Inside/Outside

July 29, 2011

If I were you and you were me, here’s what we would do this weekend:

Steve James is one of the finest filmmakers working today. Hoop Dreams was a watershed moment in documentary filmmaking and remains one of my all-time favorite movies. His new film, The Interrupters, is in theaters Friday. It’s a somber look at gang violence in the inner city of Chicago and the efforts of a group of ex-gangbangers that have made it their mission to put an end to the bloodshed. With James behind the lens, it’s all but guaranteed to move you.

If you’re hungry for more silver screen, wander over to Cinema Village and catch the documentary Sleep Furiously. I have absolutely no idea what this film is about, but this weekend, I plan to do exactly what its title suggests. (Note: I just watched a short trailer and I’m really intrigued. Now I’m watching a longer trailer and I’m even more intrigued. The music is by Aphex Twin. I think I just talked myself into seeing this film in the amount of time it took for me to write this wack-ass paragraph.)

Go to the rooftop garden of the Met. Get a drink at the bar, gawk at the absolutely bananas panoramic view of Central Park and the city below. Get another drink and catch a buzz. Check out the sculptures by Anthony Caro that are currently on display. Pretended to appreciate the artwork for a few minutes, get back in line for the bar. Think about what else you have to do today. Realize you have nothing to do because it’s the weekend. Grin.

Two dispatches from the cultural desk, should you be so inclined to take a gander. First up, I saw a play this weekend that knocked my socks off. Pardon the hyperbole, but I honestly thought Good People was that um, good. Starring Frances McDormand of Fargo/Almost Famous fame, the play presented a fly-on-the-wall look at the lives of several blue collar folks from Southie, the famed Boston neighborhood dramatized in everything from Good Will Hunting to Mystic River to The Departed. The dialogue was so sharp and true-to-life that it really felt like you were in the kitchen sharing coffee and cigarettes (we’ll get to Jim Jarmusch in a sec) with the characters on stage. Frances McDormand was lights out, lending her character an acerbic wit and a vindictive edge that leaves you wondering whether she really is “Good People.” Getting to the theater can be tough because of the prices, but the Manhattan Theater Club is offering $30 tickets for people under 30…so if you fit the description, take advantage. You’ll be thinking about it hours, maybe even days after the final curtain falls.

Moving from the stage to the screen, I also checked out Permanent Vacation, the first feature by Jim Jarmusch. It’s an unsettling movie—16 year old Allie meanders about bombed out downtown Manhattan streets encountering various vagabonds and eccentric characters while pondering the meaning of life: his schizo mother, a junkie, a Vietnam Vet and a car thief, among others. Pretty cool to see where Jarmusch first started to develop his aesthetic and even cooler to try to emulate dance moves like the ones above.

Rohmer

April 9, 2011

I first heard about Eric Rohmer when I read last year about a retrospective of his work taking place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Rohmer was a central figure in the French New Wave, but the last of the directors involved in the movement to gain serious critical acclaim. Like I often do, I flaked on checking out his films at the time, but have since made it a point to catch a few of them on Netflix. And to be honest, the two I’ve seen, My Night at Maud’s and Claire’s Knee, are two of the best movies I’ve watched in a very long time. Perhaps it’s because they play to my mood, or what I perceive to be my mood: mellow, slow and prone to romanticizing seemingly insignificant details. Rohmer’s films are dialogue-driven, which I appreciate, and they’re smart. His characters engage in a moral struggle between virtue and honesty and their innate physical and sexual impulses. And the dude casts some truly beautiful women. I’m afraid to know how old the chick that played Claire in Claire’s Knee was. All that aside, watch one, if not both of these movies. Yea, they have subtitles, and yea, they might require some patience, but chill out on the couch one afternoon and enjoy.

Claire’s Knee

My Night At Maud’s

Blank City

April 7, 2011

Saw the premiere of Blank City at IFC tonight. Makes me want to go create shit. Or destroy shit. Or create shit then destroy it.

Snow

December 26, 2010

Speaking of snow, this was always my favorite scene from the Kill Bill films. The snow makes the courtyard seem so quiet and pure and I find the clunk of the water pump to be oddly satisfying. Then there’s the way the track kicks in right when O-Ren takes a step. And the sharp contrast of the blood on the snow. Gotta hand it to Quentin. He knows some shit about some shit. Matter of fact, this movie was the first I remember seeing and thinking about how impressed I was with the use of colors and lighting. Or maybe I was just high as balls. I don’t remember.

Somewhere

December 22, 2010

Sofia Coppola’s new film Somewhere comes out on Friday. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. The trailer is almost perfect…maybe it’s the fact that there’s hardly any dialogue and the melancholy Strokes tune pulls at your heartstrings.

If it’s anything close to Lost In Translation, I’ll be psyched. Love that film.

Dead Man

November 2, 2010

Watched Dead Man the other day. Observation: Johnny Depp is a much cooler mystic drug-tripping, revolver-packing rogue cowboy than he is a swishy Disney pirate. But now I understand where he began to mine the latter character. Still, no excuse bud. Also, I want to eat a cheeseburger with Jim Jarmusch. Score’s by Neil Young.

where-the-wild-things-areLet’s just pretend it hasn’t been over a month since we’ve posted. Okay…done.

By now it’s no secret that the Where The Wild Things Are motion picture is actually for real. The trailer was released a few days ago and has people flipping their collective wig. And it should. It’s fucking rad. Peep it HERE.

Apparently test screenings had audiences up in arms due to the fact that the film was deemed too scary for young children. This had me thinking…what if Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers never intended the film for little kids? The two are wildly popular purveyors of adult content, be it novels, music videos or films and have a strong young adult following. Furthermore, I remember being frightened of the book’s illustrations when I was little…perhaps Maurice Sendak himself had adults in mind when he wrote it. Probably not, but the book still has themes that adults can draw from: maintaining an imagination, overcoming your fears, etc. Either way, I really cannot wait to see how the filmmakers flush out the relatively barebones plot to develop a feature lenth film. I’ll be first in line come October.

Dope Movie Posters

January 26, 2009

My cohort Soybomb recently sent me the super cool movie poster for The Deer Hunter which alludes to the seminal Russian roulette scene. This inspired me to do a post I’ve been meaning to put up for a while now to share a few of my favorite movie posters from over the years.

pulp_fiction3Quite possibly my favorite movie poster of all time. No explanation needed.

office_space

The truest movie tagline ever imagined.

lost_in_translation
A highly underrated film, in my opinion. Bill Murray’s face says it all.

snatch_movie_poster

A badass poster for a badass film.

dfmp_0046_taxidriver_1976

This poster makes me uncomfortable for some reason, yet it’s still arresting. Very few posters evoke the mood of the film itself better than this.

manhattan-movie-poster

So chill.

Where The Wild Things Are

November 29, 2008

where-the-wild-things-areI must have a nostalgia addiction, because every time I go back home, I inevitably find myself going through all my old stuff—books, toys, photos, ticket stubs—and reminiscing about the good ole days. I also always find a few knick knacks that I bring back with me that I’ll never actually use. This time I dug up a pair of Crest sunglasses the color of toothpaste. Where the hell do you even get something like that?

One thing I found that I’m totally jazzed about is Where The Wild Things Are, the children’s book to end all children’s books by Maurice Sendak. When I used to read this story as a little dude, I would immerse myself in the character of Max and get lost in the vivid illustrations. It’s sad, but as people get older, their imaginations dissipate. It’s a natural byproduct of the trappings of adulthood—getting a job, making money, settling down, blah de blah blah blah. I think that’s bullshit. People should be encouraged to maintain an imagination, if only as a way to keep one’s sanity. I’m not saying we should all jump into cardboard boxes and act like astronauts, but pick up a book like Where The Wild Things Are and get lost in it for 10 minutes. It might change your day.

PS—As I’m sure many are aware, there’s a film version of the book by my man Spike Jonze slated for October 2009 release. Apparently it’s been pushed back several times due to disagreements over the filming process (obviously) but let’s keep our fingers crossed that this actually sees the light of day…read more at the film’s website HERE.