Movie City Indie Archive for June, 2009

You want to travel blind: portraits

Kitano considers
Azita
Ondaatje before reading
An exhibition of portraits of film figures and friends is running in Chicago through July 26 at the Rainbo Club. The address, more information and other pictures are here. [Takeshi Kitano; Azita Youssefi; Michael Ondaatje]

Riot police turn and run from BBC Persia

hurrah_they_yelled.jpgLink here.












Animation: She Farted and Created the World by Scott Coello

Under fire [violence]

Truth in advertising?

lepetderniereamarienbad.jpgA campaign for the DVD of Paul Blart, Mall Cop was replaced on The Awl by one for Last Year At Marienbad, but part of the earlier ad remains… Or is this a new Criterion we’re seeing here?

Jerzy Skolimowski on his missing years as a director

skolimowski_the_judgement_full.JPGIn Vertigo, John Riley talks to about the 17 years between features. “Even during that long break, I looked at film projects, but either I was too lazy or just resting or I was focusing on becoming a serious painter. The process of painting feeds my needs now. You concentrate on doing something exactly as you want. With film-making there are always compromises, you can’t do exactly as you would wish, you’re not even trying to do that. But Four Nights With Anna is as close as I’ve ever got to making exactly the film I wanted—maybe not 100% but the high 90s. It was a small budget but I insisted on doing things exactly as I wanted. Filmmaking is really hard work, physically hard work, so I can’t say I enjoy it, but to create art one has to suffer! But, to my surprise, I feel ready to make another film: I have a great subject, I can see how to do it; I’m working on a script and have about half the money for my next project. So the prospects are good!” [A good career overview.][Art.]

Mad Max in Esfehan, Iran



Leather-jacketed riot cops on motor scooters chased by protesting citizens… the end of the shot is like the end shots of Wenders’ State of Things and Jarmusch’s Limits of Control. [Via Andrew Sullivan.]

But, of course, it’s not fiction:


[Via Laura Secor in the New Yorker.]

Tetro, brought to you by…

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This has to be the most honest film ad in ages… What brought you Tetro? What paid for Coppola’s latest opus? Safeway, aisle 3. Synergy, theater 4. The citation of the theater at the bottom of the ad is also neatly reminiscent of the 1970s full-page ads for Cinema 1 or Cinema 2 or the Beekman premiering Nashville or The Conversation. [From Friday, June 12’s New York Times.]

Excellent Response



From a project by MJ Buffett.

Deadline by Bang-yao Liu



The pressures of deadlines reflected in stop-motion animation of Post-It notes. A student project from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Circles, squares, dollars, cents

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[PR] Anvil, stars of Anvil! The Story Of Anvil opening for AC/DC at Giants Stadium

anvil460.jpg


[Photo by Brent J. Craig.]
HARD ROCK LEGENDS AC/DC TAP CANADIAN METAL BAND ANVIL OF THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED FILM “ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL” AS OPENERS FOR JULY 28 SHOW AT GILLETTE STADIUM AND JULY 31 SHOW AT GIANTS STADIUM
New York, NY (June 8, 2009) – Based on the overwhelming response to and incredible buzz created by the critically acclaimed documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” the band has been chosen to fill the spot as opening act for rock legends AC/DC at their Gillette Stadium show on July 28th and their Giants Stadium show on July 31st. Anvil band members, Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner will see their dreams come true as they are set to open for one of the greatest hard rock bands in the world, AC/DC, for the two biggest shows on their Black Ice World Tour. This opportunity marks a stellar comeback for the 30 year-old band that continues to reach new heights with the success and continued expansion of their documentary and recent features in Newsweek and Rolling Stone.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is the directorial debut of screenwriter Sacha Gervasi (“The Terminal”) and was produced by Rebecca Yeldham (“The Kite Runner” and “The Motorcycle Diaries”). The film follows Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner and their band, Anvil, which released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982’s Metal on Metal. The album influenced an entire musical generation of rock bands, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who all went on to sell millions of records. Anvil, on the other hand, took a different path—straight to obscurity. The film is both entertaining and touching as it follows their last-ditch quest for the fame and fortune that has been so elusive to them. “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year after year.

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David Fincher directs iPhone spot, "Break In"



Or, download here.

Indie is waking up

Perchance to dreamIvyLeaned

Movie City Indie

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin