Night Moves

Movie City Indie Archive for June, 2006

Oh hot, oh heat, nice lady, big hot heat hot: the holidaze

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There’ll be light posting in the next few days: pre-holiday deadlines and such, but several interviews and other good things are in the offing, along with links when we find them…

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Southland Tales to be released in director's cut in North America

In Cinema Scope 27, publisher-editor Mark Peranson offers an incisive editor’s note on the post-Cannes state o’ cinema, and reports that since going to press with the print edition, he’s heard that Richard Kelly‘s epic soph feature, Southland Tales, dismissed by many crickets and film scribes at Cannes, will likely released in its original form, at a length about equal to that of Superman Returns… and Returns… and Returns…. southland57328.jpgOn the magazine’s website, an editorial addendum: “Just as this issue was going to press, word (albeit, still unconfirmed) came that Southland Tales will in fact be distributed in North America without the drastic cutting rumoured to be inevitable… ” Slices of Peranson’s Note and an interview with Kelly, presented as “a monument to the general stupidity of relying on overblown reactions from the international press corps for assessing both the aesthetic and commercial validity of a challenging American feature film”: “As universally reviled as a film can get without being directed by Vincent Gallo, Southland Tales, over the course of a week, took on film maudit status, as its few, ardent supporters became more vocal when faced with a storm of insults from a hoi polloi that, not content to pummel a poor director when he’s down, had to knee him and those who dared defend him in the groin for good measure…. Southland Tales is sprawling, abrasive, loud, vulgar, and something to behold—in its current form, at least… [I]t’s one possible vision of what will happen when the shit hits the fan (after Texas is nuked, when the Apocalypse is triggered by a baby’s fart)… [W]ith its crazy names and cuckoo conspiracies, it strikes me as positively Pynchonian performance art—the entire film an approximation of Tyrone Slothrop’s plunge into the crapper in “Gravity’s Rainbow, “emerging in a semi-fascist, semi-recognizable near-future America. Its obfuscated, noir-tinged narrative style is of the conspiratorial variety beloved of Jacques Rivette (who will surely love this movie: it’s the new Showgirls), with constant double-crosses and shadowy, under-elucidated plots manned by a bevy of oddballs, both government and private. Southland is also a film internet propre, constantly condensing space, zooming about like a hyperactive, southlandnuke2344507.jpgpre-Ritalined (silver) surfer: it’s a perpetual motion machine. The way the story is told is inseparable from the content, as the conspiratorial narrative style is an integral element to Kelly’s anti-status quo provocation. Will the kids like it—dunno, don’t care—but, irregardless, why does it all need to make sense? … Oozing over the viewer like a wave of mutilation from the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic, perhaps young Kelly’s folly cuts too close to the bone: Americans can be touchy, especially when it’s pointed out that they’re currently leaning towards a fascist dictatorship… But in this age, where there’s always a director’s edition DVD or two on the horizon, there’s still hope that the full Southland Tales will be seen by more than just an international conspiracy of dunces in a dinky French fishing village.” What about big questions? “I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to ask them,” Kelly says, “and we’ve been trying to ask them with a great deal of humour, and obviously fantasy. smg2357_75.jpgIt’s a big, epic political cartoon, and the complicated narrative is supposed to be a narrative for, holy shit, someone just detonated a nuke in Texas, what do we do now?… It’s my interpretation of what I think is going to happen. It’s like if someone took mushrooms and read the Book of Revelations and had this crazy pop dream… that’s the film in a nutshell.” The Canadian Peranson asks, “Do you think part of the problem with the film’s reception is that critics, especially American ones, aren’t used to American films being ambitious?” “Maybe… and it seems as though corporations would prefer them to be less ambitious because then they could put them onto spreadsheets and test them with market research groups and they can be made to be predictable to ensure profit for the shareholders. And that’s show biz—that’s the business I got into, and you have to figure out how to work within those parameters. For $17 million, we got a lot of production value and marketablility. If it were released in a wide release it could easily turn a profit… To make movies is so difficult. I can see how easy it might be to be defeated by the system, because maybe I’m being defeated by it right now. But at least I got to make two movies the way I wanted to… The original draft [of Southlandwas written just before September 11th and it was just about blackmail and a movie star and a porn star and two cops, and the Hindenburg over downtown Los Angeles, but that never had any context. It was more about just making fun of Hollywood. But now it’s about—I hope—creating a piece of science fiction that is about a really important problem that we’re facing... and the problem is very complicated, and hence the nature of the narrative... [T]he delivery mechanism is subversive humour…. [Y]ou go through all of the trouble to make a movie, and you put five years of your life into it, and you just want it to be about something.” [More contumely at the first link; conversation at the second.]

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Mourkarbel's 411: responding to his WTC preemptive attack

At the Filmmaker Magazine blog, Scott Macauley cites Chris Mourkarbel’s response to the ParStoneViacom lawsuit, with original punctuation: “Firstly, I wont be able to address all aspects of this issue pending litigation. I graduated last month from an MFA program and I made World Trade Center 2006 as part of my final thesis at school. WTCheavens3-87.jpgI make site-specific video, sculpture and installation, often using found media or objects as my source. My projects explore the idea of memorial, fiction, and the way in which politically driven events are edified. This project was created as commentary on Hollywoods presumed authority to write history. Through their depiction of a historic event, they are ultimately in the postion to influence ideas and effect policy. Using Stone’s script was the meaning of the work. I’m not a commercial filmmaker. Offering their story for free online was a statement on their 60 million dollar effort. I explicitly stated on my site that the video was made using their script so I didn’t see the need for the side-by-side comparisons in the press. Though I can’t speak to ‘Fair use for the purpose of political commentary’ in copyright law, I can say that I wasn’t trying to make a point about appropriation. I was using that strategy to make a statement about power.” [Details on the suit here.]

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Tuesday blues day

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Screenings (Superman Returns and Returns and Returns, among others) and some really pressing deadlines are keeping Indie blogging at a minimum: here’s hoping the DVD column goes up late today.

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Hill and trail: on Walter Hill's Broken Trail

Robert Abele in LA Weekly visits with the undersung, overly talented Walter Hill before the preem of his new pic on… AMC? “Slugfests, chases, standoffs and shootouts in Walter Hill’s walterhillportraitq34571.jpgfilms are the equivalent of dialogue scenes in other directors’ work. From his street-fighting debut, Hard Times with Charles Bronson, through the megahit 48 HRS. and his myth-cracking Western Wild Bill, the action sequences in a Hill movie tell us all about his testosterone-case protagonists, how they negotiate their environment. But Hill’s fall from favor as a studio director—one too many box-office misses, no matter the flashes of brilliance in his [nineties] films Geronimo, Trespass and Wild Bill—is one of genre moviemaking’s big losses… [T]he 64-year-old filmmaker imbues [the protagonists of Broken Trail's] perilous and transcendent journey with a poetic grasp of beings traversing land that’s as reassuringly steady as a well-tended campfire. There are killings too, and while this isn’t what Hill terms one of his usual “blood and thunder” sagas, there’s no small amount of emotional brutality… As this bearish-looking, graceful conversationalist reminded me during a recent interview at the Polo Lounge, “Wuthering Heights is one of the most violent stories anybody has ever cooked up.” Among the quotables from the rarely interviewed master: “I’m the world’s oldest rookie. I’d done ‘Tales From the Crypt’ and ‘Deadwood’ for HBO… Here, I got a chance to do another Western. I’m not ready to quit yet… I tried to shoot it big. You know, TV screens are getting a lot bigger these days… Let’s invent a term here: the decisive moment. We’re gonna make a story and put it on film. Is the decisive moment when I wrote the script, made sketches at my desk? That’s Hitchcock. Or is the decisive moment “We’re going to go out there and work something out on location”? Well, that’s Ford and Hawks and Huston. Or is it “We’ve got this location, we’re going to stage the actors, we’ve got rehearsal, we’ll shoot from over here and over there, and nobody is so smart that they’re going to figure out how everything fits together, but we’ll have lots of choices and put it together as artistically coherent in the editing room”? For a director like Kurosawa or Peckinpah, it was in the editing room. What you learn is, it’s getting comfortable with yourself. The truest thing that’s ever been said about any of this is, the hardest thing to direct is yourself. It’s not the camera, the actors, not even the horses. It’s “What do I want?”… Good, solid work is often not particularly highly valued. John Ford was a director for 15, maybe 20 years before he did anything that is generally perceived to be of huge artistic merit… Raoul Walsh is an example of a great kind of American storytelling principle, where every shot advances the story. I’ve never been able to live up to that. I’m always digressing. Broken_Trail0-28.jpgPictorial beauty is the devil… I remember having lunch with Jacques Demy once around the time of Heaven’s Gate — wonderful man, sweet and gentle — and he said he thought that Americans were losing contact with one of their greatest artistic discoveries in filmmaking: that the perfect playing time for a motion picture was 90 minutes. It’s the right amount of time you could sit and not get uncomfortable, that you could go without food, drink and going to the bathroom if you were in reasonable health. [Laughs.] I’ve never forgotten that.” [An older roundtable interview is here, in which he avers, “I don’t much like looking back. I’ll talk about these things, but it’s just, you know, you only get so much time and I’m much more interested in what I’m going to be doing next year than in something I did ten years ago. Also, I really have this, as soon as you’re explaining your intentions…So many movies are reviewed off their intentions, and noble intentions are fine, but I think that’s an easy version. think criticism is not without the overtones of what we now call political correctness. But I think in the end that’s, it’s probably irritating for the moment, but at the same time, I don’t think it has any lasting impact. Somebody once said, you have to wait twenty years before you can tell if a movie’s any good or not so that’s probably true.”

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Capturing the improbably voluptuous: Italian set fotog Pierluigi Praturlon

“It was a moment that marked a turning point in postwar Europe: Anita Ekberg wading through the Fontana di Trevi in Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita as improbably voluptuous as the fountain itself,” writes John Hooper in the Guardian. “[W]hile Ekberg’s low-cut, dark evening dress may look back to the formal 50s,
pierluigi03.jpgher insouciant transgression points unmistakably ahead, into the subversive 60s. What few cinema-goers realised was that the scene in the film was a reconstruction of a real event. Two years earlier, Ekberg had spent the evening with a set photographer, Pierluigi Praturlon, at the Rancho Grande nightclub in Rome. To ease her aching feet on the way home, she climbed into the fountain. Praturlon, who never went anywhere without his Leica, lit up the scene with the headlights of his car and caught the moment in a photograph that Fellini later saw in a magazine…” An exhibit, “Pierluigi. On Cinema” is at the Galleria Photology, Milan, until September 8. Hooper continues: “Praturlon established himself as Italy’s top film set photographer. He worked on many of the great movies… and photographed most of the actors who starred in them. The first major exhibition of his work has opened in Milan… Though he was often described as a paparazzo, “Pierluigi” (as he was known to all) was nothing of the sort for most of his career. The paparazzi were the bane of celebrities. Praturlon, a cultured man who spoke five languages, was their collaborator and, in some cases, confidant. Sophia Loren made him her personal photographer. Frank Sinatra consulted him about which tapestries to hang in his personal jet. Claudia Cardinale describes him as a “gentleman”. Having worked earlier in his career as a photo-reporter, Praturlon was able to bring to the film set a journalist’s sense of reportage – indeed, he is credited with transforming the craft of the on-set photographer. Before his arrival, in Italy at least, stars merely posed for stills during breaks in the filming. Praturlon roamed the sets, capturing them as they went about their work. During the filming of La Dolce Vita, he shot an unprecedented 13,000 frames and, as he got to know the stars, had unrivalled access.” [More at the link.]

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Day of the Night: ungrateful Manoj Shyamalan dumps on Disney; craps on Manny Farber

Pissing on Disney as well as the great film cricket Manny Farber in one fell swoop? That’s our Manoj! Rich, powerful, and with an ego apparently larger than the state of Pennsylvania, Malvern, PA’s leading auteur M. Night ShyamalanHarryFarber23_345.jpg lets rip with an authorized, as-told-to, 278-page epic of ingratitude, writes Claudia Eller in LA Times, one “that offers something very rare, indeed: a candid recounting, complete with tears and recriminations, of a messy divorce between a movie studio and one of the world’s most famous writer-directors. In “The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale,” the 35-year-old filmmaker whose name has become synonymous with spooky suspense thrillers crucifies the top executives at the company he long had considered his artistic home since his 1999 surprise hit The Sixth Sense: Walt Disney Studios.” The book, written by Sports Illustrated’s Michael Bamberger, is published July 20, the day before Shyamalan latest labor of labor opens, the $70 million dumpy-building-super-meets-sea-nymph fairy tale Lady in the Water. “Disney production President Nina Jacobson… and Shyamalan enjoyed a close, albeit sometimes combative, relationship. Over six years, she shepherded his four Disney films including Unbreakable, Signs and The Village… At a disastrous dinner in Philadelphia last year, Jacobson delivered a frank critique of the [latest] script. When she told him that she and her boss, studio Chairman Dick Cook, didn’t “get” the idea, Shyamalan was heartbroken. Things got only worse when she lambasted his inclusion of a mauling of a film critic in the story line and told Shyamalan his decision to cast himself as a visionary writer out to change the world bordered on self-serving… “Sometimes Night would close his eyes and see little oval black and white head shots of Nina Jacobson and Oren Aviv and Dick Cook floating around in his head, unwanted houseguests that would not leave,” Bamberger writes. “The Disney people had gotten deep inside his head, interfering with the good work the voices were supposed to do—and it would be hell to get them out.”… “Night really let me get inside his head,” Bamberger said. “He told me what he was thinking, and I wrote it.” … “You said [Lady in the Water] was funny; I didn’t laugh,” the book quotes [Jacobson] as saying. “You’re going to let a critic get attacked? They’ll kill you for that … Your part’s too big; you’ll get killed again … What’s with the names? Scrunt? Narf? Tartutic? Not working … Don’t get it … Not buying it. Not getting it. Not working.” In an interview for the article, Jacobson is reticent, but allows: “Different people have different ideas about respect. For us, being honest is the greatest show of respect for a filmmaker.” An anecdote about Harvey Weinstein and the recutting of the dreadful 1998 Wide Awake is included with the price of the link; Mr. Shyamalan’s limited exposure to pre-release interviews includes a fan, erm, phone chat with Harry Knowles, which contains this exchange: “H: … I’ve heard that you have a film critic-type character that’s living in this apartment complex. Is that true? tinycricket.gifM: Yeah, the movie’s about how we relate to this story that’s being told and there’s a very kind-of cynical person in the building who relates to it on that close-minded level. H: Somebody… told me that he’s somebody who’s always trying to second guess where their story is going, and it just sounded fun to me. The playful poke at some of your critics out there. M: (Japanese school girl-esque laughter) Well, let’s say this, I’m definitely not playing it safe in this movie (more laughing). H: Just out of curiosity, is that who Bob Balaban is playing? M: Haha, yes. H: OK cool… the guy I would have cast as a baffoonishy [sic] sort of critic type. I would have cast Bob Balaban.” In a shitty fit of philistinism, Mr. Shyamalan has dubbed the ill-fated cricket Harry Farber, an unfortunate, even unpleasant slam against the influential and gifted painter and film cricket Manny Farber, who turns 89 this year. [Click for an additional definition of the not-neologism "scrunt."]

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Boll weasel: Uwe auteur on his crickets

Beatdown for crickets? Zap2It reports that “much maligned schlockmeister Dr. Uwe Boll (the doctorate is in literature, according to his bio) has… eyoouwe870_8q.jpgoffered his biggest critics—including directors Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary—the chance to be in his next movie and also to fight him in a 10-round boxing match. “Dr. Uwe Boll has had enough! Uwe Boll’s position is ‘I am fed up. I’m fed up with people slamming my films on the Internet without see them. Many journalists make value judgments on my films based on the opinions of one or two thousand Internet voices. Bolling for dollars123547.jpgHalf of those opinions come from people who’ve never watched my films. I have been told that BloodRayne has a very bad IMDb rating, but how many of those votes of zero were made before the movie appeared in theatres.’ The criticism goes on and on… Towards the end of the filming of the Postal the 5 most outspoken critics will be flown into Vancouver and supplied with hotel rooms… As a guest of Uwe Boll they will be given the chance to be an extra/ stand-in in Postal and have the opportunity to put on boxing gloves and enter a BOXING RING to fight Uwe Boll. Each critic will have the opportunity to bring down Uwe in a 10 bout match. There will be 5 matches planned over the last two days of the movie. Certain scenes from these boxing matches will become part of the ‘Postal’ movie. All 5 fights will be televised on the greencricket123057.jpginternet and will be covered by international press.” Those interested in participating are invited to send their two favorite anti-Boll reviews or articles to the e-mail address “info@boll-kg.de,” which is, indeed, a viable contact address listed on the Boll-KG website… An e-mail sent to the provided address inquiring about the veracity of the contest was swiftly responded to with a reply reading only “the release is true.” [The alleged release, rife with typos, appears in the extended entry below.] In the Guardian’s recap ends on a sweet note: “Alan Jones, author of The Rough Guide to Horror Movies, says: “He is without doubt the worst director in the world. But don’t forget he works in the genre of horror, and these people, myself included, are completists. If a film gets bad reviews, it doesn’t mean we won’t go and see it. We’ll all flock there anyway.” Would Jones be prepared to take Boll on in the ring? “I’d happily do so. I’ve met people I’ve slagged off in print, and you just end up becoming friends.”

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My sales agents have been arrested for drug and gun smuggling, Brit producer laments

“The LA-based sales agents for my British feature film, Living in Hope, have just been arrested for drug and gun smuggling. And no, this isn’t a pitch for an all-American movie.” writes UK producer Guy de Beaujeu in the Guardian. “[I]t appears that… Limelight Films Inc, was a front for laundering drugs money. The DEA busted livinginhope235075.jpgmy sales agents and a number of associates after a two-year surveillance operation called—you guessed it—Director’s Cut. I’m gratified to see the Limelight guys were as bad at drug-dealing as they were at selling my film. Perhaps I can fool myself that they failed to make any sales of a low-budget indie Brit [pic] not because there was no market for such a thing, but because they were simply concentrating on the potentially more profitable side of their business. But, sadly, as much as I wish it wasn’t so, there was never any real chance of Living in Hope, or any other indie Brit [pic], making them any money. Anyone connected to the British film business, with the probable exception of the staff of Working Title, could tell you that.” Describing his production as “a British take on American college movies,” de Beaujeu proceeds to dissect what’s wrong with British film, making things sound as bad as they are in Anglophone Canada: “bad ideas, poor scripts, ill-directed tax and lottery funding, appalling distribution opportunities, and a total inability to grasp the importance of selling to a market… Too many of us don’t seem to live in the real world of commerce because our world has been skewed by subsidies, and then by tax breaks that work for the investors whether a film makes money or not. lazy_45890.jpgSubsidies and tax breaks allow lazy filmmakers to ignore the bottom line, because they can make their money at the production stage rather than through cinemagoers paying to see their films. Which means there is no incentive to make a good film that draws in the audiences.” He also takes the advertising industry to taste, as well as the attempt to mimic U.S. movies. “We cannot and will never compete with Hollywood. We lack the stars to open a movie (with the possible exception of Hugh Grant). We lack the budgets for the sheer grand scale, the special effects, the razzmatazz and the marketing spend.” Silver lining? “[T]hat could be an advantage. I believe there’s a growing disenchantment with formulaic Hollywood blancmange. There’s a desire to see more intelligent, better-crafted, better-acted films that surprise and delight, not just factory-produced mush.” As a contrary example, he cites Australian product like Lantana, Chopper, The Dish, Muriel’s Wedding and Shine. No big stars, just good stories well acted, well made and, crucially, recognisably Australian. We can learn, too, from the likes of New Zealand’s 2002 hit Whale Rider. Here’s a very small film, simply made, based on a local culture with its own traditions that mesmerised the world (and made a lot of money).” [More trenchant analysis at the link.]

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The banal and the weird hold hands: Errol Morris

Over at the Errol Morris homestead, he’s kindly posted his Believer conversation with Adam Curtis, iggypops37_84.jpgdirector of The Power of Nightmares, “the documentary film which asks the question “Did Johnny Mercer bring down the World Trade Center?” Curtis says, “Last night on television someone who was pro-the Iraq war was saying that the alliance between the insurgents in Iraq and the foreign fighters is the equivalent of the Nazi-Soviet pact and that that’s what we’re really fighting against. It’s all so weird. That the men who sit in neon-lit rooms with very nicely done tables and who question you and tell you things, are actually weird.” Morris replies, “Yeah. Well, as we all know, the banal and the weird are not incompatible.” Curtis: “That’s the whole point—that’s what’s so fascinating about our time. The banal and the weird are one and the same thing.” Morris: “Yes. They hold hands.” Bonus!: Morris has posted his 2002 Oscar mini-movie here.

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Indie's out-of-doors

Coming in the next few days: more Indie including a DVD wrap-up, and a “Pride, Unprejudiced” column containing interviews with Richard E. Grant on Wah-Wah, Patrick Creadon on the roots of Wordplay and Larry Clark on Wassup Rockers, baby pictures, and more. 169939618_57925ce39f.jpgInterviews, transcriptions and screenings are eating up the days, including the beautiful reissue of Victor Erice‘s masterpiece, Spirit of the Beehive and fresh archival prints of two movies by Frank Tashlin: The Girl Can’t Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Yipes! [The picture of an ill-fated tree about to be razed for a supermarket comes from this portfolio.]

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Oliver's hijacking: Par shuts down WTC art project

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The Smoking Gun headlines pages from the public filing of a lawsuit, “Paramount Sues Over Hijacked WTC Film.” The filing, in which we find Movie City Indie cited, states “The film… the first theatrical motion picture to deal with the bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the heroic efforts of countless rescue workers and regular citizens… is being directed by renowned director Oliver Stone and will star, among others, Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal.” Smoking Gun writes: “Paramount Pictures is suing a… D.C. filmmaker for copyright infringement, claiming that the man used a “bootleg script” to create a knockoff version of director Oliver Stone’s upcoming film on the September 11 attacks. The studio contends in a federal lawsuit that Chris Moukarbel, 28… obtained a copy of the screenplay for World Trade Center and used the script as the basis for a 12-minute film that mirrors “a significant portion” of Stone’s work…. Paramount’s June 16 complaint, a copy of which you’ll find [at the link], charges that Moukarbel’s film, like Stone’s production, centers around a pair of rescue workers trapped in debris following the collapse of the towers. Included… are nine pages from the World Trade Center screenplay that Paramount contends were used by Moukarbel for his unnamed work, which he posted online (but has since removed)… The Paramount complaint… seeks a permanent injunction barring Moukarbel from distributing his film. [Movie City Indie, which has no connection to and has had no contact with Mourkarbel, is cited in evidence, in having linked to the downed site, as having helped "the Infringing Picture" be "distributed to the public." The illustration is from the side-by-side comparisons in the public filing of the lawsuit; the left side is Mourkarbel, the right is StoneParViacom.]

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Sharon Stone: Nigerian blend

in Mwegi, Botswana’s only independent daily newspaper, Ofe Motiki reports on how Nigerian movies are conquering Africa’s marketplace: “Many people love them and find them irresistible mostly because of their familiar story lines. Nigerian movies are a household name all over the country and Francistowners blacksharon036_34.jpgare no exception. Even though the whole cinematography of the movies is not of the best quality, a lot of people are in love with them. The common wrong use of abjectives, nouns and verbs are all ignored and laughed at as in most homes people remain glued to their television sets when these movies are showing. Some say that the reason they love them is because they can easily relate to them. The Chinese and Indian businessmen have realised that they can easily cash in on these movies and a lot of them are sold on the popular three-in-one or five-in-one packages. All the movies that are aired on Mnet Africa can be found in various shops in Francistown and are so in demand that even the street hawkers at the bus ranks are cashing in. The names of the movies are not only appealing but catchy too, names like, the Corridors of Power, Father and Son [and] Sharon Stone… Maniral Islam of Tricon Traders in Francistown hawkers567.jpgconfirms that many people buy Nigerian movies in his shop. He says he always has the movies in stock though he sometimes runs out of them and has to place emergency orders as they are in demand. “I also watch them and always have their DVDs playing in the shop. It is easy to relate to them maybe because they are African,” said Islam… Another Francistown resident Kobamelo Mosheno says that she began watching them last year and has never stopped. “I don’t think I will ever stop watching them and I now know the real names of all the actors and actresses. I have quite a collection of Nigerian DVDs at home and when I have enough money to subscribe to Dstv, I always make it a point to watch Channel 102 because of all the channels that Dstv offers that is where action happens,” says Mosheno. She explains that what she loves best about the movies is the ending where she gets a thrill from seeing the bad guy being punished. She, however, complains about the music in the movies, which often makes it difficult for her to hear what the characters are saying. She adds that it is important for locals to support fellow Africans as the film industry in Africa can only grow if Africans support each other.”

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Pitchfork's "100 Awesome Music Videos" YouTubeFest

Sloth has its virtues and technology its unintended consequences: Pitchfork Media picks out “100 Awesome Music Videos” with direct YouTube links to every one of them. “We’ve been spending hours enjoying YouTube, falling in love with… music video all over again… takeonme3056.jpg[W]e’re making use of our video-inspired sloth, sharing 100 of our favorite music videos; simply, dozens of clips that, for various reasons… we enjoy watching and hope you’ll enjoy as well.” There’s nothing from the Director’s Label Series; they stuck “to clips roughly from the MTV era. Crucially, they also all had to be on YouTube—we prefer giving you the chance to see a clip to simply talking about one. Best to check these out early and often… it is possible that some record label funcrusher could come around and wrinkle his nose at us pointing you all to a commercial for his company’s product.” [Via Filmmaker; image from A-ha's "Take On Me." In the Sunday London Times, Tony Allen-Mills dissects the YouTube tale: "The emergence of do-it-yourself video entertainment — in bite-sized packages that are never longer than 10 minutes and sometimes last only a few seconds — has sent shockwaves through the corporate world of American entertainment, which is scrambling to decide whether to sue YouTube for stealing material or to embrace the huge audience that flocks to the website each day."]

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Is Click Seattle's "Almost Live" 20 years along?

Seattlest reports on a skit that precedes Adam Sandler’s Click by 20 years: “The premise of Click is pretty thin which is odd for Sandler who normally goes for “high concept” type stuff (moron goes back to school, moron joins the PGA, moron’s the devil). burns247_234.jpgThis time a moron gets… hold of a remote control that can manipulate the people around him. Fast forward through his wife’s ranting, pause his boss so he can punch him in the face a few times – that kind of thing. It has to be a difficult gag to drag out over 90 minutes, especially when you consider that ["Total Control,"] the ‘Almost Live’ bit it was stolen from barely manged to strangle three minutes of humor from it [for which] Scott Schaefer won a Northwest Emmy for in 1985.” In an email to Seattlest, Schaefer said, “At the time, we thought it was pretty cool to do the special effect of [a character] walking forward while everyone in the entire Northgate Mall was “walking backwards.” Of course, it was nothing more than shooting Keister walking backwards while holding the remote, then playing the tape backwards. Woo hoo… As an aside, this also highlights the fact that either remote television control technology hasn’t advanced an inch since 1985 or this movie was written by really old guys. In the trailer Sandler uses the remote to pause, fast-forward and play in slow motion. And, sadly, that’s about all a television remote did in 1985 and that’s all it can do today unless you count split-screen/picture-in-picture, menues, pay-per-view purchasing and your basic DVR/Tivo functionality.” [The original "Almost Live" skit is on YouTube here; Link courtesy of the Oregonian's "Mad About Movies," collated by Shawn Levy, who notes that "Almost Live" was a wonderful treat—a truly local show that was wedged for 15 minutes between the end of the 11 o'clock news and the start of "Saturday Night Live" on the Seattle NBC affiliate."]

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Movie City Indie

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A statement from David Chase’s representative, Leslee Dart:

A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying,“ Tony Soprano is not dead,” is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, “Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.” To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of THE SOPRANOS raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.
~ David Chase Refutes Vox Writer

“By the time the sounds of the Von Trapp children warbling ‘Silent Night’ drift through The Giver, you may find yourself wondering what fresh movie hell this is. In truth, the enervating hash of dystopian dread, vague religiosity and commercial advertising-style uplift is nothing if not stale. Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.”
~ Manohla Dargis’ Deadly Lede For Review Of The Giver