Werner Herzog in Pleasantville


It’s not exactly the hip neighborhood, but working out of Deep Focus World Headquarters in Sleepy Hollow, NY, has its advantages. One of them is the proximity of the Jacob Burns Film Center, an arthouse triplex in nearby Pleasantville that’s several times more comfy than any similar venue in Manhattan. (Well, with the possible exception of the fairly posh Sunshine Cinemas downtown. And the similarly appointed IFC Center, also downtown. But you get my meaning.) Tonight, the Burns center hosted Werner Herzog for a screening of his documentary about Antarctic research stations and the scientists who inhabit them, Encounters at the End of the World. In the course of a highly entertaining Q&A, he held forth on his Bad Lieutenant remake, described his rescue of Joaquin Phoenix in early 2006, and told the audience what he really thinks about film theory.

Continue reading

The Last Winter (2006)


Low-budget horror auteur Larry Fessenden (Habit, Wendigo) has a truly clever set-up for his latest shiverfest. Climate change is making life difficult for a group of blue-collar types (think Alien and especially The Thing) working to get oil out of the Alaskan wilderness by melting the ice roads and thawing the frozen tundra, making both unsafe for trucks. As the film progresses, the crew is slowly driven insane, either by “sour gas” being released out of the softening ground, or by some kind of vengeful earth-spirit that’s been stirred up by exploitation of the area’s natural resources. It’s a global-warming horror movie.

Continue reading