29 March 2009

huh?

The early contender for the oddest movie of the year (and I don't know how it could be surpassed, really) is After Last Season. It even seems to have a release date.

the synopsis, courtesy of IMDb:

"The end of another season has brought more than the usual change in temperature to the residents of a city. As they go through some tragic events, the residents, and especially a group of medical students, must reevaluate their lives and face new questions."

Ok.

As David Lowery says, the whole thing defies logic. My first thought is, clearly this is some sort of elaborate ruse. The film doesn't seem to be going to festivals or anything, that I can tell, so here's my theory: Mark Region isn't a real person. It kind of sounds like a made-up name anyway. This is somehow some sort of first step in a Charlie Kaufman or Spike Jonze sort of thing where you put out a trailer for a movie that may or may not even exist. I wouldn't be surprised if none of the footage in the trailer was even in the movie. Also, I think a studio is behind it in some way. How else would it be on Apple trailers this far in advance?

Of course, I could be completely wrong.

Ricky & Elmo

If you haven't seen this already, what are you waiting for?

Also, can we please get another season of Extras?



and just because...

24 March 2009

the 00's


from Film for the Soul:

"I want to take a look at cinema from 2000 - 2009, each month focusing on a different year, obviously starting with the year 2000 and I'm looking for submissions; reviews, opinions, awards, news, anything and everything film related for each corresponding year.

I believe that not only are we looking at 10 years of cinema but also the rise of the 'casual critic', the blogsphere has given voice to thousands of on-line reviewers and I'm looking for as many of those differing voices as possible.

[...]

I'm also after overall perceptions of cinema in the year 2000; genres, actors, world cinema, you name it, if it happened in the film world then send it on over, together we can build a record of cinema these past 10 years.

Over the coming months I hope to build a resource of film in the 00's, culminating with an ultimate list of the noughties greatest films at the end of the year."


Stay tuned.

22 March 2009

on my iPod: Norfolk & Western



Thanks to Pandora, I've been listening to a lot of Norfolk & Western, a band that I'm told is affiliated with the Decemberists (also apparently a Pandora favorite). The band is pretty fantastic, but this video...well...isn't.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the edits, to the shot selection, composition, or anything really. It's almost as if they just set up a bunch of cameras, let them run, then put some iMovie effects on the whole thing.

Here's the lyrics, according to Lyricsmania.com:

i was the one
the favorite son-in-law
i was on track
to be behind the desk

and i could pretend
i'd be the only one
to solve the new
energy crisis

and i could report the facts
and tell them all to relax
everyone's so in love
with the trends
even though we know
we're trading in euro's
i can assume the law
is on our side

well all of the great artists are dead for sure
it's entertainment for all and that's all we want
though we all know this is a gilded age
the new king's court is in your home

we can't deny the trends
there's nothing to defend
ignore your neighbors
on all sides
i won't watch the wars
it's easy to ignore
as long as i am still
the favorite son-in-law


So with that, the best idea they had was to put everyone on a stage and just film it? Really? There's a ton of potential imagery in a song like this, and while it'd be a mistake to try and capture all of it, you could at least pick one of the themes and run with it. Like, say, the media aspect of it. The new king's court is in your home. At least put them in a living room or something. At least try to make a good video.

This, this is just a shame.

20 March 2009

Obama and the Madness



Here's what I like about this:

1. There's nothing more American than paying more attention than you should to sporting events, and the NCAA tourney is one of those that everyone pays attention to. For the President to act as if he doesn't have an interest would be dishonest. Also, it would make him odd. We know he plays basketball, so of course he'll be following the tourney.

2. Clearly he knows his shit. He knows that Arizona is in largely on reputation (over the more-deserving St. Mary's), that Pitt is strong inside, that the Pac-10 is down. I know self-professed fans who don't know that much.

3. Obama's a smart-ass. He's witty. He's quick on his feet. He makes fun of the ESPN talking head. He isn't pandering, and he calls out UNC. In short, he's a real, honest-to-goodness person who just happens to be the Leader of the Free World. He also happens to be highly intelligent, which is a nice change of pace.

Anyway, that's it. The games start again in an hour. Let's see if I can't get something accomplished before then.

14 March 2009

mumblecore?


I just wanted to use this photo because it cracks me up.

Obviously, if you're reading this blog, you've been paying attention to the mumblecore discussion that's been floating around the internets. I won't bother to summarize it for you, beyond a couple links:

+ The David Denby piece is clearly a must-read (and I love that artwork). I'll admit that despite his failings, I'm a big fan of Denby, partly because I think he's pretty good at being an asshole about films that are mediocre, or just boring. For that alone, I enjoy reading him.

Thing is, I don't know that Denby's really saying all that much here, but that's probably a result of the fact that the article is largely an introduction.

+ Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax is getting a lot of attention, and for obvious reasons. Twitter really seems divided on the film, much like I was torn on Mutual Appreciation. I haven't seen Beeswax yet, but I'm hoping to soon.

+ Alejandro Adams (who I've just recently come into contact with and seems like a very nice guy) is definitely on the negative side of the mumblecore debate, and he weighs in with a well-written post here. My favorite part?

"It takes a lot of nerve to go on the record as not caring about the technical aspects of filmmaking, especially if you're making a new feature every Tuesday. Joe is either stupid or manifesting some really unhealthy form of integrity. I have a strong suspicion that he's not stupid."

Those two sentences say a lot, in my opinion. I think it'd be really worthwhile for someone to explore that further. From what I've seen of Swanberg's worth (and, admittedly, it's not much), I can see both sides of that argument. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Of course, I can't sign on to Adams' point for view for a couple of reasons: 1) I just haven't seen enough mumblecore to be sure how I feel about it just yet, 2) some of these mumblecore-ers are people I consider friends and colleagues, and 3) I have a sinking suspicion that if Adams was around during the French New Wave, he might have been saying some of the same things. Does that make him wrong or a bad person or whatever? No, of course not. It's just something to keep in mind. Movements like this (and I'm not even sure this is a movement) always seem to look a lot different when viewed through the lens of history than they do when they're actually happening. Let's face it, Swanberg and Bujalski aren't Truffaut and Godard, but who is? They're both pretty young, and neither seems to be lacking for opportunity, so the real question is whether or not they have the talent to be remembered when the movement is over. Someone said (and I forget who) that they think this time will be remembered for mumblecore. To me, we're not at that point yet, and I don't know if we ever will be. But, maybe.

The important thing, I think, is to give the movement a chance to breathe, to find itself. Maybe mumblecore is bullshit and no one will care in 20 years, but maybe it'll become something really great and in 20 years we'll all have selective memories of how we felt about it. Or maybe, just maybe, mumblecore isn't the movement, maybe it's the prelude to the movement. At any rate, we should shut the hell up and let them make their films. They aren't hurting anyone and they're making it a hell of a lot easier for the rest of us to find some acceptance. And for that, we should be thankful.
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