Movie City Indie Archive for June, 2011

Happy 71, Victor Erice

Trailering Spielberg’s WAR HORSE

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The Sound Of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (9’21”)

Picturing Rodman Flender

My favorite photograph in a long summer weekend of image research and writing: photographer-editor-director Rodman Flender as spy-on-the-wall for his doc, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. Casual geekdom and casual privilege align in a hotel room: photographer photographed. Team Fiji Water! (Do not ask what is wrapped in plastic.)

[Photo Credit: Aaron Bleyaert.]

Francis Coppola’s Twitter Icon

TRUSTED.

Peter Falk Über Berlin: From WINGS OF DESIRE

Review: GENERAL ORDERS No. 9


Robert Persons’ General Orders No. 9 is an essay film at least partly about the urbanization of rural Georgia, reminiscent of Patrick Keiller’s lovingly dyspeptic but visually striking London and Robinson in Space or Terence Davies’ brooding memory musical Distant Voices, Still Lives. It’s more in that school than Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, the convenient reference point in some reviews of its New York week-long run. (The free-floating character of the narration doesn’t distill itself to the many voices of so-similar inchoate spiritual yearning in the Malick film.) Haunted beauty, a majestic trance: it’s deeply invested in what Greil Marcus called “old, weird America.” Daniel James Scott interviews Persons at Filmmaker. Of overt influences, he tells Scott, “Gosh, I’m sort of all over the place. But there were certainly a lot of films that we used to reference—a lot of Tarkovsky films, Herzog films, Chris Marker, John Grierson docs, the British Film Unit, David Lynch and Harry [Everett] Smith. There were also a number of novels and books. One in particular was this bit of naturalist writing from the 18th century, William Bartram’s Travels. He was a Philadelphia naturalist who travelled through the southeast and was really the first to write about it while drawing pictures of plants and animals. His writing is very effusive, and has a lot of sense of wonder in it. I liked the idea of someone going around recording things. And I saw my film as an updating of that in a sense.”



R.I.P. Peter Falk

Mikey and Nicky.

“The last time I trusted a dame…”

A Woman Under The Influence.

“Serpentine! Serpentine!”

“For Chrissakes, get me a good hat here.” Wings of Desire.

From Jean Genet’s The Balcony.

What Came Before The Vancouver Kissing Picture? (1’30”)

NO REFUNDS ON AUTEUR CINEMA

From Stamford, Connecticut’s Avon Theatre.

[Via Jim Emerson @jeemerson and @nextprojection. The apparent original poster is here.]


The Further Adventures Of Hannah Hart

Playing dangerous drunken stunts in the confines of her kitchen, comedienne Hannah Hart just got noticed by TIME:

“Do you really get drunk in all of your videos, or are you faking it?
“I really do get that drunk. It takes about an hour to shoot each video, so I’m actually the drunkest after it’s over. For the ice cream one, I was with my sister and her husband, and I really just let myself go. I finished the video and I remember walking over the couch and lying down. I woke up hours later with a plate of chicken nuggets on my chest and my sister leaning over me going, ‘Eat these.’ The sun had already set and everything.”

[Earlier on indie.]

Previewing Robert Kramer’s Long-Unseen MILESTONES (5’30”)

“Icarus Films, a leading distributor of documentary films since 1978, is proud to have acquired two landmark films by the radical leftist filmmaker Robert Kramer. A founder of the storied 1960s Newsreel collective, Kramer (1939-1999) traveled through Latin America and Vietnam, and later lived for many years in France, where he enjoyed his greatest appreciation as a filmmaker. The subject of 2009 retrospectives at Anthology Film Archives and Harvard Film Archive, Kramer’s concerns about the intersection between the personal and political take viewers to the 1960s and 70s with vivid intimacy.”

MILESTONES (1975, color, 195 minutes, by Robert Kramer and John Douglas) is a lilting, free-associative masterpiece that follows dozens of characters–including hippies, farmers, immigrants, Native Americans, and political activists–as they try to reconcile their ideals with the realities of American life. In intimate discussions of subjects from communal living to parenting, pregnancy to family, Vietnam to Cuba, city life to country life, and the workplace to the bedroom, the film’s diverse protagonists negotiate jealousies, relationships, and the logistical challenges of their rapidly changing world. Shot in vivid color 16mm, using innovative layered sound design and editing techniques as well as slides and archival footage, Milestones tracks its subjects through scripted and unscripted moments. It follows them as they share their emotions and dreams, their idealism and disillusionments, their triumphs and defeats of the past, as well as the possibilities for the future.”

Trailering QUICK (퀵)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X36QkuVHCuc&feature=player_embedded

The Fast and the Over-reacting.

Scottish Summer Weather: Chance Of Heil

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LIVt9RFvE4&feature=player_embedded

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Trailering Fred Schepisi’s THE EYE OF THE STORM

It is about time. One of the undersung modern masters of widescreen composition and cutting has almost finished a new film. Let’s hope it’s a corker.

The non-embeddable trailer is here.

Plus: Schepisi on the characters from Patrick White’s epic Aussie novel, played by Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling, Judy Davis, Colin Friels and Dustin Clare. The release down under is set for September 8.

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