Sunday, November 2, 2008

Good Films to Comfort Us in Our Waiting

Brandon edits. We wait.

There's a fifteen second scene with Sam at the window that has this beautiful angle of sunlight in it. It's a great shot. One of the best. Unfortunately it also has about a hundred pieces of dust that light up like Christmas when the sun hits them. Brandon has to go through each frame and erase each piece of dust with After Effects. It has to be done one piece of dust at a time. Take the first piece of dust, erase it from frame one. Go to frame two. Erase that piece of dust from frame two. Go to frame three, etc. Until the end of the scene. Then go back to frame one and start the process all over on the second piece of dust.

To put it in numbers: 15 seconds of footage at 24 frames per second with approximately 150 pieces of dust equals around 54,000 instances of erasing. Poor Brandon. Luckily he recently acquired something to give him solace when his eyeballs are about to explode.

While we wait for that, we can turn our sights to Other Movies. For the first time in a long time, there are movies coming out that actually look interesting, to me at least. Because of the remnant producer-y tendencies that prance about my mind, I've categorized them. They break down nicely into five general groups: Obvious, Hopefully Beyond Mumblecore, French, Guilty Pleasures, and Runners Up.

OBVIOUS Films made by people I already know I love (or at least like):

Doubt December 12 limited, December 25 wide.
The writer of two of my favorite movies of all time, John Patrick Shanley, wrote the stage play Doubt that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He's now adapted it for the screen and directed the film of the same name starring Meryl Streep, PSH, and Amy Adams. Nuns, Priests, accusations. Top of my list.

Synechdoche, NY Out now in the big cities, hopefully out soon elsewhere.
Charlie Kaufman directs! We liked all that other stuff he did, right? Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine, hey, even sorta kinda Human Nature. This is another opportunity for Philip Seymour Hoffman to show off his acting skills. Watching the trailer for this movie, I'm reminded of a conversation I was having at a wine and cheese thing where this Film Major was saying how there are a few great active male actors out there (PSH being primary among them) but not so many female thespians working their stuff these days. It was one of those situations where you want to scoff, not dignifying such drivelling inaccuracies with a response, but instead are forced into the melee, throwing every piece of evidence you can think of into battle. Grrr. Interestingly enough, an unusually large number of the names I threw at him appear in this film: Dianne Wiest, Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Hope Davis. Also Michelle Williams, and I don't know yet if she's one of the good ones, but could be.

Rachel Getting Married, Out now. Even in Portland.
Jonathan Demme getting back to his roots, or something like that. It's getting good reviews. That says something, but I don't always know what. Sometimes after seeing one of those everybody-loves-it movies, I think the rest of the world saw a different film than I did. This one seems like it could be a well done, straightforward, humanist family dramedy thing. When done well, stuff like that is why we watch movies.

HOPEFULLY BEYOND MUMBLECORE Three films made for very small amounts of money that promise to move beyond "Um, I don't know, y'know":

Good Dick, Out now in the big bads, might not make it beyond that.
Indie love story set in LA. Andrew sums the premise for us thusly, "She's a ferociously bitter loner who spends her evenings jerking off (if that's the right word for, you know, a woman) to bad softcore porn flicks, and he's the semi-homeless video-store clerk who rents her the movies." Hilarity ensues.

Momma's Man This one probably won't make it to a screen up here to the Big Rainy.
Son of uber artsy filmmaker and artist writes and directs this weirdly autobiographical narrative about a son who goes to visit his uber artsy filmmaker and artist parents in their curiously hermetic and museum-like New York apartment, and refuses to leave. The parents are played by the director's real parents and it takes place in their actual apartment. Another guy plays the son. Andrew interviews him here.

Pleasure of Being Robbed No screens, apart from a brief, already over stint in NY.
Features a main character you're not supposed to like. About a young woman who wanders New York being a clepto. Fun. Here's Mr. O'Hehir's take.

FRENCH Trois films en francais:

A Christmas Tale Came out in May in France, Limited release November 14th
This is the same director who did Kings and Queen, a film the Company watched and one that elicited very mixed reviews. Jeffrey and Ariana were not impressed. Brandon liked it. I hated it, couldn't stop thinking about it for two days, then realized I loved it. This film also shares some of the same actors with Kings and Queen, including Mathieu Amalric, the very attractive actor who is extreemly adept at playing worriyingly unstable men.

I've Loved You So Long Out now in NY. No plans for Puddletown.
Heartbreaking, heart wrenching, tear-filled, emotional encounters between two fantastic actresses. In French!

The Class Limited release December 25th.
An inner-city Parisian high school teacher wrote this film about his experiences. He stars as the teacher and his actual former students play fictional high school student characters they developed themselves.

GUILTY PLEASURES Movie connoisseurism is like maintaining a well-balanced diet and sometimes you just have to eat candy bars.

JCVD Limited release November 7th.
Yup. Jean-Claude plays himself as a washed up action star. Very meta.

Freakin' everywhere November 11th.
I was first awakened to the already widespread phenomenon that is the Twilight Series when I was asked to write an In-Store Audio (Yup, those annoying garbles of words you hear above you while you're trying to buy groceries are written by a person. And that person is sometimes me) to announce the release of the fourth instalment in the series. While researching what to write in the ISA script, I found the author's website and became fascinated, not only because she writes about vampires, which I love so much, but because she's a Mormon housewife who writes wildly bestselling young adult novels about vampires. I read a few chapters. Plain, easily digestible, action-driven pulp about hot teenagers. I'm totally on board. Brandon refuses to see this movie with me. Anyone interested?

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans Spreading awesomeness everywhere January 23rd.
Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

RUNNERS UP They look good. No cartwheels, maybe a jumping jack or two.

Sunshine Cleaning Coming March 13th
From the people who did Little Miss Sunshine. Apparently they like the word Sunshine.

Milk In theaters November 26th
Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Gay rights.

Fears of the Dark In NY now. Don't know if this will make it to wider release.
Comic artists make scary stories on film. Neat.

Okay. Perhaps the longest post in the history of this blog. Hopefully you're excited as I am to know that not every movie that comes out these days sucks ass. Although you'll notice from the release information I was able to find that not a lot of these will be coming to a theater near you. That's why there's DVD. But want to see High School Musical 3? Or Max Payne? Throw a rock and you'll hit a movie palace playing such dreck, no problem. And do us a favor, throw it hard.

And now I need to take a shower.

Yay film!

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