31 January 2008


Koch Lorber officially announced today the DVD releases of Godard's La chinoise and Le gai savoir for 13 May. Eric's right in saying that 2008 looks like the year of Godard on R1 DVD.


I wish I had known about this a few years back, but fellow blogger Edward Copeland has been conducting Oscar polls each year, finding out just where the Academy went right and (of course) where they went wrong. It all began two years ago when it was determined (as if a survey really needed to be conducted for this) that Crash was the all-time worst Best Picture winner; Casablanca was the best (which I FINALLY saw, jesus). Last year was the best and worst actresses (Vivien Leigh at the top, Helen Hunt at the bottom...), and this year, it's the actors. You can send him an email with your top 5 and bottom 5 picks. I believe the voting continues for the next day or so, so hurry up! Here's the official link.

30 January 2008

What Kind of Fuckery Is This??

The shoulda-been Catwoman (at least in her eyes), Sean Young, officially became my personal hero at the Directors Guild of America awards by "heckling" Julian Schnabel, among others. I don't much care for the goings-on of celebrities' personal lives, but I'm saddened to hear that Ms. Young has checked into rehab. Not because, you know, I was concerned about her health, but because she single-handledly made the awards show worth watching. I was really hoping she'd liven up this year's Oscars, whether they go on or not. Michael K of Dlisted offered a fine suggestion, get Bai Ling on the line pronto! We need somebody to fuck-start those Oscars.

Jew No

Good news! My computer has just made it back from a (two-week long) check up at the (not so) free clinic... and though she wasn't released with what I'd call a clean bill of health, I have her back. Hopefully this will mean that my posts will be a tad more frequent than they have been. Maybe I can share the nightmare I had about Diablo Cody or how a revisit of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! jump started my fading interest in cinema as of lately. We'll save those tales for another time.

25 January 2008

I've got a bladder the size of a seedless grape

Strand has officially announced the "Remixed and Remastered" DVD of Gregg Araki's The Living End, set for 29 April. The special features have yet to be announced, but this shit is long overdue.

24 January 2008

Up the Game

Television has always been public enemy #1 for cinema. Once cinema adapted to cinemascope though, the challenge of competing seemed to end there… that is until now. With the popularity of DVDs now, television series have become something entirely different, not merely just time-wasters for bored Americans. You can pick your starting point from a variety of sources as to when television became something to be reckoned with, artistically, dramatically and comedically (I’m not as concerned with the financial aspect). Perhaps it was the advent of cable television. Maybe it was Twin Peaks. Maybe it came when HBO started producing original programming. Or maybe it just came as a result of DVD and Tivo. Plenty of articles were written this past year when the definitive Twin Peaks set was released by Paramount, most of them speculating a question more fascinating than the series’ central mystery: who or what killed not Laura Palmer but Twin Peaks? Few would argue that, if the show were pitched today, it would be a Lost-sized hit, but it’s quite likely that, all the drama between Lynch and ABC aside, viewers just weren’t ready for it. That seems ridiculous now, as the most popular dramatic shows on TV today (aside from those lousy CSI shows) demand viewer participation, even if it’s just to remember what happened in the previous week.

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

Toute Vitesse

I'm sure you can find other places for details and/or heartfelt requiems, but I couldn't not mention what a loss Heath Ledger's passing is.

22 January 2008

Norbit is an Oscar nominee

Yeah, that's fucking right. Norbit has been recognized by the Academy (and not just in being the possible reason for a snub of Eddie Murphy last year), but for make-up. Yep, Norbit, Oscar nominee. Other than that, I'm pretty disappointed I woke up early for this shit (also not because I had to watch Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera ruin my morning leading up to the nominations) because all of the surprises (Laura Linney, Tommy Lee Jones) were hardly earth-shattering. One good thing I'll say is that I'm just fine with Hal Holbrook receiving Into the Wild's only nomination this year (though if it had to be nominated for something, I'd rather it gone to Catherine Keener). And Once's chances at a Best Original Song win increased extraordinarily without the competition of Eddie Vedder.

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 Picture: 20 / 18
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


I have been trying to write a number of posts over the weekend, but both a cold and writer's block have gotten the best of me, so I'll keep this brief. Benten Films announced their third DVD release, Todd Rohal's The Guatemalan Handshake starring Will Oldham, for 29 April. The new studio continues their streak of releasing American cinema from young, unique voices. That's all for now.

18 January 2008

Asshole 400

If you're feeling superficial: You're in good company! This is my 400th fucking post and instead of making a boring list of films or bitching about the Oscars, I'm just going to post 20 photos of filmic individuals who I'd give the business to (for a variety of reasons...). Yeah, I'm shallow. And no, I'm not sexually confused, but would you really turn down Asia Argento or Grace Jones? Not this faggot.

In no particular order:
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

Dare-aoke #2

Tekkonkinkreet - dir. Michael Arias - 2006 - Japan

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

Bitch, bitch, moan, moan

I think it's only now hit me the fact that the Academy Awards snubbed the two biggest sure-bets of the foreign film category: 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days from Romania and Persepolis from France. I can let it slide that The Orphanage from Spain didn't make the cut (I've talked to a few that hated it as much as Joshua... ha!), but those two?? I was initially irked by the fact that Mike has taken an unprecedented five point lead against me in our Oscar nominations poll, but it's official: the Academy Award for best foreign film is a complete sham. And I haven't even seen either of the movies that have provoked these feelings! I think I literally gasped when Volver didn't make the final five nominees last year, as not only was it the best of the lot, but it was better than all of the nominees for Best Picture anyway (even last year's winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck expressed his befuddlement in Volver's absence when I interviewed him last year, particularly its snub over Pan's Labyrinth). And for that matter, so was Paul Verhoeven's Black Book which wasn't nominated either. As further proof of the Academy's confusion when it comes to foreign language titles, you can look no further than City of God or Y tu mamá también, two films submitted by their respective countries as official entries for the foreign category, not nominated, and then nominated a year later in other categories (as different rules apply based on a US theatrical release). "Well, we fucked up with those ones and gave some awards to movies no one will remember like Nowhere in Africa." Even the film that would otherwise be the frontrunner in the Foreign race, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, couldn't be nominated - as France chose Persepolis as their pick this year instead. Every year something shitty happens in regards to this category and every year we hope that something will change. (The only change that's occurred in the foreign rulings is the allowance of films whose language does not have to be in the official language of the country submitting it, a problem faced with Lukas Moodysson's Lilja 4-ever from Sweden and averted by Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light from Mexico and Manoel de Oliveira's Belle toujours from Portugal) Perhaps nothing will change, but if 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Persepolis get completely snubbed this year (both are eligible in all the other categories), hopefully someone will speak out.

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.

Godard, Bette Davis and another zombie celebrity, together at last

Via Eric, Koch Lorber will be releasing Godard's La chinoise, with Jean-Pierre Léaud and Anne Wiazemsky, in May. 2008 is lining up to be the year of Godard on Region 1 disc, as Lionsgate has already announced their set, Pierrot le fou is coming from Criterion and Koch has also mentioned that Le gai savoir will be available sometime later this year (also via Eric).

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.