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By Michael Sragow | michael.sragow@baltsun.com and Sun Movie Critic | March 14, 2010
T he sweeping victory of "The Hurt Locker" at the Academy Awards wasn't just a triumph for American independent filmmaking. It was a championship moment for independent-film showcases like the 2009 Maryland Film Festival, which made the movie its closing-night presentation. Kathryn Bigelow, the director, and Mark Boal, the screenwriter, maintained creative control of their audacious artistic enterprise from the first words Boal put on paper to Bigelow's final cut. They pulled off the feat of putting audiences in the boots of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.
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By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun | May 5, 2014
Sarah-Violet Bliss acknowledges some frustration with fielding questions, yet again, about being a female filmmaker, about how the vast majority of movies seem to be directed by men, and about whether that will stop being the case any time soon. "I didn't realize it was going to be something I had to talk about," says Bliss, whose "Fort Tilden" is one of at least 15 women-directed features being screened at this week's 16th Maryland Film Festival. "I just thought I would talk about the movie.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | May 3, 2009
From her breakthrough with Near Dark, a contemporary vampire movie featuring undead who roam the West in a van, Kathryn Bigelow has broken new ground for female movie directors. Simply following her instincts for atmosphere and suspense, she's become a specialist in fable and adventure. Even skeptics acknowledge her knack for splashy action-film iconography in movies like Point Break, which turned Keanu Reeves into a Gen-X version of the strong, silent type and showcased Patrick Swayze as a specialist in tough-guy karma while mixing surfing and grand larceny.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | May 8, 2010
"Mother and Child," starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, proves that its writer-director, Rodrigo Garcia, has become a master of crafting intimate dramas for the big screen. Let's hope that in its own quiet fashion this movie builds on its festival acclaim the way "The Hurt Locker" did. (It follows "The Hurt Locker" as the closing night attraction at the Maryland Film Festival.) Garcia has long commanded the respect of Hollywood's top actor-stars.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | July 24, 2009
The visceral shocks are also shocks of recognition in The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow's spellbinder about Army bomb squads in Iraq. Watching it, you feel you're in the presence of art completely of the moment and also aesthetically new. This film pioneers observational action moviemaking. It sensitizes you to changes in atmosphere that portend danger and convey hidden meaning while furthering the plot and the characters. And it does so while reporting aspects of the Iraq war that have never before been fleshed out. Whether the men are blowing off steam in Camp Victory or pulling off a defusing operation in a sandy Baghdad street, anything in sight can set off reverberations with mortal consequences.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow | michael.sragow@baltsun.com and Sun Movie Critic | July 17, 2009
The summer's best American movie, "The Hurt Locker", opens in Baltimore one week from today. It's the culmination of a four-year process that began when journalist-screenwriter Mark Boal told director Kathryn Bigelow that he had an assignment from Playboy to be embedded with an Army bomb-defusing squad in Iraq. Bigelow thought, "There's a movie there. I didn't know what he would come back with, I didn't know any of the details, but I was certain it was a film."They went on to revive the once red-hot tradition of journalistic moviemaking.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow | August 14, 2009
The Hurt Locker : **** ( 4 STARS) It hasn't had the benefit of big-studio promotion, but Kathryn Bigelow's incisive, thrilling account of a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq has satisfied more people more deeply than any action-franchise blockbuster. It's a real audience movie: it unites everyone in awe of its phenomenally courageous heroes. For decades, audiences and critics have complained that movies have fallen behind television in the treatment of vital contemporary issues. But this movie tells a hitherto untold story of the key players in what has long been a war of improvised bombs.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Kenneth Turan and Tribune Newspapers | February 5, 2010
I was afraid. I was very afraid. As the clock ticked down to 5:38 and 30 seconds Tuesday morning (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is nothing if not precise), I found myself, as a partisan of the Oscar's sea change from five to 10 best-picture nominees, getting increasingly worried about how it would all play out. Instead of the broad audience pictures the academy was hoping for, would the membership end up voting for 10 niche items? Would (bite your tongue at the very thought)
ENTERTAINMENT
by Jordan Bartel | jordan@bthesite.com and b free daily | March 5, 2010
So, who really votes for the Oscars? Members of the Academy -- actors, directors, writers, cinematographers. Even PR people. We're none of those, but it doesn't mean we can't pretend. For b's second Oscar Panel of Greatness (trademark pending), we enlisted the help of four local movie buffs to pick who'd they vote for in six major categories if they had an official ballot in their movie-loving hands. Love was spread around, even for people who weren't nominated -- though there was one consensus pick.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | May 8, 2010
"Mother and Child," starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, proves that its writer-director, Rodrigo Garcia, has become a master of crafting intimate dramas for the big screen. Let's hope that in its own quiet fashion this movie builds on its festival acclaim the way "The Hurt Locker" did. (It follows "The Hurt Locker" as the closing night attraction at the Maryland Film Festival.) Garcia has long commanded the respect of Hollywood's top actor-stars.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow | michael.sragow@baltsun.com and Sun Movie Critic | March 14, 2010
T he sweeping victory of "The Hurt Locker" at the Academy Awards wasn't just a triumph for American independent filmmaking. It was a championship moment for independent-film showcases like the 2009 Maryland Film Festival, which made the movie its closing-night presentation. Kathryn Bigelow, the director, and Mark Boal, the screenwriter, maintained creative control of their audacious artistic enterprise from the first words Boal put on paper to Bigelow's final cut. They pulled off the feat of putting audiences in the boots of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.
ENTERTAINMENT
by Jordan Bartel | jordan@bthesite.com and b free daily | March 5, 2010
So, who really votes for the Oscars? Members of the Academy -- actors, directors, writers, cinematographers. Even PR people. We're none of those, but it doesn't mean we can't pretend. For b's second Oscar Panel of Greatness (trademark pending), we enlisted the help of four local movie buffs to pick who'd they vote for in six major categories if they had an official ballot in their movie-loving hands. Love was spread around, even for people who weren't nominated -- though there was one consensus pick.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Kenneth Turan and Tribune Newspapers | February 5, 2010
I was afraid. I was very afraid. As the clock ticked down to 5:38 and 30 seconds Tuesday morning (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is nothing if not precise), I found myself, as a partisan of the Oscar's sea change from five to 10 best-picture nominees, getting increasingly worried about how it would all play out. Instead of the broad audience pictures the academy was hoping for, would the membership end up voting for 10 niche items? Would (bite your tongue at the very thought)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow | August 14, 2009
The Hurt Locker : **** ( 4 STARS) It hasn't had the benefit of big-studio promotion, but Kathryn Bigelow's incisive, thrilling account of a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq has satisfied more people more deeply than any action-franchise blockbuster. It's a real audience movie: it unites everyone in awe of its phenomenally courageous heroes. For decades, audiences and critics have complained that movies have fallen behind television in the treatment of vital contemporary issues. But this movie tells a hitherto untold story of the key players in what has long been a war of improvised bombs.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | July 24, 2009
The visceral shocks are also shocks of recognition in The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow's spellbinder about Army bomb squads in Iraq. Watching it, you feel you're in the presence of art completely of the moment and also aesthetically new. This film pioneers observational action moviemaking. It sensitizes you to changes in atmosphere that portend danger and convey hidden meaning while furthering the plot and the characters. And it does so while reporting aspects of the Iraq war that have never before been fleshed out. Whether the men are blowing off steam in Camp Victory or pulling off a defusing operation in a sandy Baghdad street, anything in sight can set off reverberations with mortal consequences.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow | michael.sragow@baltsun.com and Sun Movie Critic | July 17, 2009
The summer's best American movie, "The Hurt Locker", opens in Baltimore one week from today. It's the culmination of a four-year process that began when journalist-screenwriter Mark Boal told director Kathryn Bigelow that he had an assignment from Playboy to be embedded with an Army bomb-defusing squad in Iraq. Bigelow thought, "There's a movie there. I didn't know what he would come back with, I didn't know any of the details, but I was certain it was a film."They went on to revive the once red-hot tradition of journalistic moviemaking.
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