Quantcast
Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 13:47 EDT

Latest John Beifuss Stories

2008-10-10 18:00:22

By John Beifuss Walden Media continues its string of quality adaptations of books for children and young adults with "City of Ember," an adventure film-with-ideas about a pair of brave teenagers struggling to solve the mystery of their crumbling futuristic underground city. Walden is probably best known for its C.S. Lewis adaptations, but "City of Ember" has less in common with "The Chronicles of Narnia" than with "Z.P.G." and "THX-1138" and other environmentally conscious science-fiction...

2008-10-10 18:00:22

By John Beifuss John Chambers was awarded a special Oscar for transforming Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall into fuzzy-muzzled simians in "Planet of the Apes." Maybe Daniel Phillips deserves similar Academy recognition for his credited "Hair Design" in "The Duchess," a tale of Whigs and especially wigs in 18th-century England, where the escarpments of pigmented protein rival the local castles and manors for architectural resplendence. The most stylish of the film's epic-hairdos-with-...

2008-10-10 18:00:22

By John Beifuss "Body of Lies" opens with an epigraph from a poem by W.H. Auden: "Those to whom evil is done/ Do evil in return." This is what the English-language abusers of today might call an "impactful" quote, but it has two unfortunate effects. The first is that compared to Auden's poem, "September 1 1939," written after Hitler invaded Poland, "Body of Lies" is - inevitably - a noisy, bloated, clumsy thing, even if it is more artful than most current major studio movies. The second...

2008-10-10 18:00:22

By John Beifuss Johnny Cash sings "What Is Truth?" in the documentary "Johnny Cash's America," and that question could be the theme for this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival, which runs today through Thursday at Malco's Studio on the Square. Many of the 130-plus movies that will screen during the festival deal with mysteries, disputed testimonies, personal re-inventions and questions that audiences will have to answer for themselves. The questions range from the profound to the comic....

2008-10-10 18:00:22

By John Beifuss This week's Indie Memphis Film Festival marks the third stop for actor-turned-director Giancarlo Esposito and his new movie, "Gospel Hill." But Esposito isn't following a strictly traditional film- festival path with his civil rights-themed directorial debut. True, the movie had its "official" world premiere Oct. 3 at the Woodstock Film Festival in upstate New York; but six weeks earlier, Esposito screened it at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. "It's a very...

2008-10-03 18:00:20

By John Beifuss It sounds weird to say so, but I have what might be called an affection for movies about natural disasters, the collapse of civilization and the end of the world as we know it. There's something perversely thrilling about these ritualistic rehearsals of doom and their embrace of annihilation as entertainment. The latest of these, "Blindness," has earned mostly negative notices since its debut in May at the Cannes Film Festival. Many reviewers have objected to the movie's...

2008-10-03 18:00:20

By John Beifuss If celebrity purebred Tinkerbell sees "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," there could be a putsch in Paris Hilton's purse. This live-action Disney release isn't the heel-biting reboot of "Clueless" I'd expected; instead, it's an almost epic canine consciousness-raising comedy-adventure in which a pampered pooch sheds her designer doggiewear and recovers her ethnic identity - and her ancient bark - after a dognapping plot leaves her stranded in Mexico. "We chihuahuas are not toys or...

2008-10-03 18:00:20

By John Beifuss "Appaloosa" might be described as a routine Western, except that in the filmgoing culture of 2008, there's nothing routine about the pleasures of a well-made and entertaining movie about gunfighters, an evil rancher, a piano-playing saloon girl and hostile Apaches in the Old West. The movie was directed and co-scripted by its star, Ed Harris, working from a 2005 novel by Robert B. Parker (author of the "Spenser" detective series). Harris does a fine job, but he should have...

2008-09-29 21:00:22

By John Beifuss Generally speaking, the last thing you want to see inside a convenience store is a thug with a gun demanding money. The sight is less threatening once you notice the handwritten "Movie Shoot in Progress" sign on the door and learn the longhaired thug is actor Emmy Collins, cast as an ill-fated reprobate simply identified as "Suspicious Dude" in the script of "Cigarette Girl," the latest cult-movie-in-search-of-a-cult from the febrile mind of John Michael McCarthy, the...

2008-09-29 21:00:22

By John Beifuss An appearance by actor Giancarlo Esposito and a new documentary about Johnny Cash will be among the highlights of the upcoming 11th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, which runs Oct. 9-16 at Malco's Studio on the Square. Festival officials announced the complete Indie Memphis lineup Friday. The schedule includes more than 120 narrative features, documentaries, shorts, music videos, animated and experimental films, "Midnight Movies" and "Global Lens" international films....