THE POPCORN REEL EDITOR'S DESK - a not-so weekly word about the movies                      

Sunday, August 12, 2007


t's officially time for the v.i.m's -- the very important movies. 

While that sounds a little lofty, pretentious and patronizing -- it isn't meant to be.  This week, and in subsequent months, are a few films opening in the U.S., Canada and other countries that want your attention, and want you to do something. 

Films like "The Devil Came On Horseback", about the continuing genocide in Darfur, as seen via former U.S. marine Brian Steidle, are currently playing in select U.S. theaters.  (Darfur will be in movie theaters again in October in the U.S., in a documentary called "Darfur Now", featuring Don Cheadle and numerous others.)   "No End In Sight", Charles Ferguson's film on the quagmire in Iraq and the lack of preparation in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion, is also currently playing in select theaters.  This Friday, "The 11th Hour", a new documentary about climate change and global warming, opens in New York and Los Angeles before continuing in a host of cities in the following weeks.  Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the film and also co-produces.  Filmmaker sisters Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners direct and write the film, which is a must-see (review this Friday.) 

"This Is England", a powerful and biting crescendo of a film, opened in several U.S. cities over the last couple of weeks and leaves a viewer with lots to mull over where the state of racism, fear and hatred are concerned.  Shane Meadows' film, which features an astonishing performance from young 13-year-old (at the time of filming) Thomas "Tommo" Turgoose, is an electrifying statement about 1983 England.  The film won best British Independent Film last November at the British Independent Film Awards.

Next month, "In The Valley Of Elah", about the effects of war on a soldier and his family, hits theaters.  Paul Haggis, who has either written or directed thought-provoking films like "Crash", "Million Dollar Baby", "Flags Of Our Fathers", "Letters From Iwo Jima", and numerous others, directs Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon, which has already been getting some good advance word. 

In October, Tony Kaye, who directed "American History X", will have his epic documentary "Lake Of Fire", about abortion and anti-abortion and their respective activists, in U.S. theaters.  The two-and-half-hour documentary is shot in black and white, and shows some graphic imagery -- including a 29-year-old woman having the actual procedure done -- and provides provocative and passionate viewpoints on a highly personal, sensitive and volatile subject.  Kaye had been filming "Lake Of Fire" for 17 years.

Possibly in November -- although not at all set in stone for theatrical release yet, a documentary directed by Abby Epstein and co-produced by Ricki Lake, "The Business Of Being Born" - which examines the history of birthing and midwifery and juxtaposes this against the hospital child birthing process and wonders whether home-birthing is a better option -- several women come to the conclusion that natural birthing is the way to go, for a number of reasons.  The film screened at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year in New York City. 

Not important, but attention-getting title: coming soon, there's a film entitled "Young People Fucking" -- an eyebrow-raising title for some, to be sure -- that will open in several countries, debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.  (If the film was titled, "Old People Fucking", would it have made any difference??)  Y.P.F. is about several couples who have sex during the course of one night and find that sex brings its complications as much as its pleasures.

While that last film is not necessarily as important a film as the others, per se, it is one that will catch more than a few people's eyes, as will the rest of the films mentioned here.

These and other films will be added (or have already been included) in The Popcorn Reel Fall 2007 Movie Preview -- which has been posted for a month now and continues to grow!


Omar P.L. Moore
The Popcorn Reel

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