Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Favorite (four), part eight

Just like in my other seven 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).

Hirokazu Koreeda's Still Walking

The third of the director's films I've seen, and he continues to be among my favorite of all the contemporary Asian directors.  He's definitely a humanist, and there are moments that carry a tremendous power.  Not perfect, I particularly found a little fault with the saccharine nature of some of the score.  But all in all a memorable effort from one of the few directors still carrying Ozu's torch.  

Aaron Katz's Quiet City
Light and sweet, Katz has heart, and it shows.  I don't find his writing as interesting as Bujalski's, nor his ability to capture nuance and awkwardness as skilled as Bujalski's talents.  But Katz has some of David Gordon Green's feeling for sound/image and creates a couple of tremendous moments here. The scene of the four young adults dancing at the house party might be my favorite scene all year.  I look forward to seeing more of Katz.  It's works like this one that continue to keep me interested in mumblecore and somewhat optimistic about micro-budget filmmaking.   

Emmanuel Laurent's Two in the Wave
Not the most marvelous film ever.  But it is a documentary about my favorite period in the history of cinema, The French New Wave, and it covers aspects of this wonderful movement that I've rarely seen on film, including Leaud's screen test for The 400 Blows.  I consider the film's two main subjects, Godard and Truffaut, to be among the most passionate of anyone that has ever worked in the medium, and to this day for me they're both still huge influences and inspirations.  

Yasujiro Ozu's There Was a Father

Ozu is without a doubt my favorite directorial discovery of the last year. His movies tell us so much about ourselves, and when it comes to showing us aging and family, I'm not sure Ozu has a rival.  I particularly like his bold, editing style in this one.  He jumps ahead between scenes, always knowing that we'll eventually catch up.  I'm not a huge fan of the actor playing the older son in this one, but all in all, another wonderful experience in the world of Ozu.   

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Noir, My Friend

It was the first genre I ever took to, speaking to me in a way that nothing else ever had.  What was it?   Was it the clever, little rejoinders?  The neat little twists and turns of many of the films’ plots?  Or was I nocturnal and liked the underworld, the seedier side of things? 

I ask all these questions but already know the answer.  I grew up in a Blue Velvet world.  The suburbs, small town, surrounded by smiling faces and happy people.  And I didn’t feel all that way inside, but it seemed that everyone else did, and that’s the way I needed to be, too.  

Most of the movies I was seeing were echoing this rampant optimism, as well.  But then I discovered film noir, and my first cinematic companion.  A filmed document that felt as unhinged and raw as many of my emotions inside.   It wasn’t until much later, of course, that I learned noir was mostly the product of disenfranchised Europeans who had fled their countries and come to Hollywood.

Rose-colored Hollywood must have felt exactly to them as my Blue Velvet world felt to me.  And their films expressed this chasm.  They told stories of a world when Hollywood was asleep.  Their stories were tough but with an honesty and truthfulness that seemed unique to American cinema.   

Noir might mean black or dark.  And film noir might not be the most upbeat tales to ever come out of our nation’s cinema.  But for me, and I think so many others, they were liberating, catharsis as truth, and will forever remain relevant as a result.

*This post is a part of the For the Love of Film (NoirBlogathon and Fundraiser for the Film Noir Foundation to help preserve our film heritage.  The Blogathon is hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren.  Please make your donation by clicking on the link below.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

i'll take rembrandt, titian...

Every now and then a song sticks with me.  Here's the one of the current moment:

The Kinks - 20th Century Man (Listen on Youtube)

You got one right now?  I'm curious what it is.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Favorite Cameramen

I guess, like Sam Juliano, I'm kinda a list man.  I've done lists, my favorite films from 1926-2008, my favorites of my favorites, my fave actors, and my fave actresses.  Well I'm sitting here, unable to sleep, and thought I'd throw together a list of my favorite cameramen.  So here goes:

Robby Muller
Vittorio Storaro
Gregg Toland
John Alton
Jack Cardiff
Raoul Coutard
Henri Decae
Pierre Lhomme
Ghislain Cloquet
Owen Roizman
Gordon Willis
Vilmos Zsigmond
Jean-Yves Escoffier
Farhad Saba
Dante Spinotti
Richard Rutkowski
Tim Orr
Alain Morcoen

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Modern Directors and Bang for Your Buck

Not usually the type of thing I repost, but I thought it was a very interesting little pie chart.  Want to see what modern director will give you the most bang for your buck, check it out:


Friday, February 4, 2011

Lullaby (and) Peril Update 2/4/11

Want to keep up with Lullaby (and) Peril, here's the single best way.  About once a month, I send e-mail updates (to receive them, all you have to do is shoot an e-mail to register@thelastlullaby.com).  Here's our latest update:


February 4, 2011

Thank you all for taking time to register for our updates. Today I will cover five topics:
- Press
- Update
- Five-Year Area Film Industry Report
- Facebook Fan Pages!
- Other Fun Stuff


There have been several great pieces on The Last Lullaby (and) Peril in the last couple of months.  Here are a few of them:

1. http://www.thetechtalk.org/news/film-director-shares-experience-in-industry-1.1960042

Detailing a talk I gave last week at Louisiana Tech University.

2. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/rrr/local-rrr-949033.mp3
An audio interview with our local NPR affiliate.
3. If you're in the Shreveport-Bossier area, there's a great piece on Peril in this month's SB Magazine. In the issue, there are also three or four other excellent articles on our area's film industry.


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. I also feel that this will be the year when The Last Lullaby finds even wider distribution.

Five-Year Area Film Industry Report

I have been back in Louisiana since early 2005, and the film industry has been in the northern part of the state, in a significant way, since early September 2005. This area's film industry is about five years old now, and I thought it was time to put a report together. I am delivering this talk in several venues throughout north Louisiana. If you are part of an organization that would be interested in hearing this report, please let me know. I think it's the most important talk I've put together to date.

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:

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:
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
Chaillot Films

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sundance Sales #3

From all accounts, this year's Sundance Film Festival was the most active buyers festival of the last three or four years (an encouraging barometer as we move forward).  Here's one more piece compiling all the acquisition information: