Behind the scenes shots from the bloody set of ‘Reservoir Dogs’
02.21.2017
09:09 am

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Heroes
Movies

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Tim Roth (Mr. Orange) and Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde) clowning around during the shooting of the 1992 film, ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
 
Twenty-five years ago a 29-year-old Quentin Tarantino gave us all the gift of the blood-splattered bank robbery film gone wrong, Reservoir Dogs. Inspired by a number of Tarantino’s favorite films such as The Pope of Greenwich Village, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Stanley Kubrick’s audacious 1956 flick, The Killing, before shooting began Tarantino got a call from the Sundance Institute asking him to attend a filmmaker-centric workshop that solicited feedback on their concepts and techniques from people already deeply immersed in the film industry. 

The first group that was exposed to Tarantino’s filming technique skewered the director regarding his skills as a cameraman. However, the second group that got a peek into the future mad scientist of filmmaking included Terry Gilliam—an obviously unconventional filmmaker in his own right. Gilliam clearly saw Tarantino’s potential and became an instant fan. So if you’ve ever wondered why Terry Gilliam’s name appears in the credits under the “special thanks” category, now you know. Also, if the scenes that were shot inside of the warehouse—which was actually once a mortuary—look authentically uncomfortable, there’s also a simple explanation for that as well. The film was shot in Los Angeles during its warmer months, which in turn helped pushed the inside temperature of the mortuary turned warehouse to 100 degrees at times. Because of this while poor Mr. Orange was lying around in an ever-expanding puddle of his own fake movie blood, he would occasionally find himself attached to the floor thanks to the faux blood’s reaction to heat.

I could quite honestly fill an entire post based solely on the mythological backstory concerning this film but as I’m sure it is a favorite of our readers, I won’t go into more detail. What I will do is share with you loads of shots from the set as well as other candid images connected with the film that I really dug digging up for you. I’ve also included footage of Tarantino and Buscemi rehearsing scenes for the film together that you should watch right away before it gets pulled. And since this is Reservoir Dogs we’re talking about, some of what follows is NSFW. Much like Mr. Tarantino himself.
 

Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), and Harvey Keitel (Mr. White) on the set of ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
 

Tarantino at the LA premiere of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in 1992.
 
More after the jump…

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‘Man Vs. Sofa’: Premiere of new music from Adrian Sherwood & Pinch
02.21.2017
09:03 am

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Music
Reggae

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You could be streaming all of the brand new UK bass album by Sherwood & Pinch, Man Vs. Sofa, at the bottom of this post right now. But instead you’re here, reading this, like a sucker. It’s as if, rather than walking directly through the entrance to a massive party, you paused to listen to a guy in a ratty sweater who was standing by the door shouting about how much fun he had inside.

Sherwood is Adrian Sherwood, the English record producer and dub adventurer I interviewed for DM last summer, during the all-too-brief period when it was possible for me to feel smug about Brexit. The music on his second LP with the Bristol dubstep artist Pinch gets its science-fiction quality by superimposing claustrophobia on a wide-open dub soundscape: it gives you the experiences of contraction and expansion at once, like a spacesuit or a TARDIS.
 

 
However you interpret the title, couch-lock is not the vibe. It’s late-night, clenched-jaw music. You could, perhaps, bathe your mind all day in the jazz chords resonating in Martin Duffy’s piano on “Midnight Mindset,” if they did not hang over beats the press materials describe as “technoid, insectoid and paranoid.”

Sherwood’s longtime collaborator Skip McDonald, who played guitar in the Sugarhill Gang before he joined Mark Stewart’s band and founded Tackhead, is on here. Lee “Scratch” Perry appears on “Lies” to matter-of-factly inform the world’s liars of their damnation, as serenely as a postman delivers a disconnection notice. The London rapper Taz turns up on the last track, “Gun Law.” And is that Buckminster Fuller talking about infinity and self-deprogramming on “Unlearn”?

Of particular interest to the DM reader is the Sherwood & Pinch remake of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s theme from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, the 1983 film starring David Bowie as a British officer in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, which enters unexplored territory. (My friend from German Army recognized the tune immediately when we were listening to Man Vs. Sofa in his car yesterday.)

Have a listen, after the jump…

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Oil paintings of ‘Seinfeld’ reruns
02.20.2017
01:36 pm

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Art
Television

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In 2012 New York-based artist Morgan Blair was asked where she would be in 10 years. Among other things she looked forward to knowing “how Breaking Bad ends.” In the same interview she cited “whoever made the paintings above the Drake’s TV and couch in Seinfeld season 4 episode 22 “The Handicap Spot’” as her favorite artist. (I went and looked them up; they didn’t seem all that to me.)

Blair clearly had Seinfeld on the brain around that time, which is also when she began turning out Seinfeld canvases. As she later stated,
 

My process involves watching episodes of Seinfeld on my computer with my fingers poised to take screenshots at key moments, specifically when characters are covering their faces, at close-ups on plot device objects (a hand holding a business card, an eclair in the trash, etc) or any kind of situation that looks like a painting to me. Then I just go into each one trying to stay free, without really rendering them into blatant fan-art type images. Ultimately, I want the screenshots to serve as compositional jumping off points for more abstract studies, but sometimes they turn into more devoted representations of the characters.

 
Blair’s website does not emphasize that the canvases are for sale, but she has sold a few of them, it seems.

Not much of Elaine to be seen in the paintings on the website; George appears to be her favorite subject.
 

 

 
Check more out after the jump….....

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Gangsters and guns in Tokyo: Sydney Pollack on directing Robert Mitchum in ‘The Yakuza,’ 1974
02.20.2017
01:18 pm

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Crime
Heroes
Movies

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Robert Mitchum hated being a movie star. Being famous meant nothing to him. After all, as he often pointed out, one of the biggest stars in the world was Rin Tin Tin, “and she was a four-legged bitch.” Acting wasn’t real work. Real life was always more important than any two-bit ham who turned up, hit his mark and said his lines on cue. 

Mitchum once claimed he had only two types of acting, one type for when he was on a horse and another when he was off. There was always this sense he was somewhat embarrassed by all the adulation from fans and sycophantic journalists who thought they owned a piece of him. It made Mitchum hate Hollywood with all the venom of someone who owed it everything he had.

Yet for all his bravado, Robert Mitchum was one of Hollywood and cinema’s greatest actors. Over fifty-four years, Mitchum appeared in 110 movies. Many which were then and are still now considered among the best movies ever made—and this was often down to the quality of Mitchum’s performance whether he on or off a horse.

While he was happy to share stories about his life and career with family and friends, Big Bad Bob had a reputation of being difficult to interview. Chat show host Michael Parkinson once had a very awkward interview with Mitchum where every question asked by Parkinson was met by the sleepy-eyed actor’s answer “Yep.” After about twenty minutes, Parkinson had had enough of this monosyllabic performance and asked if Mitchum if he ever said anything other than “Yep”? To which Mitchum replied, “Nope.”

In January 1974, Mitchum arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to star in a gangster movie called The Yakuza. The script was written by two young writers, brothers Leonard and Paul Schrader. The film came about after Leonard Schrader went to Japan to dodge the draft in 1968. He found a job teaching, but when this fell apart, Schrader started to hang out with young yakuza gangsters. He was intrigued by their sharp suits, wraparound sunglasses and strict code of honor. He wanted to write a book about these gangsters but his brother Paul convinced him to turn it into a movie script instead.
 
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Leonard Schrader’s book ‘The Yakuza.’

Written over a few weeks The Yakuza tells the story of a retired detective Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) asked to rescue a friend’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a yakuza gangster, Tono (Eiji Okada). Kilmer worked as a military policeman in Japan after the Second World War where he formed a relationship with a local woman Eiko (Keiko Kishi) who was working the black market to obtain penicillin for her sick daughter. Eiko’s brother Ken (Ken Takakura) a recently returned Japanese soldier was outraged by his sister’s friendship with the enemy. Kilmer ended the relationship with Eiko after helping her find the drugs for her child. He then returns to Tokyo to enlist Eiko and Ken’s help in saving his friend’s daughter from the yakuza.

The script was hyped as “The Godfather meets Bruce Lee.” It started a bidding war among the studios which eventually delivered a $325,000 payout to the brothers and their agent—though Leonard only made twenty percent of the take. A young Martin Scorsese read the script but Paul Schrader wanted a big name to direct. Robert Aldrich was hired with Lee Marvin as lead. When Marvin dropped out, Mitchum took over. However, Mitchum stipulated he did not want Aldrich as director—there was bad blood between the two. Mitchum said he wanted Sydney Pollack instead.

Pollack may have seemed an odd choice. He had just finished making The Way We Were a slushy romantic feature with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. However, he had also directed the war movie Castle Keep, the western The Scalphunters, both starring Burt Lancaster, and the Oscar-nominated They Shoot Horses Don’t They? starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin.

Pollack liked the script but thought it needed a rewrite. He brought in Robert Towne, who had written Villa Rides for Sam Peckinpah, The Last Detail for Hal Ashby and was then working on Chinatown for Roman Polanski. Towne later explained his involvement with The Yakuza:

...in Japan, Yakuza films are sort of B-movies, where these gangsters … they’re sort of a combination of … if you took out soap operas on daily television and our B-gangster movies and mashed them together, you’d get a Yakuza film. Because the Japanese are very melodramatic, particularly in these films, in almost everything. And all these gangsters are stricken with this terrible sense of duty and obligation, that they’re obliged to do these things, so that in the end they end up killing 25,000 people or themselves or both or mutilating themselves. What was interesting to me was that the story deals with an American who goes over there to do a favor for an old friend. And in order to do this favor for an old friend, he has to see a Japanese gangster whose sister he had once been in love with, and asks him to help him rescue this friend’s daughter from other Japanese gangsters. And the kind of tangled web of obligation that results from this was interesting to me to work with, to make actions that are almost kind of … they’re really like a fairy tale. You just don’t imagine some guy getting to the point where he’ll be able to kill 25 people. To try and make that credible was interesting to me. And it deals with things like loyalty and friendship and abiding love, and it’s very romantic. And it was fascinating to me.

~snip!~

I took it to be my task in reworking it, in the structural changes I made and in the dialogue changes and the character changes, to make it, from my point of view once you accepted the premise, credible that this American would go over there, would do this, would get involved in the incidents that he got involved in the script which would involve recovering a kidnapped daughter and then ultimately killing his best friend and killing 25 other people along with it and immolating himself. And I thought that in my reading of it, I just didn’t feel that he was provoked in the right way to do all that. It’s hard to make it credible that somebody would do that, and I tried to make it, from my point of view and the point of view of the director, more plausible. Not absolutely plausible, but plausible in the framework of this kind of exotic setting. […] When I had read it, I said these are the things that I felt should be done, and they agreed with me, so I did them. But it was pretty much agreed upon with the director and myself.

 
More on ‘The Yakuza’ plus video of Pollack giving his own insight into the film, after the jump…

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