Movie City Indie Archive for March, 2007

Kiss Kiss Bang thang: title this

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The terrific title sequence for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, by Danny Yount of Prologue Films, via Submarine Channel; h/t Cinecultist. Also: John Furniotis “head credits” Cronenberg’s Crash.

Indie returns Monday

Picturing Radish

Advanced cricketeering: Andrews on Inland Empire

Another writer makes beautiful sentences out of mad artifact: “How many countries are there in the human mind?” asks the FT’s Nigel Andrews of David Lynch‘s Inland Empire. What does the title mean? “It means the mind. That continent. That imperium. That expanse of broad-flung colonies, most of them at war with most of the others. How do you make a film about such multitudinousness? inland_empire_smoke_and_terrors.jpg…After half an hour you may be climbing up the wall. An hour, and you may be applying for admission to a mental clinic. (Not another scene in which Laura Dern, a film actress playing a film actress, spooks herself by exploring the “inland empire” that lies behind the soundstage housefronts, an empire apparently including Poland.) Two hours and you will, if you have a soul, fall violently in love with this film’s psychedelic implacability, its lyrical madness.” …[W]here what used to be central-eastern Europe seems now to be part of unmapped LA. It is surely clear that the secondary meaning of “inland empire” is the blazing foundry of European folklore that lies inside Hollywood itself, that “outer” empire founded by transatlantic Jews and gypsies… But that is show business, isn’t it? Lynch is on the money, with both his questions and his hinted answers. For who ever thought Hollywood and the dream life of cinema were innocent? Who ever believed they were not created by a long-term arrangement, at once damning and Faustianly aspirational, between the devil and the deep human mind?” [More at the link; the Inland Empire site is here.]

"Stunning Kenya:" c'mon, let's make a movie!

A murky, sleeting, sidewalk-slipping late winter afternoon in Chicago and over the transom, a kind invitation from The Kenya Film Commission to shoot a movie in Africa! “Kenya is a great destination for television wildlife productions. Many award winning wildlife series have been shot on location in Kenya… Hitting top US ratings,’Survivor Africa’ showcased the Kenya backdrop and is said to have been one of the most successful in the series. KenyaFilm.gifThe Producers felt that Kenya offers perfect combination of beautiful locale, natural light, an array of wildlife and a beautiful people all set in adventurous territory. Kenya boasts a unique variation in altitude and terrain, with an exceptionally wide variety of locations. These include white sandy beaches, mountains, dense forests, arid deserts, savannah grasslands, lakes and rivers. An aerial view of the Great Rift Valley is simply breathtaking! In a nutshell, this is Africa at its splendid best… The Kenya people are always welcoming foreign film-makers. We are a friendly people; therefore filming among different cultures will run smoothly… For a feature film or drama, submit one copy of the script and the synopsis to the film licensing officer. The license is issued within 48 hours of the application. In case of a documentary; just fill out an application form that the licensing officer will give you. The license is issued on the spot. It’s that simple! … For documentaries, dramas, short features, advertisements and still photography, it will cost only Kshs. 5,000 or US $70. For full length feature films and reality TV shows, it will cost Kshs 15000 or US $210. Filming will only cost Kshs 1,000 or US $14.” Low fees, little red tape, now about that budget…

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Colour Me deadpan: Kubrick's assistant directs

Colour Me Kubrick, a John Malkovich-starring lark about an unlikely 1980s Stanley Kubrick impersonator, opens March 23. The screenplay’s by Anthony Frewin, longtime assistant to the late director, and Brian Cook, Colour‘s producer-director, also knew him well. “I was his assistant director on Barry Lyndon and The Shining and CMK_87_3_t.jpgassistant director as well as co-producer on Eyes Wide Shut. I made three pictures with Stanley over a period of some 30 years,” Cook attests in the Colour Me Kubrick press kit. “He was really a man unto himself. We worked at the studio but we also spent a lot of time at his home. Especially as he didn’t get up early and worked into the middle of the night! He loved that and I don’t blame him. I’d do the same thing if I could afford it! He didn’t waste time going to the studio every morning. He lived at home with his wife, children and no one else. We only came over to work and never stayed… Stanley stayed up very late in the evenings reading or making phone calls. He never started to work before noon. With age, he’d get up later and later. On Eyes Wide Shut, we’d work from 1pm to 1am, even at the studio. Obviously, when you work with someone for 30 years, certain bonds develop. Extremely loyal to those whose work he appreciated, Stanley systematically rehired the same collaborators. He had surrounded himself with excellent technicians… He himself was a very good technician. Outside the periods of production, we’d sometimes phone each other. I traveled a lot but always dropped in to see him whenever I returned to England. We had a good relationship. I particularly appreciated his deadpan side whenever he’d speak about the motion picture industry. He had a very subtle wit. He knew how to be a hard taskmaster when necessary, but working with him was sheer delight, he was a true perfectionist. His method didn’t vary with the films. First of all, he’d write the scene and adapt it according to the actors. For each and every scene, he’d spend hours and hours preparing the set and lighting even before we began rehearsals with the actors. When the set finally suited him, he’d have them come over and worked with them. He never required their presence before the set, props and lighting were ready, all of which takes an incredible amount of time. We’d do as many takes as he wished. We began over again each time by modifying lighting…

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Force of Abbas: Kiarostami pictures, Manhattan

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“There is a connection between my photography and my cinema,” Iranian director-photographer-poet Abbas Kiarostami tells Keith Uhlich at The House Next Door as his work in film and photography gets the NYC retro treatment. “If there was no movement in what I photographed then I would have felt no need to take those pictures. Yet even though you can hear the sound and see the path of the wiper, my photography is capturing one specific moment. The same applies in my cinema: even though it’s a moving image, I’m still capturing a specific moment. The same applies in my poems, for example: A white foal/ emerges through the fog/ and disappears/ in the fog. You’re reading that a white foal, a baby horse, has come and gone; through the poem you have an impression of the movement. Even though you don’t see it, you have an impression of the movement in your psyche. This foal is like the wipers on the windshield. You don’t see the actual movement of it, but you see its impression. A moment is suggested through this implied movement.” [More at the link.]

[QUOTE] Writing Zodiac: You don't have to kill all the rattlesnakes

Zodiac scribe James Vanderbilt talks “dark” and “messiness” to Denis Faye at WGAW. “Fincher had this saying, like a therapist would say. “You don’t have to kill all the rattlesnakes to know where they all are.” And the idea behind it is that, for the guys in the movie, it’s more about Z-04483.tifthem coming to the conclusions they came to in order to move on with their lives. We’ve all seen the movie a thousand times where Dirty Harry puts the bullet in the bad guy, and we get to go home feeling good about ourselves because it’s a safe world. That’s not reality, and I think what’s interesting is that Zodiac is more about what you have to do to move on from things in life. Things don’t get buttoned up into a pretty little package, and you don’t get to put them away.” Fincher “honestly is more collaborative than you’d think. David Fincher movies feel like David Fincher movies, but he’s a director who really likes writers. There are directors who don’t, who are sort of ego-driven and have to be the captain of the ship, but David, the way he comes at it is that if you’re the writer on the movie, he wants you to be the writer on the movie. That’s your job. You better come up with good stuff, and you’d better come up with good reasons for everything that happens in the script. If you do, great. It was sort of a wonderful experience. He’d say, “What if we try it this way?” and I’d say, “I think that’s a really bad idea because of this, this, and this.” He’d go,”Okay” and I’d go, “Really?”… [B]ut you have to pull your own weight with him… I honestly think part of being a writer is that you deal in dark shit so you don’t bring it out in your real life. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy because I can deal with dark shit and get it out on the page and not have it follow me home.” [More at the link.]

[QUOTE]: Larry effin' Clark

Oh, Larry. “Larry Clark is angry… “Fuck the critics” he spits. “Fuck the censors” he adds. Oh, and “fuck the police”… In conversation he might sound like what he is, a 221294296_09d442553d_m.jpg65-year-old man with a deep, slow motion Oklahoma drawl frequently punctuated by temporarily lost trails of thought, but his words, like his films, are those of rebellious adolescence,” writes David Whitehouse in the Guardian. “[T]hese aren’t the noises of a man desperately trying to get down with the kids…. Larry Clark is legitimately the oldest teenager on the block” and the “itchiest scab on the arse of the arts establishment.” Quoth: “Do I exploit teen sexuality more than the tabloid newspapers who have pictures of famous young women getting out of a car with no pants on? No fucking way. Fuck the critics… I’ve been working my whole life to get an R rating… It’s all to do with the MPAA… those cocksuckin’ mother fuckers. Let me tell you about the fuckin’ MPAA. They are a censorship board run by the studios to protect their films. So they shit all over the smaller independent films like mine. This means we’re allowed to watch Sharon Stone fuckin’ the shit out of Michael Douglas before she stabs him, but I can’t show what I wanna show. It’s the most corrupt system in the world.”

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[QUOTE]: Joe effin' Eszterhas

Joe Eszterhas reviews some of his greatest shit-fits: To Paul Verhoeven. “‘If you use that tone of voice with me again, I’m going to come over this table at you.” To Disney execs in the boardroom: “Take your hands off my dick and tell me the truth.” Why such the hot head, Susan Dominus wonders in the Telegraph’s Seven magazine. “I think part of it 92382677_1e1e0517ac_o.jpgis that I grew up as an immigrant kid feeling very marginalised, kind of like a second-class citizen… [S]creenwriters are very marginalised in L.A., very much like second-class citizens, and I think it’s possible that I said, fuck you—not me. It would have been so much easier.’ Of course, it’s one of the things that makes Eszterhas ultimately likeable: despite all the bluster he was clearly passionate about what he did… Wearing a Hell’s Angels T-shirt that says ‘Live to Ride’, and weighing a good deal less than he did at the time of his diagnosis, Eszterhas still sits heavily… His voice, post-surgery, has a gravelly quality, like Gene Hackman’s might sound 20 years from now… Life obviously moves at a slower pace for him these days. Instead of going to see Basic Instinct II at the premiere in Los Angeles, he and his wife headed over to the local [Ohio] multiplex at midday, when they often have the cinema to themselves. (‘We like to joke that we have the biggest private screening-room of anyone we know,’ says Eszterhas, laughing with a very Santa Claus-like heave of his shoulders.)”

[LOOK] An oldie: Titanic 2: Electric Boogaloo

Okay, you weren’t one of the almost five million people who already saw this on YouTube, either, now were you?

Guy Maddin on transparent dishonesty

“If you’re being as transparently dishonest as most filmmakers—you know, Martin Scorsese having a taller alter ego in Robert De Niro—you might as well just come out and say who it is,” explains Guy Maddin of using his own name in his dreamlike feature work, to José Teodoro in the Photography Issue of StopSmiling. “Besides, you have to be pretty sure that your alter ego, if he isn’t named after you, is doing pretty interesting, compelling things, whereas I feel like you’re buying a little extra goodwill from the audience by naming the character after yourself. It’s tricky, of course. You’re all of a sudden engaging yourself in an act of masochism if you’re making yourself look bad. You’re really indulging yourself in self-pity if you’re depicting your horrible childhood, and that can only be withstood by an audience for a few minutes before they hurl. So it’s strangely liberating just being up-front about it, saying, “This is me,” because every character in the movie is me anyway. All I can go by is what I myself would do in a certain situation.” But are the Winnipegger’s dreams anything like movies? “No, almost never. Every now and then I have a dream that I’m watching one of my own movies, and it becomes much better than it really is, and I realize that I should have been a little more daring, or a little more ambitious. There’ll be long tracking shots and I have no idea where they’re going to go. It’ll be really intriguing and the curiosity mounts, and then there’s a great payoff. Rarely when you wake up can you write it down and then act on it, of course. But these dreams remind me to try harder, work harder. I have this longstanding battle with my ambition. Sometimes I get really lazy… I used to try to make Atom Egoyan into a rival, but he’s too nice and makes completely different kinds of films.”

South Asian media money: Screwvala, Murdoch and more


Indian entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala is about to see his name on American screens as co-exec producer of two Fox Searchlight releases: Mira Nair’s The Namesake and Chris Rock’s I Think My I Love My Wife is also plotting an Indian media investment fund, reports Mark Kleinman, Asia Business Editor of the Telegraph: “Roger Parry, the chairman of Johnston Press, and Ronnie Screwvala, the Indian television mogul and Bafta-nominated film producer, are plotting the launch of a fund targeting India’s fast-growing media sector… the India Media Fund, which has set a minimum fundraising target of $150m (£77m)… If it proceeds, the combination of Parry and Screwvala would be a heavyweight dealmaking team. Mr Screwvala is one of India’s best-known entrepreneurs, having founded the country’s first cable-television operation in 1981…. The fund is likely to consider investments across India’s media industry, which is benefiting from the growth in consumer spending power fuelled by the country’s economic boom… Mr Screwvala’s track record includes engineering a series of deals with global media companies, including News Corporation, through United Television (UTV), the media conglomerate he founded, [which is credited on both Namesake and I Think] which has interests including TV, film and animation.” [More at the link.]

[LOOK]: Fincher 666: a tribute

maurice+green+nike.JPG.jpgBloggers Dave and Thomas pay tribute to David Fincher, with trailers from his six features, as well as six favorite videos and six commercials [plus ties and bonuses]. One that was new to me: a video for the Rolling Stones’ “Love is Strong.” Write Dave and Thomas, “After his troubles with Alien 3, Fincher found solace in his old format of music videos and created this epic piece to help bring the Rolling Stones back to a new generation. This digital masterpiece was shot in the mid-90’s, keep in mind, and still holds up today with the band being mixed into the skyline of New York City.” [Mostly YouTube links..]

[LOOK] What does Marcellus Wallace look like?


A graphic depiction of the dialogue stylings of Mr. Quentin Tarantino, drawn from Pulp Fiction by Savannah College of Art and Design student Jarratt Moody for a time-based typography class. [It’s all in the Intonation; strong language alert.]

FINDing flaw with LAT's disSpiriting: a reply

Vondie Curtis Hall disagrees with last Saturday’s LATimes’ slash-‘n’-trash piece on Spirit Awards sponsors Film Independent: “The portrayal of Film Independent and the attempt to depict us as somehow undeserving of tax-exempt status displays a shocking ignorance of who we are and what we do. We are a service-oriented arts organization,” including the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. “To criticize these self-supporting events for costing too much completely misses their point. Although the find logo_567.jpgSpirit Awards properly provide financial support for programs for independent filmmakers, they are at their core a successful and effective way of promoting the independent film community… The film festival is not, as wrongly stated in the article, a “fundraising vehicle,” nor are its expenses properly classified as “fundraising expenses.” … The Spirit Awards and film festival are at the heart of what we do as an organization dedicated to serving independent film. As such, their costs should be included in any calculation of our overall spending, which would bring our program-spending ratio to 75%, not the 50% quoted in the article. None of the constituencies to which we are properly accountable—including our members, sponsors, the film community and the Internal Revenue Service—has ever raised a question about our probity or effectiveness.” [Hall is the president of Film Independent’s Board of Directors.]

Movie City Indie

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“We’re all going to die so it makes it very easy. I haven’t always thought that way but I’ve realized it’s the truth. I think age gets you there, questioning your mortality… When you realize that, it’s so liberating, it’s so free, you can fly! There’s no need to hold on to anything. Like, think of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you; it’s probably happened to 500 million people as well. Who gives a shit!”
~ Steve McQueen

“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children.”
~ Stan Lee, 1965