Alice Perry on Room 237

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“Room 237,” a documentary about obsessive fans of “The Shining” who read meaning into the film’s most mundane details, opens at the end of March, and I’ll be the first, or last–depending on those rabid Kubrick devotees–in line.

I believe that the film contains footage from a documentary that Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, made in 1980. It’s called “Making the Shining” (yes, just “Making,” not “Making of”), and you may be able to find it tacked onto “The Shining” DVD in the Extras’ section. Here are some of my favorite bits from the doc:

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1) Jack Nicholson getting into character while swinging an ax — and almost knocking over an assistant director — and growling, “Death to pussy”;

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2) Kubrick typing up script notes at the same table where Scatman Crothers and Danny have their “Shine” conversation;

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3) a set worker tossing a bucket of fake blood on the wall;

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4) Jack N. demonstrating how he marks up his script lines, a style he says he copied from Boris Karloff.

That picture of Kubrick at the typewriter reminded me of a scene in another “making of” documentary. In “Hearts of Darkness,” a doc about making “Apocalypse Now,” there’s an image of Francis Ford Coppola also at a typewriter.

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Perhaps this is the start of a great idea: a photo book of great film directors on set at the typewriter, entitled “Directors Type.”

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Going Green On a Electric Motorcycle

A Documentary Film, recording from both HD and POV camera perspectives. Utilizing “Social Media”. Filming begins on Earth Day, 2013.

An Electric Motorcycle, HD POV Cameras, Social Media, The Wild West, and 7 Months of Filming. Discovering innovative and creative ways to be, “Going Green.”

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

2012 Best Film List – Brendan Rose

2012 will be remembered as a year of masterpieces (see the top half of this list), diverse gems from across the globe, and pleasing, if flawed, middlebrow Hollywood award-seekers, all in all making for an eclectic and exciting year for cinema.

The year’s offerings did have their shortcomings, however, especially in the American Independent world. In addition, a number of promising-seeming movies by big-name Anglo-American filmmakers fell completely flat (see ‘Biggest Disappointments’ below).

And, as with every year, there were plenty of well-regarded films, which I did not see in time for this list, especially a number of impressive-looking documentaries. With special apologies to films like Magic Mike, Red Hook Summer, How to Survive a Plague, Holy Motors, and many others, here is the 2012 list:

TOP TEN
1. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) – This elusive, visually stunning, modernist film wears its mystery plot light and its philosophical weight heavy; Ceylan takes a giant leap forward, entering the very upper echelon of world filmmakers.

2. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson) – Anderson wisely avoids a trite Scientology biopic, instead using his melancholic, drifting film to capture the post-war experience of a PTSD-plagued vet via Phoenix and to shine a light on low-grade demagoguery through Hoffman; Anderson now has two of the best American films of the last 25 years with The Master and There Will Be Blood.

3. Amour (Michael Haneke) – The Austrian master turns his rigorous camera toward the subject of love and still manages to plumb the depths of human violence; every image feels essential.

4. The Kid With A Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) – Another strong child-centered film by the inimitable Belgian fraternal duo unafraid to take on the most wholesome of virtues – in this case goodness and devotion – in the most gritty of manners.

5. Oslo, August 31 (Joachim Trier) – This pitch-perfect story of addiction, compressed into 24 hours of the protagonist’s life, once again confirms Trier as the poet laureate of bohemian-bourgeois Scandinavia.

6. This Is Not A Film (Jafar Panahi) – One of the world’s preeminent filmmakers copes with life in Tehran under house arrest by frenetically plotting out scenes on his floor, screening clips of his own films and palling around with his pet iguana; both the most bizarre and the most authentic film of the year.

7. Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendoca Filho) – A finely wrought social drama set on one block in Recife, which may also be read as an allegory of the history of violence in northeast Brazil.

8. The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-Soo) – A playful cinematic experience of shifting identities, overlapping angles and wistful dreams; a film that trusts the power of the moment.

9. Argo (Ben Affleck) – Stellar semi-historical thriller in which Affleck nicely balances tension-fraught high-stakes hostage smuggling and a humorous look at Hollywood absurdity.

10. Bernie (Richard Linklater) – This Harold-and-Maude gone wrong tale vividly set in small-town Texas is constantly inventive, grimly humorous, and expertly performed.

HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order): Bonsai (Cristián Jiménez); Life of Pi (Ang Lee); Barbara (Christian Petzold); Lincoln (Steven Spielberg); Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo); Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin); Silver Linings Playbook (David O Russell)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS
1. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow) – By far the most disappointing film of the year; in fact, the most disturbing; a technically brilliant movie that glosses over the horrors of the war on terror and avoids the real facts concerning torture and evidence-gathering.

2. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg) – A wretched adaptation of Don DeLillo, an almost comically bad movie, which reconfirms Cronenberg as one of our most overrated directors.

3. To Rome With Love (Woody Allen) – A solid section with Roberto Benigni and some expert shower-sung opera don’t save this meandering clunker.

4. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan) – The flaws here are legion, but I’ll highlight two: (1) an all-too unfaithful Alfred cries his way through the picture dreaming of Italy; and (2) arch-villain Bane – an at first convincing-seeming foe – is given a ridiculous, humanizing backstory.

5. Skyfall (Sam Mendes) – A bloated, feckless attempt to round out Bond’s biography; moreover, why play the James Bond-is-getting-old card so soon with first-rate 007 Daniel Craig only three films deep into the franchise?”

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

DETONATOR, a film by Damon Maulucci & Keir Politz

An ex punk frontman fights to hold on to his family and day job when a toxic friend resurfaces.
Original score by Joe Jack Talcum

About Detonator: With change comes sacrifice. In this gritty thriller, Sully, former frontman of a once prominent punk band, anxiously trudges toward a new world in order to remain in his young son’s daily life when an ex-bandmate, Mick, catches him mid-stride with a promise to make good on an old debt. In one hellish night that stretches till dawn, Sully chases Mick through the recesses of Philadelphia, forced to rekindle the life he once had in order to pursue a different kind of future.

“Shot on location around Philadelphia, the film has an incredible sense of place and love for the city. Featuring great performances from many of the best actors of current American indie cinema, including Lawrence Michael Levine, Sophia Takal, and Joe Swanberg, the film has a punk rock sense of propulsion. It asks tough questions about the ways we choose to live our lives, and intelligently examines the balance between our wildest dreams and our concrete realities.” Philadelphia Film Society

Detonator also showcases the tremendously talented and versatile Robert Longstreet (Septien, Take Shelter, The Catechism Cataclysm), the feature film debut of the mercurial New York theater performer Benjamin Ellis Fine, Joe Jack Talcum’s (of the iconic Philadelphia punk band The Dead Milkmen) beautifully austere musical score and take on the American standards “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” and “Some Of These Days,” as well as the acting debut of Toledo punk hero Eric Davidson, his band New Bomb Turks’ version of San Francisco legends the Nubs’ ripping track “Job,” and underground music from Philadelphia’s own Dead People Screaming and Party Photographers, the Flails of San Francisco, and Son de Brooklyn.

Detonator will have its world in March at CINEQUEST. For details please visit: http://payments.cinequest.org/WebSales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=6912~78899376-35a9-4153-8303-e1557be2dc32&epguid=70d8e056-fa45-4221-9cc7-b6dc88f62c98&#.USKN24X5vM_

https://www.facebook.com/detonator.movie
http://www.detonatormovie.com/

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Athena Film Festival 2013

“Everyone knows that the absence of strong female characters in Hollywood films is epidemic. But we’ve found the antidote, albeit one that lasts only four days: the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. Here’s a chance to see some Crushworthy cinema.” Alice Perry, CrushworthyMoms.

Read Alice Perry’s intriguing column about the 2013 Athena Film Festival at CrushworthyMoms.com:
http://www.crushworthymoms.com/2013/02/athena-film-festival/

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Help make it happen for ‘RUN IT’ on Indiegogo

Logline: Two thugs, a substitute teacher, and a young student get tangled up in violent crimes that unexpectedly bind them together in an unforgiving day.

The film focuses on oppression and abuse. How it is layered into our lives and trickles down and affects all aspects of our existence, most of the times, involuntarily.

See the trailer and find out more about the campaign here: http://igg.me/p/290125/x/143393

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles