Friday, June 28, 2013
There’s a word I keep coming back to regarding the work of Sofia Coppola: confident. You can see it in the perfectly ‘70s appropriate production design of The Virgin Suicides, or in the overall pulp fiction retelling of Marie Antoinette, or in the painstaking patience of Somewhere. No matter what the material dictates – time, place, mood, tone – there’s an overall confidence to everything Coppola does.
Those who collaborate with Coppola are often quick to point out how specific she is with her vision. She has an idea of how something is going to be, and she sticks to it, no matter what. It’s that sense of artistic dedication that shines through every one of her films. And it’s probably also why everytime I watch a Sofia Coppola film, I’m convinced that it is the best film she’s made. With every subsequent viewing, I somehow grow more fond of her work. I suppose her confidence is to thank for that.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Generally speaking, the comedic styles of the members of the Frat Pack simply do not work for me. More often than not, I find that the actors of this self appointed group act more or less the same in every movie. But occasionally (i.e. usually before their comedy careers took off), they deliver against type performances that leave me wholly impressed. To help define which actors belong to the Frat Pack, feel free to use this link as a resource.
Head to Movie Mezzanine for the full list
Monday, June 24, 2013
During their lengthy crime spree, the press cutely labeled the group the Bling Ring, and after their capture, Nancy Jo Sales wrote a controversial and searing exposé on the bunch for Vanity Fair, which serves as the basis for the film.
Matt’s latest play, Venice, is described as an Othello-based play set in the future, scored to thunderous hip/hop music. When Venice played in Kansas City a few years ago, Time Magazine called it “the year’s best musical.” I spoke with Sax the night before Venice premiered at New York’s Public Theater. Here’s what he had to say about his unique body of work, his process, and the importance of finding inspiration from tragedy.
Friday, June 21, 2013
I saw this bitchin’ concept as a refreshing way to talk about my favorite filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman. My mixtape is essentially a list of movies that I feel are directly influenced by Bergman’s work. For any number of reasons, they are movies that Bergman could’ve made. So, without further ado, here’s my Bergman Not By Bergman mixtape.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Minutes after news broke of Gandolfini’s death, social media came alive with talk of favorite Gandolfini performances. And as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I noticed a very pleasing trend. After about 10 minutes, nearly every single Gandolfini performance had been listed as a favorite by at least one of my followers. That says it all, really. It’s so hard to pick just six performances to highlight this tremendous actor. It didn’t matter what he was in, he instinctually made every film better. And then some.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
View the full list at Movie Mezzanine
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Saturday, June 15, 2013
I was fortunate enough to speak with Troy last week, in which we spoke about breaking into the film business, having the fortitude to stick with it, the harsh realities of 9/11, and the power of making people laugh.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
When I was a newspaper beat reporter, one of my first big assignments was covering a murder trial. The case: A mother and her daughter had killed their mother/grandmother while she slept. Stabbed her 57 times. Planned it for two months. Sounds compelling, right? While the crime was sensational, the five days in court were not. This murder trial was tedious, dull, and not at all like the movies.
The funny thing is, I have yet to see a film that accurately portrays what it’s like inside a real courtroom. Yet we let these movies get away with it. Why? Because when done right, few things are more compelling than a solidly written courtroom drama.
View the full list at Movie Mezzanine
Monday, June 10, 2013
But then I got to thinking: Frances Ha isn’t fashionably recycling Girls (or anything else, for that matter) – it’s simply complimenting it. Dunham has cited Baumbach as a major influence over her style, and Frances Ha is clear evidence as to why. Baumbach isn’t a recycler, he’s a pioneer.
America, 2022. Unemployment is at an all time low, crime rates are even lower. Why? Because as part of America’s restructuring, for 12 hours once a year, all crime is legal. Rape, maim, murder, steal – anything is fair game. The theory is that, if everyone is allowed to “purge” for 12 hours, they will get it out of the system and be squeaky clean for the rest of the year. And it’s working. For the other 8,753 hours of the year, people behave. The Purge works, and those who don’t take part in it better damn well support it.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Now, just nine months after the release of the first film, the producers have issued a follow up, V/H/S/2. (Actually, V/H/S/2 premiered at Sundance in January, which is just three months after mainstream audiences got to see the first flick). I was impressed with the ingenuity in getting the sequel made, hoping it would live up to the original.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Noah Emmerich is the perfect everyman. His career is full of characters that you know and grew up with: the loyal friend, the drinking buddy, the dedicated family man, the all around good guy. And while Emmerich has made a name for himself playing such men, he’s proved that he’s capable of far more. Humility, rage, deceit, all aspects of Emmerich’s craft that he can play effectively.
A few years ago, I was genuinely apathetic about the impending release of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. Then I watched the trailer, and there he was, Noah Emmerich as a military Colonel. I figured his role would be small, but it didn’t matter, I was sold. I’m always sold when he’s on screen.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Note of distinction: Because the Oscars are for film, I’m concerned only with the movie careers of these actors. Whether they went on to find success as musicians or painters or reality TV stars is not of issue.
Read the full post at Movie Mezzanine
Monday, June 3, 2013
There are a few signature names thrown around when describing the emergence of American independent film. Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith – all responsible for iconic films that forever redefined not only what movies can be about, but how they can be made. Pertaining to this movement, Richard Linklater deserves recognition as much as anyone. The man is responsible for more bold, daring experiments that most directors could ever hope to create.
The best Linklater films are documents of a time. Whether now or then, these movies represent a career fitting for a time capsule. Often equipped with similar characters discussing similar themes of identity, existentialism, philosophy, and corporate injustice, Linklater’s films are remarkable testaments that continue to impress. He’s one of my favorite American filmmakers, one that will always, thankfully, challenge me.
A few months ago, upon learning that Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy had trekked off to Greece to shoot Before Midnight in relative secret, my first thought was “Why?” Why do this? Why risk tarnishing something so pure? And then I realized that was my exact thought upon hearing of Linklater’s Before Sunset nine years ago. Before Sunrise, the first film in this unlikely franchise, released in 1995, is as heartwarming a film of love as I’ve ever seen. Nine years later, Linklater and his stars made Before Sunset, and why? “Why take the risk of ruining it,” I thought then.
Needless to say, I was not let down by Before Sunset. It improved upon an already perfect cinematic love, and it did it with one 80 minute long conversation. Fade to black. Bliss.