dwhudson's blog

DVD Spotlight: 10/28.

The Thin Red Line Terrence Malick "has been trying to forge a new way to express concepts other films don't dare approach," writes Bilge Ebiri. "Sometimes these attempts come off as clichéd, but that may also be because he is, in effect, portraying a failed human attempt to give voice to something that cannot be named or spoken." Then, echoing Malick's own comments on Heidegger, "if Malick resorts to his own peculiar language, it is because ordinary cinema does not meet his purposes; and it does not because he has new and different purposes."

Also at Moving Image Source, Michael Atkinson relates the "possibly apocryphal tale" of a slightly, somewhat, maybe even vastly different version of The Thin Red Line that no one except Malick has ever seen: "How much does authorial intention matter? Does it make a difference that perhaps the film's current form isn't what Malick finally wanted? Does the possibility of Malick crafting the film as almost a defiant nose-thumbing, after he'd wanted to make a more traditional movie, affect how we see the film? If a director's cut ever surfaces (there's an online petition for its release, with over a thousand names), will it be less Malickian? Or more so? Would it be a better film, or less distinctive, less poetic? Which one would be the 'real' film?"

Continue Reading DVD Spotlight: 10/28.

You Say Synecdoche: Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York

Charlie Kaufman By Jonathan Marlow [and his id]

"There is little precedent, cinematic or otherwise, for Synecdoche, New York," writes Michael Joshua Rowin in the L Magazine. "Sure, early on in his directorial debut, maestro screenwriter Charlie Kaufman namechecks Kafka to prepare us for the increasingly claustrophobic surrealism that engulfs author-surrogate Caden Cotard (a phenomenal Philip Seymour Hoffman), while the character's psychotic, Borgesian obsession with artistic fidelity to real life is approached with the same matter-of-fact bemusement as Buñuel - this isn't entirely unfamiliar territory, at least to begin with. But as it becomes more and more frustrated in its attempt to reconcile personal entropy with creative perfection, Synecdoche proves that even from the ingenious, hilarious and, clearly, tortured mind of the man who might be this country's greatest current contributor to the art of storytelling, it is like nothing else we've quite seen."

Jonathan Marlow talks with Kaufman about his journey into - and back out of - Synecdoche, New York.

Continue Reading You Say Synecdoche: Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York

Sergey Dvortsevoy: "Film Is Closer to Music Than Literature"

Sergey Dvortsevoy By David D'Arcy

"Though Tulpan deals with unfulfilled longing, family tension, and the yawning abyss between city lifestyles and the hardships of surviving the steppe, perhaps the film's true subject is the antithesis of man and nature, and its once-viable resolution in pre-agrarian society with the symbiosis between human and animal needs," writes Damon Smith for FilmCatcher. "When Asa assists a helplessly pregnant ewe at the emotional climax of the film, this on-camera live birth feels at once like an intoxicating revelation - and a paean to a vanished time we've lost all meaningful connection to, at least in the developed world, perhaps forever."

David D'Arcy talks with documentary filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy about his first narrative feature, the winner of the Prize of Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year.

Continue Reading Sergey Dvortsevoy: "Film Is Closer to Music Than Literature"

Errol Morris: "The Photographs Actually Hide Things From Us"

Errol MorrisBy Sean Axmaker

"This is a very complex, convoluted story on so many, many different levels," Errol Morris tells Sean Axmaker. "I think it is, in many ways, a story about American women in the military. I think that's one of the things about the photographs that made the photographs particularly strange, particularly appalling, particularly perverse. I've often imagined, when [Charles] Graner was taking those pictures, of his 90-some-odd pound, twenty-year-old girlfriend, holding that leash on that the prisoner known as Gus, he was in some very deep sense reenacting American foreign policy."

Standard Operating Procedure is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Errol Morris: "The Photographs Actually Hide Things From Us"

Lance Hammer: "Achieving Truth"

By Brian Darr

Lance Hammer

"Lance Hammer began his filmmaking career working with the art department, designing the architecture of Gotham buildings used in Joel Schumacher's Batman films. His feature film debut as a writer and director might be seen as an aesthetic laying down of a gauntlet: art thrives best when developed far from any Hollywood departments. Written, cast, set and shot in a wintery Mississippi Delta locale, Ballast emerged from its premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival with top awards for Hammer's direction and Lol Crawley's cinematography."

Brian Darr introduces his interview with Hammer - they talk about nonprofessional actors, documentaries and some of Hammer's own favorite filmmakers. Ballast is currently playing at New York's Film Forum and opens in selected cities on October 17.

Continue Reading Lance Hammer: "Achieving Truth"

Alex Gibney: "There's Nothing Tough About Torturing a Defenseless Man"

By Hannah Eaves

Alex Gibney

"Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side is the documentary that many of us have prayed for, the one that could break through even to people who relish the torture set pieces on 24 and will hear no evil about the War on Terror," writes David Edelstein in New York. "It's the equal of No End in Sight [which Gibney produced] in its tight focus on the nuts and bolts of incompetence, and it surpasses any recent melodrama in the empathy it evokes for both its victims and - surprisingly - victimizers. More important, it leaves you brooding on the human capacity for cruelty in a way that transcends the gory details."

Here, Hannah Eaves talks with Gibney about his previous work (The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and about the ways the US might regain the moral high ground.

Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sees its premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Taxi to the Dark Side is now out on DVD.

Continue Reading Alex Gibney: "There's Nothing Tough About Torturing a Defenseless Man"

Ferzan Ozpetek: "My Dream is One Day Not to Have a 'Gay Section'"

Ferzan Ozpetek By James Van Maanen

"If you're lucky enough to have ever been part of a band of deeply close friends, then add writer/director Ferzan Ozpetek's new film Saturn in Opposition (Saturno Contro) to your must-see list immediately," wrote James Van Maanen when he caught the film as part of this summers Open Roads series of new Italian Films at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

It was then, too, that he got a chance to talk with the director about his work - and more than a little, too, about what the current administrations in the US and Italy are really after. Meantime, with Saturn in Opposition now coming out on DVD, you can take James's advice, too.

Continue Reading Ferzan Ozpetek: "My Dream is One Day Not to Have a 'Gay Section'"

Criterion's Ophüls.

The Earrings of Madame de... "Le Plaisir (1952) is not the best of the three Max Ophüls classics Criterion is releasing today," begins Dave Kehr in the New York Times: "that would be The Earrings of Madame de... (1953), one of the greatest films ever made, and one of the most written about." Just as an example, when it screened for two weeks at Film Forum in March 07, we gathered the rapturous reviews here.

"The titular jewels of The Earrings of Madame de... provide not just the axis around which the film's elegantly darkening roundelay turns, but also a telling stand-in for the essence of Max Ophüls's art - an object of glittering surfaces which, through an astounding accumulation of passion, comes to embody devastating depths of feeling," writes Fernando F Croce in Slant. As for Criterion's release, it's a "majestic package fit for the film that would make Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris swoon in unison."

Continue Reading Criterion's Ophüls.

Forever "Young"

Young@Heart By Jeffrey M. Anderson

"What happens when a musical form associated with the dubious glamour of dying young becomes entwined with the less glamorous and far less dubious eventuality of dying old?" asks the New Republic's Christopher Orr. "This is the question implicitly posed, and movingly answered, by the documentary Young@Heart."

Under the direction of Bob Cilman, the Young@Heart Chorus covers tunes originally performed by the likes of Sonic Youth, James Brown and the Ramones. "It sounds dubious and cutesy," admits Jeffrey M Anderson, "but within minutes it reveals itself as the real thing and doubt gives way to unbridled enthusiasm."

Jeffrey talks with Cilman, director Stephen Walker and two members of the chorus.

Young@Heart is now out on DVD.

 

Continue Reading Forever "Young"

David Gordon Green: "I Invested 100% of Myself"

David Gordon Green By James Rocchi

James Rocchi finds David Gordon Green to be "articulate and enthusiastic about both his intimate, chilly-climate drama" - that would be Snow Angels, featuring the young director's largest cast yet (Michael Angarano, Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale, the list goes on) - "and his upcoming stoner-comedy action flick," Pineapple Express, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco and produced by Judd Apatow.

Snow Angels is now out on DVD.

 

Continue Reading David Gordon Green: "I Invested 100% of Myself"

* You can comment on articles

* Private messaging to others in the GreenCine community -- and more features coming soon!

* Keep apprised of happenings in the world of films festivals, independent, international, cult, classic, horror movies and more!

* As a free registered member, you can upgrade your account to a rental subscription -- or if you want a rental subscription right away, click here.