Life Itself (2014) & The Punk Singer: A Film about Kathleen Hanna (2013)
The movie critic is a somewhat weird creature. All those hours in a dark room staring at a screen. My first experience of a movie critic was Barry Norman who used to host the Film season on the BBC (with the great Nina Simone playing over the opening credits). But Norman, although authoritative, was very much a popularist. As my interest in cinema grew, it became essential to know about and read Cahiers Du Cinema, Sight & Sound, Time Out's film listings and then individual writers such as Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and, especially for me, David Thomson. Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary Of Film still remains essential. All of these sources often inspired and engaged me (or occasionally infuriated me) as much as the movies. But a great critic or review was a gateway to a discussion, a new opinion or an expansion and anticipation of my imagination as a new movie came round the local cinema house. Roger Ebert, although on my radar (Ebert was easily the world's most popular movie critic), is someone whose opinion I'd only come across online or in movie biographies (yes, I read a lot of those).
|Roger Ebert shows us his good news|
|Siskel & Ebert ran for 24 years, yet the shows two hosts didn't hold much respect for each other|
I wanted to do a double post about The Punk Singer and Life Itself, because in a strange way they go together well, but as Nick has not seen The Punk Singer (yet) I am giving it all the space I can here. Like Roger Ebert, Kathleen Hanna's story involves illness and transformations. Both Ebert and Hanna have been at times not very likeable people – or at least they really haven't always been liked. Yet, they have changed things and they have been very much loved. Contradictions, oh how they are sweet and necessary always... Kathleen Hanna deserves her space, so here I go: This documentary kind of really hit me in the face and reminded me about a few things as well as opened my eyes to new things.
|Reality Bites 1994|