Saturday, September 20, 2014

Movie Review: ‘Stop the Pounding Heart’ Reveals Minervini’s Texas

By A.O. Scott
Sara Carlson and Colby Trichell in “Stop the Pounding Heart.” Credit Big World Pictures
HOLLYWOOD---In Roberto Minervini’s “Stop the Pounding Heart,” nonprofessional actors play versions of their real-life selves. When Sara (Sara Carlson), one of 12 children in a Christian, home-schooling farm family, meets a young rodeo rider named Colby (Colby Trichell), the abashed looks and polite words they exchange suggest something stirring between them. Dating is no more a part of Sara’s life than commercial popular culture, and Colby is both too respectful and too easily distracted to pursue her with much zeal. But this is hardly a tale of forbidden love. It is, instead, an investigation of Sara’s inner life — of the state of her soul — wrapped in an exploration of her social environment. [link]

"Stop the Pounding Heart" (Opened on Friday); Directed by Roberto Minervini; director of photography, Diego Romero Suarez-Llanos; edited by Marie-Hélène Dozo; produced by Denise Lee, Luigina Smerilli and João Leite; released by Big World Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. This film is not rated.

Movie Review: Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk,’ Horror With a Loony Twist

By Jeannnette Catsoulis
Justin Long and Michael Parks in "Tusk," directed by Kevin Smith. Credit Mark Fellman/A24
HOLLYWOOD---“Tusk” is a Kevin Smith film, which is to say that it’s savvy enough to confirm that it was made by an adult, yet goofy enough to assure its audience that the adult in question remains unlikely to be caught wearing long pants.A bizarre blend of loony kidnap drama and surreal Frankensteinian horror, the movie sends Wallace (Justin Long, working a mustache that signals a high ranking on the jerk scale), an American podcaster, to Canada in search of a story. A jauntily self-aware fabulist, Mr. Smith doesn’t have it in him to dispirit for long, and “Tusk” proceeds with an ingratiating good cheer that deflects critical grumbling. [link]

Tusk” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Dorm room language, operating room gore and distressing facial hair.

Movie Review: ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness,’ With Simon Pegg

By Ben Kenigsberg
A scene from the film starring Simon Pegg. Video Credit By Relativity on
Publish Date September 18, 2014. Image CreditEd Araquel/Relativity
HOLLYWOOD---Fashioned as a sort of fairy tale, “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” based on a novel by the psychiatrist François Lelord, centers on a London therapist who has failed to find satisfaction himself. Hector meets with monks (and Skypes!) in the Himalayas. He assists an old school friend (Barry Atsma) with medical-mission work in Africa, where he also dispenses advice to a drug kingpin (Jean Reno) and — in the film’s glibbest episode of cultural tourism — is kidnapped and held for ransom. Mr. Pegg, normally a live wire, makes an affable hero, but the movie often forces him into blandly earnest mugging. [link]

Hector and the Search for Happiness” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Prostitution; a Frenchwoman struggling to pronounce “happiness.”

Fighting Enmity Against Sikhs With Art, Talks and Superhero Garb

By Samuel G. Freedman
Vishavjit Singh, right, helped Holden Whitehead,
a student at Alfred University, into a turban as part of a diversity program.
NEW YORK---Standing before his living-room mirror one morning in August 2001, Vishavjit Singh put his fumbling fingers to the task of wrapping on his turban for the first time in a decade. Stares would qualify as the benign end of the spectrum for many American Sikhs, who follow a monotheistic religion founded in South Asia about 600 years ago. Because they are so often mistaken for fundamentalist or even jihadist Muslims — the turban being associated with the leaders of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and the Islamic State — American Sikhs have endured a substantial amount of hate crime. Mr. Singh has made it his mission, in deeply felt and highly idiosyncratic ways, to address the ignorance and thus defang the hate. [link]

Exhibition in Jerusalem Presents the Oldest Known Manuscript of Jewish Prayers

Exhibition in Jerusalem presents the oldest known manuscript of Jewish prayers. A 1,200-year-old Jewish prayer book, or siddur, is displayed at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem on September 18, 2014. Originating from the Middle East, the 50-page-long book written in Hebrew is the oldest known manuscript of Jewish prayers. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON.
ISRAEL---The oldest known Book of Jewish Prayers is on display in "The Book of Books" exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem for four weeks only. This unique Medieval Manuscript of Jewish Prayers and other Texts is approximately 50 pages long and dates to the first half of the 9th century CE. The manuscript, written on parchment, includes a number of liturgical and non-liturgical compositions which appear to be Babylonian in style and content. A partially preserved Shaharit (morning) prayer for the Sabbath and a Haggadah for Passover appear in this manuscript—making them the earliest attestation of these primary liturgies in the history of Judaism. [link]

Tears of Blood Courtesy of Piotr Uklański at the Dallas Contemporary

By Dan Duray
"Tears of Blood" (2011)
NEW YORK---Piotr Uklański, whose work opens at the Dallas Contemporary this Sunday and who will open two shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this March, was in the process of moving when we met at his studio in Greenpoint yesterday....The Dallas Contemporary show focuses only on his blood and ink paintings, a series he’s been making for seven years, though most of which have never before been seen. The Contemporary gave him leeway in what he wanted to do for the show, and he’d settled on blood as a reaction to post-war works by Rothko and Gutai he’d noticed in the collections around Dallas, which he said tried to sublimate the violence of World War II. [link]

Fear in Life Leads to Violence in Religious Art

By Ian 

The reason I decided to call my collection of essays "Theater of Cruelty" is that many of them deal, in one way or another, with violence. But I am interested in the way artists and writers deal with our violent impulses, not so much out of prurience, though that can never be dismissed, as out of fear. Should a distinction be made between schlock and art? People still need to see their fears, their lusts, and their darker impulses sublimated in fantasy. Some will demand more sophisticated expressions than others. But I still think Oscar Wilde had it right: "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." Fear must be one reason why violent death is such a common feature in religious art. [link]