Tales of cinema survival

* Flicks are a tough business which frequently requires great sacrifice. Still, I can’t think of a single creative or suit whose had to saw off a limb to stay alive. However, that’s exactly what mountaineer Aron Ralston had to do and now director Danny Boyle plans to film Ralston’s story, perhaps or perhaps not with actor Ryan Gosling in the lead. Fun, fun, fun.

Cast Away

* Demon-plagued Katie and Micah of “Paranormal Activitylive (and hopefully have good agents). Also, those with a high tolerance for low humor will want to check out my friends, the Perry Boys, in “Perry-Normal Activity.”

* RIP comic actor, vaudevillian, and magician Carl Ballantine aka “The Great Ballantine, who survived very nicely until age 92.

* Roadside Attractions has picked up “The Joneses,” a comedic social satire with two career survivors, David Duchovny and Demi Moore.

* “The Tourist,” a remake of a 2005 French thriller little seen in the U.S. has lost Sam Worthington and the very good director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others.”) However, it lives to tell the tale as it’s gained Johnny Depp and, perhaps, and an even better director in Alfonso Cuaron (“Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “Children of Men“).

  

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Sin Nombre

You’ll want to watch the DVD of writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s acclaimed feature debut on the biggest television set you can find. That’s not only because this film is full of astonishing Latin American location work from a newcomer with a stunning camera eye, but also because Universal saw fit not to make new subtitles for the DVD version of the film, leaving us with only the tiny, eye-strain inducing subtitles from the theatrical release. That technical annoyance aside, this blend of social drama, action-thriller and love story unites American filmmaking slickness with what feels like an insider’s view of the brutal travails of Central American immigrants and the sickness of life inside today’s gangs. The story brings together a heartbroken Mexican gangbanger on the run (Marco Antonio Aguirre) and an innocent Honduran teen (Paulina Gaitan) trying to unite with family in New Jersey in an involving and violent story that does a fine job of humanizing the “illegal immigrants” that fill the fevered imagination of America’s right wing.

On his first feature (produced by the “Y Tu Mama Tambien” twosome of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal), Berkeley, California-bred writer-director Fukunaga has made an impossibly slick, extremely well-acted combination of indie subject matter and mainstream style that involves us with strong characterization, fine acting from a cast of unknowns, and visual brilliance. Even if “Sin Nombre” ultimately doesn’t quite justify the heartrending journey the film takes us on, it’s a mightily impressive debut that will inspire young filmmakers and seriously anger Lou Dobbs — two highly praiseworthy achievements.

Click to buy “Sin Nombre”

  

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