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July 18 2018

July 17 2018

Short Pick Of The Day: ‘The Transformation’ by Julian Glander

A special sequence from Cartoon Network's "The Amazing World of Gumball."

The post Short Pick Of The Day: ‘The Transformation’ by Julian Glander appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

How E.d. Films Is Using Real-time To Help Make Their Animated Films

A look at how e.d. films in Montreal has adopted the Unity game engine for animated filmmaking, and even developed its own real-time tools.

The post How E.d. Films Is Using Real-time To Help Make Their Animated Films appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

I Walk Alone


Byron Haskin - 1947
KL Studio Classics BD Region A

The movie that I like to retitle, "When Burt met Kirk". This marked the first pairing of the two actors, the fourth film for both. The difference is that Burt Lancaster had already achieved star billing in his second role, while Kirk Douglas was still considered a supporting player. In his commentary track, Troy Howarth mentions the friendship between the two actors, but the nature of their personal relationship is open to some debate as discussed in Kate Buford's biography.

Burt Lancaster, seemingly ready to burst out of his suit, plays the ex-con, free after fourteen years, ready to rejoin former bootlegging partner Kirk Douglas. Lancaster expects that Douglas will still keep the agreement they made when they last saw each other regarding sharing any wealth. Douglas has gone legit, from running a low-rent speakeasy to now owning a high class night club. The film takes plays over the course of one very long night.

Haskin's film is not considered part of the canon, but for someone unfamiliar with film noir, there are two scenes that serve as perfect illustrations. The accountant of a nightclub, played by Wendell Corey, has walked out on boss Douglas. He realizes that he is being followed by a hitman. Just prior to that moment, Corey is seen in a dimly lit drug store phone booth, desperately trying to contact Lancaster. Sneaking out the back way, Corey walks, then runs down the street, framed in an overhead dolly shot at a slight diagonal angle. He is being followed by the elongated shadow of the hit man. Corey is off-screen, to the right of the camera when gunfire is heard. The dolly shot continues moving to the right, with the sidewalk lit with the light of a store across the street, the store letters seen on the sidewalk, a trail of drops of blood, stopping on Corey's dead body.

Following that scene, Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott confront Kirk Douglas at his New Jersey mansion. Douglas seems to have control with the gun at hand. A desk lamp is knocked over. Douglas is seen in silhouette, with only moonlight, shooting in the direction of Lancaster's voice. Lancaster and Scott are barely visible, hiding in the shadows, counting until Douglas is out of bullets.

I Walk Alone was Haskin's first directorial credit in twenty years. Starting as a silent era cinematographer, he also directed four now lost silent films around 1927. Going back to cinematography and special effects, with uncredited direction on Action in the North Atlantic, Haskin worked for producer Hal Wallis on several films when both were at Warner Brothers. How much of the visual expressiveness should be credited to Haskin, I can't really say, although in retrospect, I Walk Alone could almost pass for a Warner Brothers movie. The handful of films I've seen by Haskin also indicate some thematic continuity in the corrupting nature of self-perceived power with The Boss, with a screenplay by an uncredited Dalton Trumbo, The Naked Jungle and Haskin's last theatrical film, The Power.

New York Times film critic Bosley Crowthers took time to be a public scold in his review, noting, "It is notable that the slant of sympathy is very strong toward the mug who did the 'stretch,' as though he were some kind of martyr. Nice thing! Producer Hal Wallis should read the Code." Burt Lancaster was hardly the first actor to play an ex-con who the audience would root for. Pushing the production code a bit more was the presentation of Douglas' open relationship between his night club's chanteuse played by Scott, and the socialite played by Kristine Miller, who is also open about her flings. I Walk Alone is visually dynamic, but keep the ears open for the still charged sexual banter.

i walk alone german poster.jpg

Check Out These Before-And-After Shots From ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’

As usual, animation and vfx played a big role in the making of "Ant-Man and The Wasp."

The post Check Out These Before-And-After Shots From ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

July 16 2018

"It’s Just a Job": The New York Woman in the Workforce

Illustration by Sergio Membrillas
Legendary film critic Molly Haskell once wrote after seeing Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather that the final image of the film where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has the door closed on his wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), to conduct a business meeting has “reverberated through our culture” ever since. In terms of movies Haskell is specifically referring to the image’s metaphorical power of representing the course Hollywood would take in ignoring women for what is now, nearly fifty years. The image of Michael shutting the door essentially forces Kay into the fringes of his life and therefore the narrative of the movie, and I agree with Haskell that it has proven to be one of the more useful images in all of Hollywood, and filmmaking in general, ever since. What is ironic about the appearance of this culturally significant image in the early 70s is that it is in complete opposition to what second wave feminists were fighting for at the time. While feminists certainly have more important goals than whatever is going on in cinema, it is unfortunate that we still find ourselves in lock-step with the echoes of New Hollywood even today. We’ve just replaced the hyper-masculinity of something like motorcycle pictures with super-heroes. There have always been great movies about women, but it has since been increasingly hard to find them at multiplexes and theatres beyond the art house. The Quad Cinema’s “New York Woman” series is beautiful and captivating because it begs us to look deeper than Hollywood and see that despite being in the margins there has always been great cinema made by and about women. If anything, it is a testament to how we have always thrived. The margins are where our stories are passed down and told for centuries. The film industry only puts that truth in spotlight.
There are three films in particular playing during the New York Woman series which best represent that very tumultuous time period in American (specifically New York) history for women. These films are News From Home (1977), Chantal Akerman’s landmark documentary poem on being a daughter and trying to thrive, Lizzie Borden’s comedy on sex work, Working Girls (1986), and Variety (1983), Bette Gordon’s sleazy neo-noir look into the space women occupy in a sexual world. Each of these pictures deal with women entering the workforce or trying to make it in a profession and having it affect them in a cataclysmic way, and all three were unsurprisingly made outside of the confines of Hollywood. 
During World War II, while American men were on the battlefield’s, women were largely at home and joining the workforce taking over jobs in factories and campaigning for war bond donations to help fuel the efforts overseas. In doing so, women by and large realized they could handle the same jobs that men could and when men wanted their jobs back after the war was finished women were left in the awkward position of returning to their old lives with this new revelation about themselves. This was the genesis of second-wave feminism; what would follow was Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963), a sexual revolution, the right to choose, and re-entering the workforce. Mainstream cinema as always is little late to touch on the pulse of current events, but outside of the Hollywood system radical work was being done by directors like Barbara Loden, Barbara Hammer, Yvonne Rainer and Chantal Akerman.
Chantal Akerman’s New York Films films (Hotel Monterey, La Chambre, , and News from Home),made from between 1971-1976, are some of her most daring work, with News from Home being perhaps her greatest work of art. News from Home is comprised of long, sometimes static, shots of the city and its residents as they go about their daily tasks. Throughout all of these longer takes Chantal’s mother can be heard in voice over talking to her daughter, hoping she listens to her stories back home and telling her how much she misses her. It’s the voice over which gives the film its resolute power and makes the image complicated. Chantal has chased this city for her own artistic benefit: , and these images are all it represents and the voice over is everything she has sacrificed in by doing so. Chantal’s mother misses her daughter, and Akerman smartly never responds directly in film to anything her mother says, instead merely presenting the city and the messages in a blunt, matter of fact way. As the film passes, the voice over becomes more infrequent the sound of the city drowning drowns out her Akerman’s own mother. The screech of an old bus’s faulty breaks become “I love you” and the echoing void of the subway are in place of “I miss you.”. It’s a stunning portrait of urban alienation and the way things change when leaving the nest of motherhood. Akerman has always been a filmmaker whose interests lie in contextual images, and her version of New York City isn’t a thriving, jazzy wonderland, but one of concrete, monolithic buildings and rising trash. The people she films are isolated from one another, each going about their own daily business in the city and more often than not expressionless and closed off. This is not the New York of Hollywood, but the New York she saw, which only makes her mother’s grief over not seeing her daughter all the more haunted, and moving. Chantal Akerman made exactly the art she needed to in New York City. It was distinctly of the place, of the time, and personal, down to her anxieties of displacement and alienation among people and temporary homes she never understood while grappling with a job she was just beginning to master. Her only real sanctuary was her mother’s voice.  
Chantal Akerman’s filmmaking style and ethos would echo from this point forward. One disciple in particular was a young Lizzie Borden. Borden, like Akerman, forces audiences to ask themselves questions regarding a woman’s place in the image. Chantal was always interested in the idea of what women do when men aren’t around, and in a cinematic context that’s a thesis that had rarely been explored before Akerman’s epochal Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975), Jeanne Dielman which gave weight to images and feminine- gendered tasks that were deemed uncinematic by the entirety of filmmaking up to that point. Borden takes a similar approach but applies it to sex work. Traditionally sex work is presented as an empathy point for filmmakers in the grand scope of a woman’s tragedy in melodramatic cinema. There are directors who handled this well, like the great Kenji Mizoguchi, but more frequently it’s a short cut to elevated stakes and weak storytelling while also reinforcing tropes about sex work that are actively harmful to the people who have the job in real life. For Lizzie Borden  she keys in on the fact that it’s just a job, stripping the cinematic history of sex work bare and presenting it in the matter of fact way it is in reality where women wait and shoot the shit inbetweenin between boring, unsatisfying forays into sex. Here, it’s just a job. It’s no different than McDonald’s. You go to work, you get paid, the money is never good enough, and you go home.  
Working Girls follows Molly (Louise Smith), a lesbian in a bisexual relationship, as she goes about her daily work life as a sex worker in New York City. The daily grind involves stocking up on condoms, making sure her lingerie is in order and cleaning her genitals before getting down to work. It’s a boring job and her friends seem to think so too. Borden emphasizes this with long stretches where the image stays mostly static as characters just sit in a living room talking about the daily grind. The characters have their own language associated with the business, but it’s never explained; their rhythm together makes their work and language like part of a secret club. The girls typically have each other’s back, even in the sex scenes. For example, one man wants a threesome, but when Molly and her friend go into a bedroom to work he insists that one of them give him anal sex, and that’s what he thinks he’s getting but what we see is the two women sharing a moment, laughing at the man who thinks he’s getting what he wants, but instead it’s just a finger up the ass. This isn’t tragic, or filled with drama, but comedy—making the genre indicators of films about sex work transgressive by satirizing what we’ve come to expect after years of a certain kind of representation on this kind of work. This is made even more true when we find out why these women are working this job in the first place. It isn’t because they were forced into it at a young age or anything of the sort. It’s because they’re paying off student loans, saving money to start businesses or looking to make a few bucks on the side for things like clothes and jewellery.  
The Quad are is offering up Bette Gordon’s Variety as a double feature with Working Girls on July 19th, because both these films deal with women in the workforce and how sex colors how the women in these movies navigate the world. Variety sets the tone early with an opening scene between Christine (Sandy McLeod) and Nan (Nan Golden) discussing employment opportunities in a women’s locker room after working out. The camera stays still as they talk and we merely sit and listen to what they have to say. There’s not a lot of jobs out there for women. The promise of an equal workforce was always something met with skepticism and what’s glaringly obvious about their talk is that their place as women effects what sort of jobs are available to them. Nan suggests that Christine work at a clothing store, but Chris goes for something a little more daring: a ticket taker at a porno theater. This was a New York before former Mayor Rudy Guillliani "cleaned" everything up eliminating the strip bars, and with it some of the only jobs afforded to hard- on- their- luck women at the time. This is a New York of neon lights, cigarette smoke and dried cum. It's the New York of Martin Scorsese and Abel Ferrara's noir/horror pictures like Taxi Driver (1976) and The Driller Killer(1979). It's not the black and white city of soft jazz like in Manhattan (1979), it's the city where if you don't fit a certain mold of affluence you hustle to survive, —and Christine does just that at her porno job. She sits bored out of her mind more often than not, dealing with skeevy men and curious wall-street types, but she's drawn towards the pornographic images of women on screen. Christine is chasing after her own person sexual revolution, and in Bette Gordon's scenario 's she penetrates a space that had previously only been the stomping ground of semi-hard men with nothing but a head of steam to blow off. Her mere presence complicates the image and the question of "what do woman do when men aren't around?" that I previously brought up in relation to Chantal Akerman’s cinema also asks. Here, the specific question is "how do men change when women move into spaces that were previously theirs?" and while Variety doesn't have all the answers, it forces us as viewers to investigate for ourselves through images how these men become more cautious around a woman, and in some cases more cunning, lecherous, and hate-filled. Christine's power as a woman in this space is that she's asserting her body’s right to exist among men, and in that regard it's one of the most deeply layered, complex pictures in the wake of women moving into the workforce.  
In the dawn of second-wave feminism and in response to the overwhelmingly masculine cinema of mainstream Hollywood women’s stories still thrived. They persisted and shook with the times, and in many cases opened new avenues where we could more freely talk about issues like economic inequality, racism, sexism, abortion, and balancing a family and job life. These films were radical, forcing cinema to consider our bodies and our livelihoods beyond the happily ever after of the perfect man. It was a new frontier, and while we are still blazing that path and fighting for our right to even appear in mainstream cinema as equally as men do, we still speak, and we will until we’re heard. In the meantime, we’re still making movies. Like Bette Gordon. Like Lizzie Borden. Like Chantal Akerman. 
"The New York Woman" runs at the Quad Cinema in New York from June 29 – July 19, 2018.

‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ Launches In First Place

The Drac Pack delivers its third no. 1 launch.

The post ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ Launches In First Place appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

(Wieder-) Gesehen

UGETSU MONOTAGARI (Kenzo Mizoguchi, Japan 1953)

Ein feministischer Film? In jedem Falle einer, der dem Drängen der Männer nicht nachgibt, ihren unsteten Neigungen, ihrer Gier nach Abwechslung und Gelegenheit – und stattdessen die Frauen: Betrogene, Vergewaltigte, Geister – in den Blick nimmt, ohne sie auf eine Opferrolle zu reduzieren. Ja, ein kanonisches Meisterwerk, aber ein Wiedersehen lohnt sich unbedingt, weil Mizouguchis Film mit dem Abstand der Jahre nicht weicher geworden ist.

EISENHANS (Tankred Dorst, Deutschland 1983)

Unter seinen eigenen Arbeiten ist ihm der Film der Liebste, meinte Kameramann Jürgen Jürges letztens zu mir. Und man kann sich vorstellen weshalb. Das reiche Schwarz-Weiss, die Sinnlichkeit, die verzauberte deutsche Provinz, in der alles auf Sand gebaut ist, entfaltet einen ambivalenten Sog, wie er im deutschen Kino einzig ist.

FLASHBACK (Raffaele Andreassi, Italien 1969)

Einen Wehrmachtsoldaten als (einigermassen) unschuldiges, ja erotisches Objekt einer größeren (und eben immer auch sexuellen) Geschichte zu erzählen – dafür braucht es ein italienisches Prisma. „
Da ist so viel körperlich direkter Raum, und die Stimmen kommen von weit her, wie wenn man im Sommer die Augen schließt und seine Freunde rufen hört, aber man ist stumm, betäubt, in Trance. Die Geräusche der windbewegten Bäume und des Wassers in der Wärme. Die eigene Stimme, der man nachlauscht. Man kennt das auch aus anderen Filmen, aber hier ist es anders. Ich weiß nicht, wie das kommt.” schreibt Silvia Szymanski (die mir den Film nahe gebracht hat) treffend.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (George Miller, USA 2015)

Physischer Wahnwitz – das ist der eigentliche Trumpf des Films. Wenn man ihn sieht, versteht man, warum der digitale Ersatz den Hunger nach dem richtigen Zucker noch steigert. Das Schaukeln der Stangen über dem Sand, das sinnlose Muskelspiel der Fahrzeuge in der Wüste werden bleiben, lange nachdem ich die Windungen des Plot vergessen haben werde.

BLUE RUIN (Jeremy Saulnier, USA 2013)

Was passiert, wenn man Action „realistisch” erzählt? Man beginnt sich zu fragen, welche Funktion der Glamour der Gewalt hat. Warum muss ein Schlag im Kino immer gelingen, ein Schuss treffen ...? Das Unsaubere verändert die Gewalt fundamental, auch wenn man daran glauben will, dass der Rächer Recht hat.

DAY OF THE OUTLAW (André de Toth, USA 1959)

Wie hier die Gewalt als Ausdruck und Brandbeschleuniger des Gefühls auftritt, muss man gesehen haben. Unglaublich, die Tanzszene, in der die niederen Instinkte der Gesetzlosen gerade so noch in Schach gehalten werden von ihrem verwundeten Anführer, dessen wahnhaftes letztes Projekt es ist, die Würde der (falschen) Uniform zu wahren. 

TÜZOLTÓ UTCA 25. (István Szabó, Ungarn 1973)

Die Zeiten gehen durcheinander, durch den Raum, die Figuren wissen Bescheid, wollen nicht heiraten, weil sie schon wissen, dass der andere bald sterben wird, Gegenwart ist Vergangenheit, Vergangenheit ist Zukunft. Ungarische Geschichte in der Fassung eines alten Hauses, das die Zeiten nicht mehr auseinanderhalten kann. Endlich eine Dramaturgie, die sich von der Zeit nicht fesseln lässt.

CSB Interview with Kanata Wolf, Director of Smokin’ On the Moon – NYAFF 2018

Kanata Wolf’s first film, Smokin’ On the Moon (Japan 2017) had its International Premiere as part of the 17th New York Asian Film Festival.  The film stars Arata Iura and Ryo Narita as two aimless thirty-somethings, living weed-filled blissful lives until narrative vicissitudes force them to grow up and face the real world.  I had a chance to speak with Wolf, in NYC along with cast members Shaq and Dankichi Magnum, and his producer Tadahiro Sekiguchi, to present the film, about shooting a weed film in Japan, the apartment complex where he shot much of the film, and foiling audience expectations. 

CSB:  First off, why do you go by Kanata Wolf for this film?

KANATA WOLF:  My real surname is Tanaka, so I reversed it.  And my first name is Yuichiro and the kanji in it is the same as “wolf.”  I am only using that name for films, not for novels.

CSB:  This is your first feature film and you also wrote the script?

KANATA WOLF:  Yes. My background is in music videos, not film.  Here, first I wrote the novel, that’s where it all started.  The Japanese name of the story actually translates as Rooster, from one of the main characters [the character played by Ryo Narita].

CSB:  Was it hard to cast the character of Rooster, since Ryo Narita has to carry a lot of different tones?

KANATA WOLF:  Actually the hardest to cast was the role of the boss yakuza. We got lucky and got a really good actor, Kanji Tsuda.  That part was so important.  If that role wasn’t played right the whole movie would be messed up.  He needed to be intimidating.

CSB:  The film starts as a stoner comedy, but then transitions into a yakuza thriller, before changing gears again into a drama.  I noticed you varied your filming style as the film shifted. How did you manage that?

KANATA WOLF: I used to be a musician and make beats, and I grew up in the hip-hop culture, so for me making those beats was kind of like sampling.  My style is kind of like sampling, when I like something, I mix it with many styles.  So during the filming, I sometimes used an iPhone too, or a different kind of camera.  Shooting with our real main camera required a lot of set up, so sometimes when I felt something with the actors, I just went with the iPhone.

CSB:  So was there a lot of improvisation?

SHAQ:  My part was almost no improv.

KANATA WOLF:  Sometimes people changed lines as they went, and sometimes I would just keep rolling after the scripted portion was over. We would just keep filming, and I used the best portions.

CSB:  You also used a lot of animation in the film, did you have any background in animation?

KANATA WOLF:  I was originally part of a music group, and one of the members was well-versed in animation.  We brought him in, and someone from Canada who just happened to be on a trip to Japan.  He is an amazing animator who did some pretty big work.

CSB:  Rather than a stoner comedy about teens or twenty-somethings, you made the leads men in their thirties, and it seemed like a major theme of the film was growing up.  Were you worried that the audience that came in for goofy comedy would react badly to the shift in tone?

KANATA WOLF:  I was looking forward to that (laughs). Actually some old guy in Yokohama came up to me at a screening and said, “The first part of the movie, that was shit, but when I got to the end, I thought this movie was awesome.” I was surprised (laughs). But I wanted to capture an older style of Japanese filmmaking in the second half.

CSB:  There were a lot of very specific details in the story.  I was wondering if any of them were taken from real life?

KANATA WOLF:  Some of the sadder aspects of my life were mirrored in the film.  I’ve lost a friend, and perhaps he wanted me to go straight like Sota does in the film.

© “SMOKIN’ ON THE MOON” Production Committee

CSB: Where did you find the main location for the film, the apartment complex where Sota and Rakuto live?

KANATA WOLF:  The main apartment building is my building, I am the owner.  Their room is my office actually.  On the first floor, there is a bar and a furniture store, and a Jamaican record store.  It’s in Osaka, though the story is set in Tokyo.

CSB:  You were able to get a lot of interesting talent to appear on the film, including LiLiCo and Eiji Okuda.  How did you manage that on my first film?

KANATA WOLF:  Because of my producer (laughs).

SEKIGUCHI:  I’ve known some of them a long time and we have been talking about this for many years.  They supported us.

KANATA WOLF:  The book took about 7 years to write, and it came out last year, though I published it online about 5 years ago.  It was really helpful in getting the project off the ground.

CSB:  How long did it take to shoot the film?

KANATA WOLF:  Around one month.  It was tough to shoot.

DANKICHI MAGNUM:  Our parts were only shot in one day, so it was okay (laughs).  We are actually old friends.

KANATA WOLF:  Some of the other cast members from the beginning are also old friends or other people I know.  Mookie, the Jamaican character, he’s actually a superstar in Thailand, from the hip-hop group Thaitanium.  I’ve known him for almost 20 years, so I invited him to be part of the film.  He only had to film for one day also.

CSB:  Who did the music?

KANATA WOLF:  Some I did myself.  And I went to Thailand and did some sessions with musicians there.

CSB:  Was the psychotic neighbor inspired by any specific person?

KANATA WOLF:  He is actually more fleshed out in the novel. There have been a number of incidents, like one guy who chopped up nine people.  We have a lot of that kind of incident.  How much do you really know about people?

CSB:  Did you have any trouble putting together financing or casting the film, given that it has a pretty neutral view about weed – it’s just something the protagonists are using casually – given Japan’s pretty conservative industry?

KANATA WOLF:  It was an issue (laughs).

SEKIGUCHI:  When we started trying to put together financing for the film, we were approaching companies and they all turned it down because it’s so hard in our market.  So we had to move onto private investors, and that is where we got all of the money.

CSB:  Did have any effect on the reception of the film?

KANATA WOLF:  No, not really.  But we did have theaters complain about the length of the film.  The original quote was three hours and 10 minutes.

SEKIGUCHI:  Actually, this version showing at the NYAFF is shorter than the version in Japan by about 15 minutes.

CSB:  What did you cut for the international version?

KANATA WOLF:  Some of the animation in the beginning.  And in the other version, at the end of the film, after everything is finished, there is an additional animation sequence. There is also another scene with the yakuza play fighting, and a boxing scene with betting. From the much longer version, there is an extended ten minute scene where the yakuza are intimidating Jay [Sota’s dealer].  It starts off casual but gets very intense.

CSB: So what is next for you?  Now that you’ve had a taste of making feature films.

KANATA WOLF:  I have two projects coming up.  The first is about an assassin, I want to shoot it as an animation first, and then base the film on the animation.  The second is about a gay man more inspired by Stand by Me.  An older gay man on a road trip – a very different style from this film.

CSB:  I look forward to it.


Thanks to Kanata Wolf, Takahiro Sekiguchi, Shaq, and Dankichi Magnum for their time, and to Emma Griffiths and Stacy Smith for facilitating this interview.

Double Feature (4)

CARRIE  (Brian De Palma, USA 1976)
KLARAS MUTTER  (Tankred Dorst, D 1978)

Double Feature: Anders sein. Müssen.

Es wäre interessant, De Palmas Film im  Double Feature  mit Dorsts in jeder Hinsicht komplementären Debüt zu sehen, der eine verwandte Geschichte erzählt (die starke Mutter, die sich gegen die Gesellschaft stellt, die Tochter, die unter der Differenz - in die sie hineingeboren wurde - leidet; die Eifersucht zwischen den Frauen, die Sehnsucht der Kleinstadt nach einem Umsturz, und wie er sich gegen sie selbst wendet, das Schweineblut und das Menschenblut ...), aber - mit „europäischer Sensibilität” - etwas ganz anderes erreicht.

(Geschrieben 2010)


Mit Krystian Woznicki (Berliner Gazette) habe ich über 20 Jahre Revolver gesprochen.

July 15 2018

Coffee Break

Dana Ivgy and Ofer Shechter in Cupcakes (Eytan Fox - 2013)

July 14 2018

TruTV’s ‘Misfits & Monsters’ Anthology Series Launches With Scary Cartoon-Themed Episode

In TruTV's new anthology series, a voice actor's worst nightmare comes to life when a character he voices comes to life.

The post TruTV’s ‘Misfits & Monsters’ Anthology Series Launches With Scary Cartoon-Themed Episode appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

July 13 2018

Review: Premika (Thailand 2017) – NYAFF 2018

Courtesy of M Pictures

Those in the mood for midnight movie fare need look no further than Premika, an absolutely bugnuts karaoke-themed horror movie out of Thailand. It’s funny, it’s gross, and it’s even a bit heartbreaking. Premika is gonzo filmmaking at its best, and I kind of loved it, stupid as it is.

Premika is off-the-wall from moment one, when we see a girl’s living heart placed inside a karaoke machine.  A group of singers and karaoke fans gather at a remote resort for a contest, little knowing that their lives are on the line, while a young police officer investigates a series of murders and disappearances.  What none of them know is that the ghost of the murdered girl haunts the hotel, forcing guests into lethal karaoke challenges with escalating difficulty – if you can imagine the laser room scene from the first Resident Evil but with singing instead of lasers, you’d be on the right track.

The cast is a goofy assortment of local celebrities and comedians, with real singer Gena De Souza headlining as the titular ghost, decked out in a Japanese schoolgirl costume and smoky eye.  There is a pair of skanky pop stars who have more cleavage than talent, a boy band with a soulful leader, fat brothers with bowl cuts, a bickering couple, and more grist for the mill.  The characters are all silly caricatures played for comedy, but you can’t help but root for them in the karaoke challenges.

And those challenges are definitely the highlights of the film.  Characters are transformed into full song-appropriate garb and forced to belt out standards for their lives – get the lyrics wrong, sing out of key, and you’re dead.  And if that means having to get soulful in the middle of a haunted forest with ghosts singing back-up, so be it.

In a lot of ways, Premika reminded me of Hausu – it has a jittery energy and total disdain for typical movie logic that I found endearing.  Premika is gory but also candy colored, full of horrific dismemberments and a tonally jarring backstory, but also making time for a full-on Scooby Doo chase scene.  I mean, how can you not goggle at a film that foleys in the sound of a knife being drawn to underline enormous breasts?  An “a-ooga,” a “boi-oi-oing,” sure, that’s old hat, but the sound of a blade being drawn that wouldn’t be out of place in a samurai drama?  Madness.

It helps that, for what amounts to a slasher film, Premika is highly unpredictable.  I could not tell who was meant to be the protagonist well into the film, and the deaths and survivals are genuinely unexpected, as was just how entertaining this hot mess is.  I can’t wait to see what first-time director Siwakorn Charupongsa does next.

3 out of 4 stars (Very good).  Premika plays as part of NYAFF on July 13.

Movie Poster of the Week: “Kind Hearts and Coronets”

Above: US 40" x 60" poster.
Currently playing on MUBI in the United States as part of a mini Ealing Comedies series, Kind Hearts and Coronets is often considered Ealing Studios’ greatest achievement (it ranked at number six in the British Film Institute’s 1999 poll of the Best British Films of All Time). It was released in 1949 within the same two months as two other Ealing classics: Passport to Pimlico and Whisky Galore. All three were nominated for the 1949 British Academy Award for Best British Film, though all three lost out to The Third Man.
A dark yet breezy satire of class and mores in Edwardian Britain, in which a dispossessed aristocrat plans to wipe out the line of succession to the dukedom he believes is his, one upper class twit at a time, Kind Hearts is most notable for Alec Guinness’s bravura turn as nine different characters (he was originally offered four roles and he loved the script so much he said “why four, why not eight?”). From the original posters for the film, however—the British quad below and the US poster above—it seems that the Guinness gimmick was not the major marketing point for the film that it became when the film was re-released in later years. Prominent in the earliest posters, the main character played by Dennis Price and his female co-stars are later eclipsed, especially in international posters, by the eight Guinnesses.
In France and Belgium the film was released as “Noblesse Oblige” which is the also translation of the German (“ Adel Verpflichtet”) and Polish (“Szlachectwo Zobowiazuje”) titles. In Spain the film was called “Eight Death Sentences” (“Ocho sentencias de muerte”) while for some reason the Danes called it “Seven Small Sins” (“Syv små synder”). And in Italy it was called “Blue Blood” (“Sangue Blu”) though in the wonderful Photobustas below it was remarked as “Mister Murders” (“Mister Omicidi”) implying that Guinness played the murderer rather than the victims.
All of these are wonderful, but the Danish, Italian and two German posters by the two Hanses (Hillmann and Edelman) are especially good.
Above: UK quad poster by James Fitton.
Above: 1960s UK re-release poster.
Above: 1951 Danish poster by Benny Stilling.
Above: Spanish poster by Fernando Albericio.
Above: Polish poster by Waldemar Zarachowicz.
Above: 1960s re-release Italian 4-fogli by Majorano.
Above: Six 1966 Italian re-release Photobustas. (Note misspelling of Alec Guinness).
Above: West German 1960s re-release poster by Hans Hillmann.
Above: West German 1964 re-release poster by Hans Edelmann.
Above: French 1960s re-release poster with (minimal) art by Jean Mascii.
Above: Belgian poster.
Above: Belgian re-release poster.
See the full Ealing Comedies MUBI line-up here.

in passing

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette, Madeleine Parry & Jon Olb, 2018

While I don't particularly like Nanette as stand-up, I know that reactions to performances like this are highly subjective. Plus it sure is a neat piece of storytelling and audience control, so my negative reaction is more about its reception than about the thing itself. I just don't buy into the idea that something which triggers dozens of almost identical think pieces in just a few weeks can be a "watershed moment" or a "game changer". The vocabulary to describe this obviously already was there, as this is, point for point, tailor-made for its think piece producing target audience. Anyway, burdening popular culture with promises of salvation (while rejecting its most interesting part: its paradoxes) almost always is a bad idea.
Admittedly I'm a big fan of stand-up without actually having experienced a lot of it. But still I think it isn't a big risk to claim that a random evening in a headliner-free NYC comedy club contains more friction and energy than this.

Die Sexabenteuer der drei Musketiere, Erwin C. Dietrich, 1972

A succession of atrocious sex jokes, filmed as awkwardly (and slowly) as possible. the complete absence of even the faintest notion of craft leaves room, though, not only for formalist humour (the repeated pans over pastoral landscapes), but also for a number of small beauties: a man almost elegantly sliding into a duel scene because the floor is slippery, the lingering shot of a woman stretched out in the hay a few feet apart from a pining, but inactive man, several naked men walking in line through a dark, vaguely medieval room, trying way too hard to coordinate their movements. the one really beautiful scene that somehow managed to slip in - involving a frog sitting on ingrid steeger's breast - is worth more than anything someone like Inarritu has ever done. the dialectics of film history.

I Spy, Allan Dwan, 1934

Not nearly good enough to be the missing link between A Modern Musketeer and Trail of the Vigilantes, but it is in the same vein: an absurdist, fast-moving comedy informed by the kind of popcultural knowingness and ironic detachement usually attributed to postmodernism. Dwan is perfectly suited for material like this - it's all about engineering and when he manages to boil down the story to pure mechanics (Ben Lyon bouncing around between two tough guys in one moment, and basically being thrown into an airplane into the next), it works beautifully. Some parts of it have a nice silent comedy feel to it and Lyon gives a wonderful deadpan performance. There is enough energy here, but not quite enough ideas to sustain it for 62 minutes.

July 12 2018

Check Out The Trailer For Adult Action-Heist Thriller ‘Ruben Brandt, Collector’

Hand-drawn, adult, and dealing with complex psychological themes, this Hungarian feature looks and feels like no other animated feature in the current marketplace.

The post Check Out The Trailer For Adult Action-Heist Thriller ‘Ruben Brandt, Collector’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

How Did They Actually Animate The ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ Characters?

Animation supervisor Alan Hawkins shares animation secrets behind Blobby, Count Dracula’s bat transformations, and the Kraken.

The post How Did They Actually Animate The ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ Characters? appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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