Sunday, May 31, 2009

Drag Me To Hell: Sorry About Earlier, Man

Gypsy women are tough.

Drag Me To Hell, I'm sorry about earlier. I grouped you in with a bunch of movies I didn't think I wanted to see. Up was part of that list. I did want to see Up. But really, Drag Me To Hell, I should have had more faith in you. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions, or mistrusted my gut. Sam Raimi, you're a trustworthy guy. Especially after this. If you make another movie, I'll see it, and gladly. 

Bad horror movies are good because they're bad. Good comedies are good because they're good. Bad horror crossed with good comedy? A good film. Horror comedies can be terrific. Raimi decided to be brave and go back to his Evil Deadsian roots, coming off the failure of Spider-Man 3, and it paid off big. Drag Me To Hell is grippingly suspenseful, grossly hilarious, pretty well action packed, and masterfully shot. A perfect movie for cheering on the heroine, and jeering at what horrible things happen to her. 

Alison Lohman was a terrific casting choice. As loan officer Christine Brown, her slight lisp, cute round face, and endearing smile give every horror that befalls her a meaner edge, and makes every chance she gets to kick ass slier. For tongue-in-cheek terror, Lohman plays it great, adorable but with teeth, not some useless prissy slasher-genre girl. 

Speaking of slasher-genre girls, isn't it great that Drag Me To Hell isn't a slasher film? I'm very sick of slasher films. When characters are dropping left and right there's no time, and often no attempt, at character building. No one gets a backstory outside of what stereotyping allows. Drag Me To Hell keeps its lead alive to the bitter end. It keeps almost the entire cast alive. The characters become real, and sympathetic, and rooting for them makes sense. Its easy to root for them.

There are a great many moments of this film that, if I were to talk about them, I would spoil most of the wonderful scares and gags that the trailer and commercials haven't already ruined. That part in the trailer or commercial where the fly goes up her nose and she wakes up, then lays down next to the old woman? They shouldn't have showed that, but don't worry, it's better in the movie. Everything is better in the actual movie. 

There are fight scenes, there are bizarre gross out scenes, there are really truly funny visual gags most of the time. It's well written. It's very well shot, by Mulholland Drive's cinematographer Peter Deming, with lots of shallow focus paired with the deepest. The monsters look monstery, the mood is always exactly as it ought to be, for humor or horror, and the film reaches the point where even the title card warrants huzzahs. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Served

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Holland, Michigan Sucks, Ya'll

There are Terminator Salvations and Drag Me To Hells, and yes, there are Ups, but there are also Angels and Demons. You can even find a lingering Paul Blart: Mall Cop. That's out on DVD and Blu-ray already.

There are no films. There isn't The Brothers Bloom. There is no The Girlfriend Experience. There is definitely no Rudo y Cursi.

A market for these films exists here. Or, the demographic that would buy into this market, if the market was there to buy into. Look at me. Look at people I know. The movies I'm being offered are the worst possible options. I don't want to see Wolverine. I want to see Adrian Brody be a con man.

Bah.

- Eric T. Voigt, Disgruntled

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Werner Herzog + Nicolas Cage + Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas + Crank = This Looks Incredible

Alright. Hold the phone. Before I get into this, watch the trailer:

Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant Trailer with Nicolas Cage in it

Okay. Ready. This movie, and I say this with complete conviction, looks incredible. In-cred-ib-uhl. Nicolas Cage has become such a joke to the world that people are forgetting how valuable of an actor he is. He's finally getting a chance to act as balls-out crazy as I wish he had gotten in every miserable excuse for an action movie hes been in this latter half of the 00s. Take all those clips of the Wicker Man remake, and boost them up a few notches of insane, and that's what Nicolas Cage is doing in this trailer.

Herzog is a respected director. It isn't as if hes never made a bad film, but he's made a substantial amount of great films. The man knows what he's doing when it comes to cinema. Other blogs, including Slashfilm, and FirstShowing.net, where I first saw the trailer, are shooting it down left and right, claiming Herzog must be off his rocker, or slipped up accidently in a giant way. Nuh-uh. This movie is meant to be this way.

Already it's handing out amazingly quotable lines: "Shoot him again. His soul is still dancing." "This is my lucky crackpipe. You don't have a lucky crackpipe?" "What are these fucking iguanas doing on my coffee table?" The iguanas! Come on! That's great. That's an homage to Le Cercle Rouge, right there. Jean-Pierre Melville references are in this. And guns, and sex, and profanity, and absurdity. Incredible.

- Eric T. Voigt, Might Be Jumping Onto a Sinking Ship With This One

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cool People Make Children's Films

That's Karen O looking CRAZY at Carter Burwell. They scored Where the Wild Things Are, you know. Why'd they score that? Because they're cool people.

This year is one of the most exciting years for films ever ever in the life I've lived with an awareness of what's going on in the filmic world. One of the reasons for this excitement is two of my favoritest directors (Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze) are adapting two children's books (Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are) by reknowned children's bookists (Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak).

Where the Wild Things Are is getting scored by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Carter Burwell of Fargo, Being John Malkovich and No Country For Old Men. Fantastic Mr. Fox is getting scored by Alexandre Desplat of Lust, Caution and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That's music I really like.

Fantastic Mr. Fox's cinematographer is Tristan Oliver, who shot Wallace and Gromit stuff. He does stop motion filming. Good stop motion. Lance Acord of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Lost in Translation cameramanning shot Where the Wild Things Are. I like the way he moves that camera.

The adaptations were written by Wes Anderson with Noah Baumbach, and Spike Jonze with Dave Eggers for Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are respectively. Those are good writers.

My excitement is at a high.

- Eric T. Voigt, Excitement

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trailers: That Movie I Wanted To See Three Years Ago, and Interesting Sci-Fi

There are trailers for two films. One is for Mr. Nobody. The other is for '77. Will you choose to watch either, both, or only one of them? It's entirely up to you. Trailers:

Mr. Nobody

'77

I like the look of one better than the other, even though I knew about and became interested in the other one way back when, right when I discovered "Freaks and Geeks" on DVD.

Vague? You betcha.

- Eric T. Voigt, I'm At Work On Break Cut Me Some Slack Alright Gotta Go

Monday, May 25, 2009

Point of Discussion: Bad Films, Good Actors

Why can a terrible movie have one great charismatic character worth watching within all the unwatchable parts?

Take Ben Kingsley's character in Sexy Beast. He is the only character I liked. He came into the film nearly a third of the way in, and unfortunately is cut out of the film before the final third kicks off. His character is unpleasant, and unruly, and unbridled, and it makes him awesome and hilarious and terrifying compared to all the other ugly, boring, aging English ex-mobsters. He was the best actor in the cast, and he gets a short, supporting role. It leaves the rest of the film dead when he isn't there. He's the driving force of anything in the movie. What I'm saying is that if the film had been all about Ben Kingsley, or had more Ben Kingsley, it would have been a good movie. But he isn't, so it's not.Now take Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson in A Scanner Darkly. Their characters play off each other, bouncing their wacked-out philosophies and paranoid worries off of each other lightning fast, with incidental wits sharp as knives. They're the characters with personality, personalities that feel even bigger and stronger next to Keanu's usual flat delivery, and Winona's laziness. Each of their sequences left me laughing quite vocally. But the rest of the film... well, it's dry, nearly confusing, and seems to lack substance. Excluding Downey, Jr. and Harrelson.

So, I'm asking you guys, my co-writers and readers, if you can think of any films that you feel are pretty useless films as a whole, but with memorable characters. Interesting characters. Superiorly acting characters. I think the group of black guys from Snatch can count towards my list too. They were the coolest.

- Eric T. Voigt, Please?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bruce Willis Looks Weird with Hair


Tom Hanks looks weird with hair in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Nicolas Cage looks weird with hair in Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Next, and basically any movie after Adaptation that wasn't The Weather Man. Now Bruce Willis joins the ranks. Bravo, Bruce!

- Eric T. Voigt, Has Hair Better

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Respectfully Disagree: Brick

"I have...so much...homework."


Dear Kevin,


Brick is a film I've watched five or seven times since 2006. More than once a year at this point. I'm probably going to keep that up. Why? Because this is one of my favorite films. I was on the fence about it for a while, I couldn't tell if it was definitely one of my favorite films, but now I know in my heart Brick is one of my favorite films. Why? All of it. Beginning with the schtick. A hard-boiled detective, fast-talking to boot, who happens to be a highschooler obsessively investigates his ex-girlfriend's death in a world of other interesting, fast-talking characters. That's what the movie is. It's a noir story set in a high school. That's just what it is. And I like that a lot. The schtick, no matter how much of a schtick it is, works because the story is fascinating, and the characters are both believable and captivating. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a perfect bitter detective, a badass in his own realm, which is quite small. Matt O'Leary, The Brain, plays Levitt's inside guy, the one with the information, and he's witty, and awkward, and adorable. Nora Zehetner is an enchanting young femme fatale. Lukas Haas, The Pin, with his clubbed-foot, is an awesome shadowy drug lord. What I'm saying is the cast is great. They make the schtick work. WHY? Because Rian Johnson is a good director. Or a great director, maybe. And writer. The dialogue is great. Even when I can barely keep up I can keep up, and motivations are given at exactly the right times, and the motivations all make sense, and the characters say exactly what they should, because they know what they do when they know it. If the story and the acting doesn't float your boat, the visuals surely should. Steve Yedlin's cinematography is amazing. It is. The blues, the greys, the whites. The lighting, well, the lighting makes every scene feel like it's taking place just before dusk, and it's not. The special effects on some of the fight scenes, or the dream sequences, are incredible. I cannot fathom how they pulled it off, all those occasions. I'm glad about that. Oh, and things are wide so often. He uses his wide like a phoenix. And to finish it all off, I think this film's score is one of the most effective scores I've yet heard. The chimes, the other percussion, I mean, it's hauntingly good. Also, the chase scene is one of my favorite chase scenes. Claaaang.

Truly,
Eric T. Voigt



Dear Eric,

Watch it as many times as you like. I will jump off the fence and run in the other direction. I think the mere fact that you keep referring to a "schtick" illustrates a big problem I have with this film: it's as if the filmmakers said, "Hey, this is a noir set in a high school! What a concept! Now, let's pump our film with all the trappings of a noir and just roll with it rather than concern ourselves with an intriguing story." So, I'm sorry, but I just don't think the "schtick" works, at least not well enough to save an uninteresting film. As I followed Joseph-Gordon Levitt's "badass" (I get it, he's a tortured soul, now can he go brood in the background somewhere?) I kept arriving at the same thought: I don't care about this mystery or any of the characters involved, because these kids are in HIGH SCHOOL, and it's really hard to take high schoolers as seriously as Johnson expects us to take them in Brick. I honestly think this film would have worked much better as a dark comedy, and I suppose some would argue it already is, but I really think the drama is laid on too thick here. I'm not even going to entertain your argument on the cinematography, because without an engaging story/ideas/characters to back it up, who cares? I'm glad you enjoyed the score; it didn't effect me, though.

With love,
Kevin Kern

Music Video(s) of the Week: It's New!

Caring about music videos a lot is like caring about short films edited closely to music a lot. That's what I do. I want to talk about music videos, so this will be the third installment we don't keep up on all the time of this lowly blog of we. Take it.

Director: Michel Gondry. Band: Radiohead. Song: "Knives Out"


Knives Out Music Video

"Knives Out" is the music video that sparked my adoration of music videos in general, and my interest in the art of storytelling through the medium. In just over four minutes the range of emotions the video touches on is just about overwhelming. An entire relationships lifetime flashes by on the television, little mementos from the characters' time together crop up in sweeping pans. "Knives Out" is entirely one shot from start to finish, wide lensed in one room, which probably took painstakingly careful blocking to get everything to go as smoothly as it does. The camera moves in and out, catching sometimes nuanced, sometimes exaggerated that draw forth deep concern for the characters, far deeper than you'd expect for such a brief introduction to them. The sets are amazing. The strange blueish green of the walls, and the juxtaposition of the familiar with the absurd are unsettling, but funny at points, yet Thom Yorke's voice keeps things from getting too light hearted. It's a pretty incredible short, just what I'd hope for when Michel Gondry's visuals are paired with Radiohead's musicianry.

Director: David Slade. Band: Aphex Twin. Song: "Donkey Rhubarb"

Donkey Rhubarb Music Video

One of the cutest, creepiest videos ever. Richard D. James' face lurking just beneath neon-bright bear suits, thrusting vigorously at nothing in particular, and dancing with children in the sun. Bizarre mixes of industrial London and PBS children's programming. This video should be cited as the reason David Slade is too good to be directing part of the Twilight saga. It's spooky, and puzzling, and kind of hilarious. The video runs the gamet of desatured sepia, black-and-white, and blood red filters. Switching between slow motion and fast, coupled with quick edits and strange choices in zooming, rolled together with the rest make "Donkey Rhubarb" a highly highly highly entertaining watch.

Next week I'll introduce you to whatever strikes me at the moment.

- Eric T. Voigt, A&E Is Taking An Intimate Look Into Professional Wrestling

News: The El Topo Man Cometh

Mexico has three directors. And then a handful of other directors. I always think Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro because they are contemporary, and because I like their films. In that order. Everytime I hear about another Mexican director I have to trick myself into believing they're just one of three, and things get messy, and I end up with a lot of bruises and a fair deal of lost blood. Eventually I have to accept Mexico has plenty of directors, and also more than three of them are worth watching. Case in point: Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Much like the Jabberwocky, which so resembles his surname, Jodorowsky is a mythical being. Springing out of Chile sometime in the 20s he began on his path to fame. Of his completed feature films, seven strong, I have seen but one: El Topo. A surrealistic Western on the outside, with deep Christian themes and satire running through its core, it... it was pretty trippy. Cool trippy. Not bad trip trippy. His films have a fierce "cult" following, which sounds really fitting when applied to fans of his post-modernistic film style. I'm planning on catching up on his body of work, and fast, because there's another bundle of Jodorowsky on the way, titled King Shot.

If my sources are correct, and they mostly are, King Shot is started production in October this year. They used the term 'trippy' too, and I didn't notice until rereading it just now. Huh. Subconscious whatnot. Anyway, about King Shot. It's going to star his son Adan, plus Nick Nolte and Marilyn Manson. It's another Western, but this time metaphysics are involved. It may be stylized in the manner Sin City was, and has a potential NC-17 rating judging from pre-production.

Also, David Lynch is producing. Lynch does similar things, what with crazy stuff going on, and juxtaposing it with a normal environment, or familiar genre. I'm all mixed feelings with Lynch, and I'm not a fan of Manson's career as a musican, but I enjoy him as an artist and an actor. In Party Monster? So good. Those are the only downsides, and only mixedly down, that I can see about this project, with my little familiarity with Jodorowsky, and the snippets of information on the upcoming film.

I'm geeking out, nerding out, and ready to be freaked out by the results. Go get 'em, Mexican.

- Eric T. Voigt, The Mulan Soundtrack Is Rocking Me

Horrible News: Remakeover!

You can almost hear it - Song Kang-ho weeping.

Remakes. We've all heard of them. They arrive at our theatres in droves, updating/ruining cult classics, actual classics, legendary horror franchises, and the foreign market. There's talk of a new Rocky Horror Picture Show in the works, and producers can't seem to keep their hands off of poor Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. What's the new hot ticket? South Korean films adapted into American films, and American films adapted into Russian films.

Park Chan-Wook is reasonably well known. I haven't seen anything other than Joint Security Area in full out of him, but it rocketed right up to the top of my charts. He's directed more easily recognized films Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. And they're about to become even more easily recognized, because they're soon to be American films. Yayz! No. No, that's wrong. That's supposed to be a 'booz'.

Steven Spielberg has the audacity, and directorial power, to be working on the adaptation of Oldboy with a tentative yet assured wish for Will Smith to play the lead. Charlize Theron is apparently taking on the Lady Vengeance Americanization, and one of the producers of Transformers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, is gunning for his very own Mr. Vengeance. That's a lot of remakes. There's the first rumblings of a Thirst remake, too, and that hasn't even had a chance to get sawn by a broad American audience.

More from the South Korean front: Bong Joon-Ho, my favorite working Asian director, may be having his forthcoming feature Mother remade, and also awesome-stellar-out-of-control monster movie/satirical take on America film The Host remade, too. By Americans. It's like we've completely missed the point on this one.

On top of this all, Russia has decided it needs not only its own version of Man On Fire but its own version of Man On Fire AND two versions of Working Girl, one especially for the Japanese market. I haven't seen either. I don't want to see Man On Fire, for one, and I probably don't want to see Working Girl, for another. But a Russian version of these films... now I'm interested.

- Eric T. Voigt, Posting From Work

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Bit Of Wrong Sided Business: Baz Luhrmann's Australia

Mama say, I Galapa. I magic-man. I wizard-man

In a bout of impulse buying that I am so well known for I bought 3 films from my local Blockbuster's "3 for $20 bin": The Apatow, pot smoking comedy Pineapple Express, Academy award winning Milk, and, you may have guessed it, the "comedy, romance, drama, adventure spectacle" Australia. This is a movie I had somewhat forgotten about seeing as during the months leading up to its release I heard nothing from my peers but remarks of distaste, hostility, and all around lack of faith but as the months went by and it had come and gone in theatres I couldn't help but wonder what I was missing out on. I have a penchant for films about the 1940's and stylization and I knew that this film was both so I saw no reason that I shouldn't enjoy it. Plus, $6 for a movie isn't a bad price at all, but I digress. I headed home, popped it into the DVD player and began a three hour journey of cinematic discovery.

I do have to start by saying that this movie is nothing short of gorgeous. Bravo cinematographer Mandy Walker, bravo. Shot entirely on location, the unforgiving Australian wilderness really makes for a great unforgiving Australian wilderness. On top of the beautiful locales the movie has chosen to be stylized (like no other) the moment it starts. From the beginning you realize that Australia is going to be told in a way and style that is very reminiscent of a fairy tale or story book. I got the same feeling the way the story was told in Australia as I got from Tarsem's The Fall which is most definitely a good feeling. Where as the use of green screen (or possibly blue screen, I wasn't able to tell) was sometimes very obvious I found it no way detrimental to the story or the film as a whole, it only complemented the fairy tale aspect I spoke of earlier. In a movie like this I sometimes think that this may be a better technical choice than using special effects that take themselves to seriously, but maybe that's just me.

Lady Sarah Ashley: Nullah, I wanted to extend my condolences...
Nullah: Go away.


Storywise, and here's to you Eric, the tale told my young Nullah (or "Creamy" as they call him) is very predictable. Actually, let me rephrase that. The general outline of the story is very predictable. Woman is tossed into a world she doesn't know, woman meets rugged wilderness man who disgusts her but is in charge of her, woman and man disagree on lots, woman and man accidentally kiss, woman and man fall into unspoken love, woman gets angry and they seperate, woman and man miss each other dearly and everybody realizes it, woman and man get back together surrounded by small children and corpses. I know, it sounds awful, and by itself it would most definitely would be but Luhrmann builds enough side stories and action packed scenes into this main story that not once was I bugged by the overly cliched guiding tale. So, the premise is that Lady Sarah Ashley (played by Nicole Kidman) is a British aristocrat chases her husband to Australia where he owns the 2nd largest cattle ring on the continent. She believes he is chasing aboriginal tail and she is not amused. She docks in the city of Darwin and is met by Drover (played by Hugh Jackman) who is a ruff and tumble he-man who finishes fist fighting the entire populace of Darwin as Lady Ashley arrives. He is to take her to Faraway Downs, her husband's cattle lands. They don't get along. She arrives to find that he has been murdered by, they believe at this point, King George, a crazy magic man who sings to fish and materializes out of dust storms. Turns out it was his right hand man who dunnit, he wants the cattle lands for himself. This is also where Nullah is introduced, the half black, half white "Creamy" who is outcast from society for being so gosh darned adorable.

Let's get them no good cheeky bull in the big bloody metal ship

Turns out he belongs to Mr. Murders but he's not having him so he clings to Lady Ashley. So pretty much, Ashley inherits Faraway Downs and with the help of a ragtag team of ethnic stereotypes and Drover they move 1500 head of cattle across an unforgiven wasteland and through some fire all the way to town. One guy is trampled but they DO get to town so it's all good. Yay! Done, right? Nope. This is ending place #1. After all of this is done Drover and Ashley are an item, doing the wrong sided business and the fox dance all night long. The two stay in town for a while and Ashley offers Drover the position of Manager of Cattle. He sort of accepts and there is much partying and racism. Everybody is happy, the end. Nope. Ending place #2. Mr. Murders isn't having all this success so he kills off his emplyer so he can inherit Australia's leading cattle ring. He also informs the local police that Ashley and Drover have a "Creamy" living with them which is too adorable for the general public so his dog is shot and he is taken from them one day while running naked and painted through the forest. Well, Drover doesn't care and he leaves Ashley, wandering into the bushes. Ashley decides to go to Darwin to try and find Nullah. She arrives to find he is being taken to Missionary Island, an island filled with orphans. She is promised by Mr. Murders that if she sells him her cattle and land he can get her "Creamy" back. She agrees. It takes a few weeks for all this business to wrap up and on the day she is to collect him both Missionary Island and Darwin are bombed by the Japs.

RUN!

Well, It seems that Ashley dies but it turns out she doesn't but Drover doesn't know that when he arrives the same day that city is bombed. He does know that Nullah was on Missionary island though and him, along with Ivan the bartender and a kind hearted abadiginal, travel to the island to save the orphans. Well, they do, and everybody is reunited in the end an Mr. Murders is murdered by King George who creates a makeshift bow and arrow out of a water tower and a rusty iron rod. The end? No? Yes. It's over.

I realize that this may seem absurd or awful or both but that's just the way I write. Take my word for it, It's a fun, action packed, well written (when you get past the cliches) movie. If you have your doubts, go see it, it's only, what, 2 hours and 46 minutes. What better do you have to do? That's what I thought.

Alex is going to hate me for this but like I wrote earlier on, Australia reminded me very much of The Fall. Both were very artificial but only in the best ways possible. They were both very stylistically similar as well. Australia may not have had crazy stairs or face mounds but, if you watch it I would hope you understand what I'm getting at. Before I ramble on to much more I think I'll end it here. For anybody who's in the mood for an action packed, stylistically charged movie about explosions and Australia, and have three hours to spare, I highly recommend this film to you. If you are Eric, I say stay away.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

People Talking About Films Too Soon Strikes Back: Quentin Tarantino Time

Time for some cool! Cannes premiered Tarantino's self proclaimed masterpiece Inglourious Basterds and people are so stoked. Check it:

The Guardian states that "[Basterds] is awful. It isn't funny. It isn't exciting. It isn't a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn't emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references."

Slow down, praise train. You're making me want to see this nearly too much.

Movieline lets you know that "it's all downhill after the promising opening scene. Character development is nowhere to be found."

Okay, I get it. The positivity is making me ache. You're giving me reason to have faith in this film. But what else do you have?

Jonathan Dean of Total Film had to say "much of Basterds felt flat..."

Don't let that get you down, because an equally reliable critic at Total Film decided to exclaim "not only did I love every minute of this film, if the French projectionist wanted to cue it up and roll it again from the start, I would have sat through the whole film again, with the biggest grin on my face."

Chris Hewitt of Empire says Inglourious Basterds was "rather brilliant... a wonderfully acted movie that subverts expectation at every turn. And it may represent the most confident, audacious writing and directing of Quentin Tarantino's career."

Finally, Roger Friedman claims the film was "a big sprawling entertainment that's less violent than you'd expect and a tad more intellectual, too. Tarantino fans won't be disappointed, but they may be challenged... Brad Pitt is excellent."

So I'm a little bit biased.

- Eric T. Voigt, Eagerly Awaits the Basterds

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

People Talking About Films Too Soon

I like talking about movies. You like talking about movies. Critics like talking about movies. The all of us like talking about movies as soon as we've seen a movie, because our opinions all matter to us. Cannes is debuting a lot of movies, and a lot of critics are screening those films, and giving their blurbs worth of information on them. This way people who care to read find out what their most base first impressions are long before the rest of us will see what they've seen. Of these films Lars von Trier's Antichrist and Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro have been spoken of. And just what was said?
Opinions are running hot over Antichrist. Cannes isn't really an accepting film festival. They booed and hissed Synecdoche, New York for goodness sake. There are plenty of people outraged at the content of Antichrist, with its hate-filled characters, and depressing everything else, but there are those who were at least entertained while being bummed out and scared witless. What people had to say about the film:

Jeff Wells says "there's no way Antichrist isn't a major career embarrassment for co-stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and a possible career stopper for von Trier... it's an out-and-out disaster, one of the most absurdly on-the-nose, heavy-handed and unintentionally comedic calamities I've ever seen in my life."

Variety believes fans of past von Trier works "will find this outing risible, off-putting or both."

TheWrap thought the film turned "into The Shining meets Evil Dead with green politics, torture porn..." and decided that they "loved it, but might have been blind-sighted by the sheer audacity of its twisted conception."

And sometimes on-sometimes off everyman's critic Roger Ebert says "von Trier is not so much making a film about violence as making a film to inflict violence upon us... this is the most despairing film I've ever seen."

Heavy stuff. Sounds like controversy. Whether its an overreaction from the snoot and snib Cannes goers, or the film is that much of a mind-bender, its all up in the air until anyone outside of this select circle of viewers has a chance at it. Others in the audience deemed the film to be worthy of the hardest NC-17 ratings money can buy, and there's talk of laughter over a talking fox. I wanted to have a talking fox in one of my shorts...

Francis Ford Coppola wanted to make a small, personal film, out of competition from the rest of the films because it was just too indie for you too handle, Cannes audience. It would have blown your mind in competition! I was one of the first to say Tetro looked very 'meh', and I'm pleased to know I was right. Nothing personal against Coppola, but his ship sailed in the 70s. The reports:

Variety feels that "Coppola lacks the writerly flair to make the big scenes soar or resonate with multiple meanings or dimensions. Rather, they more often than not seem abruptly crutailed and somewhat unsatisfying."

The Hollywood Reporter says the film has "style to burn, eye-catching acting... and a story that harkens back to many literary classics... striking visuals, music, dance and classic drama... yet somehow the piece comes off as derivative but also original."

And Indiewire proclaims Tetro is "neither complete misfire nor triumphant return to form... if a first-time filmmaker had directed this... it might gain some notice for suggesting great things to come. Instead, on its own terms, the movie is only a mildly interesting entry in Coppola's thirty-plus years of work."

So, the film is made out to be pretty good, but a tired effort on the directors part. Good. My presumptions exactly. I've wanted Apocalypse Now-era goodness coming out of Coppola since Apocalypse Now, but he just never re-caught his stride. Let his offspring handle the heavy lifting, I suppose.

- Eric T. Voigt, Back to Be Home

Lots of Adorable News: Pros and Cons

I go off the grid for a weekend and this is how film news repays me? Having lots of itself? Did I offend it in some way? There's too much to talk about. And I'm not at Columbia anymore, so I can't spout off about it any time I please. I have to let it out in short, controlled bursts. And here. This shall become my realm. 

There was so much news it was hard to tell what was important and what wasn't. Most of it wasn't, it seems. But of the news that was important, some was good news, and some was bad. Most of it seems to be good news. 

The Cannes Opening Ceremony is available online with clips from a variety of films playing at this years festival, starting at 15:40 and running until 22:30 in. The most interesting clips, meaning the clips from the films that look like I'd care about them, come from Thirst, Antichrist, Broken Embraces, Inglourious Basterds, Enter the Void, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and Map of the Sounds of Tokyo. It's definitely worth checking out, for all the clips, because it's fun to judge other countries by their filmic standards. 

Writer Vikas Swarup, author of the novel Q&A, basis for cliche-fest Slumdog Millionaire, is getting a second book adapted for the world of cinema. The book Six Suspects will be screen-written by John Hodge, who apparently wrote Trainspotting and Shallow Grave, two of my most favorite Danny Boyle films. Why does this matter? Well, if the Six Suspects movie is anything like Slumdog, I'll be disappointed. If it's anyting like Trainspotting I'll be ecstatic. No director yet, so this news is neither pro nor con, just interesting.

El Orfanato director Juan Antonio Bayona and writer Sergio Sanchez are apparently in the beginning stages of another collaboration which was been called "absolutely unique" in regards to the films visual aspects. I'd say this is good news, because El Orfanato was a solid thriller with aspects of mysticism, and did look fairly awesome. The story is coming out of true life events, but I'm hoping to see some integrating of the spiritual world in there. 

New Wuthering Heights film will not live up to the Kate Bush music video. Directed by the jerk responsible for The Girl with the Pearl Earrings and Hannibal, it's almost certain to leave me completely and utterly uninterested. For shame. 

Jerry Lewis is still alive? He's going to be in a new movie. Whatever.

Thor, famous comic book character and famously uncared about comic book character is getting his own comic book character movie. Yay Thor. Unyay audiences across America. A Thor movie is right up there with an Aquaman movie adaptation when it comes to comic book characters I absolutely do not want to see a movie about. Fucking awful. Chris Hemsworth is playing Thor. I don't know who that is. Ohhh, he played Kirk's dad in Star Trek just this few weeks ago? Good for him. Maybe the movie won't suck, but, maybe it probably will.

Ugh. New documentary about Paris Hilton titled Paris, Not France. What's with her? Can't she deal with being a normal person, outside of the scope of anything culturally relevant? I guess the film actually deals with the question of why anyone has ever given a shit about Paris Hilton, but, there's no need for that. There's a trailer here. It makes it look about as terrible as 'a documentary about Paris Hilton' sounds. 

Some director named Chris Milk did a neat short film for a competition of some sorts. I'm hazy on the details, because I skimmed them. But /film is cool, so they posted it, and I'll link it here

Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movie has a trailer, and it looks... well, it looks just awful. Robert Downey, Jr. is charismatic, and Jude Law looks like he's giving it his all to be respectable, but Guy Ritchie has a way with utilizing good actors in mediocre ways, and anything of any worth in this trailer is coming only from the talent of the actors. That's it. And why does Ritchie like underground boxing so much? So much does he like underground boxing. 

That about does it. There's a bit more, but I'll talk about those things in greater detail, or, I don't know, never talk about it ever. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Something Something Time for Arby's

Words From Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson, director of Brick and The Brothers Bloom had this to say on the matter of influence:

An email response I made to a friend late in the Bloom editing process. We were discussing the danger and place of other filmmaking influences, specifically in how the film would be received. As a very film-literate director making deeply personal films for an even more film-literate audience, it's something I've given some thought to, and this pretty much sums up where my head's currently at regarding "influences" and the creative process.

You’re probably right that I’ll get that specific criticism, especially from those who just don’t enjoy the film and are looking for an easy way to dismiss it.  But honestly I think if you actually start making creative choices based on whether other people are going to perceive your ideas as original or not, it’s a dark bad road.  If I had looked at Brick with that eye, I would have gone through and stripped out everything that anyone might have perceived as being too Coen brothers or David Lynch.  If Paul Thomas Anderson had done that with Magnolia, he would have taken out all the Altman.  If Wes Anderson had done that with Rushmore, he’d have taken out all the Ashby.  I guess what I’m saying is that it’s an ok (if painfully reductive) basis to criticize a film from, but I don’t think it’s a useful basis to make (or adjust) a film from.  At the end of the day all I can do is know where the stuff on the screen is coming from, and for me the one thing I’m sure of is that it all came from me.  I can totally see how Ricky Jay’s narration and the Cat Stevens song could be perceived as mere lifts from other movies or directors, but I know they’re not - they’re things I love, and things I arrived at through an organic process and put in the movie because I deeply believe they belong there.  In other words, they come from me, and I think it might be a dangerous thing as a filmmaker to apply any other filtration device to the creative process other than that.

Stripping those things out for fear that they’re unoriginal wouldn’t make something more purely mine, in fact I think it would work to the contrary.  If it emotionally distances some people, I can’t really control that.  But I think the negative effect of constantly worrying which creative choices will be perceived by critics or audiences as “original” would be much more detrimental.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New York, I Have Faith In You

See If You Can Find the Mistake!

Paris, Je T'aime, upon traveling across the ocean and settling on our shores, became an instant classic. With beautiful cinematography and some of the most original and brilliant stories I have seen in a very long time Paris, Je T'aime found a place in my heart and, like a blood sucking parasite, nestled in, not ready to leave any time soon. With its sucess came talks of several follow up films, each highlighting the most fabtastic aspects of major cities across the globe: Shanghai, Wo Ai Ni, Jerusalem, Ani O'hev O'Tach, and the only one that has thus far come to fruition, New York, I Love You. Sounds like a good idea right? I would hope so...

Let me list of a, well, list of the directors that have been slated to create a the shorts of New York:

Fatih Akin
Yvan Attal
Allen Hughes
Shunji Iwai

Wen Jiang
Shekhar Kapur
Joshua Marston
Mira Nair
Natalie Portman
Brett Ratner


A nice list, many directors varying in nationality and style, should be just as moving and brilliant as Paris, right? Let your eyes wander on down to the last two names on the list. What's that feeling in your stomach you ask? Well, I'll tell you, it's the angry, angry film butterflies in your gut trying to burst forth from your chest to tell you that neither of these people have proven themselves as people that should be representing America, New York, or any sort of film type media on a project that has so much potential. Tell your film butterflies to shut up so that you can read on.

Natalie Portman: An actress with so much to give. Movies such as Leon The Professional, Mars Attacks!, Garden State, V for Vendetta, The Darjeeling Limited, and Hotel Chevalier. Hotel Chevalier! Good, if not great movies (Well, known movies I guess...) but go to her imdb page and check out her writer/director credits...done yet? What did you see? Not much right? Listed are New York, I Love You, and Eve. I've never seen Eve and I can't find much on it but with character such as Grandma and Joe I can only imagine that it is utter cinematical genius. Maybe I'm just being an old man in a room of gays, maybe I just need to give her a chance. New York could very well be a chance for some up and coming young thing to test the waters. Natalie Portman, I have faith in you

Brett Ratner: Director of such classics as Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, and the in development Rush Hour IV. I don't even really know where to start here. I know there are people out there who enjoy these movies and power to ya' but they don't seem like the sort of thing I want to see come out of such an ensemble. I know that the entire point of the Je T'aime movies is to highlight differences between directors and their styles but there seems to be so many better choices when picking from the proverbial barrel of American directors, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, J.J. Abrams, and David Lynch just to name a few. You could probably even choose a British director and get away with it but Brett Ratner. Characters such as Prom Girl and Other Prom Girl just don't sound like the best way to express the beauty and uniqueness of New York as a major metropolitan area but, who knows, I could be totally wrong (I COULD be...). Brett Ratner, I want to have faith in you but I'm finding it hard to so prove me wrong...please...

New York traffic, the most cinematic Rush Hour in the world

With an American release date of October 16th I await this movie with anticipation. It has much to live up too, its predecessor one of the great films of our generation in my opinion and hopefully can find its place up there too but I also keep myself ready for the possible disappointment that comes creeping once every once in a while. New York, I Love You, I have faith in you. Just don't fuck it up. And if you do, well, at least there are another eight directors to try and prop it up. But who knows, maybe it's them I should be worried about. Toodles

Saturday, May 16, 2009

That's A Whole Lotta Coppola

It's like suckling the success from his teats

What a pile of Farfallone...I guess when film's not enough go into organic pastas

The Cousins Have Gone Their Separate Ways!

Hahahahah don't worry, faithful reader. It's a temporary summer separation, so we can get our heads on straight. We might all try seeing other people too. You know, just to test the waters a bit. In three-ish months, we will be back together making sweet, sweet lovely blog posts in each other's immediate presence.

However, I have good news! This will not affect regular blog postings over the summer! Huzzah! Have a party! Invite us (we're lonely)!


Alex Deaton - Hates to see us leave but looooves to watch us go.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Apple Trailers Dumps A Bucket Of Shit On The Internet

Well, good god. This is horrifying. As an Apple trailer aficionado, which is my first pit stop in search of new hi-def movie trailers, I can vouch that the new, very large batch of films posted on their front page is particularly awful. What is going on, cinema? It seems that the gods of filmdom have dropped an atom bomb of bad on our collective cinephile-faces. Here, view the dreadfulness yourself.

Cracktown. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you ask me.

These filmmakers killed Wes Anderson and Napoleon Dynamite and forced their corpses to make love. The result? Twistee Treat.

Almost the title for a brilliant film (think Alfonso), but as far from one as it can be. "I don't believe you that there's a million dollars and I don't believe you that mom's gone!" Believe it, my terrible little actress. 

"He left me because I'm Chinese!" No, he left you because you suck at acting. But it's black and white! Dramatic! Right? No.

God is the big shot-caller. So go salsa dance, freaky-eyes. Dance your sadness away.

OMG! Existential queries and more uninspired B&W noir cinematography coupled with excessive bad acting! It's Ghosts of the Heartland after reading basic Kafka!

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I don't think I've ever seen an unintentional horror film until now! Someone make it go away! Gooby is not OK for the whole family! Gooby is OK for no one! And Eugene Levy? Really? Remember when he was good? But now he's gone. Gooby ate him.


Good job, Apple trailers. You just made me lose faith in cinema. I'm going to drop out of film school and learn trade. Perhaps in fertilizer. 

Alex Deaton - currently crying over the death of movies.

Nine: Musicals Add Half to Every Film

Daniel-Day Lewis explains to Penelope Cruz how a musical remake of 8 1/2 isn't a terrible premise. 

Hearing someone is going to turn Federico Fellini's basically undisputed masterpiece into a musical can cause a few heads to turn and many heads to roll. Not only does that sound like a bad idea, but it's also a confusing idea. Why would 8 1/2 be something anyone would decide is prime for translating into song? Who would even want to do something like that? A lot of people. First Arthur Kopit, novelist, and Maury Yeston, musician and lyricist, sat down and made the Broadway musical version in 1982. Now Rob Marshall, director of Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha, went ahead and made Nine a film under everyone's noses. The trailer makes it look like what it should look like: a fusion of his Chicago and 8 1/2


The bastard cast this perfectly. Daniel-Day Lewis? Who isn't going to see a movie with Daniel-Day Lewis as the lead? Marion Cotillard? Penelope Cruz? Enchanting, wonderful actresses. Fergie as a whore? Exactly! Kate Hudson is a little annoying, but Nicole Kidman can cancel that out. There isn't all that much music in the trailer, but it sounds like they're singing about Italy. Which is a little weird. Can't you go the distance and not have an English-language film act like it knows anything about Italy? Apparently not. 

This looks and sounds like it's shaping up to be worth seeing. Maybe. I want to remain skeptical. Just... let me have that. It comes out Thanksgiving Day. Fitting.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Muse Time

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dearly Beloved

R.I.P Brundlefly

Perhaps they are not
stars in the sky,
but rather openings
where our loved ones
shine down
to let us know they
are happy.

I Respectfully Disagree: Blue Velvet


"What are you saying, Eric?"
"Yes, Eric, just what exactly do you mean?"

This was supposed to be a weekly feature. It's not. 


Dear Kevin,

You're a big fan of David Lynch. That's fine. He has a very distinct style, and tells a number of unique stories that are fascinating to people all over the world. I am not one of those people, I don't think. I watched Blue Velvet, and the entire time wondered why I was supposed to care about the characters, and why they were motivated to do what they did, and if I was going to start caring, or see any motivation anytime soon. I never did. The story, where a woman has her kid taken, and husband killed, by some guy, who for no reason dresses up in a fake mustache sometimes, and sucks air before raping women, and a young collegiate decides to investigate all this... I didn't like it. I thought his romance with Isabella Rossellini was absolutely and inappropriately out of the blue. I thought the amount of times Dennis Hopper said "fuck", and the variety of ways he said it, was laughable. I thought all the dialogue was laughable, really. The aesthetic was unpleasant for me. So many wide shots of grainy, disgustingly painted places with unsavory characters. I was busy being disconnected from the characters' problems, and griping about the set and wardrobe to notice any of the film's good points, apparently. I've heard this is one of his most accessible films, and if that's true I either have a thing for his inaccessibility, or these people are confusing a simple story for accessibility. I did not like this film, and probably won't like David Lynch films in the future, according to some. 

With care,
Eric T. Voigt



Dear Eric, 


I respectfully disagree. I'm sorry you didn't care about the characters. You didn't see what motivated them? Jeffrey and Sandy were two horny, inquisitive kids with the best of intentions (they just wanted to solve a good mystery); Dorothy Vallens was lonely and traumatized. Her husband and child were kidnapped! Frank frequently abuses her! He cut off her husband's ear to make a point! Holy God, man, have a heart! Frank wears a fake mustache to hide his identity because he's involved in shady dealings. And that's not just air he's sucking. You thought his (Jeffrey's) romance with Isabella Rossellini was absolutely and inappropriately out of the blue? Again, she's a lonely, damaged, desperate woman. He's young, vulnerable and NOT FRANK. Worlds collide quickly and uncomfortably, and it makes for a messy and short-lived but nevertheless engaging affair. As for Dennis Hopper saying "fuck" all the time. No qualms here. He was loud and uncouth. You've never encountered anyone like this? If I were a father and I brought my son to a baseball game for a fun-filled bonding experience, Frank would be the guy in the seat right behind, guzzling beer and cursing with his shit-faced friends, and the day would be ruined, probably. Sure, the dialogue was laughable sometimes, but it worked within the world Lynch crafted. It was supposed to be sugary and overly sentimental sometimes, but I don't think the awkward dialogue dominated the film. I won't even try to sway you on the aesthetic aspects, but I thought the filmmakers achieved an absolutely perfect look. I'm sorry you didn't like this film, but don't let that sway you from viewing other Lynch films in the future. Give them a chance. You loved Mulholland Drive

Yours,
Kevin Kern

News: McG Concedes, Has Small Penis

When big Hollywood director types get their egos bruised, or worry their franchise isn't going to fare well against another franchise, it is customary for the weaker director to call out the dominant director in front of the rest of the tribe and suggest a battle of something entirely unrelated to film. Michael Bay, one of the most well fed directors in Hollywoodland and bearing the shiniest pelt, is often met with these challenges. 

The first instance of a tribunal Michael Bay call-out was when Uwe Boll, a bottom-feeder, weak, bones showing through his graying skin, demanded the heavier director face off in a duel of knuckles and fingers. Boll lashed out at Bay in this manner after insulting the greater publicly, and then feeling unappreciated when Bay proclaimed "When you ask 'do I care'? Not in the slightest". Uwe thought boxing was the best way to resolve his jealousy and anger, but the two never set foot in a ring, and the lesser continued to make video game adaptations no one ever wanted to see. 

The second instance occurred more recently, and on a greater, better publicized scale. A young upstart director, coming off of his Christian Bale-wrangling high, knowing no man could shorten their name as expertly as he, or gotten such a strong performance out of Lucy Liu's posterior in Charlie's Angels, felt rightfully cocky when he challenged Michael Bay to expose his penis to him. McG assured others he would also reveal his own penis, and the two would measure their penises in order to settle which director would make more money off their franchises, McG's Terminator and Bay's Transformers

Bay may have provoked the sharp-haired youngling when he exclaimed his robots were bigger than McG's robots, and assumed the bigger the robot, the more viewers there would have to be to see all that metal, giving him a greater pull at the box-office. It makes sense that McG would counter this with a more personal challenge of girth and length, but done in such a braggartish way many people were taken aback, very much including the vultures and hyenas of the Hollyworld: the bloggers. 

Either McG realized this competition was in poor taste, got sick of people joking about his penis having to be smaller than that of a Michael Bay, or became too worried he would definitely have to take this challenge all the way, but the vernal and tenderfooted director retracted his challenge against the senior-most film man. 

The rules of dick-measuring is clear, and McG will indeed have to remove this appendage in a timely manner. This is bound to be one of those stories we pass on to our grandchildren, and grandchildren's step-children, teaching them of the consequences of making dumb jokes, and to keep their penises to themselves.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Good Morals

Gamer: More Like 'Lamer'! Am I Right?

A man determined not to let that explosion beat him in epicness. 

The tried-and-true plot of a corrupt futuristic government leaving prisons to pit their inmates against each other/the world with the incentive of letting them free if they kill enough of each other/innocent citizens is back again, put proudly on display in Gamer. But this time video game nerds are in control of the prisoners, and they fight each other, and if they survive more than thirty individual games they get let off death row, because murderers go there. Perfect candidates for the playing of games and being given the option of freedom.

When are future societies going to learn that when you allow killers to let their imaginations run wild in the confines of structured violence they're eventually going to try and break through, or beat the system. Or one prisoner, just one, will actually be innocent, so they'll try super hard to win. I mean, it happened in Death Race. And Death Race 2000. And The Running Man. And Gladiator. And what feels like fifty other titles. 

There's a trailer.


Whoa explosions! And a poster.

Whoa stupid poster! 

The partnership of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, co-writers, co-directors and co-friends responsible for Crank, whatever the hell Pathology is, and Crank 2: The Incredible Zombie Statham, is being high heralded. I haven't watched any Cranks, but I'm told they're highly entertaining as far as insane action movies go, and I know playing a drinking game around the shots incorporating fish-eye lenses would please many a frathouse, so ignoring how little I know about these guys outside of trailers this movie looks terrible. The premise sounds terrible. The acting looks terrible, even from Dexter. I'm not going to see this. But I'm going to talk about it.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Started This Way Too Early Now It's Time for Fiery Furnaces

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Welcome Sascha!

Today we have big news, a new mascot! Sascha The Film Beast will now be serving as our sextastic On The Matter Of "Film" mascot so welcome her with open arms and an open heart because god knows she could use a friend...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Awesome People Decide to Make a Blog That Everyone Should Get Excited About

Blogs are good for people who want to talk about things that are important to them, regardless of what anyone else is interested in, or cares to read. That's why I'm writing here, and writing about this: favorite-ish director Spike Jonze, children's booker Dallas Clayton, small time actor/freelance writer Graham Kolbeins, and a woman who goes by Magic Molly got themselves a blog. Judging from what they've posted about, it's a good one. Here:


Apparently the site was set up to help people get even more pumped about the forthcoming Where the Wild Things Are film. It picks apart films, music, photography and other art mediums that influenced the making of the movie, and also gives the contributors a place to rant about art they love, and promote their friends, and other things they find super cool. There are embedded music videos and interviews, old Spike Jonze memorabilia, and in depth articles on all manner of art at its highs. 

It's worth reading, and probably following diligently. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Whoa Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson In My Ears

Poster: Porn Time

A whole gaggle of posters have debuted at Cannes as the festival prepares to unleash a healthy mix of films I give and do not give a shit about. Apparently only two films that find themselves in the former premiered their posters. FirstShowing.net has them proudly on display, and of these posters comes a teaser for Peter Jackson's new cock-teasing feature The Lovely Bone, the story of a sorority girl who is accidently killed in the midst of a gang bang during pledge week, and watches from heaven as her friends are subjected to all manner of sexual humiliation, and pleasure, through their first year of college. 

The film is set in equal parts on a cloud in naked heaven, and in small town Melba, Idaho. The cast includes such adult film favorites as Sasha Grey, Natalli Di Rossa, and Rachel Weisz. This is the first film that falls under the label pornography for Peter Jackson, and I'm extremely excited to see how Bone turns out.

 - Eric T. Voigt, ^Hilarious Funny Joke^

6 Music Video Directors: Make the Leap

Two of the most imaginative and talented directors, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, came into the world of feature film direction out of first cutting their chops at music video direction. Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry... is there anything they can't do?

Another question: is there some certain action they had to take to make the leap from music videos to features? Is it just a drive to handle bigger stories? In less than five minutes they created some of the most beautiful and bizarre imagery I've ever seen, and thankfully it was brought along through Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Science of Sleep, and etc. There's a bushel of other music video directors I feel have the visual style, and storytelling prowess it takes to make features as great as Gondry or Jonze, yet they haven't taken the leap I imagine exists. In case they do someday take their turns at feature length films I would like to be the first to discuss them, and what it is I find worth seeing more of.

Chris Cunningham
Probably the name that first jumps to mind when pondering directors who are long overdue for a feature, Cunningham works in the realm of dark mechanisms and horrific bodily deformations, able to fit the tone of romantic and sensual, sickening and disturbing, or light and comedic with each revolutionary, sense-puzzling device he conjures up. Really catching his stride with his first Aphex Twin collaboration "Come to Daddy" Chris Cunningham has been pushing the boundaries of sight and sounds partnership, and forcing the viewers minds to stretch to the limits of comprehension with his creations of flesh and machine. His world is filled with sharp contrasts of white and black, flared lenses, and graying bodies. He can be stunning, he can be amusing, but he is never short on innovation, and he is one director I highly anticipate a feature from.

Videos:


Martin de Thurah
A director I just discovered thanks to the release of Fever Ray's debut, de Thurah has quickly risen to one of my top favorite music video directors, and knowing he's directed two rather lengthy short films already, one as recently as last year, I have high hopes that a feature is soon on the way. He is a master of shallow focus, especially in the "When I Grow Up" video. His works seem to touch strongly on the suppression of emotions: fear, anger, sadness. Troubled youths witness and cause destruction in environments highly unsuited for such releases of energy. Jerky movements and awkward dance sequences are norms, and subdued colors compliment the subject matter magnificently. I say magnificently with complete conviction. Martin de Thurah is a true artist, and is easily pegged into the theory of authorship in his direction.

Videos:


Andreas Nilsson
I'd compare Nilsson's videography to Michel Gondry's in its ability to shift style for the song. His series of videos for The Knife are all moody, glum and foreboding affairs, while his videos for Jose Gonzalez have a magical and frantic feel. His latest videos for Peter Bjorn and John ("Nothing to Worry About") and Fever Ray ("If I Had a Heart") are almost polar opposites in tone and style, one being a happy, upbeat handheld documentation of aging Asian greasers having a dance off, and the other a dark, deliberate view of death, slow in its travel through a corpse strewn mansion. He may be able to change his mood on the drop of a hat, but each video is unique, and fits perfectly with the music. His videos for White Lies, a conventional British alternative rock act, far surpass the merits of the music with their visuals. Nilsson has been working for a while, and seems to have a grasp enough on the whole directing process to be ready for the big time.

Videos:


Andy Bruntel
So many directors keep the worlds inside their videos so dark and somber. Bruntel is a huge exception. His videos have a youthful quality to them. There's a sense of innocence and mysticism to most of them, and tongue in cheek stories that actually manage to elicit audible laughs from my world-weary diaphragm. Working with the geekier branch of independent musicians like Stephen Malkmus, Modest Mouse and The Mountain Goats his videos match their pace, and manage to feel happy and free. Whether working in slow motion, stop motion, or no motion, Bruntel captures the essence of the songs. The plots he manages to craft inside such a short period of time speak greatly for what he could do with two hours on his hands, I think. And they're all so cute and funny, too, with probably meaningless symbolism, and dogs acting as the Spirit of the Forest. His last video came out of early January, and I can't wait to see more of him. In feature form mayhaps? We'll see.

Videos:


Jonnie Ross
I wish I could have found a screenshot from a Jonnie Ross video that didn't have the widescreen black bars, but I couldn't, so we'll all just have to deal. Ross hasn't done much with himself. He's done very much with himself, yes, but he doesn't have enough videos for me to be content with, and I want to see more music videos, more commercials, and especially a feature from him right about now. His videos have a crazy kinetic energy to them. Even when the characters in the frame are purely moving about in strange ways it's funny. Each video brought a grin to my face. Even when they were less than 30 seconds. His use of handheld is boggling to the mind and his MTV2 commercials deserve to be turned into features. He definitely has a feel for translating the intensity of the video into the consumer of the video. The use of light creates unusual highlights that are a bit hard to explain, and create an atmosphere that feels like home, but slightly flipped. An exciting artist, and I desire more. 

Videos:


Stefan Nadelman
Working less in the realm of music videos, and more in the realm of animating videos with heavy use of music, Nadelman is responsible for some of the most awesome animated films I've had the pleasure to lay eyes on. His style, which is a sort of digital stop motion process, give his films a style that I've never seen before, and an impressive one at that. Also one of the funnier animated shortists working today. His dog doing an impression of Orson Welles is adorable. And his commentaries on the way the world uses language, and of how transportation can work to create a claustrophobic world, not a pleasant one, are clever and pretty awesome. And using food to spell out the world's history of combat? Clearly a sharp guy. I think Nadelman has what it takes to use his animating skills, and his humor making skills to dole out an awesome movie. And if he never gets around to doing that, I never want him to stop releasing his shorts. Major kudos for all he's done. 

Videos:

What will it take for these men to make features? I don't know, man. I'm just talking about it.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Gots To Get Paid