The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.
If you do the math, the number of true psychopaths in Seven Psychopaths may not quite add up. Perhaps writer-director Martin McDonagh didn't want to go overboard with the murderous crazies. As it is, he's peopled his whimsically brutal comic thriller with — to name just three — an Amish throat-slasher, a dynamite-packing Buddhist and a serial killer who's fond of white bunny rabbits. That's probably enough.
Simon and the Oaks, a handsomely upholstered Swedish drama about two troubled families trying to survive World War II, is based on a runaway best-selling novel by Marianne Fredriksson. The film was made with money from several Scandinavian countries once occupied by the Nazis, as well as from Germany itself. It won a truckload of Swedish Oscars, and in the accolades heaped upon the movie, the word "epic" is thrown around with abandon.
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:52 am
Credit St. Quay Films
Some might characterize what filmmaker Ross McElwee does as navel-gazing. But in the hands of this veteran documentarian, that which might be self-indulgent egomania from a lesser artist is often the stuff of quiet revelation.
Beneath a bright blue, near-cloudless sky, a lone aluminum trailer sits amid the sagebrush, the flat amber earth and the forbidding heat of Death Valley. Oddly enough, the trailer's single inhabitant doesn't seem the hermit type: Frank (Charlie Hunnam) is young, well-dressed and extremely handsome, the kind of blond-haired and blue-eyed good-looking that usually comes with easy confidence and a modeling contract.
Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection, an anthology of the 1962 trading card series from the Topps Company and Abrams Comic Arts, comes packaged in a jacket made from the same wax paper as '60s bubble gum wrap. The packaging establishes an air of honeyed nostalgia that the cards themselves are mercifully quick to demolish. The 55 violent images of interplanetary slaughter in the "Mars Attacks" series were controversial in their day, but have atrophied in the popular consciousness as kitsch relics of the Kennedy era.
A.M. Homes is a writer I'll pretty much follow anywhere because she's indeed so smart, it's scary; yet she's not without heart. It's been a while since her last book, the 2007 memoir The Mistress's Daughter, which is certainly the sharpest and most emotionally complex account of growing up adopted that I've ever read.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:25 pm
Dr. Victoria Sweet began working at an almshouse more than 20 years ago. She found that the missing component of today's health care system is time — for doctors to care for patients, and for patients to heal. Host Michel Martin speaks with the doctor about her memoir, God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, And A Pilgrimage To The Heart Of Medicine.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear from a doctor who's worked with the poorest of the poor in San Francisco, opened up insights into health care for everybody. We'll hear from the author of "God's Hotel" in a few minutes.