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Entries in Charlie Kaufman (10)

Monday
Feb132017

Beauty vs Beast: Blessed Are The Forgetful

"Random thoughts for Valentine's day... Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap."

Jason from MNPP here, wishing everybody a happy Valentines (even if I do lean towards the incredulous sentiment expressed above). When you ask yourselves what the great romantic films of our times are, what answers do you come up with? Because I asked myself that question in order to choose this week's holiday-themed edition of "Beauty vs Beast" and it was Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (from whence that quote came) that was the very first movie I thought of...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov032015

YES, NO, MAYBE SO: Anomalisa

Coco here, ready to talk about the trailer for Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa

YES

- Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine... Even if you don't love Synecdoche New York, a Charlie Kaufman project deserves enthusiasm.
- We don't get enough stop-motion animation in our screens, and even fewer animated movies aimed at adult audiences.
- In a sea of computer generated mediocrity, it's always nice to see a strong voice be inspired by the medium of animation, which seems to be a good way for auteurs to find revitalizing force. Think, for example, of Wes Anderson's wave of success after Fantastic Mr. Fox. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep212015

Link Catch-Up, Oscar Warm-Up

Some of these links are a smidge old since I've been away for two weeks in Toronto, others brand new.

Get Peanutized the Peanuts Movie is advertising like Straight Outta Somewhere... by going for an internet meme. You can make yourself into a character. The options are a bit limited so this the best i could do at approximating me. I really wanted to be holding a coffee cup or a laptop
Boy Culture Novelist Jackie Collins, sister of Joan, dies at 77. My favorite memory of her will always be Sandra Bernhard reading a passage from "Rock Star" on David Letterman and then tossing the book aside after "wanna pick a flower you lucky man?"
Dark Horizons Brie Larson to play tennis legend Billie Jean King. Good luck Brie because tennis movies never get good reviews!
The Daily Beast interviews Tom Hardy about Legend, The Revenant, dogs, and that sexuality question that keeps popping up
The Telegraph their excellent film critics rank all Woody Allen movies ranked. Good read/insights even if you quibble with order
NYT "Hooray for Hollywood... No Really" a must-read conversation between the smarty New York Times film critics 
i09 Johnny Depp's six most inexplicable career decisions
MNPP Quote of the Day Paul Bettany vs. Jason Statham. Meowwww

MNPP Do Dump or Marry: The X-Twinks - Ben Hardy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Tye Sheridan
NYT Jack Larson, aka Jimmy Olsen from TV's original Superman, dies at 87 
Towleroad are these the top ten coming out scenes from TV history?
Empire Amanda Seyfried joining the cast of Twin Peaks Season 3 in a new role
/Film Pulp Fiction original cast wish list? This is so weird to consider 
Film Stage Charlie Kaufman discusses Anomalisa 

You Know Awards Season's Coming When...
The arguments get more heated. THR published a negative piece on Truth and Awards Daily thinks it's a hit job from the Right (with more to come from The Left). And Vulture's already declaring the winner which puts a big target on its back. My goodness. We're starting early this year, huh?! ICYMI I also pitted Truth and Spotlight against each other (for fun... I don't actually think they're after the same thing at all). And finally these two pieces framing this year's Oscar Best Actress race as "Under 30 Contest" and "Women of All Ages" just goes to show you how much framing by the media can count when it comes to narrative / awards shows. 

Yes yes. I'm going to start updating the Oscar charts to reflect Festival Madness. Probably tomorrow.

Today's Watch


Downton Wars Episode 1 Bates & Thomas draw lightsabers on each other... for a good cause. Rob James-Collier, tv's most delicious evil gay butler, filmed this for charity, in the downtime on set. Mashing up Star Wars and Downton is not quite as wonderful as it sounds but both episodes have a few good chuckles.
Downton Wars Episode 2 This one is better if way too slow. The asides to the Downton actors sending up their own characters are wonderful - particularly Daisy, Mrs Patmore, and Lady Mary. Bonus Points: Dowager Countess Jedi... Dame Maggie Smith 4evah ! 

Wednesday
Sep092015

Bonus Podcast: We're All Headed To TIFF

Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick will all be in the same place at the same time (literally the first time it's ever happened!) for the Toronto International Film Festival which starts Thursday. As we pack up to head out for 10 days of constant cinephilia, we thought we'd share five picks, chosen somewhat randomly, that we're each excited about. It's free flowing festival fever and we're dropping you right into the conversation. 

32 minutes 
Topics include but are not limited to what Charlie Kaufman's been up to, Frederick Wiseman's super ass long documentaries, Oscar positioning, Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Midnight Madness, Cary Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation, Sandra Bullock in Our Brand is Crisis, how we choose and much more...

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Have you ever been to a film festival? If so how do you choose your movies? 

Here we come TIFF

Friday
Jul312015

Tim's Toons: Auteurs and animation

Tim here. This week brought us the roll-out of the Venice Film Festival lineup, including one animated film, and it's a biggie. Charlie Kaufman's sophomore directorial work and first project of any kind since 2008, Anomalisa, is also his first foray into animation: it's a stop-motion feature for adults, on the same topics of loneliness and frustration that Kaufman has mined for his whole career. In celebration of the Venice announcement, the studio released the first still image from the movie, from which it is possible to draw no conclusions whatsoever.

Kaufman is the latest in a recent trend of established filmmakers dipping their toes into the world of animation. So in his honor, I'd like to share this capsule history of some of his predecessors, who made the jump into a new medium to see what they could do outside of the confines of live-action.

Richard Linklater: Waking Life (2001) & A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Using a brand new form of computer-aided rotoscoping to paint over videotaped footage with bright, unreal colors and subdued realism alike, Waking Life took Linklater's established gift for capturing moments in the lives of a huge ensemble, and amped it up. Instead of the laid-back Austin of Slacker, the setting here is the human subconscious, where the director's characteristic musings on all the little moments that happen in the gaps between plot are transformed into surreal explosions of psychologically loaded imagery. It's a great marriage of form and content, which is less true of A Scanner Darkly, a Philip K. Dick adaptation that's much more consistent and sober in its style, save for a few reality-bending moments. Still, kudos to Linklater for recognizing that a thin veneer of digitally heightened reality would create a more receptive mood for the story's druggy weirdness.

Robert Zemeckis: The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) & A Christmas Carol (2009)

Now that Zemeckis's dream of a perpetual machine of motion-capture films has fizzled out and died- nope, I still can't bring myself to say anything nice about his trilogy of dead-eyed humanoids pantomiming great works of literature, or paying obeisance to their terrifying zombie Santa-god. But we must concede that the films fall squarely in line with Zemeckis's career-wide interest in using the newest tools available (in addition to mo-cap, The Polar Express was the first film in the present 3D era) to find fresh ways into classical storytelling. That technology wasn't up to his ambitions is lamentable, but we can at least defend the films' rich fantasy design and-

Oh God, no, that's still just completely hideous.

Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The clearest precursor to Kaufman's new film, Anderson's translation of his shadow-box aesthetic into shaggy, '70s-style stop motion animation netted him a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination and rejuvenated his career: his subsequent return to live action in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel won him better reviews and box-office than he'd had for years. Still, there's nothing quite like seeing his world-building turned towards literal dioramas in which every square centimeter can be designed precisely to order. It's fussy as it gets, but perfectly matched to the intricacy of the caper narrative, and the arch tone with which Roald Dahl's children's classic is brought to life.

Zack Snyder: The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Copious, unnecessary slow-motion, a preposterous fetish for military grandeur, overblown and idiotic internal mythology, dialogue that strives for weightiness and lands in shallow pomposity. Look, just because somebody's an auteur, that doesn't mean they have to be good at it. But hey, the owls look nice.

Monday
Mar302015

Beauty vs Beast: Mommie Knows Best

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast," which could be considered a preview of coming attractions (random aside: I can only hear that phrase in Grace Kelly's voice) -- this week's episode of TFE's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series on Wednesday is devoted to the camp masterpiece Mommie Dearest, and so are we. I can't help myself. It's perfect for this series too, and somehow we've never asked the question. In one corner you've got Christina Crawford (played by Mara Hobel as a little girl and Diana Scarwid as a not-so-little girl), adopted daughter and axe-bringer. In the other corner you've got legendary movie star and crazy person Joan Crawford, played by legendary movie star (and perhaps also a crazy person - I have heard stories!) Faye Dunaway, giving a great, dedicated performance - I won't hear a word about her being "bad" in this movie. Not a word of it! On the one hand I'll grant you that it's awfully hard not to side with an abused child... but on the other hand, come on! Who are you watching this movie for???

Whose team are you on?
Team Christina0%
Team Joan0%

PREVIOUSLY Last week we climbed inside the brains of Charlie Kaufman & Spike Jonze and oh yeah Catherine Keener for her birthday with a Being John Malkovich round, pitting Keener's caustic Maxine against Cameron Diaz's desperate Lotte - ultimately it was Cathy's brilliantly sleek sarcasm that won the day with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mr. Goodbar:

"Team Maxine. She is cut of the same cloth as Linda Fiorentino's from The Last Seduction: a misanthrope with irresistible charm and wit, except she finds love and changes whereas Fiorentino just stays on course to become a psychopath."

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."

Tuesday
Apr022013

Team Top Ten: Best Directors of the 21st Century

Steve McQueen didn't make the list but Fassy still loves him (as do many of our contributors)Amir here, to bring you the first edition of Team Top Ten, a communal list by all of Film Experience’s contributors that will sit in for our regular Tuesday Top Ten list once a month. For our first episode, we’ve decided to rank the best new directors of the 21st century. These are all directors who have made their first film after 2000. (Short films, TV and theatre work didn’t render anyone ineligible. Only feature length fiction and documentary films were considered.)  

I had a blast compiling the 18 lists of our contributors to arrive at the final ten because their submissions were incredibly eclectic and surprising. I’d made a bet with myself that Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) would top the list, and lo and behold, he failed to make the cut altogether, though by a very fine margin. Korean director Bong Joon Ho was also left off, despite showing up on more than a handful of lists. Jason Reitman, Joshua Marston, Rian Johnson and David Gordon Green all came very close too but this was a tightly contested race, evidenced by the three-way tie for our tenth spot. Overall, 71 directors got at least one vote. We travelled all the way from Japan to Portugal, from Greece to Mexico, via documentaries, comedies and superhero films. We loved stories about Muslim families, gay romances, World War II and the beautifully painted worlds of Sylvain Chomet. What we didn't like very much turned out to be actors-turned-directors, as current Oscar champ Ben Affleck got only a single vote, and George Clooney and Tommy Lee Jones failed to manage even that.

In the end, these are the twelve men and women Team Experience considers the best (thus far) of the 21st century crop:

=10. Michel Gondry
Human Nature, Eternal Sunshine, The Sciene of Sleep, Block Party, Be Kind Rewind, etcetera

Gondry's films are shaggy fantasies powered by a boundless imagination. They're more than a little goofy, speaking quirky as if it were a language, and they have an endearing handmade quality, with their maker's fingerprints visible around the rough edges. Bent as they are toward romance and optimism, Gondry's miniature worlds provide a little solace from reality.
- Andreas Stoehr

11 more directors after the jump

Click to read more ...