Saturday, November 26, 2011

Favorite (four), part fifteen

Just like in my other fourteen posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see. But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two will be good to someone else, too).


Maurice Pialat's La gueule ouverte
Who is Maurice Pialat and what makes him special as a filmmaker? Some have called him the French Cassavetes.  But I think that tag is a bit misleading.  Pialat, like Bresson, was a painter first before trying his hand at film, and his work is much more visually striking than that of Cassavetes.  Where their paths converge is in their raw approach, lack of music, and predilection for loose, extremely natural performances. Pialat only made ten features in his career, and this is the eighth that I have seen.  It's the one time he collaborated with the masterful cameraman, Nestor Almendros, and the partnership lends poetry and lyricism to Pialat's heavy, uncompromising cinema.  I think this is one of (if not) the strongest film(s) of Pialat that I have seen.  And I hardly ever throw the word out there, but I think it's a masterpiece.

Yasujiro Ozu's Early Summer
Ozu mixes up the approach a little, adding more music than usual and quite a number of incredibly expressive tracking shots.  The cumulative effect though is about the same as I have to come expect with Ozu's cinema - piercing and majestic as anything the cinema has ever produced.  Feeling rattled or a bit adrift, I would think anyone coming in with the right amount of patience would leave Ozu's cinema (this work definitely included), reminded of the lyrical beauty of life.  Ozu has gotten short shrift when it comes to a reputation as something austere and wholly cerebral.  There's a nice playfulness at times with this one, as well as a real lively spirit.  


Michael Rapaport's Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
My four years of college could really be distilled down to two or three albums, one of which is Tribe's Midnight Marauders.  Rapaport does a great job of shedding some light on Tribe -- their creative process, inner friction, and tremendous importance within the history of hip-hop. Rapaport takes us through a wide range of emotions.  And even when the filmmaking might be a little generic, Tribe's music playing in the background reminds us of how many incredible and lasting tunes this wonderful group left to us.  A great trip back to the late eighties and early nineties, and arguably to the only great artistic movement I've lived through so far.  

Tsai Ming-liang's I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
Tsai's cinema is remarkably consistent from film to film, thematically, rhythmically, and formally.  No one does loneliness and modern alienation, post-Antonioni, as well as Tsai.  And there's a repressed sexuality about his work that's as strong in its charge as anything in Lynch, Cronenberg, or anyone else's work.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

La Nouvelle Vague - #1

My favorite moment in the history of film so far has to be La Nouvelle Vague, roughly the period from 1958-1962 when a group of young French cinephiles took their passion and redefined what was possible for the medium.  I'd like to make this the beginning of a new series of posts, in the future also covering Italian Neorealism, the American New Wave, and perhaps even the German or Iranian New Wave.
 
The purpose, highlight the must-see films of the "movement".  If you see gaps or have suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.  It's tricky because a good number of the key works of the Nouvelle Vague are still hard to find stateside.  Here goes:

*Une histoire d'eau - Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard (1958)
Le Beau Serge - Claude Chabrol (1958)
*Operation 'Beton' - Jean-Luc Godard (1958)
*Une vie - Alexandre Astruc (1958)
*Blue jeans - Jacques Rozier (1958)
*Moi, un noir - Jean Rouch (1958)
Les amants - Louis Malle (1958)
The 400 Blows - Francois Truffaut (1959)
Les Cousins - Claude Chabrol (1959)
*Tous les garcons s'appellent Patrick - Jean-Luc Godard (1959)
*La tete contre les murs - Georges Franju (1959)
A double tour - Claude Chabrol (1959)
*Le signe du lion - Eric Rohmer (1959)
Hiroshima Mon Amour - Alain Resnais (1959)
Breathless - Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
Shoot the Piano Player - Francois Truffaut (1960)
*L'eau a la bouche - Jacques Doniol-Valcroze (1960)
Les bonnes femmes - Claude Chabrol (1960)
Eyes Without a Face - Georges Franju (1960)
*Les godelureax - Claude Chabrol (1961)
Lola - Jacques Demy (1961)
Last Year at Marienbad - Alain Resnais (1961)
*La pyramide humaine - Jean Rouch (1961)
*Chronique d'un ete - Jean Rouch (1961)
*La proie pour l'ombre - Alexandre Astruc (1961)
Paris nous appartient - Jacques Rivette (1961)
Une femme est une femme - Jean-Luc Godard (1961)
*Ce soir ou jamais - Michel Deville (1961)
*Description d'un combat - Chris Marker (1961)
*Bonne chance, Charlie - Jean-Louis Richard (1962)
*La punition - Jean Rouch (1962)
Jules and Jim - Francois Truffaut (1962)
*Adieu Philippine - Jacques Rozier (1962)
Vivre Sa Vie - Jean-Luc Godard (1962)
Cleo de 5 a 7 - Agnes Varda (1962)
*Adorable menteuse - Michel Deville (1962)
Antoine et Colette - Francois Truffaut (1962)

*The ones I have marked are ones I still need to see myself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

September 13-October 13

The Last Lullaby, starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, released on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and in a multitude of other places, exactly a month ago today!  Thank you all for your incredible support; it's been an amazingly gratifying first month.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why I love Pandora

Don't get me wrong.  I still love to listen to a great album (i.e. Paul's Boutique, Bringing It All Back Home, Maxinquaye) from start to finish. And there are times, in this fragmented world, where I think it's important to throw something cohesive on to glue everything back together for a moment.

But I also love the randomness of the Pandora experience.  Here was my morning listening experience, as I logged onto my Radiohead station. These four songs in a row (can find them all on YouTube):

Mazzy Star - Into Dust
Thomas Newman - Any Other Name
Placebo - Hang On To Your IQ
Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

Friday, October 7, 2011

Contemporary Film Noir -- My Top Fifteen

My first feature, The Last Lullaby, just released on DVD on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and in a bunch of other places.  It's a hybrid of genres, probably, but it's also probably a film noir.  So to mark this big occasion for the film, I thought I would throw out a list of my personal favorites from the contemporary noir period (I started it, as many people do, after 1958.) 


Pierrot Le Fou
Shoot the Piano Player
Blue Velvet
Mulholland Dr. 
Techine's Thieves
Fargo
Straight Time
King of New York
Chinatown
Heat
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Night Moves
Blow Out
Carlito's Way
Godard's Breathless



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Film Noir -- My Top Ten

My first feature, The Last Lullaby, just released on DVD on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and in a bunch of other places.  It's a hybrid of genres, probably, but it's also probably a film noir.  So to mark this big occasion for the film, I thought I would throw out a list of my personal favorites from the classic noir period (I cut it off, as many people do, at 1958.)

Criss Cross
The Big Heat
Out of the Past
Night and the City
Grisbi
In a Lonely Place
The Killers
The Killing
The Set-Up
Pickup on South Street

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Favorite (four), part fourteen

Just like in my other thirteen posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see.  But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).


Lee Chang-dong's Poetry
Another film that makes me feel that the two countries with the most interesting cinema right now are South Korea and Romania.  By no means an easy work, this film ambles around, so soft and subtle in its approach that the viewer has to forge a different kind of relationship within the experience.  My first Chang-dong viewing tells me that he's an incredibly patient filmmaker, unusually adept with actors and a humanist in the vein of the Dardennes and Rossellini.  A bit too vague at times in his ramblings but a filmmaker employing methods of the highest rigor and truth.

Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo
Part of that unique genre, "extreme film", along with works such as Apocalypse Now and Sorcerer.  These films all show filmmakers willing to travel to dangerous lengths to paint unprecedented canvases and test their own abilities as storytellers and dream purveyors. Herzog's film might feel slightly disjointed at times.  But the scope at which he is working and the heart that drives both him and Fitzcarraldo allow this film to rise memorably above any shortcomings. A classic of the genre, and probably about as personal as Herzog's work can ever be.  

James Ivory's Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
Two unusually strong performances remind us of the wonderful nuance, depth, and humanity that can happen when a filmmaker decides to make a work for real, aging adults (think Make Way for Tomorrow). Woodward is particularly memorable here, and of the Ivory films I've seen so far, this one seems the most sophisticated and pleasantly ambiguous.


Andrew Niccol's Gattaca
I found it to be one of the most unique, thoughtful, and moving Hollywood films I have seen in awhile.  It has to go down as one of the more striking debuts of the last twenty years with a Niccol script that is spare and poetic, all in the best of ways.  I wish visually the world was a little less flat and generic, but Nyman's score and Niccol's smooth direction lift the story well above the sterile visuals.  


Monday, September 19, 2011

Great first week!

It's been a great first week, wide release for The Last Lullaby.  Lots of online chatter, and people discussing the film in ways that are really satisfying.  Some of the chatter is in places I'd expect (Twitter, etc). Other places are a bit new to me, like Tumblr.

Want to hear some of my favorite discussions, check this out:

Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/the+last+lullaby)















And here are three of my favorite quotes from this past week, two from Twitter and one from Tumblr:

1.   Tasha 
Finished The Last Lullaby. It was intense and, beautiful in a way. I loved its rhythm and its sense of command.

2.   Nicole 
 There's smthng so intriguing about Jack + Sarah, their underlying feelings 4 1 another +the fact they don't act on them :)

3.  And from Tumblr:
"ANONYMOUS ASKED: okay ask you something....I'm assuming you have seen Last Lullaby with Sash, what did you think of it. Honestly. I haven't seen it yet @fanofthearts
Good morning :)
Yes, I watched it and I LOVED it!
But let’s ramble a bit here… This is going to be a long post, I just know it.
At first, when reading about it, I didn’t expect a lot. Because I’m a very picky person when it comes to movies. And it’s usually the case that, when I watch a film just because one of my fave actors/actresses has a part in it, I get bored after 5 minutes and then just fastforward most of the scenes without said persons.
(Damn that was a weird long sentence. It’s early.)
So yes, I wasn’t expecting much.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I watched the trailer. And I thought “Damn, this looks good”.
And then I watched the movie and I have to say, I was SO impressed!
The tone of it, the scenery, the angst, the SLOWNESS. I think the ‘slowness’ is what makes this movie one of the best I’ve seen in ages.
Here’s a review that I found, that reflects my thoughts and puts them in better words (because English isn’t my native language):
“It isn’t yet another in a seemingly endless spew of pop-culture-referencing, amped-up, martial-arts, dizzyingly-edited action montages masquarading as movies. This is the real deal, a genuine, character-based noir tale that packs a surprising punch. No bells and whistles. No CGI. No explosions. But plenty of mood, atmosphere, emotion and startling, unromanticized violence. And a touch of romance, too. This is a crime movie for adults who don’t have A.D.D” x
And Sasha was just… BRILLIANT!
And I’m not saying it because I’m a fangirl.
So yeah, you should watch it."


Thank you all for the incredible support, for many, many, many years.

Jeffrey

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A week from today...

...THE LAST LULLABY will be available in a multitude of places (Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Netflix, Blockbuster, etc).  It's been 3 1/2 years since our first showing in Dallas and more than 4 1/2 years since we first rolled the cameras on it.  I'm so proud of the film and happy that it will finally be finding a larger audience.



celebrity profile

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smattering of some Sunday background music...

Cat Power - Cross Bones Style
The xx - Crystalised
Jeff Buckley - Mojo Pin
Rufus Wainwright - Poses
PJ Harvey - Down by the Water

*All can be heard on YouTube

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Latest news on LULLABY (and) PERIL

Here's my latest update on my two film projects.  I send these out about once every couple months:





















THE LAST LULLABY (AND) PERIL UPDATE
August 13, 2011
Thank you all for taking time to register for our updates.  Today I will cover
four topics:


- Lullaby Distribution
- Update
- Facebook Fan Pages!
- Other Fun Stuff


Lullaby Distribution
As I mentioned in my previous update, we have signed with Level 33 Entertainment to distribute The Last Lullaby in the United States.  On September 13, a new, upgraded DVD will be available to purchase.  It is already available as a pre
order at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Last-Lullaby-Tom Sizemore/dp/B00555ZTHO/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1313240086&sr=1-1), as well as in a multitude of other places.  The distributor has asked me to go ahead and also encourage everyone to add the film to their Netflix queue (http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Last_Lullaby/70115888?trkid=2361637).  It will be available as a rental on Netflix very soon.


The new DVD will include some fun things like deleted scenes, as well as the option to play the film for the first time in 5.1 surround sound.  All of this is fantastic news as it will allow many more people to discover and see our film.  




Update
The Last Lullaby continues to find an audience. One of the most popular independent film radio shows, Film Courage, just let us know that we're the #2 most-watched show of all time.  That is a fantastic honor.  Here's a link to the piece if you would like to have a listen:


http://filmcourage.com/content/film-courage-top-10-shows-august-11th-2011-powered-hotpixel-post-production


I also continue to move forward with my next film, Peril.  I'm still putting all the money together, but I am extremely excited about the film and very optimistic looking ahead. 




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

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peril/266972237358?ref=ts
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Lullaby/19456164241?ref=ts
Just click on the links above and then click "Like!"
Jeffrey Goodman

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Favorite (four), part thirteen

Just like in my other twelve posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see.  But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).


Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger
Antonioni's incredible talents are all over -- his meticulous framing, his daring yet languid camerawork, and his feel for spaces that the medium has yet to capture.  Still very slow and cerebral like almost all his work, but The Passenger gains some warmth from its summer exteriors and more rustic locations.  One of the cinema's great road movies, and in the same family as Wenders' Alice in the Cities and Kings of the Road

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life
Malick is looking at different ways for cinema to work.  Although his connection to nature may not jump off the screen like it did in The Thin Red Line, his incredibly specific memories of childhood allow him to wash connections over us.  He does it in very short brush strokes, and as he swims through his own fleeting images, we see so much of ourselves. His work with the children is extraordinary.  And I think his style really gains, with many of the jump cuts remaining in the tool box. Full of narrative courage and exploration (the first time the animated sequences break the narrative it seems as though a new prototype for story is being offered), and a work of tremendous ambition.  I think there are flaws.  Sometimes his elliptical wanderings go too far and end up feeling more elusive than illuminating.  And after seeing the film twice, I'm still not convinced he wouldn't have benefitted from a stronger actress than Chastain.  But it's a dense film, inviting discussion and multiple visits.  

Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid   
A loose, mournful western from one of the late masters.  Peckinpah meanders, ponders loyalty and lost ideals, and delivers what might be the most personal of all his works.  The loss of a lifestyle, the onset of civilization, and a western about not fitting in, that doesn't really fit into anything that's come before or since.  


Ermanno Olmi's The Tree of Wooden Clogs 
An incredibly ambitious venture that is acutely observed and warmly rendered.  Ambles and captures the countryside in ways that remind of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, sans Altman's quirky stylings.  Never have I seen the rural parts of Italy look so alive.  Olmi asks for patience, but his eye is as natural and unobtrusive as the glory days of Kiarostami in Iran.  


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A collaboration I'd like to see...

Saw Terrence Malick's latest, The Tree of Life, a couple of times last week and think he and Mark Hollis of Talk Talk need to work together at some point.  Artistic bedfellows, both operating well out of the norm and able to create transcendent, almost religious moments in their work.  They are both very special guys. Challenging, difficult artists. Here are some of my favorite Mark Hollis moments:

Talk Talk - Ascension Day
Talk Talk - April 5th
Talk Talk - I Believe in You

*All songs on YouTube

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Road Movies

It's a human trait to want to pick up and start over somewhere else.  Or wander aimlessly without having to commit to a place (or anything for that matter) for very long.  One of my favorite of all types of films is the "road movie", as these feelings of freedom and adventure are at these films' very core.

In the mood for a little wandering, here are a few of my favorite road movies:

Stranger Than Paradise.  Jim Jarmusch.  1984.
Alice in the Cities.  Wim Wenders.  1974.
The Passenger.  Michelangelo Antonioni.  1975.
Kings of the Road.  Wim Wenders.  1976.
In the White City.  Alain Tanner.  1983.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Favorite (four), part twelve

Just like in my other eleven posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see.  But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).


Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us
At times, the most sexual of all the Altman pics I've seen and certainly one of the most interesting.  Feels like a movie that Altman really cares about; it's extremely unconventional stylistically, just like McCabe, and in a strange way it almost feels like a precursor to the free-form style Michael Mann would take on with Collateral, Miami Vice, and especially Public Enemies.  An Altman film I would need to re-visit as it feels extraordinarily complex.  And if it's such a cliche at this point that Hollywood doesn't make 'em like they once did, during that special time in the seventies, then this film is as much an example as any.  

Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise's West Side Story
One of the first things that jumped out at me is how much it seemed to influence both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish.  I would love to hear Coppola discuss this.  Most of the music is quite memorable (doesn't hurt having Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim as collaborators), and some of the choreography quite lively and striking. My biggest complaint is that the action and emotions sometime seem a little flat.  But all in all, it's one of the grandest and most vital musicals ever made.  

Paul Feig's Bridesmaids    
The sixth Apatow film I've seen, after The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Pineapple Express, and the first I've seen where the hype all seems to add up.  Simply put, Apatow is able to create some of the most painfully funny moments on film right now while also managing to make time for scenes that deal with real life and actually make your heart ache.  Here I think Kristen Wiig is the real key as she's the perfect Apatow actor; she's quite adept at comedy while also able to come off as incredibly human, full of flaws and wounds for all to see.  Feig admittedly seems to lose his way at times, but the memorable scenes are strong enough to pick up the slack.   

Clarence Brown's Flesh and the Devil  
A reminder of how visually expressive, and even inventive, some of the silent period could be.  Full of nicely-weaved, surprising plot movements and a very memorable John Gilbert performance.  I don't know much about Clarence Brown's other work, but if this is any indication, he's someone I definitely need to explore.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011

5/12/11 I watched Adam Yauch's Fight for Your Right Revisited.  I would think any major Beastie Boys fan (I would have to put myself in that group) would find this a welcome reminder of what makes the group so important.  There is something so anti-authoritarian and fly in the face of any form of political correctness no matter how old the boys become and how many years they put out music.  Their presence in music, and culture, always seem timely and progressive, yet while remaining true to the brand they have built from day one.     


6/17/11 I watched Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.  It's Allen's most blatant gesture at crowd-pleasing that I can remember, and it's certainly working.  People are turning out and continuing the hype.  It didn't have much depth for me though and struck me as bubbly, but nothing more than Allen-light.


6/20/11 I watched Paul Feig's Bridesmaids.  The sixth Apatow film I've seen, after The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Pineapple Express, and the first I've seen where the hype all seems to add up.  Simply put, Apatow is able to create some of the most painfully funny moments on film right now while also managing to make time for scenes that deal with real life and actually make your heart ache.  Here I think Kristen Wiig is the real key as she's the perfect Apatow actor; she's quite adept at comedy while also able to come off as incredibly human, full of flaws and wounds for all to see. Feig admittedly seems to lose his way at times, but the memorable scenes are strong enough to pick up the slack.  


7/8/11 I watched Miguel Arteta's Cedar Rapids.  A bit slow and a bit short on laughs.  Not near as deeply felt nor as funny as the work that Apatow is making.  


7/26/11 and 7/28/11 I watched Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. He's looking at different ways for cinema to work.  Although his connection to nature may not jump off the screen like it did in The Thin Red Line, his incredibly specific memories of childhood allow him to wash connections over us.  He does it in very short brush strokes, and as he swims through his own fleeting images, we see so much of ourselves. His work with the children is extraordinary.  And I think his style really gains, with many of the jump cuts remaining in the tool box. Full of narrative courage and exploration (the first time the animated sequences break the narrative it seems as though a new prototype for story is being offered), and a work of tremendous ambition.  I think there are flaws.  Sometimes his elliptical wanderings go too far and end up feeling more elusive than illuminating.  And after seeing the film twice, I'm still not convinced he wouldn't have benefitted from a stronger actress than Chastain.  But it's a dense film, inviting discussion and multiple visits.  


8/18/11 I watched Cindy Meehl's Buck.  A doc that is at times moving and inspiring, even if a little thin to carry its 88 minute running time.  


9/21/11 I watched Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive.  A film that many of my cinephile friends in the blogosphere are currently discussing.  Some love it, some don't see the hype.  It's an interesting film that combines some of my favorite elements -- a Michael Mann influence, a lack of pop culture references and irony, and an electronic score.  My problem with it stems from its interest in being cool.  Almost everything about its loud style screams look at me.  And while Mann's style is cool.  It simply is, without trying.  Refn's approach seems far less integrated, floating above its story in a way that I found hollow and terribly distracting.  


9/26/11 I watched Bennett Miller's Moneyball.  I was a big fan of Miller's last film, Capote, and have been very excited to see what he does next.  This outing though was a little disappointing for me.  I thought Jonah Hill was tremendous and that there were some interesting ideas at work here.  But overall it felt very muddled thematically and lacking the propulsive drive of the best sports movies.  


9/27/11 I watched Michael Rapaport's Beats, Rhymes & Life:  The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.  My four years of college could really be distilled down to two or three albums, one of which is Tribe's Midnight Marauders.  Rapaport does a great job of shedding some light on Tribe -- their creative process, inner friction, and tremendous importance within the history of hip-hop.  Rapaport takes us through a wide range of emotions.  And even when the filmmaking might be a little generic, Tribe's music playing in the background reminds us of how many incredible and lasting tunes this incredible group left to us.  A great trip back to the late eighties and early nineties, and arguably the only great artistic movement I've lived through so far.  


11/26/11 I watched Drake Doremus' Like Crazy.  This Sundance winner has some heart, and it's nice to see a not so dour film emerge from that world.  But it's charm grows old as soon as you start to realize there's no depth nor real-life angst or struggle to balance it out.  A couple of nice lyrical moments but otherwise a bit of a frustrating pic.  


11/30/11 I watched Robert Weide's Woody Allen: A Documentary.  My favorite parts were the footage and explanation of Woody's early years. But ultimately, I found the doc to be overly long and quite unfocused.  


12/1/11 I watched Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene.  Strong filmmaking.  But so claustrophobic and controlled as to lack almost all breath of the outside world.  It's also one of these movies that once it does let go, like ends, there's very little left to consider.  


12/7/11 I watched JC Chandor's Margin Call.   Kinda like the way I felt about Michael Mann's Ali, I'd seen the documentary, Inside Job, and didn't really need to see this narrative film.  A bit underwhelming for me.  

5/6/12 I watched Tommy Lee Jones' The Sunset Limited.  I was at least intrigued by Jones' first feature, but this one doesn't seem able to avoid the common pitfalls of filmed theater.  A somewhat tedious and uncinematic watch for me. 

12/8/13 I watched Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre.  A humanist tale that is humanist in a very fresh and unusual way as it involves another man's sacrifice for a complete stranger.  Kaurismaki's mannered approach keeps him from resonating as deeply with me as I would like and his lack of rigor, as compared to Jarmusch, keeps me me more in admiration than in complete thrall.  

7/9/15 I watched Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World.  Scorsese definitely seems like a master of the documentary form as well.  What is most impressive is how vital he is able to make moments where his only footage is that of still photos.  I agree with my friend Stephen who feels that documentaries are where Scorsese is doing his best work these days.  Between this film and the Dylan doc, I am deeply impressed.  

7/19/15 I watched Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike.  Perhaps the Belgians' most emotionally affecting and brutal film yet.  It is less formal than some of its predecessors and that lack of artistic trapping significantly enhances the feelings at stake.  Cyril is up there with one of the strongest characters the Dardennes have created and the performance by Thomas Doret as fully felt as any actor in any of their films.  I think there are a couple of moments where they fail to fully avoid cliche and the Bressonian music felt completely unnecessary and heavy-handed.  But those are small gripes for what is another extraordinary work by the Dardennes.    

9/14/15 I watched Asghar Farhadi's A Separation.  It felt like a Dardenne or Kiarostami pic sanded down so as to be more appealing to the masses.  I found it to be emotionally forced for much of the time and not fully satisfying in the same way as the work of the two previously mentioned filmmakers. 

11/29/15 I watched Valerie Donzelli's Declaration of War.  Donzelli's film is a nonintuitive blending of style and playfulness with the story of a terminally ill young boy.  She proves adept at voiceover and succeeds in finding the right emotional space of modulating melodrama while still hitting enough notes of truth and reality.  It is a concoction of interest, even if neither its emotionality or artfulness end up affecting me in fully satisfying ways.  

6/12/16 I watched Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret.  Genre.  Novelistic.  Ambition.  Massive.  Pressure.  Huge, after the breakout success of You Can Count On Me.  I have long been a fan of Paquin and here Lonergan gives her the space to show off deep layers of her talent.  The sprawling film is difficult and flawed but also infinitely more rewarding than most of the work currently coming out of the States.  It feels most akin to a French art film, something Desplechin or Assayas would attempt, and full of extraordinary moments and bubbling with feelings and ideas.    

10/11/16 I watched Celine Sciamma's Tomboy.  A very strong addition to the kid in peril genre that includes 400 Blows, Kes and Germany, Year Zero.  This one is effective and incredibly unsettling, particularly for the way it takes the audience's experience with past movies and uses those memories of what could possibly happen to lend almost relentless tension.  The end credits mention Ferran and Lvovsky, which come of no surprise as influences and to locate the cinematic world in which Sciamma is treading.   

10/13/16 I watched Bertrand Bonello's House of Tolerance.  Bonello, a filmmaker who prefers an impressionistic approach, possesses a skill for creating mood and an ability for gliding a camera elegantly around a space that are as masterful as anyone currently working in the medium.  This is the second film of his that I have seen, the first was 2014's Saint Laurent, and the size of the canvases could not be more different.  Saint Laurent was this expansive biopic, House of Tolerance is a hermetic, intimate work that takes place almost entirely within one location.  While watching, I thought of Tricky's album Maxinquaye, a work that sucks the listener into a sealed space and then leads the listener through its endlessly dark and dangerous corridors.  There is a charge in Bonello's work, much of which comes from his talent with his camera which in his hands feels like a weapon that at any moment might unleash irrecoverable effect on the helpless viewer.  Although I felt this time that the canvas handicapped some of the beauty and depth I experienced while watching Saint Laurent, I remain most impressed by the French director's talent.    

11/19/16 I watched Lars von Trier's Melancholia.  Based on the few films I had seen to date, I had never considered myself a fan at all of the Danish filmmaker.  He just seemed like such a jerk as a person and an insufferable nihilist as a filmmaker.  No doubt he is a gifted visualist and he has a wonderful ear as well, and I will even claim von Trier as more than capable directing actors.  Here he offsets some of his noxious nihilism with tremendous beauty - in particular, an extraordinary location and wonderful light - but when it all comes to pass we are still left with that bad aftertaste.  Like there is nothing we can do to mask the true flavor. 

11/24/16 I watched Terrence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea.  Anyone who has ever been in an unbalanced relationship, where one party is clearly more committed than the other, will recognize themselves in Davies' film.  I don't have enough familiarity yet to know how this work compares with Davies' other films but Davies' treatment feels very real, nuanced and smart.  The acting is extraordinary.  I have never been a fan of Weisz but you feel every moment of her angst and Hiddleston is exuberant and brings tremendous energy whenever he is on screen.  Davies' approach is a bit arch and theatrical but his treatment here is nothing short of courageous and accomplished.  

4/2/17 I watched Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress.  Quirky and a bit silly but a fairly entertaining watch from one of the masters of the college years.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Other random tunes...

Here's a sampling of a few of the things currently making the rounds on my computer (my 2011 version of a stereo):

Run DMC - Beats to the Rhyme
Keith Jarrett - Koln Concert
Thelonious Monk - Well, You Needn't (hang in there for Blakey's drum solo)
Duke Ellington - Caravan
MC Lyte - Cappuchino
Georges Delerue - Theme de Camille
GZA - Shadowboxing

All seven tunes can be heard on Youtube.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Favorite (four), part eleven

Just like in my other ten posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see.  But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).


Irving Lerner's Murder by Contract

Another Scorsese favorite, this noir is utterly unique in terms of its tone. Much of its difference comes from its Flamenco-like score that gives the film a very offbeat, bouncy and buoyant feel, in the midst of a good amount of darkness.  Vince Edwards gives a tremendous performance, and although spare and lean, the production always feels formally clean and clear.   A very strong, lesser-known work.  

Charles Ferguson's Inside Job
It's a powerful and utterly disturbing portrait of the events that led to 2008's global recession.  Ferguson explains some of the chief causes in a very lucid manner, and he presents a very passionate attack on America's financial services industry.  Whether or not you agree with all that he has to say, I would say this is a must-see, simply for the opportunity to get a further look at many of the chief players.  

Roberto Rossellini's The Rise of Louis XIV
The first of Rossellini's historical dramas that I've seen, and it takes awhile to get used to this later style and period of the great director.  But it snakes its way around, accumulating historical import, and by the end, it finds its emotional highpoint.  Another transcendent and powerful work by one of cinema's most unusual and rigorous stylists.   

Adam Yauch's Fight for Your Right Revisited
I would think any major Beastie Boys fan (I would have to put myself in that group) would find this a welcome reminder of what makes the group so important.  There is something so anti-authoritarian and fly in the face of any form of political correctness no matter how old the boys become and how many years they put out music.  Their presence in music, and culture, always seem timely and progressive, yet while remaining true to the brand they have built from day one.     



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The great Moon in the Gutter comes out in support of LULLABY, again

One of my absolutely favorite blogs, Moon in the Gutter, just wrote an extremely nice entry on LULLABY and the news of our latest distribution deal.  Thanks so much, Jeremy!

http://mooninthegutter.blogspot.com/2011/05/jeffrey-goodmans-last-lullaby-coming-to.html













One of my other absolutely favorite blogs, Wonders in the Dark, also paid us an incredible honor by featuring us in the headline of this week's Monday Morning Diary.  Thanks, Sam!

http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/jeffrey-goodman-incendies-a-serbian-film-hey-boo-harper-lee-and-tokill-a-mockingbird-camerman-jack-cardiff-and-rape-of-nanking-film-on-monday-morning-diary-may-16/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lullaby Gets Wider Distribution!

Here's our latest e-mail update about it.  Want to receive these (and don't already), simply send an e-mail to register@thelastlullaby.com


THE LAST LULLABY (AND) PERIL UPDATE
May 15, 2011



Thank you all for taking time to register for our updates. Today I will cover five topics:
- Lullaby Distribution
- Press
- Update
- Facebook Fan Pages!
- Other Fun Stuff
Lullaby Distribution
I am very excited to announce that we have signed with Level 33 Entertainment to distribute The Last Lullaby in the United States.  We are currently aiming for a Fall release of a newly-packaged DVD.  At this point, I am not sure what extras it will include, but we are looking into some different things.  We also expect this release to place Lullaby in many other places and make it much more readily available.  This is a very positive development, and I am very excited to share the good news with you.
Press
There have been several great pieces on The Last Lullaby (and) Peril in the last couple of months. Here are just a couple of them:
1. http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/jambalaya-filmmaker-and-blogging-star-jeffrey-goodman/
An interview I recently did with one of the most popular film blogs.
2. http://www.sashafansonline.net/the-last-lullaby-t53.html
A review of Lullaby by one of the best Sasha Alexander websites.
Update
Louisiana's film industry boasted its best year ever in 2010, attracting projects with budgets totaling more than $1.4B. It is a great time for the state, and the industry just keeps better and stronger here.  Personally, I continue to move forward with my next film, Peril.  I'm still putting all the money together, but I am very optimistic looking ahead.
Facebook Fan Pages!
I continue to grow the audience around both Peril and The Last Lullaby.  If you haven't already, please take a second to join our Facebook Fan Pages for Peril and Lullaby:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peril/266972237358?ref=ts
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Lullaby/19456164241?ref=ts
Just click on the links above and then click "Like!"
Other Fun Stuff
Over at the LULLABY/PERIL blog (http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/), I am writing more than ever about the films I'm watching as I prepare for Peril and the films ahead.  I'm really enjoying this blog and think that some of you might enjoy some of the posts, as well.  Come visit me and drop me a comment if you want to discuss anything. 
Also, as 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:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peril/266972237358?ref=ts
http://twitter.com/chaillotfilms
http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/
e-mail updates (simply send an e-mail to register@perilthemovie.com)
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
Director
THE LAST LULLABY (AND) PERIL
www.thelastlullaby.com
Chaillot Films

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

List of Current Distributors

Here's a great list I came across this morning.  Nice to find all this information in one place:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/sydneylevine/archives/us_distributors_a-z/