31 January 2008
30 January 2008
25 January 2008
24 January 2008
I’m going out on a limb to suggest that it’s the growing competition of television drama that crafted 2007 into the best year of cinema in recent memory (most chalk 1999 as the last great year for the medium). How does cinema take a step up from the compelling, serialized drama and character involvement of shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Lost or Six Feet Under? 2007 showed us that cinema’s best bet is “taking chances” on films that were completely uncompromising in their cinematic vision and scope. There Will Be Blood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and No Country for Old Men should be commended, no matter how you felt about any of the three, for at least reminding us of cinema’s often unreached potential.
Though I’m completely unorganized in my thoughts about this matter, not to mention that finding a definitive idea of what’s going on with the two mediums could be nearly impossible, I think this conflict could provide the best for both worlds. As both a reaction to the tripe of network programming and even the lack of compelling drama in the film world, HBO unleashed a giant of a television corporation, constantly giving their time to challenging, complex and utterly fascinating programming. As a result of this, cinema gave us films of lasting importance and of unmatched scope. We’ll always have to suffer through shit like Everybody Loves Raymond and Good Luck Chuck, no matter what happens. Cinema will never die under TV (we’ll always have Spider-Man, X-Men, and the Pirates of the Caribbean in some form to force the people off their sofas), but perhaps TV was always what cinema needed to keep it in check. Perhaps the battling forces will continue to challenge one another with their respective strengths.
23 January 2008
22 January 2008
And, you guessed it, I beat Mike in our Battle #2, though you probably didn't guess that I would have only beat him by 1 single point! The rules stipulate that he's going to have to wine and dine me in the near future, and you best believe that shit gunna be expensive! Here's how the shit went down (me in red, him in blue):
Best Director: 16 / 13
Best Actor: 18 / 19
Best Actress: 15 / 17
Best Supporting Actor: 20 / 20
Best Supporting Actress: 17 / 16
Best Original Screenplay: 18 / 18
Best Adapted Screenplay: 19 / 17
Wild Card: 14 / 18
Neither Mike nor I were aware that Jonny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood was disqualified for using other material and previously recorded material, so that screwed my wild card further. Anyway, here are the full nominations.
21 January 2008
18 January 2008
Rosanna Arquette (pictured with Thom Yorke, to whom the business would not be given)
Monica Vitti (I like the variety in hair color I get with L'avventura or La notte)
PJ Harvey (Um, she was in Hal Hartley's The Book of Life, so it counts)
Paul Schneider (In George Washington)
The Renier brothers, Jérémie et Yannick (Together... in Private Property)
Romain Duris (Yikes, I'll take him in anything, especially The Beat That My Heart Skipped)
Grégoire Colin (Again, in anything, take your pick, but how about Beau travail?)
Harry Baer (in Gods of the Plague, definitely)
Jane Fonda (pre-exercise tapes, maybe even in Vietnam)
Jean-Marc Barr (Post-The Big Blue)
Lior Ashkenazi (Late Marriage, Walk on Water)
Daniel Hendler (Family Law, though really anything)
Emmanuelle Seigner (particularly in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and with Roman Polanski watching)
Gina Gershon (hell, and Jennifer Tilly too)
Grace Jones (!!!!)
Aiden Gillen (Either with crazy hair or as Mayor Carcetti on The Wire)
Alain Delon (Purple Noon or L'Eclisse)
Asia Argento (with blood, lots of it, and her dad filming)
Béatrice Dalle (Betty Blue 4-ever)
Bibi Andersson (Persona)
17 January 2008
Yuck. Where to begin? I neglected to mention in my first post that there are other individuals who aren't Mike involved in this project. The notion of watching shitty movies is addictive, what can I say? Before even receiving my second film, I issued a blanket rule for my viewing, one which unfortunately did not apply to this week. I said, "absolutely no fucking animation. No anime, no Disney, no fucking Garfield." I had suspected that the person choosing for me this week was going to give me the ol' knee-in-the-crotch, and boy was I right. Tekkonkinkreet? What the fuck? I don't even know how to pronounce that, nor do I even know what to say about it. Though I gave Mike a real doozy of awfulness (Prey for Rock and Roll with Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo and Lori Petty!), I'd imagine that his viewing probably went down easier than mine. I can't tell you a single thing about Tekkonkinkreet except that I hated it. Actually, I just hate anime, and there isn't anyone or any film that's going to change that in my mind. I hate children and I hate the way the Japanese think children talk. I hate the way the Japanese animate, and above all, I'm not a fucking wiener with a pot belly and back hair that would be the normal audience for such a film. I know I'm being closed-minded, but anime to me is the sort of thing I don't even dignify with a justification of my hatred, as controversial as that seems. Perhaps I don't even know why I hate it, but let's just say the gods were not looking in my favor when I got my second entry of dare-aoke.
16 January 2008
Here are a bunch of notable films that got snubbed this year:
XXY - dir. Lucía Puenzo - Argentina
The Silly Age [La edad de la peseta] - dir. Pavel Giroud - Cuba
Persepolis - dir. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi - France
The Edge of Heaven [Auf der anderen Seite] - dir. Fatih Akin - Germany
Exiled - dir. Johnnie To - Hong Kong
Silent Light [Stellet licht] - dir. Carlos Reygadas - Mexico
Belle toujours - dir. Manoel de Oliveira - Portugal
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days [4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile] - dir. Cristian Mungiu - Romania
King of Fire - dir. Chatrichalerm Yukol - Thailand
Here's the ones that made it:
The Counterfeiters [Die Fälscher] - dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky - Austria
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation [O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias] - dir. Cao Hamburger - Brazil
Days of Darkness [L'âge des ténèbres] - dir. Denys Arcand - Canada
Beaufort - dir. Joseph Cedar - Israel
The Unknown [La sconosciuta] - dir. Giuseppe Tornatore - Italy
Mongol - dir. Sergei Bodrov - Kazakhstan
Katyn - dir. Andrzej Wajda - Poland
12 - dir. Nikita Mikhalkov - Russia
The Trap [Klopka] - dir. Srdan Golubovic - Serbia
Arcand (The Barbarian Invasions), Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso, yuuuuck!), Wajda (honorary award) and Mikhalkov (Burnt by the Sun) are all previous Oscar winners.
Water Bearer Films will be releasing the latest from Todd Verow, a director I have negative- to mixed-feelings about, on DVD in March. Hooks to the Left is shot entirely on a cell phone, chronicling a young man's return to prostitution after a bad break-up. Verow is probably most famous for his unsuccessful adaptation of Dennis Cooper's Frisk in 1994.
20th Century Fox will be releasing the Hammer horror film The Nanny, starring Bette Davis, as part of their Bette Davis Centennial Celebration Collection, which will also include a two-disc of All About Eve, as well as Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Virgin Queen and Phone Call from a Stranger. All will be available separately as well as in the set. Cross another off the MIA list.
A special edition of Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (another title I'm embarrassed I haven't seen) will be available on both DVD and Blu-Ray at the beginning of April. If you're concerned with how I'm doing on eradicating my cinematic negligence, I watched Gilliam's Brazil for the first time this past week. How about that?
Lionsgate will release the Alain Delon collection in the same fashion they did with the Brigitte Bardot box. The set includes The Widow Couderc, Julien Duvivier's Diabolically Yours, La piscine, Le gitan and Bertrand Blier's Notre histoire.
New Yorker will finally release Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's The Last Supper in March, despite false alarms sometime last spring. This could bode will for Paris vu par... which was also incorrectly announced by certain websites at the same time. New Yorker will also have out Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako a week later.
The Weinstein Company has postponed the releases of Christophe Honoré's Dans Paris and Anton Corbijn's Control until mid-March. The documentary Joy Division, acquired along with Control but never released into theatres, will be available on the same day as Control, also chronicling the rise and fall of the influential band.
Zeitgeist will be releasing Peter Delpeut's Diva Dolorosa in March, a pseudo-documentary using archival footage of silent-era Italian cinema. Zeitgeist previously released a two-film set of Delpeut's Lyrical Nitrate and Forbidden Quest.
It looks as though The Weinstein Company have officially forgone a theatrical release for the French horror film Inside (À l'intérieur) and set a date for 15 April. Their intentions were to keep the film intact, so it will likely be available in an "unrated director's cut" version. However, keeping it from a theatrical release is still rather disappointing. Tartan Films, a division of Genius Products, will finally be releasing Tetsuo 2: Body Hammer on DVD in March as well.
Music Video Distributors will be releasing the documentary Richard Kern: Extra Action (and Extra Hardcore), which chronicles his life as a photographer of natural looking women getting naked, in March. The disc reportedly has previously unreleased shorts available though I haven't been able to find out which ones those might be. I'll be sure to get back to you when I find that out.
New Video/Docurama will have out Lynn Hershman-Leeson's documentary Strange Culture in March as well. The film features her frequent actress Tilda Swinton as well as Thomas Jay Ryan and Peter Coyote.
The documentary Who Is Henry Jaglom? will be out late-March from First Run Features. The film takes a look at the New Year's Day and Last Summer in the Hamptons' director, an acquired taste for sure, and features plenty of famous talking heads including Dennis Hopper, Candice Bergen, Karen Black, Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich, Milos Forman and Martha Plimpton.
TLA Releasing has Socket, a queer horror film in the vain of David Cronenberg, in March, along with the British horror film The Living and the Dead, which I've heard excellent things about. More about these two around the time of their release.
And, finally, I figured I'd mention, in case you hadn't heard, the untimely passing of troubled former-child star Brad Renfro, who died yesterday in his home. The actor became famous alongside Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones in The Client to go on to act in films such as Bully, Apt Pupil and Ghost World. He was reportedly working on a film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' collection of short stories The Informers, with Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger and Billy Bob Thornton.