Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Short takes

Someone of this stature’s passing shouldn’t go unmentioned, at least by me. He is Robert F. Boyle. Who? He was none other than perhaps Hollywood’s greatest art director. Boyle had a role in some of the greatest pictures in the golden age of Hollywood such as the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Norman Jewison. He created the Mt. Rushmore and crop duster scenes in North by Northwest, the bird’s eye view of a seagull attack in The Birds. He worked with Jewison on pictures like The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming and Fiddler on the Roof. He described his job as “being responsible for the space in which a film takes place”. He died at the great age of 100.... That was a superb performance by Toni Servillo in 2008’s Il Divo (dir. Paolo Sorrentino) as Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who served seven terms through a period of unprecedented post-war domestic violence and corruption inspired by terrorists, the Mafia and – who knows – possibly even the Vatican. Yet despite scores of judicial and political killings from the late 1970s through early 1990s, and Andreotti put on trial for being part of a conspiracy to kill a journalist and being tied to the Mafia itself, nothing stuck and he walked away a free and even more legendary man. Servillo, born only in 1959, himself seems legendary in Italian theatre and film. Meanwhile Il Divo’s depiction of political tumult attempts to be a fast-paced thriller to the beat of Eighties’ rock but doesn’t always succeed. Still, it’s worth a view (it won Cannes’ Prix du Jury) if only because of Servillo’s performance.....Finally, D. A. Pennebaker’s 1968 doc Monterey Pop comes across as a fresh look at the innocence of the Flower Children before Woodstock was even conceived. Monterey, in 1967, was the world’s first rock festival. Everyone from Ravi Shankar to Janis Joplin to The Who was there, most playing for charity. It’s rather charming to look at all those fair-skinned early Baby Boomers - now well into their Sixties - so young and even innocent, if a bit dazed, in that Summer of Love.

No comments:

Post a Comment