Saturday, August 15, 2009

Since I went away

The dumbness of American movies and moviegoers is hotly debated. I finger the culprit: the infantilizing PG-13 rating, introduced 25 years ago this month. (Pictured is Taken, a slippery-slope "hard" PG-13.)

Hang on to those VHS tapes and laserdiscs: The end of classic catalog releases on DVD is near. Though Sony has has an exemplary year it certainly feels that way as banal new releases definitively take over. I have issues with the Warner Archive, but not so many that I don't hope every studio introduces its own alternative.

RIP John Hughes. I can't say I was all that crazy about him; he prided himself on working fast and the lack of discipline showed. (And I hated the smug Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a favorite of right-wingers like Dan Quayle.) But he captured a certain zeitgeist that rippled through my college years, and had the good sense to depart Hollywood when the well ran dry. (My Wisconsin visits tend to be death trips for directors: Bergman and Antonioni died the last time we went, in 2007.)

Resnais, Almodovar, and--Daniel?--headline the New York Film Festival, which returns to Alice Tully Hall for its 47th year.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is due to fete Natalie Wood, who is somewhat underrated almost three decades after her passing, this week. Dyan Cannon and Elliott Gould should be good fun at the Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice screening.

IFC Films has a number of indies available on demand but you should really see the hilarious In the Loop at a theater.

We're off to see the Wizard--this time in hi-def--on Sept. 23. Vacation, incidentally, allowed me to read Michael Sragow's fine biography of its director, Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master.

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