First Look starts tonight

27 09 2005

Every semester, USC runs a number of their alumnae’s films at a festival called First Look, to which they invite agents, studio people, etc. Occasionally, some show up.

The first night is tonight. The program is here. If you can come, give it a shot. I’ll try and talk about it in a future post.



Photos and History

25 09 2005

The Steven Shore exhibit of photographs at the Hammer Museum is truly extraordinary and you should get there before October 16 when it ends. It has some amazing photos of landscapes of desolation, and a sense of a biography of history which is, at times, truly compelling.

An interesting sidenote — there’s a 1975 photo taken at the corner of LaBrea and Berverly Blvd, a “not very easy to see” copy of which is at the left (click it to see the original).. here in Los Angeles. A gas station there advertises gas at 58 cents a gallon. A McDonald’s sign across the street appears to advertise a burger for 85 cents. Hmmm, I guess only ceertain types of chemicals go up in price, eh?



Whose Up?

25 09 2005

According to my site stats, a large number of you (well… “number” is the wrong word; I really should say “large percentage”) are signing on at 3am to read my blog.

What the hell is wrong with you? My feeling is that if you are actually awake at 3am, you’d better be doing some alot more interesting than reading my blog!

Really!



Movie Review (of a sort)

17 09 2005

PROOF does not suck. In fact, it’s got two really great performances — Gwyneth Paltrow and Hope Davis, who both inhabit their roles in completely believable ways. The film suffers from its theatre roots, but that’s just carping. It’s worth seeing for Paltrow’s mannerisms alone.



The Good Times Keeps A-Rollin’

16 09 2005

So the good news, according to Bush, is that we’re not going to have to face increased taxes to pay for the Katrina Kleanup. He said that “he would look elsewhere in the budget to make offsetting cuts” (according to Reuters).

Like programs for the poor and needy, no doubt?

The Bush giveth and the Bush taketh away.



Stuck In Between Two Cultures

16 09 2005

Without Either Dictionary

I spent an interesting evening last night at the motion picture Academy, where they were running a Preferred Director’s Cut of the 1975 Michalangelo Antonioni film THE PASSENGER, which has been restored by Sony Classics for a relase in October. The evening was hosted by USC’s own Marhsa Kinder, and featured a panel discussion of sorts with Antonioni (who, because of stroke ten or so years ago, could not talk), his wife and the movie’s star, Jack Nicholson.

And that, my friends, is where the “fun” happened.

As anyone who has talked with Marsha can testify, she is one of the brightest, more comprehensive and holistic thinkers around. If I leave a conversation with her understanding 25% of what she’s said, I consider myself elevated. She’s also turned me on to an absolutely incredible Spanish film, TRAIN OF SHADOWS, a rumination on what is real in film and how editing can manipulate that sense.

Jack Nicholson, on the other hand, comes from a different land, a world in which you feel your responses to things so you can perform them. If you talk about them later (and I get the feeling that he’s really good at that — as good as Marsha is about discussions about the intellectual impact of films), you do so over a scotch or something more illegal.

The two approaches were bound to conflict and they did with results both horrifying and humorous. By the end, the audience wasn’t sure whether to laugh, boo, or cry.

The evening started off well enough with Marsha’s speech about Antonioni and his career. It then followed with a thunderous standing ovation as the panelists came out and the crowd showed Antonioni their appreciation for his films and his presence at the Academy. Marsha then asked Antonioni’s wife a few questions which were answered with feeling and brio.

Then Marsha asked Nicholson a question. He answered with an entertaining but completely rambling (I want some of whatever he’s smoking) set of memories of his fun times with the director. Marsha looked petrified at points, unsure whether to stop this stream of consciousness. It was horrific on one hand (it certainly could have used some control) but the audience was laughing.

Eventually he asked whether he was going on too long and Antonioni and his wife basically told him “Yeah, shut the fuck up already.”

Then Marsh did the unthinkable. She asked him another question “Why has this film not been widely shown in the previous 30 years?” (that’s not an exact quote, but you get the idea). I suspect that she knew something about Nicholson’s participation in holding back release and he seemed to acknowledge as much as he haltingly started to answer the question.

And then he decided “Hell with this” and proceeded to rambling again, this time with a tone which seemed to condemn the question and questioner. It was embarrassing and the audience was less entertained than before.

Eventually, after trying to cut off the questioning several times, Marsha finally announced that we had to start the movie and the audience applauded — as much to show their relief that the torture was over, as well as to reiterate their admiration for the director.

It was an interesting evening, made all the more bizarre by the fact that President Bush’s speech from the Gulf War, uh — Disaster, Zone.

I was everywhere without a dictionary last night.



New Orleans Photo Album

8 09 2005

My friend, Matt Kiernan, sent along this link from a Kodak Picture Gallery site (you may need to register in order to see them). The owner is a New Orleans resident who took a ton of photos around the New Orleans hotel where he worked and the city in general over the five days before and after the hurricane.

The pictures show a contrast between the day when they thought they had escaped the worst of the hurricane and the next day, when they began to realize that they were being flooded.



Great LA Bumper Stickers – Part 3

7 09 2005

Here’s another unreadable bumper sticker (thanks Treo Cam!!). For the 100% of you who can’t read it, it says “Somewhere in Texas there’s a village missing an idiot.”



Great LA Bumper Stickers – Part 2

7 09 2005

Don’t know if you can see it or not, but there’s a bumper sticker on the back of that car in front of me which reads “Republicans for Voldemort”

Is there anything more to say?



I Am Reviewed In Russian

5 09 2005

Came across a review of a film that I edited, MAD DOG TIME (starring Richard Dreyfuss, Jeff Goldblum and directed by Larry Bishop), in a Russian blog. Curious, I pasted the text into the Alta Vista translation engine and it gave me this.

Dreyfus in the role of Vicat, who left psikhlechebnitsy of the owner of the luxurious restaurant, which serves as cover for the organized criminality. All people of its environment, which consists of different coat and different-calibre mafiozi, awaited this moment in order to begin war for the authority. From entire this composition it is allotted To miki Of khollidey (Goldblyum). The action is developed around two sisters, to which experience the tender feelings of vetches and Mik. they thunder the shots, fall the bodies, riddled by bullets, but to receive this picture in earnest as gangster fighter or drama it does not stand. These are the stylized irony, almost theatrical production on the face of farce, in which the most reckless proves to be most sober-minded. Of lerri Bishop made the original cinema, entertaining and simultaneously which gives occasion to think over.

Hmmm, sounds like a good review to me.