Archive for February, 2010


SUNY Oswego: Upcoming Films Screening On Campus

23 February 2010

Here’s a lists of films I’ve seen notices for. (No charge for these screenings). (Updated and corrected on March 4)

Mar 1 / The Cove (2009, US) / 7 PM / Campus Center (CC) Auditorium 118  (OFG presentation)

Mar 3 / Machuca (2004, Chile) / 7:15 PM / Lanigan 102

Mar 4 / Shadow of a Doubt (1943, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Mar 9 / Sissi (1955) / 7 PM / Lanigan 102

Mar 10 / Sissi: The Young Empress (1956, Austria) / 7:15 PM / CC Aud 118

Mar 11 / Laura (1944, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Mar 24 / Bitter Sugar (1996, Cuba) / 7:15 PM / CC Aud  118

Mar 25 / Arsenic & Old Lace (1944, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Mar 29 / Food, Inc. (2008, US) / 7 PM / CC 114 (OFG presentation)

Mar 31 / Nowhere in Africa (2001, Germany) / 7:15 PM / CC 201

Apr 1 / Detective Story (1951, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Apr 8 / Ace in the Hole (1951, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Apr 14 / L’Auberge espagnole (2002/ France-Spain) / 7:15 PM / CC Aud 118

Apr 15 / The Searchers (1956, US) / 7 PM/ Park 305

Apr 22 / A Face in the Crowd (1957, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

Apr 28 / The Motorcycle Diaries (2004, GB-US-France) / 7:15 PM / CC Aud 118

Apr 29 / Elmer Gantry (1960, US) / 7 PM / Park 305

May 5 / The Legend of Rita (2000, Germany) / 7:15 PM / CC Aud 118

May 6 / The Apartment (1960, US) / 7 PM / Park 305


OFG Poster for “The Cove”

22 February 2010

It’s a Microsoft Word document:



“The Cove” Screens 3/1 at SUNY Oswego

20 February 2010

Monday, March 1st at 7 PM, please join us for a screening of one of the Oscar nominees in the Documentary Feature category, The Cove. The film will be shown in SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center Auditorium (118) and is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the film’s website:

This is from the film review by  Kenneth Turan (The Los Angeles Times):

‘The Cove’s’ story of a quiet village in Japan that specializes in clandestine dolphin slaughter is quite consciously structured as a thriller by director Louie Psihoyos who won an audience award for it at Sundance.

The film follows a group of determined environmental commandos as it attempts to document what goes on in a deceptively tranquil lagoon. The leader of the group, and hands down the most compelling person in the film, is Ric O’Barry, who became famous decades ago as the man who both captured and trained the five dolphins who collectively became TV’s Flipper and so helped start the multimillion-dollar seaquarium industry.

But after Kathy, the main ‘Flipper’ dolphin, died in his arms, O’Barry had a major change of heart and became an uncompromising free-the-dolphins zealot….”

First-time director Psihoyos, a National Geographic photographer who is one of the founders of the Oceanic Preservation Society, got interested in O’Barry when the man was barred from speaking at a marine conference. O’Barry told him about the town of Taiji, which masquerades as a dolphin-friendly spot but is quite the opposite.

…. Local fisherman drive the dolphins to that cove, an area that’s protected from the prying eyes of outsiders by high fences and razor wire.

Then trainers, who have flown in from seaquariums all over the world, line up and take their pick of the candidates for $150,000 per animal. Finally, those dolphins not selected as future performers are simply butchered as part of a clandestine market for dolphin meat, so secret that even most Japanese don’t know of it.

Given the controversial nature of all this, Taiji’s city government is hardly eager for a Western crew to get it all down on camera. Police shadow the filmmakers everywhere, and the local fishermen, who fear the loss of revenue, aggressively confront the visitors, hoping to provoke actions that will get the foreigners expelled from the country.

Undaunted, O’Barry and Psihoyos put together a kind of dream team of environmental activists with counter-insurgency skills. Cameras are secreted in realistic fake rocks created by George Lucas’ ILM, and world-class free-divers place other cameras under water. The object, says the director, is “not just to capture the slaughter but to make people want to change.”

The footage that results is graphic and bloody enough to make the sea run bright red, but because it has an activist slant, ‘The Cove’ makes points that don’t depend on those shots for their effectiveness. We learn a lot about dolphin intelligence, witness the ineffectiveness of the International Whaling Commission in the face of Japanese lobbying, and learn how the high mercury levels in dolphin meat bring to mind the earlier mercury poisoning scandal at Minamata….


Next Week at SUNY Oswego: “Not For Sale” and “Arrancame la Vida”

20 February 2010
On Monday, February 24 at 7 PM in the Campus Center Auditorium (188): the film Not For Sale. On Wednesday, February 24 at 7:15 PM in the Campus Center Auditorium (118): the film Arráncame la Vida (Tear This Heart Out).
Not For Sale…the Documentary, based on the book Not For Sale by David Batstone, covers what modern-day abolitionists are doing to fight the rampant terrors of human trafficking in the US and abroad. Traveling over 120,000 miles across five continents, Producer and Director Robert Marcarelli and his film crew gathered undercover footage on this billion-dollar industry and interviewed the heroes that are determined to see it end.
(from the Not For Sale website)
Based on Ángeles Mastretta’s novel of the same name, Arráncame la Vida is set during Mexico’s post-revolutionary period of the 1930s and ’40s. The story begins with the beautiful Catalina Guzmán (Ana Claudia Talancón) marrying at an early age the much older, charismatic and cunning general, Andrés Ascencio (Daniel Giménez Cacho). Dazzled by his world, Catalina escorts Andrés on his political campaigns, witnessing the fascinating political system as she pursues social justice. She soon discovers, however, that by dedicating her life to Andrés, she has lost her freedom. Arráncame la Vida is considered one of the most widely acclaimed and expensive films in the history of Mexican cinema.
‘….Tear This Heart Out has it all – a passionate love story set against the backdrop of the post-revolution ’30s and ’40s Mexico, sumptuous visuals and a sweep that sometimes touches the authentically epic…” (Jonathan Holland, Variety)
[Director] Roberto Sneider was born in Mexico City in 1962. His first film, Dos Crímenes, was selected for a number of international film festivals and won Best First Work at the Mexican Academy Awards. Arráncame la Vida is his second film and was Mexico’s official submission to the 2009 Academy Awards. Also in 2009, the film won four Ariels, the Mexican equivalent of an Oscar.
(from the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival site)

OFG Finally Annouces First Films of 2010 Season!

19 February 2010

Our first offerings will both screen at SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center. We’ll view two of this year’s documentary nominees for Oscar: The Cove and Food, Inc.

We plan to screen The Cove on Monday, March 1 at 7 PM in the Auditorium and Food, Inc. on Monday, March 29 at 7  PM in CC114.

Much more on the films to follow…


“Superfly” Screens at SUNY Oswego 2/25

18 February 2010

One of the most successful of the early ’70s blaxploitation cycle. Coke-dealing Priest (O’Neal), so-called because he carries his samples in a crucifix, sinks his capital into purchase of thirty keys of the stuff – the final deal that will get him out of ‘the life’, so the legend goes….(from the Time Out Film Guide)

Dr. Kenneth Marshall continues his screenings of blaxploitation movies on campus on Thursday, February 25.  Superfly (directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., starring Ron O’Neal, with music by Curtis Mayfield) will be shown at 6:30 PM in Lanigan 107.

"Superfly" (1972)


Instant-Runoff Voting Comes to the Oscar Race

13 February 2010

This is from Hendrik Hertzberg’s column in February 15 issue of The New Yorker:

The Academy Award nominations were announced last week, and two movies came out on top: “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker,” with nine nods apiece. At the box office, however, the score is not tied. “The Hurt Locker” has taken in a little more than sixteen million dollars. “Avatar” took in eleven million. The difference is, the figure for “The Hurt Locker” represents the totality of its receipts in the seven months since it was released. The “Avatar” number represents only the most recent weekend’s take. In Italy. ….

Everyone seems to agree that the director, James Cameron, and his legions of artists and technicians have created a thrillingly immersive, lovingly detailed, surprisingly believable alternative world. There’s been less unanimity about the movie’s “message.” Liberals are unhappy with the white-guy-rescues-the-natives aspect of the story, though this aspect surely has less to do with racism per se than with Cameron’s reliance on old-movie plot devices. Conservatives complain that the picture’s vision of the future (the action takes place in the year 2154) is overly hospitable to century-and-a-half-old lefty talking points….The movie is pro-rain forest, anti-privatization, and pro-scientist. Cameron knows a lot about science, but he’s happy to bag it when necessary, as suggested in this colloquy, from a recent interview with a men’s magazine:

PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine’s hotness?
CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,” even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals.

But enough with the cahiers du cinéma. Who’s going to win Best Picture? Among Oscar touts, the consensus is that it’ll be one of the two top nomination-garnerers, with “Avatar” the heavy favorite. Brandon Gray, at, writes that “good box office has historically been key to winning Best Picture, which usually goes to the movie with the first or second highest gross among the nominees: that would favor ‘Avatar’ over ‘The Hurt Locker.’ ” Given that the latter’s gross is the second lowest among the ten nominees, amounting to less than one per cent of the former’s, you can say that again.

Even so, there is a distinct possibility of an upset. To understand why requires drilling down into the mechanics of voting systems. It’ll only hurt for a minute. From 1946 until last year, the voting worked the way Americans are most familiar with. Five pictures were nominated. If you were a member of the Academy, you put an “X” next to the name of your favorite. The picture with the most votes won. Nice and simple, though it did mean that a movie could win even if a solid majority of the eligible voters—in theory, as many as seventy-nine per cent of them—didn’t like it. Those legendary PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants don’t release the totals, but this or something like it has to have happened in the past, probably many times.

This year, the Best Picture list was expanded, partly to make sure that at least a couple of blockbusters would be on it. (The biggest grosser of 2008, “The Dark Knight,” was one of the better Batman adventures, but it didn’t make the cut.) To forestall a victory for some cinematic George Wallace or Ross Perot, the Academy switched to a different system. Members—there are around fifty-eight hundred of them—are being asked to rank their choices from one to ten. In the unlikely event that a picture gets an outright majority of first-choice votes, the counting’s over. If not, the last-place finisher is dropped and its voters’ second choices are distributed among the movies still in the running. If there’s still no majority, the second-to-last-place finisher gets eliminated, and its voters’ second (or third) choices are counted. And so on, until one of the nominees goes over fifty per cent.

This scheme, known as preference voting or instant-runoff voting, doesn’t necessarily get you the movie (or the candidate) with the most committed supporters, but it does get you a winner that a majority can at least countenance. It favors consensus. Now here’s why it may also favor “The Hurt Locker.” A lot of people like “Avatar,” obviously, but a lot don’t—too cold, too formulaic, too computerized, too derivative. (Remember “Dances with Wolves”? “Jurassic Park”? Everything by Hayao Miyazaki?) “Avatar” is polarizing. So is James Cameron. He may have fattened the bank accounts of a sizable bloc of Academy members—some three thousand people drew “Avatar” paychecks—but that doesn’t mean that they all long to recrown him king of the world. (As he has admitted, his people skills aren’t the best.) These factors could push “Avatar” toward the bottom of many a ranked-choice ballot.

On the other hand, few people who have seen “The Hurt Locker”—a real Iraq War story, not a sci-fi allegory—actively dislike it, and many profoundly admire it…. It will likely be the second or third preference of voters whose first choice is one of the other “small” films that have been nominated…. ♦