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.

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“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner