Movie City Indie Archive for May, 2008

The Pledge to Hedley Lamarr: RIP Harvey Korman



Somewhere, Tim Conway is not corpsing.

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Aki Kaurismäki named youngest Finn Academician of Art

Helsingin Sanomat reports on the ascension of director Aki Kaurismäki to the 8-member Finnish Academy. Reports Esa Mäkinen, “‘The day that I get an invitation to the President’s Palace is when I will immediately commit suicide”, said the young film director Aki Kaurismäki [in 1984]. “I mean that I don’t want to make a contract with society that would lead to me getting invited there.” That kind of a contract is happening on Friday, when President Tarja Halonen appoints Kaurismäki as Academician of Art. “Academician” is an honorary title without pay. It is a recognition from the state that as a film director, Kaurismäki is a genius before his death… During his career of 30 years 1135236609126.jpeghe has given hundreds of interviews, from the Finnair in-flight magazine to the communist Tiedonantaja. In spite of this, he is seen in people’s minds as someone who avoids publicity. From one year to the next, Kaurismäki is depicted as a heavy smoker, who consumes unusually large amounts of alcohol. Above all he is trying to be the leftist intellectual, who has unusually honest truths to say about what he sees as the inferior people who are in power in Finland. “If you start looking at others from above, then you might as well put a bullet in your skull. In the leading tiers there are only contemptible people”, he said in 1983 in Ylioppilaslehti, the newspaper of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki… “Finns have not thought of anything other than money in the past decade.” … Kaurismäki himself is rich – or at least he could be. The film company Sputnik, which is in his wife’s name, had a bank balance of EUR 1.1 million in 2005. In the same way that doctors and lawyers have recently been taking tax-free income from their companies, Kaurismäki’s production company has paid its owners EUR 90,000 without tax… Kaurismäki also owns all kinds of things: a part of the Corona and Kiasma restaurants, and a house in Karkkila. He spends his winters on a wine estate in Portugal, and has included among his hobbies “collecting old Cadillacs”. He has only one such car… “At a late-night party when everyone else came in through the door, you never knew if Aki would come in through the window”, says his former roommate from the 1970s, Jarmo Lähteenmäki, ex-President of the Paperworkers’ Union….

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The Muppets take Manhattan



[Via The Reeler.]

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"You were a tomato!": RIP Mr. Pollack

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Phillippe Starck, comment faites-vous pour dire?



Ready to sleep but hoping to find more appreciations of Sydney Pollack, I happened upon this TED talk by Phillippe Starck… what do you say?

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Sydney Pollack was 73; 10 interviews and 3 trailers



A few glimpses of the man explaining his work, and several trailers. First, on the virtues of widescreen images.



On Jeremiah Johnson.



On The Yakuza.



On 3 Days Of the Condor.

On Electric Horseman and Absence of Malice.



On The Way We Are.



Talking to Charlie Rose about Sketches Of Frank Gehry.



Talking to Charlie Rose about The Interpreter.




On acting and directing in Tootsie.



In Deauville for the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Institute.



Trailer for The Way We Were.



Trailer for Tootsie.



Trailer for 3 Days Of The Condor.

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Sydney Pollack, 1934-2008, movies had 'Scope

SP_RIP_500x.jpgAn interview. “For me, the beauty [of widescreen composition] comes out of practicality. I’ve spent my life viewing movies that have at their center, a relationship between a man and a woman. Every single movie. And so the heart of the movies are two-shots. And sometimes I like to be quite close. You can’t work in a close, tight two-shot and have any room for where you are or any sets and environment in a less wide frame. You just can’t. You can’t. A tight two-shot in 1.85 can be in limbo. You can just put up a piece of cardboard and shoot the tight two-shot. You might as well. And if you’re using the environment to tell story—if you take a picture like They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? or Jeremiah Johnson or any of these pictures where where the people are is essential, I mean, the studio kept fighting me with They Shoot Horses, saying, “You’re in one set, for godssake! Why are you using widescreen? It’s not the Grand Canyon. It’s the opposite of the Grand Canyon!” But that was precisely the point. I could shoot Michael Sarazin and Jane Fonda dancing or Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia, whoever, the pairs, and still see this sea of people dancing, or the bleachers, and the people staring at them. So there’s more redolence to each frame. It has a different impact. If I cut the edges off of those frames, and you just have those center people, without a context, I don’t think would be nearly as meaningful. I mean, on an absolutely practical, technical level, I can transmit more information per frame than I can with 1.85. I don’t say it’s more beautiful. I adore those old movies that were 1.33. They’re great. It’s not a question of beauty, it’s a question of… of what is the movie? The one movie I wish I’d done it in, this is when I stopped using ‘Scope, which was Out of Africa. Because I got so sick of it being butchered, y’know, DVDs weren’t in then, they were still doing VHS and they were always panning-and-scanning, chopping the edges off. And I just said, I can’t do this any more. More people see it in the aftermarket now, so they remember it that way. I didn’t frame it that way. I’ve had people come up now, who occasionally have seen a screening of Jeremiah Johnson or a screening of They Shoot Horses and it’s a different movie than what they ever saw. It’s a completely different movie.”

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Orson and Zanuck over breakfast at Cannes



[Via Raymond De Felitta.]

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When Jean-Luc met Woody: MEETIN' WA (1986)



One of the several odd diversions described in “Everything is Cinema,” Richard Brody’s hefty survey of the forces that forged Jean-Luc Godard’s career.

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Son of Rambow (2007, ***) Jennings & Goldsmith on its pop score



Among the many charming bits of Son of Rambow is the use of era-appropriate music: the older kids in the early-1980s-set charmer are all obsessed with “New Romantic” music from bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees. Writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith explain

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Uploading problems…

κόκκινο μπαλόνι


Which I hope to figure out how to fix soon…

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Uwe Boll: Words!

uwebwanadevil.jpgSomewhere, William Castle is tingling in his grave. Journalists received a form letter from the prolific German director Dr. Uwe Boll regarding the intentions of his latest movie, Postal, and it’s much like an earlier one back in January for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. From yesterday’s incoming missive, in response to the widespread question of screen count for the release, with Dr. Boll’s prose stylings left as is, with only an intense number of line breaks removed: “To all of you writing now about me and the fact that POSTAL is not getting screens. its okay ..its fun kicking a guy nonstop who is on the ground [break] you are all not getting it that i’m the guy who made it against the big hollywood system and you are all only busy to destroy me and finish me up and then you YOU WON WHAT ? the attention of the studios, michael bay .. ????? if you damage me you feel closer to Hollywood ? what is your game plan? you want only movies like JUMPER , SPEED RACER , WHAT HAPPENDS IN VEGAS …? then keep going and your dreams will be fullfilled. POSTAL makes some very important points ..but you dont wanna see that …. : that Bush used the SEPTEMBER 11 to start a war against a country what had nothing to do with Bin Laden etc…. but this all doesnt matter because you are all busy to THINK that INDIANA JONES or NARNIA are important movies … but in real they are empty shells of an industry what wants to make money and what wants to keep you looking “escape movies” with nothing in it. in between they are putting some CONTROVERSIAL movies to show that they can do also IMPORTANT movies …but also this movies are not really critical….they only supporting the system and not showing the big picture. and POSTAL shows the BIG PICTURE …it nails the absurd situation with all the stupid religions, races and nations we are living in. POSTAL is not accepting bullshit politics. POSTAL has not the opinion that Bush made mistakes – POSTAL has the opinion that it is a scandal that BUSH is not in jail. What happened in America in the last 7 years is the biggest joke since Columbus stepped on that land. but instead of seeing the courage i had in doing that movie against everybody who tried to stop me – you are sitting on your desks and you are working on stories about me ….and my image as the worst director on earth…and you fullfill what your editor wants from you in regards of uwe boll …or you fullfill what you think makes you a cooler guy in the internet …and you are not getting it that you are only interested in movies like IRON MAN or HULK or KUNG FU PANDA or the MUMMY 3 because the studios spending 60 mio. $ in advertising to make you interested in NON INTERESTING movies. how many times you wanna keep going in movies only because the TRAILER was so cool and the CGI was so great ?
thanks for reading this
uwe boll”
WIRED had a lovely run-in in August 2007. But here’s the script from January, offering the auteur-istic notion that Boll is nothing if not consistent: “Now a few days before IN THE NAME OF THE KING gets out in USA I have to tell whats going on in the filmindustry. If you dont get out with a MAJOR company the exhibitors uwe_boll_digitalis.jpgand the tv and radio stations are not supporting you. This is the reason that independent movies are like self fullfilling prophecies and they almost bomb all. Our competitor in USA FIRST SUNDAY with Ice Cube is a piece of shit and for NOBODY nearly so interesting as IN THE NAME OF THE KING. We have a better movie and a bigger movie with a better script, better cast and we proved in europe that our movie has the power to stay 3 weeks in the TOP TEN and that we can get at least 50% good reviews. FIRST SUNDAY is a direct to DVD title in europe but in USA Sony puts 40 mill. $ in advertising to win that weekend. And this is completly absurd. Sony will not even recoup the advertising costs with that movie. The MAJORS own the TV Stations and the Radio Stations and they use that for free advertising and so the wide audience believes at one point that FIRST SUNDAY is the movie of that weekend – and they go and buy a ticket. The biggest problems in todays market is that nobody believes anymore in word of mouth or gives a film a chance without seeing upfront all 5 seconds in TV a spot. So to all my fans in America or everybody who like Jason Statham or our other actors or loves fantasy or period piece movies or action movies or videogame based movies: go on january 11 in IN THE NAME OF THE KING and show that its not only advertising.”

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Manoj Shyamalan compares The Happening to Godfather and Exorcist



Among the joys in this 4:44 clip, Manoj speaks of this “90-minute paranoia movie that you just come out tattooed with this experience, you come out just shaking like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Birds or something.” Didn’t Dr. Uwe Boll just say the same thing about Postal?

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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