Mondo Tee’s highly varied series of posters on P.T. Anderson are certainly worth a look. Above is the design for Hard Eight, aka Sydney, which flirts with the connections at play in the film, from the iconic opening shot of Phillip Baker Hall walking to the road-side diner. Mondo Tees has made quite the cottage industry out of issuing boutique posters to collectors and fans, and they give an eclectic assortment of designs all of them already sold out, at their online shop.
We stopped doing news items, casting items and the like around Rowthree as just ‘extra content’ some time ago; instead favouring the more solid information and material regarding upcoming and in-release films – such as trailers, festival screenings and you know, actual reviews. All that being said, this is bit of news is too good to pass up, especially considering there are a number of us around here that consider The Master to be easily the best film to be made, acted, and discussed by film lovers last year. According to Cinemablend, P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is set to start shooting, with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead and There Will Be Blood cinematographer Robert Elswit shooting on 35mm film with a Warner Brothers studio backing. God bless that someone out there is still enabling Anderson to be able to do thing things his way, that is to say: The Classic Cinema Way. Shooting is expected to start this month.
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon- private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era. It’s been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble.
Hard to believe that P.T. Anderson’s Porn Industry opus Boogie Nights is celebrating the 15th Anniversary of its release today, in celebration, here we are running our Finite Focus post on one of the many classic scenes from the film.
From one of my absolute favorite films of all time, comes one of the best extended sequences in the film: the drug deal gone wrong. There are so many things going on in this scene all at once that should have the viewer holding their breath with anxiety. Before the scene even starts there is a tension in the air so thick that we know something bad is about to happen. We have three stupid guys about to do something really fucking stupid and they’re coked out of their minds to boot.
The two most glaring things that radiate in this scene are the aural cues. The overpowering, uncharacteristic soundtrack for a scene like this and the firecrackers exploding off screen. I love how the loud 80′s music is almost blasting out the dialogue and how the drug king (Alfred Molina) is totally oblivious to the obvious tension by the young visitors and meanwhile, in a David Lynchian sort of moment, he could care less about a Chinese kid, standing just out of frame lighting firecracker after firecracker, which is obviously getting nerves on edge (even more than they already are) of our young heroes.
Throw in a Marcelius Wallace type with a big frakkin gun who is just over their shoulder checking the bogus coke out while Molina’s character plays Russian Roulette for fun and talks about mixed tapes (a drug dealer’s version of Cusack’s talk in High Fidelity). Still the firecrackers continue.
Finally, Diggler (Wahlberg) just stares at the wall for what seem like forever while we listen to the mix tape, in full-blown, space-out mode before coming to his senses. Just as things look like we might get out of this little charade unscathed, Todd Parker does something really, REALLY stupid.
Gamble is back to do that thing he does, and The Master proves to be one of the more divisive films on the show in some time. We talk at length about some of the themes, the craft and the performances of perhaps the event film of this fall. Andrew lays out the plethora of homework submissions for the first listener assignment of the semester, and we lay out a new one at the end of the show. A very thorough Watch-List sees Gamble enamored with German Cats, Fundamentalist Christians and the Queen of Versailles. Andrew takes another run at The Avengers and parses the pubes of Basic Instinct and has mixed feelings on character actors on motorcycles. Kurt talks at length about Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, jumps into Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and then brings it back around to ParaNorman and Dredd. Of course there are many more things on the go in this loaded and lengthy episode.
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
The french Quad poster for the 70mm presentation of P.T. Anderson’s latest does an excellent job of capturing the mirror theme between the two lead characters. It also serves to highlight one of the many already classic sequences in the film, involving Joaquin Pheonix and a simple Rorschach test. The post also stares out at you, which should grab eyeballs in French cinemas where this might be displayed. To go along with the hooch/message-in-a-bottle one sheet previously, it makes The Master’s key art some of the best of the year.
A part of The Substream‘s Very Important Dudes and Dudettes in Film History series, curated by Matty Price in tweed and elbow-patch mode (albeit he’s actually wearing an E.T./Alien-mashup Tee) offers a fair number of insights into one of the younger great auteurs in Cinema working today, Mr. Paul Thomas Anderson; that is P.T. to film snobs. On the threshold of widening release for The Master, let Mr. Price set the scene for you.
I know a lot of you folks out there have a policy that if you are going to see a film anyway, if you are already salivating for it, then you avoid trailers. It might be worth a reconsideration of that policy when it comes to these micro-narratives that have been assembled for P.T. Anderson’s riff on Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, The Master. All three of them have been absolutely magnificent.
Hell yea, folks! P.T. Anderson’s L. Ron Hubbard sort-of-biopic (As Orson Welles Citizen Kane was to William Hearst) has come out of its financial paralysis and is back on track. Philip Seymour Hoffman is still in the lead role, but it appears that Jeremy Renner, is going to be replaced with a returning-to-acting Joaquin Pheonix. If you recall, the project was stalled either for creative issues or financial, it was never clear. But it appears that things are moving forward. Now Anderson doesn’t exactly work fast these days, but the end films seem to be consistently worth the wait. I’ll try to have patience, and enjoy the fact that The Tree of Life is coming out next month.
Paul Haggis Vs. the Church of Scientology
I’m not the worlds biggest fan of Paul Haggis (Writer of Million Dollar Baby, The Flags of Our Fathers and director of Crash, In The Valley of Elah and The Next Three Days), but after reading his history and break with the Church of Scientology, I certainly respect the guy a lot more…Very lengthy, but a very, very good read.
Why has P.T. Anderson’s Scientology movie been canned?
The Master, a Scientology parable in the making from There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson, has been “postponed indefinitely” according to one of the film’s stars, Jeremy Renner. The actor recently told Total Film magazine that “it really kind of stalled because when we were rehearsing —Phil, Paul, and myself — we kept coming up against a wall that we couldn’t overcome.” Given the film’s subject matter — it tells the story of a religion called the Cause that has striking similarities to Scientology — film critics are speculating that some hidden controversy may have pushed the film onto the back burner. Here are three theories.
Why I Call Myself a Socialist: Is the World A Stage?
Wallace Shawn gets philosophical and asks the question, ‘Are we more than merely our costumes?’ — “I simply believe it. I believe the costumes. I believe the characters. And then for one instant, as the woman runs into the shop, I suddenly see what’s happening, the way a drowning man might have one last vivid glimpse of the glittering shore, and I feel like screaming out, “Stop! Stop! This isn’t real! It’s all a fantasy! It’s all a play! The people in these costumes are not what you think! The accents are fake, the expressions are fake — Don’t you see? It’s all –” And goes onto explain why we are not smarter than Thomas Jefferson, even if we think we are.
Grading the Movie Studio Logo Openers – Part II: The Minor Leagues
This is the second in a continuing series in which I analyze and grade the openers that we film fans should be intimately familiar with. After all, we see them in front of every movie, and what with co-distributions and production houses each getting to put their own in front of the credits, we’re seeing more and more of them than ever (sometimes as many as four or five!). In part I, I took a look at the “Big Six” studios. Here, I look at the “mini-majors,” those studios that gobble up much of the remaining 15% that the six don’t command. What do these openers tell us, and how effectively do they tell it?
The 50 most controversial movies ever
Warning: What follows is explicit. These movies (and their accompanying photos) are not chosen for their beauty, but rather for their primal power to shock. And why is that important? Sometimes, in the case of politics and sex, filmmakers can be liberators, leading a charge that elevates the medium’s significance. Elsewhere—especially in the case of violence—a movie can warn us of where we might be headed. These 50 entries are the extremes.
Nora Ephron on Flops
It’s lovely to have a hit. There’s nothing like a hit.But it’s horrible to have a flop. It’s painful and mortifying. It’s lonely and sad. A couple of my flops eventually became cult hits, which is your last and final hope for a flop, but most of my flops remained flops. Flops stay with you in a way that hits never do. They torture you. You toss and turn. You replay. You recast. You recut. You rewrite. You restage. You run through the what-ifs and the if-onlys. You cast about for blame.One of the best things about directing movies, as opposed to merely writing them, is that there’s no confusion about who’s to blame: you are.
YouTube and the major film studios
The legal position of someone who uploads copyrighted movie clips to YouTube – for fun or educational purposes – is a very murky one in the light of the ‘grey area’ from which the majors now want to exert control of their user-uploaded content, via the algorithm-matching of the Content ID tool. From one point of view, if you really can ‘get sued’ for doing this, allowing any exceptions presents a climate of tacit invitation to do so – with the content-owner reserving all rights to ‘release the hounds’ at any time in the future, while palpably encouraging select abuse of copyright laws that it will not qualify in any meaningful way. Content owners are watching us from the edge of the playground with a loaded rifle, but for the most part they’re just ignoring us from the corner of their eye.
No Banksy At Oscars = Epic Fail
f Steve Pond’s report is correct and The Academy has pretty much banned Banksy from appearing at The Oscars in disguise, one can only hang one’s head in wonder at how STUPID the leadership of The Academy is. You know what they should be doing? They should be inviting Banksy to deface the walls next to red carpet (while pretending not to)… ask him to turn up with 4 or 5 others in monkey masks – including Jaime D’Cruz and Mr Brainwash – so no one knows who he is… and generally make a spectacle of himself. Why? Because he is one of the world’s greatest marketers to exactly the demographic that The Academy is desperately pandering to at every bloody turn… anyone under 40!
You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:
There was only one Stanley Kubrick, a filmmaker who combined philosophy, virtuouso filmmaking and an icy, precise look at humanity and its foibles. Zoom-ins, steadicam shots work, and operatic use of music were the tools of his auteur brand of cinema. While there are certainly a few modern films out there films are referred to as Kubrickian, it is a significantly smaller number than those described as Hitchcockian or Spielbergian. Simply put, Kubrick was hard to even imitate, let alone emulate, or push forward his particular style and type of filmmaking. But cinema evolves by younger filmmakers taking large chunks (wholesale) from filmmaking legends; like any art or science (and film seems to be a curious hybrid of both.) If Quentin Tarantino is the neo-Scorcese, Brian DePalma was the neo-Hitchcock (wither DePalma lately?), and Guy Ritchie was (up until he went all block-buster-y with the more generic Sherlock Holmes) a sort of neo-Tarantino., then here are five directors who have made a film that can easily be described as Kubrickian, enough to position them (in my mind anyway) as neo-Kubrick hopefuls.
After a Halloween hiatus, the boys are back with quite the metric tonne of movie mutterings. First up is a recap of the Flyway Film Festival and all the goings on with cheese curds and Delayed onset stress disorders. Despite a lack of worthy wide releases, ’tis the season for horror miscellany and AMC has given a real doozy in the way of the zombie genre with “The Walking Dead.” We also cover a fair amount of foreign fare (Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond, Britain’s Eden Lake and the infamous A Serbian Film) as well as some of the classics (The Shining, The Exorcist, Something Wicked This Way Comes) and the proverbial much, much more. Atmosphere is certainly the focus of the conversation.
With the North American bow of the final chapter in the Millennium (“The Girl Who…” ) Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, did hit the cinema in MN, and Andrew takes a step back and puts the third film in the context of the trilogy as a whole. There is a lengthy tangent about the David Fincher remake and what should could be brought to the table and the whole ‘too soon’ aspect of foreign language do-overs expect Let The Right One in and Ils to make the conversation. Also, some Doc talk and Jack Rebney goodness from the Winnebago Man Q&A here in Toronto following its commercial cinema release and a wee bit more on Catfish. From content to delivery, Kurt offers his virgin experiences with Netflix in Canada, and everyone has a go at hashing out the Canadian bandwidth wars on the horizon due to the services ‘streaming only’ mandate in the Great White North. We get a quick sneak review of the upcoming Tony Scott film, Unstoppable and quality DVD releases this week are not hard to come by. While it is a forehead slapping moment that we forgot to talk about The Larry Sanders Show complete collection on DVD, or the Criterion 50% Sale, there is still plenty of DVD goodness out there, even after the scary expensive pre-halloween weekend!
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
On Pixar and Finding Nemo: Teamwork, Friendship and Egalitarian Dictatorships “In the world of classic Disney animation, opposites commonly attract each other in a romantic way. That’s the core of the chemistry in Disney films from “Cinderella” to “The Little Mermaid” or “Aladdin.” In the world of Pixar, opposites like Marlin and Dory attract in a platonic way, as seemingly mismatched friends who have very different but very complimentary skills, and though “Finding Nemo” is ultimately a story about fathers and sons, the film’s most emotionally devastating moments are the ones that test the bonds between great friends.”
P.T. Anderson’s latest film is in the very early stages and at this point, it sounds like an interesting update of John Huston’s Wise Blood “A period drama to star Philip Seymour Hoffman as a founder of a new religious organization in the 1950s. [..] Hoffman, who has played supporting roles in most of Anderson’s past films, this time will be at the center, playing “the Master,” as in “master of ceremonies,” a charismatic intellectual who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952. The core is the relationship between the Master and Freddie, a twentysomething drifter who becomes the leader’s lieutenant. As the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor.”
Lukas Moodysson’s Mammoth Undertaking “I felt this was a meditative film rather than an angry film, so I was surprised by the controversy because I thought it was smooth and warm. You never really know what kind of film you’ve made until it’s finished.”