November 30, 2006
Shorts, 11/30."How, The Lives of Others asks, could anyone read Brecht, or hear the emotive strains of Oscar-winning film composer Gabriel Yared, and not understand the value of individual liberty over nationalistic conformity?" asks Scott Foundas. "And judging by the film's success in Germany and its enthusiastic reception at this year's Telluride and Toronto film festivals, it's a good bet that many moviegoers will feel similarly moved. Personally, it gave me the creeps." Ah, well. I'm still bullish on both the critic and the film. Meantime, you'd think it wouldn't be too difficult to come up with a decent, never mind terrific poster for this movie, but so far neither the Germans nor the Americans have. Also in the LA Weekly: Paul Malcolm on Tribulation 99. David Poland lays out seven "studio movies, not independent films. And all seven filmmakers are highly creative, highly respected, and responsible for movies that their studios will consider fiscal failures that will be leveraged by some to avoid making similarly challenging films in the future. In other words, they got the shot... and now, others will have to wait a while before the opportunity comes up again." It really does seem to have been that kind of year. Alison Willmore has a big batch of up-n-coming news at the IFC Blog, but the most intriguing bit comes from MTV's Larry Carroll's conversation with Richard Linklater, who's in the fifth year of a 12-year project: "Every year, Linklater has a quasi-family reunion with aging A-listers Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette and, along with a skeleton crew of behind-the-scenes loyalists, shoots scenes that will someday be pasted together to create an exploration into adolescence." More news of films on the way from Bilge Ebiri; remakes and sequels, too. At Time Out, Chris Tilly reports that Peter Greenaway is working on a videogame to accompany his next feat-... well, multimedia extravaganza, Nightwatching. Matt Austin is hoping John Hughes will agree to be interviewed for Don't You Forget About Me, a documentary he's shooting that's already secured chats with stars and fans of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and so on. Shanda Deziel meets Austin for Macleans. Via Jessica Barnes at Cinematical. Variety: "George Clooney is booked solid through 2009." Also: "Meryl Streep is joining the cast of New Line's Middle East political thriller Rendition alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon." "Recently, I did on-camera commentaries for a Droopy DVD collection, a Ray Harryhausen DVD collection, and Ted Thomas's new doc, a work-in-progress on the 1941 Disney artists' trip to South America." Part 2 of Ward Jenkins's interview with John Canemaker, via Cartoon Brew. Girish: "Along with Renoir's The River, Rossellini's 1958 documentary India, Matri Bhumi (India, Motherland) is the probably the best film I’ve seen about India made by a Western filmmaker." Jason Rhode at Metaphilm: "There was something of the same memorial spirit, I think, behind Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. The West and the Western had both died abruptly, too. Yet Unforgiven lives on. Fifteen years on, its power has not diminished, but increased with age. It has not mellowed, but ripened." That Little Round-Headed Boy: "For some reason, I've never considered John Huston a painterly director, but a viewing of the newly refurbished Reflections in a Golden Eye will change your mind about that." Acquarello reviews Time, Kim Ki-duk's "flawed, but impassioned observation of contemporary society's inherent dysfunctionality in the wake of facile, economic privilege: a lost generation foundering in a youth-oriented culture of vanity, rootlessness, excess, and disposability." "Serge Gainsbourg is a singular presence in French pop or pop in general," writes E Steven Fried at the Siffblog. "As Beck noted, he combined an unlikely assortment of musical and personal qualities. The most typical image of him is a mondaine hedonist, coolly sucking on a Gitane while caressing a ravishing doll. A sort of French James Bond, if you will. The less typical image of him is a polite, gracious, self-deprecating, funny, shy, philosophical, nervous man. A sort of French Miles Monroe, if you will. Displaying the evolution of his persona, D'Autres Nouvelles des Etoiles presents Gainsbourg in his complexity." Neil Morris profiles documentary filmmaker Cynthia Hill for the Independent Weekly. "To list all the contrivances strewn throughout The Holiday would require more words than are warranted by Nancy Meyers's latest batch of cinematic maple syrup," writes Nick Schager. Also at Slant: Ed Gonzalez on Reminiscing in Tempo. For Slate's Dana Stevens, "The Fountain's tragic flaw - and to this untranscendent critic's eye, the movie is pretty tragically flawed - is already present in Pi, as well as in the second of Aronofsky's three movies, Requiem for a Dream." More from Eric Kohn in the New York Press. Also in the NYP, Armond White on Bobby: "It may seem soap opera-ish (one character even name-checks the classic 1932 Hollywood movie-star melodrama Grand Hotel), but by paralleling anonymous lives with the famous slaying of a political hero, [Emilio] Estevez revives more than a genre; he resurrects a marvelous but forgotten cultural ethos." And: "[Irwin] Winkler's Home of the Brave presents both Jacksons in roles that redefine their humanity and all our citizenship." Plus, Justin Ravitz: "With your uninhibited sense of grandeur and sweet, barely-ironic silliness, Jack Black, you're kind of timeless." Jennifer Merin talks with Catherine Hardwicke about The Nativity Story. "This, we can recognize, is how wars begin," writes Duncan Shepherd, reviewing Shut Up and Sing for the San Diego Reader. "It is not a simple story, straightforwardly inspirational. It is a complex one, about, among other things, the difficulty of courage (especially when big money is at stake) and the possible attainment of it along a path of regret, hurt, anger, bitterness, resignation, and finally the absence of any other choice. Tortuously inspirational." "Woody Allen's Manhattan, released in 1979, is perhaps the finest example ever of a motion picture insulated from cultural obsolescence by the shunning of contemporary music," argues Joe Queenan. But lately, "the Woodman has conclusively run out of steam, ideas, and any semblance of self-perception," sighs Andrew Pulver. Also in the Guardian: "Wenders's youthful infatuation with the States, which lasted 50 years, has ended," writes Ronald Bergan. "As a character in Fritz Lang's Clash By Night says: 'Home is where you get when you run out of places.' We can only hope that his next film to be made in his homeland with an all-German cast will silence those who suspect that his bright future is now behind him." And David Thomson has two lists of films for kids, ten each, the first batch "about a child's experience of the world, and of family," and the second "about adult experience but which involve children." For the City Paper, Sam Adams recommends a handful of films now on DVD that never made it to Philadelphia. Michael Guillém talks with "one of the brightest young talents of queer cinema," Jed Rosenthal Bell. Time Out's Chris Tilly talks with Simon Pegg about Big Nothing. At Cinema Strikes Back, David Austin has a generous report on the Monte Hellman Q&A that took place in NYC in October. Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has been inducted into the Legion of Honor. Criterion goes to Paris. Rex Sorgatz, in full, at Fimoculous: "Now that the 2006 lists of lists is growing to a respectable size, I'll mention that you should email me lists that fit in that genre: about 2006. Occasionally, people send me lists that have nothing to do with 2006, such as one of my recent favorites, Top 10 Servers In Movies. Yes, that's computer servers, not the ones who tell you to watch out for the hot plates at restaurants. Anyway, it's an excellent list." "Apparently, we broke the story and didn't even know it." Yep. Towards the end of a "Three-Minute Interview" with Jonathan Lethem, Mark Sarvas becomes the first to hear of the Library of America's plans for the canonization of Philip K Dick. Via the New York Times, interestingly, which is also reporting that the "next novel for Philip Roth, Exit Ghost, will be the ninth and last centered on Mr Roth's protagonist Nathan Zuckerman." And: "The 10 Best Books of 2006." The Times Literary Supplement gives us a peek at its "Books of the year" issue, with selections by Alberto Manguel, Marina Warner, Paul Muldoon, Craig Raine, AN Wilson and Elaine Showalter. Online gazing tip. Coudal Partners, with what "might just be the best motion picture production still ever." Online browsing tip. Christopher Benfey's slide show at Slate introducing Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination, the first major retrospective in 25 years. Online listening tip. "[T]he network hated both the special and the music." For NPR, Felix Contreras reports on Vince Guaraldi's now-classic soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas. Online viewing tip #1. A screen test: Paul Newman and James Dean. Via ticklebooth. Online viewing tip #2. As if editing Filmmaker weren't enough, Scott Macaulay is also a producer. The latest film he's worked on is Off the Black, starring Nick Nolte, Trevor Morgan and Timothy Hutton. And here's the trailer.
Posted by dwhudson at November 30, 2006 11:01 AM