Friday, June 29, 2007

Around & About

-- There's a new issue of Cinema Scope. David Hudson points to it with useful excerpts and summaries.

-- Twitch has a post about the first big announcement of films for this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Among the main attractions so far: Hou Hsiao-hsien's Voyage of the Red Balloon; Ermanno Olmi's One Hundred Nails; Naomi Kawase's The Mourning Forest; Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine; Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra; Bela Tarr's The Man from London; Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light; Jacques Rivette's Don't Touch The Axe; Ulrich Seidl's Import Export; Christophe Honoré's Les Chansons d'Amours; Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy; the Coens's No Country For Old Men; and Roy Andersson's You, the Living. (Via Michael Guillen at The Evening Class.)

-- You simply must read Michael Sicinski's review of the omnibus film Paris, Je t'aime (scroll almost all the way down).

-- David Bordwell visits with James Mangold, whose new film, a remake of Delmer Daves's 3:10 To Yuma, is in post-production.

-- I've been combing through Steve Erickson's top 10 lists spanning four decades (40s through 70s), identifying 'gaps', and adding those films to my DVD rental queue.

-- Doug Cummings reports on new films by Martin Rejtman, Charles Burnett, and Lee Yoon-ki from the Los Angeles Film Festival.

-- Kevin Lee on the Donnell Media Center at the New York Public Library.

-- Anthony Kaufman on two new environmentally aware documentaries, Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes and Laura Dunn's The Unforeseen.

Thoughts on any of the above? Feel free to duck into the comments box.

22 Comments:

Blogger girish said...

A hilarious bit from Jonathan Rosenbaum's DVD column in Cinema Scope:

"Another discrepancy between prices can be detected on American Amazon, where you can spend either $17.99 or $12.54 for brand-new copies of the excellent Kino Video re-release of James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932), with separate audio commentaries by Gloria Stuart and Whale biographer James Curtis and a filmed interview with the late Curtis Harrington. Or, if you’d prefer to buy the original 1999 release of the same movie with exactly the same extras, “watched once to insure quality” in a “non-smoking household” for only $329.95, hey, it’s a free country—you can get that instead (or maybe even in addition to) either or both of the others."

June 30, 2007 11:18 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

I strongly recommend Manufactured Landscapes, which Doug Cummings alerted me to. Brian Darr then cemented my interest with his write-up for Greencine.

Brian likewise interviewed the filmmakers but I have, as yet, to see that transcript. Mine is up at The Evening Class.

June 30, 2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for gathering and posting those links, Michael!

I haven't seen the film myself. It played at TIFF last year but clashed with something else I really wanted to see...

June 30, 2007 12:55 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

I'm defintely dreading the remake of 3:10 To Yuma. I saw the original at Film Forum in their western series a year or two ago and found it to be pretty amazing. I went in with no expectations really and left thinking it to be one of the best movies in the entire series. Theres one shot near the beginning of two characters embracing at a bar, if I remember it correctly, that is one of those shots that just lingers in the mind. The thought of James Mangold at the helm does not seem promising. I really can't stand most of the movies of his I've seen. Identity? Kate and Leopold? Walk The Line? Yuck.

June 30, 2007 4:29 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Greg--I'm embarrassed to say I've seen nothing by either Daves or Mangold, although I do have Yuma, Dark Passage, and Broken Arrow on the ole mile-long rental queue. The Ventures's surf-rock theme to Daves's A Summer Place is a beaut.

This might be a good place to point to (thanks to Flickhead) the Rato Records Blog, which has posted the entire soundtrack to Zabriskie Point.

June 30, 2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Michael, you just made my ears burn. I'm not sure you'll be seeing a full transcript of my visit with Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, but I will at the least be putting up excerpted highlights sometime in the next few weeks, before the film gets released in the Bay Area.

As a bibliothequophile, I appreciated Kevin Lee's piece. One thing he doesn't mention about the Donnell Center is that they also host free screenings of titles from their 16mm collection. I learned this when I mounted a pilgrimage to the NYPL four summers ago (has it been that long already?) and popped over to the Donnell to see a 1926 Louise Brooks film shot in New York City, Love 'Em and Leave 'Em. Looks like next month they're showing Sherlock Holmes films with top-notch Looney Tunes by Tashlin and Jones as warm-ups.

Is it some kind of blasphemy to admit that I actually prefer Copland to the original 3:10 to Yuma? And maybe even Girl, Interrupted to Dark Passage? (well, that may be going a bit far; I've only seen them once apiece years ago) Not that I've followed either Mangiold's or Daves' careers very carefully (I'd like to see Heavy and the Red House next) but I just thought I'd throw that out there. Anyway, I thought Copland was much better than its reputation.

June 30, 2007 5:06 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

Surely not blaspehmous. I've only ever caught Mangold's movies on TV, and haven't seen Copland actually, but what I have seen has always struck me as just kind of dumb. Walk The Line seemed just infantile or foolish in its oh so typical depiction of rise to fame, trouble with drugs, redemption, etc etc. While these may be the bare-bones facts of Cash's life the handling was so Lifetime movieish.

This combined with Identity which is such a horrible, dumb, clumsy thriller with no tact or suspense and the stupidest "twist" ending makes me think a sort of suspenseful (Elmore Leonard) western is not up his alley. I guess it's maybe partially that thing where you have fondness for the original and don't think the remake will be up to par, etc etc.

June 30, 2007 5:26 PM  
Blogger David Lowery said...

I really want to see Manufactured Landscapes...I've missed it at a few festivals already. But Laura Dunn's The Unforeseen is a grand achievement - I never thought a documentary about landscape development could make me cry, but this one did the trick. It's a little bombastic at times, but it's hard to argue with its message, or (for the most part) the way that message is conveyed. I think it's coming to theaters later this year, so don't miss it. At this point, it's got a high spot on my top ten list.

June 30, 2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge is not worth anticipation, unfortunately. Don't feel sorry if you can only watch it on TV later... it's as stereotypical and script-less as Paris, Je t'aime was. Watching Lamorisse's touching Le Ballon Rouge is highly recommended instead if you haven't seen it yet.
Sicinski's overtly impressionistic libel on Paris, Je t'aime, doesn't help the viewer... (and I don't have any particular sympathy for this omnibus).
Andersson's You, The Living, is beautiful, in line with Songs from the second floor (maybe closer to Karismaki this time), but I know this only pleases the toughest public. Ratanaruang's Ploy is a wonderful mix of fantasy and reality, of film genres and just a couple study during a brief stay in a luxury hotel.
I didn't like Don't Touch The Axe (unlike Cahiers) but my issues with Rivette aren't new, so don't take my word for it. Dans Paris was my favorite French film last year, but I'm really disappointed by Honoré's low-tech musical Les Chansons d'Amours (again against Cahiers' praise).

I hope Manufactured Landscape will be here soon.

July 01, 2007 7:07 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Brian, Greg, David & Harry.

Brian, my next trip to NYC will definitely include a trip to the Donnell Center.

David, Steve Erickson liked The Unforeseen a lot as well; perhaps it'll play TIFF.

Harry, Ouch! Say the Hou ain't so. I will put the Andersson and Ratanaruang films on my list (the only film I've seen by the latter is Last Life). Good to know you liked Dans Paris; it will be released in the US next month.

Horrible news: Edward Yang has died. He had been fighting colon cancer for the last 7 years.

July 01, 2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Edward Yang--an old interview piece in The Guardian:

"As a young man, Yang moved to the US to study electrical engineering at the University of Florida. His fascination with cinema took him to the University of Southern California to study film. But he dropped out and worked in computer design for the next seven years. "I had given up and said, 'I am not built for becoming a film-maker,' until one night when I was driving downtown in Seattle and saw this sign outside a cinema saying 'German New Wave: Aguirre, the Wrath of God' [the 1972 Werner Herzog film]. I went in and that turned me around.""

July 01, 2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I'm not sure about a theatrical release for THE UNFORESEEN. I've heard that director Laura Dunn is looking into distributing it herself. However, it will definitely be shown on the Sundance Channel next year.

July 01, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Steve, that's good to know. We'll have to keep a lookout for it next year.

Nothing exciting at the Netflix new releases page today but I can't resist posting the completely straight-faced blurb for a new release called Street Fury: Homeland Security:

"Check out some of the hottest cars around while going behind the scenes of sizzling photo shoots. While modeling sexy bikinis, luscious ladies perch on top of custom-built muscle machines, such as a limited edition Shelby Dodge Viper. The uninhibited beauties know how to strut their stuff in front of the cameras, and one of them ventures into dangerous territory by wearing bullets across her body."

July 01, 2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Fast cars, and fast women. That's what makes America great! ;)

July 01, 2007 7:34 PM  
Blogger girish said...

-- An interview with UbuWeb founder Kenneth Goldsmith.
-- Nick Rombes: "The Avatar-Spectator in the Age of No Self"
-- Acquarello on the experimental films of a Nicole Brenez favorite, Rose Lowder.

July 02, 2007 7:05 AM  
Anonymous msic said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Girish, although the PARIS piece was sort of a lark. True, Harry, it doesn't "help" anyone, although I think I take seriously the shorts that were taken seriously by the people who made them. The real shock was the Payne, since I never thought he'd be able to sidestep his contempt for humanity long enough to display actual warmth. Luckily, he seems to have grown some.

July 02, 2007 4:41 PM  
Blogger girish said...

You're welcome, Michael. As you know, I've been reading you for a while, and though I realize that this was a bit of a lark for you, I have to say that it really made me laugh. Criticism can (and should) come in all shapes and sizes; and humor should be not be beneath criticism. I both enjoyed and learned some things from your review.

July 02, 2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Dan Sallitt has a couple of new posts, including one on his favorite film, Morocco.
-- Steven Shaviro on Edward Yang.

A bit of a busy week; I probably won't get a chance to do a new post till next week. But as always you're welcome to post links or chat; I'll probably pop up and do the same.

July 03, 2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

msic, I know you're a serious critic, but the likes of Harry Knowles look for an easy model to copy : the lark type, and then think they are critics too. I'm not sure the double standard benefits the level of discourse in film blogosphere in the end... well it's just IMHO (the owner of this blog is not responsible for the content of my comments). I obviously lack a sense of humour.
Actually I agree more of less with your general disappointment (except for Coens, Coixet and Depardieu which were among my favorites, as well as Lagravenese's), although the only useless piece was Doyle's. At worst the others were "ok", they didn't deserve contempt (when you say you give up the auteur based on the failure of that one short film).
About Salles' segment, I'm not sure the 'Spanglish/Babel" babysitter is as prevalent a social issue in Paris as it is in America. The exploitation of labor is majoritarily from North Africa immigration instead.
These auteurs came with their own issues and applied them in Paris disregarding eventual local idiosyncracies. The result is a touristic caricature, and Chomet's (great) take is ironic in this regard. I'm not surprised Payne's (which is indeed one of the best segments) appealed most to american critics in Cannes.

July 03, 2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous msic said...

All valid comments, Harry, and appreciated, although I don't believe that someone who takes his Internet handle from a renegade plumber in a Gilliam film lacks a sense of humor. Perhaps ours just differs. I do tend to think (and again, I'm in no real position to be objective about my own work) that I err on the side of seriousness, and sometimes I just find it a drag, especially at times when the demands of other things in life, plus the paucity of interesting filmgoing options in Syracuse, NY, make the whole website enterprise seem like a bit of an albatross. They can't all be gems, is what I'm saying.

I've never been a huge fan of the Coen brothers, although certain of their films (O BROTHER, BARTON FINK, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE) have overcome easy caricature enough for me to appreciate them. Their short just seemed blinkered by the idea of American touristic fear, which is more politically irksome than funny to me.

I've tried watching a Coixet film and found it precious and cloying, but the PARIS short was essentially a fable, and I suppose that's a smart response to the short-film conundrum. But it just seemed so pat to me, and her visualizations of such a purely verbal scenario struck me as a little comic-booky. When Sergio Castellitto can't save your bacon, you know you're in trouble. (Also I felt like Coixet was taking a potshot at Bela Tarr, which isn't how one wins me over to one's cause.)

Since I didn't find most of them 'ok,' I'm guessing my bias against narrative shorts did me in for this project. It's a medium that seldom does much more, I think, than whet the appetite for subtlety and finesse that, alas, there just isn't time for.

July 03, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger girish said...

News: Darren has just launched a new blog with TIFF as its theme; it's called 1st Thursday.

July 03, 2007 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Prefabrik said...

Thanks for sharing such a lovely album.

Prefabrik

February 02, 2011 6:44 AM  

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