Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exciting news on the local film front:

The Vermont International Film Festival has just announced the line-up for this year's fest - the 25th anniversary celebration! Starting next Friday and running through the end of the month, this year offers a wide selection of intriguing films and enticing events, including seminars, panels, and special appearances.

Mark your calendars now!

In the news this week:

As a collective sigh of relief is shared for the rescued Chilean miners, we thought it might be an interesting time to turn our attention towards some of the films that have focused on the life and plights of miners over time:

Ace in the Hole
Billy Wilder's acerbic tale of an over-eager journalist who lands the "story of a lifetime" when he covers the predicament of a trapped miner. Ethics don't make much of a stand against the promise of a Pulitzer.

John Sayles dramatization of a mining community organizing against the brutality of an oppressive company features an excellent ensemble of actors.

North Country
Charlize Theron anchors this tale of the first successful sexual harassment lawsuit. (Richard Jenkins gives a typically solid supporting performance as her father.)

The Devil's Miner
Award-winning documentary following a 14 year old who works in a Bolivian silver mine.

Salt of the Earth

Based on a strike against a zinc mine in New Mexico, this political film was blacklisted shortly after its release. (The only film to ever receive such a dubious distinction.)

Harlan County, U.S.A.

Barbara Kopple's fearless documentary about a violent miners' strike in Kentucky. Made into a feature film, Harlan County War, starring Holly Hunter in 2000.

How Green Was My Valley
The Best Picture winner of 1941 offers a rather sanitized view of pre-union mining lives at the turn of the century.

It's also been an interesting week regarding the U.S. military's notorious policy towards gay service members. (This New York Times article explains some of the unexpected turns the most recent suit against the policy have taken.) We offer some suggestions for films addressing the subject:

Serving in Silence

Coming Out Under Fire

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Dog Tags

Gay Republicans

(One of the most unexpected aspects of this week's story was that the lawsuit in question was originally filed by the so-called Log Cabin Republicans - the openly gay chapter of the GOP.)

And speaking of civil rights issues, we also have a movie recommendation for New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino: he might find Kirby Dick's most recent documentary Outrage enlightening.

New to our shelves this week:

I Am Love
Tilda Swinton is fantastic in this incredibly sensuous Italian drama. Also features gorgeous cinematography by Yorick Le Saux and an amazing score by John Adams.

Leaves of Grass
Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed this high times comedy starring Edward Norton and Edward Norton.

Mid-August Lunch
The popular Italian foodie comedy makes its DVD debut.

Part genetic horror tale, part dysfunctional family story.

Jonah Hex


The Lost Boys: The Thirst

Manson: My Name Is Evil

Arn: The Knight Templar

Dumping Lisa
Shot in Burlington, VT!

Oliver Twist (2007)
We now have eight different adaptations of Dickens' classic! (Plus at least three movies inspired by the tale.) Perfect for brushing up on the story before Vermont Stage Company's upcoming production.

White On Rice

I Am Comic


The Age of Stupid

Baseball: The Tenth Inning
Ken Burns' two-part follow-up to his Emmy Award-winning series.

The Tudors - 4th Season

Dollhouse - 2nd Season

The League - 1st Season

Being Human - 2nd Season

Wives & Daughters (1999)

The Magician (1958)
Criterion continues to do right by Ingmar Bergman.

Murder in Mississippi

The Vikings

Coming out on Friday:

How to Train Your Dragon

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