Thursday, September 3, 2009

Round Up

Random thoughts and comments on recent developments in the film world.

IFC and Criterion have signed a deal wherein Criterion will handle the DVD and Blu-Ray distribution for select titles under the IFC Films banner. There’s been a lot of grumbling about Criterion releasing more and more contemporary films at the expense of lost classics, and while I do lament the general state of classics on home video, I also love that Criterion is living up to the "contemporary" side of their mission statement. Besides, when those films include Summer Hours (hands-down the best film I've seen all year) and Che (hands-down the most ambitious, and one of the most fascinating films I saw last year), it's hard to complain too much.

As of right now, the Northwest Film Center, probably the most important establishment for cinephiles in Portland, has a screening of Bright Star scheduled for September 23rd, but only for members. Bright Star played at the Cannes Film Festival and is being released in New York on September 18, but there's no word on any larger plan, and the distributor doesn't have a web site. My guess is it will make it out here, as the film has been tossed around as an Oscar contender, but this waiting period always makes me nervous.

Anne Thompson's onto something here without quite coming out and saying it (also, as a director, there's nothing challenging about John Lasseter - he does what he does very well, but challenging audiences is not his wheelhouse). Oddly enough, I expected myself to come away swinging, but instead agreed - The Limits of Control is kind of a mess, in spite of its aims. But while Coppola may have earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants, the movie still has to earn that (which, for the record, I think Tetro does, even if it doesn't stick the landing).

I don't hate The Boondock Saints the way a lot of cinephiles do. I just don't care about it at all, and it's aged really poorly. And it has the philosophy of that guy who sat a couple seats down from you in high school who was always flipping through weapons magazines and had a weird fixation on German culture. Willem Dafoe was pretty amusing in it, though...until the end. What the hell happened there? But, y'know, here's the trailer for the sequel.

Top Five films I'm desperate to see this fall/winter, but my access to them is uncertain:
Wild Grass
Red Riding Trilogy
Everyone Else
Tree of Life
The White Ribbon

I feel pretty good about Portland getting Tree of Life and The White Ribbon...Wild Grass sounds so damn nutty, it's hard to say, and the Red Riding Trilogy is...well, it's three films. They couldn't even release Kill Bill all at once. Though it will be on IFC OnDemand, God's gift to far-flung cinephiles, and a system that should be mandatory for every niche distributor (I'm looking right at you, Sony Pictures Classics). Everyone Else seems almost impossible, unless a distant chance pans out and I'm in New York for the end of the New York Film Festival. The only one of these I would actively travel to further than Seattle to see is Tree of Life. I'd fly to New York if I had to.

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