Totally digging Sam Smith's movie poster designs and the films he chose to commemorate...
Totally digging Sam Smith's movie poster designs and the films he chose to commemorate...
I'm on a SK8 kick these days...
"Breakin' is a memory."
FADE IN: Venice Beach, 1986. Perma-tan, pec-olated newbie Corey (aka Josh Brolin) is all about gnarly shreds and bitchin' threads. Despite his Teen Beat preen, he's a serious skater determined to win the local downhill competition as well as the continued admiration of his harmless gang of florescent foals, The Ramp Locals. One day at the beach, amidst the fading glory of breakdancing's heyday, Corey stumbles across Chrissy, a midwestern blonde with lazy eyelashes and one serious fetish for pastel.
ENTER: The Daggers, a hardcore "LOCALS ONLY!" skate crew ready to pummel all outsiders, "Valley jerks", and dudes like Corey with feathered hair. Too bad Chrissy's bro, Hook, is Dagger head honcho or else these two love pups would immediately roll off into the California sunset. Instead, boy fights and turf-wars ensue.
FUN FACTS: Johnny Depp was cast (I'm assuming in the role of Hook) along with his then-girlfriend Sherilyn Fenn only later to be dropped by the producer. Thrashin' marked the debut of Catherine Hardwicke, who served as the film's production designer.
STYLE: Graffiti punk, headbands, ripped Converse, Siouxsie and the Banshees t-shirts, white nails, and a whole lotta face paint.
Smart, hilarious, prickly, weird, articulate, silly, inappropriate, familiar, inspiring, singular, nutzo, and really freakin' wonderful. These are just a few of the words I can think of to describe Alex Ross Perry's The Color Wheel which I saw last night at BAMcinemaFest. Directed by Perry and co-written by Carlen Altman, the film is shot on 16mm in black and white (because it "was cheaper," Perry said) and follows a brother and sister on a weekend road trip gone awry. I don't want to give anything away, but last night's packed house of uproarious laughter later dissolved into one of the best cases of uncomfortable audience silence I've ever experienced in le cinema. My two word review? LOVED IT.
I've said this before, but Carlen is one of the funniest people I've met in NYC. Besides doing stand-up comedy and performing in other people's indie films, she also makes guinea pig fashion videos and sells her jewelry collection of Jewish rosaries and Moses rings to places like Colette in Paris. She's also a fearless performer who isn't afraid to throw her rollicking personality into her work. She and Alex co-wrote The Color Wheel together with Alex penning the script first and Carlen rewriting all of her character's dialogue. Together they have an infectious chemistry both on and off the page, all witty banter and infuriating eye rolls punctuating their characters emotional distance from one another.
The two first met at a stand-up night and recognized similar sensibilities in one another. It was a case of "oh, we should make a movie together" and then actually following through with it. As Carlen said last night, "It feels good to finally finish something," which I'm sure many of us can relate to. Alex mentioned that he'd seen 179 movies at BAM and that it was a dream fulfilled to finally have his own film screen there. I was totally inspired afterwards, especially after they both thanked the audience adding that everyone should go out there and make what they want to make. Here's hoping they make more.
The buzz around Cannes this year hasn't all been surrounding a certain dogmatic filmmaker. Critics are shifting their attention towards Spanish filmmaker (and my personal fave) Pedro Almodóvar's latest "horror film without screams or frights," The Skin I Live In. Adapted from Thierry Jonquet's novel, Tarantula, it's a tale of plastic surgery obsession gone awry, and in literary form at least, is described as a "poisoned bonbon" of a story. Um, yes please!
The film reunites Almodóvar with former male muse, Antonio Banderas, whose career he launched back in the late 1980s and with whom he hasn't worked in 21 years. Cannes critics suggest not letting anyone tell you much about it (which defeats the purpose of a review telling you all about it then I guess), and most have praised both the "magnificent" direction and "creepy" turn by Banderas. Unfortunately, we have to wait until November for this goodness, but here are a few photos and a trailer to tantalize us until then.
Tonight's the last night of the Scene: Brooklyn Film Festival hosted by the Brooklyn Arts Council. Come on out to Galapagos Art Space for a screening of some of Brooklyn's finest short films followed by a party featuring the debut of the dynamic DJ duo DAS SCHMUCK (aka yours truly + my pal Douglas Q. Smith). It's gonna be a grand time!
"Every girl should be given an electric guitar on her 16th birthday."
Holy punk rock, have you seen this movie? You've got Diane Lane pre-The Outsiders as Corinne Burns, a passionate, small-town teen who wants to start a girl band called The Stains in the wake of her mother's death. Her rebel yell goes like this: "I'm perfect! But nobody in this shithole gets me because I don't put out!" Rounding out the cast is a young n' lanky Laura Dern wearing some seriously awesome pastel n' pleather outfits. Christine Lahti plays her mother and Corinne's aunt (OMG CHRISTINE LAHTI!), and is a tall glass of taut, tanned, feathered-out Long Island iced tea. Then you've got Ray Winstone as Corinne's love interest and lead singer of The Looters, the band The Stains open for on tour. Who plays guitar in The Looters? Oh, just Mr. Paul Simonon from The Clash. Yeah. So, if you haven't seen Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains already, I urge you to go and Netflix this party! It's my style inspiration for the week.
One of the pleasures of living near friends in NYC is popping over for a spontaneous movie night. I hosted the most recent one, and in between wine sips and ice cream scoops we took in the romantic slo-mo tableaus of Xavier Dolan's Les Amours Imaginaires, aka Heartbeats. The sophomore effort from the young French-Canadian director/actor/writer is a menage a trois love story of sorts set in modern day Montreal. The plot isn't totally new or completely fleshed out (pun intended), but the aforementioned slow motion closeups are so bright and beautiful you find yourself desperate for Pepto-pink dresses, thick eyeliner, or a straw boater--if only just to have the baby blue lined hat box it rests in. A hit at Cannes, Heartbeats is a lovely, lazy romp through French New Wave fields that are dotted with Almodóvar poppies, and there are delightful performances from the entire cast, especially the hilarious Monia Chokri, who can count me as one of her new style stalkers. The Good Neighbor Film Society (which I've just dubbed us) suggests you watch it tonight on demand!
I went to a screening of Bill Cunningham New York at the MoMA a few months ago and had no idea it would affect me the way that it did. I couldn't stop thinking about it--or Bill--all night. Like the man himself, it is charming, heartfelt, tenacious, courageous, beautiful, subtle, and deep. A moving portrait of an individual as well as an ode to individualism, I urge you to go and see it.
All hail the ORIGINAL street style photographer!
Everyone's puttin' in their two pesos on what their favorite _______s were in 2010. I've resisted because I'm not big on lists, but I've since caved. This was an interesting year in movies--or better yet, a polarizing year. There have been strong love-it/hate-it reactions to most of the films released during the holiday season (hi, Black Swan, True Grit, and Somewhere) and not too many standouts from the summer blockbuster extravaganza. I've had many a holiday party conversation about what cinema meant in 2010, and I found that few films actually touched people emotionally this year. The conversations often gravitated towards the subject of television instead, specifically long-form series' like Mad Men, Breaking Bad (my fave), and the now defunct The Wire, which has become a sensation in its DVD/download afterlife. Basically, TV shows that feel like a novel and movie combined are where it's at.
I have faith in the film industry, though. I'm hoping there's a zeitgeist around the corner. How long has it been since we've had a film movement? The internet puts opportunity in the hands of anyone who's audacious and hungry enough to seek an audience. Maybe this means the best is yet to come (or has yet to be discovered). We're living in a newer, faster, digital age, but I believe what we all continually crave is a really good story. Great stories never get old and stand alone regardless of whatever medium in which they're told.
Thus, here's a brief list of what touched (or tickled) me this year across the story spectrum. These are picture shows that appeared on film, on TV, on canvas, or on paper...
A Viennese trained ballerina
Chief dancer to Balanchine
On stage and on screen
A life lived in London
Then to Broadway with Astaire
She enraptured audiences
Including Ginger Rogers in full glare
Tilly took to Hollywood
A supporting player in flux
She retreated back to Broadway
Where creativity remained luxe
A bout with depression
Made her incredibly ill
So she took to painting portraits
With undeniable skill
Two swans, black and white.
One sexy, the other tight.
Ballet is crazy.
Two swans, black and white.
I saw Black Swan a few nights ago in a dark and heaving screening room. No one moved, no one breathed, and no one got up when the credits rolled. That should tell you everything. Also, Ms. Portman gives one of the most exciting performances of the year (if not in a very long time). Bold, brave, astonishing, and exact ... I can't stop talking/thinking about it.
"Work to me isn't hard; it's who I am. I think what's hard is going against a current, trying to be something else."
Artist and Etsy seller YOKOO is known for both her hand-knitted products and the uniquely stylish way she photographs herself wearing them. I peruse her shop regularly just to see what outfits she's concocted around her gigantic knitted scarves or pom-pom hats. Yokoo spends over 15 hours a day knitting her wares describing herself as a perfectionist who truly enjoys the process of creating and completing her work. She does all of this while watching old movies on her iMac, too, which might seem like a dream job until you realize how fast her hands must be working.
All of the hard work appears to be paying off as evidenced by a NY Times article that listed Yokoo's earnings as more than that of most law associates. She has singlehandedly proven that Etsy can turn a hardworking artist or craftsperson into a bonafide industry. Recently, The Storque (Etsy's handmade blog) did a fantastic film portrait of Yokoo capturing her thoughts, work process, and picturesque environment in Atlanta, Georgia. It's an inspiring and moving piece on the importance of staying true to yourself by doing what you love. Also, that hard work pays off in more ways than just your wallet.
Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture is my cuppa tea, but I'll warn you that it's not for everyone. If you like ferociously understated (and hilarious) dialogue, brooding twenty-somethings who are generally too clever for their own good, and moments of uncomfortable beauty, then please grab a date (or just yourself) and see this movie. I can't stop thinking about it nor my own post-collegiate life, which was just as uncomfortable and oddly wonderful.
Other critics might have stated this already, but I truly believe that Lena Dunham is one to watch. No one is taking risks like these onscreen anymore, especially as a writer, director, and actor. It's impressive. Her character, Aura, though stalled and journey-less is compelling and real. Also compelling? Actress Jemima Kirke who plays Lena's deadpan, eye-rolly sidekick. Together they seem like girls I know or used to know--fearless, frightened, flawed, and fantastic.
DANIELS are Daniel and Daniel. One is from Massachusetts, the other is from Alabama, but they both live and work in Los Angeles. Together DANIELS direct, animate, shoot, edit, and sometimes act in groundbreaking music videos for the likes of New York's The Hundred in the Hands and Reykjavik's FM Belfast. Their narratives are full of fine young things of the Williamsburg variety frolicking hazed and haphazard through darkened streets, claustrophobic dance parties, and within the seemingly private confines of their bedrooms. Hypnotic, creepy, and often explosively beautiful, DANIELS are two dudes who are double-handedly making music videos matter again.
I know. I'm freaking out, too. If you haven't seen Pedro Almodovar's crazytown awesome 1988 film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, please put it in your Netflix queue now. The Broadway musical version is set to open on November 4, 2010, with previews starting October 2nd at the Belasco Theatre. Starring Patti Lupone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Sherie Rene Scott, I'm going to go ahead and declare this the show of the season. Or at least the one I'm willing to shell out the hundred smack'ems to see. Please, please let it stand up to the original...
Some of my all-time favorite movies from the 80's (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Footloose, and Mannequin) mashed up to my new favorite song. Ah, sunshine on this cloudy day! Also, why aren't we all dancing more these days? IT'S TIME TO DANCE!
Portman, along with her partner and CEO Christine Aylward, has created a behind-the-scenes Web portal that gives an in-depth look into how movies are made. Everything from a writer's initial idea (and how to get it to the page) all the way through to the casting, production, and post-production editing process is casually discussed in an accessible way by some of Hollywood's hardest working insiders. There are interviews with actors (including a fantastically candid one from Ms. Portman herself), writing tips from screenwriting champions like Don Roos, casting insight from the always inspiring Todd Thaler, and directing discussions from a who's who of Hollywood's best--we're talking names like Ron Howard, Michel Gondry, and Marc Forster. In addition to interviews with producers and cinematographers, MakingOf promises to cover all areas of the filmmaking process and will also give voice to the often unsung heroes of a production such as assistant directors, production designers, lighting designers, and special effects and make up teams.
Whether you're a student or a fan, MakingOf.com gives an unprecedented and intimate peek inside the inner workings of the filmmaking machine. So check out the new Fame trailer or sit down with Aaron Sorkin. You're guaranteed VIP access every time.
It was a rather odd year for film in 2008. I didn't really look forward to seeing anything other than the three films that ended up being my favorites: Reprise, Let the Right One In, and The Wrestler. I have high hopes for 2009, though. I feel like there are sunnier days ahead. Less nuns, fewer Nazis. I can safely say that my suspicions may prove correct after watching the new trailer for Sundance darling (500) Days of Summer. Man, I can't wait to see this movie! The festival bloggers were in a tizzy over this flick about unrequited love starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It's been described as everything from "perfect" to the next Annie Hall. Judging by the trailer, it appears that prolific music video and commercial director Marc Webb is giving us something new here (and in my opinion zee cinema is in need of some serious shaking up), with sweeping visuals and Billy Wilder-esque charm.
Old school? New school? Possibly a little of both with lovely technicolor, covetable costumery, and a hip backing track that subtlety supports what appear to be elaborate musical numbers. This looks exactly like the film we're all craving to see.
A modern girl...
A master chef...
A culture clash...
"Begin by putting tears into your broth."
Ladies and gentlemen, here's my pick for Favorite Movie in 2009 (a prediction): The Ramen Girl starring Brittany Murphy and...ramen noodles. Need I say more?
I recently started eating burgers again.
Noble, gentle, sweet.
The donkey quietly weeps.
No one understands.
Absolute beauty. Rent it.
The most famous donkey of them all! You can celebrate Eeyore's birthday here.
A donkey is always misunderstood, so please show some love.
You know who I miss? Pippi Longstocking! She's my style icon of the week. "There's no one like her!"
I enjoyed this:
But this is the one that I LOVE:
Please check out Wes Anderson's new short film "Hotel Chevalier" for free on iTunes. It's absolutely lovely.
Sigh. I miss Paris. I could board a plane RIGHT NOW and spend a few days snuggled up in the hot pink carpeted gloriousness that is the Hotel Amour. I'd take my petit déjeuner at the Rose Bakery and then walk around for hours until I made it to the Palais de Tokyo for some art browsing, book buying, and a tidy salad at Tokyo Eat. I'd then wander aimlessly again, maybe stopping for some macarons (pistachio, anise, and rosewater) at Laduree before finding my way to Deyrolle where I'd hang out with a lion or a cougar...or maybe the zebra if he's not tied up. There would absolutely be a stop at my favorite bookstore on the planet, Shakespeare & Company. I would make sure not to leave before typing a poem on the ancient typewriter hidden up the stairs. Dinner would then be three courses at Astier followed by some selections from the biggest cheese basket in the world (a basket three times the size of your head!!!), and then a long walk home in the twinkle that is Paris after dark. Oh, Paris. J'taime.
Check out our pictures of all of the above right here.
This past Saturday, we joined the ladies and their lads for a screening of the French punk film La Brune et Moi at Williamsburg's Monkeytown (a super cool space with delicious drinks...try the lavender mojito). Shot in one week and a day on a "borrowed" camera, this charmingly flimsy story follows Parisian punkster Anoushka as she flings herself into both the punk rock scene and the men in its periphery. While Hamish found her "frightening", I loved her Robert Smith hair and ridiculously short dresses paired with grandpa cardigans. With 1980's Paris as a backdrop and several performances from obscure French punk bands, this is a lost film (literally...it was found last year by Rockenscope after vanishing following it's premiere in 1980) that demands more screen time. You can contact Brune if you're interested in screening it in your town, and I suggest you do. It makes for great late night, pre-party entertainment.