Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mix Tapes and some more Morning Music

I've always been drawn to making mix tapes for friends and loved ones. I've even been known to do one for myself now and again.  It's been awhile since I've done any, but last week I started dabbling again and made a couple.  Here's one of my favorite songs from one of 'em.

Grizzly Bear: On a Neck, On a Spit (Listen to it on Youtube)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

15 Directors

Like my previous Albums and Movies post, I jumped on the 15 directors note that was floating around Facebook. Here was my crack at it:

1. Jean-Luc Godard
2. Howard Hawks
3. Raoul Walsh
4. David Gordon Green
5. Robert Bresson
6. Jean Renoir
7. Abbas Kiarostami
8. William Friedkin
9. Michael Mann
10. George Cukor
11. Brian De Palma
12. Andrew Bujalski
13. Roberto Rossellini
14. Hal Ashby
15. Wim Wenders

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little music never hurt anyone

My song of the day. I like how cinematic it is.

Unkle: Trouble in Paradise (see on Youtube)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

15 Movies

Like my recent albums post, here's another note that's been circulating of late on Facebook.  So figured I'd throw my hat into the ring and post mine:

1.  Holiday (1938)
2.  Pierrot Le Fou (1965)
3.  In a Lonely Place (1950)
4.  The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
5.  Rio Bravo (1959)
6.  Chinatown (1974)
7.  Blow Out (1981)
8.  Kings of the Road (1976)
9.  Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
10.  Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
11.  La chienne (1931)
12.  Heat (1995)
13.  Splendor in the Grass (1961)
14.  The French Connection (1971)
15.  McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

15 Albums

This post has been going around Facebook, basically name the first 15 albums that come to mind.  Well I was inspired to participate.  Here's my list:

1. The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
2. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
3. Joy Division - Closer
4. Tricky - Maxinquaye
5. Massive Attack - Mezzanine
6. Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
7. Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
8. Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
9. The Smiths - The Smiths
10. John Coltrane - Live At The Village Vanguard
11. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
12. Mission of Burma - Vs.
13. Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room
14. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
15. Neil Young - Harvest

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hard Eight

Here's my contribution for the current Paul Thomas Anderson blogathon taking place at the fantastic Moon in the Gutter:

Hard Eight

Let me start by saying, I’m not one of these guys that knows Anderson’s cinema all that well.  I haven’t even seen all his films.  But I’ve always been intrigued by him, his knowledge of cinema, and the legion of die-hard fans he’s been able to rack up along the way. 

While watching Hard Eight for the first time, I was struck by a few different things.  First off, the way that Anderson’s managed to build a cinema family around himself.  He’s used several actors numerous times, even been the one to establish them.  John C Reilly, Philip Baker Hall, Melora Walters, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman all show up here, and numerous other times in his subsequent films.  He’s also already using here in his debut, cameraman Robert Elswit, who has since worked with him on all his features and Jon Brion who has scored all his work with the exception of There Will Be Blood.

I had always heard that Anderson really loved Scorsese and Altman.  And while there are certainly hints of both (think Goodfellas and California Split), I see more of Tarantino’s influence here than anyone else.  And of course this makes great sense given the context.  We’re in 1996, two years after Pulp Fiction had exploded on the scene, and Tarantino had become a veritable cinema rock star.

Anderson chooses to cast Samuel L Jackson, who I think turns in one of his most memorable performances.  He also chooses to start the movie in a diner, which is of course quite reminiscent of both Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.  He also seems to share QT’s love for words (mannered but sharp and effective) and his mixture of humor and violence.  See Jackson’s final scene to get a real feel for this.

Anderson might be post-modern.  There’s undeniably a self-consciousness to some of his work, particularly his use of the steadicam and how he likes to have the camera push in on his actors in a way that’s somewhat unmotivated by the action.  But he’s not as blatant with his pop-culture references as Tarantino nor the slew of other people in his generation that jumped at making a “crime film” after Pulp Fiction.

I would also offer that Anderson proves from the beginning to have a real skill and feel for actors.  The performances are very strong across the board, and I would give special mention to Hall and Jackson.

My only real complaint about the film is the ending.  I just felt a little let down by it.  It didn’t pop or register for me in the same way as most of the rest of the film.

But as a first-time filmmaker myself, it’s striking to watch Hard Eight and Anderson’s confidence right out of the gate.  This film doesn’t seem like a debut.  It seems like someone who already has a complete understanding of film language and is using it however the hell he wants.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hearing Cronenberg: Eastern Promises

Below is my recent contribution to the excellent David Cronenberg Blogathon currently happening at the equally excellent Cinema Viewfinder:


(Howard Shore)

Have you heard the most recent David Cronenberg film?  I bet not.  You’ve probably only seen it.  But it’s worth hearing, too, as I would place Cronenberg in a very small group of directors that think about the sound in their work as much as they do the visuals. 

Working with Howard Shore for the twelfth time in Eastern Promises, Cronenberg once again proves that he and Shore have one of the most important director/composer collaborations in all of cinema.  Their only contemporaries that even challenge them, in my mind, are the Coens/Carter Burwell, David Lynch/Angelo Badalementi, and perhaps Tim Burton/Danny Elfman.

This time, Shore immediately sets the stage.  His music is symphonic, fairly big, with a deep sense of melancholy.  It announces itself forcefully in the beginning but then takes a backseat for most of the film, really only showing up to accompany the voiceover of the young girl’s diary. 

Shore’s music may not be noticeable in the same way as say a score from Bernard Herrmann, but it’s certainly a key component of the texture.  Its rhythms pulsate and churn and help create the feeling of Cronenberg’s cinema enveloping you.  Shore also likes to take short breaks between his themes, pause, and then re-start them.  This tendency aids tremendously to the sense of uneasiness Cronenberg is so adept at creating. 

And then there’s Cronenberg’s use of sound.  It’s not as complex or expressive as Lynch’s work.  But it subtly conveys his themes and helps to create and sustain the tense atmosphere in his work.  One of the things that I was most struck by here were all the offscreen sounds of cars.  Whether we’re in Semyon’s restaurant, inside Anna’s home, or even at the spa, there’s always the faint sound offscreen of cars going by.  This adds immeasurably to the tension in the film and does it in a way that is highly intelligent and nuanced.

Of course, we all already know about Cronenberg’s obsession with the human body, and machinery (Crash).  And here those are the sounds that are the most pronounced, whether it’s a razor cutting a throat, blood spilling out of a hemorrhaging girl, or the entire famous scene in the sauna.   As for machinery, just listen as Anna goes by on her motorcycle or the expressive mileage Cronenberg generates from a hair dreyer or tattoo gun.   In his hands, all of them are transformed into sounding like some sort of murderous weaponry. 

Next time you get a chance, stop and listen to one of the Canadian’s films.  Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, you guys can be very proud.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Latest Updates

About once a month, I send out e-mail updates on the last lullaby (and) peril.  Want to receive 'em, simply send an e-mail to

Here's the last update:

September 4, 2010

Thank you all for taking time to register for our updates.  Today I will cover four topics:

- Upcoming Events

- Facebook Fan Pages!

- Lullaby News

- Other Fun Stuff

Upcoming Events

On Sunday, September 19th, I will be the featured guest on Film Courage, one of the most popular independent film radio shows.  The show tapes live at 2PM CST.  If you would like to listen, please click on the link above, scroll down, and tune in.  It should be a very interesting hour.  

Then on September 25th, I will travel to Natchitoches, Louisiana to be one of the keynote speakers for the 2010 Louisiana Studies Conference: Louisiana on Film.  That night, they will also screen The Last Lullaby.  The conference sounds like it will be a tremendous day if anyone is in the area and wants to participate.  It's free and open to the public.  

Facebook Fan Pages!

I am currently putting the money together for my next film, Peril.  Things are progressing very well with it.  And even though I don't know exactly when we will start pre-production, significant progress is being made every month.  

In the meantime, I am continuing to grow the audience around both Periland The Last Lullaby.  If you haven't already, please take a second to join our Facebook Fan Pages for Peril and Lullaby:

Just click on the links above and then click "Like!"

More Lullaby News

I will keep you posted on new developments for THE LAST LULLABY.  I did want to mention though that Sasha Alexander's new TV show, Rizzoli & Isles (also starring Angie Harmon and Lorraine Bracco), has just been renewed for a second season.  I am very excited for Sasha.  People are really loving the show.      

Other Fun Stuff

Over at the PERIL Facebook Fan Page, we're doing a daily movie trivia game where each day's winner will be entered into a drawing to win a role as an extra in PERIL (including his/her name in the final credits).  The movie trivia game will continue until we hit 3,000 members.  At that time, we'll have the drawing.  We're having fun with it, and I hope that many of you will join the Page and come play with us. 

Also, as I have mentioned in previous updates, I have created several other places for people to begin following PERIL.  Here are all the different places we have so far.  I hope that many of you will join us:
e-mail updates (simply send an e-mail to

I want to thank you all for your incredible support.  I really couldn't be more excited about the road ahead.

As always, if you have any questions, hit reply and your e-mail will come to me.  Please keep spreading the word!  You guys are the best.

Jeffrey Goodman
Chaillot Films

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Favorite (four), part 3

As I mentioned during my other two entries in this series, periodically I'll stop and single out the films I've seen recently that I've responded to most strongly.  The other two entries were five films, but this one is four.  Why?  It's been awhile since I've done one of these posts, and I felt it was time to bring out the filter.

John Ford's The Long Voyage Home (Cameraman Gregg Toland does some extraordinary things, and there's a depthfulness and heavy melancholy that gives it the kind of heft I've experienced with some Ozu, Mizoguchi, Bresson, and Dreyer)
Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon (An incredible performance from Tatum O'Neal and some nice Fordian nostalgia and melancholy)
Woody Allen's Radio Days (A personal film by Woody, buoyant and graceful)
Disney's Pinocchio (A tremendous Disney film, full of imagination and warmth)

Looking forward to the great discoveries ahead.  Happy viewing to all.