Emily Yoshida

“I try not to discuss the conditions of the screenings at which I see the films I review, for obvious reasons. But I feel like it’s only right, for the sake of transparency and instructiveness, to discuss the New York City screening of Daddy’s Home 2, which was a semipublic “sneak preview” of the film alongside the press screening, as so many of the larger studio releases are. Aside from the usual multiplex audience grievances, I also had a grown adult man threaten to “start some trouble” with me after I asked his wife if she could turn off her iPhone flashlight during the movie. (It takes a lot of tact and nerve to shush or ask anything of your fellow moviegoers, especially when the viewing experience they’re daring to sully is Daddy’s Home 2.) Anyway, this angry man loved the movie, as did the rest of the packed house, who were eating up the misadventures of Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg with a spoon. I say this not to denigrate them, but to note that nothing I say after this paragraph matters.”
~ Emily Yoshida


Soderbergh On iPhone Filmmaking

“I’ve been shooting stuff on my phone with intention and purpose for a couple years. I started seriously thinking at the end of the year last year that I gotta find something that really works for that. And just by chance a writer friend of mine called me up out of the blue looking for work. I said, “I don’t have anything for you, but if you can write me a super low-budget thriller/horror type thing, I’ll shoot it June 1.” This was mid-January. Three weeks later, a script shows up, and I love it. I said, “Let’s go.” It was so liberating. I’m going to do it again. … The ability to put the lens anywhere I wanted in a matter of seconds, if not minutes, was incredibly freeing. You want to put a camera above somebody’s head, you’ve got to lash a rope to it and tie it to something so it doesn’t kill them. This, you just stick it on a piece of velcro and shoot. If I literally want to lay it on the floor, I can. It’s a 4K capture. I’ve seen it on a giant screen; nobody, if they didn’t already know, would ever suspect. It looks like a normal movie.”
~ Soderbergh On iPhone Filmmaking

“My hope is that it’s a real watershed moment, and that it becomes nearly impossible in the future for people to pull this shit, because it’s clear that there is now a willingness for people to speak. All this pent-up, negative energy, this toxicity, is like one of those manhole covers that blows up in Manhattan every once in a while. I don’t think there’s any going back. I really don’t. As social anthropology, it’s fascinating. Not just the events themselves, but the reactions to it and the conversation. It’s really, really, deeply interesting to me. Part of what’s fascinating about the conversation that’s going on, particularly around Harvey, is the extremes of the behavior, and then the impact that he’s had on the movie industry in the last 25 to 30 years. As I was saying to a friend the other day, there aren’t many people who significantly alter the landscape of the movie business twice. Harvey is one of them. The second time, it was not for the reasons that he anticipated! It’s been a real clinic in the duality of human beings, and a very stark example of how certain kinds of impulses, in two different directions, can be intertwined.”
Steven Soderbergh

Farrow part 3

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, one of the world’s largest corporate intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

“Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of raping her, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, operating under a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

“The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.”
~ Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker

Alexander Chee

“It’s hard for me to remember when I didn’t know Kevin Spacey was gay, or at least hadn’t heard that he had sex with men. When he came out after Rapp’s accusation, it was a repellent act that made a mockery of the coming-out process itself, as well as of the accusation and Rapp’s own hard work, having been out for years while Spacey was hiding in plain sight. Spacey’s sexuality was an open secret, or barely even that, within the networks of gay men I know and have known in more or less every gay capital, as he was also a regular at gay bars in said gay capitals. He once hit on the boyfriend of a friend of mine at a gay bar in Los Angeles, and my friend confronted him, asking if he was gay. Spacey said, ‘Just because you scuba dive, doesn’t make you a scuba diver.’ It’s such a juvenile, patently conniving thing to say, that I can imagine Spacey coming up with it around the age Rapp was when he says Spacey assaulted him.”
~ Alexander Chee


Joachim Trier

“We are seeing a late phase of a master and I think that we should be generous and look at all these films he is releasing back to back as cinematic explorations. I think we are too concerned at the moment just about “Thumbs up” or “Thumbs down,” you know? Is it good? Is it bad? I think it’s much more interesting to look at the ambition and the moments of success that all his films have where you really feel that he’s trying to explore the possibilities for cinema to be both existentially potent but also visually explorative in terms of form. He’s trying to use the camera to be a philosopher. I’m tired of people putting down Terrence Malick because they want him to do what he did in his first few films. I watch his films with great admiration. I’m not a film critic, thank God, so I don’t have to decipher things up against each other, I can just be a human being watching another human being express themselves. Everyone is complaining that nobody is doing original cinema and then Terrence Malick is blowing the roof off in terms of trying to explore just how far you can push associative, voiceover-driven cinema without dramatic dialogue scenes in a way that nobody else has done. Whether you like it or not you have got to give him respect for the exploration of the possibilities of making movies, of what the language can be and I admire that tremendously. Who is else is doing that? Let’s root for the people that take risks, let’s root for the people that keep exploring and don’t abide by the rules of the dramaturgically constructed movies of the present moment.”
~ Joachim Trier

Ruben Östlund

“It’s very important to have an understanding for what the characters are doing. If you have a character that you want to judge and say, “He’s doing the wrong thing,” “He’s stupid,” “He’s a psychopath,” or whatever, then it becomes less interesting. It’s much more interesting to have someone do something stupid or amoral out of pure candor or naïveté. Because then you have to reflect and look back on yourself.  I wanted to make a tragicomedy, or a comic tragedy, where at a certain point, you don’t know if you’re allowed to laugh anymore. It’s really nice when the viewers can’t be 100% sure where we take them. They have to accept that they don’t know, and we take them to unexpected places. Just like in real life, when you have something really comical happening, and there’s something really tragic attached to it. And when something really tragic has happened, there’s often something trivial and comic about it.”
~ Ruben Östlund

Monte Hellman

MONTE HELLMAN: I can usually tell within the first minute whether a film is good. And, if it’s bad, I turn it off after ten or twenty minutes.
That quickly?
That quickly.
What is it that you’re looking for?
I’m looking for something to surprise me.
What’s an example of something that you turned off after a few minutes?
La La Land.
I should’ve guessed.
I just couldn’t watch it.
I couldn’t make it more than thirty minutes into La La Land myself, but it obviously has some appeal. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that the Hollywood Bowl had ‘La La Land in Concert?’
You know I don’t know the answer to that question.
What do you think might be the appeal for La La Land’s acolytes?
I don’t know, but I’d bet almost anything that they’ve never seen another musical before.
It’s the biggest, loudest musical of the moment and maybe it’s just easier for people to like it?
Something like that.

“”Live cinema is essentially a cinematic piece of work — we’ll call it a film or a motion picture — with its unique way of telling a story, and yet is not shot conventionally, and then months and months gone by in editing, but is actually made while it’s happening, and you’re seeing it as it’s being acted and being edited and being presented, music is being added. It’s all a live experience.”
~ Francis Coppola Spends His Wine Millions

Toback project

“Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge is my second home, and Brett has become an essential force in world cinema whose star on the Walk of Fame will add fresh luster to that stellar sidewalk,” says James Toback. “Brett’s a wonderful person and a great storyteller. I’m working on a film for RatPac called ‘The Man Who Beat Vegas.’ I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and it’s a contemporary Las Vegas story. ”

“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

Kyle Turner

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner

Lupita Nyong’o

“Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now. Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
Lupita Nyong’o

Guillermo del Toro

“The people with the money are assholes. They look back and they want to stay in a safe place, while the filmmakers want to go forward. And sometimes we as filmmakers fuck them up because we’re also assholes, but we’re crazy assholes. You need to be pretty brutal. Frank Capra’s movies can make you cry, but he was a tough motherfucker.”
~ Guillermo del Toro

“The sad and painful truth is that pretty much everyone in this town knew who Harvey was. I have had long talks with my most liberal friends. Did we know he was a rapist? We didn’t. But did we know that for decades he has been offering actresses big careers in exchange for sexual favors? Yes, we did — and make no mistake, that is its own kind of rape. And did we all — or did any of us — refuse to do business with him on moral grounds? No. We ALL STAYED IN BUSINESS WITH HIM. I have never done business with Harvey but I can tell you with certainty that I would have — because I was recently approached by a film festival he sponsors. They asked me to submit my short film for their consideration and I did it without thinking twice. I am a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and a vocal one at that. So why didn’t I think twice? Because this entire town is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to an horrific extreme. If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career.”
~ Showrunner Krista Vernoff

Quote Unquotesee all »

“One of comedy’s defining pathologies, alongside literal pathologies like narcissism and self-loathing, is its swaggering certainty that it is part of the political vanguard, while upholding one of the most rigidly patriarchal hierarchies of any art form.”
~ Lindy West

“When I was first divorced, I started dating younger women, and it was really exciting. But after a while I was like, This is just dumb. You date someone younger and it’s… limited. There’s no future in it. And as far as just going out and getting laid, that kinda got tired for me very quickly. It’s just—it’s very intimate. You’re letting her right into the middle of your life. You see someone and you’re like, She’s really hot, I want to be naked with her. And then you’re naked with her and you’re like, Jesus, she’s in my —-ing room and we’re naked. The idea of that—of just —-ing somebody—became silly to me.”
~ Louis C. K. To GQ, 2011