Friday, April 27, 2012

Spotlight: In the Family director Patrick Wang

Right after the 1995 closing of The Houston Post, I sent what I thought were a lot of resumes out to other newspapers. But I have to admit: After talking with Patrick Wang, I feel like a slacker. The Houston-born filmmaker received nearly thirty rejections -- that's three-zero, thirty! -- from various film festivals while trying to find a showcase for his first indie feature, the critically acclaimed In the Family. You can read my CultureMap interview with this tenacious multihyphenate here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It was 17 years ago today...

It was 17 years ago today that The Houston Post -- where I had been gainfully and gratefully employed as film critic since 1982 -- shut down. Those were the days, my friend, I thought they'd never end. Lesson learned: The worst thing you can imagine happening always happens. You either get over it, or you don't.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

"Put Down the Duckie!"

Fortuitously found this on YouTube today. Hadn't seen it in years -- and, oddly enough, I remembered it mostly because of Jeremy Irons' delightful song-and-dance bit. But now I see that he wasn't the only star to shine here. Look close, and you'll also see Paul Simon, two cast members from the original Upstairs, Downstairs -- and the late, great John Candy.

Meet Edwin Boyd, he's the Citizen Gangster

When I reviewed Edwin Boyd for Variety last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, I wrote that this "generally low-key but sporadically exciting account of Canada's most notorious bank robber of the post-WWII era" likely would play well "in areas where the title character (played with just the right measure of self-dramatizing flair by Scott Speedman) continues to claim the iconic status of a homegrown Clyde Barrow." But in other markets -- like, say, the United States -- where Boyd is more or less an unknown quantity, the movie probably would be "sentenced to homevid and cable." Looks like I should have added: "Look for the fugitive to be traveling under an alias."

Monday, April 02, 2012

SXSW Review: Beware of Mr. Baker

When a documentary begins with its subject using his crutch to deliver a vicious blow to the director's nose, it's reasonably safe to expect less-than-smooth sailing ahead. And sure enough, the teasing possibility that other outbursts may disrupt the uneasy alliance between legendary drummer Ginger Baker and filmmaker Jay Bulger provides an underlying tension to the aptly titled Beware of Mr. Baker. You can read my complete review of this fascinating documentary here. And you can hear Ginger Baker and his Cream band mates here.

SXSW Review: Fat Kid Rules the World

My Variety review is here.