This week on IFC News:
This year’s SXSW video special, SXSW 2007: Behind the Badge, is up here. 22 minutes of sheer streaming video festival coverage bliss.
Matt Singer picks four of the ballsiest highlights of Paul Verhoeven‘s English language career, and in the process uses more variations on the word "ballsy" than we would have guessed actually existed. On "Robocop":
The ballsiness comes in when Paul McCrane‘s hood tries to run our hero over in a big truck. At the last moment, the robot formerly known as Officer Alex Murphy dives out of the way, and McCrane and his truck plow into a vat labeled "TOXIC WASTE." McCrane comes out the other side of the crash instantly transformed into a hideous mutant with claws and dripping skin who shambles around whispering "Help me!" It’s an utterly absurd moment, but it speaks to why "RoboCop" was such a hit: Verhoeven believed the premise enough to make it real, and played Murphy’s story for tragedy, not ironic laughs. To throw a drippy skinned fish mutant into the mix, you’ve got to be a certified genius or an authentic wacko.
I didn’t think about those films at all â€” I’d seen "Rear Window" a long time ago, but hadn’t had it in my brain until the editor mentioned it while we were editing. When I saw it, there were some amazing [correspondences] â€” this woman in the cafe… though I guess if you’re looking out the window at a bunch of people living across the road, there are going to be a lot of similarities in what everybody sees, because life is life.
Today, the tale plays as a proto-fascist/totalitarian paradigm in miniature, with Jones employing the gamut of Stalinist tactics (informant dread, paranoia, threats, limited media, work-worship, etc.) to maintain his control. It’s a revolting parable on power, as well as a devastating inquiry into the religious impulse, ending with the modern era’s most spectacular auto-da-fÃ©. You may learn all there is that is known about the Jonestown phenomenon, but the central mystery â€” how could intelligent, loving parents be persuaded to pour cyanide down their own toddlers’ throats, and then drink it themselves while holding their cold children? â€” remains imponderable, chilling, and all-American.
And Chris Bonet has the round-up of what’s new in theaters.