Kiernan Shipka in "The Blackcoat’s Daughter."
The new movie “Ghost in the Shell” had me thinking a lot this week about critics, movie journalism and how the conversation around a movie can come to define that movie. In some ways a movie only comes to really matter because of conversation around it, and “Ghost” generated some inspired, thought-provoking writing, including Justin Chang for The Times, Emily Yoshida for Vulture and Alison Willmore for Buzzfeed.
The TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday, April 9. It is always a treat because of the expertly chosen lineup, this year running from “America America” to “Zardoz,” but also for the madcap enthusiasm of the audience members. This year will be especially poignant given the recent death of network host Robert Osborne, to whom this year’s festival is now dedicated.
More movies you’ll read about in this week’s Indie Focus Newsletter:
The three-part documentary series “Five Came Back,” based on the 2014 book by Mark Harris, which covers the experiences of five Hollywood directors during World War II. Premiering on Netflix (and getting a limited theatrical run), it hasMeryl Streep as the film’s narrator, and contemporary filmmakers paired with each of the five filmmakers. The impressive casting features Steven Spielberg for William Wyler, Guillermo del Toro for Frank Capra, Paul Greengrass for John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola for John Huston, Lawrence Kasdan for George Stevens.
"Donnie Darko," Richard Kelly’s 2001 apocalyptic suburban sci-fi teen drama. A flop on its initial release, the film built a cult following that resulted in a 2004 director’s cut and an ongoing afterlife. Both versions of the movie are being re-released in a new restoration in celebration of the film’s 15th anniversary.
“The Blackcoat’s Daughter,” written and directed by Osgood Perkins (son of “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins). The film premiered in 2015 under its original title: “February.” In an odd bit of distribution voodoo, Perkins second film “I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In the House” actually saw release before this, his debut. Starring Kiernan Shipka, Emma Roberts and Lucy Boyton, “The Blackcoat’s Daiughter” is a horror thriller set amid a girls boarding school.
And the films of Walter Hill, who is being celebrated by the American Cinematheque in a mini retrospective, with the filmmaker present for some of the screenings. Among the films will be Hill’s new film, “The Assignment,” a provocative hit-man revenge saga starring Michelle Rodriguez, which screens Thursday, April 6, followed by a weekend series that will include “The Warriors,” “Streets of Fire,” “The Driver,” “Hard Times” and “Geronimo: An American Legend.” Hill is a filmmaker frequently mentioned by other filmmakers as an influence for his handling of storytelling and action, making him something of a tough guys’ tough guy.
Eric Church performs Friday night at Staples Center. (DreamWorks Animation)