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Archive for August 2nd, 2010


Review: THX 1138: The George Lucas Director’s Cut

Directed by George Lucas.
Starring Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasance, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie and Ian Wolfe.

Here are just a few of the innumerable instances that have slyly referred to this film: “THX 138” was the license plate of Harrison Ford’s car in American Graffiti, Han bluffs that Chewbacca is being transferred from cell block 1138 in Star Wars, “THX = 1138” was the answer to the equation Brain was writing on the chalkboard in the opening for Lucas’ pal Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs cartoon series, and Dr. Jennings’ office was number 1138 in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. When I first saw THX 1138 on video several years ago, I didn’t particularly care for it, but I felt that I at least got the joke, and that was worth something — sort of like when I sat through Midnight Cowboy, with the sole reward of getting the joke behind Rizzo the Rat from the Muppets TV shows and films. But when I recently sat down to watch THX 1138: The George Lucas Director’s Cut, which was released earlier this month on DVD (coinciding with a brief theatrical run), I absolutely loved it and now regret having missed seeing it on the big screen.

What changed between then and now…?

Review: City of God

Directed by Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles.
Starring Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Phellipe Haagensen, and Douglas Silva.

Films like City of God are hard to recommend. In its company, I would include Amor es Perros and Requiem for a Dream: they are brutal, heart-wrenching movies to watch, let alone enjoy, though undeniably well-written, well-acted, and well-filmed.

City of God, a 2004 Academy Award nominee for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Cinematography, is the “based on a true story” tale of an aspiring photographer, Buscapé (Alexandre Rodrigues), centering largely on his relationship with Little Zé (the riveting Leandro Firmino da Hora), a demented childhood acquaintance who becomes a psychopathic crime lord of a slum outside of Rio de Janeiro.