As Above, So Below
It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
The love and sex Gore Vidal dared not speak; critic Sam Adams is a (James) Franco-phile; the national conversation about sexual assault; a brilliant pop culture quiz; eleven Colorado counties angling to secede.
Marie writes: The Ebert Club Newsletter is now three years old! And the occasion calls for some cake - but not just any old cake, as it's also now officially Spring! And that means flowers, butterflies and ladybugs too. Smile.
Marie writes: Now this is really neat. It made TIME's top 25 best blogs for 2012 and with good reason. Behold artist and photographer Gustaf Mantel's Tumblr blog "If we don't, remember me" - a collection of animated GIFs based on classic films. Only part of the image moves and in a single loop; they're sometimes called cinemagraphs. The results can be surprisingly moving. They also can't be embedded so you have to watch them on his blog. I already picked my favorite. :-)
"I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out." - from LIFE ITSELF
(click image to enlarge)
It's a wrap for the 2010 Muriel Awards, but although the winners have been announced, there's still plenty of great stuff to read about the many winners and runners-up. ('Cause, as we all know, there's so much more to life than "winning.") I was pleased to be asked to write the mini-essay about "The Social Network" because, no, I'm not done with it. (Coming soon: a piece about the Winkelvii at the Henley Gregatta section -- which came in 11th among Muriel voters for the year's Best Cinematic Moment.)
You might recall that last summer I compared the editorial, directorial and storytelling challenges of a modest character-based comedy ("The Kids Are All Right") to a large-scale science-fiction spectacular based on the concept of shifting between various levels of reality/unreality -- whether in actual time and space or in consciousness and imagination. (The latter came in at No. 13 in the Muriels balloting; the former in a tie for No. 22.) My point was that, as far as narrative filmmaking is concerned, there isn't much difference. To illustrate a similar comparison this time, I've used a one-minute segment out of "The Social Network" (Multiple levels of storytelling in The Social Network). You might like one picture better than the other for any number of reasons, but I find their similarities more illuminating than their differences:
Q. There are several reports about extreme reactions of early cinema audiences that I find hard to believe. It is said that viewers of the first movies were frightened by what they saw, such as moving images of an incoming train.
Herewith, a belated salute, on the occasion of the sailing of the revamped "Poseidon," to the late, great Shelley Winters. At a party of movie geeks on a rainy Seattle night -- the evening of her death (January 14, 2006) -- I hoisted a scotch in her memory and toasted some of her greatest moments -- which, as it turned out, seemed to revolve around death and water. Not only was she a terrific actress (in comedy and drama), but she is responsible for some of the most memorable liquid exits in movie history. Consider:
EXCERPT FROM INTRO: This isn't like Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" series. It's not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there's some overlap here), or limited to my personal favorites or my estimation of the most important or influential films. These are the movies I just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They're the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat "movie-literate." I hope these movies are experiences we can all assume we share.
Q. I spoke to a Japanese person who saw "Lost in Translation," and she agreed with me that the film took a heavy-handed, anti-Japanese stance. Of course, the story was about two strangers in a strange land who didn't have the ability to plug into the culture, but the movie showed Japan with few, if any, redeeming qualities. From the hotel greeting committee to the talk show host to the prostitute, the film offered us caricatures of Japanese stereotypes, and it was a little hard to watch them -- they distracted from the honesty of the film with their shallow rendering and low humor. Do you think that this was purposeful, or even necessary? (Roy Lambrada, New York NY)
All week people have been asking me who I liked better--Jimmy Stewart or Robert Mitchum? I wouldn't play the game. They were both one of a kind. Each had a style, a grace, a bearing, a voice, a face, a walk, that was unmistakable and irreplaceable. To be forced to choose between them simply because of the unhappy coincidence of their deaths is meaningless. Who would you choose: John Wayne, or Jimmy Cagney? Bette Davis, or Marilyn Monroe. See what I mean?
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- He arrives dressed in an elegant dark blue pinstripe suit, but he will not be mistaken for a banker. There is a touch of the raffish about Robert Mitchum, a sense that the rules were made to amuse him.
LOS ANGELES -- A story about four broken-down gunfighters, told in a broken-down genre, walked away with the top honors here Monday night at the 65th annual Academy Awards.
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. -- Not far down the street there has been a bloody fist fight, two men pounding each other senseless over a woman, blood on the sidewalk, the police involved, but Norman Mailer hardly hears of it, he is so engrossed in the movie he is directing.
For an hour the screen was filled with clips from the movies of 37 years. Garbo in "Camille." Katharine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story" and again with Spencer Tracy in "Adam's Rib." Ingrid Bergman in "Gaslight." Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady." And, of course, Judy Garland in "A Star Is Born."