Movie City Indie Archive for June, 2008

Tony Kaye on Kubrick



And also on Lake of Fire and stammering.

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Satantango comes to video July 15

1136110343_72dfd78df4.jpgMaybe it’ll rain over the Fourth of July. [Via Automatik Films.]

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Schnack knocks LA Times doc coverage… again

PlanelyAnd who could blame him? Sample: “I’ve often quarreled with the LA Times’ coverage of documentaries, but Horn’s piece is truly something for the archives. For one, he posits the curious conclusion that YOUNG@HEART – a film that is well on its way to grossing 3.5 million – is yet another black eye on nonfiction box office performance. It’s a stretch, it is, but one that Horn continues to ride into a column yesterday, in which he exclaims that YOUNG@HEART was “dead on arrival.” [More at the link.]

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Paperback for the weekend

so it doesn't whistle.jpg


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In Bruges (DVD, 2008, ***)

inbruges poesy colin 2.jpgAWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT MARTIN MCDONAGH, an Oscar-winner for his short, Six Shooter, makes an amusing feature writing-directing début with In Bruges, which finds Irish hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) dispatched to historical Belgium—”Where the fook is Broozh?”—to cool their heels after a contract killing gone wrong. It’s the sort of cracked genre enterprise that’s always welcome, and with his characteristic verbal baroque, Sundance 2008’s opening night film is stylish after a modest fashion, with attractive lighting by cinematographer Eigil Bryld (The King, Wisconsin Death Trip, Becoming Jane). (The transfer to DVD has its own brassy charm.) McDonagh shines with actors, letting Gleeson and Farrell hold onto their own accents, and bringing out a sweetly damaged comic performance from Farrell, something like the hood he played in Intermission with just the right touch of Jerry Lewis’ inner pain. But his knack is words, dirty ones at that. He’s got a playwright’s love of the rhythmic potential of repetition and reiteration, particularly with a patois way past profane. Happening upon a film shoot, Ray exults, “They’re filming something, they’re filming midgets! My arse, let’s go, they’re filming midgets!” Later, meeting an actress from the film, Chloë (Clémence Poésy, of Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire, playing girl-of-dreams as a serene tangle of genial twinkles), he’s given to gush, “I hope your midget doesn’t off himself, your dream sequence would be fucked.” (Farrell has a fine line in melting when late in the game she asks him, “Am I the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your stupid life?”) The film’s secret is that it’s a profane comedy about despair, which comes clear long before the third act appearance of Ralph Fiennes as their boss Harry, playing a role reminiscent of Ben Kingsley’s Don Logan in Sexy Beast with a pinch of Michael Caine. Oh, the look in his cold eyes when he demands across a table at an outdoor café, “You retract that about my cunt fucking kids!” (A deleted scene tops that with Harry’s rebuff to a pestery fellow passenger on a train, “If I wanted a conversation with a cunt, I’d have gone to the Have a Conversation with a Cunt Shop.”) Such a confabulation ought to climax in a literal side-street Boschian revel, which In Bruges does. Next time, perhaps McDonagh can toss aside the schematic screenwriting manuals and fuckin’ bloom. Carter Burwell’s emphatic score, on first listen, suggested unease about the film’s marketability, but it grows on you. Below: The UK trailer; US trailer; and a scene with Gleeson’s first encounter with the wee lad. [Ray Pride.]

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Control (DVD, 2007, ***)

control_box_5678.jpgCONTROL, ANTON CORBIJN’S EXQUISITE FEATURE DEBUT is restrained, melancholy and gorgeous, a matter-of-fact collection of the facts of the short life of 23-year-old Ian Curtis, frontman for the band Joy Division, who hanged himself in 1979. Sam Riley is the actor who plays Curtis, and it was one of the great, great performances of 2007. The fearful, vulnerable expressions that inhabit Riley’s face: the weight of two worlds, bourgeois and bohemian, resting upon his skinny shoulders, and atop that, the advancing symptoms of epilepsy (or the cocktail of drugs poured to stem them). It’s a performance of immense physicality: you can read these things into his expressions. But the musical performances, the numbers played live by the actors, are shocking in their simple, volatile shape. Riley’s Ian Curtis is a man who moves to shake the life, his essence, from himself. Not only does it convince as an embodiment of Curtis, but as the loss of control that performing artists sometimes seek. What is as transforming, as transcendent, as rising into a different physicality? (Some say now the saints and sages starved themselves to explore inner space.) Corbijn (best-known as a photographer) and cinematographer Martin Ruhe shoot in black and white widescreen, often in the very spaces and places where Curtis lived and worked and sang, and the pared-down decors suggest not only the poverty of the Manchester area in the 1970s, but offer objects the weight of icons: a Bowie poster, three binders on a desk—lyrics/stories/novels—a curtain in a window. Love tore him apart. Control brings him together again. The score, appropriately, is by New Order, who were members of Joy Division. Toby Kebell, as their manager, is a profane scene-stealer, alongside Samantha Morton as the salt-of-the-earth mother of Curtis’ daughter. The DVD (Miriam Collection, $29) includes commntary by Corbijn; Joy Division videos for “Transmission” and “Atmosphere,” as well as a making-of and interview with Corbijn. Below: a Dutch report on the filmmaker; a French trailer; and Joy Division playing “She’s Lost Control.” [Ray Pride.]

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RFK campaign spot (1968), by John Frankenheimer

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Where the Hell Is Matt? (2008)



Description here. Two million people watched that in less than a week?

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Indie is transcribing

ED-Bright

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Wanted (2008)

I’m betting only Timur Bekmambetov could have made this movie. Yow.

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RIP Tula Ellice Finklea

Tula Ellice Finklea.jpg

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Cyd Charisse in The Bandwagon

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[LOOK] One take, 30 seconds



Without commenting on the politics this is one of the more remarkable single-take sucker punches of at least the week in progress. NBC’s Chuck Todd reportedly called it “shameless.”

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"Daisy" (1964)



Tony Schwartz, pioneering media studies scholar, sound whiz and adman, was 84: Imagine what this ad felt like 44 years ago on its single airing…

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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