A review from Sundance of two films from the festival's NEXT category, "Dayveon" and "Deidra & Laney Rob a Train."
Director David Gordon Green has had a remarkably eclectic career, from delicate indies like "George Washington" to stoner comedy "Your Highness," with stops along the way for the "Halftime in America" Chrysler ad and episodes of HBO's "Eastbound & Down." What keeps him going?
Marie writes: I've been watching a lot of old movies lately, dissatisfied in general with the poverty of imagination currently on display at local cinemas. As anyone can blow something up with CGI - it takes no skill whatsoever and imo, is the default mode of every hack working in Hollywood these days. Whereas making a funny political satire in the United States about a Russian submarine running aground on a sandbank near a small island town off the coast of New England in 1966 during the height of the Cold War - and having local townsfolk help them escape in the end via a convoy of small boats, thereby protecting them from US Navy planes until they're safely out to sea? Now that's creative and in a wonderfully subversive way....
Marie writes: I was looking for something to make Roger laugh, when the phone rang. It was a bad connection, but this much I did hear: "Roger has died." That's how I learned he was gone, and my first thought was of the cruel and unfair timing of it. He'd been on the verge of realizing a life long dream: to be the captain of his own ship.
Marie writes: I attended three different elementary schools; St. Peter's, Our Lady of Mercy (which was anything but) and finally St. Micheal's; where I met my Canadian-Italian chum, Marta Chiavacci (key-a-vah-chee) who was born here to Italian immigrants. We lost touch after high school, moving in different directions til in the wake of a trip to Venice and eager to practice my bad Italian and bore friends with tales of my travels abroad, I sought her out again.We've kept in touch ever since, meeting whenever schedules permit; Marta traveling more than most (she's a wine Sommelier) living partly in Lucca, Italy, and happily in sin with her significant other, the great Francesco. I saw her recently and took photos so that I might show and tell, in here. For of all the friends I have, she's the most different from myself; the contrast between us, a never-ending source of delight. Besides, it was a nice afternoon in Vancouver and her condo has a view of False Creek...smile...
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Marie writes: Gone fishing...aka: in the past 48 hrs, Movable Type was down so I couldn't work, my friend Siri came over with belated birthday presents, and I built a custom mesh screen for my kitchen window in advance of expected hot weather. So this week's Newsletter is a bit lighter than usual.
The Grand Poobah shared the following recently and which struck me as just the thing to put in here - for it amounts to someone inventing a moving still akin to those seen on the front page of Harry Potter's famous newspaper."You know how people sometimes say that jazz is the only truly American art form? Animated GIFs are like the jazz of the internet: they could only exist, and be created and appreciated, online. That said, PopTart Cat is not exactly on par with Thelonious Monk. But photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg may have finally found a way to elevate the animated GIF to a level approaching fine art, with their "cinemagraphs" -- elegant, subtly animated creations that are "something more than a photo but less than a video." - fastcodesignAnd sadly, they won't work in here; Movable Type doesn't like animated gifs. It's easily solved however, just visit Far Better Than 3-D: Animated GIFs That Savor A Passing Moment to see an assortment in play!
Marie writes: The local Circle Craft Co-operative features the work of hundreds of craftspeople from across British Columbia and each year, a Christmas Market is held downtown at the Vancouver Convention Centre to help sell and promote the work they produce. My friend and I recently attended the 37th Christmas Market and where I spotted these utterly delightful handmade fabric monsters by Diane Perry of "Monster Lab" - one of the artist studios located on Salt Spring Island near Washington State...it's the eyes... they follow you. :-)
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"If you thought Abu Ghraib was a laugh riot then you might love 'Observe and Report,' a potentially brilliant conceptual comedy that fizzles because its writer and director, Jody Hill, doesn't have the guts to go with his spleen. [...]
"What follows next should have been the shock of the movie: a cut to Ronnie [Seth Rogen] having vigorous sex with Brandi [Anna Faris] who, from her closed eyes, slack body and the vomit trailing from her mouth to her pillow, appears to have passed out. But before the words 'date rape' can form in your head, she rouses herself long enough to command Ronnie to keep going." -- Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Because we laugh and gasp at what follows, does that mean we approve? Having seen Ronnie's actions in a movie, do we now believe that date rape should not be prosecuted -- that it is just harmless fun?
"Although I have never had such a dilemma in life, usually being the first to pass out, I hope I'd have the decency to walk away from a semi-conscious woman. I hope I also wouldn't harass a Muslim co-worker, use a Taser on a man who parks next to a loading dock, break into a mall and assault policemen, or triumphantly shoot an unarmed criminal. Although I adore 'Lolita,' I hope I am never tempted to lay a finger on a prepubescent girl....
"All this might seem crashingly obvious, but at least in this culture it can't be restated too often that comedy is not safe." -- David Edelstein, The Projectionist
Last weekend I witnessed a sort-of argument over whether "Observer and Report" was funny or not. Or maybe it was really about whether the movie was even supposed to be funny. I don't know for sure because I haven't seen it yet. So to me the discussion sounded mostly like: "It's not funny!" / "Yes it is! I laughed!" / "No it's not! I didn't!" / "Yes it is!" / "It's only funny to people I hated in high school!" / "Humor is hard to analyze because it's personal!" / "No it's not!" / "Yes it is!"...