On this episode of the podcast, we're talking about three movies that are currently playing in theaters around the country: The Visitor, Stop-Loss, and Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure, and we'll also hear a brief interview with the writer and director of The Visitor, Thomas McCarthy.
2:12 The Visitor (McCarthy)
9:31 Film Critic as Consumer Guide
12:37 Interview: Thomas McCarthy
20:59 Stop-Loss (Peirce)
27:32 Standard Operating Procedure (Morris)
45:40 Outro and Photo Caption Contest Winners
As usual, our takes on these movies should be considered definitive and absolute. Except, well, next time, we'll see if more recent events — J. Robert's interview with Morris in Chicago, Rob's re-viewing of the film in San Francisco, and Morris's essays and comments on the film — have changed our view of Standard Operating Procedure.
UPDATE (1 June 2008): Episode 17 features a followup discussion of Standard Operating Procedure, including an interview with the director.
I skipped last week's "Now Showing" because of the San Francisco International Film Festival, although I filed reviews of David Mamet's jiu-jitsu movie, Redbelt, and the British comedy Son of Rambow over at Paste. Opening in theaters this week is the garish, retro, futuristic, earnest, campy, swift, turgid, and exceedingly contradictory Speed Racer. I'm delighted that Paste no longer requires reviewers to assign a star rating to a movie or album; this one might have been tricky.
By delivering important information in aggressively brief bursts, Speed Racer seems to test the limits of human perception, and it's doing this to tell a dumb, insincere story and tickle the neurons of 8-year-olds. How best to boil that disjunction into a number? Don't know, not my problem. The negative reviews are the most fun to read (Hoberman, Edelstein, Lane), but Scott Tobias's torn reaction is closer to my own feeling. He gives Speed Racer a C.
My own review is one of four or five that could have been whittled from my post-screening notes. Here's an also-ran: I happened to see the film within a couple of days of watching Béla Tarr's The Man from London at the SFIFF.