Author Archive for Ian Buckwalter

D.C. Cab Is a Terrible Movie, but It’s Our Terrible Movie

If you Google “best movies about Washington D.C.”, there’s one thing most of the hits have in common: They’re filled in large part with movies about Washington, not ones about D.C.
If you’re a D.C. resident not employed at the White House or Congress—or not a CIA analyst who takes a hands-on approach to fighting communists [...]

Riot Grrrls’ Titus Andronicus at Taffety Punk Theatre Company, Reviewed

If William Shakespeare had been a 1970s filmmaker, Titus Andronicus would have been quite the hit on the grindhouse circuit: Its lurid blend of vengeance, sex, violence, gore, and racial provocation surely would have played well to exploitation audiences hungry for the basest stomach-churning spectacle. With its multiple behandings, stabbings, and even cannibalism, all stemming [...]

DC Shorts, Showcase 4: When In Doubt, Always More Cats

This collection contains yet another short about the death of grandparent (there were two in Showcase 1), suggesting maybe the festival could have found enough for a themed showcase devoted to the subject. But that's one of the two standout pieces in this collection, and one that effectively uses humor for poignancy—as opposed to the [...]

DC Shorts, Showcase 1: Let the Reviews Begin

Today Arts Desk begins its annual coverage of the DC Shorts Film Festival, whose 10th year kicks off tomorrow at E Street Cinema and the U.S. Navy Memorial. Showcase 1 is a mixed bag, but it's made essential by the best short I saw in the slate, Jonathan Ng's animated Requiem for Romance (pictured above). With [...]

AFI Docs: The Kill Team, Reviewed

The Maywand District killings, in which a group of army infantrymen murdered at least three Afghan civilians in early 2010, making their actions appear to be combat-related, seems almost too big to tackle. A dozen soldiers charged with crimes, 11 convicted, for a range of charges starting with premeditated murder and keeping human body parts [...]

Avalon Theatre Raises Funds for Digital Transition

You’ve already kicked in to help Veronica Mars hit the big screen and Zach Braff plumb the plights of existentially challenged thirtysomething white dudes. Now you’re wondering where to throw those philanthropic film dollars next.
For those inclined to give locally, D.C.’s Avalon Theatre is throwing an anniversary bash and fundraiser this weekend, the proceeds from which will [...]

Spray of Reckoning: How Cool “Disco” Dan Became a D.C. Mascot

Through its streetcar days, its riots, its crack epidemic, and its many-flavored scandals, Washington has remained a town of hoary legends. Men’s names, etched into marble; dead generals astride horses, gazing stonily into rush-hour traffic—for generations, these cold and glory-drunk statues have passed as public art in the District. Ask a passerby to connect a [...]

Screen Grabs: When Theaters Transition to Digital Projection, What’s Lost?

Say it’s 1975. You’re a movie-loving entrepreneur and want to open your own cinema. Couldn’t be that hard, right? Find yourself an auditorium, some padded seats, put up a screen, buy a ton of popcorn—oh, and you’ll need a projector, but nothing too highfalutin. The 35-millimeter film they were projecting 20 years ago is the same [...]

E Street and Bethesda Row Theaters Convert to All-Digital Projection

If you were at the AFI this weekend to catch Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, you were witness to a dying bit of cinema history.
It’s not the 70mm film format that Anderson used to shoot his "Scientology movie"; given that The Master is the first narrative feature shot in that large, gloriously detailed format in [...]