...more recent posts
Justine Elias, in the Village Voice's 2001 Films in Review:
This is the image in A.I. that to me sums up the team of Spielberg and Kubrick: The fugitive mechas escape to Smut Island or whatever it's called, which looks like the Food Court at a 1970s shopping mall, and Gigolo Joe, the Kubrick figure, is happily pointing out the sights—"Here's where I ply my sleazily robotic trade!"—which would be totally perverted if the sex talk weren't sailing right over the head of little RoboBoy, Steven, who's going, "My mommy told me to look for the Blue Fairy! I love my mommy!"
Entertainment Industry Goober of the Month: John Wells
From an article in Slate about the use of letterboxing by mainstream TV shows:
ER producer John Wells, looking for ways to bring buzz back to his medical drama, [adopted a] 16:9 [screen ratio] at the start of the 2000-2001 season. As Wells explained it to the Akron Beacon Journal: "We noticed that a large number of commercials were being broadcast in letterbox form. We called the advertising department and asked why ... and they said, 'Well, because it looks classier.' Well, we've got a classy project. And I think that, increasingly, you want to be able to distinguish your show in an ever more cluttered marketplace as something that stands out."
Just added to my post on Dave Kehr's New York Times article on Rintaro's Metropolis (currently playing in area movie theatres):
"Kehr finds the attempt in Metropolis to integrate hand-drawn figures with artificial-looking, Tron-like computer graphics to be awkward--and he's right, it looks terrible--but then says more conventional anime has the same clumsy disconnect between foreground and background, which just isn't true. Hand-drawn figures and hand-painted backgrounds work well together, it's only when the animators cut into the frame to show off all the cool wireframe stuff they can do that problems crop up. Computers may be useful for generating continuity drawings in conventional-looking animation, but whenever the programming calls attention to itself, as it does in Metropolis or even a smaller-scale project like Richard Linklater's insufferable Waking Life, it's distracting."
New Line, Tuckerman said, is planning ''at some point in time to add (additional footage at the end of Rings that) will be a lot longer than a trailer, but I don't know how much longer. We're going to give (moviegoers) a preview of (the second episode of Rings). We're going to change the last reel out and do a preview of Two [Towers] at the end of the last reel. (People) are screaming for it.''
From the Willamette Week website:
"Portland filmmaker made her directing debut in 1977 with Property, a docudrama about a neighborhood's battle against gentrification, followed in 1982 by Paydirt, an action film about three Oregon winemakers who resort to growing pot to pay the bills. Allen is now a free-lance writer living in Paris, where she recently discovered the long-forgotten grave site of early Portland feminist and John Reed protegée Louise Bryant."
I saw Property years ago at a New York film festival and have thought about it (off and on) ever since. As I recall, it's not really about a "neighborhood's battle against gentrification" but rather the efforts of a group of Portland bohemians to buy a block of Victorian houses where they've been living in semi-communal squalor. It's kind of an elegy for the '60s, depicting a moment when "hippie chicks" were turning to hooking rather "selling out," men were connecting with the drug underworld (and prison) for the same reason, and no one had any idea the Reagan era was right around the corner. It's not really a documentary, but it feels so real it might as well be. I found it incredibly wistful and romantic.
In retrospect, the movie was notable for launching the career of cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards, who has contributed his unmistakable handheld-verite style to a magnificent run of films, including My Own Private Idaho, To Die for, Kids, and Flirting with Disaster. It was also the first film of "little person" Cork Hubbert, who gave a standout performance and has since had a long and varied resumé (Where the Buffalo Roam, Legend, and countless TV roles). I don't think Property ever made it to videotape; there's probably a slim chance it'll be seen again. That's a shame: the film's time, place, and outsider point of view were unique, and in their own modest way, indispensable.