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Shot All Over

Shot All Over

Reverse Shot’s not just a place for film writing, it’s a state of mind. Reverse Shot’s not just a state of mind, it’s a community. And as a reminder, It’s time for our periodic round-up of a selection of articles to show what our prolific staff writers are up to elsewhere:

“Despite the nobility of his intentions, the turn toward the political marks a regression for the filmmaker. Forget the consensus: The Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure (which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival) are Morris’s two worst movies. Ponderous where they should be penetrating, ambiguous where they should be clear, Morris’s Iraq-era docs highlight the weaknesses of his aesthetic and give us the worst of two worlds: pretentious cinema and bad journalism.”
Elbert Ventura on Standard Operating Procedure in the New Republic

“Little known fact: Martin Scorsese likes the Rolling Stones. He’s even used their songs in a few of his films. And when he lazily slapped “Gimme Shelter” yet again on top of a montage sequence in The Departed, he all but officially certified them co-authors of his trademarked brand of rock-scored violence. But directing a concert movie of Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie in sexagenarian action? The marriage might sound perfect on paper, but, lest we forget, both Scorsese and the Stones are well past their respective primes, and any such collaboration, no matter how thrilling at the level of inevitable consummation, should be warily and skeptically received.” Michael Joshua Rowin on Shine a Light for Stop Smiling

“Pity the poor, unknown (and thus utterly pliable) young actors asked to put their mouths around George A. Romero’s impassioned but dead-obvious thematics. “In addition to telling the truth, I am trying to scare you,” intones Debra (Michelle Morgan), pulling double duty as the Final Girl and after-the-fact narrator. Hang on to your hats, kids, here comes some edu-tainment!” Adam Nayman on Diary of the Dead in Cinemascope (and in print, check out Andrew Tracy’s feature on John Ford)

“…the sharper lines can perk up scenes, especially when they flirt with absurdity. In one recurring gag, Angie is baffled by the automatic locks on Kate’s car and, generally, both comics show strong timing with their occasional sarcastic zingers. After all, Ms. Fey and Ms. Poehler (who is also a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe) honed their chops at ImprovOlympic in Chicago in the ’90s. On e gets the sense they could generate endlessly delightful tomfoolery, such as a sketch-like courtroom scene (don’t ask) in which Angie addresses the judge with ‘Aye, aye, Captain.'”Nicolas Rapold on Baby Mama in the New York Sun

“Director Shane Meadows is of a rare breed, touching headline issues in his films without ever putting human interplay at the service of some message. His Somers Town details an inter-dialect friendship between an adolescent Midlands runaway (wizened Thomas Turgoose, who also starred in Meadows’s This Is England) and a young Polish immigrant (Piotr Jagiello), a big, uneasy kid with an incongruously piping voice and photography hobby that makes him stand out amid the jostling biceps of his father’s construction-worker buddies . . . Cinematographer Natasha Braier’s ringing silver-and-black London is enough to refute the tenacious idea that visual articulacy somehow contradicts honesty.” Nick Pinkerton on his picks from the Tribeca Film Festival (Baghead, Night Tide, and Somers Town) in the Village Voice … Not to mention, Pinkerton’s “turkeys” as well: (Seven Days Sunday and SqueezeBox)

“For the professionally outraged, a Too Soon! double feature this weekend poses a tough choice for fulminatin’: Errol Morris’s eerily beautiful reenactments of Abu Ghraib incidents vs. Harold and Kumar’s (five-minute) stay in “Guantanamo Bay” for a big-bubba prison-rape joke. In either case, you kind of know what you’re getting into. Morris’s customary interests in odd-hunting, unknowability and denial prove apropos yet frustrating when applied to the facts of Abu Ghraib, while Harold and Kumar’s second trip yields a bewildering mix of bathroom humor, supersized stereotypes and flashes of sharp satire.” Nicolas Rapold on Standard Operating Procedure and Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in L

“It’s a pleasure to appreciate the efforts of re-creation undertaken here, and easy to assume that the overt shortcomings in comedy and characterization are the result of an inevitable deficit of TLC. But those elements — Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly’s Clooney-polished screenplay, Renee Zellweger’s pursed-lip spitfire reporter — have also been sweat out, and humor, unlike decorative detail, loses charm when it oversells.” Justin Stewart on Leatherheads for Stop Smiling

“In Swaziland, one of Africa’s smallest countries and its sole remaining absolute monarchy, the prevalence of AIDS and starvation ensures an average life expectancy of 31 years. But Without the King, Michael Skolnik’s subtly perceptive documentary, avoids a tone of first-world outrage; leaning more toward understanding than blame, the film examines a country forced to choose between tradition and survival.” Jeannette Catsoulis on Without the King for the New York Times

“In the context of David Mamet’s directorial career, Redbelt breaks no ground, signals no new direction, adds nothing to what he’s done at the typewriter and behind the camera thus far. In taking up where 2004’s largely ignored Spartan left off, Redbelt instead merely reconfirms the pros and cons of Mamet’s unique brand of tough-guy dramatics. ” Michael Joshua Rowin on Redbelt in L

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