Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wicked Blood---Little Miss Sunshine meets southern degenerate drug dealers

18-year-old Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) stars in this thriller about a girl in an extended family of meth addicts, meth "cooks" and meth dealers. Filmed in Louisiana. Rather violent.

It was pretty good. Looks like it had a very limited theatrical release and then went straight to video.
Sort of a southern rural Fresh (1994). She rides around on her bicycle and uses her chess skills to plan her moves. A little like Walter White.

It turns out that it's unwise to use text messages to discuss criminal activities.

Jon Jost, streaming video

In May, on Jon Jost's blog Cinemaelectronica, someone commented:
Just a quick aside, have you ever been offered to have your films on MUBI or Fandor? They seem like they would be a great market and a possible source of income/attention.
to which Jost replied:
Fandor asked, and I might, later. For the moment I have most everything up to go on Vimeo and I will see how that goes. Thanks.
At least a couple of Mark Rappaport movies are on Fandor---Rock Hudson's Home Movies and From the Journal of Jean Seberg. Those are just two I noticed glancing through the site. I suppose that's where his other movies would have appeared if Ray Carney weren't clinging to them.

[Actually, several of Rappaport's films are on Fandor. I don't know what all he made, but my guess is that everything except the ones Carney swiped are on there.]

Jost has said he would arrange some crowd funding to have new prints made of Rappaport's films Carney won't give back but I haven't heard any more about it.

When I first heard about the Ray-Carney-stealing-Mark-Rappaport's-movies thing, I had this strange compulsion to side with Carney. Whatever the facts were, I assumed the issue would be resolved fairly quickly with Rappaport getting his stuff back---Carney would have to have something horribly wrong with him not to return the material.

Well, Carney does have something horribly wrong with him and he still has the stuff.

If everything Carney claimed was true, it wouldn't explain his conduct. I wonder if he has some sort of neurological disability.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Joan Rivers

When you're in your 80s, be aware that any public pronouncement you make could be your last. Don't reveal yourself to be a sadistic, blood-thirsty racist Jewish supremacist gloating over the slaughter of Palestinian men, women and nearly 500 children like Joan Rivers did.

Joan's in the hospital, reportedly in an induced coma after she stopped breathing.

Good luck to her. I guess. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Films of Rick Schmidt

Started binge-watching Rick Schmidt movies on Fandor. They're pretty good. The fact that I've been able to binge watch them is a testament that.

They're such that when you watch them you feel that you could do it, too. I'm sure it's not as easy as it looks. But I look at my little point and shoot camera, and I look at the movies, and I think...

The movie Morgan's Cake was pretty good, starring Schmidt's then-17-year-old son, Morgan, deciding whether to register for the draft. I never registered. Nothing to it. A little odd that Schmidt films his son making out with his girlfriend and telling her an anecdote about his testicles. The movie looked pretty good considering it was filmed on analog video (I think it was Video8---they didn't have Hi8 yet) and transferred to 16mm black and white film (at a cost of $100 a minute according to his book). It would have been cheaper to shoot on film in the first place (depending on the shooting ratio) but he didn't have the money then and it would have been a different movie if he had.

Most of them are dialog movies. Many were produced as collaborative films by the workshops Schmidt runs. Some list other people as director. One is a Dogme 95 film.

In some of the movies, the conversations go on too long for my taste, or at least they stick to one subject longer than they should.

Schmidt had worked with Wayne Wang who went on to make Chan is Missing, The Joy Luck Club, Maid in Manhattan and many others. The film he and Schmidt made together, A Man, A Woman and a Killer, is on here, too.

I'm hoping that the films of Jon Jost will be available.

And Mark Rappaport's films, if that screwed up little freak Ray Carney would hand his stuff over.

Jost has said in his blog that he'll be arranging fundraising for new prints of Rappaport's films to be made. I'll pitch in a couple hundred bucks.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rick Schmidt's films on Fandor

Several films of Rick Schmidt (author of Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices) are available now on Fandor. You have to subscribe. I did watch some previews. I watched a horrible scene of a child crying as he told the true story of his father's death while he was alone in the house with him.

I guess I need to sign up for Fandor.

Watched previews for his other movies. There are a number I hadn't heard of.

Morgan's Cake was about Schmidt's son, Morgan, deciding whether to register for the draft. According to his book, it was filmed on analog video and transferred to 16mm film. It looks okay considering. I don't think anyone has been prosecuted for failing to register for the draft in years. Even back then, they only went after you if you were an activist, and all you had to do was register and they'd drop the charges. But a high number of people failing to register makes bringing back the actual draft less likely.

Looking at other previews. Some look more interesting than others. Many of the movies listed on his website do not list him as director on Fandor---I assume these are collaborative movies he's made in his filmmaking seminars.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Eyes of Laura Mars

I haven't seen The Eyes of Laura Mars in thirty years. I didn't realize that the script was by John Carpenter. I had seen it on TV and I read the Mad Magazine version, "The Eyes of Lurid Mess".

Fashion photographer Laura Mars photographs models in violent scenes. Police notice that her photos resemble specific crime scene photos and she has psychic visions, viewing crimes through the eyes of the killer.

Made in 1978. Disco era. At the time, I thought the movie was well-made and sophisticated. It still comes across that way. Made for $7 million, a modest budget, equal to about $25 million in today's money. How did they get so much more for their money back then?

With Faye Dunaway in the title role and a young Tommy Lee Jones. With Rene Auberjonois and Raul Julia,

Laura Mars uses only 35mm cameras but makes huge enlargements.

I think it's nice that Laura Mars has an AMC Matador station wagon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nymphomaniac Vols. 1 & 2

There was Samuel Fuller's 1964 film, The Naked Kiss. An ex-prostitute becomes a pediatric nurse and gets engaged to the hospital's wealthy benefactor. She finds out he's a pedophile. He tells her that that's why he wants to marry her----she's abnormal, too. A prostitute. She can understand him. (She doesn't. She kills him.)

A scene in Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac reminded me of that movie. There's a flashback where Charlotte Gainsbourg tells dirty stories to a partially unclothed man being held down and forced to listen. She's trying to find out what his perversion is. He becomes visibly aroused when she tells a story of pedophilia. But she feels sorry for him and performs an oral act of love on him.

Back in the present, she explains that the guy deserved credit for having never acted on his abnormal impulses, and she felt for him since she was a nympho and wasn't exactly normal herself.

I watched Nymphomaniac Vols. 1 & 2, now available for instant viewing on Netflix.

The movie features Charlotte Gainsbourg as a 40-year-old nymphomaniac. After she gets beaten up and left in an alley, an intellectual takes her up to his room and hears her life story. Her life as a nymphomaniac which we see in flashback.

Most of the scenes have only two people, either talking or having sex.

It bothers me that foreign filmmakers now feel compelled to make their movies in English. Here they speak in English accents. Phony English accents, many of them. Shia LeBeouf appears in it. I think it's the first movie I've seen him in, and he was okay, but I don't know what all the fuss is.

I felt like a bit of a naif watching. It turns out that if a girl asks you where the bathroom is on a train, it means she wants to have sex with you in the bathroom. It's something that would have never occurred to me, but the English seem hip to it.

Nymphomania apparently leaves the poor girl little time for anything else although she manages to parlay her nymphomania into a career or sorts.

The thing that bothered me is that they talk quietly in one scene then have loud sex in the next. If you're watching it in your room in a house with other people, you have to turn the sound up to hear the dialog, then turn it down quick so people don't think you're in there watching porno.

Robin Williams

The first thing I remember seeing Robin Williams in was a brief resurrection of the show Laugh-In in the late '70s. In one brief gag, he played a yokel thrilled to meet Frank Sinatra. He talks to the camera to tell his wife, "Sell my clothes! I'm going to heaven!"

I remember when Alan Alda beat him for an Emmy for most talented guy on TV. This was during the Mork and Mindy years. I was surprised. Alan Alda? I figured he must have been doing an awful lot behind the scenes that nobody outside the industry knew about.

I've never understood people's reaction to suicide. There are people who are outraged by it. I've heard people claim it was "selfish" or was "the coward's way out", as if it were perfectly logical, based on a cost-benefit analysis. Like we'd ALL commit suicide if we had any sense.

But Williams was 63. His death was a shock. There was nothing to prepare us. He wasn't Shia LeBeouf acting out in public. There was no logic to it. His life should have been great. But they're reporting that he was battling severe depression. He had had a drug problem and, according to one report, relapsed after many years of sobriety.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adore (2013)

Incest in disguise is common enough in movies. There's The Graduate and Blame it on Rio.

I'm sitting here watching this thing on Netflix. Adore. Made in 2013. Naomi Watts, Robin Wright.

About two women sleeping with each others' 20-year-old son.

It's perverse, but not perverse enough. The guys playing the sons are bodybuilder surfer types and it's hard to imagine them feeling any strong emotion. The mothers wear two piece swimsuits. They're too bourgeois. If they were hillbillies, it might have been pretty good.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's wrong with former child stars

Okay, this is probably it. This is what's wrong with former child stars who go bad. Hollywood doesn't do them to it. It's not early fame.

Here it is:

A university study followed "cool kids" in middle school for ten years, from age 13 to 23.
Through a series of interviews and surveys, the researchers found that the 'cool' kids in middle school were more likely to have engaged in romantic behavior at young ages, participated in delinquent activity and picked friends based on their levels of physical attractiveness.
Basically, they were "cool" because they did things in middle school---dating, drinking, experimenting with drugs---that most kids didn't do until high school. But when they got to high school and EVERYONE did this stuff (if they wanted to), the cool kids tried to be even more extreme.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens,” study author Dr. Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, said in a press release. “So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent -- socially and otherwise -- than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.” 
It came to me watching the first audition film of Jean-Pierre Leaud for Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows. Truffaut reportedly got a letter from Jean-Pierre's principal warning him that the kid was a brat. He would hang around with older kids and run around off campus (this was at a boarding school). They kept catching him with dirty magazines. He was hard for teachers to deal with.

That was when he was fourteen. From the audition film:
"How old are you?"

"I am fourteen."

"It's a bit old."

"I'm not that tall."

"You look twelve?"

"I think so."
So who were these high school kids hanging around with little Jean-Pierre when he looked 12? The study noted that the "cool kids" in middle school tended to hang around with older high school kids. But, since high school kids usually don't like hanging around with middle schoolers, they were hanging around with the dregs of high school which screwed them up even further.

I should note that, as far as I know, Jean-Pierre Leaud turned out okay. Although I did hear he was high on drugs the whole time he was filming Luc Moullet's A Girl is a Gun

In a way, I feel a little better knowing that the cool kids went on to lead miserable lives. Although it wasn't universal---some of them turned out just fine---and it was no picnic for those of us who weren't cool, either. And you shouldn't have to pay the rest of your life just because you were popular at 13.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Orlando Bloom" goes home in disgrace

Middle-aged cuckold "Orlando Bloom" arrived late for a star-studded party in Ibiza for fashion designer Riccardo Tisci. Justin Bieber was already inside. "Orlando" went mincing up to the door but was turned away because of his history of hissy fits.

Last time, "Orlando" ineffectually tried to punch Bieber who effortlessly avoided the blow and held "Orlando" off until he finally went mincing back to his table, humiliated.

And "Orlando" is proud of this! “Everyone keeps telling me I’m their hero,” he effeminately told reporters.

Here's a recent video from TMZ of "Orlando":

This is a middle-aged man acting this way.