Trailer Tuesday

The 70th annual Cannes Film Festival is now underway and this month’s “Trailer Tuesday” is devoted to the most intriguing trailers from the most prestigious film festival in the world!

I should say that Cannes will likely screen many good, even great films, but that doesn’t mean those films have trailers that distinguish them as anything other than feel-bad dramas and social commentaries. Heck, a lot of films at Cannes don’t even have trailers yet! Today, we’re embracing a few engaging trailers, not endorsing future masterpieces.

Let’s start with Redoubtable, Michel Hazanavicius’ bio-pic on acclaimed director and general enfant terrible – Jean-Luc Godard. Leave it to the cheeky Hazanavicius to rib Cannes right in the trailer to his film! Cannes might have the last laugh though, as reviews from Redoubtable‘s screening are less than flattering.

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Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (David Lynch, 1995)

With the Criterion Collection’s tease of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch, 1992) and the screening of the first two parts of Lynch’s new Twin Peaks 18-part feature at the Cannes Film Festival, it seems like much of the CC world is abuzz over David Lynch and the prospects of new spine numbered editions being announced. This has got me thinking about my favourite shorts by Lynch and so today MMC! casts its spotlight on Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (David Lynch, 1995), a 52-second film made for the Lumière and Company anthology film (1995) celebrating the centenary of Auguste and Louis Lumière’s first films. Contributing shorts to the anthology used the original Cinématographe camera, were edited in-camera, could not be longer than 52 seconds, could not have synchronized sound, and were allowed no more than three takes. This eerie and foreboding short was filmed on five sets constructed at the house of Gary D’Amico, Lynch’s special effects co-ordinator. Premonitions is one of six restored short films included on Criterion’s edition of Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977).

10 on the 10th – May 2017

The last 10 films I’ve watched are about as solid a group of films as you’ll randomly find. While You’re Welcome, America shows some spottiness that perhaps mars its dizzying highs, the least of this 10 is The Odyssey, a French bio-pic about Jacques-Yves Cousteau that was completely off my radar. The Odyssey feels heavily formulaic, constantly checking off the boxes of bio-pic adversity, but it remains a very enjoyable watch, gorgeous to the eye and featuring Audrey Tautou stealing every scene she’s in. Certainly recommended for fans of JYC.

  1. Macunaíma (Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1969)
  2. Planet Earth II (Various, 2016)
  3. Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush (Marty Callner, 2009)
  4. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Emilio Miraglia, 1972)
  5. The World of Kanako (Tetsuya Nakashima, 2014)
  6. The Rapacious Jailbreaker (Sadao Nakajima, 1974)
  7. Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)
  8. The Odyssey (Jérôme Salle, 2016)
  9. One More Time with Feeling (Andrew Dominik, 2016)
  10. Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000)

The Andrew Dominik double feature was by accident and I can’t say enough about the visual trick Dominik executes at the end of One More Time with Feeling, conjuring a ghost on the viewer’s retina with uncanny elegance. Possession lived up to its mind-blowing reputation, The World of Kanako felt like a lost Tony Scott film, and Macunaíma is recommended for those aiming for higher degrees of tropical whimsy and absurdity in their Herzog or Jodorowsky. Those looking for more straightforward thrills would be well-served by The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, The Rapacious Jailbreaker, and Chopper. Planet Earth II is listed on Letterboxd and so it makes the last 10 films I’ve watched despite obviously being a TV mini-series. The pigeon-eating catfish help too!

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Sydney Pollack, 1969)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

On the Santa Monica Pier, in the shabby La Monica Ballroom, a bizarre Depression-era fad unfolds – the dance marathon. A worn out collection of hopefuls (Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Bonnie Bedelia, Red Buttons, and Bruce Dern) compete in hopes that a Hollywood casting agent spots them or that they at least win the contest’s $1,500 cash prize. But the competition is a grueling public spectacle, lasting thousands of hours and taking weeks to proceed, leaving dignity and salvation farther and farther away. Based on Horace McCoy’s brutally poetic novel and featuring stand-out performances including Gig Young’s award-winning role as the marathon’s huckstering emcee, Sydney Pollack’s seminal film puts a cap on 1960s idealism and paints a bleak portrait of the American Dream that still resonates today.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital transfer, presented with uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by director and producer Sydney Pollack
  • Audio commentary with Jane Fonda, producer Irwin Winkler, former president of ABC Pictures and talent agent Martin Baum, Bonnie Bedelia, Michael Sarrazin, Red Buttons, and legendary hair stylist Sydney Guilaroff
  • New interviews with actors Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern, and Bonnie Bedelia
  • New interview with film critic Kim Morgan
  • New interview with filmmaker Sarah Gertrude Shapiro discussing They Shoot Horses and introducing her 2013 short film Sequin Raze
  • Original featurette on the making of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald, composer John Green’s musical continuity notes, Pollack’s forward to the screenplay, and notes, pictures, and diagrams taken from Pollack’s shooting script; a new paperback edition of McCoy’s original novel

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A Three Reasons Preview

Our next proposal has proven more involved than expected, but it should go up this weekend and we hope it impresses.  In the meantime, we thought we might provide a little tease of what’s to come.

Here are “Three Reasons” for our next Criterion Collection proposal:

  1. Reality Entertainment
  2. Dancing on the Edge
  3. Selling Out the American Dream

Got it? Either way, MMC! will meet you on the Santa Monica Pier in a day or two.

Logorama (Ludovic Houplain, Herve de Crecy, and Francois Alaux, 2009)

Back in January, the Criterion Collection paired the Oscar-winning short film Logorama (Ludovic Houplain, Hervé de Crécy, and François Alaux, 2009) with Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin (1966). Created by the French collective H5, the short constructs Los Angeles entirely from (3,000 or so) trademarked logos and then presents these sanitized images of friendly consumerism in the sun-drenched violence typical to films like To Live and Die in L.A. (William Friedkin, 1985) and Heat (Michael Mann, 1995). The result is a clever statement on the ubiquity of capitalist commodification in our daily life and a somewhat nasty dismantling of the corporate messaging shorthanded into these capitalist symbols. Those interested in the legality of Logorama (or at least the American legality of a French film) should read Rose Lawrence’s “LOGORAMA: The Great Trademark Heist.” Lawrence’s unpacking of the legal tests for parody, satire, infringement, and dilution are particularly useful in considering the artistic aims, popular interactions, and social commentaries at work in the short film. As a bonus, Lawrence also touches upon important legal texts like George of the Jungle 2 (David Grossman, 2003) and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”