Tag Archives: Cinema

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan Trailer

imdb.com has the release date set for December 1, 2010.

And here I thought the film might be a bit boring from the synopsis and the trailer is more f*cked up than I could have imagined.  Guess Aronofsky won’t break into the comedy genre anytime soon considering this path of trauma that is his filmography.*

*Comments aside, love his work.

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Edinburgh Film Fest Daily Roundup (part 8)

*I go into the dark to find out about The Dunwich Horror

*My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is dream cinema

other news

Scrambling around to find more films to watch as the festival comes to a close: Press screenings end Friday, festival officially ends Sunday.  Crazy.  When you’re in the middle of it you lose all sense of time.

Between screenings I’ve taken some pictures around Edinburgh.  I’ll have some up tomorrow.

reviews to come

The Hunter, Snowman’s Land

Public Enemies was plagued by cast and crew tensions, technical blunders

For those of us who tried to warn the public that they were being swindled into buying tickets to an unfinished product with last year’s much anticipated Public Enemies (weak sound design, amateur framing, visuals that “looked like a wedding video” as my friend put it), the following offers some (belated) vindication.

A source at the Edinburgh International Film Festival said that technical details plagued the production of Public Enemies, thanks to Michael Mann’s mistreatment of the crew and poor management skills.

Crew members were financially and personally poorly treated and simple technological protocols (correct cables, lenses) were flouted.  The results were disastrous: A production designer quit, Johnny Depp had Mann apologize to the crew for his behavior, and the studio spent “$20-30 million dollars” in post-production trying to save the film.  Depp “hated Mann” for the way he ran the production.

It seems the crew got the last laugh though: The same source said that “thousands of dollars in office supplies” from Public Enemies were stolen and put to use for a film currently at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  “You could say it’s a Michael Mann financed film.”

I’m a huge fan of Mann’s Heat and Collateral, but was dismayed by the poor production values of Public Enemies.  Though the film came out a year ago, I think it’s important to know the history surrounding a production so as to understand a film’s successes or failures.  There is the possibility that the person I spoke to could be some disgruntled crew member out to tarnish Mann’s image, but this person’s comments seem a reasonable explanation for the unusually bad quality of such a major Hollywood film.

“Au Revoir Taipei” is light hearted goodness

Every now and again, it’s really nice to just see a simple, fun movie.  Enter Au Revoir Taipei. Continue reading

Sundance favorite”Winter’s Bone” Cuts Deep

There is an oft-lamented dearth of strong female characters in cinema.  Lt. Ripley and Sarah Connor are the characters that receive the most citation, but I’ll be damned if we can’t add Ree Dolly to the roster – this is not a girl to be trifled with. Continue reading

“Lucky” documents lottery winners, but not much else

“What would you buy if you had a million dollars?”  This is the type of hypothetical fantasizing we’ve all indulged in as children, but what if you actually won that million dollars?

Lucky follows the rare people who have won the lottery, varying from 5.5 to 22 million dollars in winnings.  The effects of fame and fortune are disclosed by the winners in interview format.  Some find it a curse they’re happy to spend until they’re again broke; others help their families or migrate to wealthier locales to fit in.

The general idea behind the film is immediately an attractive one: how do one of our fellow proles cope with becoming a part of the elite?  In a brief interview with a lottery player, he explains that he gambles so, “I can actually be free.”   Right there is a golden opportunity to explore our definition of “free” in a country that heralds itself as the uber-democracy and how capitalism and wealth play into that concept.

But director Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, Rocket Science)  doesn’t follow these breadcrumbs.  When former friends of lottery winners Kristine and Steve’s tell us they are envious of their bump up the class ladder, the film fails to dig in and ask why.  Why are we envious of the wealthy?  What does it mean to us to have money, to yearn for it?  Instead of providing an insightful document on the U.S.’s religion of greenbacks, it takes hunger for cash for granted.

Sure, we meet the guy who keeps a lid on his expenditures, except the stay cats he feeds every night and the stripper friends he visits; we even see the literal ruin of a man due to the cash (his siblings hired a hit man so they could acquire the wealth).  But Lucky doesn’t get the pick axe to the heart (so to speak) and leaves an aftertaste just slightly better than the Inside Edition clips it uses.

When a Vietnamese lottery winner’s wife stops the interview when it becomes too emotional, it stands in metaphorically for the film overall.  It could go deeper, but maybe it hurts too much.

“Monsters” leaves audiences in shock and awe

When you start watching films for a living, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” becomes the haunting muzak filling the background of your consciousness.  Films quickly pile up in the mediocre category, with few hitting genius, or even atrocious levels.  When Monsters finished, however, I was covered with goose bumps and wanted nothing more than to sit quietly in the dark to mull it over. It is a film so powerful, fascinating and personal that it is a celluloid definition of why we go to the cinema.

Continue reading