With the tone and care of the genuinely righteous, his voice was that of a herald, with writing that sliced through hypocrisy and the specific, tragic banality of American life with a swift condemnation that managed to touch the sublime.
There are pretty pictures, some interesting in broad-stroke conception, that are nonetheless leeched of those intangible qualities that would lend them genuine grandeur and thematic heft. As a result, they just sit there, heavy on the eyes, light on the heart and mind.
There is high public interest in stand-up comedy, evidenced by the popularity of Louie, The Aristocrats . . . the ability of comics like Hannibal Buress and Amy Schumer to make headlines and the preponderance of specials on streaming services like Netflix. But the subject has been a hard nut for narrative features to crack.
Years in Review
Best ESPN Miniseries, Best Ending, Best Hitchcockian Cameo, Foulest Trailer, Biggest Missed Opportunity, We Don’t Need Another Superhero, Best Musical, Most Underrated Overrated Double Oscar Winner, Scariest Movie, Worst Film Criticism, and more
Three documentary shorts in First Look 2017’s Strange but True: Shorts Program II work in tandem to paint a portrait of a particularly American brand of hope; it is tender, a little tragic, and it does not come in HD.
“The words written in the script are really just for my reference. I never show the actors the screenplay. I find I always get better results with the dialogue if we do some improvisation and run through the scene a few times.”
The unusual, unsparing, and sometimes leering candor of Helmut Berger, Actor is made possible by the fact that the film’s subject seems to be totally absent any self-censoring mechanism. His substance intake may have some part in this.
The deft deployment of overt symbolism, coupled with an empathetic attention to the emotional travails of the characters, allows the film to operate equally well as a theologic parable, an existential comedy, and an anachronistic family drama.
The most intriguing draw is a 38-minute Eternalist collage of footage taken by New Yorkers on the day of the World Trade Center attack.