This was a big week for actors we never thought would venture into the directing pool. Keanu Reeves will debut Man of Tai Chi in China this summer, honoring his Matrix martial arts trainer, Tiger Hu Chen. Michael Cera’s short film Brazzaville Teen-Ager, starring “Milkshake” singer Kelis and Charles Grodin, saw its YouTube premiere. Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock was just a little hasty when he recommended that all actors should be treated like cattle. … Read More
New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center kicks off the fiftieth (that’s right, 5-0) New York Film Festival today, with (as expected) a terrific selection of domestic indies, foreign films, documentaries, and big fall movies on tap. Many of our most anticipated pictures (like David Chase’s Not Fade Away, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, Leox Carax’s Holy Motors, Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air, and the opening night selection, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi) have not yet screened for critics, but here are our favorites from what we’ve seen so… Read More
1. The Library of Congress has selected 25 movies to be added to the National Registry in 2011. Among the diverse choices are Bambi, John Cassavetes‘ Faces, Robert Rodriguez‘s El Mariachi, Billy Wilder‘s The Lost Weekend, The Silence of the Lambs, Stand and Deliver… and, um, Forrest Gump. [via LA Times]
2. In a… Read More
We may be over a decade into the new millennium, but counterculture’s golden era of the 1960s and ’70s still captures the imagination of artists and bohemians the world over. It is that spirit of wistfulness that pervades Marc Hundley’s Joan Baez is Alive, a show that opens today at Manhattan’s Team Gallery and runs through October 29th. Appropriating the styles of promotional materials, Hundley personalizes tickets and posters that evoke the past with details from his own relationship with the artists he references: a Joan Baez poster commemorates the time and place where he first heard her album Diamonds and Rust, while A Woman Under the Influence bears the name of the Cassavetes film’s lead actress, Gena Rowlands, along with a date and location. Preview a selection of images that pay homage to everything from Virginia Woolf to free love after the jump. … Read More
At the end of last year, we made a few cultural resolutions for 2011 — including a vow that young, creative types need to be proud of our culture. And as tempting as it is to make fun, we’ve tried to hold ourselves to it, even though a replacement for the word “hipster” doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. So, in that spirit, we think it’s time to celebrate the good things stylish, artsy, often middle-class, young urbanites — from OGs like Patti Smith and John Cassavetes to the Bushwick dwellers of today — have contributed to society. Sure, it’s easy to undermine each and every one of these trends and accomplishments, but we’d rather acknowledge the small and large improvements this much-maligned group has made to our quality of life. … Read More
Well, we’ve all had a week to let the Oscar nominations sink in, and if there’s one thing almost everyone seems to agree on, it’s this: Christopher Nolan wuz robbed. As we noted when running down the snubs, it’s a bit surprising that Nolan’s dizzyingly complicated, masterfully-crafted work on Inception somehow didn’t net him a Best Director nomination, particularly after many felt he should have received that recognition for The Dark Knight two years ago. We know, it’s hard to feel too bad for a fabulously successful studio director; he can always take solace in his rave reviews, piles of money, and the knowledge that he gets to spend several months with a cat-suited Anne Hathaway. But it’s gotta sting just a little.
So take heart, Christopher Nolan: you certainly won’t be the first great filmmaker to get the cold shoulder from the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And keep in mind that, while these folks never won, Best Director Oscars sit in the homes of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford (pattern?), Robert Zemeckis, James L. Brooks, and James Cameron. Perspective given? Good. Join us, won’t you, for a look back at some of the fine filmmakers who never won the Best Director honor. … Read More
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams deliver heart-wrenching performances in Blue Valentine, a gritty relationship drama about a crumbling marriage.
Capturing a cinematic realism akin to that of the great John Cassavetes, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance weaves the story of the couple’s impetuous start with its cramped and cheerless present-day reality. Cianfrance shot sequentially and refrained from rehearsing the actors to maximize the element of discovery for the love-found scenes. For the later sequences, which were shot after a month-long hiatus, the filmmaker had Gosling and Williams co-habitating full-time in claustrophobic living quarters. … Read More
Last Friday, the Brooklyn International Film Festival opened with a delightful film by Lawrence Michael Levine and Sophia Takal, called Gabi on the Roof in July. It’s the story of a 20-year-old art student named Gabi who leaves college for the summer to stay with her older brother in New York City. During her visit, Gabi’s academic idealism and stubborn refusal to conform clash with the mundane necessities of getting a job and paying the rent. Throughout the film, lies are told, conversations are misunderstood, and cell phones die as the characters strain to communicate with each other — a theme Levine is deeply invested in. … Read More