Tuesday, November 06, 2007

News: Strike!

Screenwriter John Rogers serves up the best piece to date on the Writers Guild strike. It’s a clear-eyed look at the issues that addresses the technology questions head on. Long, but well worth it.

And the work stoppage has Josh Friedman blogging again.

Movie: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

Film noir meets Eugene O’Neill in Sidney Lumet’s latest, proof that the master of the New York crime drama hasn’t lost his touch.

Overextended real estate accountant Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) goads his screw-up little brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) into committing the perfect crime: robbing their parents’ suburban jewelry store. Nobody gets hurt, the insurance company will cover the losses, and both brothers can pocket some much-needed cash. Naturally, it doesn’t work out that way.

The script by Kelly Masterson employs a novelistic, elliptical structure. Lumet, who at age 83 has completely embraced digital video, takes full advantage by shooting extended takes with multiple cameras. The resulting movie tightens the screws by revisiting the same scenes from different angles, each time giving us more information and a greater sense of impending tragedy. Tremendous stuff from a veteran who moves with the speed and grace of a wunderkind.