Writer-director François Girard will present his underrated film The Red Violin as the opening night film of this year’s fifth annual White Sands International Film Festival in Las Cruces. The historical drama stars Samuel L. Jackson as a researcher at an auction house who tries to uncover the secret history of a famous violin, tracing it back through three centuries and multiple owners. The film’s 10 years old at this point, but it’s a good one, having captured an Academy Award for Best Musical Score in 1998. Girard, who also directed Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, will take part in a Q&A after the screening. Opening night for the fest is Thursday, April 23, and begins at 7 p.m.
Wait a minute. I know how this ends. The cheetah wins.
Between 1955 and 1971, the Walt Disney Company released a string of short-subject documentary films dubbed True-Life Adventures. The True-Life Adventures series contains some of the film industry’s earliest wildlife documentaries. The 20 or so films Disney produced introduced many a child to the world of nature and probably inspired the future career of a young biologist or two. Of course, the series is also notorious for a 1958 film titled White Wilderness, which depicts hundreds of migrating lemmings plunging off cliffs into the ocean in a mass rodent suicide. In the years since, science and biology (and documentary filmmaking) have progressed a bit. It’s now generally understood that lemmings racing across the tundra and drowning themselves on a yearly basis is nothing more than a myth, and that Disney’s filmmakers faked the footage in White Wilderness by, well, shoveling a bunch of lemmings off a cliff in Alberta.
Too rich? Too bad.
Even if you missed the credits, you’d be able to tell almost the instant it started that The Informers is based on a book by Bret Easton Ellis. Like nearly everything the trendy, Reagan-era chronicler wrote (Less Than Zero, American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, Glamorama), The Informers focuses on a group of wealthy young people who do a lot of drugs and have sex with one another in various gender combinations, all to the tune of Wang Chung. In between hedonistic bouts, they mope around, consumed with the ennui of fabulousness. It’s like “The Hills,” only with more nudity. And given that we now have “The Hills” (plus other simpatico reality shows like “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” “My Super Sweet 16,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”—not to mention Paris Hilton in all her public iterations), it makes one wonder just what purpose Ellis’ work serves in this day and age.
G.I. Joe: Resolute on Cartoon Network
Honestly, I was a year or two too old to fully to appreciate G.I. Joe when it was relaunched in 1982 as a toy, cartoon and comic book line. I could still recall playing with the muscular 12-inch G.I. Joe in his late-’70s incarnation as part of the Adventure Team. (Instead of shooting Nazis, he fought gorillas and mummies and had that badass “Kung-Fu Grip.”) The G.I. Joes that were 3-and-3/4 inch just seemed wimpy to me. But the ’80s incarnation (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) had its legions of rabid followers who carry the “Yo, Joe!” banner to this day. Amid the flurry of nostalgic activity inspired by the live-action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie hitting theaters this August, there’s a small piece of Joe history flying just under the radar that hardcore fans might want to take note of.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.