25 February 2010

a right wicked good review

At least, that's what we'd call it in Maine. Remember, you can purchase your copy over in the sidebar.

But by denying catharsis and explanation, by hinting at a twist that's never revealed, Blanc de Blanc constructs a mystery with real staying power.

It's also a lot of fun, playing jazz with various genre elements. There's a locked box, a golden macguffin without a key. Or consider the bald smoking man who follows Jude around and insists that David is in fact a man named Archie. He's almost a caricature of menace, ever-so-slightly-fey, always accompanied by musical cues that would feel at home in a more conventional thriller but here creates a sense of comic danger, of riffing. The music intrudes on the film, and underlines his intrusion into their lives.

It's helped in that regard by the film's smart, bifurcated structure. Roughly the first half-hour could be described as a sort of deconstruction of romcoms, which have always gotten their traction from the notion that obsessive, stalker-like behaviour is romantic. The creepiness is underlined but often in a comedic way: Jude horrified as one of her friends insists that this total stranger crash on her sofa, Jude surprised to find David cooking her dinner.

--snip--

McNelly's film doesn't have any bad scenes or dead weight, doesn't need to be "sped up" and thus slowed down; I think if he had less music, it would make those stylish uses of music-- the opening, the love scene, the scenes with the smoking man-- much more effective. He's a good enough filmmaker that the film doesn't need the crutch of a wall-to-wall score.

Good enough, in fact, that the film is still very, very good, perhaps even great; good enough that the film still works and the transition from romance to thriller is at once acutely noticed and seamless. It's stylish, fun, mysterious-- and, above all, highly recommended.

Read it in all it's glory here

19 February 2010

Indies for Indies: Whale

March 6th, 8th, & 9th at the Hollywood in Dormont:


http://www.whalethefilm.com

Cameron is a 29 year old Iranian American, heartbroken and suffering from a never ending bout of writers block. But shit's no joke to our hero, who goes back to mommy's house in Orange County California trying to figure out what went wrong with his life. Will reacquainting with his old high school friends steer him into the right path, or do all signs point toward suburban oblivion?

-The film uses a cast made up of mostly non-actors, including Motlagh's real life parents. Many of the cast were first seen in Amir Motlagh's first short film, Dino Adino (2001). By using an alternative narrative style, the film destroys the lines of fiction and documentary by engaging the audience in a way that traditional narrative fictions cannot.

-Quotes-

“WHALE is what Truffaut called the cinema of the future.... It has talent and ambition to spare; Motlagh knows exactly what he wants and he knows how to get it. He's not afraid to be personal, to be slightly obscure and elliptical, to use the freedom that independence gives him. whale is definitely worth seeing and considering for filmgoers and filmmakers alike.” Tom Russell

“Pulsing with a restlessness of purpose and Vision” Alejandro Adams

12 February 2010

Mid-Valley

I guess it's a festival premiere of some kind (the London thing kind of throws that off), but Blanc de Blanc is going to be screening in Salem, OR as part of the 7th Annual Mid-Valley Video Festival, a small festival that screened gravida back in the day. So, if you're in Salem, check it out. If not, you can purchase a copy for your viewing pleasure on the sidebar.

09 February 2010

On your iPhone

You'll see on the sidebar that we're now selling a digital copy of Blanc de Blanc for the low, low price of $5. It's a really good deal. Honest. Plus, it comes with a copy for the iPhone.

And since a couple people have asked how we got an iPhone copy, I thought I'd throw in 2 cents. Basically, Compressor has a setting for the LAN download. I tweaked that a little bit to get a higher video quality. The file came to ~880MB.

The iPhone file is a different file, and since I didn't see a Compressor setting, I ran it through a QuickTime Pro conversion. There's 2 iPhone settings there, and I obviously took the bigger one. If someone knows whether or not that same file will work on other smartphones, let me know

Then, we just use PayPal and we're manually emailing links to people so they can download at their convenience. They can then easily import the file into their iTunes and viola, the film is on their iPhone.

Digital Copy for iTunes & iPhone ($5)






The video quality is good, but not so good that it'll replace the quality of the DVD. We're talking like something in the range of 620 pixels wide. Still, it looks good in QuickTime and it's a easy and affordable way for people to be able to see the film in the comfort of their own home.

08 February 2010

why can't we be more like music?

In today's badly-written article about the death of indie film, Flavorwire's Judy Berman explains why indie film can't flourish like indie music does.

Never mind that the "death of indie film" article is an article that practically writes itself or that most indie bands aren't exactly swimming in cash, Berman's chief problems stem from a couple of things:
  1. Her definition of indie isn't exactly indie. When your article's primary example of just how bad things are is a film with a budget of $20M (the highest budget eligible for an Indie Spirit Award), then you aren't talking about indie film. You're talking about a small studio film that just doesn't happen to have a studio. The ability (or inability) of a $20M film to get made means very little in the indie film world.
  2. She asks, when was the last time you saw someone in a Wendy and Lucy shirt? As if all films are able to sell is a DVD. The thing is, most indies will sell you more than that. Some of them a lot more. Ink, for example, will sell you a DVD, a Blu-Ray DVD, a t-shirt, a poster, and a soundtrack. Most bands won't sell you that much.
  3. "Hell, O.C. and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz has probably broken more indie musicians to the mainstream in the past 10 years than your average major-label A&R dude." But you know who also discovers bands? Yeah, indie filmmakers.
  4. Hipsters. Indie bands are successful because of hipsters. Yay stereotypes!
I could go on, but it isn't really worth the effort.

Yes, Berman is right in the music has built-in advantages over film. Any idiot knows that. It's like saying it's easier to find things to do in the summer than winter. What she doesn't do is present any ways in which film can close the gap. There are no solutions, only problems. And the problems aren't all that well thought out. Some of them are just wrong.

It's nothing more than lazy, misguided journalism. It's a shame that people have latched on to it as something of value. All it does is encourage this sort of garbage.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that indie film is in trouble. But we don't need an article to tell us that. We need an article to present ideas on how we can fix that. Anything else is just a waste of everyone's time.

Having said that, let's hear it. What can film do to stave off death?

02 February 2010

my advice for aspiring filmmakers

I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer this question, but it was asked.
If you can find something else you enjoy doing that’s stable, do it. Being a filmmaker just isn’t worth it unless it’s something you have to do. Beyond that, if you want to become a filmmaker, just grab the cheapest camera you can find and make some shorts. Edit them on iMovie. Don’t spend any money. You’re just throwing it away until you’ve made 5 or 6 films. Most important: at first, shoot your own footage and edit your own footage. It’ll make you a better director.
I talk about more stuff in this full interview over at Only Good Movies

Muriel

 
Everyone's favorite award show is fast approaching (and, no, I don't mean the Oscars). Here's a look at the top of my just-submitted ballot:

Best Picture of the Year:
1. Two Lovers
2. Antichrist
3. A Single Man
4. (500) Days of Summer
5. Up in the Air

Man this was a weak year.
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