lot of Korean films. Hard to name them all, but I was surprised by Korean filmâ€™s refreshing elements in their themes, acting and techniques. I think Korean films have already outdone Hong Kong and Japanese movies," he said.
300 is largely faithful to your material. But it takes the character of Queen Gorgo, who only appears in a couple of panels in your version, and gives her a major subplot with a character called Theron, an evil politician. What did you think of that addition?
At first I very much disagreed with it. My main comment was, ”This is a boys’ movie. Let it be that.” The story itself, in historical terms, really didn’t involve her all that much, from most accounts. But Zack had his reasons. He wanted to show that King Leonidas was fighting for something, by giving him a romantic aspect and by lingering in Sparta a little bit.
And Tom Mes at Midnight Eye talks to Nobuhiro Yamashita, whose "Linda Linda Linda" is a film dear to our heart. His latest film, the comedy "Matsugane Ransha Jiken (The Matsugane Potshot Affair)" opened last week in Japan â€” in a review at the Japan Times, Mark Schilling gave it a lukewarm review, sighing that "What passes for comedy in the Japanese mass media is often little better than ijime (bullying) played for laughs — one comedian baiting or beating another — so in a sense Yamashita is simply going mainstream, but, no fan of ijime in any of its infinitely varied forms, I watched much of the film stone-faced."
+ Inventory: 13 Movies featuring magical black men (AV Club)
+ The Greatest Film of All Time: OphÃ¼lsâ€™ Madame de â€¦ Is Coming Back to Town (NY Observer)
+ Embraced by many religions, ‘Labyrinth’ allows broad discussion of faith issues (SF Chronicle)
+ Cult Director Jodorowsky Likes Korean Films (Korea Times)
+ Borat seen as human rights victim by U.S. gov’t (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Miller’s Tales (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Nobuhiro Yamashita (Midnight Eye)
+ Potshots that fail to slay you (Japan Times)