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January 2008 Archive

January 2, 2008

The Reeler's Top 10 of Top 10 Lists of 2007

The Reeler's third annual look back at the misconceived hype that mattered

Dancers in the Dark

Seduced and Abandoned: 36th Dance on Camera festival hosts Russians, Rosenbaum and Tati

The News: Critics Rediscover Voice for '07

Also: Warming up for Preminger; Finke gets NYO mensch honors

January 3, 2008

The Reeler's Top 10 of Top 10 Lists of 2007, Part II

More hype, casualties and catastrophes on the road to consensus

The News: Cinemopera. Or Something.

Also: The Juno crossover non-issue; Nathan Lee readying for '08's first nervous breakdown

January 4, 2008

The News: All-Positive Friday -- List Edition!

Inside: Digging out the gems in the vast list-making rough

PTA Redux: "There Will Be a Morally Unambiguous Ending"

Killers, monsters, demagogues and other Blood types

January 7, 2008

The News: Monday News Haikus!

Inside: New feature to rebuke (or reinforce) early-week blahs

Circles and Squares

NYC critics celebrate Country; von Donnersmarck gets Blood-y

Nordic Gold

Acclaimed Jar City and other Oscar hopefuls featured in week-long series

January 8, 2008

The News: Cloverfield -- You're Invited! (Sort Of)

Also: Nasso wrangles Staten Island industry spotlight; alternative awards planned for docs

The Indie Box-Office Crash Diet

Revenues, sky fall in congested 2007 marketplace

Sugar on Top

Intense doc reveals desperate straits for Haitian workers in Dominican Republic

January in NYC: 'Dances, Docs and Double Bills

Resuming series downtown and on Staten Island augur tough choices for January

January 9, 2008

The News: Blurb Whore Honored, Mourned

Also: New De Niro hotel promises fine, bankrupting accommodations; industry gripped by payroll panic

Woman on the Beach

Korean director gets accessible with his latest portrait of sex, power and chain-smoking

Taking Care of Business

Reeler Flashback: Director Epstein discusses Being Born

The Business of Being Born

Boobs, birth and babies abound, but Epstein's witty, well-considered doc is all Business

Shooting at Will

Reeler Interview: Veteran DP Ellen Kuras on directing, Gondry and her Sundance two-fer

Hello, Stranger

Acclaimed Promise to the Dead opens eclectic doc series' winter program

January 10, 2008

The News: NYC -- The Disaster Continues

Also: An ode (I think) to Eric Roberts; Pennebaker/Hegedus look back with Lopate

NY Jewish Film Fest Compares and Contrasts

17th annual event hosts two dozen premieres and a spectrum of viewpoints

Storm-y Weather

Seduced and Abandoned: Reconsidering Lee's 1997 drama, with author Moody on hand at Walter Reade

Film Comment Critics Poll: A User's Guide

Parsing the better of the lesser of the best of the seen and the unseen

January 11, 2008

The News: All-Positive Friday!

Inside: Harvey waives goodbye to strike; upbeat Boll and Avnet on the offensive

January 12, 2008

The Kind-ness of Gondry

Filmmaker discusses new video-store fantasy with standing-room-only crowd in SoHo

January 14, 2008

A Still Life Less Ordinary

Chinese director Jia Zhangke on hovering between the state and subversion

The News: Monday News Haikus!

Inside: Globes ambivalence sweeps NYC; drink a milkshake online

January 15, 2008

Dana Adam Shapiro, My Biodegradable Heart

"It's just a fun little movie made in a loft above an old movie theater -- four friends drawing silly pictures."

Nanette Burstein, American Teen

"It's hard because I really just want to be their friend, but at the same time I do have a job to do."

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Sugar

"The guy is caught up in the baseball machine; it's a huge industry and he's just one piece of it."

The News: Otto Focus

Also: Piling on the Globes; Waxman stoked to join Web netherworld

Wisdom Teeth

Channeling monsters, superheroes and man-eaters with Weixer and Lichtenstein

January 16, 2008

Austin Chick, August

"It was definitely a challenge to do something that was period when, in all the obvious ways, the world looks the same."

Justin Nowell, Sick Sex

"I was very relieved to see that we're playing before Kirsten Dunst; hopefully people won't have walked out yet."

Craig Lucas, Birds of America

"So much of what matters in the story is in the white space, and the lives felt lived instead of 'conceived.' "

A Savage Comeback

Reeler Interview: Filmmaker Tom Kalin on true crime, Savage Grace and his long-awaited return to Sundance

When Otto Met Ernst

Seduced and Abandoned: Preminger's comedies of errors, and the dramas that redeem them

The News: Marty Shines Light at Berlinale

Also: NYC laments Oscar's foreign tastes; Cloverfield apparently sucks

Ball Bearing

Unapologetic Towelhead filmmaker taking exploitation road show to Park City

January 17, 2008

Look on the Dark Side

Director Gibney on how torture became just another American way of life

Taxi to the Dark Side

Gibney's sharp, shaming torture exposé tracks another Great American Meltdown

Daniel Barnz, Phoebe in Wonderland

"The irony of being tortured as a kid is that you become weirdly grateful for it later in life."


Lichtenstein's toothless sexual satire isn't nearly as subversive as it thinks

Cassandra's Dream

Farrell's performance the highlight of Allen's uneven blend of high drama and afternoon telly


The secret of J.J. Abrams's clunky commercial vehicle is that there isn't one

Myna Joseph, Man

"Luckily I had an adviser who said, 'I noticed you've been producing a lot of the boys' projects. I want you to stop.'"

Jan Schütte, Love Comes Lately

"New York is a great background for this kind of story, but we had to fight just to find a crew."

The (Late) News: No, We Are Not at Sundance

Also: Fuzzy foreign-language Oscar math; Rosenbaum exorcises Crowther's ghost

January 18, 2008

James Marsh, Man On Wire

"In a sense it's kind of a bank-robbery film -- not to steal something, but to give something."

Amy Redford, The Guitar

"After a while, when reading the script, I kept firing myself as the actress and hiring other people in my head."

The News: All-Positive Friday!

Inside: Manohla likes Cassandra(?); Bourne set for MoMI tribute

Peter Glanz, A Relationship in Four Days

"I wanted to take the genre of New Wave -- the fun of it -- and exploit the modern relationship."

January 20, 2008

Brett Wagner, Chief

"I'm drawn to all of those sort of grungy urban scenes that inspire all of us in New York. That's all been transplanted to Hawaii."

Tanaz Eshaghian, Be Like Others

"Everyone else takes it as common sense, but not fitting in shows what common sense is."

Carlos Brooks, Quid Pro Quo

"The best detective stories are the ones where the detective ultimately realizes he's been investigating himself."

Can I Get a Wackness?

Reeler Interview: Filmmaker Jonathan Levine on buzz, Mary-Kate and finding a future at Sundance

January 21, 2008

Dee Rees, Pariah

"I really liked the feel of the outer boroughs and just wanted to tell a story that we don't particularly see."

Dan Beers, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit

"Bill Murray looked at the script and said: 'Eight pages. It took three guys to write eight pages? That's impressive.' "

Alex Gibney, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson

"Like Hunter, I think I'm motivated as somebody who always wants to see the underdog have his or her day."

The News: Monday News Haikus!

Inside: Sundance in 17 syllables; Cloverfield lays waste to box office

January 22, 2008

Courtney Hunt, Frozen River

"We didn't have favorable conditions. We had very little funding. What we had was a good script, and people fell back on that."

Cool to Be Kind

Reeler Interview: Michel Gondry on returning to Sundance, getting to know N.J. and the glory of doing it yourself

Tim Sternberg, Salim Baba

"It's one of those happy stories that hopefully happens more than once in your cinematic life."

Oscar to NYC: Let's Just Be Friends

Michael Clayton, Savages, Schnabel earn nods; local docmakers dazzle


Reasonably amusing portrait of literary flameout and acid burnout Humes strains for relevance

The News: The 'Dance and the Dance

Also: Marienbad turns vexation into cash; Retire? Woody? Never!

Boaz Yakin, Death in Love

"It's really about the cycles and the psychological patterns that are passed down from generation to generation."

Heath Ledger Found Dead in SoHo

28-year-old actor discovered with "pills near body"

January 23, 2008

The News: Ledger Fallout Blankets NYC

Also: Dreading a golden night for Juno; Ed Koch mildly displeased with Cloverfield

Ari Gold, Adventures of Power

"It's about a person who wishes he had drums discovering the drums within himself. It's a spiritual story."

Alex Rivera Sleep Dealer

"This film really ought not exist. It's science fiction spoken in Spanish; the hero is a futuristic migrant worker."

January 24, 2008

Orthodox Stance

Spunky doc swings away with potent if uneven blend of Hebrews and haymakers

4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Vaunted Romanian drama a finely crafted -- yet somehow incomplete -- bureaucratic epic

The News: New Yorkers Cash In at Sundance

Also: Edelstein wants an Oscar recount; Dardennes and Apitchatpong draw local touchstones

Signe Baumane, Teat Beat of Sex

"The episodes are a take on sex from a woman's point of view. Do you know why women need panties?"

Weiner Takes All

Seduced and Abandoned: Bronx-born conceptual artist brings nearly four decades of work to Anthology retrospective

The Reeler Meets Oscar at

Your humble editor joins awards-season fold for grueling month to come

Azazel Jacobs, Momma's Man

"I wanted to figure out a way to hold on to some things that I knew I wouldn't be able to hold on to in the future."

January 25, 2008

The News: All-Positive Friday!

Inside: Remembering Ennis Del Mar; tax breaks renewed and upgraded for NY filmmaking

Lisa F. Jackson, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo

"10 Darfurs have happened in the Congo in the last 10 years. Four million people have died. It's unimaginable."

Rob Meyer, Aquarium

"I sort of started from scratch in terms of learning how to write a screenplay or cast. I learned by doing."

January 27, 2008

New Yorkers Score Big at Sundance -- Again

Frozen River, Man on Wire, The Wackness and others gather prizes in Park City

January 28, 2008

The News: Monday News Haikus!

Inside: Mourning the VHS tape in 17 syllables; how does David Denby know so much about step dancing?

Chop Shop Actor Gets Rich Quick

Enterprising young star finds lucrative silver lining in Bahrani's hard-driving realism

January 29, 2008

The News: Bet on Blueberry Nights!

Also: Happy retirement to Mathews; wrapping Sundance with Foundas, Dana, and O'Hehir

Praying With Lior

Lior's supreme underdog moment feels a little too long in coming

Now on DVD: Microbudget Brooklyn

Killer robots and Katz classic hit shelves; private-eye curio comes to Spout

January 30, 2008

The News: Never Choose Family Over Money

Also: AWFJ announces new members for '08; could Tribeca launch mean sweeter Blueberry?

The Silence Before Bach

Portabella explores the craft of making music with the same lightness of the music itself

"Be Uncomfortable"

Vogel doc screens with Cinema 16 partner Goelman sharing the good old days

January 31, 2008

The News: Vicky Woody Weinstein

Also: Searchlight targets summer release for Choke; Sarris shares infallible Oscar ballot


Labaki's look at life in Beirut is a heartfelt gift to a city that couldn't deserve it more

Nadine the Conqueror

Caramel filmmaker keeps it real about her salon fantasia, beloved Beirut and winning over New York

The Long Shadow

Seduced and Abandoned: MoMA and Whitney highlight provocative work of Bert Williams and Kara Walker

February Events Madness!

NYC film scene thaws out with deep list of fests, series, one-offs and other happenings

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