The three-man "orchestra" comes to the Detroit Film Theatre this weekend, electronically synthesizing a strange ensemble of moody voices for such silent films as Douglas Fairbanks Sr.’s The Black Pirate, Dovzhenko’s Earth, Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton shorts, and Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.
Casting Andy Garcia as a failed novelist-turned-tuxedo-clad escort isn’t the best way to sell a movie. While he’s good at playing the sad sack, there’s absolutely zero about him that says "sex for hire." Mick Jagger, the only thing worth watching in this slow-paced film, seems to sag under the knowledge that he deserves better.
After the huge popularity of Yojimbo (1961), director Akira Kurosawa revived the character of the seedy samurai Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) for this 1962 follow-up, a film even more overtly comic than its predecessor. Its climax, incredibly cartoonish and horrific, has to be seen to be disbelieved.
During World War II, the SS chose groups of Jews, known as Sonderkommando, to assist in the gassing and disposing of Jews. In return, they received small luxuries and a few extra months of life. There were 13 Sonderkommando in all. The Grey Zone is the story of the 12th, in Auschwitz.
This film, built not on story and character but on history and bare bits of information, recounts what happened January 30, 1972 in the Northern Irish town of Derry, when an anti-internment civil rights march turned violent as British soldiers shot 27 unarmed Irish civilians, killing 13 of them.
Between the lines and the frames of The Ring lies an allegory on the evils of media — very smart and very scary. Director Gore Verbinski plots a course less traveled into a realm of mysteries. He partially unravels them, but leaves us in a free-falling state bordering on jaw-dropping awe.
The active ingredients of this quirky crime flick seem logical: Samuel L. Jackson, American cinema’s "Bad Motherfucker," and Hong Kong action director Ronny Yu’s visual adrenaline. But it’s cut with so much third-generation Quentin Tarantino that it’s more an entertainment low than a high.