Most Americans couldn’t find Micronesia on a map. And yet young men from the island nation (located 2,000 miles west of Hawaii) serve and die in the U.S. military.
That unusual relationship is explored in “Island Soldier,” a new documentary by Nathan Fitch that plays at DOC NYC this year and is touring other film festivals in 2017.
If nothing else, “Maurice” has the British’s gift for not talking about what they’re talking about on full display. Being gay is referred to, famously, as “the unspeakable vice of the Greeks” by one character, and in other instances we hear a gay love affair referred to as a “muddle” or “messiness.” As Ben Kingsley, playing an American hypnotist, says in what may be E.M. Forster’s novel’s most quotable line, “England has always been discinclined to accept human nature.”
Sure, it would have been nice to have a lavish Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of Kelly Reichardt’s “Certain Women.” Multiple commentary tracks, behind the scenes footage, maybe even some animated storyboards for the sequence when the Rancher (Lily Gladstone) cleans out the barn.
But that’s not really the way Reichardt, who makes crisp, economical and devastating indie drams like “Wendy & Lucy” and “Old Joy,” rolls. No shot, no line of dialogue exists in her films without a purpose. So, it’s perhaps fitting that for “Certain Women,” which adapts three short stories by author Maile Meloy, the Criterion disc only has a triptych of short interviews with Reichardt, Meloy and producer Todd Haynes.
How do you make a movie about a heart transplant and not make it a medical drama?
Katell Quillevere’s “Heal the Living,” out on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, achieves this by giving equal weight to the donor and to the recipient as well as the doctors. The result is a humane triptych of a film which, although it lacks real suspense or drama, contains moments of stunning beauty and enveloping empathy.
Those of us on social media know the feeling; that sense of dread when everybody in your feed is suddenly talking about a famous person you hadn’t thought of in a while. Go back far enough in your timeline and you see why.
A lot of us are amateur obituarists now, posting our remembrances and recollections in 140-character bites on Twitter or a little more on Facebook. That collective outpouring can be a fine and even necessary way to mourn – at least until the point when people in your feed start making inappropriate jokes. But the documentary “Obit,” now out on DVD from Kino Lorber, makes the case for leaving it to the pros.
If Jim Broadbent had been hired to play the next James Bond (and that idea sounds better and better with every word I write), the result might be something like Walter Matthau in “Hopscotch.”
He’s an international secret agent who jets from Germany to Bermuda to London, a master of secret identities who catches the bad guys and stays one step ahead of his pursuers. All while wearing grandpa sweaters and reading glasses.