Thursday, August 30, 2007
I hope I'm wrong, but this isn't promising:
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Looking at Mühe's other films, like Costra-Gavras' Amen (about Pope Pius XII's relationship with the Nazis during WWII) and your film, it seemed like the actor favored movies that made large political statements.
FLORIAN HENCKEL VON DONNERSMARCK: He said that the role of art is not just to leave people at peace, it's really to get them to think and to feel and to realize what an exciting thing life is.
The Lives of Others was your first film. How did a relatively unknown director like you get Mühe (a vet who'd also done movies for Michael Haneke) to join the cast?
Well, the thing is, he really liked my screenplay. He interviewed me for several hours to see if I was up to directing my own script! How much I knew about all the details of the GDR [German Democratic Republic]. So he actually took out his own Stasi files that he had claimed and put them in front of him.
When did you know that he'd take the role?
He asked me, ''Okay, you've written a screenplay where this person is in an attic for the duration of two hours and he's moved all the time by everything he hears — how do you act that?'' I said to him, ''I don't think you act it at all.'' And then he said, ''Okay, I'll do it.''
Monday, August 27, 2007
I recently participated in a poll of movie bloggers from Daily Film Dose to create a list of the 100 greatest American films as an answer to the much contested AFI list. Here is my ballot,in chronological order, and while I probably overlooked a few films, I think it's pretty complete. Bear in mind these are just American films, so there are a lot of great foreign films that were ineligible.
- The Birth Of A Nation
- All Quiet On The Western Front
- Footlight Parade
- King Kong
- Modern Times
- Bringing Up Baby
- Destry Rides Again
- Gone With The Wind
- Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
- The Wizard Of Oz
- Citizen Kane
- Sullivan's Travels
- Mildred Pierce
- It's A Wonderful Life
- Sunset Boulevard
- Ace In The Hole
- Singin' In The Rain
- From Here To Eternity
- Rear Window
- All That Heaven Allows
- The Night Of The Hunter
- The Searchers
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Longest Day
- The Manchurian Candidate
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- The Birds
- The Great Escape
- Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
- Mary Poppins
- The Sound Of Music
- Cool Hand Luke
- The Graduate
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Midnight Cowboy
- Little Big Man
- A Clockwork Orange
- The Godfather
- The Exorcist
- Last Tango In Paris
- Young Frankenstein
- One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
- All The President's Men
- Taxi Driver
- Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
- Killer of Sheep
- Star Wars
- The Deer Hunter
- Apocalypse Now
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Shining
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
- Sophie's Choice
- Blue Velvet
- The Untouchables
- Rain Man
- Dances With Wolves
- The Silence Of The Lambs
- Jurassic Park
- Schindler's List
- Pulp Fiction
- Saving Private Ryan
- American Beauty
- The Sixth Sense
- Gosford Park
- The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
- Moulin Rouge
- Mulholland Drive
- The Hours
- The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
- The Pianist
- The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
- Brokeback Mountain
- Good Night, And Good Luck.
- Children of Men
- Flags of Our Fathers
Sunday, August 26, 2007
1. Superbad - $18,000,000
2. The Bourne Ultimatum - $12,361,000
3. Rush Hour 3 - $12,250,000
4. Mr. Bean's Holiday - $10,121,000
5. WAR - $10,000,000
6. The Nanny Diaries - $7,811,000
7. The Simpsons Movie - $4,400,000
8. Stardust - $3,954,000
9. Hairspray (2007) - $3,450,000
10. The Invasion - $3,140,000
Source: Box Office Mojo
The dorky teenagers of Superbad conquered the weekend box office once again, while international hit Mr. Bean's Holiday wasn't as big as it was overseas, despite being the top opener of the weekend, topping out at #4, leading other debuts WAR and The Nanny Diaries at #5 and #6 respectively.
And by "not bad" I mean not as mind numbingly awful as the original Alien vs. Predator, which is one of the worst movies I've seen in the last 10 years.
Having the redband trailer at least shows they're not toning the series down to total silliness like the last one, which was rated a toothless PG-13, did.
It will be released on Christmas Day...an interesting programming choice. Of this year's Christmas Day offerings, I'm most interested in Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Kubrick hated humans. This hate for his own kind is the ground upon which his cinema stands. As is made apparent by 2001: A Space Odyssey, his contempt was deep.
It went from the elegant surface of our space-faring civilization down, down, down to the bottom of our natures, the muck and mud of our animal instincts, our ape bodies, our hair, guts, hunger, and grunts. No matter how far we go into the future, into space, toward the stars, we will never break with our first and violent world. Even the robots we create, our marvelous machines, are limited (and undone) by our human emotions, pressures, primitive drives. For Kubrick, we have never been modern.
"I'm in a world of shit," says Private Joker at the end of Kubrick's unremittingly dark Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket. That is what Kubrick has to say about the state of everything: The world is shit, humans are shit in shit, life is worth shit, and there is nothing else that can be done about the situation. In Kubrick's movies, progress, sustained enlightenment, and moral improvement are impossible because the powers of reason, love, and religion are much weaker than the forces of generation and degeneration, desire and destruction, sex and death.
Because the world is nothing but shit, the ideal Kubrickian subject must have very low standards and no high hopes. In short, he must be like Barry Lyndon: a man who goes from situation to situation with no particular aim or goal in mind. One moment he is on this side of a war; the next he is on the other side of it. One moment he is rich; the next he is poor. The way the world goes, he goes with it. If he finds happiness, he takes it without question; if trouble appears, he flees from it without hesitation. And if someone is dead or in pain, he always says to himself: "Better you than me." That is the best a human can do in what Kubrick pictured as the worst of all possible worlds.
Please mark your calendars now. Beginning September 17, 2007, you can enter a random online drawing to be a fan in the bleacher seats flanking the red carpet at the 80th Academy Awards. The date of the 80th Academy Awards is Sunday, February 24, 2008. The event will be in Hollywood, California at the Kodak Theatre.
A random drawing to determine who will be sitting in the red carpet bleachers will be conducted online at www.oscars.org. Registration for this drawing will begin on Monday, September 17, 2007, at 12 noon PT. All selections will be based upon the random drawing. Last year thousands of fans applied for only a few hundred bleacher seats. These seats are highly coveted and limited in quantity. Unfortunately, we can not accommodate everyone, so please sign up quickly and accurately. Good luck!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The MPAA has given Ang Lee's Toronto-bound "Lust, Caution" an NC-17 rating and Focus Features has accepted it.
The erotic espionage thriller, co-written by Focus CEO James Schamus and Wang Hui Ling, will bow in Gotham on Sept. 28, as skedded, and expand to additional markets Oct. 5.
Based on Eileen Change's short story about a shy Chinese drama student drawn into an assassination plot against a Japanese collaborator during WWII, the Chinese-language pic stars Tony Leung and newcomer Tang Wei.
Schamus said the specialty label accepts the rating without protest.
"As with so many of his previous films, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has crafted a masterpiece about and for grown-ups, Schamus said.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
2. Rush Hour 3 - $21,353,361
3. The Bourne Ultimatum - $19,874,370
4. The Simpsons Movie - $6,829,648
5. The Invasion - $5,951,409
6. Stardust - $5,651,343
7. Hairspray (2007) - $4,502,455
8. Underdog - $3,848,791
9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $3,656,379
10. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - $3,601,545
Source: Box Office Mojo
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The film chronicles the lives of several members of the Lost Boys of Sudan - who escaped civil war in Sudan, and wandered in the wilderness for years before settling in a Kenyan refugee camp, and are relocated to America to start a new life.
But their journey out of Sudan is only part of the story. Once relocated to America, leaving their family and friends behind, they are forced to adjust to a strange new culture and find ways to support their families, many without the knowledge that their families are still alive. Yet they treat each new obstacle with an optimism and bravery that is nothing short of inspiring. And they are not the only ones, there are still thousands left in Africa, having seen horrific acts of death and torture at the hands of the Sudanese government, and are now packed into refugee camps with barely enough food to sustain themselves.
The film is a powerful work, being at once tragic, humorous, poignant, and ultimately uplifting. It is a must see for anyone with a heart.
You can view the trailer here:
They need all the help we can give.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I reviewed the film shortly after its first NC screening in Winston-Salem back in June, and had this to say:
With its rough, unpolished style, slightly muffled sound and grainy black-and-white cinematography, “Killer of Sheep” becomes a kind of historical document, a snapshot of a specific place and time that honestly could have taken place anywhere at any time. And in doing so, it opens up a kind of window to ourselves. This is life, in all of its ugly messiness and quiet glory. These are the small moments, the ones most movies never show. This is life as it is actually lived. How many movies ever dare to show life at its most mundane?
Yet those are the moments that Burnett embraces, as Stan relishes the warmth of a coffee cup against his face, children playing games on the street, commonplace thievery, getting a flat tire or just loading up a pickup truck, all intercut with the never-ending slaughter of the sheep. And even with a cast of unprofessional actors, “Killer of Sheep” is always vibrantly alive and unflinchingly real.
Don't miss your chance to see one of cinema's forgotten treasures on the big screen for the first time.
Check out the trailer here:
Not bad so far, but it's still not Jack Nicholson (I just rewatched the Batman DVD for the first time in years...and was stunned all over again by Nicholson's amazing performance). Only time will tell.
Thanks to Awards Daily for posting the link.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Watching "Once" is like a shot of adrenaline to the heart in a summer filled with bland and soulless studio product. It redefines and revolutionizes cinema in much the same way as Jean Luc Godard's groundbreaking "Breathless" did in 1960, with its shaky camera-work and jumpy editing, juxtaposed with observant long takes and contemplative pacing. Hansard and Irglova command the screen like a modern-day Irish version of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, with an unassuming and ultimately chaste sexiness that is only enhanced by the film's pared-down, unpolished production values. They are two of the most real, soulful characters cinema has seen in a long time.
The same goes for the film's story, which acknowledges the mysteries of love and the unpredictability of human connection - that things don't always turn out perfectly. Like Bob and Charlotte in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," the characters of "Once" forge an all too brief but profoundly deep connection that is beautiful in its simplicity and its ultimate reality.
Carney has captured something wise and beautiful here, and he is aided tremendously by the stunning songs written by Hansard and Irglova themselves, which recalls the work of Damien Rice with its lovely Irish lilting tinged with acoustic-driven modern folk. The pivotal "Falling Slowly" is quite simply one of the best love songs by anyone in years and is a major front-runner for Oscar consideration in the Best Original Song category.
The same could be said for the film itself, of course. I can't remember the last romance that has been so affecting and deeply felt, especially one that doesn't even feature so much as a peck on the cheek. "Once" expresses its feelings through its music, making for a skillful and highly original work of art. Carney navigates the complicated waters of human emotions with a simple and steady hand that leaves an indelible impression on the mind and the heart.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Warner Bros. Pictures acknowledges and regrets that a number of the music cues for the score of "300" were, without our knowledge or participation, derived from music composed by Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal for the motion picture "Titus." Warner Bros. Pictures has great respect for Elliot, our longtime collaborator, and is pleased to have amicably resolved this matter."
It's about time this blatant act of plagiarism was publically acknowleged. Kudos to Warners for owning up.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
BY an awful and uncanny coincidence — the kind of occurrence that, in a movie, would have to be taken as symbolic lest it seem altogether preposterous —Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman died on the same day. Since Mr. Bergman was 89 and Mr. Antonioni 94, neither man’s death came as much of a shock, but the simultaneity was startling. Not only because they were both great filmmakers, but more because, in their prime, Mr. Antonioni and Mr. Bergman were seen as the twin embodiments of the idea that a filmmaker could be, without qualification or compromise, a great artist.
Click here to read the entire article.