“I don’t want to hold back movies from our subscribers. There’s no question there’s a romance with the old model. But the fact remains that people watch movies at home. [Theatrical] is increasingly out of step with the global audience. Buying movies and releasing them in theaters? There are plenty of people doing that. We’re not interested.”
~ Netflix Ted Sarandos
MIKE FLEMING: Given the week we’re in, an obvious first question: Mike, you’ve produced the second of three kinkily romantic Fifty Shades of Grey movies that have stretched the Valentine’s Day holiday. What advice from your exhaustive research can you convey that will guarantee Mrs. Fleming a whirlwind week of romance?
MIKE DE LUCA: Mr. Fleming must do whatever she wants and asks for, that’s my one and only instruction. Surrender, that’s the key to a successful marriage. Surrender. Surrender. Surrender.
MIKE FLEMING: So, reading between the lines, it feels like you’re advising me to stick to the usual playbook, a combination of groveling and guilt?
MIKE DE LUCA: Those are your words, not mine. I brought you the surrender advice. If she wants you to be a dominant, you become a dominant. If she wants you to be an infant, you put on a diaper. Happy wife, happy life, is all I’m saying.
MIKE FLEMING: I’m a tired 56-year old at the end of a long Oscar season. All this dressing up and role play sounds like a lot more work.
MIKE DE LUCA: The diaper helps, there. I’m wearing one right now. It’s really convenient.
~ Deadline’s Mike Fleming Interrogates Oscar’s Mike De Luca
“No, no, no, no, no. It was not essential to his victory. I think essential to his victory was the single fact that—and I know it from personal experience, friends in Boston, friends in San Francisco, for years, would talk about the “flyover”—I say it in quotes—what’s in between San Francisco and Boston, or Los Angeles and New York. The “flyover.” And I always complained, I said, “This is a cynical attitude.” This is the heartland you are talking about, the heartland of America. Those who have been neglected, those who have no real voice, those who have no coverage in the media. And all of a sudden, the heartland of America gave a fairly organized answer. It was what created Trump’s victory. I’ve been in North Korea recently for a film on volcanoes, and there’s an almost 100% filter. The internet is only available for the political elite and for the secret service, and for some university institutions, but that’s about it. So it’s not a cloud that is around us, like particles of mist—it’s actually servers, and routers, that are land-based and you can shut them down. And so, at the same time, we have to be cautious that we do not start some sort of censorship informed by complete political correctness. Something is good about the anarchy in the internet. We simply have to—instead of asking for the censor—we should rather be developing our own filters. Every single one of us. Where we would recognize, ‘Oh, this is junk mail and they’re just trying to make you download a Trojan and read your emails,’ and things like that. But for that, you have to go and do some old-fashioned thinking. You have to go read books, for example, and not just read tweets and Facebook entries. That’s what is real and necessary.”
~ Werner Herzog Is Still Talking About The Internet
“I think every human being by definition has something really weird about them. We’re taught by society to repress that unique quality or that weirdness: as you become socialized, you have to be homogenized, there are these old fashioned notions that you have to conform to. As an artist especially, I absolutely bristle against that! You should celebrate whatever is weird and unique about you. It’s your specific flavor. It’s like a bottle of exquisite wine, or an amazing distilled barrel of scotch whiskey. Every cask, because it is an organic quantity, is going to have a different flavor. We should embrace those different qualities rather than make everything taste like the same can of soda pop. If you only paid attention to television and social media, you would think that all we’re supposed to do is make as much money as possible, and buy as many retail goods as possible. I’ve found that making a life with one’s hands and spending your time with loved ones pays less dollars but makes your life much more rich. I feel like the American Dream has been a bit hijacked by consumerism… And I learned the hard way that that’s actually quite empty and depressing as a lifestyle.”
~ Nick Offerman
“Blade Runner is the launch point for examining science fiction that celebrates the social vitality and cultural dynamism of urban life with its mix of creativity and community. The film is a reminder that the essence of a city is not the physical container but the people it contains. Cities are where deals go down, ideas blossom, lovers arrange trysts, and conspirators hatch plots. Science fiction storytellers would be lost without the bustling marketplace and the crowded tavern — places where a variety of goods and services can be found and where anybody can put in an appearance, meaning trouble and plot complications are just around the corner.”
~ Carl Abbott In “Beyond Blade Runner: Community in Cities of the Future”
“I always go back to Ozu and Bresson, both of whom I admire a great deal. I like the way Bresson frames midriff: a person going across the room but you’re just seeing the half, the midriff of the body. The scene in Pickpocket at the racetrack. And Hitchcock, any of the inserts: the scene in The Wrong Man where Fonda is booked and Hitchcock shows you the detail, each step of the process. It has such a sense of isolation and helplessness, because these objects, these inserts, they speak to you. They tell you how to look at them. They direct the viewer.”
~ Martin Scorsese
“It would be one of the biggest misreadings you could ever do to say, ‘that’s not a super-intelligent person.’ It takes a smart person to play a dumb person effectively. It’s that curse: if you’re a young, good-looking actor, male or female, everyone projects on you a shallow stupidity, whatever. No one gives you credit. It can take a career, a couple of decades of solid work, for them to go, ‘Oh, maybe they’re not as dumb as I thought…’ He thinks it all matters. Put it this way: he’s the opposite of full-of-shit. I think audiences pick up on that. That’s why he’s so effective in so many things. They go with his quest. They come onboard Keanu’s train. You look at him and think you know him. You kind of do but you don’t. I don’t pretend to know anything about him and I worked with him for a long time. I don’t know who he’s sleeping with. I don’t know what he’s doing when we’re not together. It’s an innocence, actually.”
~ Richard Linklater On Keanu
“Which brings us to now. We should not be surprised that fundamentalists, of every stripe, are exercised and fuming. We should not be surprised that these profound changes come at a steeper cost than we originally thought. We should not be surprised that not everyone is actually cool with it. If we live through this precarious moment, if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank our current leader for. He will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is. His whisperers will have alerted us to potential flaws in the balance of power in government. To how we have relied on the goodwill and selflessness of most previous occupants of the Oval Office. How quaint notions of custom, honor and duty compelled them to adhere to certain practices of transparency and responsibility. To how it all can be ignored. How the authority of the executive, in the hands of a self-dealer, can be wielded against the people, their Constitution and Bill of Rights. The whip of the executive, through a Twitter feed, can lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimize the press and imagined enemies with spasmodic regularity and easily provoked predictability.
“Here we are in 2017, the year the browser seems to have gone down. In danger of losing much of our information, we seem to be reverting to factory settings. But we are not going to go back to the bad old days of ignorance and harassment, oppression and hiding who we are. Because we owe it to the people who have died for our rights (and who died before they got their own). We owe it to the pioneers of the LGBTQ movement, like Paula Grossman, and to the people on the frontlines of all civil-rights movements, not to let them down. Yes, I am the most overrated, overdecorated and, currently, over-berated actress, who likes football, of my generation. But that is why you invited me here! Right?”
~ Meryl Streep
“Shots that feature fumbling and reframing are integrated the way a confident painter builds a picture around bare canvas, loose brushwork, spattered drips. And there’s a steady pressing of a central nerve, a nagging question implicit in the most searching documentaries as well as the most trivial: At what point does the camera’s scrutiny become exploitative, invasive, voyeuristic, damaging? The question hovers throughout the film, despite Johnson’s evident gift for putting people at ease, respecting the pressure and pain of true confession. In sequence after sequence, she invites and captures intimacy, even or especially when her subjects don’t want their faces shown. (In these cases, Johnson’s camera follows their uneasy hands, and we see Scorsese’s axiom at work; what’s not in the frame adds eloquence to what is.)”
~ Michael Almereyda On Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson
When we met, Zappa gave me “the script” of his project – 300 pages, some handwritten, some paste-ups, some incomprehensible, a few lyrics, and a frequent use of the word “penis.” Ah, I said. He wanted me to “visualize” it, he said. Ah, I said. To create the atmosphere of life on the road of a touring rock & roll band. Ah, I said. When do we shoot, I asked? In a month’s time, he said. Do we have a cast, I asked? No, he said, apart from various musicians from his band including Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, also known as the Turtles. The cast, he said, that’s your job. Ah, I said.
~ 200 Motels Director Tony Palmer
“Most of what I read from the U.S. is either a thriller or a love story. And I say I won’t kill anyone in my films. I really don’t want to be a part of that in the industry. I think it’s completely over-represented with the crime stories, the murders, that we make entertainment out of horrifying things, and I don’t want to be a part of that. So a lot of the scripts have these ingredients, or things or ideas that have viewpoints on love and relationships that I don’t agree on. So when I’ll do something in English or in that context, it will have to be something I feel I can be true to. I think it’s quite childish the way violence is portrayed in cinema. I don’t want to participate in that way. I have almost no violence in my life. Why should I create violence all the time?”
~ Force Majeure Director Ruben Östlund
Who came up with the idea of using Lee Hazlewood on the soundtrack?
Me, the director. Who do you think came up with the idea, the fucking caterer?
What do you think of the critical reception the film has had?
Some critics say, “I really like this film.” Other critics say, “I really hate this film.” At the end of the day, it’s all meaningless. I got paid, and we’re all going to die.
Do you think that comedies are somewhat critic-proof?
No. That’s a really stupid question to end on. Well done.
~ John Michael McDonagh
“Roger Ross Williams, whose documentary Life, Animated is also up for the Academy Award, argued in favor of speaking out when opportunity arises to bend the industry’s ear. ‘I think it’s really important,’ he told The Times, applauding Meryl Streep’s fiery anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globes. ‘My film is about someone with a disability and it’s important that people like Owen have a voice and a place in America, just like it’s important that I as a black gay man have a voice and a place in America. And if I ever get up there on stage, I’m going to say that.'”
~ Political Statements At DGA Awards
“Samuel L. Jackson’s newest role, as the voice of the late black writer James Baldwin, is one of the worst ideas in the history of movie casting. SamJack as Iceberg Slim, author of the black cult novel Pimp? Maybe. SamJack as Detroit’s felonious black mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Sure. But as Baldwin, the black, gay, expatriate political activist and intellectual? Only in a culture suffering the delusion that all African Americans look, think, and talk alike. Peck uses Baldwin’s half-century-old writings as prophecy — similar to the contemporary racial-politics hustle that vitiated Ava DuVernay’s The 13th. This reduces Baldwin’s in-the-moment reflections and once-daring insights to the petulance of the Black Lives Matter crusade, which overturns the principles and virtues that King, Malcolm, and Medgar represented before their deaths. Baldwin’s own voice had a fey high pitch, enunciating with affected precision. He spoke fast, sometimes singsongy, like the self-fashioned, exotique sound of kittenish singer and actress Eartha Kitt. Even in sedate mode, SamJack’s voice is nothing like that, so he narrates in measured cadence to pay uncharacteristic and unconvincing homage to Baldwin’s legacy. Peck learned nothing from the mess of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.”
~ A Ringing Endorsement of I Am Not Your Negro From The National Review’s Harmin’ Armond
“Who seemingly in a bid not to overshadow the iconic scribe with his own dramatic charisma, has disappeared so entirely into Baldwin’s persona as to create a mystifying lost and found entity of himself within this production. That said, Jackson is perhaps one of the most intriguing elements within the crafting of this screen memoir. A somewhat disorganized collage constructed by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck which, rather than building political and dramatic momentum and comprehension, shifts indecisively at repeated moments just when a propulsive point is about to be made.”
~ WBAI’s Prairie Miller, Blogging One Of Two “Rotten” Tomatoes Reviews Of I Am Not Your Negro
“For a long time, the logline on Richard Linklater was that he was an unpredictable stylistic magpie who’d never make the same kind of movie twice. Now the rap is a little different: Linklater makes monolithically white movies that at best ignore a changing world, and at worst long for the restoration of white patriarchy. That the latter is a pretty insane thing to extrapolate from the work of a dude known for categorically avoiding villains while placing a repeated emphasis on the virtues of communal discourse suggests that these criticisms do not seem to come from a place of good faith or arguing something that the speaker remotely believes. I first got an inkling of things to come when Before Midnight came out and was promptly criticized in some quarters for Julie Delpy’s character, specifically her articulation of certain normative (scare-quotes if you like) gender roles that made her insufficiently intersectional. All three films in the Before trilogy are the result of intense collaboration between Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Linklater, so we can presume that the actress is writing a part that chimes with how she feels about certain things. If Delpy is a French woman of an age who can’t shake certain potentially objectionable norms, does that make her viewpoint less valid or worthy of expression? What’s interesting about Linklater’s films is the way that they can seem objective in their ability to depict without endorsing: viewers change over time, the films themselves don’t. At no point do Linklater’s films tell you how to respond to them. It would be entirely possible to watch Dazed, or Everybody, or Boyhood or whatever, find them boring and reactionary, and still work with what’s actually in the text (and the society which produced it) rather than reading deliberate malignity into it. Problematics aren’t a problem, they’re an opportunity to unpack and reflect.”
~ Vadim Rizov
“I don’t really believe there are separate worlds or clean breaks from the past. All those lives and struggles and freedoms are active now or influence what is possible or not possible now. I was trying to tell a story that I felt related to now. I don’t like ‘70s movies that are nostalgia. The year 1979 does relate to now in so many ways. I’ve been in Q&As with Elle Fanning, and she just turned 18 — she was 16 or 17 when we shot — and she would say, ‘Well when I read it, it just felt like all my friends, like people I know now. It didn’t feel like the past.’ I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I really like that that is her answer. It makes me feel like I’m really on to something. But my mom is a creature who can’t exist now, and that was important to me to try to say. That was of a different time.”
~ Mike Mills on 20th Century Women
“I cannot imagine the beauty and talent of either Paddy Chayefsky or Peter Finch. The classic line is ‘I’m mad as hell and not going to take it any more.’ But the line that always hits me and brings tears to this old, craggy face is ‘I’m a human being, God damn it! My life has value!’ Talk to me about acting all you want. About my acting – it is nothing compared to Finch delivering this line. I am a slug to Finch’s Michael Jordan. And then that Chayefsky had the prescience and genius to write what he wrote and it went unnoticed in many ways – except for people thinking it was fun to be relevant for screaming out their windows about being upset about their laundry or taxes.”
~ John Lurie
“In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
~ “1984,” George Orwell
“I regret to announce via this statement that I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards Ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community.
“Over the course of the past few days and despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States, my decision had remained the same: to attend this ceremony and to express my opinions about these circumstances in the press surrounding the event. I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever.
“Just as I had stated to my distributor in the United States on the day the nominees were announced, that I would be attending this ceremony along with my cinematographer, I continued to believe that I would be present at this great cultural event.
“However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip. I would therefore like to convey via this statement what I would have expressed to the press were I to travel to the United States. Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way.
“In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an “us and them” mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of “them” and inflict fear in the people of their own countries.
“This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same. For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hardliners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears. Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.
“However, I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences. I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities. To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity.
“I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.
Asghar Farhadi, Iran.