Cinecast Episode 165 – The Snooze Button of Life

 
Spread out all over the place cinematically, mentally and globally this week. Yes, even more so than usual. As Kurt imbibes the nectar of the corporate greed in the hot, humid air of the Magic Kingdom, we’re left with some pretty limited release and local festival fare. The DVDs picks this week are rather slim and divisive as well. Not much of a ride to take, but a ride nonetheless.

As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_165.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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The Lost Cormac McCarthy Mixtape

The Road

[A continuing series of mixtapes created to evoke the spirit of auteur filmmakers. I welcome suggestions for future selections. The MP3s available here are for sampling purposes only. Please support the artists by buying their albums and going to their shows. If you are the artist or label rep and don’t want an MP3 featured, please email me]

This latest installment of the Auteur Filmmakers Mixtape series is clearly breaking the rules before I’ve hardly start, as far as I am aware Cormac McCarthy hasn’t as much as picked up a camera in his life. His weapon of choice, the written word, has however been fundamental in the development of key film properties as of late, most notably NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but, for the immediate purposes of this exercise, my gaze lays square upon the two behemoths lurching on the horizon: John Hillcoat’s THE ROAD, and Todd Field’s BLOOD MERIDIAN. The two books, although written at different points in Cormac’s life and partaking of worlds split by generations, nonetheless feel thematically and spiritually part of a continuum, stages of the same moral decay, and as such, the two are blended together into one playlist, the ‘blood’ bleeding into, or onto, the ‘road’.

This mixtape does not aspire to be something of an authentic soundtrack for these films, the bleak and antiquated rigidity that will be required for that goes against my better interests, I rather ferret out the essence using whatever penchant for modern and sometimes pop-like sounds I deem suitable, continuing my mixtape code for repurposing songs to suit new and surprising contexts. If to be of any use other than pure enjoyment, the mixtape is my attempt to capture the mood shifts between the two stories, the carnivorous depths in BLOOD MERIDIAN’s acrid depiction of nineteenth century lawlessness in the Old West, and the hard swallow of hope in THE ROAD’s nuclear winter. Since Hillcoat’s film is pretty much in the can, this mean overgrown apocalypse without end I give to you, Mr. Field.

Notes on the tracks: Cave’s Stagger Lee is perhaps the only song that lives up to the kind of brutality Cormac lays down, and Mr Stagger Lee would be just the sort of species the Judge would collect in his sketchbook. That said, Judge Holden, the epitome of everything wicked in the world, is aptly commemorated with Dylan’s Wicked Messenger (‘he did come, with a mind that multiplied the smallest matter’). The Dead Vine Blues track fits the first plains attack of the Comanche channeled into musical instruments, a piece of bravado I am strangely proud of. The ruminations of THE ROAD in the Tindersticks and Secret Machines tracks, while liberally playing with canon, do hypothesize quite nicely the psychological state of being a walking phantom. Not possessing an MP3 version of Bob Dylan’s original and far superior Ain’t Talkin’, I had to suffice with the lesser alternative track for these purposes. Enjoy.

“THEN IN CAME THE DEVIL, HE SAID I COME TO TAKE YOU DOWN…”

A single streamed version of the mixtape can be listened to here Individual tracks are below but please be patient for the tracks to load up in the audio player, takes a minute.

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Whoa, how did I miss this? Blood Meridian Gets a New Director?

I am not sure how I missed this and why it seems everybody else did too, but apparently Ridley Scott is no longer directing an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s brutal western Blood Meridian. I knew production was at a standstill on it and that Scott was having a hard time with the screenplay, but according to an article Rope of Silicon ran on August 19th (as well as its IMDb page), Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) is now helming the project.

“No Country’s” Academy Award-winning producer Scott Rudin and “Little Children” filmmaker Todd Field have been developing a “Blood Meridian” movie, and Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik wants to film “Cities of the Plain,” the last book in McCarthy’s border trilogy. Said Field in explaining McCarthy’s appeal: “His work examines our core, the two faces of violence that co-exist in every savage act – brutal strength of purpose holding hands with a desperate and cowering weakness.”

This news seemingly came out of nowhere and surprisingly not too many people have noticed, which is odd since Cormac McCarthy is the hottest thing in both modern literature and filmmaking right now, with last year’s No Country for Old Men and this year’s upcoming and high anticipated The Road.

I am still not sure how I feel about bringing Blood Meridian to the screen at all. It just seems unfilmable, at least with keeping the tone and feeling of the novel intact, let alone some of the events themselves. I’m not sure how I feel with the transition from Scott to Field either, but I guess I wouldn’t know how to feel no matter who was directing. There are many other McCarthy works that I think would work better on the big screen, including the rest of the Border trilogy.

As for Dominik wanting to film Cities of the Plain (the final novel in the Border trilogy), I wrote about that in my McCarthyism article back in April, in which Dominik said he has “a big thing for McCarthy, and it’s a beautiful story” (which it is and I honestly cannot think of a single better man than Dominik for the job), but he refuses to cast big stars in any of the roles and the studio will not greenlight it without big stars attached. Maybe, just maybe if he agreed to have Casey Affleck (who he worked with on The Assassination of Jesse James) on board for the late-20s Billy Parham of the novel, that would be a big enough star for the studio? I want to see this made, but please agree to tackle its predecessor The Crossing too, Andrew!

McCarthyism

cormacmccarthy.JPGWith his newfound popularity in the movie biz due to the success of the Coen brothers masterpiece No Country for Old Men and the upcoming adaptation of The Road starring Viggo Mortensen that is already getting Oscar buzz, Cormac McCarthy – who is undoubtedly my favorite living author – has become one of the hottest and most respected literary names out there right now (that Pulitzer Prize last year probably didn’t hurt either). More than likely, this is going to attract the studios to anything by Cormac McCarthy they can get their hands on (possibly even leading to a Director’s Cut of a certain McCarthy movie from earlier this decade – read on).

There’s no way around it. We’re going to get a lot of McCarthy adapted movies, which can be great or terrible depending on your viewpoint. But if this is going to be the case, I can only hope these adaptations are done right, as McCarthy is the premiere living American writer – our generation’s Faulkner, if you will. So below, let’s take a look at some of Cormac McCarthy’s works with some mumblings about their adaptations.

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