As you may have noticed, we've posted a little less in the last few days because we've been sick (boo). When you're out of the action for even a second, it's hard to stay on top of it all, so anyhow, a bunch of stuff we've been tracking and or trying to keep our eyes on.
“Violence in my films is shown as it really is. The suffering of a victim. The viewer comes to see what it means to act violently — that’s why the films are often experienced as painful.” - "Painful" can generally be an understatement when it comes to the films of Michael Haneke. The Times calls the heady Austrian philosophical director the "minister of fear," and it's a pretty apt title considering the misanthropic filmmaker might be the most psychologically disturbing and impacting director working in cinema today. If you don't know his works, from "Code Unknown," to 2006's much-heralded "Caché," you might just get to know him in
this year early 2008 when his American-ified remake of his own 1997 home invasion film, "Funny Games" hits theaters. [New York Times]
“It’s funny, but in a really scathing, brutal way. Just to see people so exposed, and the undoing that happens, the destruction that ensues. It all could happen over the course of a breakfast. It’s that way in families.” - Jennifer-Jason Leigh praises "Margot at The Wedding's" script which she is wont to do since the writer and director is her husband Noah Baumbach, but she honestly did love how the film 's cruelty rises out of real human life behavior. Leigh and Baumbach made a pact before filming began that if they ever got in to a disagreement, they would never show it onset, but for all their worried planning, they never once had a fight. [New York Magazine]
Ambitious and dark director Darren Aronofsky - who recently made his own commentary for "The Fountain" available on his website after the studio declined his offer to include it on their release of the DVD - has traded Matt Damon for Brad Pitt in his upcoming film, "The Fighter," which will also co-star Mark Wahlberg. Aronofsky is currently writing the boxing drama about Boston fighter "Irish" Mickey Ward and his unlikely path to become world lightweight champion. What about the directors take on Noah's Ark or the ballet film, "Black Swan"? Guess those will have to wait. [Variety]
“Topics are incredibly unimportant to them—it’s structure and style and words. If you ask them for their priorities, they’ll tell you script, editing, coverage, and lighting." - Former Coen Brothers cinematographer turned director Barry Sonnefeld once about the quirky and inimitable sibling producer/directing duo. But with their upcoming, somber and violent "No Country For Old Men," are the Coen brothers finally letting go a little bit? [New York]
"The subject matter is quite scary to me because it talks about female sexual psychology which is never [i have never] read in Chinese literature. We never know what women get from sex in the history of [Chinese] literature." - Ang Lee was sort of scared shitless of the topics and explicit sexuality he had to face in creating his latest film, "Lust Caution," which comes wrapped in a dreaded NC17 rating. The film opens up in limited release this weekend. [New York Times]
We've written about many of the films in our fall preview, but Time Out New York does a great distillation of the greatest hits in the 45th annual New York Film Festival that opens tonight. We're still interested in Abel Ferrara's stripper-ploitation film, "Go Go Tales" and Brian DePalma's Iraq screed "Redacted," (two we have yet to see), but be forewarned, we thought Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine," was miserable and without any redemptive qualities. [Time Out New York]
One of the all time greats, Francoise Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" is playing in repertory cinemas around the country. "The originality of 'The 400 Blows' lies in its willingness to trot along to the quotidian rhythms of a boy’s life," writes the New York Times.
“This is the autumn of Casey Affleck. His career is really going to blow up.” - With two star-making roles in "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Assassination of Jesse James," big brother Ben Affleck might be boasting about his little brother for good reason. Both films are generating Oscar talk for the coming-into-his-own young actor. [New York]
"Owen Wilson is doing really well. I sort of like to protect his privacy, 'cause I feel like it's his own thing. But he's a really good friend of mine. He's an incredible guy, and I wish him as everybody does, all the best." - Ben Stiller talks about his good friend Owen on Oprah. [MTV]
Are we too NY-centric? Very-likely. Feel free to contribute, we're looking for one or two good men and women to enlist into the Playlist fold.
Heard 'Em Say: Various Auteurs Edition - Michael Haeneke, Noah Baumbach, Aronofsky, Coen Brothers; More
As you may have noticed, we've posted a little less in the last few days because we've been sick (boo). When you're out of the action for even a second, it's hard to stay on top of it all, so anyhow, a bunch of stuff we've been tracking and or trying to keep our eyes on.
Stalking Wes Anderson Part 2: NYFilm Fest Press Conference And Miscellaneous 'Darjeeling'; Bottle Rocket Criterion Confirmed
As "The Darjeeling Limited" premieres to the public tonight at the opening of the New York Film Festival, we prepare to say goodbye to the film and move on (or at least try to, read our review here).
The press loves Anderson even as much as they might not love 'Darjeeling,' (reviews are starting to tip into the favorable scale, but they're generally tentatively positive), so there's literally dozens and dozens of pieces out there on Wes and the film and it's hard to keep track of all of them, but here's what we've collated so far and deemed noteworthy.
Wes' next film - his stop-motion animated take on Roald Dahl's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" - will feature the confirmed voices of Bill Murray, George Clooney and Jason Schwartzman (Cate Blanchett and Angelica Houston are still rumors at this point]. [MTV Movies Blog]
While talking to Wes, the MTV Movies blog also confirmed what Luke Wilson had recently said - "Bottle Rocket" will finally get the long-awaited Criterion treatment. “We’ve just begun work with the Criterion Collection to do ‘Bottle Rocket’ on a new DVD that’s going to have all kinds of stuff," Anderson said. "There’s a lot of ‘Bottle Rocket’ that was on the cutting room floor, so we have a lot to work with on that one.”[MTV Movies Blog]
Men's Vogue did a piece with Wes Anderson soundtrack music supervisor Randall Poster. "Wes' [projects] are something I protect with my full body and do everything possible to help him fulfill his notion of how the music should work," Poster told MV in their audio podcast. "Each movie has it's own DNA so you just try and follow the path of the woods, there's a certain of discovery - you're constantly looking for clues and the logic of the musical element in the movie." And as Wes noted about having Kinks songs in his backpocket for use on a rain day, he and Poster are perennially on the lookout for new songs to incorporate in their collaborations together. "We're constantly on the look for something we could include in the current feature or future features," he said.
Their research is admirable. Poster notes the use of Beethoven's 7th Symphony in the 'Darjeeling's funeral flashback. Apparently the composition was of Indian filmmaker/composer Satyajit Ray's favorite piece of Western classical music, so again, a connection is made and kept throughout.
New York Film Festival Notes & References
Again, if you're a big fan of Anderson and have been keeping tabs of what's been written and said, there weren't many major revelations at the NY Film Fest press conference, but there were a few things of note.
- 'Darjeeling' was influenced in part, but John Cassavetes' 1970 film, "Husbands," where three lifelong friends married with children go on a bender after a mutual friend dies and reevaluate their lives (Peter Falk, Cassavetes and Ben Gazzara play the three amigos). Their black funeral trench coats are very reminiscent of those in "Darjeeling's' flashback sequence.
- Apart from being influenced by the films of Satyajit Ray, and Jean Renoir's "The River," 'Darjeeling' takes some cues from Louis Malle's India-set documentary series, " L'Inde Phantome" and "Calcutta."
- When asked about the film's script, 'Darjeeling' co-writer' Roman Coppola said there was a conscious effort to omit the characters' true feelings and they would leave specific emotions (i.e., "how I'm feeling") unsaid and left to be inferred as subtext. He said they would write everything out and then in edits, trim out any exterior and surface-level dialogue.
- Anderson said the experience of "Darjeeling' was the exact opposite of 'The Life Aquatic.' The budget was almost cut in half ($50-odd million compared to about $23 million), no trailers, no hair and makeup (the actors did their own and how you see them dressed in the film is how the actors envisioned them) and the whole thing was shot, "quick, cheap and fast," Anderson said.
- The train the brothers take in the end is called the "Bengal Lancer." "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" is a seven-time Oscar-nominated 1935 film by director Henry Hathaway.
Download: Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go to My Lovely"
Download: Joe Dassin -"Les Champs-Élysées"
Download: Pascal Roge - "Reval: Pavane pour une infante defunte - for Piano" (from "Hotel Chevalier")
Download: Shankar Jaikishan -"Typewriter Tip, Tip, Tip"
Download: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan - "Title Music" (from The Householder)
Download: Satyajit Ray - "Charu Theme"
Wes Anderson and cast at "The Darjeeling Limited" NY Film Fest press conference.
'I'm Not There' Clip: Cate Dylan Goes Electric; Richard Gere Pulls A Billy The Kid & Bale Gets Some Good Ol' Time Religion
Get this one while you can, YouTube pulls down "I'm Not There" clips faster than you can say, "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" [ed. it's already been yanked]
In this Bob Dylan skewed biopic clip, Cate Blanchett/Jude/Dylan and the Band goes electric at the New England Folk Festival and the folk fanatical crowd isn't' having it jeering and giving disappointed boos. "Sorry for everything I've done and I hope to remedy it soon," (a line straight from "Eat The Document") Blanchett's Dylan composite character says (
it sounds like they're playing "Maggie's Farm"; we just saw it and can confirm).
The scene then follows disenchanted fans as they gripe about the performance. "It's like he's trying to conform to some popular taste with this incredibly corny group behind him, but he's just prostituting himself," they complain, again echoing dialogue taken from actual fans bitching in "No Direction Home" and "Dont Look Back." "And we were his biggest fans," one girl says totally dejected.
The Italian TV preview then shows off a segment of the Richard Gere scene in "I'm Not There" where the in exile outlaw Dylan is awoken by his dog to the strains of "Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid"s "Billy Theme 1" by
Los Lobos Calexico.
First Glimpse Of Christian Bale's Gospel-Dylan
From there it turns to the early '80s-era gospel Dylan as played by Christian Bale and we have to admit, Bale doing the Dylan voice and with his raggedy afro is pretty hilarious and maybe a little hard to take seriously.
"All things are made anew. It doesn't matter what I did before," Dylan tells one of the church leaders before he goes onstage and sermonizes to the congregation.
"It doesn't matter what music you played, " Bale as Christian-jewfro'd Dylan says. "We're all rolled up in the devil's pocket." Then Bale and his choir band launch into the Saved-era gospel track, "Pressin' On" (performed by John Doe formerly of X).
Unfortunately, you can't embed this clip, but click on the image of Cate above to get to the YouTube clip. The entire thing is about 6 minutes from the film.
Btw, according to the NRBQ website (which confirms something an insider told us), keyboardist Terry Adams, along with John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful) and Buckwheat Zydeco, joined Yo La Tengo to record two Bob Dylan songs ("I Wanna Be Your Lover," "Fourth Time Around") by Bob Dylan for the "I'm Not There" soundtrack.
Having already tackled documentaries on Bob Dylan ("No Direction Home") and the Rolling Stones ("Shine a Light" due in 2008), Martin Scorsese looks like he's going to spend the winter of his career eulogizing the classic rock bands of his youth.
Next up for the inimitable Italian-American director is an as-of-yet-untitled documentary on the late quiet Beatle George Harrison.
Don't expect the documentary anytime soon, shooting and interviews will take place next year and the film is expected to take a few years to complete. The Harrison estate has opened up their archive to Scorsese and his crew, so there should be many goldmines of unseen footage. Both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have agreed to be interviewed for the doc.
"George Harrison's music and his search for spiritual meaning is a story that still resonates today and I'm looking forward to delving deeper," Scorsese said according to Variety.
Like "No Direction Home," Scorsese will surely excavate old footage for his documentary so expect clips from "Wonderwall" (the first film Harrison ever scored), Harrison's spearheaded 1971 "The Concert For Bangladesh," "Monterey Pop Festival," "Let It Be" and various other Beatles films, and films that Harrison produced and acted in, "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash," and "Life of Brian" (Harrison was a big patron of the Monty Python crew and film in general; his Handmade Films production company also financed Python-side player, Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits").
According to Variety the film will also focus closely on Harrison's "Eastern spiritual pursuits that were central to [his] life" (expect footage of his various trips to India and Asia).
Scorsese will also once again use his "Shine A Light," "No Direction Home" editor David Tedeschi. Harrison's wife, Olivia is also expected to make appearances in the film (she and George famously fought off an attacker that invaded their home and stabbed the Beatle in 1999). "It would have given George great joy to know that Martin Scorsese has agreed to tell his story," she said.
Download: George Harrison - "Guru Vandana" (From "Wonderwall")
Download: George Harrison - "Dark Horse"
Download: George Harrison - "I Live For You"
Watch: George Harrison and Bob Dylan Duet on "If Not For You" at the Concert for Bangladesh
George Harrison "Crackerjack Palace" (from 1976's album Thirty Three & 1/3)
George Harrison takes sitar lessons from Ravi Shankar
Ok, She Didn' Know Who The Pixies Were, But Jena Malone's Indie-Rock Career Keeps On Truckin'; Only Minor Traces Of Pretentiousness Found
A new piece in Nylon magazine has a piece on actress Jena Malone's burgeoning indie career in their latest issue called, "The Ballad of Jena Malone" (not yet online). We have to admit we were more skeptical than usual when we heard that Malone was recording an album for Social Registry, but damn, if her material is pretty interesting, eclectic and not what we expected.
The track "Tested Dry" which is available on her myspace page sounds almost spontaneous and broken, not unlike early and sparse Devendra Banhart and then another track, "New Year Come" sounds like a Micheal Andrews track straight out of Miranda July's "Me And You And Everyone We Know" film.
There's a wondrously naive, almost idiot savante-like nature to her music - maybe cause she's self-taught and making music has become a complete obsession for her. "I went to Tahoe [her hometown] and kind of hid myself away," she told the fashion mag. "I got Pro-Tools and a keyboard and I taught myself basic guitar."
Malone's said she wanted to originally call her Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains band, Of Wild Animals And The Loss Of Her Sister, but "it was too long and confusing, so I decided on something kitschy, something a little bit more weird and personal."
Malone, who has a small, but pivotal role in Sean Penn's "Into The Wild," campaigned for the role buy doing a voice-over piece and sending him a DVD. Penn, who normally meets people before he hires them, called her four days later and offered her the part. "I would wash the floor for him," she gushed to Nylon. "I respect every part of what he's done with his career."
So far Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains have only released a '7 inch on Social Registry, but a full-album, titled Bloodstains for Sailors, is being planned. Their myspace page contains four tracks, and her youtube page, features four "songs" (some of the video clips are more like short art films - "Red Bennet" features Malone narrating one of her poems overtop of crimson-tinged visuals and the Arvo Pärt piano impressionist piece, "Spiegel Im Spiegel"; yes, it's kind of pretentious as it sounds). They also have a webpage, but there's not a lot on it at the moment.
If we can get cynical for one minute, we think it's kinda amusing that Malone has started an "indie-music" career when three years ago when we interviewed her for the movie "The United States of Leland" and "Saved," she didn't even know who the Pixies were (the Ryan Gosling-starring 'Leland' featured three Pixies tracks prominently in the film including "Gigantic" plus an unreleased score of music by ex-Sunny Day Real Estate singer Jeremy Enigk), but you know everyone's got to start somewhere.
Download: Jena Malone - "Tested Dry"
Download: Jena Malone - "New Year Come"
Watch: Jena Malone - "Mr. Jack Pail"
Though we've already seen "Hotel Chevalier" - the short film prequel to "The Darjeeling Limited" - and it's supposed to be online today in the Itunes store (
though they're late and it's still not up there yet), and we're dead sick, we stupidly stood in a long line last night for director Wes Anderson and stars Natalie Portman and Jason Schwarztman to appear at the Soho Apple store for the New York public premiere of the aforementioned 13-minute short.
Update: Here's the Itunes link. As we mentioned early, aside from the thematic Peter Sarstedt song, 'Chevalier' also feature the French piano impressionist Maurice Ravel song, "Reval: Pavane pour une infante defunte - for Piano" performed by Pascal Roge (which plays at the very beginning) and "Les Champs Elysees (aka Waterloo Road") written by Mike Wilsh and Mike Deighan and performed by Joe Dassin (the track is also in 'Darjeeling' in the film's closing credits,
but damned if we can hear it here, and it's briefly heard when Portman plays the music box).
The "money shot" bum shot that every slobbering dudeweb blog can't help but mention is here (it's not a lot to look at, hope you're happy). There's also hotelchevalier.com as a way to get to the Itunes store and watch the short.
We must say, having already seen it and having read all there is to read about it, the event was sort of uneventful for us, but for people who've never seen Wes and co. in person and those that hadn't seen the delightful and sad, 'Chevalier' it seemed like a real treat.
There were no major revelations - Anderson and his actors basically repeated what we'd already read: It was shot in two days, it was shot a year before 'Darjeeling' was shot, it was self-financed by Anderson, and the short film is supposed to resemble a short story that accompanies a short-novel.
However, there were a few tidbits of information. Natalie Portman said she was a major Wes Anderson fan that sought him out (Wes "has the finest taste possible" she said), Wes said none of the actors were paid for their work, and Anderson said the inspiration for the short specifically came from the Peter Sarstedt song, "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" which sort of becomes a musical motif for wooing in both 'Chevalier' and 'Darjeeling.'
Schwartzman said when Anderson first read him the short script over the phone he even played Sartedt's British '60s folk hit in the background. About working with Anderson for the first time Natalie Portman said it was effortless because the director is so specific and detailed, it's easy to step into a world "that's already created for you." When the actors were asked by the audience about directions Anderson gave them, Wes said he didn't remember much, but Portman said, there was a lot of, "harsher, meaner, colder," which Anderson laughed at and again said he couldn't recall.
For nerdspotting reference geeks, the black and white 1953 war film "Stalag 17" plays on the TV when the short first begins and Jason Schwartzman's character Jack Whitman is lying on the hotel bed ordering food and Anderson said the he Schwartzman and 'Darjeeling' co-writer Roman Coppola wrote the feature-length screenplay partly in an Rajastan location where novelist travel author Bruce Chatwin had previously written.
Oh and it was pretty funny watching Fischer Stevens push his way to the front of the Apple store event saying he was on Wes' guest list. Waris Ahluwalia, who plays the 'Darjeeling' train chief steward in the film was also onhand.
For more Anderson and all things 'Darjeeling,' there is a New York Observer piece on Marc Jacobs' involvement with creating candy-colored Louis Vuitton luggage for the Whitman brothers in the full-length film. Thanks to Joshua Kurp for the outside photos of Schwarztman and Anderson.
Owen Wilson and Anderson To Co-Write Again?
Lastly, Wes Anderson actually dignified reporter's stupid quesstion and denied the similarities of Owen Wilson's alleged suicide attempt and his melancholy character in the film (who may or may not have tried to committ suicide). Anderson also recently told Men's Vogue that he and Wilson will try and write a script again and they've been discussing future ideas (though he himself doesn't seem utterly convinced).
The Men's Vogue piece also restates some information that a lot of people seem to have forgotten. Despite "The Royal Tenenbaums" script credits as written by Wilson and Anderson, the two were living in separate cities and Anderson did most of the writing on his own (something he didn't really enjoy). Wilson said a lot of people project their own assumptions onto how their collaboration works.
"People say that I am the one with the heart or something, and Wes is the intellectual. But I think that's all pretty much bullshit. Everything we did, we did together. Of course, Wes was the only one who could type, so he always got to put a kind of final edit on it. But, like, a writer said that the glib stuff was more me and the soulful stuff was Wes, and that wasn't accurate. Wes is capable of coming up with silly stuff just as I was. The main thing was finding the same thing funny and getting it on the page," Wilson told the style magazine.
Download: Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)"
Download: Joe Dassin -"Les Champs-Élysées"
Download: Pascal Roge - "Reval: Pavane pour une infante defunte - for Piano"
"Hotel Chevalier" in its entirety (ok, most of the online clips are dead, but if you haven't seen it a permanent link for your Itunes/Ipod lies here)
Whooops! How bad would it suck to be Josh Brolin? Actually, dude is one lucky motherfucker. The actor came onto the set of the Coen Brothers' new film, "No Country For Old Men," last year when he found the directors and cast and crew a little confused.
Why? The Coen Brothers actually meant to cast his father, 67-year-old actor James Brolin, not his son, Josh. In a piece written by the Coen Brothers for Esquire, they called their casting mistake a "flat-out boner."
"Well, there were some red faces on the set the first day of shooting when Jim Brolin's son Josh showed up to play the part. Crossed wires, misunderstanding -- who knows what kind of snafu -- had resulted in our casting office offering the part to an actor who was patently thirty years too young. In retrospect, this explained William Morris agent Michael Cooper's surprise on hearing we wanted his client for the coveted role. Too late now, though -- the contracts were all signed."
Brolin was naturally embarrassed, but he he obviously didn't argue too loudly. Afterall, he got to star in a Coen Brothers film, like his career has mattered up until this point.
The ever adaptable Joel and Ethan did what they do best: improvise [ed. actually their material is pretty meticulously planned out, just fyi]. The era of the script was quickly changed from present day to the 1980's so Brolin could authentically pass as a Vietnam Vet and their production team quickly huddled about and made quick wardrobe, costumes, general period-piece adjustements and voila! They were set to pop.
See? Filmmaking is easy! "No Country For Old Men" also stars Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem and is due November 21.
Update: OK apparently this is a big joke. Oh you wacky Coens! Perhaps we should read more instead of going to the movies all the time. Ah well... (Truth be told, it sound plausible to us, when was the last time Josh Brolin was cast in anything good?)
Persepolis (dir. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Catherine Deneuve)
Could this film be a harder sell? A black and white graphic novel adaptation of young girl's experience growing up under the fundamentalist revolution in Iran; sounds like fun for the whole family, right? But "Persepolis" needs its own "you must see" campaign to combat any pre-conceived ideas you may have about it as it's wonderful. Charming, funny, and heartbreaking, this unique coming of age story won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for good reason. Voiced by Catherine Deneueve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni (fathered by Italian screen idol Marcello Mastroianni), the film explores themes of tyranny, oppression, alienation, xenophobia abroad, and universal ideas about growing up female in a male-centric world (not to mention loving punk rock under the regime of the Shah). The film premiered in North American at the recent NY Film Festival, but doesn't hit theaters until Christmas. Don't miss this terrific gem.[A]
PS the American version of this film (i.e. no subtitles and dubbing instead) will feature Iggy Pop and Sean Penn as the voices of the two male leads.
Is there really a need for a Shrek 4? As long as their is a need for gold-plated SUV's, gargantuan-sized mansions and theme parks in your backyard, the answer is yes. As you've already heard, Sir Paul McCartney has been asked to write the soundtrack for the soon-to-be 4th edition of the animated excuse to print money. Apparently Macca is a big disciple of the Shrek series that featured his song Bond theme "Live & Let Die" in the 3rd installment. "I'm a huge fan of Shrek", the Beatle told The Sun. "As is my little girl. I can do a really good impression of him - I put on my best Scottish accent!" Color us thrilled. [NME]
Why Tyler Perry decided to get married is anyone's guess, but we're sure the outcome is hilarious and touching (and probably soulful too). The soundtrack to "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" is due Oct 2 and features tracks by Beyonce, Babyface, Keith Sweat, French Canadian crooner Michael Buble, Tyrese and other contemporary R&B/soul singers. The film also stars Janet Jackson and Jill Scott.
The "Feel The Noise" soundtrack (we seriously didn't even hear about this movie until the soundtrack was sent to us) is out today and features songs by Omarion, Wyclef Jean, Pras, Tego Calderon and other Reggatoneros and Latin Types [ed. very informative and well researched]. The film was produced by Jennifer Lopez. Of the Reggaeton genre, the director Alejandro Chomski said, "It's an upcoming cultural movement that is extending itself worldwide." How about that, who knew? The film also stars R&B sensation Omarion who has an excellent dress sense and takes photo direction more than amiably. Ghetto supersta, Pras also has a small role.
The mournful and lachrymose Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (Dirty Three) composed soundtrack to "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is due for a digital release on October 23 and a physical one sometime in early 2008. No details yet, but we're hoping the release has both songs sung in the film by Nick Cave and Zooey Deschanel.
Watch: "Feel the Noise" trailer
Watch: "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" trailer
Download: Omarion feat. Kat Deluna - "Cut Off Time"
Download: Babyface - "Sorry For The Stupid Things"
Yes, it's been widely reported that Mexican hottie actor Gael Garcia Bernal has recorded a duet with freak-folk fruitcake Devendra Banhart for the latter's upcoming album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (due today, 9/25 on XL).
What hasn't been widely reported, is that said duet (the song, "Cristobal") is going to be featured in Bernal's directorial debut, "Déficit," which screened at the recent Toronto International Film Festival (Cristobal is the name of Garcia Bernal's character in the film).
According to TIFF:
The film is "about a 20-something rich kid named Cristobal and a party he throws over a weekend. The clash between his and his younger sister's friends is comic and intense; class differences also reveal a unique social commentary on the state of Mexico. "
According to the Fader, the Banhart song "Cristobal" began as a "chattering, clattering spoken-word sign off in Spanish that was essentially an imaginary conversation with the actor Gael Garcia Bernal (whom Banhart had never met)."
"I just started talking in what i call the chichero voice," Banhart told the hipster mag. "Chica is this sweet drink with cinnamon, and the chicheros drive by the town and they're just going, 'Chica! Chica!', in this voice and in my head i was like, 'I'm just going to talk to Gael."
Banhart would later meet and record the song with Garcia Bernal for the final scene in "Déficit." "He was over one day, because I wrote a song for one of his films. He just started singing along, and it really fit," Banhart told Billboard. The track also features lush flute sounds and Banhart playing the Cuatro, a guitar-like string instrument that has its roots in Venezuela.
[Incidentally, the very excellent and obscure freak-folk singer Linda Perhacs, came out of a 37-year retirement to sing some guest vocals on the Smokey Rolls track "Freely."]
Garcia can be seen in the Banhart video for "Seahorse," off the upcoming Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (which features lots of male hugging and affection). "Déficit" just recently got picked up for North American distribution, so we should see in theaters some time in 2008.
The film recently screened at New York's Lincoln Center, but we missed it. If anyone's listening, we'd sure like to know what's on the rest of the soundtrack as Garcia Bernal's character is supposed to be, "hip-hop obsessed." Garcia Bernal told Time magazine that the film revolves around a family and is "a story about loss of privileges and the end of impunity."
Download: Devendra Banhart - "Seahorse"
Download: Linda Perhacs - "Parallelogram"
It's nice to see someone like Michel Gondry constantly using commercials to further is art (Gondry typically uses commercial opportunities, much like videos as short-form experiments that inform his feature work). The spot is typically inventive Gondry and uses a seeming mix of media, computer animation, regular stop-motion animation and the French director's patented in-camera optical tricks. The ad also has it's own microsite.
Having finished "Be Kind Rewind," which is due in early 2008, Gondry has apparently already moved on to working on his next feature - the much-discussed and much-delayed - "Master Of Space And Time," an adaptation of the Rudy Rucker book with screenwriter Daniel Clowes (the graphic novelist behind "Ghost World" and "Art School Confidential.")
Gondry's been talking about 'Space And Time' since at least 2002, so let's hope he finally gets it off the ground. Jack Black was originally pegged to star in the film, but being that he's in 'Rewind,' this may have changed (and in fact the somewhat unreliable IMDB no longer has him listed as part of the film - again, take that with a grain of salt).
Synopsis: The real world is unbearable to madcap inventor Harry Gerber, so he uses his genius to twist the laws of science and create his own tailor-made universe. Master of Space and Time combines high physics and high jinks, blurring the line between science and magic.
"In the end it went quite smoothly maybe because I had a really great cast," the Dutch director said. "According to New Order, their reaction to the film was that it was really accurate."
As for the silly Reeler question asking why Harvey Weinstein would be interested in a film about Joy Division, Corbijn drops the wry, "I think [Harvey's] been seen dancing to Joy Division." We were fairly disappointed by "Control," but you should probably still see for yourself [ed. or wait for DVD and spare yourself the time and money].
Former NME writer Paul Morley, who was around for the Joy Division heyday era, wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian about the film called, "How to make a film about the short and tragic life of Ian Curtis." It's good backstory on the history of all the players involved in the film if you're not already JD obsessed.
Benicio Del Toro - who more than passingly resembles Wolfman Jack these days, as he prepares for his role as Ernesto 'Che' Guevara - loves his music.
In fact, he loves it so much he'd rather discuss how he uses it for acting more than he'd like to talk about the process of acting itself. In a recent Esquire profile on the Puerto Rican-born actor, Del Toro - almost freaked out by the responsibility of playing Che - distracted himself by discussing his music picks and employed Rolling Stone album metaphors for the two back-to back Che films (presently titled "The Argentine" and "Guerrilla") he'll be filming with Steven Soderbergh (filming has already begun in Spain).
"We're trying not to do Che's greatest hits. If you're doing a greatest hits of the Rolling Stones, you probably open up with 'Satisfaction' and you finish the first side of the album with 'Sympathy for the Devil,' and then you open side two with 'Gimme Shelter' and you close with 'Start Me Up.' Well, we're trying to start with 'Blue Turns to Grey' [from December's Children (And Everybody's)] and finish with 'Stray Cat Blues,' [from Beggars Banquet] and then start the second side with 'Luxury' [from It's Only Rock 'n' Roll] and finish it with 'Infamy,' [from 2005's A Bigger Bang]something like that."
For his upcoming role as a struggling-to-stay-clean ex-heroin user in the film "Things We Lost in the Fire" (due in theaters October 19) Del Toro's personal mix tape skewed towards noirish music. He listened to the National's Alligator and went to see them in concert ("They were great, they were great, they were great," he chants), mixed in with Bob Dylan's Modern Times and R.E.M.'s Monster.
The equally dark, 2003 film, "21 Grams" was set in Memphis, so the Academy Award winning actor listened to Elvis Presley, Sun Records compilations, and Johnny Cash, mostly American IV: The Man Comes Around, and Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt."
During his "Traffic" days (the role that won him his Best Supporting Oscar), his music picks were dominated by Los Lobos, to prepare himself for the Tex-Mex feeling, but careful balanced their uptempo pep with acoustic Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad.
Watch: Dick and Dee Dee - "Blue Turns To Grey"
Watch: Johnny Cash - "Hurt"
Download: The National - "Daughter Of The Soho Riots"
Download: Bob Dylan - "Spirit on the Water"
Watch: Bruce Springsteen - "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
Every 20-something fan of film and music thinks they want to be bff with filmmaker Wes Anderson, but a new, and rather unflattering New York magazine profile on the director makes him sound like an stuffy, annoying, obsessive, OCD-caricature of his films.
In the article, a slightly nervous Anderson quarterbacks the writers thoughts and worries that everyone of his detailed questions is going to be misinterpreted as a hyper-detailed description line straight from one of his scripts.
“Oh God, I bet that’s the first line of your piece, isn’t it?” Anderson said when asking Jason Schwartzman about his sun glasses. “Wes Anderson, notorious for his attention to detail, carefully observes the black retro sunglasses that the young Schwartzman has pulled from his pocket …” Later, when a breeze picked up during our meal, he turned up the collar on his seersucker suit and again quoted from the article he was writing in his head: “Anderson then pensively turns up the collar of his blazer, pulling it tight around his skinny frame to cover the monogrammed dress shirt underneath …” Pause. Laughter. “I’m sorry, man,” he then said. “I’m in a weird mood these days.”Maybe he's just got pre-release jitters or maybe the writer has an agenda to push, but the entire interview continues in this vein. The writer suggests that living in Wes' world is "claustrophic" and paints him as eccentric as his characters. One part of the profile details Anderson convincing Fox Searchlight to rent him a suite at the Inn at Irving Place, an unmarked hotel on Gramercy Park designed to "re-create an era of faded glamour." Given that Anderson already owned a spacious loft/work space in the East Village, the move seemed like an odd and extravagant one.
Photographer Gregory Crewdson, a friend of Anderson said of the space, “There was the little guy behind the desk, the narrow wooden staircase leading up to the room—it was just perfect. In his films he creates a very particular and unmistakable world, and I guess you could say the same is true in his life.”
Other intersting bits in the profile are Wes acknowledgements that 'Life Aquatic' took a critical beating (We just put everything into it, and it kind of, you know, got a bit of a rough ride. I think it’s generally thought of as the least loved of all my movies.”), his post-'Aquatic' depression from its poor-reception, and his agitation with critics that call his films too quirky or too smart for their own good.
"You know, I’ve heard that argument a million times, and it’s completely uninteresting to me. It’s just deadeningly unoriginal. If you have ideas that you think can contribute to a movie, that you think might help you honestly enjoy it more …” He trails off, thinking. “Now I’m sounding bitter, aren’t I? Okay, my response to that is that sometimes it hurts my feelings.” Another pause. “When they say a movie I make is smarter-than-thou, that the movie is ‘too smart for its own good,’ as if we’re making movies to try to show everybody how great and cool we are … well, that’s just not the case. We’re trying our hardest to entertain people, to make something people will like, something people will connect with. I don’t think there’s a great effort to try to make some statement about ourselves, you know?”Poor Wes. Doesn't seem like he's going to fare much better with "The Darjeeling Limited" (we sadly didn't love it, but we didn't hate it either).
One thing seems for sure: Anderson has classic songs up his sleeve just waiting for the right cinematic moment. "I had a couple of Kinks songs waiting in the wings for years," he recently told the New York Post about 'Darjeeling.' "And now we have three of them all from the same album (Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One). And the songs are at the beginning, the middle and the end of the film."
He also told the post that work on his next feature, the stop-motion animation adaptation of Roald Dahl's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," has been slow-going. "It's taken a long time to get the project together," he told the Post. "Usually animated movies are made by companies with systems in place, and we're just showing up with a script" (Anderson is co-writing once again with 'Life Aquatic' partner Noah Baumbach).
Watch: Wes Anderson's new AT&T commericals.
Watch: Peter Sarstedt - "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" (on British TV)
Here's a little trick. What can we say about these films that we haven't already? Honestly, we sort of hate writing reviews, so here's some capsule reviews for some recent films we've seen. [ed. we haven't written about all of them].
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(dir. Andrew Dominik. Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck)
A moody, thoughtful anti-western, the lost in limbo (it was shot two years ago and has been tinkered with ever since) 'Assassination' illustrates the best and worst of wandering, Terrence Malick-like pictures - it's meditative and is angelically shot, but it also lasts almost three hours and could stand some serious editing. Both Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck will likely garner Oscar nominations, but it isn't neccesarily their best work (moreso in the case of Pitt than the mostly-excellent Affleck). There's a ton of great side actors, "All The Real Girls" Paul Schneider and Sam Sheppard in particular are great, but their roles are generally too small to make for a major impact. Similarily Mary-Louise Parker might as well be wallpaper she is so ineffectively used (a strange cameo by political strategist James Carville takes you right out of the film too). Zooey Deschanel has a weird cameo at the end for what amounts to all of two minutes, playing a cabaret singer that naturally, sings on screen (the old-timey, early 20th century song "A Bird In A Gilded Cage"). Strong, but meandering at times. Trailer [B+]
Into The Wild (dir. Sean Penn. Emile Hirsch)
Sean Penn's fourth directorial effort about wanderlust hippie Christopher McCandless, is powerful and affecting, but also heavily flawed in spots. Let it be noted, we're not too cynical and love life affirming anything, but Penn's heavily idealized protagonist's story is a bit hokey at times. Perhaps because the character which the story was based on was a hokey, idealist, but you can't help but snicker at this extremely selfish and naive kid (who's also incredibly passionate, and has a wondrous quality to him). Excessive voice-over and scrawled onscreen diary entries are ultimately unfortunate aesthetic choices, but as the film rolls on, its problematic decisions lessen and 'Wild' finally starts to achieve the life-affirming profundity it's been aiming for all along.The supporting cast, which includes Hal Halbrook, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener, is flawless and much needed respite from just solo Hirsch on his own (Halbrook's scene are particularly touching and the 82-year-old is fantastic). Oh yeah and clocking in at almost three hours the film tends to overstay its welcome slightly. A.O. Scott couldn't have been more right in his review. There's too much goddamn Eddie Vedder in the film and his voice is distracting and does a disservice to the film. Occasionally instrumental versions of his songs are used and they're much more effective, but Kaki King and Micheal Brook really know how to heighten visuals with musical emotion. Kristen Stewart plays a leathertramp kid who performs the Bonnie Raitt hit written by John Prine, "Angel From Montgomery." Trailer [B-]
The Diving Bell & The Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel)
A lock for Best Foreign Oscar nomination (that is unless France is stupid enough to not enter it as their country's choice), "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" might be the best movie we've seen all year. The painterly and gorgeous cinematography is graceful, moving and lush, the acting is top notch (the film features two "Munich" actors - Mathieu Amalric and Marie-Josée Croze), and former artist turned film director Julian Schnabel can make painterly, poetic images out of curtains lilting on a window pane or a skirt blowing gently on a bare female leg. 'Diving Bell' is based on the true story of ex-French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who at 42 suffered a debilitating stroke that left him entirely paralyzed save for his left eye. He learned how to communicate via a blinking method with his eye and painstakingly wrote an entire memoir about his "trapped-in syndrome" experience dying from pneumonia about a week after the book was published. Profound, radiant, and affecting. Trailer [A+]
Eastern Promises (dir. David Cronenberg. Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts)
A companion piece to "A History Of Violence", Cronenberg's reteam with Viggo M is pulpy, dark, noir-ish and seemingly from another graphic novel. The acting is stellar (especially Mortensens and Vincent Cassell's closeted character), the fight scenes (particularly the brutal and much-discussed shower sequence) and violence is sometimes more disturbing for what's implied than what is shown onscreen, but the film seems to give up on itself in the last 15 minutes and wraps-up rather rapidly in a seemingly neat and tidy bow of many unresolved story threads. We're all for ambiguity, but the conclusion feels like someone said, "hey, your editing time is up, sorry," which makes it feel episodic and almost cheap. Trailer [-B]
3:10 To Yuma (dir. James Mangold. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe)
Of all the films we just mentioned 'Yuma' felt like it would easily be the most disappointing, (in fact we saw it only on a lark) but in fact, it was probably the most overall enjoyable and entertaining (which probably made it a pleasant surprise). Christian Bale is always outstanding, but Crowe's personal behavior can sometimes overshadow his work and he goes toe t0 toe with Bale in this terrific Western remake. Crowe stars as an infamous outlaw and Bale plays a down-on-his luck small time rancher who in a desperate attempt to save his farm and family agrees to transport the captured bandit to a train that will ship him off to prison. Mangold's direction is understated, classic and he lets the story and actors shine. Trailer [A]