September 22, 2003

Shorts, 9/22.

Newsweek very much wants you to see a certain movie on October 3.

School of Rock

David Ansen reviews it: "Let's come right out and say it: School of Rock made me laugh harder than any movie I've seen this year." Devin Gordon does the obligatory profile: "[T]his man can rock you like a hurricane. He can sing like Robert Plant - well, like Sammy Hagar at least - and he can act like John Belushi and tickle your soft spot like Elmo. [Jack] Black doesn't have fans, he has acolytes."

Well, you know what. I don't care if it is Newsweek. I'm hoping that this movie really is wall-to-wall Jack Black and that it really is as fun as they say.

"Coming soon, advertisements won't only be in the movies. They will be the movies." This latest development that Evelyn Nussenbaum describes in the New York Times - the "moviemercial" - is depressing, but to an extent, a lot of Hollywood product has been just that for some time. Studio packages have increasingly been tightly knit constellations - soundtracks, games, live action figures and other merchandise, DVDs, and of course, the theatrical release, which has become primarily merely the "event" to sell all the other stuff. But that's not news, is it.

Ranting against such bald-faced salesmanship would be too easy, though, as Elvis Mitchell reminds us in his piece on Disney's summer. Few companies represent brash and ruthless commercialization of the arts quite like Disney, and yet, argues Mitchell, "two of the season's best performances, which also happen to be a couple of the best comedy turns of the year, were in Disney live-action movies." Those being, in case you haven't been taking notes, Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday, a remake, as clear a sign as any that Disney is poking around in its dusty vaults for cheap properties, and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, based on a ride, the most recent addition to that aforementioned constellation, and a sort of appealingly retro one at that.

Also in the NYT:

  • A rather disturbing dissection of Alec Baldwin's finances and his divorce.
  • Maureen Dowd casts a glance at the Schwarzenegger campaign and smells blood.
  • Another talk with Michael Winterbottom, only Caryn James takes in the whole career, before and after In This World.
  • Matthew Rose has a piece in the magazine on Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the "inspiration" for Spielberg's next project, Terminal with Tom Hanks. Watch this space for more on another film, this one opening in December, with a similar premise. Soon.

    I wouldn't have thought it'd be Lillian Ross who'd set a per-column-inch cussin' record in the New Yorker. Then again, when it comes to Scarface, it's probably tough to avoid. Also in this week's issue: Nick Paumgarten chats with Peter Dinklage and Hendrik Hertzberg bones up on "Schwarzeneggerology."

    "He is a coward, a cheat and lazy." No, not Ahnuld. That's just Guillaume Depardieu talking up his dad.

    Back in June, Jonathan Rosenbaum called Tian Zhuangzhuang one of his favorite Chinese filmmakers and was glad to report that he hadn't botched a classic, Springtime in a Small Town. Well, I can't tell whether or not the film will see a release in the US beyond last year's Chicago International Film Festival, but Australians will be able to see it in a few days and some poor un-bylined writer for The Age talks to the director. Via Movie City News.

    "[E]ven though some fans hate this, the more popular it gets the more money can go into it and the better the quality will be - it's a self-feeding thing. I think the state of anime in general is that people care more about the quality, especially English speaking product." And he would know. That's Chris Patton, voice of, among others, Ayato Kamina in RahXephon, talking to Anime News Network's Jay Levy. Love that his favorite movie is Eyes Wide Shut.

    The new issue of Kinoeye focuses on Czech film.

    "There's something about the Bay Area that's really relaxing." Now there's a quote Carla Meyer nabs from Sofia Coppola that the San Francisco Chronicle is happy to run. Also in the paper:

    Sunday, Bloody Sunday

  • On the occasion of the release of Sunday, Bloody Sunday on DVD, Edward Guthmann recalls the film and the career of director John Schlesinger.
  • Peter L. Stein checks in on local filmmakers rushing to get their work ready in time for Sundance and runs down a list of titles.
  • Carla Meyer again, quoting Diane Lane this time.

    Roger Avary is "pumped and primed and ready for THE 4TH FILM BY QUENTIN TARANTINO." Since he's avoiding industry screenings, and probably pre-release press as well, he'll have missed Sean O'Hagan's long feature on Tarantino and the movie in the Observer, but maybe he caught:

  • A dangerous (but fun) article by Tim Cooper on the nutty making of Abby Singer. Why dangerous? Because now everyone will want to Frank Abagnale their way into celebs' faces.
  • The Weather Underground is opening in the UK, so Mark Honigsbaum fills out the historical background.
  • Kenneth Branagh is back; on stage rather than on screen, but still.

    Screen Daily's Denis Seguin is impressed by "the underlying humanity of this circus of the bizarre," Anders Thomas Jensen's The Green Butchers while Jennifer Green spots "a sharp yet ultimately gentle comedy" in Madrid, Dunia Ayaso and Felix Sabroso's Chill Out.

    Michael and Amanda watch Bound.

    Online viewing tip. Pictures that don't move this time: 5th graders reluctantly illustrate Radiohead.

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    Posted by dwhudson at September 22, 2003 6:07 AM

  • Comments

    Well hello. It is nice to fine that people enjoyed Tim Cooper's story. And being one of the guys that did the crazy stuff ... it worked ... we just won "The Best Feature Film" and "Best Independent Film" at the New Orleans Media Experience Film Festival. So if we can anyone can if they can let go the "Fear" and their "Ego". Follow your heart and and joy will follow.
    Jonathan Black /Abby Singer - Producer

    Posted by: Jonathan at November 2, 2003 8:47 PM

    Congrats! Hope the film makes it over to Berlin some time.

    Posted by: David Hudson at November 4, 2003 5:30 AM