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Friday
Mar212014

"Did you just call us prostitutes?"

Bouncer: All right, down the street."

Regan: Did you just call us prostitutes?"

Katie: Did you just call us prostitutes?"

Friday
Mar212014

Posterized: Lars von Trier

Denmark's most important and most self important troublemaker Lars von Trier is back with the two-part Nymphomaniac. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as the title character and recounts her lifelong sexcapades. Is there really 5 hours of story to tell? Or is it just hard to edit yourself when you're doing something vignette style? And how do we count this in his filmography anyway... as one or two films?

Is it really one film delivered at two separate chunks or two separate films? Not that Von Trier's filmography is easy to parse in the usual way, making posterized a bit more challenging. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar212014

Hand Jobs To Christian Bale

JA from MNPP here - you've probably heard by now that David Fincher is being lured towards making a movie about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs via a script by Aaron Sorkin; the big news yesterday was that Fincher told Sony that the only way he would make their silly little computer movie is if he could have the actor Christian Bale handed to him on a platter to play the leading role.

They say the film "consists of three long scenes regarding Apple's buzzed-about product launches" - sounds like a jazzy spot for a serious thespian to play around in (DiCaprio certainly relished those sequences in The Wolf of Wall Street) and Bale's nothing if not serious.

Indeed hearing their names together just now I wonder why they have never worked together before - Fincher's hundred-take slogs seem like just the sort of punishment Bale's inclined towards. They'll make the best sado-masochist duo since Dan Ackroyd and Rosie O'Donnell went looking for an Exit To Eden. (I hope that makes the posters.)

And yes Bale's pretty perfect casting looks-wise... but so was Ashton Kutcher, so let's gauge such things via talent, and Bale's surely proven more than enough of that over the years. (Patrick Bateman Forever.) What do you think of this possible movie? Do you think these guys can squeeze more juice from the fruit (groan) of technology, or was the anti-charm of the Zuckerberg clan too much for you already?

Friday
Mar212014

Cannes Watch? The "Return" of Gong Li & Zhang Yimou

Speculating about what might be at Cannes is not something I do so as to prevent the envy but the reunion of director Zhang Yimou with his most beloved muse Gong Li is definitely something to consider. Together they made six international hits, four of them Oscar-nominated (Raise the Red LanternJu DouShanghai Triad, Curse of the Golden Flower), the first two are among the best Chinese films ever made.

Their seventh collaboration just released first stills and a nearly wordless teaser (embedded below).

The film is planning a May premiere at home so Cannes would make sense. The film is based on the novel "The Criminal Lu Yanshi" by Yan Geling about a long term prisoner (Chen Daoming) who, upon release, returns to his wife (Gong Li) who no longer recognizes him. The film also features Miss Chinese Toronto winner (2009) Candy Chang. There's a whole name for young actresses who break through within Zhang Yimou's filmography "Mou girls" (given the global fame of Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi) so she might be one to watch. 

It sounds like the English movie title is yet to be determined, alternately listed as Coming Home, The Homecoming, or Return, depending on where you read about it. Here's the teaser...

Thursday
Mar202014

50 Years in the Pink

Tim here, extending our unexpected and unplanned tribute to 50-year-old Peter Sellers movies by one day, following Diana’s lovely tribute to The World of Henry Orient. For today marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of The Pink Panther, the arch-‘60s caper film that begat Sellers’ iconic Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the pratfall-prone Frenchman who remains the actor’s most famous character this side of a certain wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi (and Dr. Strangelove ALSO opened in 1964, which was just an all-around great year for Sellers).

The film itself is a fascinating relic, a by-turns hilarious and lumpy encapsulation of what European high society looked like as filtered through the comic sensibilities of Blake Edwards of Tulsa, OK. Scenes of breathless physical comedy rub elbows with elegant caper film machinery and deadening longeurs as Claudia Cardinale rolls around on a tiger skin while suffering from a wobbly case of dubbing. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar202014

Oswald Morris (1915-2014)

We just celebrated the career of cinematographer Oswald Morris this past November on his birthday with a visual tribute. I regret to inform that the fine DP has passed away at 98 on St. Patrick's Day.

Director John Huston (left) and Oswald Morris (right) size up a scene

I first became a fan of his, without knowing I was (you know how that is at the beginning of cinephilia) when I saw the puppet classic The Dark Crystal (1982) which was his last film. That film was so technically ambitious at the time and a visual triumph in many ways. I've been meaning to watch it again just to feel the presence of actual objects with weight and shadow in the time of CGI. 

In the obit at The Telegraph he tells a good story about one of his true breakthroughs: Moulin Rouge (1952):

In 1952, Morris “broke every rule in the book” while shooting Huston’s Moulin Rouge. On being interviewed for the job at the Dorchester Hotel Morris asked Huston how he envisaged the completed film would look. “I would like it to look as though Toulouse-Lautrec had directed it himself,” replied Huston. Morris shot using strong, light-scattering filters on the camera, which had never been used before. “We also filmed every set full of smoke so that the actors always stood out from the background,” he recalled. “The Technicolor people hated it.” Their tune changed, however, on the film’s positive reception. “The head of Technicolor in America wrote to Technicolor in London congratulating them on the wonderful colours in the film. No mention of me.”

Curiously, though he shot several famous films other than Moulin Rouge like Lolita, Equus, The Taming of the ShrewThe Pumpkin Eater and won three consecutive BAFTAs in the 60s for black and white pictures, he was only ever Oscar-nominated for his colorful work on musicals: The Wiz, Oliver!, and Fiddler on the Roof, winning for the latter. 

Thursday
Mar202014

i've been linking i've been linking why cant i keep my blogging off it, baby

They Live By Night amusing Noah anecdote with Robert Bresson and Dino de Laurentiis
AV Club Masters of Sex starts again in July. Wow, that was quick. Pleased I am.  
My New Plaid Pants have you seen this inexplicable trailer to Bad Johnson. Cam Gigandet's career is so weird 
Variety Jon Chu to direct Jem and the Holograms live action modernized version 

The Wire It's Time to Kill "Happy" - how the Oscar nominated and still #1 Pharrell tune overstayed its welcome 
Guardian Charlie Kaufman lining up film stars for his "How and Why" TV pilot: Catherine Keener, Michael Cera, John Hawkes, and now Sally Hawkins 
In Contention thinks these are the 20 best Fox Searchlight movies as they approach a big anniversary. They are a great company
/Film collects all the Mad Men Season 7 promos in one place which is helpful, though still unrevealing. I love that Weiner refuses to budge on spoilers, even in "next week on..." and has since the start. Though I do think this season is going to be L.A. heavy if I were guessing
Cinema Blend why Marvel might start killing off their big heroes at the movies in Phase Three
Towleroad Madonna unveils new skin care line "MDNA Skin" 
i09 names the 12 worst muppets, apparently in hopes they don't have screen time in the new film 
Film School Rejects 6 filmmaking tips from Lars von Trier 

Today's Watch
Louis Virtel uncovers 44 reasons for the earthquake in Los Angeles

 

My favorites are: 1, 4, 11, 15, 19, 29, 30 and 34

#19. Jonah Hill has as many Oscar nominations as Vivien Leigh."