November 28, 2006

Shorts, 11/28.

Here's the writer of "Phil in the Marketplace," a story that's actually four stories about Philip K Dick in the Fall 2006 Special Fiction Issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review. Via David Peskovitz, who notes at Boing Boing that Jonathan Lethem will also be a featured commentator on the A Scanner Darkly DVD due next month.

Tribulation 99 "A radical anti-establishmentarian, [Craig] Baldwin is less pedantic than he is pulp-satiric, and the movies are endlessly unpackable," writes Michael Atkinson for IFC News. "His most famous film, Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, is also his masterpiece: a breathless, fevered screed in 99 chapters that details the tapestry of 20th century history as it has been influenced and manipulated by the inner-earth-dwelling Quetzals."

Somewhat related is Max Goldberg's interview for SF360: "Other Cinema.... has invited [Rick] Prelinger to show some of his favorites at Artists' Television Access on the occasion of the new book, A Field Guide to Sponsored Films. I spoke with him on the phone as he readied for the ATA event."

"Ellen Kuras operates like a perpetual-motion machine," writes Jamie Stuart in a newsy profile for Filmmaker. "One moment she's photographing Michel Gondry's latest feature. The next, shooting The Rolling Stones for Martin Scorsese."

"Some of the best movies you've never heard of—produced in a nation that no longer exists—screen in Brooklyn this weekend and next," writes J Hoberman. "BAM's Czech Modernism isn't so much a full-scale survey as a selection of films produced in Czechoslovakia between the wars, but these 12 archival prints give ample evidence of a surprisingly worldly world-class cinema."

Also in the Voice:

Blood Money

Meanwhile: "Word just into Reeler HQ confirms that interim Village Voice film editor Allison Benedikt is no longer 'interim' - she has indeed accepted the position full-time."

Acquarello takes a deep breath, and then: "Incisively anticipating such sobering and indelible agricultural documentaries as Hubert Sauper's Darwin's Nightmare, Nick and Mark Francis' Black Gold, and Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread (as well as the dysfunctionality of big business economics as presented in Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbot's The Corporation), and infused with Luc Moullet's irrepressibly droll, tongue-in-cheek humor that has been further crystallized within the filmmaker's socially critical, if not revolutionary, gaze, Genèse d'un repas (The Origins of a Meal) is a thoughtful, acerbic, contemporary, and profoundly relevant exposition on the indirect, wide-ranging repercussions of globalism on industrial food production, international commerce, and the local economy."

"Whatever its faults or virtues, Babel seems to me to typify several trends in current cinema." David Bordwell maps three lessons.

The Fountain Though I haven't yet seen Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, Matt Zoller Seitz's review - analysis, really - seems to be pretty much the definitive take. A must-read, including the thoughtful comments that follow at the House Next Door - where Sean Burns and Andrew Dignan have a bit more to add. Earlier and updated: "Interview. Darren Aronofsky." Related: Gabriel Shanks; and just launched in conjunction with the release of Ellen Burstyn's Lessons in Becoming Myself is her official site.

Back to the NYT:

  • Dave Kehr on Pandora's Box: "Part of [GW] Pabst's aesthetic strategy is to begin the film on a tone of strict social realism (unable to pay her electricity bill, Lulu bribes the meter reader with a shot of schnapps) and gradually smuggle in a whole range of expressionist elements.... This superlative package is one of the finest Criterion releases in quite some time - a definitive edition of a seemingly inexhaustible film." More praise from Gordan Thomas at Bright Lights After Dark.

  • Charles Solomon meets the four women of Clamp, the studio that's produced "22 popular manga series, many of which have been adapted to animation, including X, Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura." Somewhat related: Scott Green's "Anime AICN" column is up; also: winning interpretations of Serial Experiments Lain.

  • Ben Brantley on the new "exhilarating" production of the first installment of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia: "As directed by Jack O'Brien and performed with freshness and vigor by an immense and starry cast led by Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup, Voyage pulses with the dizzying, spring-green arrogance and anxiety of a new generation moving as fast as it can as it tries to forge a future that erases the past." Related: Slate reruns AO Scott's 1999 assessment of Stoppard's work.

Outlook: Bollywood "Bollywood's Best Year Ever!" exclaims the cover of Outlook India. Namrata Joshi: "One big blockbuster is not enough to get Bollywood smiling. But this year there have been so many that the industry has been laughing all the way to the bank. There haven't just been more hits but bigger hits with bumper collections - 2006 has been a year that boasts three blockbusters (Krrish, Lage Raho and Fanaa) and an assortment of superhits and hits."

Also, Smruti Koppikar has ten questions for Rahul Bose, the first being, "Why your own NGO?"

Meanwhile, the BBC: "Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt has been found guilty in connection with India's deadliest series of bomb attacks." An accompanying profile: "Bollywood's bad boy."

Boyd van Hoeij at "Before the official awards ceremony on December 2 in Warsaw, Poland, the European Film Academy has announced two prize winners: the Prix Fipresci and the new award for Best Production Design." The winners, respectively: Les amants réguliers and The Science of Sleep.

"The last year of the twentieth century is regarded as the annus mirabilis of modern American cinema, to which every subsequent year has been compared." But should it be, wonders David Lowery.

"I was disheartened when someone who knows I'm a James Bond fan showed me something about Bond from a recent Atlantic and it was riddled with the kind of careless mistakes only a barstool blowhard would make while he pulled things out of his ass," writes Chris Kelly at the Huffington Post. "And then I saw it was by Christopher Hitchens, and at least that made sense."

"Hilary is the reason why Freedom Writers got made," Richard LaGravenese tells Daniel Eagan. What's more: "The director is working with Swank again in his next film, an adaptation of Cecelia Ahern's novel PS, I Love You, about a young wife's efforts to resume her life after her husband dies of a brain tumor. (Ahern is the daughter of the current prime minister of Ireland.) Along with Swank, the cast includes Kathy Bates, Gerard Butler, Harry Connick, Jr, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lisa Kudrow, and Gina Gershon." Via Brendon Connelly.

The Hollywood Reporter's Gregg Goldstein: "Willem Dafoe, Bob Hoskins and Matthew Modine are set to star in writer-director Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales, a screwball comedy that has taken a circuitous path to production."

The Tiger and the Snow "The Tiger and the Snow is another objectionable romantic comedy from Roberto Benigni, a con man who treats war as his comedic playground," writes Ed Gonzalez at Slant, where Keith Uhlich picks up coverage of the Rivette retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image.

"The acting career of Phyllis Kirk, who has died aged 77, likely suffered because of her plain speaking and opposition to capital punishment, particularly her campaign to save Caryl Chessman - convicted on 17 counts of kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault." Ronald Bergan remembers the actress who was "not interested in becoming the Fay Wray of my time." Also in the Guardian: With Jay McInerney's approval, Dan Aykroyd will launch a new line of wines in Canada. Ed Pilkington.

Michelle Orange for IFC News: "Lionsgate's marketing chief Tim Palen has been quoted as calling the current torture genre craze 'a gold mine' and Fox Atomic was created with the expressed intention of cashing in; their first release, Turistas, opens this week, their second release, the Wes Craven-penned The Hills Have Eyes 2 in March and 28 Days Later sequel 28 Weeks Later in May. Peter Rice, the head of the division, has made his mandate clear: low-budget teen comedies and torture flicks that rely almost exclusively on online and 'viral' marketing to create a brand around not just the films but the studio itself. You know a trend has reached saturation point when a whole studio is devised in its service." More from Nathan Lee in the Voice.

10 Items or Less in "10 points (or less)" from Robert Cashill. More from Nathan Lee for the Voice and Matt Singer for IFC News.

3 Needles Kristi Mitsuda at indieWIRE on Thom Fitzgerald's 3 Needles: "Why the focus on only the most sensationalistic stories to come out of the AIDS crisis? And why are women sexually humiliated in every episode?" More from Rob Nelson in the Voice.

Catherine Bisley for the Lumière Reader: "In these days of Good and Evil where any resistance to invasion or occupation is branded terrorism, The Wind That Shakes the Barley presents a predicament that resonates beyond Ireland's borders and beyond war."

"Mutual Appreciation is the indie rock version of the feature film," writes Kathy Fennessy, who even reaches for the perfect analogy at the Siffblog.

From Governor Bill Richardson's office a few weeks ago: " The New Mexico State Film Office announced today that New Mexico will initiate a Green Filmmaking program in order to promote environmentally sustainable film and TV production."

Scott Small has a bit of fun at the BBspot: "The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home."

A friend of Annie Frisbie's is looking for a few good German films. Leave your recommendations at Zoom In Online.

Patti Smith: Auguries of Innocence Online listening tip. Patti Smith is a guest on Start the Week.

Online viewing tip. David Lowery: "The Theater Fire music video I wrote about making here and here is now on YouTube."

Online viewing tips. Steve Bryant's got clips from five of the first late talk show hosts. Including Dick Cavett's interview with Woody Allen.

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Posted by dwhudson at November 28, 2006 2:33 PM