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.

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.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno