I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have been so swamped--just closed down mom's house in Connecticut and moved her up here. But have managed to see a bunch of things in recent days, and can share them briefly.
MOVIES: THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST the third film adaptation of the best-selling Swedish author Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy. The compelling Noomi Rapace is back as Lisbeth Salander but she spends most of the movie in a hospital bed, while all the loose ends are tied up. The third installment reveals just how trite the books actually are; it's two and a half hours of diminishing returns, culminating in one of the oldest tricks in the genre (see CARRIE).
Then there's CONVICTION-a true story based on a Mass.case of wrongful conviction. Hilary Swank plays the sister who bails out her brother (Sam Rockwell in a dull performance that people will mistake for brilliance) after decades of wrongful incarceration, and yes, the title also refers to her conviction. I am sick of Swank in these earnest do or die, against all odds parts. It's time she played an upper class twit with a heart of stone. In any case, the film is two dimensional and fails to even tear jerk me to the ending. Ultimately boring.
A FILM UNFINISHED: This is an extraordinary holocaust documentary by Israeli director Yael Hersonski who has unearthed and recontextualized a heretofore buried Nazi propaganda film about the Warsaw ghetto. The film contains never before seen footage of the heartless conditions, and reveals how the Nazis warped that horrific reality into one even more gruesome. Starving and brutalized inhabitants were forced to act for the camera in staged scenes, designed to show how good life was there, and how the wealthy Jews turned a blind eye to corpses in the street. We see the retakes, with real dead bodies, and the "extras" who were forced to continually step over them "unmoved." The filmmakers have found survivors--now elderly, who lived in the ghetto as children. We watch with them as they recognize loved ones, and neighbors. In this, they and we are the ultimate witnesses, and ironically the film is finished as the truth behind these misleading images is reflected in the eyes of those who were there.
See this when it's released on DVD, and watch for it at Oscar time.
Good night and good morning!