Movie City Indie Archive for September, 2007

[LOOK] Paul Donellon's animated credits for Love in the Time of Cholera

cholera_578.jpgWatch Paul Donellon’s credit sequence for Mike Newell’s filming of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel (adapted by Ronald Harwood). “The film is set in the early 1900s in Colombia, therefore I felt the sequence should not feel too digital and would have a handpainted oil painting feel to the rendering.”

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C-C-C-Coffee?

C-c-coffee

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Posting shortly….

Curtain

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Chicago Sun-Times brags on Ebert's "number one pundit" status

RogerSunTimes_7.jpg“Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, bested them and others to be named the most influential pundit in America by Forbes magazine,” writes Maureen O’Donnell in a front-pager. “Forbes analyzed market research on more than 60 top pundits in current events, entertainment, law, politics and sports. Ebert “appeals to 70 percent of the demographic and [his] long career makes him well known to well over half the population,” wrote Forbes’ Tom Van Riper… The magazine’s list of top pundits is “very impressive company,” Ebert said by e-mail. “It never occurred to me anyone would make such a survey, especially since I never thought of myself as a pundit. . . . Maybe it means movies are more popular than politics, and non-partisan.” … “Despite all my health adventures, I can still see, hear, and type, and now that print reviews are my only way to exercise the full range of my communication abilities, I find I write them with something approaching bliss,” Ebert said…. “As one of my friends observed, ‘Even if you lose your voice, Ebert, you’ve already talked more than enough.’ “

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Indie returns late Tuesday

The devil is the boogie man shacking upGee whiz, what a lot of movie screenings…

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Michael Haneke: I’m trying to rape the viewer into independence



Quoth Michael Haneke in a lengthy Sunday New York Times profile by novelist John Wray: “The decision to remake his signature work in America with an A-list cast caused considerable controversy among hardcore cinephiles, not least because of Haneke’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s most outspoken critics. Haneke was quick to defend himself. “Of course I’m a critic of the studio system,” he said, as if it were unthinkable not to be. “But that doesn’t mean that one can’t work within that system. ‘Funny Games’ was always made with American audiences in mind, since its subject is Hollywood’s attitude toward violence. And nothing has changed about that attitude since the first version of my film was released — just the opposite, in fact.” When I asked whether the average American moviegoer was likely to appreciate having his attitude adjusted, Haneke-style, the director thought for a moment, then threw up his hands in mock surrender. “I’ve been accused of ‘raping’ the audience in my films, and I admit to that freely — all movies assault the viewer in one way or another. What’s different about my films is this: I’m trying to rape the viewer into independence.” [The trailer for the 2008 release is above.]

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Eau de Alicia Silverstone



If there are folks who are upset in Houston over the fragrance-advert-like imagery of this commercial, they ought to go over to the site it’s advertising for explicit footage of animal slaughter. A lighter touch… Reports the LA Times, “The 30-year-old actress set off a firestorm of interest — and, apparently, controversy — by posing nude in a television commercial on behalf of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Silverstone, a well-known animal rights activists and environmentalist, is shown swimming in a pool naked and talking about the beauty of a vegetarian lifestyle.”

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[LOOK] "Leave room now" scene from Eastern Promises

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An icy clip from David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.

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[LOOK] Postering I'm Not There

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indie returns Wednesday afternoon

S I N

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The Reeler talks Last Winter (and Hostel) with Larry Fessenden

fessenden_365.jpg“As someone who makes strong horror films with unmistakably thematic interests, how do you react to directors like Eli Roth,” queries S. T. Van Airesdale over at The Reeler “and others who retroactively attempt to defend their own work with such metaphorical or thematic values?” Larry Fessenden, whose latest is the global-warming horror, shot in Iceland Last WInter, following his equally snowy Wendigo, replies, “It’s funny you ask. I just watched Hostel for the first time; I didn’t enjoy or find the merits of Cabin Fever, so I had somewhat written Eli off. I know he’s always whining in the press, defending his movies, so I thought I should see Hostel. In fact, I was asked to write something about my movie versus torture porn. I watched it and I didn’t find it offensive the way I thought I would. I thought I would find it contemptible. Sure, it’s homophobic in the sense that he’s got some issues, but it’s not like he’s not aware that he’s not dealing with that sort of thing. The sexual politics and the hatred of Americans was interesting enough, and the torture did not seem extraneous. It was obviously the point of the movie, and it was scary and doled out pretty tastefully considering the whole thing is repugnant. I think some of the later Saw movies are truly perverse, and a lot of the remakes have no agenda whatsoever. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because some people hate The Last Winter, of course, and you get into this thing where it becomes hard to discuss. My movies have themes; I present them without shame. I’m a sincere filmmaker, and fuck it if you can’t take that. As for Eli, he does protest too much. I do find him unappealing as a public figure, but he’s making his money, so whatever. He can always say that, and he always does, and I also find that tiresome. The worst pieces of shit make money; it’s hardly an excuse. It hardly represents how well he’s doing. But I couldn’t completely dismiss Hostel.”

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Wes Anderson gets in the toybox with Ma Bell

Extending theatrical-style scene changes that Francis Ford Coppola hoped to perfect after One From The Heart caught fire from sea to shining sea (and that George Clooney did cleanly in Good Luck, And Good Night) Mr. Anderson and the phone company collaborate on some Klever Krayoning. Or, as Reuters puts it “hiply,” “AT&T plans edgy wireless ad campaign.” “AT&T Inc said on Tuesday it was launching a new corporate advertising campaign, with ads designed to convey a younger, edgier style associated with wireless. The company’s “Your Seamless World” corporate ad campaign features situations that “speak to the on-the-go lifestyle of today’s consumers and businesses.” The campaign includes six television spots overseen by Wes Anderson… AT&T also said it will now use orange as its primary corporate color. Ads, company signage and its Web site are undergoing a “color makeover,” the company said. “The new initiatives are designed to highlight how AT&T helps connect people to their worlds wherever they live and work,” AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “We want to ensure this message is reflected in our brand.”

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Coming in December from Criterion…

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[LOOK] Peter Falk is 80



A scene from Elaine May’s Mikey & Nicky.

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[Toronto] Eastern Promises (****, 2007)

DAVID CRONENBERG’S LATEST MOVIE IS ABOUT MANY THINGS. Superficially, Eastern Promises is the veteran director’s second gangster thriller, after A History of Violence, and it provides the most succinct definition yet of “balls-out action.” (More on than in a moment, if you haven’t heard too much already.) Eastern Promisesis EP_Viggo_206_6.jpgaudacious in its simplicity and pared-down qualities. There’s so much more here than a stylized Russian mafia story and the fact of contemporary sex slavery. The hard, steely light and pointedly clean geometry Cronenberg and his cinematographer Peter Suschitzsky prefer are in evidence in the opening three scenes, each slimed with a different form of a gush of viscous red that moves like flesh made liquid. A man dies. A child is born. The mother dies. Cronenberg does not fear the display of blood: he’s more concerned with evoking the fear of the susceptibility and defenselessness of the human body against intrusion.
London is mostly night and brackish rain. Anna (Naomi Watts) is a midwife who wants to find the family of the dead girl, who left a daughter and a diary behind, written in Russian. Conveniently, her uncle Stepan (played as a great, gruff boor by Polish film director Jerzy Skolimowski [Deep End]) is Russian and dismisses all of Anna’s own losses and fears until he reads the terrible things in the little book. (Another director, Mike Sarne, of the notorious Myra Breckenridge, also appears, as a character named “Valery Nabokov,” evoking two of Cronenberg’s favorite writers.)
Watts is tremulous, her Anna always alarmed and shot as tiny, vulnerable on her motorcycle coursing through the narrow ways of London with oversized helmet and goggles that make her look like a bug. (The bike had been her Russian father’s, a rarity called a Ural; another bit that will extend.)
A business card leads Anna to a restaurant where the girl may have worked, and whose patriarch, Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), is actually a powerful mobster. He has a weak, drunken son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and Kirill’s driver, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) is a taciturn enforcer whose reserve and constant watchfulness allows facts and history to emerge only in rare words and rarer sentences. Often very funny ones: once Mortensen appears, the film morphs into a very black comedy while balancing other fearsome notes. Surely an inside joke is that Mortensen’s hair is an almost comic caricature of Cronenberg’s own tall, stiff mane.)

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Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas