By MCN Editor


LONG DAY'S JOURNEY 14Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Poetry, bliss, abandon: deep into Bi Gan’s indelible, narcotic masterpiece where a 28-year-old’s talent matches his imagination, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the movie sinks into a sinuous, unbroken take, a gravity-shunning traveling shot in 3-D that lasts an hour. The director, whose first feature, Kaili Blues (2015), was equally attentive to time and duration in its movement across his native province of Guizhou in southwest China, creates gorgeous tableaux as well, fashioning fever dreams cool to the touch. While superficially the movie, called “Last Evenings On Earth” in Chinese, is neon-dreamt, lovelorn neo-noir, it is also topographical fantasia [Read more.]

Shadow.  Chinese censors withdrew Zhang Yimou’s latest film, One Second, set during the decade of Mao Zedong’s brutal Cultural Revolution, from Berlin in February. Shadow, a wuxia martial arts film set in a much earlier and much less controversial era, is on a par with his great, kinetic films like House of Flying Daggers (2004) and his martial arts masterpiece, Hero (2002). A variation on a Jingzhou epic, “The Three Kingdoms,” Shadow draws a canvas of blacks and grays and rain and blue-grays (with intermittent dashes of explosive color) in the style of traditional ink and wash Chinese paintings. Body doubles, the director says, hark back to ancient times. [Read more.] Playing nationwide: theaters.

Meeting Gorbachev. While never reaching for the ether (or ethereal) of his many great documentaries, Herzog’s four sit-down visits with Gorbachev are filled with spiky moments and unexpected questions that make the portrait compelling.  [Read more.]

Blaze (Blu and DVD).  Ethan Hawke doesn’t come right out and say what he’s up to in “Blaze,” but it’s snaky goodness: time and space, all in mind and out of whack. Splinters assemble and disassemble perspectives on a now-gone Austin, Texas songwriter, bright but lost, frustrated at the fall of each note, each sung syllable. Hard to live with; harder to ignore. Hawke calls “Blaze” a country-western opera, and the singer-songwriter at the center, Blaze Foley, “the Snuffleupagus of the outlaw country music scene,” whom he discovered via John Prine’s cover of the song “Clay Pigeons,” “one of the best country songs I’d ever heard.” (Townes Van Zandt, also fictionalized here, wrote and played with Foley.) Not only did Hawke discover Foley’s music, but also “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley,” the memoir of his partner, Sybil Rosen. The form of the film is the form of a song: a song sung, yes, but also a song struck; a song moaned; a song performed; a song sold; a song sundered; a song, a song as subterranean river, sometimes a trickle, sometimes a truculent rivulet, and often, so often, a waterfall of eager, needful romantic yearning. [Read more.]



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“With any character, the way I think about it is, you have the role on the page, you have the vision of the director and you have your life experience… I thought it was one of the foundations of the role for John Wick. I love his grief. For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
~ Keanu Reeves

“I was checking through stuff the other day for technical reasons. I came across The Duellists on Netflix and I was absolutely stunned to see that it was exquisitely graded. So, while I rarely look up my old stuff, I stopped to give it ten minutes. Bugger me, I was there for two hours. I was really fucking pleased with what it was and how the engine still worked within the equation and that engine was the insanity and stupidity of war. War between two men, in that case, who fight on thought they both eventually can’t remember the reason why. It was great, yeah. The great thing about these platforms now is that, one way or another, they’ll seek out and then put out the best possible form and the long form. Frequently, films get cut down because of that curse in which the studio felt or feels that they have to preview. And there’s nothing worse than a preview to diminish the original intent.Oh, yeah, how about every fucking time? And I’ve stewed about films later even more because when you tell the same joke 20 times the joke’s no longer funny. When you tell a bad joke once or twice? It’s fine. But come on, now. Here’s the key on the way I feel when I approach the movie: I try to keep myself as withdrawn from the project as possible once I’ve filmed it. And – this is all key on this – then getting a really excellent editor so I never have to sit in on editing. What happens if you sit in is you become stale and every passage or joke, metaphorically speaking, gets more and more tired. You start cutting it all back because of fatigue. So what you have to do is keep your distance and therefore, in a funny kind of way, you, as the director, should be the preview and that’s it.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott