Film Essent Archive for August, 2010

The Summer of Bad Movies

I was reading this article (“Go and Pay to See Scott Pilgrim Now”) on Vanity Fair bemoaning the dismal box office for the pretty wonderful movie SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD. The writer, John Lopez, says, in part:
Listen, if A.O.

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Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

You don’t have to be a fan of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels to appreciate Edgar Wright’s rather brilliant adaptation of the source material for the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. Nor do you have to be a fan of Michael Cera as an actor to appreciate his turn as the title character (in fact, I would suggest that those who complain of being “tired” of Cera or who generally find him to be “one-note” might be very pleasantly surprised by his performance here). Wright, who previously made the terrific zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, has made a graphic novel adaptation here that is — yes, yes, for what it is, cinephiles — as close to perfect as you could hope to get. It’s pure entertainment, heavy on brilliant colors, fast-cut editing, video game imagery and clever devices, to be sure; but if that’s your thing, you’ll find Scott Pilgrim Vs The World to be a fantastic, frenetic, fun ride.

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The Long Road from Film Fest to Release Date

Whew. Sometimes it takes a looooooong time to get a film from festival play to an actual release date.
I got an email the other day that NESHOBA, which played the Oxford Film Festival in 2009, is finally getting a theatrical showing in NYC. Micki Dickoff’s smart doc revisits the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi, and follows the trial of alleged ringleader Rev. Edgar Ray Killen, who was finally indicted for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwermer in 2005.
Dickoff had unprecedented access to Killen and his family in making this film and it is well worth watching. I understand from the director that this is a new cut of the film that is exactly how she wanted it to be, so it’s a bit different from what we saw at Oxford (not sure how different, exactly). NESHOBA opens August 13 in NYC at Cinema Village. The filmmakers and family members of the victims will be in attendance opening night for a Q&A, so go check it out …
… Also from the “it’s about time” charts, I just got an email in my inbox that LOVELY, STILL, the writing/directorial debut of Nicholas Fackler starring Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, is finally getting a NYC release date. I saw this film way back in 2008 at the Toronto International Film Festival, where as I recall, it was well-received by critics, and I could have sworn it had already released, but hey, apparently not.
LOVELY, STILL is a sweetheart of a romantic fable about an aging gentleman (Landau) who returns home from his job at a grocery store one day to find a strange woman (Burstyn) in his house. The two embark on a late-in-life romance that isn’t — quite — what it seems. A smart, warmly heartfelt screenplay and excellent acting, combined with a nice job by Fackler in weaving the whole thing together, make this charming little film worth catching while you can. LOVELY, STILL opens in NYC on September 10.
If you live in NYC, and you won’t be otherwise engaged at the Toronto International Film Festival, go check it out.

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“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch