Amy Winehouse documentary director speculates on how she might have been saved

aimThe toughest question for “Amy” filmmaker Asif Kapadia is the most speculative one. Could Amy Winehouse have been saved?
Kapadia, who pulled no punches in his much-honored documentary about the tragic death of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna (“Senna,” 2010), pulls even fewer in “Amy,” about the mecurial, self-destructive singer-songwriter who died of alcohol poisoning right before our eyes in 2011.
“There seemed to be several clear-cut opportunities to save her, early on in her dependency,” Kapadia, a 43 year old Londoner, begins. “But real life is not like fiction. You can’t say, ‘That’s the moment when her life changed.’ Life is more complicated.
Still, “If she’d been urged into rehab earlier, her life could have turned out differently. That’s why that song ‘Rehab’ is so pivotal. A lot of people who knew her feel that the incident that inspired that song, when she was probably ready to seek help, but was let off, was key. Later on she was unreachable. She pushed people away who wanted to help her. But just before ‘Rehab,’ she knew she was in trouble, and for the reasons she gives in the song, she didn’t go.”
As Winehouse, the young Brit with an ancient Jazz chanteuse’s voice, the poet with a passion for autobiography, put it in her biggest hit, “Rehab,” “I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine” she wouldn’t “go go go.”
As with “Senna,” Kapadia found villains in Winehouse’s life — the first the “daddy” in her biggest hit, Mitch Winehouse. Tabloids and gossip websites long ago zeroed in on those around Winehouse who wouldn’t let her clean up, dry out and step back from the storm of attention that seemed to fuel her addictions, the paparazzi hounding her, documenting her every misstep. But Kapadia “wanted to talk to everyone, give every person in her life a clean slate.”
That led to what the Daily Telegraph critic Robbie Collin calls “a Sherlockian reconstruction of Winehouse’s arcing path across the skies of superstardom,” a film that lets footage of Mitch Winehouse speak for itself, that finds her musician/junkie boyfriend and later husband Blake Civil-Fielder “charismatic…Not stupid, a clever guy, a wheeler dealer who knew how to survive. Girls fell for him. He was ‘the catch,’ and when they met, he was much cooler than she was. So that relationship was more complex than the press depicts.”
Kapadia found three under-reported culprits in Winehouse’s untimely demise. Her fellow Londoner figures her move to the Camden neighborhood was fatal.
“Camden became what Carnaby Street was in the ’60s or Notting Hill was later… a hip, edgy party scene…If you want something, ANYTHING, you can get it there. You could not walk down the street without someone coming up and whispering , ‘D’ya want to buy some drugs?’
“Nearby, you have all these amazing parks and restaurants and houses. But Camden was where all these bands were breaking out. And Amy wanted to be there.”
“Amy” is generating universally raptorous reviews, many of them, ironically, in the same (mostly British) newspapers that hounded her during her life. Kapadia sees the tabloids and the paparazzi and Winehouse’s inability to see a way to “travel, just get away from them abroad in places where she wasn’t famous,” as culpable in her death.
asifAnd “there’s a moment in the film where the mirror turns on the audience. We all see what we did, and we know what we did. We all shared videos of her drunk, or commented on photos. I’ve yet to meet the person who realized she was brilliant and funny. Everyone thought she was a stupid drunk. That became the story. She was an object of fun. Imagine being the person seeing chat show hosts mocking her, reading all those comments, those newspaper stories, seeing those photos of herself at her worst.”
So Kapadia used home movies and early, pre-fame interviews and subtitles that reveal the depth of her lyrics, as he set out to alter the public perception of this public figure who died a very public death.
“I wanted to show how beautiful and funny clever and happy she could be.”
He knew he’d succeeded when he showed the film to some friends of his who are Amy fans.
“I asked them why they were crying at the end. And they said, ‘We’ve never seen her happy before.’ Most of the public hadn’t. That’s really awful, isn’t it? She never smiled in public, never seemed comfortable or happy on stage, once she became famous.”

amee

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Movie Review: Heigl croons in “Jackie & Ryan”

jrHollywood pariahdom has many causes but one unmistakable effect. The pariah struggles on, working in smaller and smaller films until oblivion sets in, or cable TV offers a resurrection.
Katherine Heigl diva-bombed her way off the acting A-list. But she’s still hanging in there, still straining to find that moment of reinvention, that film role that showcases her and shows us why she should be allowed back in the champagne room.
“Jackie & Ryan” is a noble effort in that direction. She plays a former singer who flees, with her daughter, to Ogden, Utah, her hometown. She might find new purpose and new love in the person of hobo busker Ryan. And that’s where this Heigl vehicle becomes somebody else’s “comeback.”
Ben Barnes, not-quite-forgotten since his “big break” as Prince Caspian in the Narnia movies, sings and plays guitar on street corners and generates all the goodwill in writer-director Ami Canaan Mann’s drama. His story is more interesting, his take on a life without encumbrances or possessions more appealing and arresting.
We meet Ryan first, riding the rails into Ogden. He’s looking for a picker-pal, the elusive “Cowboy,” a boon companion for his trip to a Portland folk festival, inexplicably being held in the winter.
But Cowboy is nowhere to be found. His girlfriend (Clea Duvall) and their baby watched him follow a restless urge, hopping a freight for somewhere else.
Jackie hears Ryan singing on the street, compliments him, and moves on. But he comes to her rescue after she’s hit by a car. Out of guilt, she invites him to dinner where he meets her daughter and we start picking up the fragments of her story.
Sparks fly from her mom, played by Sheryl Lee of “Twin Peaks” fame. Ryan is “literally a homeless person.” He needs to realize “It’s not the ’60s.” Mom gives this interloper the bum’s rush. But Ryan finds ways to be useful, and Jackie lets her guard down and lets us in on her former life.
It’s a slight story, romanticized to the point the edges are rubbed off of “Why can’t these two nice people get together?”
Barnes has a pleasant singing voice, and is an utterly convincing busker — aside from being Hollywood handsome with Hollywood hobo grooming. Mann gives him performance showcases, and quiet moments, picking a guitar he can’t afford in a store that indulges musicians in his circumstances.
Heigl’s performance is more brittle, kind of her signature but also required in playing a woman going through a divorce. She has rarely given a bad performance, even if the films she picked were failures. She shows vulnerability, and also has a decent singing voice, but her duet with Jackie’s daughter (Emily Alyn Lind) is spoiled by being over-produced, disembodied.
So she took a role that required a tiny dose of guts, and then polished her vocals to the point where her track doesn’t sound live, or even like her. Ask any pariah before her, that’s no way to mount a comeback.

2stars1
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some suggestive material

Cast: Katherine Heigl, Ben Barnes, Sheryl Lee, Clea Duvall
Credits: Written and directed by Ami Canaan Mann. A Mainstreet release.

Running time: 1:26

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Movie Review: “Amy” finds the villains in Amy Winehouse’s troubled life, among them, the singer herself.

ameeThose looking for villains in the obscenely short life of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse will find a few in “Amy,” the new documentary about her life and death.
Director Asif Kapadia had the gloves off for his much-honored 2010 doc about the life and death of champion Formula One driver Aryton Senna (“Senna”). Here, he serves up Amy’s once-estranged self-serving father, Mitch, her junky leech of a husband Blake Fielder-Civil, and the promoter she made her manager, Raye Cosbert, a guy with serious financial conflicts of interest regarding her touring schedule and her health as bad guys.
But if you’re looking for answers for the “Rehab” jazz and soul singer’s death from alcohol poisoning, the simplest one comes from a lifelong friend, who recalls what Amy said on the night of her greatest Grammy triumph.
“This is so BOOOring without drugs!”
“Amy,” using interviews in voice-over, archival TV interviews, voice mail messages and concert footage, captures the meteoric rise of an old soul singer in a young working class Jewish waif’s body. Home movies with Amy in her early teens belting out “Happy Birthday,” will give you chills.
The sophisticated jazz phrasing, the Billie Holiday/Carole King tones, Winehouse was like nothing on pop music radio a decade ago. Colleagues noted how she “was almost embarrassed” by the sudden burst of fame, the tabloid infamy that came with her stardom. A potential long career as a Next Generation saloon singer went by the wayside as she rode autobiographical hits into the public eye.
Kapadia captures the assaultive nature of paparazzi attention — percussive flashes greeting her every youthful indiscretion — and tracks the healthy-looking young woman whose bulimia and substance abuse turned her into a cadaver with a beehive hairdo. As with Kurt Cobain, subject of an equally fine and revealing documentary this spring on HBO, nobody can say they didn’t see her untimely demise coming.
So blame the lover who introduced her to heroin, blame the father who told her she didn’t need to go to rehab, the overwhelmed mother who couldn’t handle her talented daughter who never learned impulse control. Blame the media and the public’s mania for a singer whose autobiographical London-Jewish soul made her an object of adoration and morbid fascination. But “Amy” does its greatest service by holding up a mirror to this sad icon who lived her life in imitation of “The Rose.”
Rehab? “I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine, He’s tried to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go.”

3stars2

MPAA Rating: R for language and drug material
Cast: Amy Winehouse, Blake Fielder-Civil, Nick Shymansky, Mitch Winehouse, Tony Bennett, Salaam Remi , Mark Ronson, Raye Cosbert
Credits: Directed by Asif Kapadia. An A24 release.

Running time: 2:08

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Movie Review: “Magic Mike XXL”

xxxl

Channing Tatum’s deja vu in “Magic Mike XXL” has less to do with the film it’s a sequel to,”Magic Mike,” than with the film that launched his career. “Magic Mike II” is basically “Step Up: The Stripping Years.”
It’s still set in the sordid world where the hunky Tatum made a living pre-stardom. But “XXL” is a lame road picture dramedy about aging “Male Entertainers” on the road from Tampa to the Big Stripper C0nvention in Myrtle Beach, S.C., capital of the Redneck Riviera, for “one last (bleeping) ride.”
Along the way, they stop and check out a Jacksonville drag club and a members-only female wish fulfillment fantasy bordello run by Mike’s ex (Jada Pinkett Smith) in sexy Savannah.
All because Richie (Joe Manganiello) and the remaining Kings of Tampa have convinced single-again struggling furniture “upcycling” business owner Mike (Tatum) that they deserve “a tsunami of dollar bills” one last time. And before you can sing “It’s raining tens,” it’s raining $10s.
The realism here comes from the incredibly salty language and drug use — Molly (MDMa/Ecstasy) and pot, freely consumed by one and (almost) all as they’re on lumbering along in a food truck on their way to their destiny. That turns into a pretty good joke about manic drug side-effects (“Let’s come up with a whole new show!”) followed by a tirade-tossing/weepy comedown.
Crashing a Charleston house party leads to an affirmation of how sexy a gaggle of cougars led by Ditching the dead-weight studio exec’s daughter who played the love interest in “Magic Mike” was smart.Andie MacDowell are. Pinkett-Smith vamps and struts through the scenes as Rome, whose African-American strip club features Michael Strahan in a stripper cameo. Manganiello’s Richie cuts loose in a “make this convenience store clerk’s day” bit on a dare, the highlight of the movie.
But “XXL” sorely misses the world-weary swagger of Matthew McConaughey and the light touch of “Magic Mike” director Steven Soderbergh. Veteran Soderbergh assistant director Gregory Jacobs put much of his effort into shooting in near total darkness (on a beach, in clubs, in car rides) and pandering — also known as “giving women what they want.” There’s lots of shirtless bumping and grinding with characters shoehorned in to appeal to African American and Latino audiences. There’s no other explanation for the inclusion of the comic aptly nicknamed “Fluffy” (Gabriel Iglesias) in the crew.
Mike is paired up with the bi-curious Zoe, played by the Johnny Depp’s famous switch-hitting bride, a too-subdued Amber Heard. Their flirtations have a clunky, improvised feel. Improvisation isn’t Tatum’s strong suit. Like Mike, he knows how his bread is buttered.
“I’m still pretty!”
And so he is.
The dancing is well-executed and staged, and the club scenes are fun. The banter may be forced and the formula the film follows exhausted. But quibbling with “Magic Mike XXL” is like griping about the latest turns in the “Step Up” saga. Nobody will hear you over the girlish squeals of delight from the paying customers.

2stars1
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use

Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith,
Credits: Directed by Gregory Jacobs, script by Reid Carolin. A Warner Brothers release.

Running time: 1:55

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Box Office: “Inside Out” and “Jurassic” neck and neck, “Ted 2″ a distant third

box

“Jurassic World” and “Inside Out” are in a dead heat headed into Sunday night in their second weekend in release. Both are hovering at the $53-54 million mark. We’ll have to wait til the dust settles to call a winner there, though they’re both blockbusters, already exceeding expectations and already world beaters.

“Jurassic” looks to clear $500 million in the U.S. by early next week, “Inside Out” $200 million by next Friday.

“Ted 2″ is riding weak reviews to a $31-32 million or so take. Nothing to sneeze at, but well below sequel expectations, which some are reporting were in the $45 million range.

“Max,” the patriotic dog-loving Warner Brothers/MGM dog-and-his-boy comedy-thriller is headed towards $13 million plus.

“Dope” plunged in its second week, “A Little Chaos” didn’t set the world on fire in limited counter-programming release, nor did anything else.

“Spy” should hit $100 by the end of next weekend.

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Movie Review: “Batkid Begins”

Five-years-old Miles, from Tule Lake, Calif., is dressed in a Batman costume in San Francisco, Friday, November 14, 2014. Miles, who wants to be a Batman, will embark on a series of crime-solving adventures when San Francisco is converted into “Gotham City” as part of a Make-A-Wish Foundation event. He is in a fight on his own in his battle against leukemia since he was a year old. He is now in remission. (Photo: Make-A-Wish Foundation/PaulSakuma.com)

Five-years-old Miles, from Tule Lake, Calif., is dressed in a Batman costume in San Francisco, Friday, November 14, 2014. Miles, who wants to be a Batman, will embark on a series of crime-solving adventures when San Francisco is converted into “Gotham City” as part of a Make-A-Wish Foundation event. He is in a fight on his own in his battle against leukemia since he was a year old. He is now in remission. (Photo: Make-A-Wish Foundation/PaulSakuma.com)

November 15, 2013 has to rank up there with the day the Allies liberated Paris and Neil Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the moon as one of the happiest days in modern human history.
That was Batkid Day, when San Francisco became Gotham City, and when billions across the world were touched by an outpouring of support and affection for good sick little boy.
“Batkid Begins” is an uplifting documentary about that day. Five year-old Miles Scott of Tulelake, California, had the wish of his short lifetime come true as a mayor, a president, police, actors, costumers and special effects professionals and even Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer turned him loose on Gotham’s criminal classes. Tens of thousands gathered in enormous flash mobs to cheer him on, many having flown in from all over the world to witness it. And billions followed his exploits and turned social media into the greatest love-in in recorded history.
Filmmakers Dana Nachman and Kurt Kuenne had inside access to that day, and followed up with interviews with scores of those involved, taking a sad story — the day the Miles’ family learned he had leukemia — and following it through to the day itself, riding along with a child and a Batman riding through San Francisco in black Lamborghinis, foiling The Riddler and The Penguin and saving the day.
Grown men wept, but grown women — mostly from the Make a Wish Foundation — made this epic feel-good event come to pass.
San Francisco Make a Wish chief Patricia Wilson describes what her organization does as “whimsical.” They give a worthy child “a little of their childhood back” a childhood lost to a struggle with a deadly illness. But this wish went beyond whimsy, touching millions and blowing up into something that transcended its own excess. The rest of the world might have been shaking its collective heads at our distraction, at the lengths we go to in indulging one child. But they had to be a bit awed by it, as well, maybe even moved.
Eric Johnston is a hero of the piece, a one-time stuntman who gave up months to plan stunts, adapt a gadget, secure a costume and play Batman to Scott’s Batkid, keeping young Miles entertained and on-task on his big day. Everyone from Apple executives and online-marketing experts, to the police chief and every motorcycle cop in city (“I don’t need overtime. I’m still coming.”) jumped on board.
And no one — save perhaps for media people straining to cover this hot trending topic — lost sight of the bigger mission, to feed a child’s fantasy, if only for a day.
You can try to resist the emotions and charms of “Batkid Begins,” but this winning film wins you over without manipulation, without guile and without ulterior motives. If you can’t feel good about humanity after this one, you can’t feel good.

3half-star

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild thematic material

Cast: Eric Johnston, Miles Scott, Patricia Wilson, Hans Zimmer
Credits: Directed by Dana Nachman, script by Kurt Kuenne and Dana Nachman . A Warner Brothers/New Line release.

Running time: 1:27

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Movie Review: “Max”

maxy
“Semper fidelis,” the Romans used to purr into their dogs’ ears, long before the Marine Corps adopted the Latin for “Always faithful” as their motto.
Most faithful of all? Marine Corps war dogs. That’s the message of “Max,” a pleasant if somewhat clunky and melodramatic crowd pleaser about one such dog who comes to live with the family of the soldier who died serving with him in Afghanistan.
One day, Max, a Belgian Malinois is serving with his handler, Kyle (Robbie Amell) in Kandahar, sniffing out arms caches in villages controlled by the Taliban. An ambush leaves Kyle dead, with Max refusing to leave his side.
Kyle’s family, played by Lauren Graham, Thomas Haden Church and Josh Wiggins, are still in shock over the awful news, when Max is brought to Kyle’s funeral. I don’t know if this really happens, but you’d have to be an ISIS sympathizer not to be tear up at this moving final reunion.
Trouble is, Max is in shock, inconsolable and too erratic to return to duty. He’s lost his sense of purpose. The Wincott family — one-legged Corps vet Dad, mourning mom and rebellious teen Justin — take him in.
“He’s your dog now,” Dad (Haden Church) growls. Justin (Wiggins) has to put down the video games and try to calm a distraught animal that howls in the night, shakes in fear at fireworks and only will bond with the boy who smells like his beloved Kyle.
Kyle gets little help from his pal sassy pal Chuy (Dejon LaQuake), a lot more from Chuy’s even sassier cousin, Carmen (Mia Xitlali). Their family’s part of a long line of chihuahua hoarders.
Director and co-writer Boaz Yakin, whose best credit was “Remember the Titans,” shoves weighty subplots about Justin getting mixed up with crooks, thanks to his talent for burning copies of unreleased new video games, and the nefarious activities of one of Kyle’s comrades from the Corps. That gives Max a chance to battle the bad guys’ dogs and perform almost supernatural feats of tracking.
All the eye-rolling melodramatics may be crowd-pleasing, but it clutters up the film. The script, co-written by combat vet turned hack screenwriter Sheldon Lettich (“Lionheart,””Legionaire,””Rambo III”), shoehorns in ideas like Justin’s dad’s intolerance and how “war hero” is sometimes an over-statement. The film wraps itself in the flag like a lazy country music song.
But the heart of Max is a boy learning about an always faithful dog, and as sentimental and manipulative as their bonding moments are, that’s what works.

2half-star6

MPAA Rating: PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements

Cast: Josh Wiggins, Lauren Graham, Mia Xitlali, Thomas Haden Church, Dejon LaQuake, Luke Kleintank
Credits: Directed by Boaz Yakin, script by Sheldon Lettich and Boaz Yakin. A Warner Brothers/MGM release.

Running time: 1:51

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Alan Rickman on King Louis XIV, directing Kate Winslet and stealing scenes in his own movie

rickSo, Alan Rickman, what did you know about Louis XIV of France before playing him and directing a movie about the creation of a verdant outdoor ballroom in the gardens of Versailles Palace?
“Wigs,” the director of “A Little Chaos” purrs. “‘The Sun King.’ EXTRAVAGANT. And a great patron of the arts!”
Rickman got a crash course in The Sun King, who reigned over France for 54 years. France became the envy of Europe, as he nurtured or protected great writers such as Moliere and artists in every medium from architecture to furniture and textiles.
“A lot of weird people got some encouragement, thanks to him,” Rickman says.
Including, his fictional film suggests, a widowed gardener and landscaper, played by Kate Winslet. In “A Little Chaos” she is commissioned by the royal gardener (Matthias Schoenaerts of “Far From the Madding Crowd”) to stir up the nature he and his peers were determined to master, manipulate and put into some sort of order.
“I love this metaphor of a balance between order and chaos, and illustrating that through the garden,” says Rickman, who tweaked Alison Deegan’s fanciful script to emphasize that. “You can’t have one without the other in nature.”
The two gardeners are thrown together in this epic undertaking, and love story develops.
And Rickman “judiciously injects himself (in) whenever it feels as if the film is become a little too set in its ways,” notes Leigh Paatsch of Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper.
“To me, Louis XIV is the chaotic element here,” Rickman explains. “He asks his gardener to build this perfect Eden in the worst place he could have picked — a mosquito-ridden swamp. It’s genius, but madness, to put a garden there.”
As a performer, Rickman wanted to flip the image of the god-like absolute monarch and show his human side, “the man beneath the wig.”
He manages that in the film’s opening scene, as he explains the duties of a monarch to his children.
“That actually was a scene that came about thanks to economics. Louis was to make a speech to a few hundred courtiers in a ballroom. And I said to (screenwriter) Alison, ‘We can’t afford that. How about, he’s rehearsing it with his kids?’ She went away and wrote it.”
That’s a reminder that “Chaos” is an opulent period piece shot on a budget. The actor frets that his investors insisted he act in “Chaos,” not because he was perfect for the part, but because they figured he’ll never be short of cash, thanks to his Harry Potter haul. He was Severus Snape, who towers and glowers over the franchise, start to finish.
“The investors figure you don’t need to be paid to act in a movie you’re directing,” he says, laughing.
Is he good in “A Little Chaos”? He is, with Alastair Harkness of The Scotsman newspaper noting that “It’s disappointing to discover he’s not the main player” after that opening scene, and Peter Bradshaw of Britain’s Guardian newspaper suggesting that “He almost pulls off the curious trick of upstaging his own movie.”
At 69, Rickman manages a film or two a year. He plays a general in “Eye in the Sky,” a drone warfare drama starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and Barkhad Abdirahman, is due out next. While there was a period, after “Die Hard,” when he could have dined out on plummy-voiced screen villains forever, that wasn’t the path Rickman chose.
“It was great to be asked to sing in ‘Sweeney Todd.’ It’s exciting to be asked to do the comedy one gets to do in a ‘Galaxy Quest.’ You have to keep yourself interested and surprised.
“In this work, you are so dependent on other people’s imagination. So you never lay down rules for what you’re looking for. You always hope somebody will have a better idea of what you should be doing than you do. That’s my hope, anyway.”

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Movie Review: “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”

pigAn 18th century Swedish nobleman rides a horse into a bar.
Thus started no joke anyone ever heard or told. But it’s a high point in Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” so stay with me.
The horseman, an officer, waves his sword about and chases out the female Swedish barflies. “No women in the establishment!” The king, Karl XII, is coming.
And so he (Viktor Gyllenberg) does, a callow strawberry blond leading his army to teach those Russians a lesson.
Karl is thirsty. His aides order him water. Karl is drawn to the “young and handsome” bartender, and his aides proposition the guy for him.
All this before Karl rides off to the battle that ended the Swedish empire.
Andersson’s third film in an Absurdist trilogy (“Songs from the Second Floor” and “You, the Living”) about the human condition is a reminder that no, Sweden isn’t known for comedies — on the big screen or the small one, or on the stage. And there’s a reason for that.
“Pigeon” is a series of bleak black-out sketches, little human scenes in bars, bus stops and shops. They’re linked, sort of, by these two frustrated novelty toy salesmen, Jonathan and Sam (Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom). They’re having a hard time moving their joke junk, a “laughing bag” and vampire teeth, “extra long” wares.
The players in these Swedish-language (with subtitles) playlets are often in heavy, pale makeup, the settings spare and bleak.
A bartender, after Karl XII’s bloodied return from the Battle of Poltava, faces every woman in the bar and tells them, one by one, “You were widowed at Poltava. A widow’s veil is your grief.” Each woman, in turn, bursts into tears.m They’re mourning men from a battle 300 years ago? Their own men? The return of the sexist prig who would ban them from bars?
British colonial soldiers drive black slaves into a cylinder that drives a steam engine — heating them makes the Empire run.
The lightest moments come from the barmaid who leads her bar in a stirring Swedish drinking song — set to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The insights into the human condition are obscure and thin, though the Absurdism is as offbeat as anything in “Waiting for Godot” or “Six Characters in Search of an Author.”
This “Pigeon” is quite unlike anything you’ll see on the screen this year. But beware of any advertising that labels Andersson “wacky” and this a comedy. Even by deadpan Swedish standards, this is pretty dry. And saying “The Emperor Andersson has no clothes” is just rubbing Sweden’s nose in it. That’s from a Danish story, and a funny one at that.

2stars1
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief sexuality and some disturbing images

Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Lotti Törnros, Viktor Gyllenberg
Credits: Written and directed by Roy Andersson. A Magnolia release.

Running time: 1:41

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“Amy” director and I agree on the career Amy Winehouse SHOULD have had, the one she might have survived

nick

Asif Kapadia wishes Amy Winehouse had “just gotten out of London, out of Camden, away from the people, the drugs and that scene, and TRAVELED to where she wasn’t famous.” But it didn’t happen, and Winehouse was dead — not of drugs, but of alcohol poisoning, at 27. The drugs could have gotten to her just as easily.

As we ended our interview, I suggested to the documentary filmmaker that it’s a pity The “Rehab” singer, Winehouse wasn’t able to dial back the fame, the drugs, the venues she was playing at, and have a nice chanteuse-y career, “Like Sade.” And he lit up.
“I’m not sure putting her up onstage in front of 20,000 people was a great idea. Play jazz clubs, smaller venues, perform with hip hop people. Just be creative. “She never seemed to enjoy it, and never had the chance.”
“Sade is the ultimate example of how Amy could have gone. She’s always
making records, always touring. No one
knows her on sight. No one knows
anything about her personal life.”
Amy’s manager “Nick Shymansky mentioned Sade to me as what
should have been Amy’s ultimate career
choice. The right level of fame,
surrounded by people who obviously
look out for her better.”

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