When writer/director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") discovered he was going to become a father two years ago, he was concerned about the tumultuous state of the world into which his child was being born. Spurlock's wish was to give his child a safer and more harmonious place to live. So, after a crash course in combat survival, the filmmaker set off on a journey through the Middle East to find the one man who has shaped the world's perception of that region in recent years: Osama bin Laden. The results of that quest are documented in his new film, "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?"
It would be easy to assume that director-writer Jeff Lipsky, whose "Flannel Pajamas" intimately chronicles the arduous rise and tragic fall of a Jewish man's marriage to a Catholic woman, is a relative newcomer to independent film. After all, this is but his second movie. His first, 1997's "Childhood's End," was a little-seen coming-of-age story about several young people in Minneapolis. But Lipsky actually is one of the most important names in the indie world. Just not as a director. Not yet, anyway.
David Wiseman is a 12-year-old Jewish boy growing up in London in the early 1960s, and his passion is cricket. He spends most of his free time rearranging and talking to his card collection of British and West Indian cricket greats, who in turn talk back to him.The movie about David, his immigrant parents and the changing neighborhood and country in which he grows up was originally called, "Outfielder," a title that might have attracted legions of unwitting baseball fans in the United States. Now, the more awkward title is "Wondrous Oblivion," and if that turns off potential viewers, it will be their loss.
It's little more than a week to the airdate, March 28, and Ofra Bikel is still putting the final touches on her hourlong documentary, "Israel: The Unexpected Candidate."
That's not like Bikel, a meticulous professional, described by critic Howard Rosenberg in the Los Angeles Times as "one of television's premier documentary filmmakers ... whose camera wields the power to mobilize public opinion through exposure."
"Usually, I take seven to eight months to make a documentary, but in this case I had only six weeks," Bikel said in an hourlong phone call from Tel Aviv, her speech a medley of Israeli, French and American accents.
While growing up on his Encino cul-de-sac in the 1980s, Darren Stein made films with his father's video camera, bossily directing the other Jewish kids like a baby Roger Corman. The sets were backyards; production was every afternoon save for Hebrew school hours at Leo Baeck and Stephen S. Wise temples. The scripts included zombie flicks, campy gay comedies and a Holocaust drama in which a bicycle pump doubled for a canister of Zyklon-B.
What's in a Jewish name?
Everything, suggests "The Royal Tenenbaums" writer-director Wes Anderson.