Friday, January 28, 2011
A few years ago my mom gave me a copy of Cassavetes on Cassavetes. I pick it up and read portions of it and then put it down for months or years. And then pick it up again, like when I find it buried on my desk or in my suitcase. I love his films Woman Under the Influence and Opening Night. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of all his films, and I'm not even sure if I like him half the time (others have also felt divided). You can get an anxiety attack reading about the frustrations he went through to fund his projects. He was always putting out fires, wheeling and dealing. But he never gave up, and there was an emotive sincerity that he thought was important to convey. I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in making independent films. Although many, many things have changed and are changing in the world of independent film- the attitude, the delusional idea that, "I'm going to make this movie anyway" still resonates.
The Cassavetes family is pretty rad. His kids all went on to direct. Xan's Z Channel documentary is awesome, I had to start a whole new movie list after watching that. I thought Zoe's Broken English was good and I hope she makes more features. Nick made a little movie called The Notebook. It doesn't get better than THE NOTEBOOK.
& then there's Gena... I adore Gena.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Out of the Past is an exceptionally archetypal noir. The photography is excellent. The customary high contrast black & white interiors are effective, but I like the exterior shots. In general I like exterior action shots from 1930s and 1940s Hollywood films because most pictures were shot entirely on studio lots. Many film noirs were shot off the studio lots because the "A" pictures usually took up studio space. One of the reasons I like East Hollywood and Echo Park so much is because those houses and streets were the settings of many noir locations. But Out of the Past opens in Northern California, the natural setting and small town feel cheerless. Robert Mitchum works as a gas station owner, a circumstance that is instantly wistful. As the story begins we know that whatever he was able to build for himself would soon be lost. His past comes back to meet him repeatedly as he travels to deal with the characters from his former life. But it is not an emotional journey, the film's desolate tone stays constant until the end. That's what I remember about this movie, that and Robert Mitchum's tired eyes.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Chicagoans are back and forth about how they feel about Bertrand Goldberg's cylindrical Marina Towers. Evidently the apartments are "pie shaped" with the widest portion being the window. I worked on a commercial that involved a car driving off one of the Tower's parking garages and into the river. The Towers are definitely interesting to be in. There are below-street-level shops that cater to the residents. The whole place seemed like it's own world. Sort of like a frozen modern dream.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I've seen pictures of this building before but I assumed that it was from a film set, not an actual building. Referenced by the address, Elizabetes lela 10b is an apartment building in Riga, Latvia. Evidently Riga is an Art Nouveau hub. The building was designed by Mikhail Eisenstein in 1903. Eisenstein's son Sergei was also an artist but he worked in a different medium.
We shot part of Kick in Waukegan, Illinois (the ravine and stone bridge shots). So we decided to do a screening party in downtown Waukegan. Sort of an after party for Waukegan's Ray Bradbury Festival. The night was called "Sci-Fi Spetaculaar". It was spectacularly, hilariously awesome. Aleks and the Drummer, Joe Mason and Marc Riordan performed.