So here’s something we don’t understand: There’s not a whole lot going on in TV-land (though we still support you, writers!), and yet people still aren’t going to the movies in the money-spending holiday-season droves that studios would like. The budget-busting Golden Compass was No. 1 this weekend, but its $26 million is not considered a good haul for what New Line spent on those fightin’ Polar Bears. (It’s doing much better overseas. … Take from that what you will.) This weekend Hollywood and the world’s hopes rest on the muscular (very, very muscular) shoulders of Will Smith and I Am Legend. (A.k.a. the most stressful movie of all time … two words: bird flu. Okay?)
However, if you love life (and German Shepherds), here are some smaller pictures opening this weekend to see instead.
ANDY WARHOL AND the Factory have provided fertile ground for filmmakers; from I Shot Andy Warhol to last year’s Factory Girl, that era and those wackadoo characters remain a subject of intense intrigue. Filmmaker Esther B. Robinson had a personal reason for making her documentary A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory, about the 1966 disappearance of Danny Williams, onetime Warhol lover and Factory member; he was her uncle, and his absence had haunted his family ever since. When MoMa curator Callie Angell (trivia: daughter of Roger) discovered 20 never-before-seen experimental silent films featuring Edie Sedgwick, the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol apparently made by Danny Williams, Ms. Robinson set off on a quest to find out more about her uncle’s relationship to the Factory as well as his place in her family’s history. The resulting documentary, filled with interviews with Factory members like Paul Morrissey, the Velvet Underground’s John Cale and Brigid Berlin, and with pieces of Williams’ startling films interspersed, feels deeply personal. Seeing the images of laughi ng, giddy and glamorously decadent Warholians compared to how they look in the unblinking bright light of today is rather sobering. (Read: Yikes!) The real question is, who will be the next random Factory member to get the movie treatment? Our vote goes for Ms. Berlin—her nuttiness makes for some solid-gold good times (and a simultaneous PSA for drug use).
A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory opens Friday at Cinema Village.
LOOK, BY ADAM Rifkin, will make you reevaluate your behavior the next time you’re alone in an elevator. The entire movie’s premise and execution takes place on multitudes of surveillance cameras. As the film points out in the opening scene, the average American is captured on these cameras over 200 times a day. Eeek! The film interweaves a wild array of overlapping story lines: A department store floor manager who uses his inventory room to bang shop girls, snort coke and masturbate; a mini-mart clerk who loves his keyboard and bitchy girlfriend; a married-with-kids lawyer cheating on his wife with a man; two Lolita-like girls, one of whom is determined to seduce her high-school English teacher; a pedophile; and two sociopaths on a crime spree. Got all that? Weirdly enough, the movie is compelling, tapping into our basic human curiosity: What do people do when they think they’re alone? According to this movie, act horribly, as it seems that the cameras only capture the very worst of human behavior. The good news is that Rhys Coiro (a.k.a. Billy Walsh from Entourage) is in it (as one of the sociopaths) … the bad news is, not nearly enough.
Look opens Friday at the Angelika Film Center.