Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sarah and Plummer and Gays, Oh My!

Here's a quick roundup of what I've been up to this week:

- A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be in the presence of his holiness Pedro Almodóvar who was in town doing press for his newest film I'm So Excited. Being the huge Almodóvar nerd I am, I have to confess I was largely disappointed when I first saw the film; however as the days began to pass and I thought more and more about the specific times during the screening when I had chuckled and no one else had noticed it became obvious to me that this wasn't his most accessible movie to date. While American audiences will look at it through the comedic lens, I realized this was his love song to a Spain in economic and political ruins. I talked to him about this. Read the feature here.

- I interviewed the divine Sarah Brightman who talked about space travel and how she's not one of those "hocus pocus girls". Read the interview here.

- DVD review: Barrymore. Read it here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Style Sunday

As I stated earlier this week, I will never get over having touched Kylie Minogue last Monday, so it's fitting that I get back to this weekly column by discussing what she wore that day...right?
As part of her book tour, Kylie showed up in a sheer Emilio Pucci mini dress that redefines sexy classiness. The intricateness of the dress is stunning, especially because it looks as if it is showing off more than it did...

Just take a look at the back!

Isn't she breathtaking? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blu-ray Review: Lore

Saskia Rosendahl gives a magnificent performance in Cate Shortland's Lore, out on Blu-ray now. Here's my review for PopMatters.

So Here's What I've Been Up To:

My beloved Movies Kick Ass is turning ten this year and I've been such a neglectful parent lately...but it's not like I've not been doing movie things or anything...I've been cheating for the right reasons:

I was among the lucky few who got to interview Mr. Ken Loach about The Angels' Share. Talking to him was like listening to a film class. Here's the interview.

I talked to, and fell in love with, the sultry Patricia Clarkson, who seduced me by saying she loved my outfit during a week when I had a serious throat infection and was high on cold meds. She was a dream and the best thing in The East.

I interviewed Sarah Polley about her stunning documentary Stories We Tell. My absolute fave movie of this year so far.

And here are a few of my favorite reviews I've done:

Upstream Color one of 2013's most magnificent films got an early Blu-ray release and it's out on Netflix too, which means everyone should see it ASAP.

The Impossible you all know how much I loved this film and I will never stop getting pissed at people who think it's "white folk suffer in a tsunami" kind of movie. It might've been the most unjustly misunderstood film of last year.

Zero Dark Thirty It lost the Oscar, but its legacy will once again prove oh how wrong AMPAS gets it time after time.

Holy Motors two days ago I told Kylie Minogue how much I loved her in this movie. She smiled, touched my hand and said "thank you so much!". And no, I did not dream this...

So, what have y'all been up to?

Judith Hill: Closer to Stardom?

I interviewed Judith Hill for PopMatters. Have you seen her in 20 Feet from Stardom yet?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Teaser: The Earth the Way I Left It

The Earth, the way I left it (Trailer) from Jeff Pinilla on Vimeo.

Few things are as pleasing as seeing someone complete a movie. Late last year I spoke to young filmmaker Jeff Pinilla about his newest project and now here's the first teaser. Go check it out, I personally think it looks pretty good, so congrats Jeff. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Help a Filmmaker: "Lay in Wait"

Recently I got in touch with filmmaker Jonathan Ade, who's currently working on a new short film called Lay in Wait. I would go into more detail and make a longer intro about Jonathan's work, but I can't wait for you to read the plot:

"A married woman in an extramarital affair must find her wedding ring in the woods before the sun sets."

Right? I honestly can't wait to see how that unfolds. I spoke to Jonathan about his movie, his career and his crowd funding campaign.

The story sounds thrilling! What inspired you to write it?
I always think that the simplest stories based on the most primal of concerns tend to be the most universal of stories. After seeing Wendy and Lucy, I realized that you could make a feature-length film based on someone looking for something and it could be narratively compelling and emotionally impactful. Soon after, I came up with the idea for the very simple, yet very significant symbol of matrimony, the wedding ring.

Was it easy to find the right actors for these characters?

I actually wrote the main character with an actress already in mind. That helps the writing process, of course! The other two roles we are currently pinning down as we speak.

How important do you think film schools are for future filmmakers?
It depends. I think the most important thing for filmmakers to do is to work on their artistic perspective. What do they have to say? Why is it important to be said? This perspective can be cultivated in the field, and it can also be cultivated in schools, where you're a little more shielded from reality and have the opportunity to cultivate your mindset with some freedom. Simply put, you need an atmosphere of critical thought, and film school can certainly provide this, but it doesn't necessarily have to. Also, it can't be emphasized enough that if you go to film school, it's crucially important to meet people and grow relationships. Think of it as one big, long networking session, because filmmaking flat out requires collaboration for success.

Who are some of your influences?

They include (but are not limited to) Charles Burnett (filmmaker), Matsuo Basho (poet), JD Salinger (writer), Orson Welles (filmmaker/actor), Walter Murch (editor), Billy Collins (poet), Charles Chaplin (filmmaker/actor), Walt Whitman (poet), the Maysles Brothers (documentarians), Andrei Tarkovsky (filmmaker), Stan Brakhage (filmmaker) and George Orwell (writer).

Do you think crowd-funding is the way of the future for films?

They certainly are for some. I think the future will be a mix of crowd-sourced and traditionally financed projects, or even a combination of the two. Independent filmmakers were already piecing together financing from various sources for years; this is just the digitization of a process that independents have always worked with. And I think although there's a lot of power in expanding the network of contributors, you don't start at the top. Let's not forget that Veronica Mars and Zach Braff have built-in audiences because of traditional, break-into-the-industry success. For us little guys, it's going to be a slow climb to build our own audiences through this process. And it's something that has little precedent.

Why should people invest in your project?

Because a strong narrative voice is an important contribution to the arts. With all of the exciting, digital innovations happening these days, we can't forget that the best tool in a filmmaker's tool kit is their perspective. And it's been there all along.


I urge you all to visit Jonathan's Kickstarter page (heck, it even made me blog again!) especially now that he's more than halfway there. I'm sure you want to find out how the story ends too!