Filmmaker Shane Carruth, whose homemade and award-winning debut Primer confused and seduced everyone in 2004, has a new brain-burner hitting screens tomorrow: Upstream Color. If watching Primer felt like trying to solve a Rubik's cube that you swear was missing some pieces, watching Upstream Color feels like using memory regression to solve a similar one. But the missing pieces are there for a reason. With rapid editing and imaginative, often jarring use of sound, Carruth's second film replaces the former's fluorescent-lit minimalism with a kaleidoscope of spinning clues: a man and woman (Carruth himself as Jeff, and an excellent Amy Seimetz as Kris) are drawn together by a tragic event [...]
If you have 12.5 hours to spare (or 25 intervals of 30 minutes, up to you),you might enjoy Francois Truffaut's extremely long interview with Alfred Hitchcock. [Via.]
Sometimes I compulsively follow people on Twitter even when I rarely have any idea what they're talking about! You get one-half of various arcane conversations, some meditations on bagels and a lot of stuff about French films you haven't seen. Hence, Richard Brody, the Goings On movies editor of the New Yorker. Perhaps you remember Brody best for his mini-pan [...]
What makes a movie horror? There are the obvious indicators: chainsaws, spurting viscera, genital smashing and other tricks in the bloody menagerie of unapologetic depravity. But some of the scariest films sneak in under the radar, infecting your thoughts and slaying your peace of mind without showing a single oozing polyp or rotting corpse. Think about it: The point of horror is that it's all metaphor-a pictorial display of the fears, anxieties, and disappointments that thrash and roil in our consciousness. Those flesh-devouring zombies and skull-munching monsters are just physical manifestations of the Inner Human Pain that can't be defined in language (except by David Foster Wallace) but still [...]
The toughest part of writing about San Francisco's Jejune Institute "thing" was trying to describe it, something I attempted to do for this site twice. In a first piece about the citywide game, which was put on by a group called Nonchalance, I went with "[p]art public-art installation, part scavenger hunt, part multimedia experiment, part narrative story." For the follow-up, I added "underground alternate reality game" to the mix. Both summaries missed the mark, partly because of my own inadequacies as a writer, but also a symptom of the project's sprawling originality—it wasn't like anything else out there, and that was part of what made it [...]
Today's New York Observer editorial page, as always, does not disappoint, in the form of this editorial in praise of movies and TV filming in New York City. Some New Yorkers may grumble about the inconveniences that are inevitable when nearly two dozen film crews are on location in popular neighborhoods or near trendy nightspots. Here’s a bit of advice for those iconoclasts: It’s August. Chill out. Take a long weekend in the Hamptons.
DON'T MIND IF I DO?
Holy moses, here is an amazingly comprehensive list of, pretty much, all the moving-image culture you missed in 2010 and shouldn't have, according to many people! Still, the one cultural event we can agree upon with Josh Siegel, associate film curator at MoMA? Sky Mall Kitties! Miss you, Sky Mall Kitties.
Back in January, a Washington Post/ABC News Poll asked the following question: "Obama has said that under his administration the United States will not use torture as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism, no matter what the circumstance. Do you support this position not to use torture, or do you think there are cases in which the United States should consider torture against terrorism suspects?"
A majority of respondents, 58%, supported the stance, and agreed that torture should never be used, no matter the circumstances. 40% did not agree. So while this poll was heralded as a demonstration that America does not support torture, a full two out [...]
Do we still deserve to call ourselves a society?
The last Harry Potter movie is a pretty beautiful thing, just in terms of flickering pictures on the cave wall and tableaux. It's very good! As a non-Harry Potter book-reader, it wasn't even that confusing, despite its having to wrap up 10,000 plots, though I did realize halfway through that I literally had no idea why the guy with the scary face was trying to kill our hero, and vice versa. Why were they so mad at each other again? No clue! Also I was slightly frustrated that the minor characters weren't allowed to speak very much, if it all. You put Helena Bonham Carter in all that hair and [...]
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: I ain't going to lie to you. I went in wanting to hate. I was queasy thinking about what Fincher/Sorkin had to say about the Digital Generation and I was resistant to suffering through Jesse's flat-affect-acting.
Sasha Frere-Jones: I enjoyed the narrative locomotive, but the movie might as well have been about a struggle over the Enzongium contract in Quadrant K9. I would have liked that more, actually. This is first and foremost a movie about Sorkinese, a language that finds a comfy home in litigation. "The West Wing" was Walking and Talkingâ„¢-The Social Network is Sitting and Talking and Occasionally Dartingâ„¢.
Choire Sicha: I have a question. At where did you see the new film by Quentin Tarantino?
Seth Colter Walls: Battery Park City, which was very clean. And very weird.
Choire Sicha: Oh yes! Oddest theater ever. I saw "Soul Plane" there. Crowded?
Seth Colter Walls: Yeah, it appeared to be sold-out or nearly so. The theater may have been unprepared. At one point after the previous crowd finished exiting, the people waiting for our showtime just sort of made a mad dash for the theater!
Choire Sicha: This is where I would insert an offensive joke about Europe and World War II.