20 years ago digital cinematography was an exciting if untested new realm. The first two pioneering efforts in this era were Bernard Rose‘s ivansxtc, shot with a Sony HDW-700 in the summer of ’99, and Barbet Schroeder‘s Our Lady of the Assassins, using either the same digital camera or a close relation.
I did a couple of interviews with Rose in the spring and summer of ’02. He was fairly exuberant about the freedom that digital cinema would provide to indie filmmakers, going on about how the film industry would eventually become like the book-publishing business with filmmakers shooting more or less on their own dime and the big distributors having relatively little to say about the creative process, and just distributing the way book publishers do.
Cut to a recent Variety interview between Robin Wright and Chris Pine, and Wright quoting House of Cards producer-director David Fincher as follows: “You realize that we’re going to revolutionize the way people view content. They can watch as much as they want, whenever, like you would read a book. And not only that revolution that’s going to happen, but it’s going to be so comfortable for people to participate [in].”
Rose’s prediction hasn’t exactly manifested the way he saw it two decades ago, but it would probably help if the online commentariat could recognize that these days the indie filmmaking and distribution business does resemble the book business more than, say, the old-style movie distribution business of 25 or 30 years ago. Just a thought.
If a director is no longer making good films or having trouble getting funding for his/her next project, there’s almost always a good reason for that.
Usually it’s because he/she has simply aged out and has therefore (a) lost the ability to hear and respond to the cultural current, (b) has nothing new to say or (c) has simply run out of gas. Then again you have to remember the case of the 82-year-old Sidney Lumet rebounding with Find Me Guilty (’06) and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (’07). Lumet’s comeback was a thing of absolute wonder.
If I could magically re-ignite the creative fires of any big-name ’80s director so that he/she could make one more really good or great film, I would choose John Carpenter, Rob Reiner, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam or Bertrand Blier. But it’s a silly idea. Artists tend to lose their strength and vision when the fire goes out — period. Some are long-game players but most are not.
From “Visual Maestro, Yes, But A Sworn Enemy of Logic,” posted on 4.20.16:
Posted on 9.10.15: “My view is that Brian DePalma was a truly exciting, must-watch director from the late ’60s to mid ’70s (Greetings to The Phantom of the Paradise to Carrie), and an exasperating, occasionally intriguing director from the late ’70s to mid ’90s (Dressed To Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes).
“But he’s been over for years. I used to love the guy but then he made Mission to Mars (’00), Femme Fatale (’02), The Black Dahlia (’06), Redacted (’07) and Passion (’12)…forget it. Baumbach and Paltrow surely understand this. They surely made this doc in hopes of restoring DePalma’s rep as well as educating Millenials and reminding the old-time fans what a legendary helmer he was in his day.
“…and the sound of a clown crying in the alley.”
There are two double-if not-triple-electrifying Bob Dylan performances in Martin Scorsese‘s Rolling Thunder Revue (Netflix, 6.12), which I saw yesterday but can’t write about until Monday evening. This is one of them — a hard-charging, hard-punching version of A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall; the other is a similar sounding rendition of “Isis.” A third musical highpoint is footage of Joni Mitchell (who joined the RTR tour in Connecticut) playing and singing “Coyote,” then a brand-new song, for Dylan and three or four others.
It would appear that the basic bones of Michael Dowse‘s Stuber are roughly the same as those in Michael Mann‘s Collateral. Kumail Nanjiani is Jamie Foxx, and of course driving an Uber instead of a cab. Dave Bautista is a thicker, heavier, sweatier, more Cro-Magnon version of Tom Cruise‘s Vincent.
You can tell right off the bat it’s a crude action comedy aimed at morons — basically a run-of-the-mill Dwayne Johnson movie. Collateral was a real-deal movie with a tough-love theme and a knockout ending (“Think anyone’ll notice?”). It was basically about a bad guy saving a good guy…about Foxx being goaded by Cruise into manning up, stop fantasizing and taking control of his life. What is Stuber likely to be? Be honest.
I said this last summer, and then I reposted; now I’m saying it again. A healthy percentage (half?) of the none-too-brights who voted for Donald Trump did so for three reasons. One, they wanted to deliver a resounding fuck-you to the business-as-usual mainstream establishment by throwing a brick through the proverbial plate-glass window. Two, they wanted to deliver some pushback to the p.c. community for aggressively kowtowing to POCs and LGBTQs at every turn. And three (and this is the main reason), they couldn’t stand Hillary Clinton.
I voted for her, of course, but I had problems with her. (As did tens of thousands in my lefty-urban contrarian camp.) I would have voted passionately and wholeheartedly for Elizabeth Warren if she’d won the nomination. Or Bernie Sanders even. Hillary’s adamant refusal to listen to what was happening in ’16 — the Bernie and Trump explosions on both sides of the spectrum — is what sealed her fate. Instead of begging Warren or Bernie to be her vp and thereby embracing what they stood for, she chose Tim fucking Kaine. I hated her for doing that.
And then she went out there and committed suicide by acting like a peevish substitute teacher, by running on genderism, by fainting at that World Trade Center tribute event, by cackling and walking around with those awful eye bags, by allowing her stupid-ass emails for become a thing, by nodding with approval as DNC honcho Debbie Wasserman Schultz schemed, rigged and plotted against Bernie, by failing to campaign more aggressively in Wisconsin and Michigan, and for trying to sell a liberal moderation casserole when the bumblefucks wanted to hear “shake this place up!” And then the James Comey letter finished her off.
I will never, ever forgive Hillary for her blindness, and for what she did to all of us. She singlehandedly engineered the most horrifically anti-Democratic phase in the history of U.S. of A. governance. She did this — she allowed the most odious, fiendish, openly fascistic and wantonly destructive president in the nation’s history to seize power and take us all down in the process. The voters screamed and howled in ’16, and Hillary turned a deaf ear.
In my view Hillary should move to Spain or Italy (buy a home in Ravello) and stay there.
And now the same stodgy liberal mindset, the same “let’s play it safe and laid-back by not alienating the bumblefucks” Democrats are hoping to nominate a 76-year-old guy who’s been marinating in the same basic Hillary sauce for the last 30 years, the same “let’s be moderately reasonable” approach and not be so hateful and restore the Obama era with fairness and constructive compassion and establishment chumminess and blah blah.
If Democratic National Committee honchos allow Hillary to speak at the 2020 Democratic convention, they’ll be slitting their own throats and that of the Democratic nominee, plain and simple.
“You Have to Kill The Bear,” a recent Politico piece.