Posts tagged quentin tarantino

Editorial: 5 Things To Do While Waiting for The Great Gatsby

[caption id=”attachment_7619” align=”alignleft” width=”50” caption=”Jacob “JJ” Jones”][/caption]

Film fans may hate me for saying this, but this upcoming winter looked like it would be just as cold at the box office as the temperatures outside. From Peter Jackson’s 48 frame-per-second adaptation of the first third of The Hobbit, and a new adaptation of Les Mis, nothing has really caught my eye. Sure, Quentin Tarantino’s new film is coming out, but I planned to save myself $10 by looping myself shouting “fuck” on my iPod while playing Grand Theft Auto. 

But there was one diamond in the rough: Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Luhrmann, the academy award nominated director of Moulin Rouge! showed the world that he could craft great tales of bohemian young love and socioeconomic class struggles; thus, making the 49-year-old director the perfect choice to direct an adaption of that classic novel we all were forced to read in middle school English.

My original response to the trailer could best be described as a nerd-gasm: the mise-en-scène was ornate and spectacular, the cast was perfect and star-studded, and the film seemed to have a aura of class and sophistication around it: just as that film should. But now, fans of the book are left to deal with their huge case of “anticipointment,” as the film’s release was delayed until Summer 2013.

The press release issued by Warner Brothers explained that film needed more time so Luhrmann could finish up the film’s 3D effects and the composer of the project, Craig Armstrong (who also composed for The Moulin Rouge!), could finish his original score. To be fair, those are serious aspects of the film that need time to complete, but I still can’t help but feel upset that I have to wait another six months extra to see this movie. Therefore, I share with you, dear readers, my list of five things to do to pass the time until we finally see The Great Gatsby:

1. REREAD THE NOVEL

I will most likely be the first of my friends to see the movie, and I can already anticipate people asking me how the movie was. I want to be able to tell them with 100% certainty, with both the novel and the book fresh in my mind, that, “the novel was better.” Books that I like are rarely translated into film, which means I’m usually not the guy who gets to use the “the novel was better” line, and I look forward to every bit of literary elitism I can squeeze out of this release.

Also, If any major filmmakers who happen to read this blog would like to adapt other books that I’ve read, like any David Foster Wallace books or Noam Chomsky essays, I’d be more than happy to tell my friends that your films were also subpar to their literary equivalents. But don’t let that hold you back from finally adapting Infinite Jest to film.

2. BUILD UP A TOLERANCE TO GRAIN ALCOHOL

It was decided upon my first viewing of the trailer that to experience this film in true 1920’s style, I would have to bootleg in some grain alcohol. The only problem with this plan is Everclear is 190-proof, and with my usual alcoholic orders being either PBR or a cosmo (no, really. I love cosmos), I’ll probably get quite drunk. It’d also be smart to exhibit a certain amount of class while watching this film, and it’s very hard to look classy while being escorted out by the police for public intoxication. I only know this from experience, and I’d just like to say I apologize to everyone who was at that TGI Friday’s when I gained that experience.

3. FIND THE PERFECT GIRL FOR THE PERFECT PICKUP LINE

Imagine you’re a girl, or if you are already a girl, imagine I’m standing across from you in a bar. Now, imagine I pull two tickets to an early screening of The Great Gatsby out of hammerspace. Then, I look you straight in the eye and whisper seductively, “hey babe. Would you want to be the Daisy to my Jay?” If you’re not already turned on, there’s clearly something wrong with you. The only way this won’t work is if it leads to a thought-provoking conversation about Jay’s character, and questioning whether Jay loved Daisy, or if Jay was a chauvinistic bastard who only used Daisy as a status symbol. I’ll just cross my fingers it works.

4. LEARN TO DANCE THE CHARLESTON

While I know that the film is not going to allow dancing in the aisles the same way The Rocky Horror Picture Show accommodates it, I still plan to become more in tune with the music of the 1920’s. And what better way than to learn the dance! There are also the added benefits of learning a dance move that is not skanking (the dance traditionally reserved for ska shows) and losing some weight, which will help me with that pick up line from before.

5. WATCH SOME NETFLIX INSTANT

If the wait for the film is an extra 6 months (roughly 180 days), then I can watch 2,880 films on Netflix instant to kill the added time I will have to wait for this film. So beginning on Christmas day of this year, I will begin watching 2,880 movies. If you would, in solidarity, like to join in but don’t know where to begin, here is a whole list of great films you can watch on Netflix: http://cinedork.com/2012/08/02/editorial-top-10-awesome-obscure-films-on-netflix-instant/

And no, I have no shame.

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Interview: Ti West - Writer/Director of The Innkeepers

Guest Contributor – Irv Slifkin from www.moviefanfare.com

Although he is only 32 years-old, writer-director Ti West has five horror films under his belt and more in the planning stages. And while he is too old, perhaps, to be called a “wunderkind” West’s age and amount of realized projects are certainly nothing to sneeze at.

West, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, has a new film about to open in theaters called “The Innkeepers.” The movie was actually shot and is set in the Yankee Pedlar Inn, an aging hostelry in Torrington, Connecticut, that, in the movie, is about to close. Clerks Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) tend to the place in its final days. Only a woman and her young child stay there, while an aging actress who is now a New Age psychic (Kelly McGillis) checks in. Is the place haunted…or not? Luke has a website devoted to the Inn with live webcam feeds that may prove it is.

Like West’s previous film, 2009’s acclaimed House of the Devil, The Innkeepers relies on slowly building tension, characterization and edginess to win its scares—gore and violence are kept to a minimum. There is also an element of humor in his treatment of horror, particularly in the first portion of the film, when the focus is on the interplay between the naïve Claire and the cynical Luke.

“It was a concentrated effort to make it funnier,” says West by phone. “I could relate to the kind of job of working at a hotel,. I’ve always said I am either qualified to direct movies or have a minimum wage jobs. I spent ten years doing minimum wage jobs. There’s a charm with coworkers. You make the best of the situations when things are like that.”

What sort of jobs did West have? “I mowed lawns, worked at Dick’s Sporting Goods, worked at a shoe store and a video store and Diesel (a clothing chain) at the King of Prussia Mall.

West said things got a little weird while attending a film festival.

“I was in span with my first film and there were lots of people there,” he recalls. “I was standing next to Quentin Tarantino and I realized that I had to be on a plane the next day asking people what size they wanted.”

West, who is planning a science fiction film next, now lives in Los Angeles. The idea for the Innkeepers came from staying at the actual Yankee Pedlar Inn while shooting House of the Devil.

“People think it is haunted and there was a special allure to it,” says West. “It’s kind of a kooky place. I had wanted to write a ghost story, and I figured now I could since I lived it.”

West recalls that the crew for The Innkeepers comprised most to the patrons at the Yankee Pedlar at the time. The shoot, which lasted an amazingly short 17 days, had to be scheduled between wessings and proms that were booked there.

Like his other films like The Roost, Trigger Man and cabin Fever 2 (which he disowns and tempted to have his name taken off of because of studio tampering), The Innkeepers was filmed on 35mm, a format West prefers to the digital shooting, so prominent today, especially with horror films.But he realizes he may have to make the move to digital soon because of costs. “It’s going to be hard to justify an extra $160,000 to shoot in 35 mm soon,” West laments.

Meanwhile, West is “desperately trying” to make a studio film. From his Cabin Fever 2 experience with Lionsgate, he admits he’s been a little ”gunshy.”

“I come from a do-it-yourself indie background, but it’s all about the right pairing. I don’t want to make a movie not a sequel. Test screenings scare me. If someone liked my movies and want to make a big movie with me, when it gets to test screening, everyone panics and then they change their mind after agreeing with me. I was shocked to see people go 180 degrees who were with me before.”

The writer-director has a strong opinion on what makes a horror film work—and not work. “The key is the contrast between horror and non-horror,” he explains. “That’s all it takes. They (the filmmakers) are afraid of losing the audience. If you put time into making all the non-horror elements good, it should work. A lot of horror movies are kill, kill, kill.”

“My brain doesn’t work this way. My sensibilities are old fashioned. Everything I am inspired by…they have respect for audience and the notion that the audience doesn’t have to be titillated the whole time.”

West’s influences are films that he saw when he was a kid, but they all share on thing in common.

“I like to see movies where I pay attention closely,” he relates. “Indiana Jones and the Karate Kid And I became interested in horror when it was one step above porn. It was back in the corner of the video store. They were daring you to watch these movies. As far as making films, Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste was important, a goofy disgusting film. It was the first movie I could watch and I could wrap my head around how they made it. It was silly but good and you can see how they did it and it was homemade. The Evil Dead was the same way and (director Sam) Raimi was only 19.”

Like House of the Devil, The Innkeepers has adapted a multi-platform release strategy, available On Demand, then being issued in (mostly art) theaters by Magnolia Pictures, and eventually getting a DVD and Blu-ray release. All of this follows extensive exposure—and praise—in film festivals.

How does West view this new way of releasing films?

“It is what it is,” he says. “I didn’t believe in it until House of the Devil cam eout. hen I saw it was really successful. It didn’t really make sense, but it worked—you can’t argue with the fact. Ever since then, I realized that we’re not a big movie. We’re going to come out in 25 cities and people in Des Moines will order it (on demand). It becomes a home viewing experience. I want them to see them in theater, but it is silly to expect them to.”

Irv Slifkin, the author of Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, writes for www.moviefanfare.com.

See “Rolling Thunder” for free!

For years, Paul Schrader’s seminal revenge classic has been out of print and on the most wanted list for DVD distribution.  Finally we can stop passing around those poorly transferred VHS dubs.  Courtesy of MGM’s financial troubles, the film is finally seeing the light of day.  You may remember Rolling Thunder as one of Quentin Tarantino’s oft cited influences, going so far as to name his production shingle “Rolling Thunder Films” and granting Brad Pitt’s character in Inglourious Basterds the moniker of Aldo Rane after William Devane’s character, Major Charles Rane.

The film is a must see for lovers of stripped down 70s revenge machismo with a nihilistic bent.  Rolling Thunder fits right in with films like Death Wish and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Not interested in plunking down the scratch on such a deserving classic?  Luckily Hulu has it for free… but likely only for a limited time!

PFF 2010 Review: Rubber

Why do movies exist?  How are our lives bettered by seeing them? and why does a movie about a tire that goes on a killing spree exist?  No reason.  Welcome Quentin Dupieux’s (aka electronic musician Mr. Oizo) 75 minute rumination on the absurd nature of entertainment.  Yes, the killer tire movie, Rubber.

Simply pigeonholing the film as a Grindhouse style 70s exploitation flick where the hero/heroine has been replaced by a rubber tire is to undersell the concept entirely.  Mr. Dupieux seems intent on playing with the very definitions of what entertainment is/has been/can be.  Yes, there’s a bit of a philosophical underbelly at play here.  Where for years directors like similarly monikered Quentin Tarantino have been lambasted for a lack of substance over style, Dupieux seems content to say that there is only style and substance is entirely objective, undefinable and  meaningless.  You can’t help but anthropomorphize (my favorite big word)  the tire in the same way you’re tricked into crying over a computer generated object in any of Pixar’s entries.  None of it is real and all of it is entirely constructed, and yet we invest ourselves and our emotions and allow ourselves to be manipulated.  Tonally Dupieux’s film is reminiscent to Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control.  What does any of it mean?  Maybe it doesn’t mean anything.  It simply is.  So enter what may be the first manipulation free film.

Should you see Rubber?

Definitely.

Will you like it?

It depends entirely on what you hope to take away from the experience.

Did you like it?

Yes, I did.

Why?

No reason.

10 Poisoned Turkeys out of 10