The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Movie City Indie Archive for August, 2009

Movie city breeze

Time Lapse Test: Station Fire from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

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Indie is interviewing

Party surprisers

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Covered, by John Grayson

Covered from John Greyson on Vimeo.


The Canadian filmmaker withdrew his short from Toronto International over political disagreement with a sidebar on film in Tel Aviv.

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Indie is screenering

Approach


Dark movies by daylight…

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Tarantino on spaghetti westerns and non-homaging

Tarantino wanted to clarify for Sight & Sound how his films are about language. Not so much film language: “I don’t know if this film does that quite so much. When I read Nick James’ piece in Sight & Sound [in the July issue], obviously inglourious-basterds-02_420.jpgI didn’t agree with where he was coming from in a lot of the aspects of it, but that’s all well and good. The thing I took exception to – and he’s not the only one to do it – is that there’s this aspect when critics write about my work, partly it’s because they know I’m such a film aficionado, where they try to match wits with me and show their own cinema knowledge. I give them a licence to show off their knowledge, and they apply that to me. So the part I don’t like about Nick’s piece is, like, “Oh, here’s a big slice of Leone, and a dollop of Cimino, and a side order of Tinto Brass.” I take exception to that! I don’t think like that. Now, I’m going to address what you’re saying. In the case of Kill Bill, that completely applies. Uma Thurman isn’t just fighting her way through her death list, she isn’t just fighting her way through the Deadly Vipers, she’s fighting her way through the annals of exploitation cinema from all over the world. That actually is part of it. I don’t think that’s necessarily what I’m doing with Inglourious Basterds. Having said that, there definitely is, in the first two chapters, an idea of doing a spaghetti western with World War II iconography. I thought that would work its way through the whole movie, but it actually doesn’t. I think it ends after the second chapter and it becomes something else. But one of the hooks I had to hang that on, as opposed to it just being a groovy idea, is this: one of the things I always enjoyed about spaghetti westerns was the brutal landscape, the brutal world in which they took place. It was much more unforgiving and hostile than most American western landscapes. It’s very violent, life is cheap, death is around the corner at any moment. Well, that describes Europe during World War II – right there in the 20th century, a very close approximation of a spaghetti-western landscape. And something I find very, very interesting about the opening chapter of Inglourious Basterds is that, even with the Nazi uniforms, even with the motorcycles and the car, it doesn’t break the western feel. It almost adds to it in a strange, shouldn’t-work-but-does kind of way. It just feels like a western. And not even just a spaghetti western: it could be Shane.”
But here’s the snappy capper: “The shot through the doorway of Shosanna fleeing can’t help but recall The Searchers.” “I’ll take slight exception to that too – and I’m having a good time clarifying this – in that I think it’s safe to say that if John Ford’s mother had never met John Ford’s father, I’d still have figured out that shooting through a doorway like that would make for a cool shot.” Tarantino laughs loudly.

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DVD of the week: Goodbye Solo (*** 1/2)

On the superficial level of plotting, Raman Bahrani’s Goodbye Solo (Lionsgate, $28) sounds like the setup for a student film or a revisit of “Collateral”: in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a Senegalese cabdriver named Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané), working hard to make money for his family to subsist, picks up a fare, William (Red West), a rough 70-year-old white Southern loner. William proposes a ride to the nearby mountaintop of Blowing Rock in two weeks, where he intends to leap to his death. But Bahrani, as he’s proven in Man Push Cart and Chop Shop, goes beyond cliché, working with and against archetype, showing a genuine drive to understand behavior in its intimate and momentary particulars. Solo befriends William, taking 965567_goodbye-solo.jpghim on taxi rides, hanging out in bars, checking out women. Bahrani’s written that “ultimately Solo must find the courage and strength to love his new friend selflessly in order to help him do something seemingly horrible, or leave him to face it alone.” There is so much about friendship and loneliness and hope and despair in Goodbye Solo, from the very opening when the deal is proposed. The drama that develops between William and Solo—between West and Savané—is nothing short of astonishing. Bahrani observes these two men’s faces and suggests worlds—two small ones, two modest lives, filled with blood and heart and simply alive. It’s a thrill to see performances this accomplished and a film, shot by Michael Simmonds in fine, rough form that lives up to their work and the characters. Bahrani’s sense of both city and mountaintop is also uncommonly expert. With director’s commentary. [DVD trailer below.]

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Indie answers to Jackson

Answers to Jackson

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Take a bite out of Basterds

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A full-page ad from the Dining section of the New York Times, August 16. How many other stealth ads were there skewing toward a potential female audience?










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Georges Clouzout's Slinkies in hell: from L'enfer



The unfinished film, showing at TIFF ’09.

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[500] Days of Summer in five panels

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[The other four panels here; click to make larger.]

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Ben Stiller instructs Mickey Rooney on how to use Twitter

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Inglourious alliance: Al Gore presents Basterds

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Premieres, premieres everywhere: In Nashville, Al Gore turned out to support Lawrence Bender, who was producer of An Inconvenient Truth. Also: Eli Roth in snappy suit and Mélanie Laurent.
[Photo: Bev Moser via The Weinstein Company.]

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Trailering Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story


CNN (?!) preems. Dig that M.I.A. music cue…

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Quentin Tarantino considers question about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza

Tarantino listens to question about Chicago deep-dish pizza


[AMC River East, Chicago, Inglourious Basterds premiere. Photo: Ray Pride]

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Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire