April 28, 2007

Weekend shorts.

Let's Get Lost "While clearly of a piece with [Bruce] Weber's still photography, the style of the film is fairly unconventional for a doc of its vintage, shot, as it was, in alternately underlit and high-contrast black and white, with interviews set and lit like photo shoots and the highly stylized directorial touch of the filmmaker evident throughout." For the Austin Chronicle, Anne S Lewis talks with Weber about Let's Get Lost, heading for the Film Forum in June and DVD in December.

Nick Curtis has a longish backgrounder on 28 Weeks Later for the Evening Standard and opens his review with: "This stunning sequel matches Danny Boyle's 2002 London horror hit 28 Days Later in almost every way."

"With Hulk, [Ang] Lee brings what has been churning in his œuvre for a decade to a boil," writes Gina Marchetti in Film International. "An Orientalist fantasy gone awry, Hulk shows that within the white, Western, establishment male (and, by extension, the American body politic) lurks the repressed man of color, perpetually angry, on the margins and on the loose, waiting to emerge as the apocalyptic destroyer of Western civilization or, perhaps, its ultimate salvation."

Salvador (Puig Antich) At european-films.net, Boyd van Hoeij talks with Manuel Huerga about Salvador (Puig Antich), which premiered at Cannes last year, stars Daniel Brühl and Ingrid Rubio and was nominated for 11 Spanish Goyas. But the first item of business: "European filmmakers have more possibilities in terms of themes, cultures and artistry, but because of its position of submission to Northern American capitalism, Europe is almost forced to sacrifice its identity, its particularity, its cultural richness and variety and its filmmaking talents."

"German cinema used to be the preserve of beret-toting university lecturers and media pseuds," writes Ed Caesar in the Independent. "Now, it seems, it has become the opiate of the popcorn masses. And not just German masses. Punters in Britain, America, Spain and Italy are forking over to see some extraordinary German films, of which The Lives of Others, Downfall and Goodbye Lenin! are only the most successful." The turning point? "Run Lola Run changed everything."

"Things have been looking up for Australian film," writes Garry Maddox in the Sydney Morning Herald. He does take note of the naysayers - George Miller and Fred Schepisi, among them - but counters with numbers and a list of films coming up from down under. Via Movie City News.

Jonathan Kiefer in the Sacramento News and Review on Year of the Dog: "You know a movie is humane when the main character becoming a petulant nutjob somehow only moves you even more deeply. This is not the italicized-and-underlined satire of rotting suburban normalcy that you see coming for miles and already have seen a zillion times anyway (thanks so much, American Beauty). Instead, it's a braver and more accurate reflection of how we live now - less like people in movies than we'd hoped to be, more apart from each other than we care to admit."

In a special issue of Film&Music edited by Björk, Ryan Gilbey talks with Darren Aronofsky about The Fountain ("Björk says:... maybe it was a relief to see him portray a spiritual world that was so idiosyncratic at a time when I feel so overwhelmed by religion") and Kira Cochrane considers "one of the key themes of the fantasy genre - the use of a young or adolescent girl as a protagonist." The occasion is Pan's Labyrinth, about which Björk says, "It really got me. I walked straight home and wrote 'Pneumonia.'"

Also in the Guardian:

American Shaolin

  • Stephen Poole reviews Brian Preston's Bruce Lee and Me: A Martial Arts Adventure and Matthew Polly's American Shaolin: One Man's Quest to Become a Kung Fu Master: "A question that both of these books ask is: why does the idea of 'kung fu' still hold such glamour and mystery in the west?... As Preston's title suggests, the answer is partly the legacy of Bruce Lee, who was not a particularly outstanding martial artist by Chinese standards, but who was gifted with great beauty and charisma and a willingness to show off some stunts that western audiences had rarely seen. The other part of the answer is a kind of Orientalist spiritualism: a new-agey pick'n'mix adulation of 'ancient Chinese wisdom' and meditation - which very often turns the western teaching of taiji, in particular, into flowery, non-violent nonsense."

  • "Spidey goes emo!" exclaims Steve Rose. "It's not just Spider-Man though.... Previously sunny and harmless areas of pop culture are gradually being cast into shadow, as if a giant pair of Ray-Bans is being lowered over the world." In other words, black is the new black. Even so: "What we're getting in Spider-Man 3 and elsewhere isn't actual darkness, it's the suggestion of it. It's darkness lite."

  • John Patterson finds the American Library Association's list of "The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 - 2000" and urges more film adaptations: "You have to believe that annoying these censorious, yet subliterate bigots is a very good thing."

  • Peter Bradshaw on Away From Her ("a deeply impressive and intelligent film"), Andrew Pulver on The Painted Veil ("faultless, powerful filmmaking"; related: Rhoda Koenig in the Independent on Somerset Maugham) and Steve Rose on The Puffy Chair ("Promising stuff").

  • David Thomson on the Richard Linklater movies he likes and those he doesn't.

"Moments like the one Frenhofer has when sketching Marianne's face can be a godsend to an artist, no matter what his medium." Paul Clark dwells on that one, from Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse. Also at ScreenGrab, DK Holm on the work of film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, Anthony Lane's Barbara Stanwyck piece in the New Yorker and Rolling Stone's 40th anniversary issue: "Portions of the interview with Steven Spielberg are online along with random audio excerpts, though when Spielberg's or Scorsese's will show up is a crapshoot: cunningly, RS is parceling them out piecemeal."

"It's a boys' era. And the market is driving that," producer Lynda Obst tells Sharon Waxman, who notes that as fewer women run studios, fewer "women's pictures" are getting made. Glenn Kenny and David Poland comment.

Also in the New York Times:

Snow Cake

Jack Patrick Rogers lays out a history of James Bond. Also at PopMatters, Chadwick Jenkins enjoys the new James Cagney collection. On a related note, DK Holm rounds up several of this week's DVD releases at ScreenGrab.

Platform "Platform is a portrait of a country that was as marginally aware of the world outside its borders, as many were unaware of what life was truly like within China," writes Peter Nellhaus.

For JewReview.net, Shmuel Reuven talks with "one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, Lee Arenberg," who plays Pintel in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies: "When I met Keith Richards on P3, he reminded me of a modern fuckin' pirate, he really did."

For the London Times, Will Lawrence talks with David Fincher about Zodiac.

Sujewa Ekanayake calls for a Beats & Film Blog-a-Thon.

The Onion: "Despite the existence of cinema classics such as Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Seven Samurai, the 2004 film Garden State starring Zach Braff and Natalie Portman is some poor fuck's favorite movie, according to a posting on imdb.com." Via Jason Kottke.

Online listening tip. Cinematical's James Rocchi talks with Variety's Anne Thompson.

Online viewing tip. Bilge Ebiri finds John Cleese as a psychiatrist on At Last the 1948 Show. Stay for the interlude. Also, a clip from How to Irritate People.

Online viewing tip #2. Rex Sorgatz: "In a four-part interview (1, 2, 3, 4) Michel Gondry interviews Charlotte Gainsbourg, in which they both speak English and it sounds ridiculously sexy. [via]"

Online viewing tip #3. Zach Campbell posts a clip of Quentin Tarantino talking about Chungking Express and comments, "Tarantino's invocation of the French New Wave, about movie love bypassing the rules of filmmaking, is in one sense, of course, good and celebratory.... But I feel like, in my generation, what this means is essentially now a carte blanche to always defend Hollywood against any attack.... Is it just me, or do invocations of nobrow, high-low-boundary-transgressing more often than not come from quarters that wish to defend Hollywood or otherwise corporate product, and almost never in defense of the stuff that doesn't have millions of dollars backing it up?"

Online viewing tips. 10 Pulp Fiction parodies at 10 Zen Monkeys.

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Posted by dwhudson at April 28, 2007 12:35 PM