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Nowhere Boy: the early life of John Lennon (with rare clip of Aunt Mimi)
06.15.2010
08:15 pm
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BackbeatThe Hours and Times.   I Wanna Hold Your Hand.  Fictionalized accounts of The Beatles constitute, by now, a genre of their own, and range in quality from the barely watchable to the dreadful (and while not a strict account per se, I utterly loathed Across The Universe).  Joining those films in October is Nowhere Boy, a chronicle of the early days of John Lennon.

While the below trailer for the bio-pic looks, well, like a trailer for a bio-pic, the film stars the reliably amazing Kristin Scott Thomas as Lennon’s Aunt Mimi (a rare, ‘81 clip of the real Mimi Smith follows at the bottom).

I’m also somewhat intrigued by Nowhere Boy‘s director, Sam Taylor-Wood.  She’s the British artist with a thing for decaying still-lives.  If you’ve never seen her A Little Death video, an ode to “the transience of biological life” featuring a rapidly decaying cobra rabbit, check it out here

After overcoming two bouts with cancer—breast and colon—Taylor-Wood is now in a relationship with Nowhere Boy‘s Lennon, actor Aaron Johnson, who’s 23 years her junior.  The couple are expecting the birth of their first child somewhere around the time Nowhere Boy opens in the U.S.

 

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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06.15.2010
08:15 pm
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A Colour Box : The early direct films of Len Lye
06.15.2010
01:13 pm
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Some stunning early films from the 1930s (!) by New Zealand “direct” film (generally camera-less; images painted and scratched directly onto the film itself) innovator, sculptor and “least boring person who ever lived” Len Lye. These films are pure enjoyment of color and composition and an obvious influence on Stan Brakhage‘s later amazing though far less fun work. Swinging the Lambeth Walk is particularly beautiful; in essence a music video for Django Reinhardt‘s tune of the same name.

 

 

 
Flip Sides of Len Lye: Direct Film (Senses of Cinema)
 
Len Lye - Composer of Motion

 

Posted by Brad Laner
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06.15.2010
01:13 pm
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Tarkovsky’s Polaroids
06.14.2010
03:58 pm
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Initially published in 2006, Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids revealed a selection of enigmatic shots taken in Italy and at Tarkovsky’s home, thick with atmosphere, that could easily pass for stills from his films. Follow the link below to the entire collection, recently scanned for a Russian site.
 
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Las Polaroid de Tarkovsky (Poemas del río Wang)
 
АНДРЕЙ ТАРКОВСКИЙ СВЕТОПИСЬ Полароиды (complete Tarkovsky Polaroids)
 
thx Kurt Ralske !

Posted by Brad Laner
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06.14.2010
03:58 pm
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American Treasure: The David Lynch Interview Project
06.12.2010
02:51 am
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David Lynch’s Interview Project has recently and quietly come to its scheduled end. The well-produced online-only project comprises a full 121 video interviews with random people, shot by Lynch’s team (led by his son Austin) on a year-long road-trip around the United States.

Lynch and co. manage to tap deeply into the wealth of personal stories in the great American working class that was first mined by the likes of oral historian Studs Terkel. But Interview Project filters Terkel’s ultra-earnest approach through the post-thereputic present, often getting a surprising amount of confessional material from a literal stop-and-talk encounter.

 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.12.2010
02:51 am
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Long Hair and Liza Jane: David Bowie Debuts in 1964
06.11.2010
05:33 pm
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2010 marks the 46th year since a young dandy named Davy Jones made the media scene. On June 6th 1964, at the age of 17, he’d released a typical mod-blues single with the King Bees called “Liza Jane.” Later that same year, he’d appeared on Cliff Michelmore’s BBC Tonight show as head of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men.

Two years before this, he’d gotten into a scrap with his friend George Underwood, who punched Jones in the eye with a ring on his hand. Although imperceptible in the BBC Tonight clip, it would leave the young Jones with a permanently dilated pupil a different color in that injured eye, one of the many features of the future superstar that would later fascinate millions.

 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.11.2010
05:33 pm
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A trailer for Glenn Beck’s upcoming thriller The Overton Window
06.11.2010
12:55 pm
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A commenter on Digg.com writes that Beck’s new novel looks like “a cross between The Cat in the Hat and Left Behind.”

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.11.2010
12:55 pm
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Tropic of Cancer: the movie
06.10.2010
08:45 pm
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Saddened to see last week the passing of underrated film director Joseph Strick.  You might not know the name, but there can be little doubt you’re familiar with some of the books he adapted into films.

If you’ve never seen his take on James Joyce’s Ulysses, it’s definitely worth checking out—if only for the rather graceful way Strick handles the closing monologue of Molly Bloom.  It was banned in Ireland for 33 years, but now, thanks to Chinese video site, Youku, you can stream the entire ‘67 film here.

Ulysses wasn’t the only 20th Century modernist classic the director would try to wrestle into submission.  Two years later, Strick brought to the screen Henry Miller‘s Tropic of Cancer.

While Miller’s initial hopes for the project ran high (in a letter to the Hungarian photographer, Brassaï, Miller wrote, “The film of Tropic of Cancer will be definitively produced and directed by Joseph Strick, who made Ulysses.  He’ll do it the same way.  No castration, no modification.  Bravo for him, I say!”), he was ultimately saddened that in no way would the production budget allow for a faithful recreation of Paris in the 30’s.  Hired as a consultant on the film, Miller’s visit to the set would be the last time the author set foot in Paris.

While Tropic of Cancer had Rip Torn as Miller, a definitely sexy Ellyn Burstyn as Mona, and incorporated generous portions of the novel into its voiceover, the film never had much of a chance to reach an audience.  It opened to middling reviews, and, more damaging, with an X rating (it’s since been rated NC-17).  Long available, to my knowledge, on bootlegs only, its opening moments follow below:

 
Joseph Strick, Who Filmed the Unfilmable, Dies at 86

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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06.10.2010
08:45 pm
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Barack Obama’s cameo role in Black Dynamite
06.10.2010
08:06 pm
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“Black Dynamite I wanna be just like you.” Based on a true story…
 
Thanks Elvin Estela!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.10.2010
08:06 pm
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Marvo-lous: British Experimental Filmmaker Jeff Keen
06.10.2010
07:27 pm
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Abstract non-narrative filmmakers deserve all the attention they can get, if only because so many of their techniques are absorbed into more conventional films. Moviemaker Jeff Keen only started making his own 8mm films in his late 30s, as his native Britain entered the adventurous ‘60s. His work was soon discovered by art journalists and ended up in the National Film Theatre, garnering funding support for his activities into the ‘80s.

Now in his late 80s, Keen lives in Brighton and is actively creating, although he’s reportedly sick with cancer. Thankfully, the British Film Institute released the Blu-Ray collection GAZWRX: the Films of Jeff Keen last year as a lasting document of his work. Below is his 1967 short film Marvo Movie, in which Keen backs his rapid-fire, Kenneth Anger-cum-Stan Brakhage romp through the areas of nature, decay, consumption and pop culture with a soundtrack that resembles the early chant-work of British occultist group Current 93.

 

 

Gazwrx: Films of Jeff Keen (3pc) [Blu-ray]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.10.2010
07:27 pm
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The most basic form of mind control is repetition
06.10.2010
12:55 pm
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“It was 8:27 on a Sunday afternoon when Peters mind exploded…”
 
This looks like some sort of Zeitgeist parody. If so, fantastic!
 
Thanks, Marc Campbell!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.10.2010
12:55 pm
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