August 4, 2005

Shorts, 8/4.

Duma "[I]t's what [Carroll] Ballard does with this story that makes it sing." And so, Stephanie Zacharek is issuing a call to Chicago area moviegoers to go see - and possibly save - Duma.

"I've been making films for 25 years. I don't like looking back into my own past, but I've learned that progress comes from the mistakes. Mistakes are gifts. The stuff that didn't work remains mysterious. You can't analyze why something worked, but you can analyze why it didn't work," Jim Jarmusch tells Howard Feinstein. Another reason he tossed a script called "Three Moons to the Sky" in favor of the one that became Broken Flowers is that "I wanted to do something with this incredible wealth of female actors 40 - 55 who seem discarded." Also at indieWIRE: "Wong Kar-Wai's fans enjoy the occasional teases and vague answers; they've become as much a trademark of the filmmaker as the distinct slo-mo, saturated visuals, his use of latin-flavored music, or his own black polo shirt and trademark dark glasses." Eugene Hernandez listens to the director's vague thoughts on 2046.

Jarmusch/Wong As it happens, Scott Foundas considers both films at once in the LA Weekly: "Whereas Jarmusch is a Westerner who possesses an Eastern sense of art-making rigor and discipline, Wong is an Easterner whose movies explode with the mad stylistic fervor of Otto Preminger in his prime." Dave Shulman gets the long talk with Jarmusch, who, in turn, gets in a good rant aimed at Hollywood: "My real criticism is that they're so timid... Even just on a business level wouldn't it make sense to have a wider variety of products that cost less to produce? Wouldn't you have a better chance of increasing your profit margin? But I don't know. I'm not a business guy, so maybe I'm completely wrong."

Also in the LAW:

  • Doug Ireland has a compulsively readable piece on what the latest revelations about the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini may ultimately mean for the poet, novelist and filmmaker's reputation; you might want to head straight for the expanded version at his blog.

  • John Albert: "Edward Bunker, actor and author of five books and three films, died in Burbank on July 19 at the age of 71, a free man."

Junebug

At Cinema Strikes Back, Blake spots this in Andrew Sarris's latest column for the New York Observer: "Since I decided recently that I was going to live forever, I figured that I had enough time to update The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929 - 1968 to the 21st Century, beginning with Richard Linklater, whom I am tentatively placing in the category 'The Far Side of Paradise.'" And, as Alison Willmore notes at the IFC Blog, he's still nursing wounds from "the Sarris-Kael imbroglio."

They Came Back Paul Kalina talks with They Came Back director Robin Campillo: "In the film, there is some kind of winter, the feeling that we are preparing ourselves for a big mourning. I think 9/11 did a lot to us. In the terrorist project, there is something to take us out of life, to have the feeling that we are not in our own place, our own cities, our own homes, our own lives." Via the IFC Blog.

Why is the Pentagon spending $25K to teach 15 scientists how to write and sell screenplays? As David M Halbfinger explains in the New York Times, the idea, basically, is to prompt a deluge of movies and TV shows that "depict scientists in flattering ways," to make science popular via pop culture. Otherwise, the US will never make up its deficit of science and engineering students.

Nick Rombes considers the "little disasters" that enliven and humanize art.

Xeni Jardin reports on the Directors Guild of America's annual Digital Day for Wired News. Via Scott Kirsner, who asks, "At some point soon, will every day be digital day for directors?" And Slashdotters comment.

If you download a movie you wouldn't be seeing in a theater anyway, how much is Hollywood actually losing, asks Jason Kottke.

Dennis Cozzalio hits the drive-ins.

"Is Miranda July's debut feature as good as everybody says?" asks Godfrey Cheshire in the Independent Weekly. "Although the film seems to divide people into love-or-hate-it camps (with the former being far larger), my own reaction was somewhere in between, one of admired-it-with-reservations."

Taylor Holland's contribution to the "Damn Dirty Ape Issue" of the Austin Chronicle is an appreciation of actors in monkey suits and, in general: "When you say 'monkey movie,' you might as well say 'movie.' From a strictly Darwinistic point of view, any movie is a monkey movie." There's an accompanying photo quiz - "Real or Fake?" - and you can find the answers once you're through. Holland also interviews Norman Tempia of Animated FX Inc: "How did you get started in chimp suits?" And Louis Black on Robot Monster: "The ape in the diving helmet and the girl he sexually desires, the romance, the other earthlings and their resistance whacked my personal sexuality gyroscope permanently off course."

Also:

Je t'aime moi non plus

Jim Ridley in the Nashville Scene: "The lesson of the 48 Hour Film Project is that choice can be a filmmaker's crippling enemy, while restrictions are often a shot of creative adrenaline."

A film program for teens gets a nice grant. In the Philadelphia City Paper, Jenna Portnoy explains why it's deserved. Also: Sam Adams on Bergman's Saraband and Cindy Fuchs on Broken Flowers.

The Boston Phoenix Broken Flowers double: Gerald Peary and Peter Keough.

On the Road The Guardian wants your iMovies. Mike Figgis and Peter Bradshaw pen the invitations. Also: Will Hodgkinson on Francis Ford Coppola's latest attempt - after buying the rights in 1968 - get an adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road up and rolling.

At Hell on Frisco Bay, Brian knows one reason "Herzog's documentaries are so incredible. They force the viewer to watch with his or her own eyes and be aware of his or her own reactions."

Over the years, Looker has learned when it's time to walk out.

Current TV is so 90s, sighs Dana Stevens at Slate. More from Aaron at Out of Focus.

Richard Phillips and Ismet Redzovic wrap their coverage of June's Sydney Film Festival for the World Socialist Web Site. Previous parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Online listening tip. Cyndi Greening talks with Emanuel Levy about the book he's working on, Michael Moore and the New American Documentaries, and the conversation fans out from there: politics and money, festivals and just plain good movies.

Online zoning out tip. The Fountain. Via AICN.

Online viewing tips, round #1. "Some QuickTime Movies" by Michael Szpakowski, plus notes and a more complete concordance. Via DVblog.

Online viewing tips, round #2. Cumming. The fragrance. Via Screenhead, also pointing to Michal Migurski's Vox Delicii and Madness's "Our House," "designed and animated by students 12 to 15 years old, and originated entirely on flipbooks."

Online viewing tips, round #3. Nicolas Randall's parody of Mike Mills's video for Air's "All I Need." Via Coudal Partners, also currently pointing to OO (watch the clip).



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Posted by dwhudson at August 4, 2005 2:56 PM