Film

Review: Public Enemies

By Jonathan Foreman, July 2, 2009

Hollywood does not make films about depression-era gangsters very often. It is already two decades since De Palma’s Untouchables and Barry Levinson’s Bugsy. Arguably there are good reasons for this.

For one thing, the modern classics of the genre are so familiar that any new film featuring fedora hats, tommy guns and rounded cars with running boards is likely to feel ersatz and steeped in cliché. It may be that the period gangster film has become like the Western, a form that is all but exhausted except for the occasional “revisionist” treatment.

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Review: Katyn

By Jonathan Foreman, June 18, 2009

Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn may well be the most accomplished and most important film released this summer. It is also disturbingly flawed, not as a work of art but as a representation of a country and a moment in history.

For decades this great Polish filmmaker (Man of Iron, Ashes and Diamonds) has wanted to make a film about the terrible crime committed in the Katyn forest in the spring of 1940. Wajda’s own father Jakub was among the 22,000 Polish army officers and other notables taken away and murdered by Soviet NKVD in the forest and elsewhere in Russia.

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Review: Fugitive Pieces

June 4, 2009

In Poland, in 1942, a Jewish boy called Jakob witnesses his mother and father murdered and his sister hauled off by Nazi soldiers.

Traumatised, he runs and hides in the forest where he is found by Athos, a Greek archaeologist who, remarkably, is working on a dig nearby.

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Review: Terminator: Salvation

By Jonathan Foreman, June 4, 2009

It is hard to believe the Terminator franchise is a quarter of a century old. The first film was an exciting, low-budget action thriller that, like so much science fiction, extrapolated from current trends to predict a dark future for mankind. It launched the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron.

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Edinburgh film woman hits back

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2009

The Israeli film director at the centre of an argument over film festival funding has hit back at anti-Israel campaigners.

Tali Shalom Ezer said she was “outraged” at comments made by controversial director Ken Loach, in which he claimed Israel had conducted “massacres and state terrorism in Gaza”.

Following Mr Loach’s remarks, organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival rejected a £300 donation from the Israeli Embassy.

The money was to be used to fly Ms Shalom Ezer to Scotland for the screening of her debut film, Surrogate.

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Review: Night At The Museum 2

By Jonathan Foreman, May 21, 2009

As a film critic, you soon come to dread “family comedies”.

It is not just the lazy writing, the condescendingly over-the-top performances or the irritating Hollywood convention that fathers must be shown as needing enlightenment by precociously wise offspring. All too often, these days the compulsory slapstick crosses the border into outright sadism, like the hot-iron-on-face scene in Home Alone 2.

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Sir Jeremy blasts Edinburgh Film Festival for boycott ‘capitulation’

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2009

Anti-Israel campaigners have succeeded in forcing the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return funding from the Israeli Embassy.

Members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had threatened to picket the event in June unless £300, which was to be used to fly Israeli director Tali Shalom Ezer to Scotland, was rejected.

Festival organisers said the decision was not a result of those threats, but was instead based on comments made by film director Ken Loach, speaking on behalf of the SPSC.

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A Cannes red carpet for the JC (& Rachel)

By Keren David, May 21, 2009

Rachel weisz may be used to the glamour of Cannes — but it is a new experience for the Jewish Chronicle.

A paperboy’s weekly ordeal in carrying a heavy load of JCs is immortalised in a short film which gets its first showing at the film festival today.

Jewish Chronicle Day, made by Jan Lower of Elbow Productions and Dr James Ohene-Djan, a lecturer in computing at Goldsmiths College, is based on Dr Ohene-Djan’s experiences as a delivery boy in leafy, prosperous and, some might say, Jewish, Maida Vale.

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Shock at gay film shown to teenagers

By Marcus Dysch, May 14, 2009

A feature film about gay IDF soldiers has been screened to a group of teenagers preparing for a Liberal Judaism-organised tour of Israel.

Parents said the children were shocked when Yossi and Jagger, described as an “Israeli Brokeback Mountain”, was broadcast at a sleep-over event last week.

The youngsters had been meeting at the organisation’s headquarters in central London for the first time ahead of their LJY Netzer trip in July and August, for a pre-tour orientation session.

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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”.

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