This week at IFC News:
In honor of the strange occasion of having a film entreat potential viewers with the tagline "10 people will fight. 9 people will die. You get to watch" as a nation in the wake of its most recent campus shooting continues to debate gun control and the effect of violence in popular culture, we have an overview of notable â€” or less than, in some cases â€” films featuring a set-up in which people are forced to (or sign up to) fight to the death. The list is here. On "Gladiator":
Russell Crowe‘s Roman general-turned-slave Maximus is initially reluctant to participate in barbaric sports for the appeasement of bloodthirsty audiences. In the most famous sequence, he single-handedly slaughters a half-dozen armed men without any pretense of showmanship or suspense, and then bellows to the disappointed crowd, "Are you not ENTERTAINED?" Unfortunately, director Ridley Scott‘s moral posturing is somewhat undone by his glossy staging of the gladiatorial action: the Romans may not be entertained, but modern audiences certainly were by the spectacular sequences that included tigers and Amazonian women on horseback.
I was particularly influenced by "M*A*S*H," but at the same time, I was influenced by Bergman‘s "Secrets of Women" and Ken Loach. Roman Polanski once said that we’re influenced by eating wheat germ. I remember seeing ["Short Cuts"] in Canada when it first came out. I rushed to see it, mainly because of my interest in Raymond Carver‘s stories. I don’t know, maybe I’ll watch it again. It’s sort of like, when you learn how to do a magical trick, the magic disappears. In some ways, going back and looking at that film would take the magic away from it.
Michael Atkinson writes about "Old Joy" and the new Renoir set: "’Old Joy’ might be the only film ever specifically made about that universal moment when the bonds of youth begin to rust and fade and become irrelevant against the bombardments of age and responsibility."
In the podcast, we discuss films based around strange spectator sports.
And Christopher Bonet has the list of what’s new in theaters.