Thanks to the 'Fesser's mom's taste for films about those she terms "the criminal element," the cinetrix caught a bit of Goodfellason AMC last night. She still stands by the infamous "Goodfellas? Good movie!" assessment, but the experience left her more determined than ever to put the flick into semi-retirement and use Children of Men to talk to the kiddies about long takes this fall.
It also got her to thinking about motherfuckin' curse words because, you see, AMC slices them out of the audio track. Sometimes you can still watch a character's mouth form the word "fuck" like some at-bat baseball player who's just been drilled by an "errant" pitch. But with a voiceover-heavy flick like Goodfellas a lot of stuff also just... disappears.* I'm having a difficult time deciding whether it's an improvement over obvious f-word dubs like "frick" or "freak" [which, said together, make you sound like you've got a speech impediment and a costume on].
What do you think? Have a favorite ADR moment? Or candidates for movies rendered unwatchable in network television or basic cable versions? Filthy mouths and bad attitudes emphatically welcome in the comments.
*The day Henry gets busted also seemed to whiz by faster than usual. Maybe AMC gets the special "these aren't even my pants" version to cut down on the running time?
The cinetrix spent a lot of time in the car this weekend, which meant she caught Steve Buscemi [pronounced "Boo-sem-mee," who knew?] shilling for his latest flick on NPR's All Things Considered. And because even public radio needs to drive its listeners online, they promised a "Buscemi Takes A Beating" montage of clips if you visit the Web site. Check it out here.
The cinetrix is having aneurism-prompting difficulties with the internets today. Before something else crashes, she should tell you--quickly--that while conveying the cinetrix through some of the whitest states in the nation yesterday, Dartmouth Coach opted to screen the Terrence Howard Rocky-Does-Flipturns flick Pride. Make of that what you will.
OK, so the cinetrix was paging through an undated Janus Films distribution catalogue, as is her wont [she owns a couple], when she came across the following ad insert:
For the First Time a Complete Film Study Series Featuring the World's Great Masters of FilmMaking...
Flip the page and you're greeted with the following spread. On the left:
Film Volume 1 * Screenwriting The importance of the screenplay in regard to dialogue, film structure, non-verbal screenwriting, and the adaption of novels and plays into film Film Volume 2 * The Camera Illustrates the psychological impact of camera placement, movement, composition and lighting. Film Volume 3 * Performance Focuses upon the role of the performer and the nature and methods of acting for films. Film Volume 4 * Music and Sound The role of the aural elements of film: dialogue, music and sound effects, and their various uses. Film Volume 5 * The Edited Image The variety of editing techniques and their applications; the art of montage; the relation of time and structure to editing. Film Volume 6 * The Director Evaluates the function of the direction in terms of the auteur theory and of films as personal statements.
STUDY GUIDE Offers in-depth analysis of both the selected sequences , and the subject in general. For each film there are sample study questions, suggested projects, and a recommended bibliography for further reading. A complete study guide is included with each film volume.
TO ORDER Each Film Volume rents for $48. This rental price includes a complete study guide. To order use the form at the back of this catalogue in the section marked "The Art of Film".
But wait, there's more! The right-hand page, illustrated with stills of Chaplin, Guilietta Massina, Welles, etc., reads
JANUS FILMS presents THE ART OF FILM A unique series illustrating the art of the motion picture with highlights from the world's great cinema masterpieces. 6 Film Volumes each 22 minutes in color
Written and Produced by Saul J. Turell and Jeff Lieberman Narrated by Rod Serling
By Rod Serling?!? It just gets better. So, what do they deem "the world's great cinema masterpieces"? Flip the page.
THE ART OF FILM Selections from: Jules and Jim * The Seventh Seal * The Lady Vanishes * Two English Girls * Rashomon * Winter Light * The 39 Steps * Shoot the Piano Player * Dodes'ka-den * The Magician * Oliver Twist * Beauty and the Beast * Richard III * Wild Strawberries * Potemkin * All These Women * Citizen Kane * Valerie * La Strada * Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors * Caesar and Cleopatra * 400 Blows * The Rocking Horse Winner * Summertime * Alexander Nevsky * Saraband * Metropolis * The Most Dangerous Game * The Gold Rush * M * Le Bonheur * Pygmalion * The Silence * Dead of Night * Evergreen
THE ART OF FILM series and the corresponding study materials are fully protected by copyrights. They may not be copied, televised, taped nor used for television, cable or theatrical exhibition.
OK, who out there flouted copyright and dubbed this wonder? The cinetrix is dying to see it for oh so many reasons. Absolute discretion guaranteed.
If it's summertime, the cinetrix must be spending time on the Dartmouth Coach. After last year's tyranny of Tootsie, she was relieved to settle into her seat on Sunday and start watching The Queen, a flick she'd missed up 'til now.
Here are my very quick impressions.
What must it be like to wake to bagpipes every morning? The cinetrix lived outside Harvard Yard for a stretch and could count on an annual wakeup call on Commencement morn, but every fuckin' day? No wonder the royal family are bats.
How did foxy Helen Mirren make her legs look as thick as Hillary's?
Did anyone else find Desplat's soundtrack tootling during the stag scene a bit much?
The 'Fesser and the cinetrix successfully lured our pal Daniel of cinematic obsession north for our annual epic 4th of July throwdown. In turn, he turned me on to American Independents Week at the Harvard Film Archive, a series cocurated by Cassavetes guy Ray Carney and outgoing HFA pooh-bah Ted Barron. Here's how Carney's program notes describe the lineup:
This is the Harvard Film Archive’s second annual survey of
independent work that “flew under the radar” – largely unknown or
neglected films that have not entered the distribution cycle, did not
receive major press coverage, or have not won awards at important
festivals. Notwithstanding the fact that most of these titles are
unheralded and unknown, they are among the most important and
interesting recent American films. These young artists, many of them
first–time filmmakers with no outside financial backing, are, almost
without exception, taking more artistic risks and pushing the envelope
much further than better–known and more financially secure American
filmmakers who have reputations to protect.
If we ask why many of these works are still lurking in the shadows
or searching for a distributor, the reasons are not that hard to come
up with. These films do not push dependable box–office ticket–sales
buttons. Their characters are not “cute,” “charming,” or “sweet” in the
Napoleon Dynamite way. Their stories are not “clever,” “crowd–pleasing,” or “feel–good” in the Little Miss Sunshine
way. They do not feature big–name actors making “in–joke” cameos.
Though most of these films are made by Gen–Y artists about Gen–Y
characters, they don’t even fit the pattern of Gen–Y movies. Their male
characters are not introverted and narcissistic; their female
characters are not whiney or clingy; and their narratives are not
reducible to the group–hug ethos that says everything will be OK if
only you have friends. The films in this program do not pander to the
prejudices or predilections of young viewers or attempt to flatter
audience members of any age. They take the pulse of contemporary
American life toughly and unsentimentally. They challenge the viewer to
look at experience in new and potentially disorienting ways and, at
their best, ask the viewer to think freshly about the untapped
expressive possibilities of the art.
Daniel was especially keen to see Swanberg's Sundance darling, Hannah Takes the Stairs, and revisit Mike Gibisser's Finally, Lillian and Dan, which Mike had sent him on dvr a couple months back. The latter flick, shot in and around Cambridge, kept setting off real-life ripples as our tromps around the People's Republic took us from one of the film's locations to the next. We also managed a screening of Aaron Katz's Quiet City, and I'm glad we did, not least because it's slated as the second offering from Benten, fellow film geeks Filmbrain and Cinephiliac's new DVD distribution shingle.
The incestuous nature of the cinetrix's experience is appropriate, given how these particular filmmakers are in one others' pockets, appearing in their pals' films and lumped together in trend pieces about the so-called mumblecore movement. Who am I to do otherwise?
I think you know the answer to that. Yes, all three movies also boast a strong female protagonist and the hoodied boys held in her sway. But they're very different works.
Gibisser's Finally, Lillian and Dan is the most resolutely lo-fi, like a Sebadoh cassette stuck in a hatchback's tape deck. Shy Lillian lives with her grandmother and is benignly stalked by Dan. Carney observed that at points it's almost a silent movie, and I think he's on to something there. And like the silents, there's a sophisticated visual intelligence at work here. My scribbles note: "So smart. Mask cut bird in sky is actually kite out of old Volvo wagon." Similar shots of the tree canopy are anything but pictorial parsley--each one is deliberate and adds either bite or a palate cleanser as the couple's relationship evolves. The other note I made was "It's like the best parts of Junebug," in its affection for the beauty of the homely accouterments of life.
At the confab after the next night's double feature, the cinetrix was called upon as the lone female to weigh in on the female protagonist of Hannah Takes the Stairs. [Story of my life.] Realistic or a male fantasy--yes or no? Days later, the jury's still out. Yes, sirens like Hannah exist in real life, albeit usually not with the amazing amber eyes of Greta Gerwig, but to me the film and its story was the most familiar of the lot, perhaps because of the presence of Andrew Bujalski again holding down one angle of a tortured love triangle. More fun for me was trying to scope out the spines of the VHS tapes behind the actress during an intense conversation. I spotted 81/2 Women, Savage Beauty, The Unbelievable Truth, and Doom Generation. And there're tub scenes that resonate with 2 ou 3 Choses and Les Reves des Anges.
Aaron Katz was present with producer Ben Stambler for the Quiet City screening. Nice guys. Their film, which follows a young woman randomly connecting with a rudderless hoodie boy after her flaky friend stands her up, captures the delicious quiet of Brooklyn in the wee small hours of the morning. There are many graceful, tentative moments amidst the couple's get-acquainted pas de deux, but I commend to you also the party cutaways to Mike Tully on the sofa, intoning like a hipster Andy Warhol [seriously, close your eyes and listen].
So why call this post Dance dance revolution? Well, in all three films there are spontaneous, visceral dance sequences that soar. Mike Gibisser's real-life granny dances rapturously to a Jolie Holland tune; Hannah and roommate Rocco rock out as they work through Hannah's romantic confusion; and Jamie, Charlie, Robin, and Kyle dreamily groove to an r&b track replaced by the diegetic music of Keegan DeWitt [rights issues]. These inarticulate idealists connect through the physical movement to music in a way that makes the cinetrix's bricolage-lovin' heart sing.
Do check 'em out, if and when you can, and nominate your own favorite musical moments in non-musicals in the comments. I'll start. "Kool Thing" in Simple Men, Almaric in Rois et Reine, and Martin Donovan in Surviving Desire. You?