Too Important To Cinema For The Oscars?


It seems the holy trinity awarded at the 2010 Governor’s Awards Ceremony for their lifetime achievements were only allowed to walk on stage at this year’s Oscars. But there was no time for a chat. Director/Producer Francis Ford Coppola, Actor Eli Wallach and Filmmaker/Historian Kevin Brownlow were all honored by the Academy at a Pre-Oscar ceremony held late last year. Ground-breaking director Jean-Luc Godard was also honored, though he declined to appear.

Now do you remember a time, just a few years ago, when Lifetime Achievement Awards, Honorary Oscars and the Irving Thalberg Award were actually handed out during the Oscar Ceremony? When the great men and women who helped create the industry we currently enjoy were important enough to actually be awarded not only a statuette, but some well-earned air time? Well, stop mourning the days of yor. It seems the Academy must not think audiences care enough to waste time on their precious show with such frivolities. Not when Anne Hathaway has a song to sing, or James Franco a dress to wear. Not on a night when Hollywood’s greatest gather together for an evening of awkwardness and staged exchanges. You’d think after 83 years, someone would have figured out how to make this awards show work. But even as surface-level entertainment, it almost always falls flat. My suggestion? Just be more sincere. Don’t try so hard. Just honor those nominated. Stop trying to create a heartfelt moment in what should naturally be a heartfelt moment. Stop tap-dancing out of fear the audience is growing bored. We can sniff desperation a mile away. Trust that the reason this show exists and the people it honors are enough.

But having these three gentlemen walk out on stage and simply stand there, appearing small and silenced by the vast stage set-up… Well, that took the cake for me. Sure, they showed some clips of the “other” ceremony, but it reeked of the same ridiculousness that American news shows exhibit when they do their “News From Around The World in 60 Seconds.” Yeah, that should cover most of the important stuff. Thanks.

Luckily, for those (apparently) few of us who actually give half a shit, the Academy’s web site has put up the speeches from the Governor’s Awards Ceremony. Might have been worth making an announcement during the show to actually gauge public interest. And while a good many people know who Francis Coppola is, far fewer are familiar with Eli Wallach and even fewer have ever heard the name Kevin Brownlow uttered. Which is sad as these men are pioneers and their contributions to film immeasurable. At least the Academy recognized this, even if those in charge of the Oscars did not. The very moments I used to wait with baited breath to see at the Academy Awards, are now not held at the Academy Awards. A sign of the times? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just another example of Hollywood’s misplaced importance and definition of “entertainment.”

For those sporadic few interested in seeing the speeches given at the 2010 Governor’s Awards Ceremony, please visit the Academy’s web site. Here’s where you’ll see an Awards Ceremony far more entertaining, far more moving, and far more sincere than last night’s Oscars.

http://www.oscars.org/video/watch/ga_2010_23_coppola.html

Too Important To Cinema For The Oscars?

Favorite & Least Favorite Films Of 2010


I try to see as much as humanly possible of the films released in the U.S. each year before posting my Favorite & Least Favorite lists. Inevitably, there are always a handful of films I just can’t get to in time so I reserve the right to add them to this list as I see them.

In the meantime, with the Oscars just hours away, I will post what I have so far. For anyone who knows me at all, you know that I have a serious love/hate relationship with Oscar and the Hollywood film industry in general. There is the fact that many of my favorite films each year receive little-to-no Oscar attention while what I consider more mediocre fare ends up praised. Then there are those films I actually think of as being downright bad that receive Oscar’s top honor (BRAVEHEART, GLADIATOR, CRASH) that just makes my heart sink even lower.

But all this said, the truth of the matter is that it’s not Oscar’s fault. It’s mine. Like so may of us, I grew up with a notion of Hollywood and the Academy Awards that was built largely on naivete. And a personal desire. As I got older and actually started working in the industry, I quickly became aware that the Oscars were not really a celebration of film as art, but film as industry. It was a self-congratulatory party. Assuming or wishing it were something more is what I do with it in my head. Oscar itself has never pretended to be anything more than an evening of entertainment. What’s changed isn’t Oscar, but me. I want an awards show that recognizes true artistry in filmmaking and awards those who further the art form; those who take the greatest risks and offer us experiences unfamiliar. And yes, once in a while, a film of that caliber receives recognition, if only as a small nod.

Perhaps the reason for my disillusionment has to do with growing up in an era of 70′s filmmaking when films like THE GODFATHER both I & II would walk away with Best Picture Oscars. When THE FRENCH CONNECTION was the action film of the day. When horror films like THE EXORCIST or comedies like ANNIE HALL were recognized. The “product” Hollywood was putting out there was extraordinary for its time or any other. But since the boom of Wall Street (the industry, not the film), Hollywood has attracted many less interested in film as art, but film as successful business enterprise. And thankfully, there have been years when non-Hollywood indie films have swept the Oscars and that has fueled my optimism.

I suppose what always gets under my skin is that I would rather be watching an awards ceremony at Cannes or Berlin than the Oscars. I want to see and hear the speeches that these filmmakers are supposed to be given an opportunity to make. And if you’re a big enough star, you’ll get to make that speech. If you’re not, you will undoubtably be cut off in mid-sentence or, worse, relegated to  a completely different night of celebration that takes place weeks in advance of the Oscars and is mentioned in a 60 second summarization by one of the evening’s hosts. But we are not privy to the details, speeches or lifetime achievement award receipts of these “less important” individuals. And why is this? Time. Time is of the essence. But what brings the whole affair down for me is that we will regretfully cut off someone’s speech, their moment to shine, their moment to express joy and gratitude, to instead make room for a bloated interpretive dance number honoring the ten Best Picture nominees or, worse, costume design. I guess I’m just the guy who is there to hear the speeches, to connect with the artists who have sacrificed and struggled and realized their dreams. That’s more important to me than Hugh Jackman showing off that he’s a great song and dance man. Save it for the Tony’s where it’s more appropriate (nothing against Mr. Jackman, mind you. I’m a fan, but everything in its place).

All this is to say that there are moments of Oscar that I love. And moments that feed directly into my most sensitive nerve regarding attitudes toward film and filmmakers that has grown increasingly further away from my perception and desire as to how I choose to engage in the medium. So I suppose my growth and the industry’s growth have not been on the same path for quite some time. And I must keep in mind, even when I was young and had dreams in my eyes of a universe where truly great films were recognized by the masses, films like the musical OLIVER! were awarded Best Picture Oscars over other films from the same year like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, FACES, ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, none of which were even nominated for best picture!

Throw in other films from that same year like THE LION IN WINTER, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE PRODUCERS, or even FUNNY GIRL. The Oscars were rarely a celebration of film as art, but film as entertainment with a nod toward artistry. Perhaps it’s a happy blending of the two. But as Mike Leigh (whose ANOTHER YEAR is among my faves of 2010) pointed out, Hollywood is just one place that makes movies on a planet where all different kinds of films are made with very differing approaches to how it can and is done. It’s something easy to forget when Oscar is seen as our grandest celebration of film. It is a very limited viewfinder that the world of film is seen and interpreted through. And so I shall try and enjoy what it IS, instead of what it is NOT. That is my mission for today. A New Year’s resolution of a sort.

On that note, here are the films from 2010 that have so far impressed me or left me cold. Everything is listed alphabetically:

BEST OF THE YEAR (SO FAR…)

127 HOURS (2010) *** ½

ANIMAL KINGDOM (2010) *** ½

ANOTHER YEAR (2010) *** ¾

BIUTIFUL (2010) *** ½

BLACK SWAN (2010) *** ½

BLUE VALENTINE (2010) *** ½

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2010) *** ½

FISH TANK (2009-released in US 2010) *** ½

HIDEAWAY, THE (LE REFUGE – 2009-released in US 2010) *** ½

I AM LOVE (2010) ****

KICK –ASS (2010) *** ½

KING’S SPEECH, THE (2010) *** ½

RABBIT HOLE (2010) *** ½

RED RIDING TRILOGY (2009-released in US 2010) ****

SOMEWHERE (2010) *** ½

TANGLED (2010) *** ½

TOY STORY 3 (2010) *** ½

VALHALLA RISING (2009-released in US 2010) *** ½

WINTER’S BONE (2010) *** ½


ALSO RECOMMENDED:

CAIRO TIME (2009-released in US 2010) *** ¼

CYRUS (2010) *** ¼

GET LOW (2010) *** ¼

GHOST WRITER (2010) *** ¼

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 (2010) *** ¼

MESRINE PART 1: KILLER INSTINCT (2010) *** ¼

MESRINE PART 2: PUBLIC ENEMY #1 (2010) *** ¼

NEVER LET ME GO (2010) *** ¼

SOCIAL NETWORK, THE (2010) *** ¼

TEMPLE GRANDIN (TV – 2010) *** ¼

TILLMAN STORY, THE (2010) *** ¼

TRUE GRIT (2010) *** ¼


LIKED BUT DIDN’T LOVE

AMERICAN, THE (2010) ***

DESPICABLE ME (2010) ***

FIGHTER, THE (2010) ***

HEREAFTER (2010) ***

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010) ***

HOWL (2010) ***

INCEPTION (2010) ***

MADE IN DAGENHAM (2010) ***

MONSTERS (2010) ***

[REC] 2 (2010) ***

TOWN, THE (2010) ***


BEST OLDER FILMS SEEN FOR FIRST TIME IN 2010:

BALLAST (2008) *** ½

BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956) *** ½

CHRISTMAS TALE, A (2008) ****

CLASH BY NIGHT (1952) *** ½

CLOSE UP (1990) ****

CRIME WAVE (1954) *** ½

DAMNED UNITED (2008) ****

HUMAN DESIRE (1954) ****

IN THE LOOP (2009) *** ½

LOLA MONTES (1955) ****

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937) ****

METROPOLIS (Metoroporisu – 2001) *** ½

MOTHER (2009) *** ½

NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH (1940) ****

PONYO (2008) *** ½

PORT OF CALL (1948) *** ½

PROPHET, A (2009) ****

REVANCHE (2008) *** ½

SECRET IN THEIR EYES, THE (2009) *** ½

SERAPHINE (2008) *** ½

SON, THE (aka LE FILS – 2002) *** ½

STONE TAPES, THE (1972) *** ½

SUMMER HOURS (2008) *** ½

TELL THEM ANYTHING YOU WANT: MAURICE SENDAK (2009) *** ½

TOKYO SONATA (2008) ****

WORST OF THE YEAR

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010) **

CENTURIAN (2010) **

LEGION (2010) *

WOLFMAN, THE (2010) **

DISAPPOINTMENTS

BRIGHTON ROCK (2010) **

KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, THE (2010) ** ½

RED (2010) ** ¼

SHUTTER ISLAND (2010) ** ¼

I won’t comment on all of the above-mentioned films, but I will on a few. I AM LOVE was my favorite. Its Visconti-like stylization, melodrama and imagery just knocked me out. A thoroughly satisfying film that openly adores its Italian cinema roots.

Mike Leigh’s ANOTHER YEAR shows once again Mr. Leigh’s deep desire to create an environment in which rich, complex characters grow and thrive and reflect the beautiful, sad and joyous riches that make up the human animal.

BLACK SWAN showed us that darkness and experimentation still has a place in popular filmmaking and that sometimes taking a risk pays off handsomely.

SOMEWHERE was another offering by one of America’s few auteur young talents that insists on pushing the envelope and looking into places few dare to gaze. And she does it with her own unapologetic sensibility. Certainly a tool she harvested from both her father’s greatest artistic insights as well as his artistic missteps.

VALHALLA RISING, a visual poem embracing both the violence and beauty of the Viking era as if the viewer him/herself were on a religious quest not unlike the film’s characters.

RED RIDING TRILOGY, released theatrically here in the States early in 2010, offers three back-to-back films which are among the most powerful, dark, unsettling and viscerally effective films I’ve seen in ages.

BIUTIFUL, another masterfully bleak and beautiful film by Alejandro González Iñárritu who continues to make films that move me with their stirring images and deeply pained characters. I even loved BABEL when so many others derided it. There’s something about the world of this filmmaker that squirms deep under my skin and stays there.

And while I know I’m not alone here, I am in a minority not thinking that THE FIGHTER was a masterpiece. A solid film with terrific perfs, the script just wasn’t unique enough or daring enough to win my heart. And while Christian Bale’s performance was truly astounding, the time spent focusing on it took away, in my opinion, from time the storytellers should have spent developing our main character’s relationships (particularly with Amy Adams), which were sorely underdeveloped. On top of that, I sensed the filmmaker slightly mocking the world of his characters as if he were standing somewhere slightly above it. That, again in my opinion, will always keep an audience from truly entering the world of the film.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. Well, thankfully there are more than enough people out there who agree with me on this one despite the outpouring of love and attention this film has garnered. I’ve always been a fan of director Cholodenko, but this time she teamed up with a commercial comedy writer and it shows. KIDS plays out like a Nancy Meyers’ film about lesbians. On top of that, I felt the film added to America’s confusion and misconception regarding whether or not homosexuality is a choice versus something you’re born with. The level of lust with which Julianne Moore’s character is attracted to Mark Ruffalo was incredibly unrealistic to me given the character’s set up and foundation. I found it socially unfortunate but, even worse, poor storytelling. When asked in a Q&A I attended as to why she decided to have this lesbian character so lustfully sleep repeatedly with a man, Cholodenko replied that she didn’t believe the film could be made otherwise. I certainly hope she’s wrong.

I also am personally tired of straight men being portrayed as incapable of moral, social or sexual boundaries. When it comes to matters of the penis, according to films like this, we men are nothing more than infants with no self-control whatsoever. Thank god Mark Ruffalo managed to bring a humanity to that character despite ultimately being relegated to the role of fall guy and defacto villain.

And SHUTTER ISLAND made me yearn for Scorsese to return to low-budget filmmaking once again.

But I was thrilled to see Patricia Clarkson in a romantic leading role in CAIRO TIME. A sweet film that also showcases the charming talents of Alexander Siddig, a wonderful and underutilized actor.

And TOY STORY 3 which maintains the notion that no one cares more about script than the folks at Pixar.

And EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP which, like this post of mine, ponders the questions of art, commerce and pop culture versus artistic drive and meaningful exploration.

There can be no doubt that good films found their way onto American screens in 2010 whether they originated from within or outside our borders. But remember, there are hundreds of incredible, life-affirming, artistically challenging films that have never reached these shores outside of a festival screening, if that. There is a whole world of filmmaking that, compared to much of what you’ll see at the Oscars, could be considered the works of master chefs creating meals for those who yearn to taste something new, something unusual, unfamiliar, something offering an experience that can only be created through great love and understanding. Something many of us will never taste. Unless we seek it out.

Favorite & Least Favorite Films Of 2010

Hollywood And The Golden Arches Of Mediocrity


As a writer and filmmaker, I have, for as long as I can remember, felt strongly about storytelling. I was also lucky enough to have grown into adulthood during the second golden age of cinema (the 1970′s). Therefore, my most cherished form of storytelling has been through movies. It is the medium that most speaks to me, the language I most thoroughly embrace that best articulates, for me, what it means to be human. So it seems I take the current state of cinema far more seriously than do certain others for whom films are a mere distraction or, at best, a simple pleasure.

Which leads my desire to draw your attention to an interesting article by Mark Harris in GQ magazine. It’s called THE DAY THE MOVIES DIED and it’s about Hollywood today and the state of films and filmmaking. I think Mark makes some terrific points and observations and they are in keeping with my feelings about the industry and the art form. That said, I think there are areas that are even more complex than Mr. Harris spells them out to be. Though he does an excellent job of offering some very appealing conversation starters. I would also state, as a criticism, that I wish Mr. Harris had offered up some more detailed information regarding his sources as they would have added even more credibility to his stories and insights (e.g. his stated industry reaction to INCEPTION). But all in all, it’s an article worth reading and it paints a picture that, in my opinion, has more truth to it than not. Which saddens me.

I would also turn attention to a book by Columbia professor Tim Wu titled THE MASTER SWITCH: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. Here, too, you will find answers to why we are where we are, why the film industry is what it is, and where we might be heading. The book will also place those questions, answers and concepts onto a much larger stage. It’ll certainly equip you to handle just about any conversation on the subject that might arise and then some.

Here is David Siegfried’s Booklist review of MASTER SWITCH:

A veteran of Silicon Valley and professor at Columbia University, Wu is an author and policy advocate best known for coining the term net neutrality. Although the Internet has created a world of openness and access unprecedented in human history, Wu is quick to point out that the early phases of telephony, film, and radio offered similar opportunities for the hobbyist, inventor, and creative individual, only to be centralized and controlled by corporate interests, monopolized, broken into smaller entities, and then reconsolidated. Wu calls this the Cycle, and nowhere is it more exemplary than in the telecommunications industry. The question Wu raises is whether the Internet is different, or whether we are merely in the early open phase of a technology that is to be usurped and controlled by profiteering interests. Central in the power struggle is the difference between the way Apple Computer and Google treat content, with Apple attempting to control the user experience with slick products while Google endeavors to democratize content, giving the user choice and openness. This is an essential look at the directions that personal computing could be headed depending on which policies and worldviews come to dominate control over the Internet.

Bear with me now as I take you down a seemingly random path that, I assure you, will lead back to the overriding themes at hand. I once knew a man for whom the idea of eating food was nothing more than a means of attaining nourishment and proteins. So much so that after a workout, he would take a beautiful prime cut of beef and toss it headlong into a microwave. The fate of that particular portion of cow was to become a grey, rubbery slab of flavorless meat, with not so much as a sprinkle of pepper or salt to provide some modicum of dignity to the poor deceased beast.

As one who genuinely loves and appreciates a great meal, watching this nightly parade of food abomination was distressing to me, to say the least. So, if you’re like me and you truly love a great meal, imagine what your food world would look like if most available meals were manufactured by McDonalds. Sure, the occasional restaurant might pop up here and there offering something lovingly concocted by a real chef, someone with a deep love of food and food preparation, but that establishment wouldn’t last long enough to build up much of a customer base. No, I’m afraid most of your dining options would be, well, off the McD’s menu. Now, by comparison, an occasional meal at the Olive Garden would suddenly seem downright luxurious, downright masterful in both its preparation and combination of flavors. Olive Garden might even become the Holy Grail of good cooking in the hearts and minds of many. But in truth, we’d be salivating over a plate of supreme mediocrity. To me, Hollywood is the McDonald’s of filmmaking. And occasionally something comes out of the system (usually as a result of a big favor owed) that wows people. And that, my friends, is a meal at the Olive Garden. If you were a chef, you would not want to ply your craft at either McD’s or “The Garden.” They are not designed for you to do what it is you love. And the people who would most appreciate your work, your passion, your gift, would not frequent these places looking for what you have to offer. Anyone who knew what a good Italian meal was –or a good burger, for that matter– would mourn the loss of something exquisite, something great. They would shake their heads in collective misery at the loss of such an elegant art, the loss of that cherished human capacity to create and recognize something that embodies both complex and simple flavors, something which excites the taste buds and satisfies in such a gloriously primal way.

And so we return to my feelings about the current American film industry.

The state of Hollywood today is not good for films, filmmakers or audiences. And it hasn’t been for a long time. We’ve been in a steady decline for many years. And that’s more than just sour grapes or being a curmudgeon. Film is an art, a language, a beautiful and complex animal that mirrors the human condition. But Hollywood today is far from being a place to nourish such desires or, worse, to even dream of them. Perhaps with the way technology has changed, there will be no need for Hollywood anymore. Or maybe there will be a resurgence of filmmakers who truly love film and want to push the boundaries of the medium once again. To explore, to grow, to seek, to touch. But for every one of those, there are still thousands of others whose final destination is Hollywood. And that will yield nothing but mediocrity at its best. I wish it were otherwise. But in a town inundated with accountants and frat boys at the helm, we must look elsewhere for the fruits of the medium. But all of this is in keeping sync with the state of the union, not just the state of Hollywood. The Tea-Party, hard-core conservatism, rabid anti-intellectualism, money over people. It’s why Netflix is becoming the new Blockbuster and corporate interests override human/customer interest or loyalty. It’s why universal health care is demonized and Workers Unions the enemy. All of these things are reflected in one another. Reagan fueled the fire and it’s been snowballing ever since. Not just in politics or the economy, but in every corner of our collective consciousness. Our own Capitalist sensibilities have turned around and bitten us square in the ass and we’re only now starting to comprehend that those are our own teeth embedded there.

Nothing reflects the moods and tone of a nation better than its art. Our priorities as a nation and our ability to fight to accept as little as possible has been a deepening, festering wound. We will either heal it or die from it. I’m rooting for the former myself. But in the meantime, one of the repercussions is that our artists must look elsewhere to create their art, while businessmen and women parade around as filmmakers. And as caring politicians. All of whom would very much like you to try that bold new Angus Burger at McDonalds. Really, you’ll love it.

Hollywood And The Golden Arches Of Mediocrity

America: Insanity Or Performance Art?


Egypt. Wisconsin. Union rights. The Anti-Christ.

It seems Glenn Beck and Fox News are on the loose again. This time they’ve brought in a self-proclaimed prophet as “expert” on comparing Obama to the Anti-Christ and why the goings-on in Wisconsin are about the end of days and turning America into an Islamic state and not about union rights after all. And while we’ve all gotten used to this kind of rhetoric being tossed about on a daily basis and shaking our collective heads at the absurdity of it all –so much so that we barely notice it anymore– there are more than a few people out there taking all this nonsense very seriously. After all, Fox News brought in an “expert!”

And while 35% of those polled in New Jersey either believe or are willing to consider the possibility that Obama is the Anti-Christ, Rachel Maddow, as always, has a rather enlightened take on the whole affair.

America: Insanity Or Performance Art?

Sharing Coppola


As always, I’m on the lookout for comments, articles, interviews by writers, filmmakers, artists of all shapes and sizes, that inspire me, guide me, or simply make me think. I have endless respect and admiration for writer/director Francis Ford Coppola. Sure, there have been a few films over his long career that didn’t seem on par with his greatest work, but it’s become common knowledge that Coppola allowed himself to become a hired hand in order to pay off a massive debt.

Now that the debt is history, thanks to many films and a successful wine-making business, Francis Coppola is back in the writer/director seat once again and this time with a vengeance! For the commercially-minded Hollywood, this may be a mildly discomforting annoyance, but for those of us genuinely interested in filmmaking as passion, as art, as a language of expression and a life-journey, this is great news indeed.

Segments of an interview/lecture with Coppola were recently posted at the99percent.com and I wanted to share that article here. I found it to be immensely inspiring. It is one that I will keep and go back to for years. It is a great filmmaker pointing a light forward and letting us know that this, too, is a path that can be traversed and explored, despite the many in Hollywood standing just outside the entrance with signs which read “DO NOT PASS,” or “NO ENTRY,” or “ROAD CLOSED.”

My suggestion? Just step on the gas and go. They’ll move out of your way.

Here are some highlights:

“Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money. Because there are ways around it… I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.”

“Always make your work be personal. And, you never have to lie… There is something we know that’s connected with beauty and truth. There is something ancient. We know that art is about beauty, and therefore it has to be about truth.”

“I just finished a film a few days ago, and I came home and said I learned so much today. So if I can come home from working on a little film after doing it for 45 years and say, “I learned so much today,” that shows something about the cinema. Because the cinema is very young. It’s only 100 years old.”

“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.”

Read the full article: Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration.


Sharing Coppola

THE PLAGUE Spreads To Italy


It’s always exciting to see a campaign to save one’s name and work reach the farthest shores. Since starting my campaign to make people aware that the film titled CLIVE BARKER’S THE PLAGUE –despite having my name attached as writer and director– was not, in fact, my film, word has spread far and wide and there seems to be no end in sight. Most of you familiar with me and/or my blog know this story backwards and forwards. I won’t repeat it here. But I will share a recent article with you that was printed in the Italian movie magazine BLOW UP earlier this month (February 2011). I will link to both a PDF of the actual Italian language article, as well as an English translation.

Again, though it’s been over 5 years since I went public with my story and a Writers & Director’s Cut of the film, this tale still manages to have legs, regardless of whether or not I instigate activity around it. And I won’t lie. That makes me very happy. And it also inspires me.

Blow Up: PENSIERO STUPENDO – by Pier Maria Bocchi (in Italian. PDF).

Blow Up: THIS STUPENDOUS THOUGHT - by Pier Maria Bocchi (English Translation).

THE PLAGUE Spreads To Italy

BARRY LYNDON, LOLITA & New Criterion Blu-ray Titles


The good news is Warner Brothers has finally set a date for releasing those wonderful as-yet-unreleased Kubrick Blu-ray titles, BARRY LYNDON and LOLITA. Two of my all-time favorite films! The bad news is that they are only available if you purchase the full STANLEY KUBRICK LIMITED EDITION BOX SET. Sure, we can expect them to eventually be offered for individual purchase, but will that even be this year? I understand that business is business, but these kind of things always feel a little smarmy to me. As someone who has ALREADY PAID FOR THOSE OTHER TITLES, I should be rewarded, not scorned for having made those purchases earlier as opposed to later. I supported Warner Brothers and the Blu-ray format when it was still new! Now, I either need to repurchase those titles again, or wait an indefinite amount of time because I chose to support them in the beginning. Again, there’s just something icky about that business model to me.

Back to some good news!

Criterion has just announced their new Blu-ray slate for May and the titles I’m personally most excited about are Andrei Tarkovsky’s SOLARIS, Ingmar Bergman’s SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s DIABOLIQUE, Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR and Jonathan Demme’s SOMETHING WILD. Check the Criterion web site for more!

BARRY LYNDON, LOLITA & New Criterion Blu-ray Titles