cinema verite

This Week in DVD

There’s an unusual trend in this week’s releases in that they’re genre heavy with a high percentage of horror films for some reason. I love horror movies, but sadly only two of the six genre titles covered below are really worth your time and money. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Innkeepers The Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors for good, and only two employees remain for its last few days of very light occupancy. Claire (the ridiculously adorable Sara Paxton) and Luke (the equally adorable but in a totally different way Pat Healy) wile away the late night hours hunting for the Inn’s supposed resident ghost, but what begins with a pair of overactive imaginations soon becomes a terrifying reality. Ti West’s second feature shows a deft hand at pacing, humor and scares and delivers beautifully on all three counts. Best of all, this is a rarity among genre films in that it manages to make you care for the characters and fear for their safety. And did I mention Paxton is freaking adorable?

read more...

In one of the few times that Corrina Belz’s documentary Gerhard Richter Painting breaks its present-tense, fly-on-the-wall approach to its titular subject, an archival black-and-white interview of a much younger Richter is shown. In the interview, Richter states, “To talk about painting is not only difficult but perhaps pointless, too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate. Painting has nothing to do with that.” Belz’s film seeks to meet the artist on his own terms, providing neither a complete, contextualized biography nor a day-in-the-life diary of her subject. Gerhard Richter Painting is as elegantly simple and straightforward as its title suggests: instead of chronicling the artist’s history or delving into his personal life, the film seeks to capture the process by which the most obvious subject that defines the artist’s life is made manifest, his art. Belz’s minimalist approach to her subject is refreshing. In the movie, we are not given a “definitive” non-fiction account of Richter, but Belz attempts instead to let the subject define himself, both in the traditional fashion of verbal address (though this takes the form of impromptu confessionals during work breaks, and doesn’t revert to turning Richter into a “talking head”) and in capturing Richter hard at work constructing his paintings in an incremental fashion.

read more...

Criterion Files

I had the privilege of seeing the surviving Maysles brother, Albert, do a Q&A after a public screening of Grey Gardens (1976). During the discussion, somebody asked him the inevitable question regarding how the presence of the camera changed the very subject he was documenting. It’s an interesting and essential question for any documentary filmmaker to consider, especially when one is engaging in the direct verite style rather than a traditional retrospective style, because it’s simplistic for the filmmaker to consider themselves “objective” or “invisible” when putting a camera on their subject: the presence of the camera changes things. Albert Maylsles responded with an amusing story about how the conversations the brothers heard between “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” outside the house when not filming were exactly the same as when they were inside. While this is no doubt the case as the eccentric Beales would certainly “be themselves” no matter the occasion or circumstance, with all due respect Mr. Maysles’s assessment of the question was a bit too narrow. Putting cameras within the aging walls of Grey Gardens did, in fact, change everything.

read more...

The Last Exorcism is the story of a Louisiana pastor called to the aid of a family living way out in the sticks. The family is aware that Cotton, the pastor, has been performing exorcisms for many years and they are in need of his special talents. The daughter of the family, Nell, has been acting so strangely of late that her father is convinced that she is possessed by the devil. Cotton sees this as an opportunity to reveal the enormous hoax that is church-sanctioned exorcism and brings along a camera crew to document both the flimsiness of the family’s possession claims and the charade of the exorcism ceremony. What he discovers in that tiny backwoods town is something far more real and far more terrifying than he is equipped to handle. Calling The Last Exorcism the best exorcism film since The Exorcist is not only a mouthful, but that seemingly flattering moniker may be more of a backhanded compliment than the film deserves. I for one wholly endorse this, admittedly, sensational claim but I don’t think it’s one the film should wear as a badge of honor (whether the praise come from me or someone of much greater note and worth). The fact is that exorcism films have been few and far between since Linda Blair first showered us in green, soupy terror in 1973. Of the meager handfuls that have cropped up in these near forty years hence, only a smidgen of them have seen theatrical release. […]

read more...
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3