Higher Ground was tremendously and subtly moving and I strongly recommend it!
I have an issue with the comment "Black men have been stealing their thunder as of late." Though I understand the point the writer was trying to make, I do believe it could have been said better. It is not black male against black female director in Hollywood, so let's be careful not to use divisive language. Hollywood was and is a male dominated industry and frankly doesn't give a damn about either black female or black male, it's about who is more marketable/profitable in the showbiz execs eyes. Spike and Tyler came to Hollywood with proven successes and THAT's what the mostly WHITE MEN running the show want to invest in.
And Kasi and Gina don't necessarily have SEVERAL films under their belt either. Two or 3 Hollywood films is hardly SEVERAL, but it's a start! The reality is in 2011 black Hollywood doesn't have to wait for Hollywood to get works seen. Look at Ava DuVernay with AFFRM and those using the internet and social media to find alternative means of distribution.
Hollywood As I Live & Work
Julie Dash is brilliant. I went to a one-day workshop of hers and was so inspired, I am now enrolled in film school. She will get more of us with which and through which to elevate the craft. Thankfully media is going the way of music and becoming directly accessible--they key is shoring up financing and retaining creative control.
This is Something to Talk about
Delete all those Petty Articles
Under the File Name: Black Women
Just read that it's coming out on DVD this month. Hope the meager bit of plot described here isn't lost; movie-makers are ignoring a HUGE vein of drama gold by not mining the impact of tobacco's death on agriculture in North Carolina. That, along with the double whammy of the fall of the cotton mill, has spawned an endless source of stories--if only the right writers would rise to the task of telling them!
Although some parts of the script could use some definite tweaking (Mortimer's character is so sweet and cliche it's sickening) I thought it was a simple, sort of funny film worth watching half-heatedly once.
September 2, The Chelsea Theater in Chapel Hill
I read this book and loved it. I finally found the monument/memorial to the victims of the Vel d'Hiv in Paris on my last trip. Kristin Scott Thomas is great and speaks French so well. I look forward to seeing the film.
So happy you found a spot with the Indy, Craig. You were the best thing in the rapidly diminishing N&O.
Don't Slop Down The Times
The "venerable national newspaper of record" will continue to lose its standing in the public mind as long as cheap-shot comments continue to be associated with the newspaper as those uttered by columnist David Carr in this article. Having once met the legendary Times political columnist James (Scotty) Reston, I refuse to believe that dignity and distinction have to be sacrificed by the current generation of Timesmen and Timeswomen just to score points with readers who are sliding into acceptance of increasingly seedy and coarse standards of newspaper journalism prose and commentary.
Meanwhile, major news organizations like The New York Times as well as the New York-based television broadcast news corporations should refrain from entering arrangements with universities, the political parties or even selected news media in the Research Triangle and other regions designed to promote journalistic servitude and curb independent journalistic investigation and reporting all in the supposed "just cause" of prodding Southerners and others to "refine" their views and opinions on public policy issues.
No one in North Carolina who is pursuing occupational goals in journalism and communications should have to "work for free" for New York-based editors making earning salaries in the six and seven figures while living on the streets of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill in a determined effort to improve the craft of writing and even broadcasting in an independent and ethical manner.
There are weeks such as this one when the Triangle's Independent rises to the top levels of journalistic aspiration through its continuing pursuit of news reporting and public affairs analysis, and as in this case of this week's issue, one hallmark of a great output in "the product" is simply a multitude of stories involving good fundamental and relevant news reporting.
In the 1970s it often seemed as if it could take half a day to go through all the national and foreign news stories available in a typical weekday print edition of The New York Times. Now things have gotten so thin in the staff news digest that you may find yourself having read through "All the News That Fits" before you enjoy your second cup of coffee.
Surely, if one will permit the editorial "we," we may have been professionally prescient in tweaking the famous slogan of The Times by informing readers of our '60s Duke Lancaster House news and sports flyers--"The Charger"--of our editorial guidepost:
"All the News That Fits We Print."
But where have you gone, Russell Baker, who once opined that there was no month like December for visiting New York? Give us more insights to mull over that may not have occurred to us to reflect upon in days gone by.
David Proctor McKnight
Much success to you, Mr. Tukel. It is great to see a talent flourish.Your abilities were long on display and it is rewarding that you have now found a platform. For anybody reading this, Ding-a-less is epic, a snot out of you nose laugher.
I don't know how else to say this, but David Fellerath's review of Tree of Life confuses a truly visionary film with a run-of-the-mill Hollywood narrative. It's as if he was writing about Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting "The Luncheon of the Boating Party" and wrote "it's about 15 people under a canopy talking and eating lunch."
Film is a VISUAL art form that usually includes narrative elements. Those elements do not have to be linear or even present and certainly not said by actors to make a successful film. Film doesn't need a story nor dialogue nor people. Narrative elements can be visual and can ask us to assemble them ourselves in whatever meaning we derive. That is the (updated) nature of modern art.
If you randomly pick any of Fellerath's reviews you will read a synopsis of the narrative elements of the film (sometimes following an off-the-wall introduction, such as a film festival in Burkina Faso Fellerath refers to to comment on the differences between "commercial" films and "art" films). He seems to say that art films are indulgent by nature while the exact opposite may be true: commercial films have a singular objective: to make money at all costs.
Fellerath rarely discusses the cinematic nature of film. I bet you could omit "film" and "play" from his movie and drama reviews and have no clue which is a movie and which is a play. Fellerath is not alone. This art of reducing film to its narrative elements plagues American popular film reviewers. Perhaps it is an occupational hazard because they are forced to watch so many Hollywood films that have "a story arc" and little else.
Fellerath further dismisses Malick by mentioning Pauline Kael's negative review of his first film 1973's "Badlands," but doesn't mention that Vincent Canby of The New York Times glowed about 29-year-old Malick and the film, and Badlands outperformed Scorcese's Mean Streets at the New York Film Festival that year.
Badlands is now regarded as an important film and Malick a visionary American director despite the fact that his breadth of work is six films in 30 years.
Like a Renoir, a Pollock or a Picasso painting, Tree of Life is a multi-layered film. It demands much of the viewer as does much of modern art. Ortega y Gassett in his book "The Dehumanization of Art" says modern art's nature is “to dehumanize art … to avoid living forms … to consider art as play and nothing else … to be essentially ironical … to regard art as a thing of no transcending consequence.”
Mark Helperin disagrees writing, ” Until very recently the task of the artist was to work with what was given, to pay homage to God and nature, the presumption being that though he would never achieve perfection he could approach it through the various disciplines that make use of what is already in the universe, of which there is plenty. At his boldest, the artist would, in the language of Broadway, do another take on what God had already created. Never would he presume actually to create, not only because it would be unpardonable vanity but because it would be ridiculous. "
In "The Tree of Life," Malick, without relying on traditional narrative elements, manages to create his own world by commenting on the subjective nature of the Universe. His film says that Ortega Y Gassett and Helperin are both wrong AND they are both right because we now live in an uncertain age where, simply stated, particles behave in ways that are difficult to comprehend, they can be energy and matter at the same time. That is the nature of the modern world we know.
If one confronts the Universe with eyes developed in the 50s, the reaction to the Universe may be similar to the view of the Universe as seen by Sean Penn's character Modern Jack who envisions the Universe as a complicated stew of ontogeny, phylogeny, natural selection and all the messy things that define it.
If you look at "Tree of Life" as a disturbed narrative you are the reviewer stuck in the Old World hoping that the world is still lorded over by Leave it to Beaver. If you try to make sense of all the things you have seen and made since your earliest memories, you, as a being who has come to consciousness, will see a frightening, almost undefinable modern world.
Terrence Malick has tried to impart that complicated, simultaneous vision and we are free to decide whether he has succeeded or not, but I think we are at least obliged to make up our mind using his language and his certainly modern ideas..
Two stars? Give me a break.
A film reviewer has the obligation to understand the form of the film.
Thanks .. Stan from Finland
Looks like a good way to fall asleep....no, on the other hand I think I'll just turn on C-Span.
On weekends or at night, when 147 and I-40 aren't crowded, it is only about 15 more minutes for me to get to downtown Raleigh than Southpoint, even though I live in Durham. I'd much rather support Marbles, and like the experience better.
Love the comment, "I would pay extra to not have to go to Southpoint ever. Ditto.
This is one of the most stirring films I have ever seen. I caught a viewing of this at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival and it was unquestionably my vote for the best film of the fest, against the likes of King's Speech and Black Swan. It deals with the gray areas of morality that are the products of war like no war film I had ever seen prior. Find the time to see this important and moving film.
I would pay extra to not have to go to Southpoint ever.
Actually Southpoint ($9.75+$4.25 IMAX Surcharge=$14) and Crossroads ($15 for IMAX films) are more expensive than Marbles ($11.95) plus the screen is larger at Marbles and there are fewer seats so you aren't all crammed together in a smaller space. Downtown parking is free after 5pm and on weekends, and you're right next to City Market which has shops and plenty of restaurants. Not sure what you are calling a better experience really but to each his own.
Your article is biased towards the Marbles IMAX being a "better" experience because the screen is larger. You shouldn't have ignored the fact that it could be a much "better" (more pleasant ) experience overall for many to not to have to drive to downtown Raleigh to see a movie. If you opt for the Southpoint IMAX, perhaps the screen is not as large (although plenty big for most folks), but you can get there easily, parking is free, there's plenty of restaurants and you can shop at all types of retailers before or after your movie. The Southpoint cinema also gives you a choice of seeing a movie without paying a premium for a larger screen.
john b, you are correct. It's been fixed. Also, it's Jason Segel, not Siegel.
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