dvd reviews

December 30, 2010
By Jared Curtis


‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’

Directed by Banksy

Rated R, 87 minutes

The ironic reason “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is my favorite documentary of the year is because it might not even be real. The film begins as an ode to street art, and filmmaker Thierry Guetta does a great job of presenting it as such. But, after meeting Shepard Fairey and Banksy (whose interviews are shrouded in darkness), the two most famous artists working in the movement, the film changes, following Guetta’s art career as Mr. Brainwash. With a bit of praise from Fairey and Banksy, Mr. Brainwash sells out shows with ease, but we never see Guetta working. Oddly, his work looks eerily similar to Banksy’s work. Is he a true artist, or is this an elaborate prank pulled on the art community by Fairey and Banksy to show the greed-driven, over-exposed ridiculousness of the art scene? That’s for you to decide, but the possibility makes “Exit Through the Gift Shop” a must-see. CV



Directed by Julian Schabel

1996, Rated R, 108 minutes

Although Banksy is today’s most talented “artist,” street poet Jean-Michel Basquiat, who originally gained fame for the graffiti he created under his alas SAMO (the pieces were so popular people we’re removing bricks and other materials from buildings to own an original.) is even better. Basquiat (Jeffery Wright) was one of many eccentric artists Andy Warhol (David Bowie) took under his wing. “Basquiat” follows the artist’s short life, beginning in 1981 when the 19-year-old artist took the art world by storm. The film is led by a superb performance from Wright as the tortured artist, but the strong supporting cast (Benicio Del Toro, Clair Forlani, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe and Parker Posey) is a revolving door of interesting characters. Although his career was cut short by a drug overdose, Basquiat was truly a unique voice of the time and an inspiration in the art world. CV

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