Category Archives: Film

Succession

Footnote of the month:

La tête d’un homme [by Georges Simenon] was adapted again in 1949, to lesser effect, as The Man on the Eiffel Tower. A clunky color spectacular starring Charles Laughton as Maigret, it is mostly notable for its location shooting in Paris, and for being directed by co-star Burgess Meredith, who took over after Laughton had the original director fired.

—Jake Hinkson, “Georges Simenon: The Father of European Noir,” Noir City no. 22

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That sound you hear is my head exploding

Chris Ware, Ira Glass, Nico Muhly, and John Kuramoto, d.b.a. “Phoobis,” create an animated cover for this week’s issue of The New Yorker. Guest-starring a former Secretary of State.

kottke.org

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Backstory

In his notebooks, [Paddy] Chayefsky wrote year-by-year biographies for his characters. [Max] Schumacher doggedly worked his way up through the army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, local papers, radio, NBC morning news, See It Now, CBS Reports, and network documentary and news departments to become the president of his division. Diana [Christensen], by contrast, had just five previous television credits—at a children’s show, in audience research, and in daytime programming—before she reached her own vice president post. He drafted for himself a twenty-three-person roster of nonexistent executives at the fictional network he called UBS…, from its chairman of the board down to its vice presidents of programming, legal affairs, public relations for the news, and public relations for the network. He drew up a seven-night programming grid for UBS, inventing every show that aired from Monday through Sunday, 6:00 P.M. to 1:00 A.M., with such evocative and snidely reductive titles as Surgeon’s Hospital, Pedro and the Putz, Celebrity Canasta (paired on Wednesday evenings with Celebrity Mah-jongg), Lady Cop, and Death Squad. None of this information would make it into the screenplay [of Network].

—Dave Itzkoff, Mad As Hell:The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies, p. 49
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Bibbity Dum-dum

A lovely simile linking the cinematic, literary, and pictorial worlds, from Anthony Lane’s review of P. T. Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice:

As a lyricist of California light, Pynchon is rivalled only by Richard Diebenkorn, who spent some twenty years painting his Ocean Park series in Santa Monica, and I doubt whether any director—dead or alive, Altman or Anderson—could really conjure a style to match the long surge of a Pynchon sentence as it rolls inexhaustibly onward.

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On the second syllable

June Foray is still doing comic voiceovers at 95, and now she has the Emmy to show for it.

ArtsJournal

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Proposed screening

Our friend Lizzi writes:

Girl Rising

So I will start by confessing that this IS a mass email asking you to support a good cause, but please read because all I am really asking you to do is sign up to see a movie, and who doesn’t love movies? My roommate and I have undertaken to bring a beautiful new film, Girl Rising, to the Majestic Stadium movie theater in Silver Spring on Thursday April 25th at 7:30 pm, but we need your help.

The film was created by 10×10, a global campaign to educate and empower girls. Girl Rising tells the stories of 9 girls from around the world who face and overcome – unbelievable obstacles on the path toward getting an education. Each girl’s story is narrated by a cast of great actresses, including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, and Alicia Keyes (among others)– and the cinematography is stunning. I am truly excited to be part of helping to get this film screened (an effort that is happening across the country) and to be involved in a global effort for girls’ education.

You can watch the trailer here (it’s worth it, I promise!)

The film will only be screened at the Majestic if at least 100 people sign up to see it. You can sign up to buy a ticket for the movie here (not to worry, you will only be charged for your ticket if we succeed in booking the screening). We need 100 people by April 11th in order for them to screen the film, so please don’t wait to sign up!

A portion of Girl Rising ticket sales will help fund programs for girls’ education around the world, so seeing the film literally makes an impact on girls’ lives. For a mere $10 you get a night out at the movies and the the lovely warm feeling of knowing you’re contributing to positive change in the world. (A steal, I’m sure we can all agree). So get a group together (a BIG group), tell ALL your friends (please!) and come see a beautiful movie and be part of something special.

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Disrespected

Rosecrans Baldwin trashes one of my favorite movies, Choose Me.

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Magic cat

Fade to black for visionary filmmaker Chris Marker, who made the genuinely one-of-a-kind La Jetée (1962). He was 91.

kottke.org

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For the bookmarks

Wikipedia’s Film noir (with that fabulous still from The Big Combo) is featured article OTD.

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The slow season

Manhola Dargis responds to fellow Times columnnist Dan Kois:

The Hangover Part II, which I find boring, raked in $137.4 million over the five-day Memorial Day weekend. It’s the kind of boring that makes money, partly because it’s the boring that many people like, want to like, insist on liking or are just used to, and partly because it’s the sort of aggressively packaged boring you can’t escape, having opened on an estimated 17 percent of American screens. Filled with gags and characters recycled from the first Hangover, the sequel is grindingly repetitive and features scene after similar scene of characters staring at one another stupidly, flailing about wildly and asking what happened. This is the boring that Andy Warhol, who liked boring, found, well, boring.

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Upcoming: 29

Oh, my: a retrospective of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-Hollywood work at AFI Silver Theatre. (Link via DCist, again.)

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Incredible Girl

Celia Aurora deBlas, an erstwhile theater colleague, is crowdsourcing the funding for her indie film project, “Incredible Girl,” a sexy look at empowerment through the lens of same-sex encounters. Woo-hoo, contributions are tax deductible! but the funding round extends only through 7 February.

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Out of joint

Laura Sydell posts about indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler’s fight to protect her And Then Came Lola, a “lesbian romantic comedy,” from pirate sites. The e-mail response that Seidler received from Sven Olaf Kamphius, who’s associated with Pirate Bay, is appallingly childish.

Kamphuis’s e-mail comes out strongly against any kind of copyright protection. He dismissed Seidler’s references to United States copyright law by saying: “ … the laws of that retarded ex-colony cannot be enforced here, thank god;).”

I have my own issues with the current overly protectionist copyright laws of this country, but they don’t extend to ripping off an entrepreneur who’s made a movie on her own dime. Sydell says that Seidler has decided to get out of the movie business. When the arrogance of the Pirate Bay crew means that creative innovation is stifled, something is wrong.

There isn’t a lot that I can do to solve this problem, but at least I can buy a copy of Seidler’s movie.

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It’s magic

Robbins Barstow, Wethersfield, Connecticut’s prototype of the vlogger, has passed away. His 1956 Disneyland Dream, a home movie documentary of the family trip to Disneyland (by way of a 3M Scotch Tape contest), with narration added in 1995 (and more than a few corny jokes), is available through the Internet Archive. Disneyland Dream is one of the few amateur works named to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

Mr. Barstow’s survivors include the original cast of Disneyland Dream: his wife, the former Margaret Vanderbeek, whom he married in 1942; his sons, David and Dan; and his daughter, now known as Cedar.

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Upcoming: 23

Dave Kehr reports that Paramount is releasing The African Queen on DVD via a digital restoration of the British negative. “Leeches!”

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