by Carl Macki


The Wackness poster


"The Wackness"
Director-Writer Jonathan Levine

Occupant Films/Sony Pictures Classics
(110 min)
Release Date -- July 2008
view trailer

Ben Kingsley is hilarious as Dr. Squires, an addle-pated psychiatrist, one of the key charcters in the dramatic comedy set in
New York City, circa 1994. One of his clients is a troubled but charming teenager (Luke Shapiro, played by Josh Peck), who trades 'dank' for sessions with the shrink. When Luke falls in love with the doctor's stepdaughter, Stephanie (by Olivia Thirlby, wno was Ellen Page's girlfriend in "Juno"), the major fun and disaster occurs. Famke Janssen, Talia Balsam. David Wohl, Method Man and Mary-Kate Olsen help to round out the primary cast. "The Wackness" is pure mad evil—go see it!


Still from film "Standard Operating Procedure"

“Dog Pile Abu Ghraib Style” Cpl. Charles Granrt is pictured standing,
courtesy: Participant Productions

"Standard Operating Procedure"
Directed by Errol Morris
Participant Productions/Sony Pictures Classics
118 minutes
In current release.

The title of this disturbing film by Oscan-winning (for 2003's "The Fog of War") director Errol Morris refers to the classification by the military of many acts committed at the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq by the U.S. Military Police to be excessive to be "S.O.P" rather than crimes, in this examination of the evidence and post-trial testimony by many of those invloved first-hand. Photographs of nudity, and forced masturbation mix sadomasochism portrayed amid smiling faces of MPs --  interviews with some of the 'actors' who clearly are put off by the questions and are on the defensive. . . the corpse of a man who interrogation ended badly. The effect of this movie is subtle and unsettling. General Janet Karpinski, who presided
as commanding officer at the prison, among other responsibilities, was interviewed for the first time on film, although Cpl. Charles Graner a major actor in the photographs at the Prison, was serving a ten year prison sentence, and could not be interviewed.

The subject of the documentary has been covered in films such as HBO's "'The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," by Rory Kennedy's and last year's OSscar-winning, "Taxi to the Dark Side," by Alex Gibney; but nowhere have these events been examined with such carefullness and precision as this... If anything, the film errs in its overly zealous re-enactments, and overwhelms the viewer with details that provoke to the point of despair.

This was the first documentary to be nominated for the Golden Award
at the Berlin Film Festival this year. A side note: Roger Ebert has said, "After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more...Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.”

This film is methodically centered on detailing the events at the Prison.."It may be too intense for
the squeamish, in which case there is the book by Morris and Philip Gourevitch,
a New Yorker writer and Editor of the Paris Review.

My Winnipeg still

courtesy: Buffalo Gal Pictures

"My Winnipeg"
Directed by Guy Maddin
Writers Guy Maddin and George Toles
Buffalo Gal Pictures/Maximum Films 80 min
Release Date: July 2008

Darcy Fehr play auteur Maddin in this Maddin-esque -- old style silent film look slightly daft narrative, engaging actors mixed with comedic tragedy -- historical and personal portrait of the filmmaker's hometown.

As Guy Maddin notes, “By wending my way through the very birth  places of my personal mythologies,

by attempting to understand the very nature of memory even when it fabricates what turns out

to be an illusory Winnipeg for itself, and by facing down, in a series ofsingular domestic

experiments, the possessive power of my own family, perhaps I can unlock the mysterious

forces which occultly bind many a human heart to the past. Perhaps I can finally define

for myself the true meaning of home and make the shackles which bind me simply fall away.”

How’s that for facing up to one’s demons?!?


Also Noted:

“I Served the King of England,” by Jiri Menzel
“The Favor,” by
Eva S. Aridjis

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