Archive for January, 2010

Trailerama: Takeshis’

January 29, 2010

Few directors have burned their bridges quite like this. Japanese comedian “Beat” Takeshi became a global cinematic sensation for his deadpan gangster flicks. In what he’s said is a “farewell” to his last dozen films, the actor Takeshi meets a convenience store clerk lookalike, the blonde Kitano. Kitano wants to be an actor himself. Things get really complicated when “Beat” Takeshi Kitano’s onscreen alter ego gets in the mix. In typical Kitano fashion, the bullet ballets are punctuated with tap dance numbers.

Happy Birthday, Paddy Chayefsky!

January 29, 2010

Western Union: Chantal Akerman

January 28, 2010

“The jail thing is very, very present in all of my work… Sometimes not very frontally. La Captive, it’s the same, Jeanne Dielman, it’s the same. She is also in her own jail, and she needs her jail to survive. That’s why when she got an orgasm, it destroyed her jail and her existence, and so she killed the guy. And the jail is coming from the camps, because my mother was in the camps, and she internalized that and gave it to me. Thank you.”

— Director Chantal Akerman talks rooms and prisons (via The A.V. Club)

Happy Birthday, Ernst Lubitsch!

January 28, 2010

Trailerama: Der Tag des Spatzen (The Day of the Sparrow)

January 27, 2010

In November 2005, director Philip Scheffner opened up his newspaper and was struck by two articles. The first described the shooting of a sparrow in the Netherlands. The second noted the death of a German soldier in a suicide attack. Struck by this juxtaposition, Scheffner has made a nature documentary that is also a war film, filming birds from the Baltic Sea to the heart of Germany. He calls it “politischer Naturfilm.” The imagery is eerie and beautiful. As his journey continues, the watcher becomes the watched. Due to have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Italian Job: Memo to Croker

January 27, 2010

Made in 1969, the year following Roeg/Cammell’s Performance, The Italian Job is an interesting counterpoint to that Borges-gone-gangster head-fuck. The storyline has a similar relay race quality. Fresh from prison, the flash Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) receives a 16mm film. A thief has left his will on film. It is a plan to lift a payroll from an armored car in the middle of Turin. The gist of the scheme is neatly summed up by Croker as “4 million dollars through a traffic jam.” Clear some space on the poster.

Croker breaks back into prison to get the patronage of criminal boss Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward, having a relaxed time). Initially reluctant to commit his resources to the idea, the patriotic kingpin is swayed by news of an Italian-Chinese trading pact. Once this hurdle is cleared, it remains for a gang to be assembled, drivers recruited, and the mob to knock over the truck. Somebody says, “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.” The remainder of the film is devoted to a car chase with three Mini Coopers easily outwitting the police and their fiats. With the cars driving up, down and over anything in their path, the sequence may be one of the greatest car adverts ever filmed.

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Western Union: Chris Morris

January 27, 2010

“What we don’t grasp too well is that there may be people who have extremely conservative views about the world, the separation of women, and the West, but who also abhor acts of violence. We see a connection or a progression from Salafism to Wahhabism to, you know, Osama bin Laden, and while that exists, it’s simply not true that they’re all the same.”

Chris Morris discusses his new movie Four Lions at Sundance (via Salon)

Trailerama: Celine: Through the Eyes of the World

January 27, 2010

Any hope that this documentary would be about the Journey to the End of Night curmudgeon was quickly dashed when Squally heard those pan-pipes. Still, we love us a little bit of Dion. This doc promises a whole lot, as the Canadian thrust brings her entire brood along on a world tour. There is a lot of hand-waving. And emotion. And stuff.

Trailerama: Na Putu (On the Path)

January 27, 2010

The only things wrong with Luna and Amar’s relationship is his drinking and their unsuccessful attempts to have a child. Then he gets a job at a Wahhabi commune and the scales are lifted from his eyes. The new film from Golden Bear-winning filmmaker Jasmila Zbanic (Grbavica) scrutinizes the cultural makeup and violent history of her native Bosnia-Herzegovina. With Zrinka Cvitesic and Leon Lucrey. Set to have its world premiere at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

Happy Birthday, Troy Donahue!

January 27, 2010