Indie Snapshot: Take This Waltz

by Ethan Alter July 13, 2012 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Take This Waltz</i>

A slow weekend at the multiplex gives you time to catch up with some of the indie features -- like Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz -- currently playing at an art house or video on demand service near you.

Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis Are High on Flight

by Ethan Alter October 29, 2012 6:00 am
Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis Are High on <I>Flight</i>

With its potent combination of an award-winning director and star (Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington), a celebrated supporting cast (among them, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo), dark, emotional subject matter (alcoholism) and expertly executed spectacle (most notably a terrifying plane crash), the new drama Flight is sure to be one of the fall's leading Oscar contenders. The film, which was penned by actor/screenwriter John Gatins, casts Washington as commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land his free-falling plane with a minimal loss of life. He's celebrated as a hero for his actions... until it emerges that he's got serious personal problems that may or may not have contributed to the crash. Following the film's premiere at the recently concluded New York Film Festival, the cast and crew of Flight answered questions from the press, including how the project first began and whether it cured (or contributed to) their fear of flying.

Red State: God’s Lonely Man

by Ethan Alter September 2, 2011 6:00 am
<i>Red State</i>: God’s Lonely Man

A blood-soaked story of a rogue evangelical Christian sect and their self-appointed mission to punish the deviants and sinners (particularly those of the homosexual variety) in their midst, Red State isn't exactly what you would call a typical Kevin Smith film. And to be honest, that's a relief. Although the Jersey-born and bred writer/director has been building a strong media portfolio of late -- between his Twitter feed, podcasting empire, streaming radio service, comic book projects, a proposed daytime talk show and a just-acquired reality series about his comic book store, Smith seems to be competing for Howard Stern's old title of the King of All Media -- the crown jewel of his empire, namely his feature film career, has been creatively stagnant for much of the past decade. From the problematic father/daughter dramedy Jersey Girl, to the entirely unnecessary sequel Clerks II to the flaccid porn comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno to the painful-to-watch hired gun gig Cop Out, Smith has either seemed completely disengaged from his work (as in Cop Out) or overly eager to repeat past successes (as in Clerks II) or just plain uncertain what kind of a movie he wants to make (Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri).

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