Reverential Retrospective Revisits Life And Career Of Charismatic Pop Artist
David Hockney was born in Bradford, England, in 1937, which means that his formative years were substantially shaped by World War II, from the air raids to the food rationing. He attended both the Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art before scraping up just enough money to move to the United States.
In 1964, he settled in California where he became one of the seminal founders of the Pop Art movement. Like his contemporary Andy Warhol, Hockney had a knack for drawing the attention of the press, between his bleached blond hair and his flamboyant wardrobe.
But while both icons were gay, only David dared to feature homoerotic themes in his art. Despite the stigma associated with homosexuality back in the ’60s, he still managed to achieve enormous success.
That enduring career as well as his self-indulgent private life prove to be fertile fodder for Hockney, a reverential biopic featuring a mix of home movie footage and intimate interviews with David’s friends and associates. The intriguing documentary marks the feature film directorial debut of Randall Wright, who does a great job of humanizing his subject to the point where you really feel as though you know this inscrutable, if charismatic public figure.
A fascinating examination of the mind, motivations and legacy of one of the 20th century’s most important, modern artists.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 112 minutes
Dispatches From The Gulf
Eco-Documentary Assesses State Of The Gulf Of Mexico Six Years After Catastrophic Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig claimed 11 lives while igniting a fireball that could be seen as far as 40 miles away. The blowout also triggered a leak of over 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the worst spill in American history.
Short term, the frightening disaster certainly had a catastrophic effect on the Gulf’s fisheries, fauna, water and wildlife. Nevertheless, many wondered whether the region would ever recover from the tragedy.
A team of experts decided to tackle that question, and the upshot of that effort is Dispatches From The Gulf, an eco-documentary directed by Hal Weiner (Journey To Planet Earth). Narrated by Matt Damon, the film relates some very surprising findings on the part of the scientists.
For example, they learned that “the sun has done a remarkable job of breaking down the oil molecules.” About half of the petroleum slime has evaporated, a quarter of it washed up on beaches, and the other quarter was either burned or siphoned off by dispersants.
In terms of the seafood industry, it turns out that Gulf fish have substantially recovered, although they are generally smaller than they used to be. However, they did discover contaminated coral still consuming oil on the ocean floor when they descended via submersible to a depth of 5,000 feet.
In the end, the group concluded that the monitoring of the Gulf must continue, as there are no easy answers and no quick fixes for this unprecedented, man-made calamity with unanticipated fallout remaining a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, the next time you’re in New Orleans, consider it perfectly safe to order the gumbo again!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 60 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening April 29, 2016
Keanu (R for violence, sexuality, nudity, drug use and pervasive profanity) Suburbia meets the ‘hood comedy about a couple of bourgie cousins (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) who pose as drug-dealing gangstas in order to rescue a beloved pet from the ghetto. With Nia Long, Will Forte and Method Man.
Mother’s Day (PG-13 for profanity and suggestive material) Ensemble comedy revolving around a cornucopia of characters whose lives serendipitously intersect over the course of a very eventful week leading up to Mother’s Day. Cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Loni Love, Hector Elizondo and Jon Lovitz.
Ratchet & Clank (PG for action and rude humor) Animated adaptation of the sci-fi video game about a mechanic (James Arnold Taylor) who joins forces with a renegade robot (David Kaye) to prevent an evil alien (Paul Giamatti) from destroying every planet in the galaxy. Voice cast includes Sly Stallone, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and Jim Ward.
Special Correspondents (Unrated) Ricky Gervais wrote, directed and co-stars in this remake of Envoyes Tres Speciaux, the French farce about a radio journalist (Eric Bana) and assistant (Gervais) who decide to fake their own disappearance and flee to New York during an uprising in a South American Banana Republic. With Vera Farmiga, America Ferrara and Benjamin Bratt.
3rd Street Blackout (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a tech-addicted couple (Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf) forced by a Hurricane Sandy power outage to face each other sans electronic devices. With Janeane Garofalo, Devin Ratray and Ed Weeks.
A Beautiful Planet (G) Jennifer Lawrence narrates this eco-documentary examining humanity’s relationship with the Earth via footage shot from the International Space Station.
Dough (Unrated) Unlikely-buddies dramedy about a Jewish shopkeeper (Jonathan Pryce) who revives his failing bakery with the help of his Muslim apprentice’s (Jerome Holder) marijuana-spiked yeast. With Ian Hart, Philip Davis and Malachi Kirby.
The Family Fang (R for profanity) Jason Bateman directed this adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s best seller about a brother (Bateman) and sister’s (Nicole Kidman) search for their performance artist parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) who disappeared without a trace. Cast includes Kathryn Hahn, Jason Butler Harner and Marin Ireland.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (PG-13 for smoking and mature themes) Adaptation of the best-seller of the same name about a promising math prodigy (Dev Patel) brought to Cambridge University from the slums of India by a professor (Jeremy Irons) who recognized the kid’s genius. Cast includes Toby Jones, Stephen Fry and Jeremy Northam. (In Tamil and English with subtitles)
Papa Hemingway In Cuba (R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and some violence) Slice-of-life biopic, set in Havana, recounting the friendship Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) forged with a reporter from Miami (Giovanni Ribisi) during the Cuban Revolution. With Minka Kelly, Mariel Hemingway, James Remar and Joely Richardson.