1. Tom Carson of GQ is now a blogger, too. His latest post, on Pinocchio, is typically well written and irreverent and smart and totally worth your time. Yup: I saw this through a link at GK's joint. Our quote is from Carson.
["Walt Disney's Pinocchio probably wasn't the first movie I saw, since I've got jumbled memories of being distressed by Leslie Caron's situation in Lili—why was she leaving the carnival?—and puzzled by Judy Holliday putting the bust back in combustion in a now forgotten comedy called The Solid Gold Cadillac. It probably didn't help that my State Department parents had hauled me off to Francophone West Africa before I knew I Love Lucy from Shinola, making confusion literally come with the territory. But those circumstances may help explain why Pinocchio left me unsure whether I'd seen a movie or had a nightmare. I'd already accumulated considerable evidence that I was a marionette with aspirations in a world whose rules eluded me, but watching my doppelganger on the big screen was no picnic."]
2. Whispers tell me that Walter Chaw has been slowing his roll at Film Freak Central because of, gasp, real world matters at hand, like parenting. So it's now a surprise treat when he finds the time and inclination to review a current release or two, as he does--and positively at that--with this notice on Sugar and Tokyo Sonata. He starts with an interesting table setting for this moment of cinema history.
["In case you haven't noticed, there's a cinematic trend afoot that looks to the fringes for stories of survival in a world where it's suddenly chic to shop at the thrift store. I credit Harmony Korine and David Gordon Green with first finding the poetry in destitution in this new American cycle, with maybe Gus Van Sant (with his Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho) acting as the accidental primogenitor. If it's not Frozen River's trailer-park heroine and her dalliance with human trafficking, it's Wendy & Lucy's despair from the bottom of the capitalist food chain. In the mainstream, there's Sean Penn's fantastic Into the Wild and the reboot of 3:10 to Yuma, which at its heart is a drama about the toll of being the breadwinner. Even Hancock, a movie that keeps improving in the rearview, can be read with profit as a document of how tough it is for the everyday Joe to eke out a living in a culture designed for the affluent, the physically gifted, the innately well-spoken. Like any social movement in film, however, a lot of the stuff is minimally affecting, message-oriented garbage that seems very pleased with itself as it, like the exec pushing a broken cart through Goodwill, wears its limitations as if dragging a cross uphill. There appears to be a race to the bottom: the first to total, Warholian inertia wins the booby prize. Most of it's destined to be remembered as symptoms of the affliction and not as the illness itself; the runny nose, not the Plague."]
3. Denis Lim looks at that Warhol DVD (of screen tests) that came out yesterday for the LA Times. I picked a passage about Nico because I'm drawn to her more, as a concept, than I am to Edie there up top. See, it's easy to look at Edie.
["Some sitters turn on the charm; others react awkwardly. Not surprisingly, the most famous brim with attitude. Dennis Hopper bops to an unheard song, smiles at a private joke. Nico, accompanied by "I'll Keep It With Mine," a Bob Dylan number that she supposedly inspired and later covered on "Chelsea Girl," barely deigns to acknowledge the camera, ducks in and out of the frame, plays with her hair, gazes into the distance."]
4. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has been watching some James Gray as of late. Me, too, as it happens. But I went all the way back to Little Odessa. Ignatiy pays strict attention to the three films made in this decade. He makes some bold claims, but that seems to be de rigeur for fans of Gray, doesn't it?
["Considering the amount of time producing a movie takes nowadays, we can be pretty sure James Gray won't release another feature before the decade ends; he's got only 8 months, and these aren't the 1930s. So the calendar has provided us with this complete thing–"James Gray in the 2000s"–to think about. Three features: one at the start of the decade, two towards the end, and each one better than the last. A cast of familiar elements: those cramped family gatherings (if Ernst Lubitsch owned the bedroom, Gray owns the den in American cinema), the metaphors of the Brighton Beach boardwalk, relatives in all of their permutations, the loud dance clubs, the neighbor, the city that doesn't seem large enough. And, above all, a feeling, the unintellectual intelligence of a man who knows people but doesn't pretend to understand them. And who knows and feels the Movie but doesn't pretend to be its only master. Gray's abandonment of youthful posturing might be what's keeping him from being respected in this country."]
["Paris is turning into Tativille starting tomorrow, April 8, until August 2, with the Cinémathèque française's appropriately large-scale retrospective of the famously ambitious French filmmaking legend's work, "Jacques Tati, deux temps, trois movements." Curated by Stéphane Goudet and Macha Makeïeff, the exposition is in honor of the director's 102nd birthday ("just in time for an homage divorced from obligatory celebrations, which he was not keen on," the curators tease), and will feature not only screenings of Tati's films (including a new print of M. Hulot's Holiday) but also exhibitions of props, costumes, screenplays, outtakes, and drawings and paintings by his friend and art director Jacques Lagrange. Add to all that guided walking tours of Tati-related architectural landmarks, screenings of a new six-part documentary on Tati called The 6 Lessons of Professor Goudet, and interviews about Tati with contemporary directors (including Michel Gondry, Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Otar Iosseliani, and Olivier Assayas) on view around the exhibit, and you have one seriously tantalizing Tati traffic jam."]
Quote of the Day:
" " —M. Hulot
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Thanks to the FD boys, a graph about that furtive beast slash head scratcher, Anthony Randolph, and his significance as a player, as a part of the starting line-up for the 2010 Golden State Warriors. The full five found here.
Clip of the Day:Bigger Than Life on Hulu, which is hilariously small in this post, as noted plenty of other places, like, say, my other blog.