By Other Voices voices@moviecitynews.com

LETTERS FROM LARRY

DEAR DAVID:

Jack Goes Boating isPhillip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut adapted to the screen by Bob Glaudini from his play. It’s a foray into the ordinary- every-day-people- find- true-love genre personified by the Oscar classic, Marty. Hoffman and his superb cast do a wonderful job with it by conveying the obsessive craziness that even “little” people are capable of when they’re in love.

Hesher is another impressive surprising piece of work in a well-worn indie vein. A mysterious anarchic stranger appears to upset all decorum and to teach the timid the gospel of carpe diem. The prototype is Ruth Gordon’s Maude in Harold and Maude. James Spader’s interloper in Sex, Lies, and Videotape is the darker Ibsenesque variant. Here it is the wonderful Joseph Gordon Leavitt in the title role, channelling both his inner Brando and his inner Keanu Reeves, with his shirt off, a lot his tattoos on display, and a haircut shouting, “Jesus!”

The secret trick of Hesher is that the movie is not at all about this entertaining character Levitt plays. It’s about the ten-year-old boy, furious with grief, whose life he invades. It is told from this boy’s pov. Writer directorSpencer Susser takes many cool left turns and gets a career best supporting performance by Natalie Portman.

The best most powerful American indie I’ve seen so far is Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, a tale of murderous family loyalties among meth-manufactuerers.

In the most economically deprived region of the Ozarks in Missouri, Ms. Granik channels her inner John Ford and Sam Peckinpah and suggests that more women are ready to enter narrative preserves where men used to have sole occupancy.

I have no idea who Chris Morris is and I’m not sure if in so-called real life I want to. His Four Lions, a political satire about an Islamic terrorist cell in London, is brilliant, scary and sick fuck funny. Here he radicalized the method of Sacha Baron Cohen and The Coens with the merciless logic of Kubrick in the days of Strangelove.

Whatever else is true, Morris has a vision and he takes no prisoners.

Larry
Sent from my iPhone

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Larry Gross is a 25 year screenwriting veteran and Winner of Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for his most recent release, We Don’t Live Here Anymore.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas