September 30, 2004
I just finished watching the first presidential debate, which was frequently hilarious (or, to be exact, one half of it was consistently hilarious), and figured that now would be an appropriate time to link to the short film I made last week. It's called 2nd, and it's a 90 second abstract film. My initial cut was actually even more abstract than what's now online (there was originally only one line of dialogue in it: the words thank you), but I decided that for the sake of the message/opinion I'd clarify things a bit. I made it for a program PBS will be putting together sometime before November, but I'm not sure of the exact details yet. In the meantime, you can watch it right here. Quicktime, 5 Mb, etc.
And I received my voter's registration card yesterday, finally. I'm good to go.
Posted by David Lowery at 9:43 PM
September 28, 2004
Jame also gave me a really good idea for a minor adjustment to Henry Lee that may make it good enough to start submitting to competitions and such. Just a reappropriation of the voice over narration.
I completely forgot that I meant to post about a short film I made over the weekend, which is actually online now. But I think I'll wait on that until I actually feel like talking about it.
Right now, I feel like embarking on my yearly appointment with Virginia Woolf. Back to the beginning this time, The Voyage Out.
Posted by David Lowery at 4:50 PM
Yeah, yeah, the NY Times Magazine has a lengthy article on Wong Kar Wai and 2046 -- of course I'm going to link to it.
James and Amy and I had our would-be Star Wars marathon today. Would-be because, after going through all four hours of featurettes and such and going out to eat and then watching the first two films in the trilogy, it was already 2 AM, and James had to open the restaurant in the morning. So we're saving Return Of The Jedi for later. I could write so much about these movies -- especially since it's been so long since I've seen them, about five years or so -- but instead I thought I'd dig out an entry from the diary I kept for a brief period when I was twelve. On July 7, 1993 I wrote:
Then we watch ROTJ...for the first time, when I saw the scene where Yoda died, I realized how great the Star Wars films really are. I man, they have always been great to me, but they really struck me hard on the emotional level.
I think I wrote that to explain to myself why I started crying at that particular scene.
I just have to say, though, that watching the original trilogy with the prequels in mind...I couldn't help but see everything differently. And I also thought about how wonderful an experience watching this DVD set has been, and how it seems so special and unique to me...but that there are millions of other people out there feeling exactly the same thing. It's a beautiful thing. And I also thought about how in the end I don't mind any of the changes (and some of them are actually good), and that I fully support Lucas's right to do what he wants, but instead of going further into that, let me link to this post from Wiley Wiggins who has some good things to say on the subject (it's a topic that's received a lot of coverage lately, but I chose this particular link because a post or two from now I'm going to be talking quite a bit about Linklater and Slacker).
There's nothing like Star Wars to make you forget how red your bank account is. I wish I still had my lightsaber.
Posted by David Lowery at 4:05 AM
September 25, 2004
Congratulations are in store: James M. Johnston has been named Reader's Choice for Best Local Filmmaker by the FW Weekly! Shortly after the paper went to print, the editor sent James an e-mail, wondering who this mysterious director was whom the People so obviously favored; he'd never heard of him. This represents a trend we've noticed; it's funny that we can get an article written about our film in a nationally syndicated magazine but we can't get our local newspapers to pay attention to it. I predict that eventually there will be an irony-laced suckerpunch to the local media.
Editors, take heed: Walter Murch is on Studio 360 on NPR this weekend.
We caught the last show of The Brown Bunny the other night, before it left theaters. I felt the first two third went by a little more slowly this time, but any problems I had with the last reel evaporated; knowing the context of the final scene in advance made it far sadder and almost unbearably intimate. Also of note: Amy encountered Vincent Gallo once in LA outside a certain hotel, and after seeing the movie and that very hotel within it, realized that he must have been about to shoot or finishing up the climactic scene of the film. Someone's vicarious cool points just went up!
September 24, 2004
Lonely night home scrounging quarters to see a show. Think I'll just read instead.
Posted by David Lowery at 11:59 AM
September 23, 2004
I was writing my review of Enduring Love just now and I realized that the lead couple in the film are named Joe and Claire. These are the same names I gave the lead couple in Rocketman. That collective unconscious, it'll get you every time.
This huge 35th anniversary issue of Interview magazine arrived this morning; it seems to weigh about ten pounds, and is chock full of beautiful photographs of beautiful people. There's a remarkably alluring vintage snapshot of Sofia Coppola deshabille and a colorful portrait of David LaChappelle's two studios (featuring in its corner a certain pop star I have an affinity for), but what caught my eye the most is the Armani ads featuring the cast of The Dreamers; Michael Pitt's hair is long, his face marked with stubble, and he looks like he walked right off the set of Last Days and into an Armani suit (which he probably did). I can't wait for that movie. Incidentally, there's also a portrait of Andy Warhol by Gus Van Sant in the magazine. Also incidentally, there was an interview with Shane Carruth, who I interviewed today. I've got some good tape to transcribe (thanks for the tape recorder, Yen), and that and my review of Primer will be up next week sometime. Look forward to it.
There's finally a Quicktime trailer for 2046 online, and it's a beaut. I can't --
I repeat myself a lot, don't I?
September 21, 2004
First of all, if you're a hardcore Kubrick fan, and you have 100 grand to spend on eBay that you decided not spend on Vincent Gallo's camera package when he put it up for sale a few months back, then you should get this.
So today, of course, is September 21st. If you're one of the people who doesn't know the importance of this date, you may also be one of the people who should skip the rest of this entry.
I was sitting at home this afternoon, biding my time with who knows what useless activity, when the UPS truck pulled up outside. The Star Wars trilogy had arrived, and I immediately freaked out. I ordered it months ago, along with THX-1138, and have been growing more and more anxious as this day grew closer.
So far, I've watched most of the special features on the second disc of THX; I'm saving the Zoetrope doc and the commentary tracks for later (probably later tonight, since I'm a model of impatience). Lucas' award winning student film THX-1138: Electronic Labyrinth, upon which the feature was based, was a bit of a revalation; it was far more experimental than the feature film, almost impenetrably dense, and incredibly affecting on a purely sensory level. The editing was fantastic. And it had music from The Yardbirds (my mind instantly started making Antonioni/Blowup connections -- purely speculative, but hey, the chronology works and I'll bet Lucas was a fan). Also, the period featurette with the rather mystical barber was hilariously bizarre.
I then put in the special features disc of the Star Wars trilogy and immediately watched, with the inevitable chills, the Birth Of Darth Vader featurette (reminding me that it's only two months until the first Episode III trailer hits with The Incredibles). I watched a few of the vintage trailers, and then got down to what I really wanted to see: the 2.5 hour doc Empire Of Dreams, which was absolutely revelatory in its archival detail: so much incredible footage, so much history; seeing the tail slate pop up in front of Darth Vader or Carrie Fisher ducking under a C-stand and flag or Chewbacca talking in a british accent are things I never imagined seeing. As familiar as I am with most aspects of the filmmaking process, it's still very hard for me to apply that knowledge to the Star Wars films; they've always defied my technical eye. Watching this documentary reminded me of the day, when I was seven years old, when I was talking about the films with a grade school friend on the swingset in his backyard and asked him "Are you ever going to make a movie?" He responded with a shrug, but it was in the asking of that question, at that precise moment -- and it's one of those memories that I remember every detail of -- that I set myself on this path I'm on right now.
I'm saving the movies themselves for next Monday, when James and I are planning on having a marathon viewing of the whole set. I had an initial pang of conflict when I realized that there was a screening of Sideways that same day that I had planned on going to, with Alexander Payne in attendance -- but it wasn't hard to figure out which would probably be the better experience. If it was I Heart Huckabees, it might have been harder to choose, but it's not, and I can't wait until Monday and I wish we had a widescreen TV.
Posted by David Lowery at 11:32 PM
September 20, 2004
The item at IndieWire that I wanted to link to was this, the first review of Eros, by Peter Brunette. Check out his description of Wong Kar Wai's segment:
"Gong Li plays a courtesan in what seems to be the 1950's in what is apparently Hong Kong. Chang Chen is the new tailor who comes to take her measurements for a dress. In the process she fondles him, bringing him to climax while whispering in his ear that she wants him to remember that feeling each time he makes a dress for her. The years pass and when she falls on hard times and becomes ill, the tailor tries to take care of her. The tubercular woman, now a common street prostitute, repays him once again with all she's got left, her hand."
That sounds amazing. Unfortunately, it's the only part of the movie that this reviewer found praiseworthy. Which leads me to Deadroom. We had a meeting on it last night, which mostly consisted of talking about everything but the film (although we did spend time fantasizing at large about a possible scenario we've been giving way too much thought to the past few weeks). We also discussed an e-mail from the consultant in LA we talked to a few months back, and whom Yen's been keeping abreast of our progress. He had this to say:
It also strikes me that in America and the west, it's kind of uncommon for group efforts in art to be rewarded. This culture is so much about praising the lone genius, and supporting his (yes, usually "his") career, I suspect without being told that a work by four directors faces another hurdle by diffusing the interest that a director provokes (unless the directors are Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Mike Leigh and Jim Jarmusch; the kind of anthology film you sometimes see.)
I don't like the thought of that, but I guess I understand it. To return to that Eros review:
"It's sad to think how thrilling this kind of filmmaking once was. Now, done poorly, it forcefully reminds us how much things have changed, and in how many ways."
Not that I think our film is poorly done (nor am I judging the Soderbergh/Antonioni/Wong collaboration on that one review alone). Here's the paragraph from that e-mail that meant the most to me:
Your film is not so difficult, but it is very artificial (by design), and sort of an exercise by your own (presskit) admission. It's exquisite at many points, but eschews a lot of things that movies do, in order to concentrate on a concept, mostly through writing and acting (which clearly involves direction, but not much "action" except in the dramatic sense.) Nothing wrong with that, but in the increasingly strangulated marketplace (in the broadest sense) of film, it's a worthy question whether such a spare, stripped-down work is competitive -- which says nothing about whether it is good. I think you're probably in good company with other ambitious, idiosyncratic directors.
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly, and it was very encouraging to read it. There's always a wonderful sense of accomplishment when someone demonstrates that they actually get what you were trying to do (although not in a personal sense, in this case).
September 19, 2004
A few quick links to check out when you're not busy perusing all the exciting festival updates over at AICN:
~ My review for a rather staggering film I caught with Yen this afternoon that may make it to my top ten list at the end of the year (and no, it's not Shaun Of The Dead, which we caught last night and was terrific in its own right -- and it was a lot of fun to dress up as zombies beforehand).
~ Roger Ebert's new site, with complete -- and gloriously cross referenced -- archives of every review he's ever written.
~ An interesting glimpse of Roger Avary's writing process -- albeit for a videogame movie. Oh well, I'd do the same thing for the money or for a friend or both.
~ My new Gmail address, which is cool and all but will remain unused by me until Google provides POP3 accessibility -- which I don't know if they will, since that would seem to go against the archival intentions of the entire enterprise. But if you have any big files to send me (I've got room for 5 minutes of uncompressed DV in my inbox!), I guess this is the address to do it.
~ Kat Candler obsesses over going to New York for IFP. I'm envious. I'll be there in just three months, although not for any film purposes. I can't wait to walk through Union Square (my favorite junction, because it's only a few blocks from the vegan cafe I like) while snow falls all around. I need to buy some new winter clothes. I've given serious thought to not coming back.
~ I was going to link to something over at IndieWire, but their site seems to be down at the moment. I'll take care of it tomorrow. I'll have more opportunities for contextual segues then, anyway.
Posted by David Lowery at 2:12 AM
September 17, 2004
I woke up this morning and immediately started calculating how much it would cost to buy the film stock for a b/w 100 minute super16mm film shot on a ratio of 4:1.
Skipping ahead a few hours in my day...
Curtis and I went to see THX--1138 tonight, and I am so glad that I caught it on the big screen instead of just waiting to get the DVD next week. It is amazing. I obviously didn't pick up on its many virtues when I saw that antiquated VHS copy a long time ago; this film is beautiful, experimental and really quite funny (in a bleak, muted sort of way). And, as these dystopic future tales often are, socially relevant too. The sound design by Walter Murch is stunning, and I fear that much of its power will be lost in lousy home theater systems (like mine). And as you may have read by now, the CGI enhancements actually do enhance; they blend in seamlessly, and I was impressed by how well ILM matched the grain and tone of the original film stock.
When you go see Sky Captain this weekend (you are going, right?), keep an eye out for the homage to THX.
I alway hear from people about how they'd rather just wait to see films on DVD, and that just doesn't make sense to me. First of all, you'd have to wait longer to see the movies, but beyond that, you loose something so essential to the cinema when you're watching it on a (relatively) small screen in your own home. When you see a film in the theater, that's what you are there to do; you have no anticipation for anything but what is happening on the screen in front of you, and if the film is good it will completely wrap you up in it and you'll forget where you are and nothing will obstruct the experience until the lights come up. Your brain goes into a different state; you're completely willing to be transported, whereas at home, I sometimes feel as if I'm waiting for the film to impress me (which, if it's a good film it always does, but the anticiapation for the impression is completely different). And you just have so many distractions; even if the film is good, the phone rings, someone interrupts you, you wonder if anyone has sent you an e-mail in the past five minutes, and the spell is broken.
Spectacles and event films demand to be larger than life, but contrary to popular belief, I also feel that the longer and more intimate the film, the more necessary it is to see it on the big screen. I've been trying to get into Yasujiro Ozu's work this week, and while his films are amazing, I can't help but feel that external stimulae -- just someone walking down the hall, even -- keeps me from being as emotionally involved as I should be. It's part of the reason why, before I got Netflix, I rarely watched movies at home. Maybe it's just me and my ritalin-free attention span, but I say: bring on the retrospectives, the cinematheques (and let me in for free until I have a job)!
I should ammend a previous statement two paragraphs up; the only thing you should be doing in the theater if you're not watching a movie is making out with your significant other in the back row. That's cool. Especially if you've already seen the movie or plan on going back to see it again later.
And on that note, I should mention that while I won't be putting my review for The Bad Education online at this site until the movie is released, I'm very happy to let AICN make it available (along with my review for Finding Neverland) right now.
September 16, 2004
The best thing I've read lately is pages 138 to 161 of Suttree, which is the first novel by (you guessed it) Cormac McCarthy. The whole book is good, but those 23 pages are so profound and moving that I keep going back to them, both in the book and in my head.
My vision cleared these past few nights and I finally finished Rocketman; it's been well over a year since I finished the first draft, so I guess this is the longest I've ever worked on a script. You wouldn't know it from reading it. It's down to a clean, simple 99 pages. I don't know how clear the story will be to other people, but I think I made it fairly straightfoward.
This name of the file in my screenwriting folder is Rocketman6, and I went back just now and looked at the previous five versions (I wouldn't call them drafts, per se), most of which have only marginal differences from each other (the removal of all the sci-fi sequences that inspired the title, for example), and while most of the general plot points have remained the same, there are only about 15 pages in this draft that could be found in the others. The story I finished tonight is quite different from the one I originally wanted to tell. Or actually: I finally figured out what story I wanted to tell.
It could be my next film, but I should probably try to come up with something more commercial first. And by more commercial, I mean as artsy and serious as I want to be, but with nudity.
RIP, Johnny Ramone.
Posted by David Lowery at 12:41 AM
September 15, 2004
This guy's blog isn't updated too often, but it's well worth reading (for more reasons than may be immediately apparent).
Posted by David Lowery at 1:25 AM
September 13, 2004
They pass the gas station; Joe looks at it as it drifts by out the window, a dark shadow against the gray veil.
Just about done with this Rocketman revision, which has endured a change of season, of sorts; more on that when the time comes.
Meanwhile, Yen has written a new script, which I hope he passes my way soon (I'm a little jealous, actually, since I've been troubling myself over my lack of new ideas lately). He also has a new website, equal parts simple and beautiful, to promote the staged reading of his previous writing effort, Pit Stop. Seeing the site for the first time last night was tremendously exciting; the script, which is wonderful, suddenly seemed far more real with such gorgeous imagery attached to it. Make sure you download the flyer, too. If any of us makes a legit movie in the near future, my money's on this one going before cameras first.
(my ridiculously competitive mind has suddenly at this moment turned making another movie into a race).
I missed Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 during the one week it was in theaters here. In reparation, I went back and watched the two other films of his that I hadn't seen (of those commercially available, at least), The Claim and Butterfly Kiss. The latter, his theatrical debut, was really good. I wouldn't be surprised if Winterbottom had been inspired at least in part by the story of Aileen Wuornos -- the plot is quite similar to Monster, but it's a far better, more compelling film. It has a very mid-90s Killer Films feel to it, too. And it's got my two favorite chanteuses, Bjork and PJ Harvey, on the soundtrack (along with quite a few cuts from the first cassette tape I ever purchased back when I was 13 and new to modern music: The Cranberries' No Need To Argue, which added a great deal of nostalgic value).
That The Claim was so poorly released in 2000 seems a real shame; it's a great film, and one of Winterbottom's most visually impressive works. It's very McCabe & Mrs. Miller-ish, in many aspects (which means that it also bears some resemblances to Henry Lee, although none that made me despair in any way), with a magnificent performance from Peter Mullan (I wish I could say the same for Milla Jovovich, but for once, I wasn't too impressed with her -- I almost hate myself for having to admit that, but it's the truth). It's an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor Of Casterbridge, and as such makes a fine companion piece to Jude, Winterbottom's far more literal take of Hardy's Jude The Obscure.
(I read Jude The Obscure during my first visit to the haunted house where we made James's film The Knocker, and it became at the time my favorite novel. I was inspired to start reading Thomas Hardy in the first place because I was at the library one day and a librarian my age asked me if I wanted to accompany her on her smoke break. We talked about literature. I professed an admiration for Dickens, she said she preferred Hardy. I never saw her again but I bought a few of Hardy's books the next day).
After viewing these films, I went back and read an interview with Winterbottom from earlier this year. It's an insightful piece, but the part that keeps sticking out in my mind was his mention of his 23 year old camera operator.
Things like that make me feel like I'm just dragging my feet.
September 12, 2004
My brother and I went to Harry Knowles's big Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow premiere in Austin yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and the movie was everything I had hoped it would be -- a visually beautiful, narratively thrilling almost-masterpiece of retro wonder. The most interesting fact learned in the Q&A with Kerry Conran and his brother Kevin (art director on the film) was that the entire movie was made in black and white; when the studio balked at the idea of a black and white tentpole, they digitally recolored it, which is a big reason why it looks so unique (and seriously, the trailers barely do the look of the film justice).
I overheard a fellow behind me in the theater talking about how he flew in from Michigan just so that his seven year old son could see the movie and have an experience as exciting as seeing Star Wars was for him at that age. If I ever have kids, someone hit me if I'm not that cool.
I saw Robert Rodriguez in the bathroom, giving me hope that perhaps a trailer for Sin City would premiere before the film -- no such luck, though. As I was leaving the after party, I walked past Angela Bettis, but was too shy to say hi.
There was a guy driving in circles around the red carpet outside the theaters with a big Kerry/Edwards placard in the back of his truck, and he had a table set up nearby where you could register to vote. I was excited to see this; I realized recently that I am not, in fact, registered to vote, although I thought I had been when I renewed my driver's license earlier this year-- so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to get it taken care of. Unfortunately, my Dallas residency prevented me from doing so. I need to get on the ball with that...I've had the forms all filled out on my desk at home for two weeks now.
The night before last, I went to see the Theater Fire play a show, and got in for free by claiming to be their vibraphone player. I've never so successfully managed to lie before.
P.S. happy birthday to Esoteric Rabbit.
Posted by David Lowery at 1:17 PM
September 10, 2004
I know Jim McMahon and other purveyors of high cinema look down on Robert Rodriguez, but whatever. These screen grabs from Sin City -- here, here and here -- are stunning, although they probably won't blow your mind as much if you haven't read the comics and thus can't appreciate the mathematical precision with which Frank Miller's images have been emulated (and which may very well be one of the resulting film's faults, but goddamn if it doesn't look amazing in still form).
Posted by David Lowery at 4:59 PM
September 9, 2004
I just got back from a round-table interview with Fele Martinez, star of The Bad Education (something I didn't realize until about halfway through the movie, as he looks remarkably different in it). I don't like meeting people at communal press functions, which is why I generally don't attend them, but I went to this one because hey, it's the guy who climbed into a giant vagina in Talk To Her! More importantly, I've never forgotten the impression made on me by Lovers Of The Arctic Circle back in 1999, the first movie I saw Martinez in and my first real introduction into modern Spanish cinema (as defined primarily by Almodovar, Medem and Alejandro Amnebar, all of whom he's has worked with).
I still don't have one of those handy little tape recorders for interviews, but I make do with a pen and paper. I was in a rush to leave for this one, though, and grabbed the wrong blue notebook from my shelf. Thus, I ended up taking all my notes on the back of my shooting script and shot list for Deadroom. That'll just make it that much more of a distinctive collector's item someday. Ha ha! Man, I kill myself sometimes.
In case you missed it last week, here's the awesome and exhaustive NY Times Magazine article on Almodovar.
Posted by David Lowery at 5:44 PM
Exciting articles from The Guardian concerning one of the festivals that rejected us: a tantalizing review of Birth and an interview with Todd Solondz concerning his new self-funded effort, Palindromes. Vera Drake sounds amazing too. Ah, Venice!
Our film has become in these quiet months an elephant in the back of the room, sometimes even an albatross slung neckwise.
September 8, 2004
I saw Primer this morning, which, in case you've forgotten, is the film that won the Grand Prize at Sundance this past January, and which will be opening in theaters this October. It's of note to indie filmmakers because the writer/director/et.al Shane Carruth made it for a reported seven thousand dollars, and it's of particular note to me because he's from Dallas.
Critically speaking, it's far from perfect, but I'll deal with that side of things when I review it. As an independent filmmaker and filmlover, I loved it. As I think I've already admitted, I felt a bit of skepticism tinged with a bit of jealousy when the film made its waves at Sundance, but now I see why it was so well received; this is the type of film that should be playing at Sundance, because it's smart, challenging and creative. It's not the kind of movie I might be interested in making, but it was inspiring nonetheless because of how it was made, where it was made, and what it's achieved. It was sort of like seeing Pi for the first time, only this cost a tenth of what that did. Which is a fact, incidentally, that I'm still not entirely convinced of -- but what the hell, I'll believe it anyway. I'm going to try to get an interview set up with Shane Carruth, so hopefully that'll be showing up here sometime in the near future.
I also caught Criminal this afternoon, which was fun, and notable for being co-written by Jonathan Pryce's character from Brazil -- who not coincidentally also co-wrote The Underneath. Local connection: it was produced not only by Soderbergh and Clooney but by Mark Cuban's company, 2929 Entertainment.
I then went to a screeening of this film called Evergreen, which is the type of film that shouldn't show at Sundance, but did anyway. It's being distributed digitally by AMC Theaters, who I guess decided to beat Mark Cuban and Landmark Theaters to the punch as far as that goes. One major difference: Landmark is using DLP technology, which is awesome, while AMC has substantially inferior prosumer digital projectors -- I know all about them, since I was still a projectionist for the company when the systems were installed last summer. They have pretty lousy image quality, and the movie, which wasn't that great by itself, was not exactly pleasing to look at. I overheard one of the managers talking about how the satellite feed (the idea is that the movies will be downloaded and never physically exist at the theater) was interrupted in the middle of a previous screening and is still pretty shaky. It's scheduled to open at AMC Theaters across the country this week, I think, and while it's cool that indie films will have a potential new venue, for the time being I'll say: don't support substandard exhibition practices and skip it. Wait for Landmark to do it right.
I say this even though all of my own films have been (and probably will continue to be for the near future) projected digitally on non-DLP projectors, but I'm the underdog and AMC is an evil conglomerate, so it's okay. For now.
Anyway, look forward to Primer. I'm off to grab a few hours of sleep; in the face of my current lack of inspiration and drive, I have to force myself to stay awake and active as long a I can or I feel completely worthless.
September 6, 2004
Hey, it's the 5 year anniversary of this site's existence -- which means it's time for a warning of the technical sort: the www.road-dog-productions.com domain expires as of tonight at midnight. I purposely chose not to renew it with the company I currently have it registered through because what was standard pricing in 1999 is now highway robbery. I'm currently working on getting it transfered to a different, more affordable hosting company (the one that, conveniently, hosts the rest of this site) before midnight, in which case there will be no lapse in service. Last minute as usual, right?
Come Tuesday, if you find this site inaccessible, I apologize -- I'll have everything back online as quickly as possible. If all else fails (and that will only happen if some dastardly fiend is waiting in the wings to snatch up my domain the moment it is available), everything will find its way back online at my shamefully self-referential alternate domain -- www.davidlowery.org.
Hopefully, this warning will prove completely pointless. Here's to another five years that will hopefully be exponentially more eventful! Just for old time's sake, here's the first thing ever typed on this site:
Today the website went live. The only hits so far have been from us, typing in the address at various computers and watching in awe as our handywork appears on screen. It is truly amazing.
Now for the slightly more difficult part...making people come to the site, and then come back.
I've left the rest out. It's kind of embarassing.
Posted by David Lowery at 2:05 AM
September 5, 2004
With no screenings on weekends, I turn my wayward eyes towards the idiot box. Three Netflixed films seen over the past three days:
-- Monte Hellman's Two Lane Blacktop, which lacked the landmark iconic road-movie moments of Easy Rider but is, nonetheless, a much better and far subtler film. Incidentally, I'm writing this as I listen to a great This American Life program (but aren't they all great?) about road trips. Synchronicity.
-- Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood, a really great 1973 revenge film. It's got lots of delightful bloodletting, but it also has some really lovely cinematography and a closing scene that is surprisingly moving. If you've heard of this film, it's probably because it's gained some notoriety as one of Tarantino's big inspirations/sources for Kill Bill. For a more detailed comparion between the two, I'll refer you to this post from Like Anna Karina's Sweater (who, incidentally, also reported a while back on a Monte Hellman retrospective and guesses that his upcoming Western film might be an adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel -- I can see where he's coming from with that, but I hope he's not right because it would probably be the one I want to adapt).
-- Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold, recommended to me by Matt Clayfield, which was just all around wonderful. What at first seems to be a story of a troubled man gradually, quietly reveals itself as a portrait of the equally troubled city he lives in: Tehran, Iran. It's a beautifully understated film, sad but full of genuine warmth; the kind of mood you'll often find in Jarmusch's film, if you need a point of reference. It was comforting to see these people in such a terribly oppressive culture, to see them laughing and finding the bright side of things; something I've always believed in is the essential goodness of humanity, and this is one of those films that gives you faith in that notion, even as it also shows how that essential goodness can go awry. It also, in a roundabout way, gave me a bit more appreciation for the scene I criticized in Farenheit 9/11, the one depicting the "happy" pre-war Iraq.
I slept too much yesterday. The day was overcast with a general malaise. Today, however, is significantly brighter.
Posted by David Lowery at 2:40 PM
September 3, 2004
If you haven't picked up Medulla yet, then you're missing what is perhaps the grandest artistic achievement of the year thus far.
I went to see a screening of Roger Michell's Enduring Love today, and for the first hour or so I was like, "okay, so much for ever making Post." I was seriously getting upset; Michell seemed to be doing exactly what I wanted to be do with that particular script, and he was doing it so well; he even made prominent use of odd sculptures for symbolic effect. Then, towards the last act, it went in a completely different direction and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Still, it never ceases to be disconcerting to see what you thought were your ideas up on the big screen. It's like hearing someone else describe a dream you had.
Michell is starting to remind me of Michael Winterbottom; over the past few years he's directed a varied and increasingly impressive series of films, from Persuasion to Notting Hill (don't pretend you don't love it) to Changing Lanes to The Mother to this, which is the first film of his I've seen that I feel hasn't been a success but is so intriguing and mesmerizing for its first two thirds that I'd recommend it anyway. I can't wait to see what he does next.
The trailer for David Gordon Greene's Undertow (produced by Terrence Malick!) is now online. If you want to enjoy it, leave the volume off for all but the first ten seconds, and maybe the last ten as well, and just appreciate the look of it.
ELIZAMy dad said the same thing, about looking younger. He said I wasn't growing fast enough. He said it was because I didn't have enough iron in my body and that's why you can see my veins through my skin.
I'm beginning to think that the fact that I keep coming up with endless variations on the same 30 page sequence in Rocketman (precisely where I was when I started Henry Lee) means that it's pointless. Actually, it's pointlessness is the point, but how pointless is too pointless? Oh well, at least the beginning and ending are all set. I could technically stop writing it at any time and be done with it.
I've come to really enjoy writing the descriptive passages in my screenplays; hopefully my personal style shines through in them, and hopefully it makes the scripts themselves more interesting to read. I've always liked the idea of publishing a script as a work of literature, with no cinematic intentions. Maybe a few illustrations, but otherwise nothing but words.
September 1, 2004
"I loved everything about her, every inch of her and ever way about her. And I broke up with her because I'm compulsive, I'm irritable, I need to be alone."
Review is down and to your left.
I'm now off to see some new Almodovar -- and while I'm at the theater, maybe some new Nair as well.
She, by the way, is a perfect choice for directing the fifth Harry Potter movie.