1. “Kent Jones talks Inherent Vice, Godard, Resnais, Kristen Stewart, and more from NYFF52.” Brian Brooks speaks with the festival’s director and selection committee chair.
“Wild movie. You know, it’s the first [Thomas] Pynchon film adaptation, and it really catches his tone. It really catches the antic nature of him: the crazy names of characters, the nutty behavior, and then also the emotional undertone. It has the flavor of Pynchon. It has this Big Lebowski element to one side of it, but the emotional undertone, the desperation, the paranoia, and the yearning in the film…[Paul Thomas Anderson’s] an absolutely amazing filmmaker and it’s incredible to see him responding to someone else’s creation and then building his own creation out of it. He sort of did that with There Will Be Blood, but not really. It’s his own movie, inspired by the novel Oil! I was born in 1960, but I certainly remember 1971 very well and I gotta say, from the minute the movie started to the minute it ended, I was back—way back—to the point where I was thinking ’Gee, my son was born in the ’90s.’ So it’s a different kind of relationship that he would have. It’s an amazing piece of work, and at this point Joaquin Phoenix and Paul have something so rare between them as an actor and director, and Sam Waterston’s daughter, Katherine, is in it, and she’s riveting every minute she’s on screen. It’s quite a film.”
2. “Matthew Weiner Is in the Middle of a Very Emotional Moment.” The Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan chats with the Mad Men creator.
“I don’t even know what my ways are, I really don’t. The biggest thing that happened in my creative life is that there were eight years between finishing the pilot of Mad Men and getting to write the second episode, and during those eight years, I worked for three of them in the half-hour comedy world, and then I worked on The Sopranos for four of them. Being on the inside with someone like David Chase, and realizing that not just him but all the artists I admire trust their subconscious…that came to me with more confidence. You start trusting the way your mind works, and that trust was the biggest change. You’d like to think that you’ve gained wisdom, but what really happens is that you start recognizing who you are, and start to see yourself a bit more clearly inside. I spent a lot of my life feeling like the kid who was late for school, like I walked into the classroom and everything was under way, and was someone going to tell me what we were doing? Do you know what I’m talking about, that feeling where you’re so slow to understand certain things? On the other hand, you eventually feel good about seeing things in your own way. And now I kind of feel like even the person who got there one minute before you doesn’t know what’s going on, either.”
3. “To Boldly Go Where No Comrade Has…” Strange Lands Series Celebrates Soviet-Era Sci-Fi Films.
“To the Polish author Stanislaw Lem, creating science fiction was itself a form of time travel. ’What the science-fiction work presents belongs to one time (most often the future), whereas how it tells its story belongs to another time, the present,’ he once wrote. ’Even if imagination succeeds in rendering plausible how it might be, it cannot break completely with the way of apprehending events that is peculiar to the here and now.’ Inevitably, the ’here and now’ ages into ’there and then,’ and the distance between those two points can be more disorienting than any wild flight into the universe. That’s one of the thoughts that arises for a viewer of the unfamiliar titles in Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi, the Film Society of Lincoln Center series starting Friday that runs the gamut from space-age sex farce to dystopian nightmare and travels to such lost worlds as Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.”
4. “Telluride vs. Toronto: The Battle for Oscar Supremacy.” Toronto’s divisive new strategy has put Telluride on the defensive as the 2014 fall festival season gets under way.
“And so it came as little surprise that Toronto decided to get tough. In January, artistic director Cameron Bailey announced that, from now on, only world premieres and North American premieres would be permitted to screen during Toronto’s first four days—that all-important window when attendance is at peak levels and the media blitzkrieg is in full force. The message Bailey was sending to Toronto hopefuls was clear: You can still go to Telluride, but there will be consequences. As the fall festival season gets under way (it kicks off with Venice on Aug. 27, followed by Telluride on Aug. 29 and Toronto on Sept. 4), the exact nature of those consequences remains to be seen. While the new policy has drawn no shortage of grumbling—accompanied by near-total radio silence from Telluride—Bailey says that overall reaction has been ’overwhelmingly positive.’ From his standpoint, scheduling those Telluride-bound titles during the second half of Toronto represents a principled alternative to not showing them at all. It may even address the common complaint that Toronto has become too front-loaded over the years; by distributing key titles more evenly across the 11-day time frame, the festival might just become manageable enough to encourage attendees to stay longer.”
5. “Kirk Douglas Remembers Lauren Bacall: She Was My ’Lucky Charm.’” The legendary actor, who knew the late actress as “Betty,” credits her for bringing him to the attention of Hollywood and inspiring him to help others.
“Over the years, Betty and I never lost touch. We even starred together in a film [1950’s Young Man with a Horn] before she went back to New York to achieve the Broadway success I had always longed for. We tried to see each other whenever we were on each other’s home coast, and we shared many special occasions in each other’s lives, including my 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2004. Throughout our friendship, I wrote her letters, mostly typed because I have bad handwriting. She always penned her replies, and they were almost illegible—handwriting worse than mine! My latest note wasn’t answered, which was unlike her. I wondered why. Then, on Aug. 12, like the rest of the world, I found out.”
Video of the Day: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus come together to promote the Emmys:
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