Read Mindjack's Daily Relay
tracking trends and developments
in digital culture

home | archives | about us | feedback

Friday, July 29, 2005

Gavin Lambert: An Englishman In Hollywood
In this week's L.A. Weekly, David Thomson scribes a sweet rememberance of the late screenwriter and author Gavin Lambert. Although they've been out of print for awhile, Lambert's '90s biographies of actresses Alla Nazimova and Norma Shearer are well worth seeking out.
:: posted by Matt, 7/29/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

31 Weeks to Oscar
David Poland offers his early assessment of the Oscar race over on Movie City News, picking Steven Spielberg's Munich as the film to beat.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/27/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Monday, July 25, 2005

The 411 on 2046
The Los Angeles Times interviews Wong Kar-Wai on his latest dreamy opus, 2046 (registration required). I caught 2046 on an import DVD recently. While gorgeous to look at, overall the film seemed somewhat underwhelming to me. As usual, Wong Kar-Wai brings out beautifully nuanced performances from his cast (regulars Tony Leung and Faye Wong, along with a fiery Ziyi Zhang), but the screenplay lacks the conciseness of In the Mood for Love and the sci-fi elements seemed tacked-on. Still, I eagerly await his next project - an English-language film with Nicole Kidman.
:: posted by Matt, 7/25/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

W.D. Richter Returns with 'Stealth'
W.D. "Rick" Richter has one of the most fascinating filmographies of any living screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman notwithstanding. Born in 1945, Richter produced his first screenplay in 1972, Slither. He also wrote Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon (1976), Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake (1978) and the 1979 Dracula remake. He received an Oscar nomination for the Robert Redford film Brubaker (1980), then directed the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984). He continued with John Carpetner's Big Trouble in Little China (1986), the Stephen King adaptation Needful Things (1993) and Jodie Foster's memorable Thanksgiving film Home for the Holidays (1995). Then he disappeared for ten years before turning up again -- almost inexplicably -- on this summer's brain-dead action flick Stealth. It would be great to see Richter collect a long-deserved Oscar this year, but it's more likely he'll wind up with a Razzie. Let's hope he doesn't hibernate for another decade...
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 7/25/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Linklater vs. 'The'
This is going to expose me as a language nerd, but I couldn't help noticing something this weekend. On his new remake of Bad News Bears, Richard Linklater excluded the 'The' from the original title. Likewise, on his 2003 film, he changed the title from 'The School of Rock' to simply School of Rock. (In the film, the title is shown as a neon sign, and it still reads 'The School of Rock' simply because Linklater didn't have the means to digitally change it.) Additionally, Linklater only has one other 'The' in his entire filmography: The Newton Boys. A coincidence? A conspriacy? Or nothing at all?

On a side note, Linklater recently listed his seven favorite remakes in Premiere Magazine: A Star Is Born (1954), Imitation of Life (1959), Heaven Can Wait (1978), The Fly (1986), Cape Fear (1991), The Nutty Professor (1996) and Psycho (1998).

I think I'd agree only with The Fly. My list would also include His Girl Friday (1940), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Cat People (1982), The Thing (1982), Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and Quick Change (1990). Certainly none of the onslaught of remakes from 2004 and 2005 would make any kind of list like this, and that's including Bad News Bears.
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 7/25/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

DVD's vs. Theatres - Round Two
Well, sometimes I hate to be proven right, but one only has to look at the numbers from this recent Statistics Canada report to see that DVD is beating the tar out of traditional movie theatres in the battle for the movie-going audience. As I've mentioned here before - when the theatres charge ridiculous prices and the home theatre equipment soars in picture and sound quality, how can you be surprised?
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 7/25/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Friday, July 22, 2005

Scorsese's Twenty Colors
Martin Scorsese recently endorsed Philip's Ambilight TVs, his job being to create a list of ten films that best use color and light. But Scorsese couldn't do that, so, like any good film geek, he created two lists, one for English-language films and one for international films. On the English list, in alphabetical order, are: Barry Lyndon, Duel in the Sun, Invaders From Mars (1953), Leave Her to Heaven, Moby Dick, The Phantom of the Opera (1943), The Red Shoes, The Searchers, Singin' In the Rain, and Vertigo. On the international list are Contempt, Cries and Whispers, Gate of Hell, In the Mood for Love, The Last Emperor, The Red Desert, The River, Satyricon, Senso, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Two really impressive lists if you ask me -- especially nice to see Invaders From Mars on there.

[Via The Whine Colored Sea]
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/22/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Geraldine Fitzgerald 1913-2005

Another figure from Classic Hollywood is gone - actress Geraldine Fitzgerald succumbed to Alzheimers last weekend at the age of 91. Although she never became a true leading lady, I always admired the unique nobility and realism she brought to her craft. Her portrayals of the patient Isabella in Wuthering Heights and of Bette Davis' nurturing best friend in Dark Victory are priceless, but her talents went far beyond those two classics. For a different side of Fitzgerald, check out the 1946 melodrama Three Strangers. She appears to completely relish the opportunity to play a scheming lottery ticket winner opposite Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, and it's a joy to watch. Miss Fitzgerald was a true talent who will be missed.
:: posted by Matt, 7/21/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scotty Beams Up
James Doohan, immortalized as "Scotty" to the world, has died at age 85 after years of poor health. He is the second member of the original Star Trek cast to beam up to that great starship in the sky - Deforest Kelley, who played Dr. McCoy, died in 1999.

Doohan was actually a Canadian, born in Vancouver, BC, and served in the Canadian army during World War II, where he was wounded (he lost a finger on D-Day). He later moved into radio and stage productions in Canada and later in the US. An actor of consummate professionalism, he never let his frustrations with leading man William Shatner boil over into his work, nor did he show up anything less than prepared. He was well-liked by everyone who met him, and was even granted an honourary Doctorate of Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, having inspired much of their graduating class to pursue an engineering career. No less a figure than Neil Armstrong spoke at his last Star Trek convention, toasting him from "one geeky engineer to another". He was in good health up until his last few years, even fathering a child at age 80.

He was living in Washington state, close to his roots, when he died.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 7/20/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Friday, July 15, 2005

I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
I haven't heard much about the movie yet, but the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line sure has one of the best posters of the year so far.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/15/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3 Details

TV Shows on DVD has the goods on the upcoming third volume in Warner Home Video's Looney Tunes Golden Collection series. Individual discs will focus on Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Hollywood caricatures and parodies, and a fourth disc of miscellaneous cartoons. I'll likely skip the Whoopi Goldberg intros, but once again it'll be a pleasure to view these fantastic animated shorts restored to pristine condition on DVD.
:: posted by Matt, 7/14/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

DVD Review: Gunner Palace
by Ian Dawe
"I don't feel like I'm fighting for my country anymore," says a young American soldier in Gunner Palace, "And that kind of sucks." This is a documentary filled with that kind of ambivalence towards the conflict in Iraq. Far from being an All-American flag-waving unquestioningly patriotic defense of their current adventure in the Middle East, Gunner Palace is a penetrating look into the war from that messiest of perspectives: the ground.

Continue Reading >>
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/14/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tomorrow's Classics
Will Julia and Brad have the same staying power as Audrey and Bogie? With his latest Newsweek article, David Ansen analyzes today's movie stars and ponders which ones will be well-remembered in fifty years time. What he comes up with yields a few surprises (and, yes, even the most well-regarded actors have spotty track records).
:: posted by Matt, 7/13/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tarantino Does The Tube
Quentin Tarantino has become the latest in a surprisingly long line of film actors and directors who have been seduced by television (he directed episodes of CSI and ER). The first big message for me that the world was changing was when Martin Sheen started appearing on the West Wing, but since then, several movie people have crossed the "great divide" into television productions. Granted, most of those have been for made-for-TV movies produced by HBO, including the astounding Angels in America (starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep and directed by Mike Nichols), but you can sometimes see "movie stars" taking on conventional TV roles (Keifer Sutherland's long run on 24 is the most obvious example).

What should we take from this? It's quite possible that TV offers more interesting opportunities than the movies these days, perhaps because so much less is at stake (financially and in career potential). Hollywood movies have become largely a big-budget fast food business, playing it safe each and every time. With millions of dollars on the line, perhaps you can't blame them. In TV, on the other hand, some artistic risk can be afforded. Also, with the growing market for satellite and digital cable, more people seem inclined to just stay home. We could see the day when TV actually eclipses film in its boldness, and its star power. Wouldn't that be ironic?
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 7/12/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Monday, July 11, 2005

Uh Oh.
The London Sunday Times reports that Oliver Stone is set to direct the first movie that deals explicitly with the September 11 attacks in New York. The as yet untitled project will star Nicolas Cage as a real-life Port Authority officer who spent 24 hours beneath the rubble at Ground Zero. It is due out next year.
:: posted by Matt, 7/11/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

DVD Review: In the Realms of the Unreal
by Matt Hinrichs
Among the ranks of eccentric outsider artists, few can top the strange case of Henry Darger (1892-1972).

I was first exposed to Darger back in the early '90s, when a small sampling of his work was published in Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's comics anthology, RAW. What I saw were drawings both wonderful and insanely creepy: angelic little girls in pinafores brandishing guns, strange flying creatures, mangled and tortured bodies, hermaphrodite children, colorful widescreen cloudscapes, incomprehensible text passages. The artwork seemed almost too personal and idiosyncratic; viewing them was like being let in on a stranger's innermost psyche. Darger's work has been seen by thousands, perhaps millions -- every one privy to an intensely personal relationship, a secret not to be shared.

Director Jessica Yu brings this same sense of wonder, awe and possessiveness to her terrific documentary on Darger, In the Realms of the Unreal. Yu's main purpose for the film lies in delineating between Darger's two lives: his prosaic real-life existence as a Chicago janitor and intensely private old man with few acquaintances, and his fantasy world, an outlet for his many obsessions (Catholicism, children, the weather). The narrative is pieced together from Darger's own autobiographical writings and reminiscences from the few people who knew him. For such an enigmatic subject, it's a remarkably thorough portrait.

Continue Reading
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/11/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Harold Lloyd Teaches Hitch a Thing or Two
Harold LloydI had this weird epiphany over the weekend. It suddenly occurred to me that this year's hit Will Smith comedy Hitch is actually a remake, more or less, of a classic Harold Lloyd silent comedy, Girl Shy (1924).

In Lloyd's version, he plays a shy, inexperienced stutterer who writes a book on how to date girls. Of course, as in Hitch, he falls in love with a real-life girl and none of his techniques work.

When I spoke with Lloyd's granddaughter Suzanne in 2002, she told me that she hoped to do her own remake of Girl Shy. I'm not sure if she ever made the connection between it and Hitch, or if she was secretly involved in Hitch's production, but I think Hitch is a pretty fair updating.

Unfortunately, Girl Shy isn't available on DVD yet, because Ms. Lloyd -- who has control of the Lloyd estate -- is holding out for a truly masterful production with all the bells and whistles and breathtaking video transfers. Meanwhile, a package of Lloyd classics, including the similarly unavailable The Freshman and Safety Last, will hit various repertory houses around the country later this summer including an August 19-25 stop at the Castro in San Francisco.
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 7/11/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Friday, July 08, 2005

Summer Doldrums
Everyone is complaining about the sour box office this summer, leading experts to blame everything from DVDs to lousy movies. Here we are in the middle of July, when it should be fun city, and it feels like the August dumping grounds: this weekend audiences have to choose between the awful Dark Water and the even worse Fantastic Four.

But a look at the charts shows even more baffling evidence. People keep returning to see mediocre films like Batman Begins and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but are completely ignoring great films like Land of the Dead, not to mention modern art house classics like Tropical Malady and Saraband. Saraband, by the way, is Ingmar Bergman's triumphant return to American screens for the first time since After the Rehearsal in 1984. It also happens to be far and away the best film I've seen this year so far.

Fall looks slightly more promising, with new films coming up by Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers), David Cronenberg (A History of Violence), Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist) and Terrence Malick (The New World). All in all, this year really isn't very different from any other year in the history of movies. People will always pay more attention to the bad movies, but the good ones always surface later. Just look at Million Dollar Baby, out on DVD this Tuesday, for a perfect example.
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 7/08/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Time of the Season

A groovy gallery of photos from Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. (via Rashomon)
:: posted by Matt, 7/07/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Most Popular Movie In Hong Kong
The biggest summer box office over in Hong Kong belongs not to Star Wars but to Initial D, a Japanese comic book adaptation starring a hot Taiwanese pop star in his film debut. Having not seen a single frame of this, I can already tell it seems much more appealing than, say, Fantastic 4.
:: posted by Matt, 7/07/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

BBC Film
The BBC is host to a number of useful web features, including one of the best film sites around. This is how the internet should be used: a deep, informative collection of radio shows, photos and articles concerning just about every aspect of film and filmmaking.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 7/05/2005 Comments (0)
Links to this post

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cheap Thrills

The New York Times has a fascinating story (registration req'd) on the business of budget DVDs. Apparently, profits for public domain films sold in 99-cent stores are nothing short of amazing. Although these companies don't consider silent films a good investment ("for aficionados," they say), one can get surprisingly good quality stuff this way. Reading this makes me want to seek out that cheapie copy of The Killer Shrews.
:: posted by Matt, 7/04/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Friday, July 01, 2005

Val Lewton Collection Reminder
Just a reminder that the Val Lewton Horror Collection we mentioned earlier is now available for pre-order at some retailers. has the lowest price I've seen, just $41.94 (for nine movies!).
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7/01/2005 Comments (1)
Links to this post

Subscribe to our RSS feed:
Subscribe with Bloglines



Your Ad Here

More from Mindjack:

Daily Relay

Tracking trends and developments in digital culture

Support Mindjack


Mindjack Release
Sign up to receive details of new issues

Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.


Roger Avary
Bitter Cinema
Cinema Minima
Film Journey
Filmmaker Mag Blog
A Girl and a Gun
GreenCine Daily
Indie Film Blog
IFC Blog
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Masters of Cinema
Reel Reviews Podcast
Wiley Wiggins

Film Criticism and Theory
James Beradinelli
Bright Lights Film Journal
Combustible Celluloid
Dual Lens
Roger Ebert
European Films
The Film Journal
Jim's Film Website
Guardian Unlimited Film
Long Pauses
Milk Plus
The New York Times
The New Yorker
Not Coming to a Theatre Near You
Reverse Shot
Jonathan Rosembaum
Salon A&E
Senses of Cinema
Slant Magazine
The Stranger
Strictly Film School
The Village Voice

Movie News
Ain't It Cool News
Movie City News
Dark Horizons
The Movie Blog
Cinema Confidential
Coming Soon

DVD News & Reviews
The Digital Bits
DVD Journal
DVD Times
DVD Verdict

Print Magazines
Cinema Scope
Film Comment
Independent Film Quarterly
Inside Film
Movie Maker
Sight & Sound
Total Film

IMDb Search