Paul Newman (1925-2008)
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008)
Link Dump #5: W., Stars, Vampire Weekend, and Criterion Blu-Ray
W., un film de Oliver Stone
If this trailer (for Oliver Stone’s W.) were just a joke, it would be a great joke. We’ll see what happens with the movie.
Music Video: Stars/”Bitches in Tokyo”
“This is what you’re worried about: something called The New York Dolls.”
Music Video: Vampire Weekend/”Oxford Comma”
It’s probably too soon for the Wes Anderson homage videos, but whatever.
Criterion Collection, High-Definition Division
Speaking of Wes Anderson, The Criterion Collection has just announced details on its November (delayed from October) opening salvo of Blu-ray Disc releases, and it’s a doozy. Bottle Rocket. Chungking Express. (Swoon.) The Third Man. The Man Who Fell to Earth. And The Last Emperor. Five solid selections from five great directors — and two films (the one with Faye Wong and the one with Orson Welles) that I absolutely adore. I am so there.
Werner Herzog in Pleasantville
It’s not exactly the hip neighborhood, but working out of Deep Focus World Headquarters in Sleepy Hollow, NY, has its advantages. One of them is the proximity of the Jacob Burns Film Center, an arthouse triplex in nearby Pleasantville that’s several times more comfy than any similar venue in Manhattan. (Well, with the possible exception of the fairly posh Sunshine Cinemas downtown. And the similarly appointed IFC Center, also downtown. But you get my meaning.) Tonight, the Burns center hosted Werner Herzog for a screening of his documentary about Antarctic research stations and the scientists who inhabit them, Encounters at the End of the World. In the course of a highly entertaining Q&A, he held forth on his Bad Lieutenant
remake, described his rescue of Joaquin Phoenix in early 2006, and told the audience what he really thinks about film theory.
Link Dump #4
I can only hope that reports of Mike D’Angelo’s death are, once again, greatly exaggerated. Even if they come from Mike D’Angelo himself.
Not movie-related, but kinda fascinating, I’d think, for content geeks of any stripe: A Usenet-based team of music obsessives — known, apparently, as The Whitburn Project — has been not only working on creating a huge (illegal) archive of post-1890 pop songs, but also maintaining a huge spreadsheet database of song data, including song length, BPM, label, and more. Andy Baio (Waxy.org) is running the numbers. Today, Baio charts average song duration over time, but promises more to come.
Zhang Ziyi appears in a Mercedes commercial. In China.
Check out this slideshow: Liberty City vs. New York City. What’s especially interesting is, at low resolution, it’s sometimes hard to tell the live-action shots from the videogame grabs.
Funny Games: The TV Years
When I first heard that Funny Games was being remade for the U.S. multiplex, I couldn’t imagine a more unlikely crossover between extreme European cinema and the American mainstream. But now this. Gosh. I know HBO is reputedly starving for new, edgy content. But really, what the hell is going on?
04.01.08 | HBO COMMISSIONS FUNNY GAMES, COMEDY-DRAMA SERIES
BASED ON MICHAEL HANEKE’S FILMS, TO BEGIN AIRING THIS FALL
LOS ANGELES, April 1, 2008 – HBO, in conjunction with Halcyon Pictures and Tartan Films, is set to begin production on the 12-episode first season of the new HBO comedy-drama series FUNNY GAMES, it was announced today by Nicki Brand, executive vice president, HBO Entertainment. Michael Pitt (“The Dreamers,” “Last Days”) and Brady Corbett (“Thirteen,” “24”) will star in the series, reprising their roles from the recent Warner Independent Pictures feature film.
Slated to debut October 31, FUNNY GAMES is executive produced by Michael Haneke (“Cache”) and Ron Howard (“The Da Vinci Code”). Based on the 1997 film directed by Haneke, the show looks at a different ordinary American family each week as they cope with the arrival of the white-clad Peter and Paul, two unwelcome guests who enjoy sinister “funny games” that turn their hosts’ lives upside down.
“FUNNY GAMES is an intense, thought-provoking series that’s unlike anything else HBO has presented before,” said Brand. “The show undermines the creature comforts of the bourgeoisie and mocks the American television audience through telling moments of sadism and brutality in a way that broadcast TV can’t do.”
“We’re definitely going to push the envelope,” said Howard. “Michael’s brilliant films never found the audience they deserved, but I’m incredibly excited to think that, every week, the HBO viewing audience will have the opportunity to rethink its relationship to the thoughtlessly violent entertainment spectacles it craves.”
The show will also introduce a groundbreaking interactive component. Midway through each episode, viewers will vote via 900 number or text message on whether or not the family in that week’s installment should be allowed to survive. But, in a soul-shattering twist that underscores the relation between cinematic spectatorship and sadism, each installment will nonetheless end with the casual murder of each family member, as well as any pets.
“Since I first conceived it in the mid 1990s, FUNNY GAMES has always been my intelligent, passionate reaction to stupidly violent American cinema and the audience of shabby, knuckle-dragging cretins that thoughtlessly consumes this kind of naïve, morally destitute entertainment,” said Haneke. “Fuck you,” he added.
Link Dump #3
I hadn’t realized that music-video director extraordinaire Mark Romanek was attached to helm Universal’s big-deal remake of The Wolf Man. But, well, not any more …. Hey, remember that Utah-based cottage industry built around editing violent and salacious bits from DVDs in order to protect the sensibilities of family-minded locals? One of its mini-moguls has been arrested for allegedly paying to get blow jobs from 14-year-olds (original reports said this guy was one of the founders of the core Clean Flicks operation, but apparently he’s just a second-stringer and the famous original Clean Flicks is now apparently suing him over the misunderstanding) …. In other decency news, the FCC (citing a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue) has just declared your butt a sex organ …. Also, You Suck at Photoshop …. And, finally, enjoy words from Ghostface Killah and Harlan Ellison (not at the same time or in the same room, mind) on getting paid.