ARIZONA REPORTER



You are currently viewing the June 2011 Edition of Arizona Reporter
Take a packet of aspirin to the theater with you, along with a bottle of water if you don't want to dash out to the fountain, because the onset of a headache is inevitable.
Things are seldom what they seem. An eleven-year-old girl, one would figure, would be watching Disney cartoons, checking out her email on a BlackBerry, and giggling with friends over boys in her class. A janitor who mops the floors of a building but probably would not know how to fix a leaky sink would hardly be expected to curl up with Tolstoy. Yet both of these items are present in "The Hedgehog," the title being a metaphor as that animal is prickly on the outside but soft on the inside, though I'd prefer the term "Sabra" to describe the janitor who stands out in the movie.
"Bad Santa" was funny. "Bad Lieutenant" was fierce. But "Bad Teacher" is just offensive.
Got raw milk? If so, you've got troubles. You could get sick from those bad bacteria that remain alive and kicking while you're guzzling the stuff, but that's not what the talking heads of "Farmageddon" are worried about. The folks that speak about raw milk, beginning with the woman who insists that the liquid cured her son's asthma and a host of allergies believe that the government should allow consumer to buy and eat whatever foods they want. But in most states in the free USA, raw milk may not be produced or sold because Uncle Sam, under the aegis of the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, is adamant about seizing whatever gallons of raw milk are on your property and pouring the stuff out on the grass. What's more the US Government has taken healthy sheep and other animals, declared them to have mad cow disease-though there is some evidence that these were all healthy animals-and slaughtered whole lots, endangering farmers' businesses.
Some words are more taboo than the usual four-letter designations, particularly since the movies have made the latter commonplace. Think of these terms: death, died, cancer, AIDS. More often than not, a person has not died but "passed away" or "passed" or "is with Jesus" or "is an angel." Even worse, kids are sometimes told that their deceased father is "asleep." As for cancer, this term was verboten to a greater extent in the past than now. The term AIDS is not uttered in some afflicted households even today. Why? There is still the belief in the evil eye, even in developed countries like ours, that the mere mention of a term will conjure up Satan. Such is the case with Oliver Schmitz's film "Life, Above All," a generic title that would have improved had Allan Stratton's novel, "Chandra's Secrets," stuck in the cinematic version.

Susan Granger Reviews
REVIEW: CARS 2

Perhaps the "Cars" franchise is so inexorably tied to Paul Newman that it should have been part of Newman's Own. Newman's Doc Hudson was Owen Wilson's Lightning McQueen's mentor in Radiator Springs, and his passing has left a big emotional hole in Carburetor County that cannot be filled. Instead, there's lots of sound and fury, signifying very little.
Want a place to catch trout that is just loaded with recently stocked rainbows?

Then head for Show Low Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, and Scotts Reservoir in the Show Low area. Silver Creek (see photo) is also receiving lots of Apache trout. Go catch one of these golden native salmonids.
If you ride the New York subways you can't help noticing an ad on most trains for the services of a Dr. Zizmor, a dermatologist who appears to specialize in smoothing facial wrinkles with his special creams and skillful hands. So what's so bad about wrinkles? Wasn't the Shar Pei dog in style years back particularly because of its creases and crinkles? In any case Julie Delpy wants to let us know graphically that well before the Botox age, even beyond America's shores, beauty and youth have been inextricably linked. In "The Countess," about a courtship more complex and formal than that related in "Before Sunset," which Delpy co-wrote, the title character is a Hungarian noblewoman whose dates are 1560-1614. Presumably the broad information conveyed by the biopic is not simply a case of melodramatic writing but is true-to-life and does have the resonance of a vampire movie as well.
Tucson, Ariz. - The Tucson Film & Music Festival (TFMF) is proud to announce its official Call for Entries is now open for the 7th Annual festival to be held October 7-10, 2011 in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Film & Music Festival is a weekend-long event featuring live music and films, emphasizing films and filmmakers with a connection to Arizona or the Southwest. TFMF accepts documentaries, narrative features, shorts, and music videos.
When Sophie (Miranda July) runs into someone she knows who is pregnant, she asks the woman how she feels. "It's a drag," replies the woman, "but it's amazing." That bit of dialogue may or may not be the key to Miranda July's vision in her second film, one that might be pondered long after its conclusion to weigh a multiplicity of interpretations. "The Future" is likely to be the quirkiest movie this year, not unexpected since Ms. July's freshman entry, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" dealt with two characters who walk down the street. She suggests that the block they are walking down is their lives. When they are halfway down and halfway through their lives, they realize that before long they will be at the end. To say that "The Future" is like no other film, then, is not correct as it bears similarity to July's first film.
S.O.L. is a twisted, funny short film directed by Yuri Machado that began principal photography in February 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. Yuri Machado is a graduate from Pima Community College with a major in Media Arts and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the University Of Arizona and will be graduating in May of 2011. He's been involved in several student projects at both Pima and the U of A. A major project he was involved in at Pima was entitled, "Payback Time." While producing and filming "Payback Time," Yuri learned how to work with local actors and got a feel for what it would be like being a director. Thanks to his hard work and effort Yuri decided that it was time to film a short that will soon be touring the film festival circuit. S.O.L. will be premiering at "The Screening Room" at 127 E.Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701, at 8pm on July 8th, 2011. Tickets are priced at 5 dollars in advanced and 10 at the door.
I can see it now. On page 3 of the Washington Post, a headline: "Nuclear weapon detonated over D.C. Five square miles wiped out." Then on the front page: "New York Times' final issue hits the streets." Both potential news items are devastating, and one hopes that neither will ever take place. Yet, in 2009 and in 2010 the prospect of The Gray Lady's folding or at least going into Chapter 11 was one of the most discussed items among media bloggers. The Times Company, founded by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones in New York City, issued its first edition September 18, 1851, with the statement: "We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come." Perhaps not even Raymond and Jones could have projected that their paper would survive its own century, but the paper of record-as it's called since it's available on microfilm and on NexisLexis where you can read all about the daily doings of the Civil War-may no longer be sold for two cents an issue but you can count on seeing it on the New York newsstands or right at your front door 365 days a year.

Harvey Critic
A LITTLE HELP, Grade: B+

I'm sure that the entire population of Bangladesh would like to live in an American suburb, but there's much about suburbia that can be criticized by people from our own country, particularly since middle-class Americans do have choices. In return for giving up a refrigerator the size of some Manhattan living rooms like the family on exhibit in Michael J. Weithorn's new movie, we apartment dwellers don't have to drive our kids to hockey games like Sarah Palin or to birthday parties in remote areas. There's also less chance that we city slickers have to put up with the domineering women on exhibit here, women whose bitchiness is played up for both dramatic and comic effect.
From what a member of the audience said, the Mayor's Department of Tourism indicates that most domestic visitors to New York come from areas like Ohio, Connecticut, Wisconsin, California and a few other states, while Europeans who visit the Big Apple are generally from the larger cities on the Continent. This means that in areas of The Big Sky like Wyoming and Montana, residents would have little interest in Broadway and the Empire State Building and Macy's. By the same turn, it's likely that most big city people would have little interest in rodeos and virtually none in clinics in which people and horses get trained. If this is true, documentaries like Cindy Meehl's "Buck" would be sought out more by people in cowboy land, even though the residents would already know about the subject matter, than by New Yorkers, who, you'd think, might really be curious about life on a different planet.

Susan Granger Reviews
REVIEW: One Lucky Elephant

Ten years in the making, Lisa Leeman's documentary tells the story of Flora the Circus Elephant. Born in Africa, she was orphaned after poachers killed her mother. Adopted by circus producer David Balding, she became a beloved member of his family, eagerly learning tricks and entertaining children for many years at St. Louis's Circus Flora, named in her honor.
Talk about niche marketing! Like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' "Kit Kittredge" and "Ramona and Beezus," this frantic comedy is specifically aimed at pre-adolescent girls who have outgrown Disney but are too young for "Twilight"-mania.
It's every law-abiding, criminal-hating American's fantasy, isn't it? Guy comes to burgle your house, overcomes you, threatens to kill you, puts serious crimps in your dignity. In a weak moment, the intruder is overcome by the owner of the residence, is tied up, and is made sport of. An eye for an eye. We saw this theme in action in David Slade's movie "Hard Candy," wherein Hayley Stark, played by Ellen Page, is a fourteen-year-old girl who meets a charming thirty-two year old photographer on the ‘net. She suspects that he's a pedophile, goes to his house, slips him a vodka-and-orange drink, ties him up, and tortures him. In a case that resembles this revenge scenario, Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) opens the door to John Taylor (Clayne Crawford), a bank robber who seeks to treat his bleeding foot. His life threatened, Warwick charms the fellow into accepting a glass of red wine which is drugged. Robber passes out, gets tied up, and the obligatory game of cat-and-mouse begins.

Harvey Critic
X-Men: First Class

Terrence Malick wowed the audience at Cannes (well, half of them) with "The Tree of Life," with its astonishing visuals and its treatment of the creation of the universe, the Earth with the funny dinosaurs, and with Brad Pitt. But forget about how the universe and people were created. The more important story is the evolution of mutants, human beings who were born with weird alterations in their genes to form a new subset of people with magical powers. So step aside, Mr. Malick, and make way for X-Men. In this first-class production, full of stunning visual effects and, surprisingly enough with some stellar performances especially by Michael Fassbender, Matthew Vaughn ("Kick Ass") directs this prequel to take us back to the beginnings. In other words to appreciate this, you need not have seen the versions in 2000, 2006 and the 2009 movie that starred Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Consider this the best of the series, a revival that some have already compared to the way "Casino Royale" revived the flagging 007 series. In fact, the word is that "X-Men First Class" can be compared generally to early Bond, the Sean Connery renderings, particularly "From Russian with Love," and anything that mimics a Bond picture is worth seeing in my book.
My inspiration for writing articles often comes from the most unlikely of places.

Last week I trekked into New York City to meet a colleague of mine. I mean, literally, to "meet" him. Two years ago, Gary Bradt and I were engaged by best-selling author Spencer Johnson to create a speaking program based on his newest 100-page parable "Peaks and Valleys." In addition, we were asked to do dozens of nationwide interviews promoting the project.
A legendary producer on the New England straw hat circuit, most notably for over two decades at Rhode Island's historic Theatre-by-the-Sea theatre, Tommy Brent, the man who single-handedly saved one of the nation's iconic summer stock theater twice -passed away on June 4th, 2011, Even at 88 years old, Brent a non-stop ambassador of theatre was expected to join the theater's opening-night party at the theater Friday (6/3), but did not attend. On Saturday, June 4, Tommy Brent passed away peacefully at his home in Matunuck, Rhode Island.

Harvey Critic
JIG (2011), Grade: B

Step aside Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. A bunch of kids are dancing up a storm and by the time they're your age, they might jump the high standards that you've set in terpsichorean splendor. In the spirit of contests that consider you an old man or woman by the time you're fifteen or twenty (think of "Spellbound," in which ability to spell gains awards only if you're under the age of fifteen), Sue Bourne presents "Jig," about contest perhaps unknown almost anywhere in the U.S. but one considered virtually a life-and-death struggle if you're into Irish dance.
In this fanciful fable, writer/director Woody Allen ruminates on nostalgia: a bittersweet longing for idealized things, persons or situations of the past.
"The Godfather," "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "Batman" did it. Now it's time for the "X-Men" origin story, a prequel that takes the superhero outsiders back to their roots.
Here's a change as of Thursday, both Big Lake and Crescent Lake have now been closed due to the Wallow Fire. Also, the Mt. Baldy Wilderness is closed, along with the Gabaldon Campground. Plus Highway 261 is closed at the scenic overlook (just below Mexican Hay Lake).
Hey Mayor Bloomberg! Governor Cuomo! Get your minds off the budget for a couple of days and consider this. Homeowners and residents in New York need guns, just like in Texas. Yeah, the big argument against abolishing gun laws is that honest citizens may not know how to use the equipment and will only get shot by the bad guys who do, but the way around this is to require 20 hours or so of training at licensed targets. But don't take my word for it. Check out Miguel angel Vivas's thriller "Kidnapped'" when it opens here in New York on June 17th. There's nothing in the picture that could not happen in real life, and in fact has happened-the most terrifying case in recent memory involving the Petit family in Cheshire, Connecticut, where two girls were doused with flammable liquid and died with their mother. Could something have been done to prevent this? Sure. If Dr. Petit and his wife had access to guns and knew how to use them, there's every possibility that the crime could have been stopped in its tracks.

Harvey Critic
VIVA RIVA, Grade: B

Take away all white people in Kinshasa, the capital of the (so-called) Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the title of this movie could well have been "Shaft" or "I'm gonna git you, sucka." "Viva Riva" is at heart a blaxploitation movie, sending up whores and gangsters in the most stereotypical way, the difference between this film and American movies of the genre being that this deals purely with black-on-black crime. The title character can be compared with Gordon Parks's John Shaft, the ultimate in suave black detectives, who finds himself up against the leader of the Black crime mob, then against Black nationals, and finally working with both against the White Mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy, a criminal, by kidnapping his daughter. Riva is not a detective but rather a fellow who has been abroad in Angola, away from his Congo homeland for a decade, then returns to Kinshasa with a stash of hundred-dollar bills and a truckload of fuel that he stole from Angola gangsters.

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In Our Last Issue

  • REVIEW, ROB THE MOB

    "Rob the Mob," which is based on an actual adventure by two naive lovers who raided and ripped off money and jewelry from mafia "social clubs," is all the more amazing for being true. In the hands of director Raymond De Felitta, whose "City Island" is a delightfully funny tale of a dad whose poker nights are really spent going to an acting class, the tale reaches proportions that can be compared to the classic film "Bonnie and Clyde" with some aspects that could remind some of "American Hustle." The film includes a passionate romance of a couple that can make you believe the scene involving sex in a tiny phone booth, a rehash of the 1991 arrest of mafia chieftain John Gotti, and a family drama about a young man who makes too few visits to his mother and kid brother to impress them even though he offers them an envelope filled with more cash than they could make in five years. The story is filled with some fine actors, especially Michael Pitt, who starred in the extraordinary crime story "Funny Games," and Andy Garcia, who can make you believe that his character really is "Big Al," a mafia boss who rose from selling Italian rice balls on a cart to opening a popular Italian restaurant in New York.
  • NON-STOP - Grade: A-

    The year is young but already two movies will not likely increase its financial health by screenings on in-flight entertainment. The first, "The Wind Rises," a fictionalized biography of the man who developed the Zero planes used in the Pearl Harbor attack, is a Japanese animated feature. Planes crash before the engineer comes to the rescue. "Non-Stop" is animated in another way, a live-action thriller about an airline hijacker who demands $150 million or "one passenger will die every twenty minutes." Given that the villain, identity revealed near the conclusion, is aware that an armed air marshal is on board, one wonders how he thinks he would get away with killing more than one person before he is felled. But that's just one of the holes.
  • REVIEW - ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

    In Jeff Buckley's song "Hymne a l'amour," a man sings to his partner, "When at last our life on earth is through/I will share eternity with you." That sounds like something a guy would say in the heat of passion when he's about twenty-five years old. To spend eternity with anyone, even your beloved pet terrier, is unlikely, but thanks to Jim Jarmusch, we know that love can last if not for eternity, then for about a thousand years and still counting.
  • 3 Days To Kill - A Two Hour Diversion

    Filmmaker Luc Besson ("The Professional," "The Transporter") is obviously obsessed with various permutations of the father-daughter relationship. So it's not surprising that Besson co-scripted this action thriller with Adi Hasak, leaving the direction to McG ("Charlie's Angels," "Terminator Salvation"). Problem is: they obviously couldn't decide whether this is an explosive espionage saga or madcap parental mayhem, revolving around balancing work and family. So they commit to neither.
  • Winter's Tale - A Stardust-Sprinkled Journey

    Back in 1980, my brother (Stephen Simon) made "Somewhere in Time," a supernatural fantasy starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. It was crucified by critics and didn't gain popularity until it was released on DVD, where it's stayed one of the most popular cinematic romances of the twentieth century. I suspect "Winter's Tale" will suffer a similar fate. In our cynical culture, it's difficult to suspend disbelief and gain box-office traction for a wondrous, logic-defying love story that transcends time and space.
  • The Psychology of Fun

    What does play mean? It might be a sport or a game of charades or playing a musical instrument. It can be gaming or going to an amusement park. There are no limitations. When I was a child, our family played board games and card games, along with physical games, like baseball, horseshoes, Ping-Pong and badminton. We flew kites (still do), camped out (still do), built model airplanes and acted out our fantasies pretending to be knights and soldiers. We improvised and invented, often packing knapsacks with snacks to go hiking and exploring in the woods.
  • REVIEW, LONE SURVIVOR

    When Touchstone Pictures released 'Pearl Harbor' in 2001, the studio was apparently so afraid of the impact on Americans of the Japanese victory over our naval shipyard that director Michael Bay tacked on a feel-good ending. Specifically, by adding the Doolittle Raid, a big American success on April 18, 1942 on Tokyo and Honshu Island, we showed 'em that their territory was vulnerable to a U.S. military action. No such saccharine finale from Peter Berg, who directs and wrote the script for "Lone Survivor." The title serves as a spoiler, if you will, telling us in the audience that only one U.S. combatant survived a brutal battle between the elite SEALs and the Taliban in an Afghan village.
  • BIG BAD WOLVES (Mi mefahed mezeev hara)

    Anyone who thinks that Israelis cannot mount an exciting thriller has not seen the American copy of "Hostages," which ended its run in January. The Americans who picked up the program may have invented their own version, but it's pretty close to the one shown in Israel starring Ayelet Zurir and picked up whole by the BBC. Then again, who better than Israel to put on something like this when America's only reliable ally in the Middle East suffered the kidnapping of Corporal Shalit and who many years back, justifiably kidnapped Adolph Eichmann in Argentina effectively scoring at least a modicum of revenge on one of the world's most evil men?
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