Posts Tagged: Films

Premaking 'Transformers 4,' the Blockbusterest Film of Our Age

On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.

That's the focus [...]


Lisa Exits "The Room"

About ten minutes into The Room, a film that is considered the worst ever made, the actress Juliette Danielle has to make love to her fiancé, who is played by the film's writer and director, Tommy Wiseau. They are atop a bed of rose petals. Soft R&B plays. The camera lingers over Johnny’s pale bottom. Cascades of mermaid-length black hair spill over his back cleavage. As he thrusts into what seems to be Lisa’s belly button, she looks at him chidingly, as if he’s a soused comic who’s just told a fairly racist joke at an open mic.

Like most soft-core sex scenes, the love scene in The Room is [...]


Why Does the 'New Yorker' Hate David O. Russell?

David Denby wrote a mad-crazy review of Silver Linings Playbook in the New Yorker. Thankfully for his dignity, it was behind the paywall, and came after a lengthy review of that weird dead snoozer, Life of Pi (it's an effusive but cautious rave, but he does call Life of Pi "one of the great adventure films"). Here's a taste: "David O. Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook' is pretty much a miscalculation from beginning to end," and he goes on to call it nothing more than an exercise for actors, that it "feels worked up." This is a point of view at least, if a wrong one, and artificiality is a [...]


Three Interesting Things About These Meh Oscar Nominations

• This is actually Nick Nolte's third Oscar nomination! (For Warrior.) He was most recently snubbed for his work in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

• While, as usual, women don't direct any films, because they can't, due to being women, and therefore they don't get nominated, two women actually at least somehow got nominated for Best Screenplay! That's Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, which should totally win its category. And! A woman actually got nominated in the Adapted Screenplay entry! Co-nominated at least; husband-and-wife team Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor wrote Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which should completely and utterly win, because that [...]


88 Minutes of Goats Bleating

"His film has no distinctly audible dialogue so doesn't need subtitles, and he doesn't move his camera during the first half-hour. There is no music, just the sound of bells, of the wind in the trees, of the bleating of goats." —Would you like to see a movie tonight? Le Quattro Volte is playing at MoMA at seven. Fair warning: you could perhaps achieve the same qualities of stillness and reverence by staring at your bedroom wall. It's only 88 minutes long—but my God, thirty minutes of unmoving camera! (Also, the title is not to be confused with the delicious four-cheese pizza. I'm hungry.)


When Did Indie Movies Get So Expensively Costumed?

"At the dawn of independent film, growing out of avant-garde culture, the movies reveled in their outsider status, portraying edgy misfits living on the cusps of society, in films like Stranger Than Paradise. Somewhere along the way, however, America’s self-styled outsider arts, the 'indie' movement in all its manifestations across film, music and fashion, not only made their peace with the capitalist hierarchy, but began to celebrate it. Across culture, the 'indie' world filed for emancipation from its downtrodden, protest-heavy forbears, and became something cloying, cutesy and simpering. Once upon a time, the sight of a man walking across the screen of an independent film in a $500 silk [...]


Hipster Still Typing Outdoors

Oh, you remember our friend C. D. Hermelin, who spends the warmer days out-of-doors typing stories on his typewriter, surely? Here is a film about his project.


"The Exquisite Corpse Project": A Movie About When Your Friendships Go Horribly Wrong

This is a real-life story about five bros who decide to make a movie, as sort of a last hurrah before they grow up. Each of them has to write 15 pages of the movie in turn, having only seen the immediately preceding 5 pages. And then… they make the movie.

Crazily enough, everyone finds this very frustrating and acts like a big baby. Ha ha, no, only sometimes. It's actually a great depiction of collaboration and how awful and wonderful it all is. (Makes a lovely companion to the Andre Gregory documentary Before and After Dinner, which, by the way, has been extended through tomorrow at [...]


Michael Haneke's "Amour"

He's baaaaaaack. Setting aside the noise of Cannes wrapping up (Kanye West: "I don't answer questions.") comes the verdict on Michael Haneke's Amour, which should open in the U.S. late this year, under the Oscar wire. It sounds great!


The 15 Most Delightful Internet Films of 2011

Of all the videos uploaded to the Internet this year, here are fifteen that found their way into my feeds and dashboards and inboxes and my bookmarked aggregators of varying stripe, fifteen that inspired me to to copy and paste their URL into a Google Doc labeled “2011 Videos Wonderful,” a title comprised of words I was likely to search for when later I couldn’t find my ongoing list, and fifteen that survived when I took that giant collection and whittled it down to ten, and then added five that were somehow similar to others in the top ten and deserved inclusion because they hinted at some kind of [...]


Directors are Ruining Movies, Not Visual Effects People

I make my living as a CG artist and work on big-budget, big-studio special effects movies. I was going to work on Green Lantern, but ended up working on Thor instead…. Profit margins for visual effects houses are so razor thin that they WILL NOT say no to a client, just to get the work. In this sense, the work is actually often underbid and its true cost is eaten by the vfx house. There is a famous producer who once said "I'm not doing my job if I don't shutter a vfx house on my film."

What you end up with is a scenario where the [...]


Poking Back, Part 2: Cheering Zuckerberg In Seattle; Like Watching 'Terminator' in a Room Full of Robots

As a Seattle resident who doesn't work in the tech sector, it can be easy to forget that you're constantly surrounded by computer nerds. Then you go see The Social Network in a theater downtown, and midway through, someone cheers. For Mark Zuckerberg. For the guy the movie was making every effort to portray as a gigantic dildo. And not just once: mutiple people cheered, multiple times! They cheered when Zuckerberg told off a lawyer. They cheered when Zuckerberg told off an ad exec. They cheered when Zuckerberg capitalized his monetization or whatever the fuck happened. Few things are worse than realizing you're in a room full of people [...]


Also Included In The Teaches Of Peaches Is This Music Documentary

If you've ever wanted to know how a nice Jewish girl like Merrill Nisker became Peaches, the new feature film slash documentary "Peaches Does Herself" won't exactly connect the dots for you.

If you'd like to see Peaches and her Fatherfucker Dancers reenact her rise to fame—complete with a giant bed that looks like a vulva, dancers in pink zentai that are orgiastically unzipped, and a surgery gone awry, then Peaches Does Herself offers all of that and more. Besides Peaches and her dancers, "Peaches Does Herself" stars Sandy Kane, of New York City public access fame—she's a former stripper in her sixties who wields a dildo [...]


The Honeyed Light, The Magic, The Majesty, The Endless Boredom: Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder"

In which Maria Bustillos and David Roth venture to the movies to see the latest by Terrence Malick. It is called To the Wonder and it is 113 minutes long.

David Roth: There's a thing that happens to me watching Terrence Malick movies. I marvel at the way they look—which I know is a novel response, but I'm a unique dude—and kind of chuckle to myself at the involuted, ponderous what-if-God-was-one-of-us philosophical stuff. And then I walk outside secure in my sophistication and am instantly struck by how THE WORLD IS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL HOLY SHIT.

Maria Bustillos: Yes, first things first: I nearly died of the BEAUTY. Every [...]


"The Woman in Black": Everything Old Is Good Again

Horror movies are beset with misconceptions, the greatest being: "How can you watch those things!? They're all fatuous violence and gratuitous boobs!" Which is kindof like saying, "How can you read those feminist blogs?! They're all alluvial deposits of man-hating penis envy!"

The truth is that the horror canon, like any other film group, contains a vast spectrum of work ranging from smack-somebody awfulness to transcendence. The only thread holding it all together is that every horror film DEMANDS something of you—that you abandon the safe, bucolic cognition of your daily reality and confront the darker aspects of being alive. Some movies do this by plopping a likable protagonist [...]


Meanwhile, Madonna Is Stealing Film Directors' Jobs

Whatever the crimes committed by Wallis Simpson – marrying a king, sparking a constitutional crisis, fraternising with Nazis – it's doubtful that she deserves the treatment meted out to her in W.E., Madonna's jaw-dropping take on "the 20th-century's greatest royal love story." The woman is defiled, humiliated, made to look like a joke. The fact that W.E. comes couched in the guise of a fawning, servile snow-job only makes the punishment feel all the more cruel.

Or could it be that Madonna is in deadly earnest here? If so, her film is more risible than we had any right to expect.

Okay, but how did you like [...]


The Mark Rappaport Film Fest This Week: Do Not Miss!

Whenever I belatedly discover an American master, I feel a pain inside. A guilty pain. A pain related to an understanding that the celebrity-media complex has indeed been "winning." And then I put on some sunglasses and remind myself: It's not personal, babe. It's just late capitalism doing what late capitalism does. (Then I flip myself off in the mirror.)

Mark Rappaport is the man behind Rock Hudson's Home Movies and From the Journals of Jean Seberg. Those two films, which were sold and distributed during the indy-doc craze of the 90s, weren't true documentaries, but found-footage essays of social-crit wrapped up in sheaths of savvy sound-and-image humor. They [...]