Hollywood blockbusters aren’t the only reason the whole world watches American movies. Declaring independence from major studios, some of the most creative filmmakers bring their visions to life in the land of the free. Get patriotic with these ten stateside classics, all airing in July on SundanceTV.
The Hurt Locker
Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale half-naked in a swimming pool. Need we say more to entice you to watch our featured films this week? Well, for those who do remain unswayed, we’ve also got a Meg Ryan/Mark Ruffalo thriller, a realistic war drama from Kathryn Bigelow, and a Kevin Bacon classic.
Read on for more!
This week, Kathryn Bigelow takes us deep inside the Iraq War in THE HURT LOCKER, her tense Oscar-winning thriller that shows the chaos of that conflict. But don’t worry – if watching army grunts doing their army stuff isn’t your thing, we’ve also got Christian Bale’s major debut, Jake Gyllenhaal trying to catch an infamous criminal, and more!
1) Starting the show with the 10 lead acting nominees having to take the stage and smile for the cameras. Doesn’t the rest of the evening torture them enough?
2) The clips for the 10, count ‘em 10, Best Picture nominees. Add them up and they were longer than some of the films themselves! Besides, way back in 1939, the 10 nominees were instant classics like Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, and The Wizard of Oz. But this year? The Blind Side and District 9! Let’s go back to just five. No, make it three!
3) The way the cameras kept zooming in on the front runners right after they lost. When THE HURT LOCKER won Best Original Screenplay, they closed in on a shaken Quentin Tarantino. After PRECIOUS bagged Best Adapted Screenplay, they cut to a sweaty Jason Reitman. Even when AVATAR lost some sound award, they cut to Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington. This practice totally appealed to the sadist in me, but for the sake of others with some heart, let’s only watch people squirm before they lose from now on.
Two recent articles in the New York Times caught my eye. Michelle Orange’s piece about Lynn Shelton’s film HUMPDAY, “She’s a Director Who’s Just another Dude” and “Action!” Manohla Dargis’s profile of Kathryn Bigelow and her film THE HURT LOCKER. Both articles made much of the fact that these female directors are working with male stories and male actors. Dargis describes how Bigelow “steered clear of the industry ghetto to which female directors are usually consigned, bypassing the dreaded chick flick for stories and archetypes traditionally if reductively seen as the province of men.” Orange quoted one of HUMPDAY’s actors Mark Duplass who described “…her greater affinity for men”: “You know those girls who are closer with dudes, in general? She’s got a little bit of that going on, so that obviously plays into it.”
Is it just me… or does this is all feel a bit grating that at this point in time when a female filmmaker makes a good film, the angle of the story still ends up being about how she’s not a guy?