Another three-movie day. I can't complain. Stone of Destiny was enjoyable, if only for the accents and the 50’s period costumes, for which I am a sucker. About four Scottish students who attempt to steal Scotland’s Stone of Destiny out from under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abby, it rigidly follows a caper-movie formula – there is the genial and handsome hero, the babe, the strong lunkhead, the shy guy who comes out of his shell – but not in an off-putting way. Even as I enjoyed the movie, I found it frustrating that there was nothing particularly fresh about the approach to the material.
Katrina’s Children is a doc about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina told by children who lived through it. The kids are all amiable and gifted storytellers so their accounts are compelling, but where the film is really effecting is hinting at the real hurt contained in the kids’ stories. Listening to the stories, one gets the sense that most of these kids got their first notions of what it is to be abandoned and to be alienated from the powers that be – political, God or otherwise. Katrina’s Children articulated the kinds of emotional scars that will mark these kids for the rest of their lives.
The Black List is a series of testimonials from some prominent African-American citizens on how race has shaped their lives and careers. Featuring Chris Rock, Russell Simmons, Toni Morrison, Rev. Al Sharpton, Thelma Golden, and Keenen Ivory Wayans among others, all share their stories of the inconsistencies and misconceptions they face. Memorably, for me, were Louis Gossett Jr. lamenting that after he won the Academy Award he was never offered the roles he thought he deserved, Barak Obama advisor Susan Rice spoke about the satisfaction she felt at using the scholarship money of renowned racist Cecil Rhodes to study the independence of Zimbabwe from colonial rule, and Serena Williams talked about her disappointment at how her tennis matches are always written up as being overpowering and fierce on her part and never as being a triumph of strategy, which, according to Williams, they always are.
According to my regular movie-going companion, Dave Howlett, the sold-out Atlantic Shorts Gala at the Oxford was a treat, indeed, with the highlight for him being Jason Eisener’s Treevenge. I loved Hobo With a Shotgun (I even bought the T-shirt!) so I really regret I missed this. I'll have to console myself with 'Report Card,’ a little tag to be played this week with Treevenge at Austin, Texas’ Fantastic Fest: