Film

Pro-Palestine threat to picket film festival

By Keren David, May 14, 2009

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have threatened to picket the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June unless it hands back sponsorship money from Israeli sources.

A letter from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign accuses the festival directors of accepting money from the Israeli Embassy “while people in Gaza are still living in the rubble of their homes, and Gaza victims of Israel’s white phosphorous attacks are still in critical care.”

It calls on supporters to lobby the festival directors to refuse “Israel’s tainted money”.

More..

It’s not easy being Charlie Kaufman

By Stephen Applebaum, May 7, 2009

For the past decade, Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays for films such as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have marked him out as one of American cinema’s most distinctive and idiosyncratic creative talents. Yet 20 years ago, his life was going nowhere.

More..

Review: Plague Over England

By John Nathan, April 16, 2009

The critics have been criticised for praising a play written by one of their own. But Nicholas De Jongh’s account of the scandal surrounding the newly-knighted Sir John Gielgud’s arrest in 1953 for importuning (or as it is called these days, being gay) is a quite shocking revelation of institutionalised persecution. As Gielgud, Michael Feast is pitch perfect in voice and gesticulation. Weed out a few tired double entendres and the proposed film version of Tamara Harvey’s production could be a winner.

More..

From Hogwarts to Hitler’s Germany

By Jonathan Messias, April 16, 2009

He has played three priests, military men of various rank and he continues to menace Harry Potter as the evil Lucius Malfoy. But Jason Isaacs’s latest film role is much closer to his heart — and closer still to his background as a Jew.

More..

Review: Religulous

By Gerald Aaron, April 2, 2009

“I preach the gospel of ‘I don’t know’,” says Jewish-born, Catholic-raised stand-up comic Bill Maher as he travels to Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Egypt, among other places in his and director Larry Charles’s satirical documentary about religion. The pair turn out to be equal opportunity abusers, offending just about all religions, except, weirdly, Buddhism.

More..

Review: Monsters vs. Aliens

By Gerald Aaron, April 2, 2009

This exciting 3-D animated adventure makes for surefire family entertainment. Alien goo transforms bride-to-be Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) into a giantess who, together with various “monsters” held by the US government, is sent to battle an invading extraterrestrial robot. Superb animation, a funny screenplay and cleverly conceived monsters — Seth Rogen speaking for a giant jelly among them – adds up to an enjoyable school-holiday experience for children and adults.

More..

Review: The Boat That Rocks

By Gerald Aaron, April 2, 2009

Nostalgia for the golden age of pirate radio infuses this evocative comedy about a diverse group of 1960s rock ’n’ roll DJs broadcasting to music-starved British listeners from a ship in the North Sea.

More..

Review: Two Lovers

By Gerald Aaron, March 26, 2009

Director James Gray is known for crime thrillers such as The Yards and We Own the Night. Here he changes pace with this gentle, emotional drama which enjoyably takes its time establishing character and narrative, and steadfastly refuses to tip into melodrama, despite ample opportunity.

More..

Review: The Damned United

By Gerald Aaron, March 26, 2009

After playing Tony Blair and David Frost with distinction, Michael Sheen scores again with a riveting performance as legendary football coach Brian Clough in this winning dramatisation of Clough’s disastrous 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United in 1974. While never selling the beautiful game short, screenwriter Peter Morgan’s adaptation of David Peace’s best-selling novel concentrates on the interplay of key characters, centred on the overly self-confident Clough’s bitter rivalry with his Leeds predecessor, Don Revie (splendidly played by Colm Meany).

More..

The Jewish Scorsese turns to romance

By Nick Johnstone, March 26, 2009

James Gray first came to attention in 1994 with his directorial debut, Little Odessa, a Martin Scorsese-influenced drama about a hitman (Tim Roth) returning home to the Russian Jewish neighbourhood of his youth, Brighton Beach, New York, for a job. Next came The Yards (2000) and We Own The Night (2007) which both further justified the “Son of Scorsese” tag, while introducing two mesmerising performances by Joaquin Phoenix, who has become something of a Robert De Niro to James Gray’s Scorsese.

More..