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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“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch

To me, Hunter S. Thompson was a hero. His early books were great, but in many ways, his life and career post–Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is a cautionary tale for authors. People expected him to be high and drunk all the time and play that persona, and he stuck with that to the end, and I don’t think it was good for him. I always sort of feel mixed emotions when I hear that people went and hung out with Hunter and how great it was to get high with Hunter. The fact is the guy was having difficulty doing any sustained writing at all for years probably because so many quote, unquote, “friends” wanted to get high with him … There was a badly disappointed romantic there. I mean, that great line, “This is where the wave broke, the tide rolled back … ” This was a guy that was hurt and disappointed and very bitter about things, and it made his writing beautiful, and also with that came a lot of pain.
~ Anthony Bourdain