Lita On Film

Archive for the ‘Film News’ Category

The Good Doctor *Distribution Update!*

In Film News, Film Reviews on July 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

*Update: This film has finally reached a distribution deal in the US with Magnolia Pictures, and will be released theatrically on August 31st.  Here’s my review, back when it premiered at least year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The Good Doctor – Tribeca Selection 2011

In Film Reviews on May 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Orlando Bloom stars as a dour, disillusioned young doctor in this thriller by Irish director Lance Daly (“Kisses,” 2008).  Just starting out as a resident in a Los Angeles hospital, Bloom’s character, Martin Blake, is lonely, far from home (he retains his delicious British accent throughout), and close to his psychological breaking point.  After he is repeatedly shunned and disrespected by people he sees as his inferiors—a feisty nurse (Taraji P. Henson) and a suspicious orderly (Michael Pena)—Blake tries to ingratiate himself to the chief resident (Rob Morrow), but even that doesn’t work.  The only person who takes him seriously is a young female patient with a kidney infection (Riley Keough).

Soon, Blake has developed a full-blown obsession with his patient, and things only go downhill from there.  In classic thriller tradition, one bad turn leads quickly to another until it seems impossible for Blake to escape from the web of deceit he’s woven himself into.  However, Daly’s film resists the reductive tropes that are often deployed to resolve this sort of conflict.  There is no confession or courtroom drama, and despite a very emotionally overheated scene in which Blake contemplates escaping the situation entirely, he is eventually left to simply contemplate his actions and go on with his life.

“The Good Doctor” has a lot to say about men in the medical profession; some of Bloom’s best scenes are those in which he visibly covets the lives that the accomplished doctors around him have made for themselves.  It’s clear that Daly and screenwriter John Enbom are well aware that medicine is often as much about ego as it is about helping others, and this tension is perfectly expressed in Bloom’s performance.  Throughout the film Bloom’s acting is nicely understated, at least until he encounters some of the more histrionic moments in the script.

Overall, this is a solid film—its only shortcomings arise from the friction it tries to balance between its very restrained protagonist and the almost hysterical emotion that bubbles out of its climactic scenes.  The soundtrack gets similarly overblown in many places.  It’s problematic because it feels artificial: Blake doesn’t seem the type who would suddenly fall into such an infatuation with a patient, and after he’s done that he suddenly seems capable of many other things not in line with his character.  Of course, that’s often the point in thrillers like this—people do things we never thought they would.  But there’s an element of what could be described as magical realism in “The Good Doctor” that left me, at least, more perplexed than fascinated.

Advertisements

Oscar Shorts Explained!

In Film News, Film Reviews on February 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Just in time for Sunday’s big to-do, excellent fellow critic Dan Walber over at Movies.com has put together a comprehensive survey of all the short films that are up for the golden statue.

Head on over and check it out; it’s a great way to get a broader taste of what’s going on in cinema than just tuning in at 11pm to find out what wins Best Picture!

Nanni Moretti to head Cannes Jury

In Film News on January 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Nanni Moretti, known most recently for writing “Habemus Papam,” has been selected as president of the jury of the 65th Cannes Film Festival, which will convene this May.  Head on over to ScreenComment to get Ali’s take on the choice!

 

RIP Bob Anderson

In Film News on January 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm


Bob Anderson, Olympic fencer, stunt man and sword master, died at age 89. During a career that spanned over fifty years and saw the death of the studio system and the advent of the blockbuster, Anderson worked with everyone from Errol Flynn to Sean Connery and Antonio Banderas. He gained the greatest notoriety for his work on the Star Wars trilogy in the seventies, though his role in key lightsaber fight scenes was kept under wraps, per George Lucas, until actor Mark Hamill broke the silence in a 1983 interview. “I didn’t think it was fair anymore,” Hamill said at the time. “Bob worked so bloody hard, he deserves some recognition.”

Anderson’s last major films were the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which swordplay played a key role in many pivotal scenes. Director Peter Jackson wrote on his Facebook page yesterday: “It is rare, even within the film industry, that you get to work with a legend which was why I was thrilled when Bob Anderson agreed to come on board The Lord of the Rings as our sword-master. In fact, it took a while for it to sink in that I was going to get to work with the same man who had helped create some of cinema’s greatest fight sequences, from Star Wars to The Princess Bride. Bob was a brilliant swordsman and a gifted teacher; I will remember him as a wonderfully patient man, possessed of a terrific sense of humour. It was a privilege to have known him.”

Trivial Top Ten

In Film News, Film Reviews, Netflix Recommendations on December 27, 2011 at 12:05 am

As the year draws to a close, I feel the annual urge to post my own Trivial Top Ten–a list not exhaustive by any means, but more a private crib sheet of my personal favorites from the past 12 months.

My perpetual caveat: there are SO MANY films I haven’t yet seen, many of which would probably end up on a more professional, exhaustive list, so don’t hold that against me.  These are just the ten films I enjoyed the most/found the most interesting over the past year.  Notes as to how you can see each of them are included, as are links to my own reviews of each title, as applicable.  Enjoy!  🙂

  1. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE – Read my review here!  See the official site for screening locations.
  2. WEEKEND – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!
  3. SHE MONKEYS – Read my review here!  See the official site here…so far, no distribution in the USA, but keep your fingers crossed.  Whet your appetite with the trailer (here)!
  4. SHAME – Read my review here!  Visit the official site here to find where it’s playing near you!  Beware, its NC-17 rating has made it difficult to find outside of major cities and art houses.  You may have to make a pilgrimage for this one, but it’s worth it, I promise.
  5. INSIDIOUS – Read my review here!  Ok, I know it technically came out last year, but it made such an impression on me–and I was so late in finally seeing it–that I felt it was worth adding to this list.  Plus, genuinely good horror films are so few and far between these days that one practically has to reach back a year or two to be able to recommend anything good.  Available on NETFLIX streaming!
  6. LAST NIGHT – Another Tribeca premiere that still made it to this list about 9 months later.  A truly excellent romantic drama starring Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington as a couple who married too young and are struggling with the consequences.  Great acting, tight direction and a fast pace keep the tension crackling in this sexy ensemble drama.  Available on NETFLIX streaming!
  7. DRIVE – Ok, I got to this one late as well, but it was so worth it.  Check out Kevin Bowen’s review over on Screen Comment for a full rundown, and the official site for screening locations near you.
  8. BUCK – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!
  9. ANGELS CREST – Read my review here!  See the official site for release dates and screening venues.
  10. TROLLHUNTER – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!

What were your favorite (or least favorite) films of 2011?  What were some that should have been on my list?  Let me know!

Fassbender teaming up with McQueen again!

In Film News on October 14, 2011 at 12:49 am

Rejoice, fans of “Hunger” and the soon to be released “Shame”: Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen–the Hitchcock and Hedren of our day–are teaming up for a third feature, “12 Years A Slave,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Fassbender’s role hasn’t been announced yet).  Let the collaboration continue!

David Cronenberg talks “A Dangerous Method” at NYFF

In Film News on October 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Check out this video that I shot on my iPhone last night at the gala premiere of David Cronenberg’s new film “A Dangerous Method”!

NYFF 2011

In Film News on September 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

The 49th New York Film Festival has kicked off–or at least it has for those of us with press passes!

If you want to start your Oscar predictions, this is the festival to pay attention to.  Buzz is already circulating about Michael Fassbender, who stars in Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”; Keira Knightley in “Method”; everybody in Polanski’s “Carnage,” and even Antonio Banderas as a creepy surgeon in Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In.”

Stay tuned to LitaOnFilm as I bring you reviews of some of the most anticipated films of the year from giants like Polanski, Cronenberg, Almodovar, and more!  And if you’re in town, stop by for a screening or two; the Film Society has wonderful screening venues, and is next door to the Met, the NYC Ballet and Juillliard–the heart of fine art and entertainment in New York City!

New “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Trailer!

In Film News on September 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm

See it over on Empire!

Poster for “Human Centipede 2” Lands

In Film News on September 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Loathsome as I found the original “Human Centipede,” I have to admit that the brouhaha over its sequel, particularly in the UK, has been an instructive episode in the history of film censorship.  For more on that, see the excellent piece from the Guardian, which outlines all the issues in depth.

And without further ado, the poster…