March 04, 2006

Krzysztof Kieslowski Revisited Started Two Days Ago

Considering that the Decalogue is at least partly to blame for me deciding to become a filmmaker, and that it's partly an inspiration for my Souvenir Series, I can't let a Kieslowski festival go without genuflecting. The National Film Theatre is running an in-depth program of Krzysztof Kieslowski's films and his influences/inspirations. It started on Thursday, but you haven't missed anything so far, "just" The 400 Blows and La Strada. [of course, what I meant was, they'll both be screened...
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Posted by greg at 09:29 AM

January 19, 2006

Or On Par With The First Time Seeing "Hungry Like The Wolf"?

"When I originally posted the video on the site I likened watching it to a life-changing experience 'on par with losing your virginity or seeing Garden State for the first time'..." [emphasis added] That's part of Derek's description of #1, "Glosoli," a Sigur Ros video, which is pretty gorgeous. Obviously, it might be that I'm just waaay too old and outside the demo anymore, but if Beck's boring-ass breakdancing robot video is #47, I guess there really aren't 65 good...
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Posted by greg at 09:43 AM

December 15, 2005

Iceland + Music + Video = Hours of Wintertime Fun

So there's a full Sigur Ros concert from Reykjavik available to stream online. Two-plus hours of maxed out visuals and...aurals? You know what I mean. sigur rós live in reykjavík 2005 [] Also, Ari Alexander's documentary tracing the development of Icelandic music, Screaming Masterpiece, opens tomorrow in London at the Curzon Soho for a one-week run. [According to Kultureflash, one of the highlights is footage from a firework-equipped Bjork concert in Central Park, which'd be quite a get; the concert...
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Posted by greg at 10:17 AM

November 11, 2005

You Have <36H To See The Following:

Gabriel Orozco's computer animated film at Marian Goodman, which morphs through all 700-something color permutations of the paintings in the main gallery. It's like Jeremy Blake-meets...Gabriel Orozco. Shirin Neshat's Zarin, in which a Muslim prostitute's spiral descent into psychic delerium is revealed. May not be suitable for infant children. At Barbara Gladstone. The Journal of Short Film is throwing a launch party for its first issue, Saturday at 3pm at Columbia. The JSF will present experimental and independent short...
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Posted by greg at 08:35 AM

November 07, 2005

The World, Chico, And Ever'thin's Innit

Jia Zhangke's Unknown Pleasures was eye-opening, the tale of two disaffected slackers told in a Chinese-inflected, naturalist style. Now Jia has turned his eye on a symbol-soaked Chinese theme park full of miniature world landmarks, which provides the impossibly contrived backdrop for an unassuming, bleak narrative. Roger Ebert loves it. The World, dir. by Jia Zhangke [ebert via archinect]...
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Posted by greg at 10:30 PM

November 02, 2005

Star Wars: Full Of Cremaster-y Goodness

When watched together, in sequence, Film professor Aidan Wasley says, the Star Wars 6-ilogy is actually revealed to be the world's greatest art film, ever:Star Wars, at its secret, spiky intellectual heart, has more in common with films like Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books or even Matthew Barney's The Cremaster Cycle than with the countless cartoon blockbusters it spawned. Greenaway and Barney take the construction of their own work as a principal artistic subject, and Lucas does, too.Wasley goes on to...
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Posted by greg at 02:39 PM

October 28, 2005

NY Doll: A Documentary By The Book (Of Mormon)

There was a Church film in the 70's that showed what happens when you don't do your home teaching. Mike Farrell (the BJ-Hunniccutt-on-M*A*S*H guy) played an auto mechanic/Mormon bishop, who asks a young, career-focused lawyer in his congregation to be a home teacher to a troubled family where the father was becoming less active in the Church. Time goes by, the lawyer's busy and can't ever find the time to visit the family each month and check in on...
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Posted by greg at 03:27 PM

September 29, 2005

I Stand Corrected. The Movie Trailer IS An Art Form

Absolutely brilliant. "Meet Jack Torrance. He's a writer looking for inspiration. Meet Danny. He's a kid, looking for a dad." Shining: the remixed trailer [via waxy, who's mirroring it.]...
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Posted by greg at 11:46 AM

September 27, 2005

The Gleaners And LA

One of my favorite documentaries--and one that suckered me into making films myself--is Agnes Varda's 2000 masterpiece, The Gleaners And I. [it's $27 at amazon.] It turns out that there's an obscure gleaning law on the books in Los Angeles, and harvesting fruit that hangs over public property--like streets and sidewalks--is perfectly legal. There's a website called Fallen Fruit that puts together neighborhood maps for anyone who wants to get to picking. [via boingboing]...
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Posted by greg at 12:17 AM

August 28, 2005

Richard Dreyfus's Living Room Was Booked

A friend just told me she is going to Devil's Tower in Wyoming for a screening of Close Encouters of The Third Kind. It's part of a 21-day tour called the Rolling Roadshow that screens films where they were shot. Films we've already missed: The Last Picture Show [Archer City, TX]; Once Upon A Time In The West [Monument Valley, AZ]; Planet of The Apes [the first one, Lake Powell, AZ]; and Repo Man [in LA somewhere, just yesterday]. There's...
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Posted by greg at 02:27 PM

August 26, 2005

Worth The Wait

Given its subject--loss and longing that spans and haunts the characters' entire lives--wouldn't it be perfect if the two+ year delay in bringing of Wong Kar Wai's 2046 to theaters was somehow intentional, planned, not just a part of the marketing, but of the movie's experience itself? It was a gorgeously made film, with incredible cinematography [pace Christopher Doyle], sound, music, acting, production design. But it's so sad, relentlessly sad. Maybe not the best movie to see alone and...
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Posted by greg at 12:47 AM

August 21, 2005

A Video Game-Film Convergence Project Sure To Live Up To Its Name

Doom: The Movie seems about as stupid as Mortal Kombat: The Movie. At least they didn't blow $1mm on a script by Alex Garland. See the Doom trailer [, via fimoculous]...
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Posted by greg at 03:20 PM

June 09, 2005

Alex Kuczyinski's Desperate Plea For Netflix Recommendations

How else to explain this totally out-of-nowhere reference to one of the worst "short films on a theme by different directors" compilations EVER? Kuczyinski is fast becoming the Times' new crazy auntie, Joyce Wadler. "I wandered from one rack to the next, dragging my mitts over the textures and beading, feeling like Buck Henry in the 1987 movie Aria, when he spends an ecstasy-fueled evening stroking the iconographic statuary at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif." Let Clothes...
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Posted by greg at 05:44 PM

May 20, 2005

Why there's no Pathé in Pathetic

Used to be you'd see people at the US Open in their tennis whites and carrying a racket, as if they just wanted to be ready, just in case Rod Laver's doubles partner twisted his ankle, and he'd turn to the stands and say, "Mind helping me finish this set?" In the same deluded way, a month ago, I took four Netflix DVD's off the dresser and put them in my bag, I guess so I'd be ready to watch...
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Posted by greg at 10:08 AM

May 14, 2005

Serra Documentary At MIT 5/18

Director Alberta Chu's 2003 documentary, Seeing The Landscape: Richard Serra: Tuhirangi Contour follows the artist's production of a massive, 843-foot steel wall piece in New Zealand. Here's a line from the synopsis: "A dramatic five years in the making, the Tuhirangi Contour finds Serra's artistic vision at odds with his patron, his materials, his environment, and the harsh realities of physics." While I'm sure there'll be a lot of conflict, I don't think there's much suspense about who prevails here....
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Posted by greg at 06:52 AM

May 11, 2005

Introducing The Lucas, The Dark Side of Film Rating

Dale Peck thoughtfully turns is hatcheting attentions from things that people should care about but don't (books) to things they shouldn't care about but do (movies). And what he finds is, the current star-based movie rating system is inadequately and overly generous; it needs "a negative unit of measurement to warn viewers away," a Dark Side, if you will. Naturally, his proposal is based on things people shouldn't care about and don't (the 'new' Star Wars movies). Go to his...
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Posted by greg at 12:08 PM

May 04, 2005

La Mexicaine De Perforation on CANAL+

The urban explorer/cinephiles of La Mexicaine De Perforation were featured on Laurent Weil's program, "La Semaine du Cinéma" Sunday (Dimanche Mai 01) on Canal+. The segment includes sweet video of LMDP's underground cinema, as well as the provocative kicker that "they had no problem" replacing it after it was discovered by the police. The video's available online at the LSdC page [wmv] or in quicktime here....
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Posted by greg at 01:26 PM

April 18, 2005

Online Viewing: Robots On Strike

Nebraska In Single Frames is a beautiful, evanescent short film from Robots on Strike, the home for the Oregon-based design house Impactist's off-the-clock projects. [via Coudal's Jewelboxing]...
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Posted by greg at 10:09 PM

March 25, 2005

The Only, I Repeat, ONLY Comparison of Shatner and Brando That Makes Any Sense

Is at the end of David Edelstein's all-too-kind Slate review of Miss Congeniality 2. Sandra Bullock rocked on The Daily Show, but not so hard that she can trick me into seeing a movie Manohla compares to a lagoon at a hog farm....
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Posted by greg at 03:22 PM

March 17, 2005

I Think Mel's Point Was It's Not A HOLLYWOOD Ending, If You Know What I Mean

Fed up with Hollywood's penchant for gut-grabbing, narrative logic-defying, lazy writer-emanating twist endings, David Edelstein asked readers for their nominations for the "most-idiotic-twist endings" in the movies. After all, he says, "For every The Sixth Sense, there is a corresponding—well, The Village." [Actually, the accounts of the sheer suckitude of The Village almost make me want to see it. Flight paths? Who knew? Oops, besides you, now.] And what would a column about surprise endings be without a surprise ending...
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Posted by greg at 10:10 AM

March 12, 2005

Movie Theatre Rwanda

The awesome Haitian director Raoul Peck's new HBO film about the Rwandan genocide, Sometimes in April, was the first film shot in Rwanda, and so he promised to debut it there as well. Writer Melanie Thernstrom writes about attending the packed, tense screening, which was held in a giant stadium in Kigali. A View To A Killing Field [] Sometime in April premiers on HBO Mar. 19 [] Related: Thernstrom's book, Halfway Heaven, about the violent deaths of two immigrant...
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Posted by greg at 08:06 AM

March 08, 2005

Clear Your Calendars [Except For Your Therapist]

The BFI's National Film Theatre is running a complete Tarkovsky retrospective through March 30. It includes new prints of both Solaris and Stalker. And who can pass up seeing Andrei Rublev on the big screen? [I know everyone in NYC passed up seeing it on video; I bought an utterly unused copy, fresh from the newly dead, on ebay a few years back.] NFT: Andrei Tarkovsky [, via kultureflash]...
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Posted by greg at 11:19 PM

March 04, 2005

If you have to tell someone to be cool...

it's already too late, they're not. If only the movie were as well done as Mahnola Dargis's review. added bonus:, HTML hand-coded, just for you: ",em>This film is rated PG-13" Manohla Dargis's review of Be Cool [nyt]...
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Posted by greg at 09:49 AM

February 28, 2005

Edited For Content

So we finally caught Sideways, twice, on the plane back from Amsterdam. The fat white trash sex scene was edited out, of course, and the PG dubbing was awkward [how can they not say "get you laid"? It's the characters' whole point.] with one exception: they replaced "a**hole" with "Ashcroft" which, at least in the first occurrence, just sounded like Oscar-worthy writing. Meanwhile, on the other channel, Alfie was so full of humping, naked birds and profanity, it would've been...
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Posted by greg at 08:02 AM

February 27, 2005

The Independent Sideways Awards, &c.

Holy smokes, the IFP awards were a total dogpile on Sideways. I can't remember all my votes, but even though I'm a Payne/Taylor fan, I spread the love around a little bit more. Yeah, and on that Oscar, too. We just flew back from Amsterdam, and not just our arms are tired. I was banished from the (TV-equipped) bedroom, so I "watched" the Academy Awards on Gothamist and Defamer [who got the NYT to sponsor their 10-month anniversary party, complete...
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Posted by greg at 11:25 PM

February 10, 2005

Strange Commercials or Sponsored Shorts?

No, these are just strange commercials, discussed on Design Observer by Momus. Previously: The Suntory Commercials of Akira Kurosawa 'Lost' Swedish Soap Commercial Director Ingmar Bergman Finally Gets Recognition...
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Posted by greg at 08:53 PM

February 07, 2005

Need To Know: Nobody Knows

Tony Scott gave Hirokazu Kore-eda and his latest film, Nobody Knows, a strong review: Nobody Knows is not for the faint of heart, though it has no scenes of overt violence, and barely a tear is shed. It is also strangely thrilling, not only because of the quiet assurance of Mr. Kore-eda's direction, but also because of his alert, humane sense of sympathy. He is neither an optimist nor a sentimentalist - like his previous films, Maborosi, After Life, and...
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Posted by greg at 10:33 AM

January 29, 2005

Things To Watch, Advertisers To Thank

Advertisers first: See See Arnold Run the triumphant story of an Austrian bodybuilder who overcomes his past Nazi ties, hedonistic Hollywood antics, and widely known and repeated sexual harassment allegations to become a big-time star--of the Republican party. From the director of American Pie 2 and the writer of The Unauthorized Story of 'Charlie's Angels', Inside the Osmonds, and Growing Up Brady (so you know the sex and period details'll be spot on). On A&E Sunday Jan. 30 at...
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Posted by greg at 09:43 PM | TrackBack

January 23, 2005

So It Was A Scripted Screwup?

My favorite IFP Spirit Awards moment was two years ago, watching some young, dumb AMW whose agent thought she needed some indie cred (it turned out to be Brittnay Murphy, unrecognizable to me as the loozah Jersey girl in Clueless) introdue a nominated film. She lost the teleprompter, and froze. After a panicky moment where her plea for help took the form of a narration to no one in particular (and everyone, of course) of her own predicament, they cut...
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Posted by greg at 09:09 PM | TrackBack

January 22, 2005

Hell, It Would've Been An Honour To Be SEEN

Things don't look good--and some things can't be seen at all--in Jacob's critical look at the BAFTA nominations. And the problem is the studios' stupid MPAA-legacy DVD screener system. Hero and Million Dollar Baby were left off top-10 lists and didn't get a single nomination for anything, while House of Flying Daggers got nine. One possible reason? Studios didn't send out DVD screeners at all. The Life Aquatic didn't get any nods, either, even though Buena Vista Pictures Marketing...
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Posted by greg at 08:25 AM | TrackBack

January 15, 2005

Puppet Masterpiece Theatre

Umm, I thought the British were supposed to be smarter than Americans. How else would they get all that work narrating documentaries? Yet the Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw gives Team America World Police an ecstatic review. And his Observer colleague Philip French calls it "better sustained than [Parker and Stone's] feature-length animated comedy, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Fundamentally, it's an extended parody of Thunderbirds and centres on a group of super-patriots dedicated to-- No, fundamentally, Mr Belevedere,...
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Posted by greg at 09:37 PM | TrackBack

December 13, 2004

DVD Box Set Short(er)list

What, no Amazon links? The little red critics over at the Voice have put together their list of the best DVD's and DVD collections for 2004, and then they didn't add shoppertainment links. Here's my distilled list: The Alan Clarke Collection (includes the original The Elephant that Gus Van Sant was talking about) The Martin Scorsese Collection, which includes the criminally inclined Goodfellas and Mean Streets, and the criminally underrated After Hours. Raging Bull's finally coming to DVD, though you'll...
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Posted by greg at 12:02 PM | TrackBack

December 03, 2004 at The Reel Roundtable 12/6: Now! with Free Screenings!

RSVP to Monday’s screening of AFTER LIFE and on behalf of IFC Films, receive an invitation to the premiere screening of NOBODY KNOWS. **Invitations will be handed out at the screening on Monday night. When: Monday, December 6th at 7:30pm Film: AFTER LIFE (2000, Japan) What is the one memory you would take with you? Directed by: Hirokazu Kore-eda A group of bureaucrats in a heavenly way station have one week to help the recently deceased select their single most...
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Posted by greg at 11:07 AM | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

Gothamist's The Life Aquatic Contest For Special Needs Moviegoers

First they ran a contest for Miramax's Hero which had such obscure questions about Jet Li minutiae that not even his agent--or even Li-fanatic-from-birth Jen Chung--could answer, even with a lifetime subscription to IMDb Pro. Now Gothamist gets all Disney publicity sock puppet on us again, this time with a contest for Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic, distributed by Touchstone. The prize? Tickets to a 12/7 preview screening of the movie. The contest? Just fill out your name and email...
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Posted by greg at 11:03 AM | TrackBack

November 20, 2004

On The Grey Automobile

First, a shoutout to all the advertisers, incluging WesAnderson's new joint, The Life Aquatic, Sharp's intriguingly opaque More To See (which contrasts with the crystal clarity of their flatscreens, I'm sure), and the ever-brilliant Daddy Types (ahem). With that out of the way, we should hurry and put The Grey Automobile on our calendars for Sunday night. 7 PM. Queens Theatre. It sounds like a fascinating, not-to-be-missed film experience. Enrique Rosas was the Mexican Feuillade, making wildly popular crime serial...
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Posted by greg at 07:51 AM | TrackBack

November 14, 2004

Movie Theaters I've Been To That Have Closed

This afternoon on WNYC, Jonathan Schwartz was reading an underwriter plug for Zankel Hall, when he stopped and said, "Some of you may remember that Zankel Hall is in the site of the Carnegie Theater, a movie theater with--well it was very small and down a windy staircase--with personality. So many theaters with personality have closed." That got me thinking, while Schwartz rattled off a dozen theaters I'd never heard of, of the theaters that have closed since I moved...
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Posted by greg at 06:08 PM | TrackBack

Not Lost in Translation

Architect Chad Smith plays Scarlett Johanson in his own remake of Lost in Translation: he's tagging along to the Park Hyatt in Tokyo on his boyfriend's business trip. The only trouble is, he's not lost, he's not depressed, and he's not confused. And presumably, when he gets back to the US, people at the Golden Globes won't think he's a bee-atch. Stick your nose into his diary at
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Posted by greg at 11:53 AM | TrackBack

November 09, 2004

Theo Van Gogh Live Cremation Webcast

If the last cremation you watched was in Diamonds Are Forever, now's your chance to get up to speed and stick it to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism at the same time. In the event one of the many death threats he received over Submission, his short film decrying abuse of Muslim women, panned out, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh said he wanted a public cremation. Unfortunately, he's getting his wish today at 1700h Amsterdam Time, CET, (or 1100 EST). The Nederland...
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Posted by greg at 09:28 AM | TrackBack

November 03, 2004

Queue Review

A while back, I filled by DVD rental queue with over 100 movie suggestions from readers. Even combined with some of my own ongoing additions, I've depleted my queue completely. More suggestions are welcome, In the mean time, here are some short reviews of DVD's fresh from the queue: Unknown Pleasures (2003, Zhang Ke Jia) The wrapper says, "think a Chinese Slacker, but it's more a Chinese Reality Bites directed by Mike Leigh. Super Size Me (2003, Morgan Spurlock)...
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Posted by greg at 03:56 PM | TrackBack

October 30, 2004

Finally, Apocalypse Tuesday

You have to give New Line credit. They hold up the video/DVD of Michael Tolkin's The Rapture--one of the most sophisticated treatments of religion ever put to film--for 13 years, and then they decide to release it on the actual day when, whatever happens, up to 49% of Americans will think the world's actually coming to an end: Tuesday, November 2nd. Buy The Rapture on Amazon, or rent it at GreenCine. [via Choire's NYT Guide ]...
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Posted by greg at 10:45 PM | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

VV: Puppet Fan Living In Fantasy World

Let me say this: I know Starship Troopers. Starship Troopers is a friend of mine. And Team America, you are NO Starship Troopers. Michael Atkinson lets us peer into his private fantasy world, where newspaper movie critics wield godlike power to make or break an adolescent action movie at the box office; where directors can deliver incisive political satire without wanting to, or even being aware of it; and where Team America is actually "reproachful," "burlesque" "satire" of "balls-out martial...
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Posted by greg at 06:55 PM | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

Next We'll Find Out She Bought Necromania

Madeleine Albright just told Jon Stewart that she's seen Team America World Police. Maybe it's not that surprising; if you actually know the person who's being portrayed as a diabolical puppet, you're obliged to see the movie. Bonus Kim Jong Il trivia: he wears high heels. Albright said she stood next to him for a picture, and they were still the same height, and she had heels on......
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Posted by greg at 11:30 PM | TrackBack

October 18, 2004

Nick Denton Sports Wood

from the NYMDb work-in-process folder: Fleshbot Films [?!] gives Ed Wood's last film the, um, full release it deserves. It's the long-lost hardcore version of Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love!; the simulated sex version turned up at a tag sale in 1992, much to the glee of the late filmmaker's hardcore [sic] fan(s). For the rest of you, no, Johnny Depp is not attached. IN THE VAULT/ Weird Love [New Yorker]...
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Posted by greg at 12:13 PM | TrackBack

October 15, 2004

Smaller, Shorter, and Most Definitely Cut

First, re simulated puppet oral sex: With the MPAA's bell still ringing in my ears, I'm content knowing that Alfredo has saved the ridiculously hacked out shot for little Toto to watch later, perhaps on the DVD. How our high priests of censorship can fixate on a single shot while passing on its extra-explicit scene--and the puppet-sutra montage earlier in the film--remains a mystery to me. Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Team America World Police, like Baseketball and Orgazmo before...
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Posted by greg at 03:28 PM | TrackBack

October 10, 2004

Exclusive: La Mexicaine Le Interview

While the discovery of an underground cinema in the center of Paris has been widely covered, little or no attention has been paid to what the films actually played there. Les Arenes de Chaillot (The Chaillot Arenas) was created by La Mexicaine de Perforation, a group of self-labeled urban explorers who, for the last five or so years, have used the invisible and forgotten infrastructure of Paris as their own curatorial venue, putting on exhibitions, concerts, and, beginning last...
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Posted by greg at 10:30 PM | TrackBack

October 07, 2004

Set your TiVo's on 'Stun'

John Edwards is hosting Dr. Strangelove tonight on Turner Classic Movies. [via fimoculous] The only bummer is that Kubrick fingered the generals, not the chickenhawks. Still, I'd be less nervous sharing the screen with Dick Cheney than with George C. Scott. Sellers isn't bad, either. Three other senators picked movies so predictable you'd think they were up for election this year: McCain (Paths of Glory), Biden (Dead Poets Society), and Hatch (To Kill A Mockingbird). Party Politics and The Movies...
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Posted by greg at 07:15 AM | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

Eros, Thanatos, Thanatos, Eros: Russ Meyer RIP

Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! director Russ Meyer went tits up over the weekend; students of his rather buxom body of work will recognize his fondness for this position. My greatest Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon triumph was connecting FPKK's Tura Satana to Kevin Bacon, via Herve Villechaise, which was possible only with the help of the then-little-known Russ Meyer's Obituary, with nice quotes from fan John Waters & screenwriter Roger Ebert [LA Times] Try it yourself: Faster, Pussycat! [IMDb]...
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Posted by greg at 02:20 PM | TrackBack

September 18, 2004

Correction: Explorateurs Urbains are NOT Cataphiles

My apologies for mistakenly calling the explorateurs urbains of La Mexicaine de Perforation cataphiles. In an interview on NPR, filmmaker Lazar Kunsman, the group's spokesMexicain, explained that cataphiles are "more like nerds," who just wander around underground without doing anything. Explorateurs, meanwhile, are seeking to produce new forms of creative expression, to create a viable, engaging alternative to the sterile, mainstream culture found aboveground. So next time you run into a guy in the catacombs, just ask, "Why the hell...
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Posted by greg at 10:50 AM | TrackBack

September 16, 2004

And you thought THX 1138 was dystopic

"At one point, when we saw him, he was modestly introducing himself to ELEANOR COPPOLA. "'Hi, I'm Jim Caviezel,' he said. 'I played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.' "Then they talked, appropriately enough, we thought, about wine." - Boldface Names report from the THX 1138 party at the Guggenheim, NYT 09/16/04...
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Posted by greg at 01:05 AM | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

Manohla Dargis: It's Armenian for 'driven crazy by jabbering'

So Tony Scott and Manohla Dargis, his new partner in film reviewing, handicap the fall movie season in today's NYT. Now about the new kid: she praises David O. Russell and Alexander Payne in the same sentence, so she can't be entirely, irredeemably, Joyce Wadler-style crazy, but the only possible explanation I can come up with is it's a cry for help: Even if Before Sunset doesn't make huge sacks of money, it will probably be one of the best...
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The Village Voice's Dennis Lim discusses the Alan Clarke Collection, a box set DVD from Blue Underground which includes four of the British director's roughest, late-career films. The one you'll get it for is Elephant, Clarke's 1989 story of senseless killings in Northern Ireland, which gave Gus Van Sant the title, "not to mention the formal and emotional strategy" for his own Cannes-winning Columbine-inspired film. Lim:Set in a grim, emptied-out Belfast of cavernous warehouses and expansive parking lots, Elephant stages,...
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Posted by greg at 07:07 PM | TrackBack

September 11, 2004

Now Playing at Les Arenes de Chaillot

The Guardian's Jon Henley talks with members of La Mexicaine de Perforation, the urban explorers group who built and operated a cinema in a 4,000-sf uncharted quarry 60 feet under the Place de Chaillot in Paris. They called the cinema Les Arenes de Chaillot. During the seven-week season, the Mexicans screened films by "Chinese and Korean directors but also Alex Proyas' Dark City, Coppola's Rumble Fish, David Lynch's Eraserhead, and Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Clandestine group reveals how it built its...
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Posted by greg at 01:25 PM | TrackBack

September 08, 2004

Hyper Chouette: Pirate catacomb cinema discovered in Paris

Holy Moley, damn, wow, whoa, this is possibly the coolest thing I've ever heard: a full-scale modern movie theater was discovered in an uncharted underground amphitheater carved out of the catacombs of Paris. It's near Trocadero, the Palais de Tokyo, and the Cinematheque. After French police stumbled across it during a training exercise, they returned with officials from the electric company, only to find the power and phone lines had been cut. A note on the floor read, "Do not...
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Posted by greg at 12:44 PM | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

From Abbot & Costello to Zulu: Movie Title Screens

Shill has a giant library of movie title screens. Not necessarily opening credits sequences--which are an artform in themselves--but a screencapture of the title card. It's connoisseur-comprehensive, with four versions of Tarkovsky's Stalker, for example, tracking the nuanced differences in format and transfer quality for each film's incarnation on laserdisc, DVD, beta dub, or (horrors) VHS. One of my favorites is Safe, Todd Haynes' 1995 film, and the main reason we can forgive Julianne Moore for Assassins [as for...
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Posted by greg at 09:40 AM | TrackBack

Looking at Tall Buildings

A correction: Reading Herbert Muschamp's review of MoMA's "Tall Buildings" show, which includes the United Architects proposal for the WTC site. [The 'Dream Team' proposal is in there, too, but I've said all I'll say about that.] Coming after the pissed-to-be-publicly-accountable Meier, United Architecture's proposal was surprisingly moving that morning in Dec.2002. They had made a video (it's still on their site) with cuts of all kinds of happy shiny people looking up from the street, pointing at the...
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Posted by greg at 07:27 AM | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

Well, that explains 'Esther'

The Guardian asked a bunch of brainy Brits what the 'most hated movies of all time' are. I say, who knows, especially if you don't see them all? But there are some very funny answers. Showgirls (a So Bad It's Good movie, actually) gets multiple mentions, but Battlefield Earth gets none. Neither does Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, of that pirate movie that sunk Renny Harlan. Castaway Island Cutthroat Island [which, Deborah protests, is "a perfect pirate...
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Posted by greg at 11:54 PM | TrackBack

June 29, 2004

A To Do for my LA Reader

Mike Mills will be at an AFI screening of his Air documentary Eating, Sleeping, Waiting and Playing Wed. 6/30 at ArcLight Hollywood. 8 o'clock. It's being shown as part of an AFI series of music documentaries, which until last weekend, people thought made a lot of money....
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Posted by greg at 08:39 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

'Bold and Decisive Waffling'

From the preface to his excellent Slate review: "In 20 years of writing about film, no movie has ever tied me up in knots the way Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (Lions Gate) has. It delighted me; it disgusted me. I celebrate it; I lament it. I'm sure of only one thing: that I don't trust anyone—pro or con—who doesn't feel a twinge of doubt about his or her responses. What follows might be broadly labeled as 'waffling,' but I hope,...
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Posted by greg at 03:07 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

'Verily I say unto you, he has his reward'

"Gibson, the director, producer and screenwriter of The Passion, was named the world's most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine on Thursday, dethroning 'Friends' star Jennifer Aniston who held the No. 1 spot last year." [CNN] Related: Also in the Top 100 by "Power Rank": Rudy Giuliani (#88), Paris Hilton (#70), QEFTSG(#78, with the other four no doubt pulling Carson down), William Hung (#96), Lindsay Lohan (#97). Best quote, from the sidebar on Carson Daly (who nevertheless didn't make the list):...
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Posted by greg at 09:44 AM | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

Just say you're going to an architecture film series.

If you're in London this Father's Day: The artists Elmgreen & Dragset have put together a short program (49') of film and video works which "examine architecture's complicit role in defining our enactment of psychological states." It will be shown at the Tate Modern, this Sunday at 15.00 (3:00 pm for the yanks). [via kultureflash] Half of that time will be taken up by Jean Genet's long-banned silent film, Un Chant d'Amour. It's from 1950, the Eisenhower Era, when prison...
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Posted by greg at 08:25 AM | TrackBack

June 09, 2004

Internet Losers Predict Box Office Winners

[via waxy] Box office performance prediction models are a business school professor's best tool for drumming up consulting gigs in the entertainment industry they secretly wanted to get into in the first place. For a long time, my old Wharton professor, Jehoshua Eliashberg's model was the state of the analytical art. Now, he's got some competition. According to Prof. Christopher Dellarocas and some other MIT quantjocks, including , the losers who rush home from the theater to post about the...
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Posted by greg at 07:51 PM | TrackBack

May 21, 2004

Live Journal is the new Triggerstreet

If you combine reading this hi-larious script with a flip through an oily Brad Pitt photo shoot from [throw rock, hit any current title] Magazine, it'll be like watching Troy--only 2.5 hours shorter*, $10.25 cheaper, and ten times funnier:Beach of Troy, The Next Day PRIAM: Woot! The Greeks have left! And look! They left such a nice big horsie, too! PROPHET: It’s an offering to Poseidon for a safe journey home. PARIS: I say we burn it. PROPHET: Son, you’ve...
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Posted by greg at 11:53 PM | TrackBack

May 07, 2004

Movies I've Walked Out Of

I very rarely walk out of movies. If someone's gone to the trouble of making a film--and I've gone so far as to decide to see it and pay for a ticket--I'll usually sit it out. Unnervingly, I've walked out of 2/3 as many movies in the last two weeks as in the last 10 years. At this rate, by December, I'll be walking out of more movies than I walk into. Here are the exceptions (I might add to...
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Posted by greg at 10:39 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 26, 2004

Like vs. Love

I like Kill Bill vol. 2, but I'd like to see it together. I LOVE George C. Scott's warroom performance in Dr Strangelove. What comedy....
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Posted by greg at 12:42 AM

April 11, 2004

Miuccia, Silvio. Silvio, Miuccia.

WTF? Herbert Muschamp in today's NYT Magazine: "[Miuccia Prada] has made the world safe for people with overdeveloped inner lives. [I guess, by selling bagsful of $480 polo shirts to armies of style-free mooks and molls from Manhasset. [And by commissioning some hapless fop to recreate--and gut of all meaning beyond hip association through sheer and empty aestheticization--an actually controversial and culture-changing documentary by Pier Paolo Pasolini, which had already just been remade a couple of years before by some...
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Posted by greg at 11:06 AM

April 07, 2004

Andrew Sarris, Anti-American Communist Roader

Andrew Sarris writes a highly satisfied review of Dogville, but only after an extensive apologia for Von Trier and apologetic justification for deciding to see it in the first place. Did everyone used to have to equivocate so much for not hating movies by socialists?...
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Posted by greg at 08:56 AM

March 28, 2004

The Films of Gordon Matta-Clark: OVER

If you're in San Francisco, beat yourself for not going to the Cinematheque's two-day festival of the films of Gordon Matta-Clark. [via archinect]...
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Posted by greg at 05:13 PM

March 27, 2004

Colder Mountain

Actually, I was going to title this post "Nicole Kidman: Dogville's bitch," but that's not how I was brought up. Besides, it sounded unnecessarily cruel. [Not in comparison to the movie itself, however, or to some of its reviews. David Edelstein's Slate piece is bitterly well-done; he can make people who liked the movie hate it.] Lars von Trier's been called anti-American, which I don't buy. [Come on, he stuck a "von" in his name; what's more American than...
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Posted by greg at 09:57 AM

March 11, 2004

Lost in Translation mega-fansite

[via GreenCine] Are You Awake? Crissy has created the most dauntingly comprehensive fan site for Lost in Translation I've ever seen. [And it's on MT, Anil.]...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

The Wages of Dying for Our Sins

[via Anil] Martin Grove looks at all the Caesars being rendered unto Mel Gibson as a result of his owning The Passion of The Christ. The money's enough to make believers out of more than a few Hollywood types, that's for sure. Hallelujah, indeed. So what exactly is Gibson's reward for flogging his movie so relentlessly and for suffering so much at the hands of imaginary critics? Well, if Grove is right, it's about $600 million net, including profits from...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:35 PM

March 08, 2004

Anarchist guerilla cinema in Morocco

The Guardian has excerpts from the expat Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo's Cinema Eden: Essays from the Muslim Mediterranean. In a memory straight out of the seedy phase of Cinema Paradiso, Goytisolo writes about packing into "fleapit" theaters in Barcelona, Tangier, and Marrakech, to watch kung fu movies with raucous crowds of semi-literate cinema junkies. One film he remembers stands out: The Dialectic Can Break Stones, a Taiwanese chop'em up given the What's Up, Tiger Lily? treatment by '68-ist activists. Supposedly,...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2004

The Hollywood Gospel According to John Lesher

While the NYT's Sharon Waxman finds plenty of righteous indignance among (anonymous) studio executives over ever working with Mel Gibson again, the scales have fallen from Endeavor agent John Lesher's eyes. As a result, he wins the award for best Passion-related quote of the week: "People here will work with the anti-Christ if he'll put butts in seats."...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

Chasing Shadows

BU professor Ray Carney tells about his maniacal decades-long search for a copy of the "original version" of John Cassavetes' first feature, Shadows, in a riveting, suspenseful, and enlightening Guardian article. It feels like he doesn't leave out a single twist or turn (i.e., it's both entertaining and long). Here's the trailer: Cassavetes was so displeased with audience reaction to late 1958 screenings of Shadows, he re-shot much of the footage in early 1959 and re-edited it with some...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein Monday at 9PM

Just let me program your whole Monday viewing schedule for you. 6:30 - MoMA curator Barbara London screening classic video art and talking about how to collect it. (email for details) 9:00 See Derek Jarman's 1993 film, Wittgenstein, at Passerby, the used-to-be-a-gallery/bar on WWW 15th St. Then head to SoHo house for some kidney pie with Fammke Jensen or whoever. You're welcome....
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Posted by greg allen at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2004

Antonioni's Blow-Up now on DVD

It was just released today. Buy it or rent it now. There's a commentary track by Antonioni scholar Peter Brunette, (author of The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni), but read J. Hoberman's excellent contextual discussion of Blow-up in his latest book, The Dream Life instead....
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Posted by greg allen at 12:49 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2004

Piss Off Barbra: Buy Lost in Translation on DVD

Michael Musto points out an unexpected upside to Sofia Coppola's winning the First American Woman To Be Nominated For Best Director: it rescues that historical recognition forever from Barbra Streisand's French-manicured clutches. You can celebrate this karmic retribution by buying Lost in Translation, out today on DVD (complete with a half-baked making-of documentary and no director's commentary track. Where's Carrot Top when you need him?). Or you could rent it. Mecha-Streisand was defeated by The Cure's Robert Smith in the...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2004

when Word of Mouth meets Speaking in Tongues

From Scott Evans, CEO of Outreach, Inc, retailer of evangelical swag via the (Godless and/or Anglican) Guardian:Dear Pastor, The release of The Passion of the Christ is the most exciting outreach opportunity I've seen in my lifetime... In fact, I see this opportunity as unprecedented since the day of Pentecost... Ask God: How will we as a church encourage people to experience this film? How can we build a bridge from the movie theatre to our church? I encourage...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

This isn't gonna help me win "Best NY Blog..."

But what can I do? It's Kieslowski. The Decalogue is playing at the AFI Silver Theater in DC, starting tomorrow (through 1/22). The marathon back-to-back screening of all ten episodes on Saturday includes, inexplicably, the only screenings of episodes I-IV. This was probably my last chance to see Decalogue uninterrupted in theaters for the next 15 years, give or take a month. And to think, I just found out about it. Well, maybe you should just watch them on DVD...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

On Learning from The Battle of Algiers

First, Peggy Siegal, take a lesson from Pontecorvo's publicist, who got such excellent blurbs from the Pentagon screening of The Battle of Algiers, who cares if the people giving them wouldn't know credibility if it blew up underneath their Humvee: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas!" "Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range! "Women plant bombs in cafes!" "Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar!?" But no, when it...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:54 AM

December 10, 2003

One Reason to see The Last Samurai

not that I've seen it yet, mind you, but the cinematographer is John Toll, who also shot Terrence Malick's Thin Red Line. On second thought, why not just rent or buy Thin Red Line?...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2003

Amar Kanwar at MoMA Documentary Fortnight

Ahh, that's a better. Now I can endlessly praise the programming acumen of the MoMA Documentary Fortnight without it sounding like pure self-promotion. Three of Amar Kanwar's most recent works--including A Night of Prophecy, which I killed my Friday night in Miami for, and his unsurpassed A Season Outside, a poetic Cremaster-meets-nuclear-brinksmanship documentary which was one of the greatest finds at last year's Documenta XI--will be shown as part of MoMA's Documentary Fortnight festival. Three films screen together on Sunday...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2003

The World's 40 Best Directors

The Guardian tallies up the 40 best directors in the world today, complete with ratings in Zagat-style (or beauty pageant-style) categories: Substance/Look/Craft/Originality/Intelligence. Setting aside the unavoidable grade inflation--seven critics rated them from 1-20 for each category, but the totals fall in a narrow range, from 89 (David Lynch at #1) to 73 (the Gus Van Sant "who didn't make Good Will Hunting" at #40)-- it's a pretty safe, festival-y list. But it does have it's share of Eurotrashing quirks (David...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:17 AM

November 13, 2003

Sandra Bernhard's Best Movie is

still her first one-woman show, Without You I'm Nothing. It's on Trio right now. Looks like I'll be up for another hour to see the grand finale, her cabaret rendition of "Little Red Corvette." (Complete with backup, it turns out, by Tori Amos) For years it was extremely and annoyingly hard to find; it's still not on DVD, but at least now you can buy it on VHS....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2003

On My Architect: The Path of Kahn

[STANDARD SPOILER ALERT] Despite what the global saturation ad campaign may imply, it's better to approach My Architect as a spinoff--like a feature-length installment the Animatrix--not as a sequel. (That none of the actors from The Matrix films were in My Architect should've been my first clue.) Once I made this distinction, I was able to appreciate the movie much better; it turns out to be a moving, well-told story which happens to have an extremely misleading marketing strategy behind...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:39 PM

Understanding The Architect

I attended a private screening of the film, My Architect last night at the Sutton Theater, followed by a sumptuous dinner in the Pool Room at the Four Seasons. Normally, I eschew the Four Seasons for reasons that Jake Brooks spells out clearly in the Observer: "Few V.I.P.’s want to risk not being recognized at the door and then having to wait at the bar with a crowd full of unwashed punks wearing nose rings." That, and they have a...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2003

Just got back from seeing Elephant

Call me irresponsible, but I/we really liked it. We'll never send our kids to public school now, of course, or let them out of our sight, ever, but we thought it was subtly and extremely well made. David Edelstein's already written a good review, some of which I can agree with: above all else, this movie is the result of directorial decisions and intentions. His take on the supposedly amoralist or non-judgmental approach to obviously abhorrent teen-on-teen killing is right...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:57 PM

October 14, 2003

On Sylvia

After seeing Sylvia last week, I thought I wouldn't write about it again; I couldn't make it to interview Christine Jeffs, the director, and I posted in August about John Brownlow's extensive discussion of the challenges in writing the script (two crazy poets, one suicide, no rights to use the poetry itself in the film, etc etc.). Besides, Anthony Lane used the best line, the only line I wrote down during the screening, in his New Yorker review: "'You must...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

Seeing Lost In Translation on the Upper East Side

Context isn't everything, but it counts. We just got back from seeing Lost In Translation with a multi-generational crowd, in the movie theater around the corner from Holly Golightly's brownstone. As they say, it's the little differences: "Gorgeous sheets." --Woman of a certain age behind us, upon the cut to Bill Murray sitting on the Park Hyatt bed. [300-count egyptian cotton? Nice, but could be better, lady. Now pipe down.] "hahahaha." --me, laughing alone at the previously unrecognized 4:20...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2003

More on HBO Directors

I'm reading and enjoying Steven Soderbergh's book, Getting Away With It, where he intermixes his self-hating journal entries and deeply interested conversations with Richard Lester, the director credited with "launching" the British New Wave. (He did The Beatles movies, The Three Musketeers, and other stuff. Fascinating, funny guy, though.) Soderbergh tries on an authorial style, with David Foster Wallace-style, self-conscious footnotes [DFW-lite], but basically, he plays a very well-informed fan. But now that he's in production on the first episode...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2003

Ozu in New York

I know Venice is barely over and Toronto's just getting started, but I'm already getting pumped for the New York Film Festival in October. Is "pumped" the right reaction for an Ozu centennial retrospective? All 36 films by the greatest Japanese filmmaker ever will screen at Lincoln Center. Also on the schedule: A 2-day symposium on Ozu's work and influence (Oct. 11 and 12) and, batting cleanup, Wim Wenders' 1985 Tokyo Picture, his filmed diary exploring Ozu's world....
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Posted by greg allen at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2003

On the Directors of HBO Series

I should have mentioned it earlier--maybe when I asked for DVD rental suggestions--but HBO's Band of Brothers is one of the best series I can think of. (Except that I can also think of Kieslowski's Decalogue and Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, which are probably the #1 and #2 greatest "mini-series" of all time; that's not the category we're dealing with here. Decalogue has been re-released on DVD, by the way. Run, don't walk.) Last week, I watched Part 5, the one...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2003

OY! Recommend me some movies! [update: the Mob has spoken]

My DVD rental queue is down to dangerously low levels. greg org?subject=what you should see is...">What you should see is... You should sign up with GreenCine, by the way, not the big red DVD subscription service Gawker sold it's soul to (I'm sure they used the money to buy an expanding T-Rex sponge. Chum...p). Most recently in the machine: Punch-Drunk Love (Ouch. I had to stop, finally. Maybe my stereo settings were wrong, but it was so assaultive... the Bonus...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2003

"Punch-Drunk Love is less a story than it is a poem"

How'd I miss this? GreenCine has a lyrical article/review about Punch-Drunk Love, PT Anderson, and Jeremy Blake, by Tom Tykwer, the German director of Run Lola Run and Heaven. Punch-Drunk Love is FINALLY available on DVD, by the way. And it includes Blossoms & Blood, a short Paul and Jeremy made with John Brion's music, which was previously only available to friends and family. And people on Paul's Valentine's Day card list....
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Posted by greg allen at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

Fox Searchlight's new weblog

also via GreenCine: The indie mini-major studio Fox Searchlight Pictures has launched a weblog with the ambitious tagline, "All the independent and arthouse movie news that's fit to blog." Fortunately for what still feels like a one-man operation, the first post narrows the spotlight to Searchlight and news of their release slate. It seems intended to supplement the studio site's Weekend Read mailing list, where FS filmmakers write about their work. Welcome to the phenomena, kids. Now all you need...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 09, 2003

Shoot sequentially, post asynchronously

Don't know how I missed this; in Feb., Gus Van Sant talked to The Onion A.V. Club about making his films. The sequential filming mode from Gerry was used again on Elephant; with a small, light crew, Van Sant was practically flying along, shooting whatever he wanted. It was an approach he'd missed since his first feature, Mala Noche. One review of Gerry deadpanned that Los Angeles is enough of a desert itself, why go to Death Valley; since...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2003

What the world needs now: a DVD Commentary API

It's Rashomon meets Inside the Actor's Studio over at the Guardian, where Sam Delaney cross-references contradictory behind-the-scenes accounts from various score-settling or credit-grabbing Hollywood memoirs. His movie matching list: Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby, Jaws...and Flashdance. Truth is not exactly coin of the realm in Hollywood, Delaney notes, "but - with reference to this array of movie-making exposés - it can occasionally be pieced together." Good luck. Considering the sources he's quoting-- a talented megalomaniac (Copolla), a mobster (Sinatra),...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2003

June 01, 2003

Update: DVD Recs

Thanks to the folks who've emailed suggestions for DVD's to order up. Here's a sample, along with recommendations from some other people: Kurosawa's Ran; Resnais' Hiroshima, Mon Amour; and any Kubrick (I decided on Full Metal Jacket and Lolita) I culled The Iron Giant from Jason. By buying it the other day, Roger Avary recommends The Breakfast Club, from which I extrapolated Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Added Avary's own Rules of Attraction, esp. for the commentary track by Carrot...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2003

Help me with Netflix, help yourself with GreenCine.

Only a couple of weeks after Agent Smithing my brother's early adopter, $10/month-for-life Netflix account, I've run out of movies I want to rent. Or more precisely, movies I want to rent that Netflix actually has. (Note: if you're reading this from Netflix, my brother lives with us now. As do his wife and their two lovely children. Coincidentally, after tiring of Pooh's various adventures, my four-year-old niece suddenly developed an interest in Ozu and Tarkovsky.) So, please help me...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2003

Have you heard of this movie, Matrix Reloaded?

You know how Justin invented Shoutcast so he could listen to Loveline in Arizona? Well, if weblogs never existed, I'm sure they would've been invented yesterday as a way for everyone in the world to review Matrix Reloaded. [Warning: major spoilers and countless review links in Jason's comments thread]. Until Nick and Meg figure out how to find me the good ones, though, I'm sticking with the pros. Like that Agent Smith of MR reviewers, David Edelstein, who first loves,...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2003

On X2, briefly

Good movie. Nice bones tossed to the comic book readers. Just a suggestion: maybe if their hair wasn't so uniformly weird, people wouldn't hate the mutants as much....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2003

On Panic Room's Opening Credits

DVD Talk's Gil Jawetz takes a great, informative look at the development of the opening credits for Panic Room. David Fincher's credits are almost always events in themselves, and apparently Panic Room is no different. Jawetz makes the connection to Saul Bass's North by Northwest credits, to which I'd add Bass's opening for West Side Story, another tour de force montage of NYC skylines. You can buy Panic Room on DVD, but only if you've already bought Fight Club. It's...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2003

On Matrix Reloaded, aka The Burly Man

Insanely great article by Steve Silberman in Wired on John Gaeta and the CG--no, virtual cinematography--they developed for the Wachowskis' Matrix sequels. They created ESC, a "CG skunkworks company" for (at least) one fight scene, where Neo kung fu wire-dance fights with 100+ Agent Smiths. To shoot it, they created the world's largest motion capture studio, ran the flying wire fighters through "hundreds of takes" per day, scanned Keanu and Hugo's heads with 5 HD cameras capturing 1Gb/sec of...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2003

On Sokurov On His Film On Art

In the Guardian, Jonathan Jones talks with Aleksandr Sokurov about his latest film, Russian Ark, and he retraces the path of the single 96-minute Steadicam shot through the Hermitage with the museum's director, Mikhail Piotrovsky. I've written about this before, but what comes through here is a double view of serious passion for art. The Hermitage dominates the lives of those who work there: It "has its own school where children can learn archaeology and art history from the...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2003

On TV: IFP Independent Spirit Awards

Eh. Who needs to watch the Oscars, with their self-serious, press conference-addicted producer, Gil Cates, and their Chicago faits accomplis. The IFP Spirit Awards are like a hundred times better. It's on Bravo right now (and it repeats, uncensored, on IFC, again and again). Some highlights: Host John Waters quote: "Technique is nothing more than failed style." The presenter of Best Debut Performance nearly had a meltdown three, four times, as she tried to read, over shouts of protests from...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2003

Hit Decasia At Anthology, Miss Oscar-Nominated Shorts At Pioneer

Decasia is Bill Morrison's fascinating, expressive film composed of beautifully deteriorated nitrate film stock. Last December, Laurence Wechsler wrote about showing it to Errol Morris: "I popped the video into his VCR and proceeded to observe as Morrison's film once again began casting its spell. Errol sat drop-jawed: at one point, about halfway through, he stammered, 'This may be the greatest movie ever made.''' Morrison will be at some Anthology Film Archive screenings. The film's website has a growing...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2003

More On Punch-Drunk Love and Jeremy Blake

Been making arrangements for a private preview of a new work by Jeremy Blake, who I've been friendly with for many years, since his first NY show. While putting together an email of links and background for people, I went back to the official site for Paul Anderson's film, Punch-Drunk Love [DVD, someday]. Under "movies", there is a collection of 14 haiku-like clips, which use liberal doses of Jeremy's abstracted work and Jon Brion's film music, often without any...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2003

On Seeing 11'09"01

Just got back from 11'09"01, the collection of eleven short films produced by Alain Brigand. It's at Lincoln Center today and tomorrow. Short answer: overall, it's impressive, and some of the shorts are quite powerful and moving. Others suck. [Stills and director interviews are at the official site. Also, check posts from Dec. and Sept. for various synopses, articles and links.] Longer answer: Alejandro González Iñárritu's mostly audio submission is easily the most wrenching. It's far more than enough to...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2003

About being right about About Schmidt

A couple of weeks ago, I called About Schmidt the Thinking Person's My Fat, Greek Wedding and linked both back to the 1955 Academy Award sweeper Marty. Now, after giving it some thought, Vogue's Sarah Kerr notes an "odd coincidence" in a Slate discussion of the films of 2002: "Did you know that Payne is of Greek extraction and that in his boyhood his father owned a Greek restaurant in Omaha? Ring a bell with another movie this year?" [Listen...
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Posted by greg allen at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2002

About Schmidt: The Thinking Person's "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding"

Nobody's Perfect, indeed. If Anthony Lane can't get beyond Jack's celebrity, fine. He saw the movie at the NY Film Fest opening. His unabashed pinky-extended criticism almost always gives an enjoyable read. (Need some holiday cheer? Get his collected reviews, Nobody's Perfect, today Don't even think you can stuff a stocking with it or take it on a plane, though.) But Salon's review by Charles Taylor seems to be such a bitter, willful misread of the film, it defies explanation....
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Posted by greg allen at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2002

P&A: Print & Advertising, Pot & Auctions

Print Talked to MoMA today to finalize the exhibition format for Souvenir November 2001. A film transfer would be really lush and sexy. Yesterday, I saw a video projected version of a short I'd seen at the New Directors/New Films series last spring. The difference in the image, particularly in the color intensity, was marked. A film transfer would also be a couple grand, and given that I still feel a slight itch to finetune the sound (and/or music) a...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2002

Directorspotting and Fansite Trends

Ewan, up close. Image: The Guardian has an interesting interview with Ewan McGregor who talks about singing, about directing his first short, and about working with directors. There's audio as well, in case you're into the accent. Ewanspotting, an awe-inducing McGregor fansite confirms a trend: names derived from the first/big movie. Ex. Being Charlie Kaufman and Paul Thomas Anderson's Cigarettes & Coffee (named after his first short)....
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Posted by greg allen at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

On the Distribution Challenges of Independent Film, Again

Listen to director Harry Shearer (he's the voices in your head, you know) and another independent filmmaker talk about getting people interested in their films and getting their films into theaters [10.5 min.]. From WNYC's On The Media (via Romenesko's MediaNews)....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2002

More on the influence of art on film, and Contact as Dante's Paradiso. Seriously.

Last night, I talked about the artists and filmmakers post with an artist friend who passed through town. He pointed out Lars von Trier's collaboration with the Danish romantic painter Per Kirkeby on Breaking The Waves. Kirkeby created deeply romantic landscapes to introduce each chapter of the film. Von Trier points out that the movie's setting, the Isle of Skye, was a favorite destination of many 19th century English Romantic artists and writers. Interesting because it dovetails so nicely...
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Posted by greg allen at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2002

If you wonder what happened to the movie Palm Beached...

Apparently, the project went into turnaround when Mollie Wilmot objected to being portrayed by Bette Midler or Melanie Griffith. Disney executives may be smiling through their tears to learn that Wilmot, "the socialite with the oversize white sunglasses who rose to celebrity in 1984 when a tanker ran aground at her Palm Beach, Fla., mansion," has passed away. In the NYTimes obit, the subject is Mrs Wilmot's life in the media, especially in the paper itself. In addition to covering...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2002

On Robert Evans and how you want to drive around with him in 70-minute spurts

Even though a friend at Vanity Fair is so sick of hearing about him she puts her hands over her ears and starts screaming "la la la la la la" when I mention his name, I've been listening to Robert Evans read his book, The Kid Stays in the Picture. It's a grating riot. And I will see the movie, which I think will be overkill, but I've seen clips where they have done some interesting-concept animation of still photos....
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Posted by greg allen at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2002

Congratulations to Paul Thomas

Congratulations to Paul Thomas Anderson, co-winner of the Best Director Award for Punch-Drunk Love at Cannes. The Palme D'Or for Short Film was awarded to Péter Meszaros for Eso Utan (After Rain). And congratulations to HBO for their documentary, In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01....
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Posted by greg allen at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)