Mostly Links – 15 April 2011

by Indy Datta

I should start with a couple of links in memory of Sidney Lumet, who died this week after almost six decades of directing film and television. Not as revered as some film makers who have achieved rather less, he was the epitome of the Hollywood craftsman, and his filmography has more than its fair share of classics (and the odd underseen gem; for example Q&A got a bit lost in the wake of Internal Affairs but, for me, it made the Mike Figgis film look crass and jejune). Matt Zoller Seitz, at Salon, gives us a detailed appreciation of Lumet’s work, teasing out the common themes in his films and showcasing his formal skill. Glenn Kenny, of Some Came Running, has posted a link to a 2007 interview he did with Lumet for the DGA Quarterly. It’s also worth your time.

I’m tapping this out on Thursday evening, and in the instant-response world of Twitter, it feels a bit like the internet has already done this morning’s announcement of this year’s Cannes Film Festival programme. However, never let it be said that Mostly Film is afraid to be behind the curve! Here’s a handy guide to the main competition roster from Time Out London. If I have one quibble with Time Out here, it’s that I think comparing the fierce, strange movies of the Dardenne Brothers to Ken Loach films is both under- and mis- selling them. I’d be interested to know what our commenters are looking forward to from that list (and the Un Certain Regard selection). Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about Terence Malick’s Tree of Life (currently the subject of a distribution rights dispute in the UK that could see it opening here before it plays Cannes), and the Dardennes’ The Kid With a Bike, but would need to be paid actual cash money to watch Lars von Trier’s Melancholia or Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place. In the case of the latter, really quite a lot of actual cash money.

But I am a fair-minded man, so here is the Melancholia trailer. Nice lighting.

Cannes isn’t just a film festival, of course, it’s also the last opportunity for film buffs to play pick-the-winner until Oscar season starts again. Early odds favour Naomi Kawase’s epic of medieval Japan, Hanezu no Tsuki, for the Palme, but the Malick is up there as well, maybe on the basis that jury president Robert de Niro was one of the few working actors in Hollywood not unceremoniously cut from The Thin Red Line. I’m hoping that he’s secretly a 3D fan, meaning that Takashi Miike’s remake of Harakiri is already a shoo-in. We’ll be bringing you a Cannes diary from our man on the Croisette just as the festival wraps up.

After last week’s slim pickings, this week looks pretty good for new releases. As well as Meek’s Cutoff, reviewed here yesterday, I can recommend Aaron Katz’s nifty low-budget mystery comedy Cold Weather. And although I wasn’t a fan of Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One, I did spend much of 2006 being told by friends at parties that I really must see it, so I can confidently predict that Little White Lies will be a big hit. Here’s the trailer.

There’s nothing interesting coming out in America this weekend.

In other stuff:

You want to read an article that takes Zack Snyder’s much-maligned and financially ruinous Sucker Punch somewhat seriously? You’re in luck, courtesy of Mubi.

And finally: why do people in movies never say goodbye when they hang up the ‘phone?

See you Monday, when we’ll be back with some truly revolutionary content

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4 thoughts on “Mostly Links – 15 April 2011

  1. Wow, Indy, with this guy who wrote the Sucker Punch/The Spirit piece, you are spoiling us. In fact, you may just have found The Ultimate Contrarian. (I liked the nod to Innocence, though, and have to confess I’ve had a sneaking desire to watch both the films he’s writing about in the hope that they’re actually secretly excellent).

  2. Sucker Punch is not much good, but the reviews largely didn’t get it, preferring instead to work themselves up into a lather about girls in short skirts (the film is actually almost completely sexless). The Mubi guy is onto something with his reading, and if you read interviews with Snyder it seems (through the I-don’t-know-what (I do) induced grandiosity that also inflects his films) that he *almost* grasps what he’s trying to do – he just doesn’t seem to quite have the brains or the talent. There’s a few lines in that piece:

    “Regarding the film closely, I don’t think it’s too far off to suggest that Snyder intends his Game scenes to be fleeting moments of empowerment for his female characters, places to be beautiful and kick ass, if always for a very short while; this at least suggests Snyder has picked up some mono no aware along with his anime cutie-pie moe tropes. Critics, meanwhile have suggested that Snyder’s planes of empowerment are nothing more than a cheap excuse to leer at girls half-clad in sexy clothes, objectifying the notion of “empowerment” into yet another commoditized item of hetero male gratification. As luck would have it, everyone is correct!”

    that resonated for me with a line in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s review of Pulp Fiction, which he has recently reposted at his blog:

    “If you can’t figure out whether this gab (like the debate about Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” that opens Reservoir Dogs) is supposed to be a satiric put-down or a dumb-ass celebration of American self-absorption, that’s undoubtedly because Tarantino’s mode of hipness involves straddling both positions.”

    Because Sucker Punch is in a lot of ways a kindergarten Kill Bill. I never want to see it again, but I want to see The King’s Speech again much less.

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