Sunday, 31 January 2010
Now, this is a problem because I am a guy.
'Why Are You Reading Nora Ephron books?' you might ask. And all I can say is that, Nora Ephron has been pulling this kind of shit on me all my life. Do I want to be watching Meg Ryan prancing around all the time? No. But do I? Yes. 'Sleepless In Seattle,' 'You've Got Mail', 'Hanging Up' - I loved them all.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Fuck it, here's a third one.
I find these hilarious. I can understand that some people may find it offensive, that we're laughing along with Hitler - but I think most people agree with me. So why are they so funny?
The image of Hitler and what he stood for is one of the most recognised images in our culture. Wherever you are in the world, even if you are uneducated and disinterested in World War 2 -- chances are you know all about Adolf Hitler. There is something unique about World War 2 in that it will always get a reaction from people, they are sensitive to it. You could make a terrible documentary about Auschwitz, but it would still resonate with people. The images are too depressing and upsetting to not affect you. Likewise, the image of Adolf Hitler will always create a reaction. More often than not - it is one of disgust, or bewilderment, or anger.
These YouTube videos get big reactions. Say what you want about them, but they wouldn't be funny with anyone else in them. If it was Tony Blair from 'The Queen' nobody would be laughing. Sometimes I despair at how young people aren't interested in World War 2, whereas for me - keeping alive the story of what my Grandparents and their generation did is a big part of my life. But maybe these YouTube videos are the way that younger people can relate to what happened. I mean, if Hitler was just some random old German guy, these videos wouldn't capture the imagination of young people as much as they do.
The reason we find them funny is because the image we all have of Hitler -- everything we learned about; his obsession with war, with conquering Europe, with mass killing. So, the idea of him going crazy over Oasis breaking up, or going insane because Michael Jackson died is completely hilarious.
Here is Adolf Hitler being informed that he gets killed in 'Inglorious Basterds'
The thing about these Hitler videos is that, for the most part - they are very cleverly written, I laugh at nearly all of them. Whoever came up with these is a genius. I keep thinking it'll be tough to keep them fresh and original, but at the moment - I'm still finding them all funny.
A lot of my cinema experiences have been negative: Stupid people, stupid movies, stupid long lines, stupid uncomfortable seats, stupid junk on the stupid sticky floors, etc. Yet, I cherish the experience of the theatre, no matter how advanced home technology gets, more than anything. When you really think about it, the theatre holds a certain inexplicable aura. When you go to the movies you’re going for more than to just see a film on a big screen.
There are the people. I love the people! Let’s get something straight: I hate being in crowded places, especially theatres as was the case when I went to see the Sex and the City movie in a cheap theatre with bad seating that was packed to the point where I found myself sandwiched between my girlfriend and some overweight middle-aged husband who was apparently having the time of his life.
There is a special section of my brain delegated to the memories I’ve accumulated over the years surrounding the complete strangers who I will never forget about out of the simple arbitrariness that they happened to decide to see the same movie at the same time as me. Sure, at the time I despised them more than anyone I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting and sat in the dark, coldly wishing every cruel and unimaginable torture to befall them sooner than later. But now, looking back, I realize that these are the people who have etched certain films into by brain that would have otherwise fallen completely by the wayside.
There were the teenaged boys who needed to whistle as Kate Beckinsale peeled herself out of that leather suit (That would be me, -Kid.) in the Underworld sequel; the wife who thought that her symbolically challenged husband needed a complete play-by-play breakdown of Brokeback Mountain; the silly old Jewish man who must think life is just about the funniest joke anyone has ever told because he certainly laughed his way through absolutely everything in A Serious Man; the rowdy university freshmen who, with horn in hand, honked approvingly when Amy Smart divulged information of her triple orgasm to Ashton Kutcher in The Butterfly Effect, and of course, the old woman who, when Adrien Brody decides to take justice against Joaquin Phoenix into his own hands in The Village, loudly gasped “Oh my God! HE KILLED HIM!”
Then there is my favourite audience memory. It was during the packed premiere of A History of Violence, a film that the woman behind me felt was appropriate to take her 13 year old son to, which didn’t seem quite right until Ed Harris ends up getting his guts splattered all over Viggo Mortenson to which the kid exclaimed, “Cool, Spleen!” Right, it made sense now. And then, to the right of me were two jolly middle-aged sisters who thought everything in the movie was hilarious (I guess you just hit a certain age?), and declared, during the absolute best scene, where Mortensen goes to visit his brother, played brilliantly by William Hurt, declared, chuckling, “Aren’t you glad we’re not like that?”
There are many more memories where those came from. I’ve pulled them out and shared them for the simple purpose of trying to show why the cinema is such an important aspect of film. Critics sometimes get so caught up in theory and psychological pondering that they forget that the cinema is also, at its very heart, an experience, which is only half defined by the content that passes before our eyes on the screen. The other half is the conditions under which we see films: the who, what, where, when and why. Although, as a critic myself, I love the first, most movies just aren’t movies in the absence the second.
Friday, 29 January 2010
To put it bluntly, his job sucked. To put it less bluntly, Barry didn't quite feel the joy any more and often felt his life was drifting away. There was only one thing that kept him going. Anna Kantino, the beautiful girl on the fish counter, was not the reason. She refused to acknowledge him. The only thing that kept him going was those rare moments when he got to step outside of the mundanity and do something extraordinary. He got to take the law into his own hands.
"Code Bacon!" came the yell over the speaker system. This was code for, "We have a shoplifter!" They used this innocent phrase so not to panic the customers, although people would often dive for cover if they happened to be browsing the bacon display when the call was made. Often, weeks would go by without a shoplifter. Until that fateful day that nobody would ever forget. It was a Wednesday, or maybe a Tuesday.
Of course, he had the wrong guy. In fact, he had the wrong announcement. The meaning of "Code Eggs" is slightly different and actually means "please check that none of the fresh farm eggs are cracked." This wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't the third person Barry had attacked after a Code Egg, meaning he now faced disciplinary charges which could mean a three week stint without a lunch break.
Barry often worried that he would miss a Code Bacon. This was unlikely though as he worked seven days a week except for major holidays, when he worked eight. Most people feared criminals coming to the store, but for Barry Fremp - it was the chance to be who he always knew he was, part security man, part private investigator, part spy, mostly the guy who refills the milk on the thing. The opportunity to be great was sure to be soon. Little did Barry know that opportunity would arise in the next paragraph.
Harry Hibswald was known to locals as one of the most prolific and clever shoplifters of all time. He was still prolific, yes. But clever? It wasn't 1937 anymore, and Hibswald, now 91, knew it. His masterful plan was indeed one of the great plans of our time. The plan was to use a plastic bag to hide the alcohol he was taking. Sadly, he forgot to take the bag and he forgot to take the alcohol. In fact he would have been running from the building unknowingly innocent if it wasn't for the multi-coloured condoms he had accidentally stolen from isle five, when he casually put them in his pocket as a way of convincing another shopper, Mavis Pestrouse, that he 'still had it going on.'
PART 2 Coming Soon.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Monday, 25 January 2010
And this one really moved me because it is so powerful, true and important.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
This more flexible and real approach to directing can have remarkable results. With the handheld-camera short I just told you about, I had one scene left to shoot - and it was a couple breaking up. However, I lost an actor the day before, and couldn't get a suitable replacement. In the end, I did a scene with just the actress; and found a way to still tell the same story, of the same break up. Most directors would reschedule- causing problems for everyone. As it turns out, that impromptu reworking of the scene led to it being my favourite scene in the film. It's funny how these things works out.
Friday, 22 January 2010
This blog is one of the five blogs nominated under the 'Best Entertainment Category' -- and of course, this is immensely exciting and unexpected for me - I never knew that people would be so interested in this. Through google followers and networkedblogs, this site has some great, active, readers-- not to mention the people on the film blogs groups and the lurkers who show up on my stats but I have no idea who you are. I'm glad you're here.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
This moment in 'Into The Wild' is my favourite part of the film, if not any film. Chris McCandless has been on his journey into the wild, full of these ideas and ideals of his place in the world-- and then he meets this girl. And he's passing through, and she's falling for him.. and as it turns out, they're not meant to be together. But for this one minute, as they sing this song -- they have more of a connection than most of us have in a lifetime. And it's moment like this that really leave me in awe at the true power of the cinema.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Saturday, 16 January 2010
I try to mix technical questions, like "What camera did you use?" with more personal questions, like "What made you want to do this for a living?" --- and most importantly, I like to try and delve into that mysterious thing that makes some people succeed, and some people not. I think it was most clear in the recent interview with David Schneider. I asked him what people need to make it as a writer; and within a beat of me finishing the question he said "self belief." And it's true - ask someone who is struggling to make it and they'll probably have a tale of a lack of confidence or a feeling of 'not being ready.'
These are the interviews so far - and a lot more are lined up for the coming months. I hope you like them.
My first interview was one of my favourites - Jake Pushinsky, whose editing style in 'A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" (my favourite film of the last decade) was original, raw and exciting. He's Dito Montiel's editor - as well as doing some fascinating projects like the Jazz documentary "Chops" and the film "Howl" which is premiering this year at Sundance.
"The American President"
Okay, I don't really know Aaron and it wasn't an interview, as such - but I got to ask him one question, and his answer was pretty amazing.
Noah is amazing - his knowledge of sound and passion for what he does is incredible, it's no wonder he's one of the most prolific sound guys in the industry.
Joe's debut feature film is exactly the type of film I love. A small story with a lot of heart, shot in New York. What could be better than that? I got to meet Joe at the Big Apple Film Festival when 'How I Got Lost' closed the festival - but this interview was done a few months before that. A fascinating insight into what it is to direct a low-budget indie.
Friday, 15 January 2010
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Tired of sittin' and hatin' and makin' these excuses,
For why you're not around, and feeling so useless."