Cinemalinks: Weekly Reads

Ned Rifle
Things have been a bit slow on the movie front lately, but here’s a quick round-up of reads from the web:
By Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Don’t miss the epic conclusion to Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool/Fay Grim family saga, Ned Rifle, which is now on Vimeo VOD. Harltey and the cast discuss the legacy of this family project since the late 1990s. (Don’t you love how 90s some of Hartley’s films are?)

Hartley: ”Ever since the beginning of my career, I’ve wanted to make movies about my time and place. Film that get dated. You say, "Wow, that’s really the late nineties in America." "Henry Fool" is really dated. That time when the country went way to the right, and the internet was invented. Working this way with these stories is fun. I look around me and I say, "OK, what’s the world like now?" I want the films to reflect what society is doing around us.
By Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood

I miss the days when I opened the Ottawa Citizen and read a film review by a critic to whom I felt a connection. Now that the Citizen has lost Jay Stone (retired) and Vancouver-based Katherine Monk (axed), the reviews are mostly syndicated pieces from Toronto writers, some of whom I enjoy and others wose work I don’t read in their Toronto/national papers because they don’t seem to like anything. Anne Thompson talks about the value of local voices, which is more relevant than ever:

Once lost, local critic fanbases will never be regained. This hurts the indies and studio subdivisions that are in the business of pushing Oscar contenders and lower-budget films for adults. Specialty fare needs local support and interpretation from the critic as explainer, interpreter, and champion. Over the years, critics helped audiences appreciate the likes of Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris,” Brian De Palma’s “Dressed to Kill,” Robert Altman’s “The Player,” the Coens’ “No Country for Old Men” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will be Blood.” Where would we have been without them?

By Noah Gittell, Film School Rejects

I’ve been putting off seeing Furious 7 for two reasons: 1) I just don’t care and 2) The renewed hysteria over Paul Walker’s death is a bit much. People are crying at Furious 7? Really? But tears shed over this franchise might be better dropped elsewhere, at least according to one critic looking outside the frame of this mammoth franchise that just keeps on truckin’:

When it comes to driving irresponsibly, movies like Furious 7 may exacerbate an already-serious problem: reckless teenage driving. According to CRC Health Group, teenagers have an accident rate four times that of adults. Further, drag racing itself remains popular – and deadly – in America. Statistics remains elusive because it is not always clear when an accident has been caused by an actual race, but one study found 1,047 racing deaths from 2001 to 2008 in the U.S. alone.

By Abstew, The Film Experience

Now that Woman in Gold has given a story behind a famous painting, what other masterpieces of the fine art world deserve their own movie? Is The Da Vinci Code the closest thing to a film about the Mona Lisa that we’ve seen? TFE looks at some great works like the Mona Lisa and muses which directors/stars might best fit the projects. But, ugh, this article reminds me that the dreaded adaptation of The Goldfinch is on the horizon.

Perhaps there has never been a film about del Giocondo because she lived a very ordinary life, and little is known about her beyond that she married at 15, had 5 children, and died in a convent in her 60s. Perhaps the best way to tell her story is to show the everyday woman and her goings-on, I'm thinking Mia Wasikowska, so good at giving her character's rich inner lives while remaining slightly mysterious, but then to also make the Mona Lisa itself a character. Have Sarah Polley, who has previously excelled in telling woman's stories in Away From Her and Take This Waltz and juggled multiple storylines with Stories We Tell, show the extraordinary journey the painting has taken over the decades to make Lisa del Giocondo a legend.

By Vanity Fair

Who caught the premiere of Wolf Hall last weekend? Isn’t it great so far? I love the books by Hilary Mantel and can’t wait to see how the rest of the adaptation goes. I can’t imagine the difficulty of adapting a 900-plus book like Wolf Hall for the screen, especially since half the characters are named Thomas. Here's a handy guide to keeping track of who's who before heads roll:

The new PBS series Wolf Hall, an import from Britain and an adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s bestselling books, takes TV viewers inside the intense, cloistered world of King Henry VIII’s court, teeming with confidants, enemies, and, of course, potential wives. It’s based on history we’re all nominally familiar with—Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, etc.— but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easily to keep track of which man in the floppy Tudor hat is which.

By Keith Phipps, The Dissolve

I can’t stand watching films on digital. I don’t buy digital copies and I probably never will. (I only rent them.) With that being said, though, Blu-rays are still the superior way to go. But why aren’t they as popular with film collectors? A few reasons to support their sales, besides giving disposable income to the young folks who once liked to purchase films:

There were better 2014 films than Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, for instance, but few as fascinating, controversial, or so famously the product of a clash between a director and a studio who didn’t always see eye-to-eye. And while it’s probably too soon to perform a full look at the whole, uncensored story, surely the film’s Blu-ray—which lists at $41.99—should have included more than three 20-minute making-of featurettes. Part of what made DVDs so exciting in their golden age was the wide variety of features found on many discs—and expected of high-profile releases of Noah’s scale. Why should a superior technology be giving viewers less?

By Joseph Belanger, Black Sheep Reviews

A good performance is one thing; a great character is another. Actors can bring both, but a sense of place is often harder to come by. Look at how various directors treat Toronto or Manhattan: a setting can be more than just a backdrop. It can be part of star of an ensemble.

Unless a film director draws our attention directly to its grander purpose, location is often the unsung hero of film, usually seen as nothing more than a mere backdrop, albeit often a picturesque one, for people’s problems to take place in. No great, or even halfway decent director takes location for granted though. If there is character to the setting of the film then the odds are that character is likely saying something about the film itself, as well. And until the day when we can all just teleport from one place to the next with ease, we have the movies to thank for taking us to places we may never otherwise see for ourselves.

By Amanda Sage, Kickass Canadians
Speaking of place, I want to highlight one non-film place that’s livening up the local character of Blahttawa. It’s a coffee shop called Quitters, which is run by Canadian singer Kathleen Edwards in the west-end ‘hood of Stittsville. (Or, “the ‘titts” as it’s becoming known.) This place has a lot of character, from the coffee, to the dogs that run around, to the snare drum portraits that spark a conversation on Whiplash like a rat-a-tat-tat. Edwards talks about her barista-ing with local blogger Amanda Sage (who also does the occasional film review) over at Kickass Canadians:

 “It was called Quitters as a joke,” says Kathleen. (In fact, Jim Bryson gets credit for the name.) “People said: ‘If you start a coffee shop, you quit music.’” Not so. Kathleen is routinely asked if she’s “the person who used to sing.” But putting it in the past tense is a little off key. “(Being a singer) doesn’t just get deleted from who I am.”

"Social Media Saved My Life"
By Laura Armstrong, Toronto Star

Great and personal interview with Toronto film critic Andrew Parker on the outpouring of support over Twitter last month that saved his life. It's a good read only months after a few narrow-minded individuals decried social media for 'killing the critic.' It turns out that viral voices can be a lifesaver in a variety of ways. Focus on the good side of things, people! :)

“We talk a lot about how social media is sort of like a no-man’s land, gang mentality. That’s definitely there; I know people that have had their lives irreparably damaged because of social media, but at the same time it can be a force for good,” [Parker] said.

Crowd-sourcing shout-out:

There's a little bit of time left to vote for the Ottawa horror film Edith in Cinecoup! Lend a hand to the locals. (And this project actually seems quite good so far!)

Video(s) of the week:

A few more videos than usual this week!

“Cory and Gary Thibert – Wolfpelt Productions”
By Ottawa Indie Film

This new series highlights the range of talent in Ottawa’s film scene. First up in the series is a profile/interview with Cory and Gary Thibert, the minds behind Wolfpelt Productions. They chat their inspiration and share some thoughts about their upcoming project Eyetooth—sounds good!

“Twin Peaks without David Lynch is like...??”
By Mädchen Amick

“Twin Peaks” without David Lynch is like the Oscars without Meryl Streep!
(Why even bother with the show otherwise?)

”Twin Peaks without David Lynch is like…??” …we want to hear from you #peaksies#SaveTwinPeaks - brought to you with...
Posted by Mädchen Amick on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Trailer for this Sundance champ is very promising. I love the cats!

What did you read (or watch) this week?