Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2010

Casting begins on new Wachowski project, CN9

Regular casting director Lora Kennedy is now casting: that’s all so far.

Ray Bradbury on the status of Mel Gibson's "Fahrenheit 451"

In this segment, Mr. Bradbury broaches the subject of Mr. Gibson’s long-held option on “Fahrenheit 451″‘s remake rights. Do read Mr. Bradbury’s lips at the end. He’ll be 90 in August.
From Stop Smiling screening of Francois Truffaut’s archive print of Fahrenheit 451, Siskel Film Center, July 11, 2010, Ray Bradbury talking via Skype to his biographer Sam Weller and film historian/admirer Jonathan Rosenbaum.

The second teaser for Fincher's The Social Network

Now that’s a wow.

Charles Bronson in Nobuhiko Obayashi's spot for "Mandom"

Slap it on. [Via Chuck Stephens.]

Talking to Sebastian Junger about Restrepo

OnePiece: Sebastian Junger on RESTREPO from Ray Pride on Vimeo.

Along with Junger’s comments on the indiscretion of General McChrystal’s staff “talking shit about the boss,” the forthcoming co-director of Restrepo talks about the war in Afghanistan’s origins as a reaction to 9/11 and tries to remember how many war zones he’s reported from.
“The movie’s interesting, it’s kind of a hybrid,” Junger says. “It has the dramatic structure of a Hollywood war movie, I mean, it’s not didactic, it’s not informative, it’s not ‘about’ Afghanistan. It’s an experience, the way dramatic features are an experience. You enter that world for ninety minutes, and then you leave that world. But it’s about a topic of national concern, so I think it has the best of both, in terms of commercial potential, it has this theatrical drama but it’s real. I think it has a very good chance of people going to see it, I don’t want to use the word ‘entertainment,’ but as an emotional experience rather than a learning experience.”
Why feet on the ground instead of having “experts” talk on-camera? “The fact is, there’s an enormous amount of journalistic material that covers those important issues, the context. Do people really want to see another movie that tells them what they already believe about the war? If we had done that, I think all these people that are criticizing us for doing it, wouldn’t have gone to see that movie.”
“I didn’t have a tape recorder out there. I had a notebook,” Junger says of working toward both a film and a book while on the battlefield. “I used the notebook during scenes that would have not been good to film. Conversations in the dark. Things like that. Then there are other scenes that are perfect to film and you never write them down in a notebook. No one takes notes during a firefight. It’s ludicrous. I tried to divide those tasks up according to the kind of scene it was and then I referred to the video continually while writing my book (“War”) and in making the movie, I referred to my notes, just in terms of narrative and context and storyline. They complemented each other really well.”
“The plot, the, quote, ‘plot,’ was nonexistent. They were marking time in a very dangerous place. They weren’t moving forward to take Baghdad, they weren’t storming the beaches at Normandy. They were in a static position, pretty much doing the same thing over and over again. In terms of plot, that wasn’t really where the center of gravity of the film was. It was really more the emotional development, the emotional experience of these soldiers.”

DVD: Kino's Keaton; A Single Man; Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Kino has two essential Buster Keaton releases this week, including the two-disc “Ultimate Edition” Steamboat Bill, Jr. ($30) and The Lost Keaton, with sixteen sound shorts he made for “Educational Pictures” from 1934-37 ($35). Kino explains what’s in the new Steamboat Bill, Jr.: “In the silent era, it was common practice for filmmakers to create two separate negatives of their films, each comprised of differing takes and camera angles. This definitive DVD edition contains both versions… each mastered from archival 35mm materials, as well as a 13-minute documentary comparing the two.”

The shorts, made for very little, were made after Keaton had lost his big-budget supporters; glimmers of the great man are reported to emerge now and again. Without time to savor these at length, the next best thing to turn to keaton_steamboat.jpg is Dave Kehr’s piece, which draws on and refines that writer’s thirty-five-plus years of thinking about the Great Stoneface. A passage: “Again and again he returns to the same composition: his small figure, isolated in the center of a vast, empty space—the desert, the ocean, the bare stage of a theater. When other people enter the frame, they provide no companionship. The male characters in his films tend to be hulking authoritarians, like the father—a tough-as-nails riverboat captain—played by Ernest Torrence in Steamboat Bill, and his women are either implacably angry or doll-like and ineffectual. (Marion Byron, in Steamboat Bill, falls into that second category.) Machinery often fills the emotional void left by people in Keaton’s world (his affection for his locomotive in The General runs far deeper than his interest in his bubbleheaded fiancee), and the one force that can be counted on is not love or friendship, but simple Newtonian physics. What goes up, must come down.”
A Single Man (Sony, $28)
Colleagues and his circle of friends (especially Charlie, a brittle socialite played with relish by Julianne Moore) want to lighten his burden. George hopes to check currents of sorrow with Bayer’s and whiskey. A blond young student (Matthew Hoult) seeks his attentions. But he’s weighted, and Ford’s visual style is freighted. The intent design, however, is less about Mammon than about Memory. Working in a variable color palette, with hues of blue pulsing like Hitchcock’s shades of green in Vertigo, Ford’s play with subjectivity intrigues. Striking images abound, such as the teacher of words with his mouth mottled by black India ink. George stops to sniff a stranger’s terrier inside a car: a whiff, a twirl of desire. He a_single_man12.jpg references the “smell of buttered toast,” reminiscent of poet Philip Larkin’s infamous line about Englishness, about “listening to the church bells, eating buttered toast with c–ty fingers.” This is life, and he’s leaving it. It’s a modern world he lives in, just not ours. Ford also measures lovingly attenuated homoerotic gaze, especially in a scene that mingles a fading Psycho billboard with the vision of a Spanish, James Dean-like hustler. What heterosexual filmmaker has shot a sustained heterosexual dance of desire in such a way? (Other than Wong Kar-Wai.) It’s all Almodóvar now, baby blue? No; Ford’s found his own way. Stlll, there are moments where the actors have their extended play, especially in a splendid passage where George reacts to the news of Jim’s death. Firth’s face is a study in emotional depths. The score, credited to Abel Korzeniowski and Shigeru Umebayashi, moves from stirring Bernard Hermann pastiche to “In the Mood for Love”-like tip-toe of a waltz, appropriate considering Umebayashi’s contribution to that WKW film. Equally important is Leslie Shatz’s sound design, where the tock of clock is like the flick of time. Young cinematographer Edward Grau’s images are impeccable, abounding in influences (an ICE cooler with bold red letters in parching, falling California afternoon light, a Ruscha-slash-Eggleston that never was) but stylistically consistent, always coolly adroit. (University of Minnesota Press may have issued its first movie tie-in with a new paperback of the book [$15].)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Music Box, $30)

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Chicago Underground Film Festival 2010 winners [UPDATED WITH FEATURE WINNERS]

After presenting almost all the awards for 2010 Chicago Underground Film Festival, fest director Bryan Wendorf ponders the future of film festivals, out on Western Avenue in front of the Empty Bottle music club.
Best Documentary Feature – Scrappers, Ben Kolak, Brian Ashby and Courtney Prokopas
Best Narrative Feature – Stay the Same, Never Change, Laurel Nakadate
Honorable Mention – Modus Operandi, Frankie Latina
Made in Chicago Award – Kent Lambert, Fantasy Suite
Best Animation – Everybody, Steve Reinke and Jesse Mott
Best Experimental Film – L’Internationale, Marianna Milhorat
Best Documentary Short – Sincerity: The Character of Ronald Reagan, Chris Royalty
Best Narrative Short – Home Movie, Braden King
Audience Award – Scrappers, Ben Kolak, Brian Ashby and Courtney Prokopas
Honorable Mentions
Golden Hour, Robert Todd
This Is My Show, Lori Felker
Voice on the Line, Kelly Sears
Details on the festival jury are below.

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Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch