Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Snowden" has definitely screened for a select few critics

Yesterday I reporter that I knew a critic that saw Oliver Stone's much delayed "Snowden." Well now I've gotten another few emails, one of which is another negative view of Stone's film, but there is a positive one and it goes along with what I pretty much expect from this film. This is Oliver Stone, it won't be a boring watch, but cinephiles are looking for more than just that. They want the artful, intriguing Stone that seemed so unpredictable during the peak years (1986-1991) when he released "Salvador," "Platoon," "Born on the Fourth of July," "Wall Street" and "JFK."

"Kate Plays Christine": @PlaysChristine is one of the best documentaries of the year

1970s TV Reporter Christine Chubbuck was infamously known as the reporter that shot herself on TV while delivering the news. This year’s Sundance gave us not one, but two immaculate portraits of the mysterious woman, whose life story still remains a bit muddy. Not much actual video footage can be found of Chubbuck and the infamous suicide video has been locked out in a vault somewhere with no sign of it ever coming out. Kate Lynn Sheil and Rebecca Hall both played Christine — Sheil in a gratifyingly original documentary and Hall in Antonio Campos’ intense film. The fact that both movie managed to come out of Sundance as one of the very best reviewed films of the fest shows just how fascinating of a story this is.

Campos' "Christine" is coming out later this fall, but will be screening as part of the 41st Toronto International Film Festival. I will be there and have an interview lined up with Rebecca Hall, who is most likely Oscar-bound for her incredible performance.

Friday, August 26, 2016

21st Century? Pff. How about the best movies since the 1990s?

Since the 90s:

(1) Mulholland Drive
(2) The Tree of Life
(3) Pulp Fiction
(3) There Will Be Blood
(4) The Master
(6) No Country For Old Men
(7) Spirited Away
(8) Children of Men
(9) Breaking The Waves
(10) Goodfellas

Someone has actually seen "Snowden" and it's not looking good.

"I received an email from a legitimate big paper critic around an hour ago. He had seen "Snowden" and promise to report on what he though it was. The email response I got said "Don't repeat this pls but it's a dud. Oof." Figures, of course. Did anyone think this would turn out okay? My response: What was the last good Oliver Stone movie? "U-Turn" back in 1997? It's been a long time. He keeps tackling these relevant to the zeitgeist topics such as "W." in 2008, "World Trade Centre" in 2006, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in 2010 and now "Snowden," but he keeps fucking it up. How many chances is this guy going to get? He also managed to make a historical story as riveting as Alexander III of Macedonia into such a stale, boring and laughable epic.

Why is Mulholland Drive the best movie of the last 15 years?

Here is a little something I wrote on Facebook concerning the film, which is also number 1 on my list of the greatest of the last 15 years:

"How about because it's the kind of film that is exactly about why we go to the movies in the first place. A dreamy, surreal, almost unexplained work of art. It intrigues you, frustrates you and passionately reaffirms your undying love for the movies. David Lynch dared us to get inside his bag of magic tricks and the epiphanous result felt like a religious re-awakening. In Scorsese's "Hugo" George Melies says concerning the cinema: "If you've ever wondered where your dreams come from, look around this is where they're made. Come and dream with me." Lynch invited us to dream with him as well back in 2001 and we haven't been able to shake it ever since."

Film critics and one of the producers of “Mulholland Drive” weigh in on the movie’s extraordinary staying power.

Harvey's thoroughbred

I'm not sure when it was said this summer, but Harvey Weinstein gave us a warning about Garth Davis' "Lion" possibly becoming a major contender. Of course, this is Harvey Weinstein. He owns the movie. I do fear he is stuck in the 90s and aughts mindset of what an Oscat contender looks like. These kind of prestigious, lesson-learned, self-discovery epics have not aged well at all. Weinstein practically invented the genre of Oscar bait 101, that is until people caught on and realized it was pure sugar coated emptiness.  That was near the tailend of Miramax's days, but lest us we forget that Weinstein is part of the reason why Indie cinema boomed in the early 90s: "The Grifters," "Reservoir Dogs," "The Piano," "The Crying Game," "Clerks," "Pulp Fiction among many others.

Anyway, Harvey thinks you should watch this. It doesn't look very good, but it does look a lot like "Slumdog Millionaire", the kind of tale that could possibly have audiences cheering in their seats and Academy dilpickles voting for it. Never has Google Maps figured this prominently in a big-budget studio movie. Great product placement  though.

Here’s the official synopsis:

"Five-year-old Saroo finds himself alone and travelling on the wrong train away from his home in northern India. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, dodging all sorts of terrors in the process. Eventually ending up in an orphanage, Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, and finds safety and love as he grows up in Hobart. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents’ feelings, he buries his past, his emotional need for reunification and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his secret yearnings. With just a small store of memories, and the help of some newly-developed satellite-imaging technology, Saroo embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times."

#TIFF2016 @TIFF_NET: This critic's much pondered "highlighted films"

Image result for thinking writer

This looks more or less like the list of films I will be catching at TIFF. I do not believe I will be able to watch all fiftyy or so films, but I'd love 40 by day 10 - The lineup is, again, just spectacular this year. Somewhere in there, lurking slyly. are a few classics in the making.

Re(Assignment), Walter Hill
All I see is You, Marc Foster
American Pastral, Ewan McGregor
Arrival, Denis Villeneuve
the Bad Batch, Ana Lily Amirpour
Barry, Vikram Gandhi
The Belko Experiment, Greg McLean (James Gunn penned screenplay)
The Birth of A Dragon, George Nolfi (Bruce Lee bipoic)
Bleed For This, Ben Younger
Brain On Fire, Gerard Barrett
Buster's Mal Heart, Travis Stevens
The Bleeder, Philippe Falardeau
City of Tiny Lights, Pete Travis (Dredd director)
Chrstine, Antoine Campos
Collossal, Nacho Vigolando
The Commune, Thomas Vinterberg
The Death of Louis XIV, Albert Serra
Deepwater Horizon, Peter Berg
Denial, Mick Jackson
Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi
Frantz, Francois Ozon
Free Fire, Ben Wheatley
In Dubious Battle, James Franco
Into the Inferno, Werner Herzog
Jackie Pablo Larrain
JT + The Tenessee Kids
La La Land, Damian Chazelle
LBJ, Robe Reiner
Lion, Garth Davis
The Magnificent Seven, Antoine Fuqua
Mascots, Christopher Guest
Maudie, Aisling Walsh
A Monster Calls, JA Bayona
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins
My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea, Dash Shaw
Neruda, Pablo Larrain
Nocturnl Animals, Tom Ford
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, Joseph Cedar
A Quiet Passion, Terrence Davies
The Promise, Terry George
Queen of Katwe, Mira Nair
Rats, Morgan Spurlock
Raw, Julia Ducournau
The Rehearsal, Alison Maclean
Salt and Fire, Werener Herzog
The Secret Scripture, Jim Sheridan
Sing, Garth Jennings
Snowden, Oliver Stone
The Finest, Lone Scherfig
Things to Come, Mia Hanse Love
Trespass Against Us, Adam Smith
Una, Benedict Andrews
Voyage Through Time, Terrence Malick
Wakefield, Robin Swicord

Thursday, August 25, 2016

@Petertravers has seen a few Oscar contenders, including "Sully"

No mention of "Silence," just like in EW's "Fall Movie Preview." That film's prospects are looking slimmer and slimmer by the day. Hopefully we do end up catching Scorsese's latest Opus before the year is done. 

I wasn't holding out much hope for the new Tim Burton and Clint Eastwood's "Sully," but consider me intrigued now by both of them. 

You can catch the entire Fall Movie Preview HERE

A few notes from the article that should be taken down: 

"Don't Breathe" is the scariest movie of the year

Fede Alvarez' "Don't Breathe" comes out this Friday and it's a real kicker. Sitting right now at 92% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes this could turn out to be a late-summer sleeper. It has the content and quality to become a cult classic of the genre. I believe it is the scariest movie of the year. "The Witch" is maybe the "better" movie because of its atmospheric virtues, but "Don't Breathe" is a flat-out jolt fest. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The best movie I have seen in 2016 finally has a trailer

"The indisputably great movie of Sundance 2016 was Kenneth Lonergan’s meditative film about loss and loneliness. Starring a never-better Casey Affleck, the film was snatched up by Amazon Studios for a whopping $10 Million. A great investment, as this stunner of a bold, sprawling movie got audiences proclaiming the most heralding of words towards its way. The first 100 minutes are better than any movie I saw last year and its final stretch, brilliantly edited by Jennifer Lane, is a masterful display of restraint and intimacy." Taken from my review for "The Young Folks" at Sundance on 1.20.16

What!? Another goddamn list from the @BBC? Of course I'm intrigued.

I love this kind of list-making because it precisely is a very educational study for cinephiles. It's about the movement of cinema, where is it going? what has aged like fine wine? what hasn't? It's always important to reassess the state of the game. Sight and Sound does it every 12 years with their Critics and Director's poll of the greatest movies ever made.

This was how my ballot looked like for the BBC poll. A non-definite ranking because, well, these kind of things change all the time. But that top 10 definitely has the movies that have redefined the language of cinema for me. Each and every one of them. The BBC's list can be found HERE

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Podcast time!

It was s pleasure hooking up with Jeffrey Welles over at Hollywood-Elsewhere for his Oscar Poker podcast. His site is a daily blast for many in the industry and for good reason. It's the kind of writing that is richly-detailed, witily humored all that with an anti-PC open-mindedmess that feels very welcome in contrast to much of today's film blogging clutter. This week we tackled quite a few things that resulted in a kind of Fall Movie preview. Telluride, Martin Scorsese's delayed Silence and Personal Shopper were among the topics.

HBO's "The Night Of"

Image result for the night of hbo show

The more "The Night Of" goes along, and now it's headed towards its 8th and final episode next weekend, the more you start to realize that we are not going to be getting any sort of complete closure in the finale. We might not even know who actually committed the crime. It won't matter. The justice system created a murderer in Naz. He's an accomplice to one in jail. That's for sure.

The show is one big fat example of the justice system failing in every account. Everyone's a loser at the end of this. I have never seen such a thorough and detailed account of the justice system and, yet, I feel like 8 episodes is still minimal and that a fuller picture could have been created with the addition of 2 more episodes. Nevertheless, this will do. It's a series with a lot on its mind, sometimes it stumbles, Naz and Chandra kissing was awkward, but it is a work of art.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk going to @TheNYFF

This is very exciting news. Especially that NYFF organizers have found a theater that would accommodate the film's technological advancements. This adds to the list of world premieres the NYFF already have which includes Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, Ava Duvernays The 13th and James Gray’s The Lost City of Z.

Ang Lee’s film is the most hotly anticipated of the Oscar year after Martin Scorsese’s Silence. With the exception of Scorsese, there is no other Hollywood director releasing a fall film this year with a better filmography: Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Life of Pi, The Ice Storm and Sense and Sensibility are all top-notch, high-grade visual and depth-filled wonders.

The question of Scorsese's 195 minute Silence. Is it getting released this year?

By the way, anyone want to guess how long "Silence" is right now?

Kris Tapley mentioned the other day on Twitter that Scorsese`s Silence, still my most anticipated movie of the year, is going to clock in at 195 minutes. Making it the lengthiest Scorsese movie ever. That is if you don`t count the Bob Dylan and George Harrison docs. That is a lot to chew on. I`m fine with that. I`m ready. This is the film we`ve been waiting for all year: A meditative epic set in Japan that actually means something to its director. I hear it has shades of Kundun. which I didn`t really think highly of, but I`m willing to bet such a simple generalization will come to be untrue.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Is this the Telluride lineup?

I was sent, from a usually reliable source, a list of the films that will be appearing at the Telluride Film Festival at the end of the month. I emailed a contact I knew from the Telluride Film Fest to confirm if this is more or less the lineup. No answer back as of yet, but you can rest assured that 95% of these films are going to be selected based on the TIFF and Venice lineups alone.

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