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The Coen brothers’, opening Friday, will have to wait. Not to be coy about it, A Serious Man is a special movie; like Bright Star, made out of the purest artistic impulse, to please its maker, and let the filmgoer catch up if he can. It, no matter how short a time it may stay in theaters, should outrun the entire generation and the next. I will do it injustice as soon as possible. I regret, meantime, that before it exited the Gaslamp theater I could say nothing about Jia Zhangke’s rueful rumination on a factory closing in contemporary China, 24 City, a visually eloquent talking-heads movie, or really talking torsos against meaningful backgrounds, dispensing an indeterminable blend of truth and fiction (Joan Chen interviewed as a woman widely recognized as looking like Joan Chen). All I can do with it is snap it up as an appetizer to the San Diego Asian Film Festival, “2 Weeks, 200 Films, Endless Possibilities,” October 15 through 29 at the UltraStar Mission Valley in Hazard Center (sdaff.org). Overlappingly but more intermittently, the San Diego Italian Film Festival, featuring a retrospective of director Paolo Virzì, runs from October 15 through November 7 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park (sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com). And before all that, the San Diego Latino Film Festival juggles two films throughout the next week in its monthly Cinema en Tu Idioma series, Pablo Trapero’s Leonera from Argentina and Pablo Larrain’s Tony Manero from Chile, at the UltraStar Mission Valley. Finally, Friday evening at 7:00 at the D.G. Wills bookstore in La Jolla there will be a “hometown” launch party of the long-aborning Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber, just over a year after the author’s death, with his widow and late-period collaborator, Patricia Patterson, in attendance, along with the book’s editor, Robert Polito. Something else to which to mete out injustice.

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Comments

Josh Board Oct. 7, 2009 @ 4:01 p.m.

I agree regarding the Informant! The music was rather silly, and you never laugh out loud, although you do enjoy his narration. I, too, thought it was showing us what kind of a nut he was. But if you really think about it...these are thoughts people are having all the time. It's just the fact that nobody else can hear them. So, when he's looking at someones tie, and going on and on about the types of ties he buys and why...he seems looney, as that's not the topic at hand. But really, who hasn't been listening to someone talk in the office, and zoned out and thought about their tie? Letterman made a career out of that in his early days on the air.

And not just Bakula, but the other FBI agent (The Soups host, Joel McHale) also upstages as the other straight man.

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Alias_Jabez_Goethe Oct. 7, 2009 @ 7:12 p.m.

Here's one man's (not mine) review of FARBER ON FILM. The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber. (2009). "This is a special publication from The Library of America that should be on every movie-lovers shelf, both as a reference and as a superb source of casual dipping. I stayed up very late two nights in a row and managed to finish, sadly, all 775 pages of this encyclopedic tome. I couldn’t get enough of Farber’s wit, insight, and discerning eyes and ears as they watched films from all over the world and told us what was good about them, and, equally, what was bad. I have this urge to quote huge sections of the various essays on specific films, genres, and/or directors and actors, but I’ll stifle it as much as I can.. Most of these essays were published in The New Republic, and The Nation, with the longer, later works published in Commentary. There are hundreds of films reviewed, from 1941 through 1976, the longer pieces co-written with his wife. Farber was also a successful artist and wrote also about the current art scene. He accumulated the reputation of only liking “B” movies, though that was certainly not the case. He did aver that many B movies were able to avoid the pompous influences of the large studios and were able to tell their story on low budgets that required imagination. Some of the films he (mostly) liked included: Union Station, Crisis, Little Big Horn, The Thing, Five Fingers, The Captive City, Los Olvidados, He Walked by Night, Red River, The Turning Point, Limelight, Band of Outsiders, etc., etc. Some of the films he believed had major flaws included: Casablanca, Pride of the Yankees, Bambi, Song of the South, It’s a Wonderful Life, the later films of Alfred Hitchcock, the later films of Orsen Welles, etc., etc. You will find these critiques to be fascinating reads. Whether you agree with his views or not, you will find yourself watching movies in a different way after you read him. Highly recommended." I've yet to read it. Will as soon as possible. Great to see you liked the Campion as much as I thought you might, Duncan.

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