Girls on Film: Before Midnight and the evolution of one of cinema’s most dynamic women.

Yes, they are some of the most critically acclaimed cinematic romances in decades. Yes, they represent the “little engine that could” in a creative system in which only big-budget popcorn flicks tend to get multiple sequels. Yes, they are an enjoyable departure from the current standard of overly frenetic, quick-cut filmmaking. But they are also the only films that strive — and succeed — to create a detailed and ongoing look at the female experience.

Cinema du WTF – UPSTREAM COLOR (Shane Carruth 2013) – Bright Lights After Dark.

Even at its most obscure, Upstream Color keeps the viewer involved thanks to the aforesaid music score and the flow of its nature-derived imagery – sunlight, water, animals, insects, and birds (see still at top of page) and the archetypal blue flower motif. The consistent beauty of the imagery gives the movie the feel of poetry:

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm: Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

(“The Sick Rose” by William Blake.)

I can’t seem to stop reading about this movie since I watched it a few weeks ago. That blue flower connection is a good find.

I called around and managed to get a lot of expired stock donated. I also used tungsten-based 35mm slide film to storyboard the movie – this really helped me show the various labs what the final film would look like and thus negotiate prices with them. They are much more likely to give you a discount when they think you’re someone that might be back one day with a bigger budget.

Shane Carruth. Clever! Prepare like a professional, get professional treatment.

Haywire’s Body Talk | cléo.

From 2009 to 2012 Soderbergh directed seven films, three of which may be called his unofficial trilogy of “body films”: The Girlfriend Experience (2009), Haywire (2011), and Magic Mike (2012). While star-studded, arguably even stunt, casting has always been important to his work—from Jennifer Lopez in Out Of Sight (1998) to the comically high-caliber cast of the Oceans franchise (2001, 2004, 2007)—in these three films, the bodies of the stars were integral to what each film explored. Moreover, each stars’ bodies represented a Hollywood outsider crossing over into the mainstream.

Soderbergh! Out of all his movies I’ve seen, the body trilogy and Out of Sight hold the top four spots.

Zoe’s Desk | Submitted For Your Perusal.

It’s a neat trick on Fincher’s part. It’s difficult to render knowledge work cinematically (quick, what’s the last great movie about writing you remember seeing?), as opposed to physical work which more readily lends itself to Rocky-style montages, but Fincher has figured out a way to short circuit the process. Like all good filmmakers, he knows that if he gives us the signs, we will fill in the rest.

In Conversation: Steven Soderbergh — Vulture

I loved this long interview.

On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things I stress, in addition to learning your craft, is how you behave as a person. For the most part, our lives are about telling stories. So I ask them, “What are the stories you want people to tell about you?” Because at a certain point, your ability to get a job could turn on the stories people tell about you.

Also:

I was watching one of those iconoclast shows on the Sundance Channel. Jamie Oliver said Paul Smith had told him something he hadn’t understood until very recently: “I’d rather be No. 2 forever than No. 1 for a while.” Just make stuff and don’t agonize over it. Stop worrying about being No. 1. I see a lot of people getting paralyzed by the response to their work, the imagined result. It’s like playing a Jedi mind trick on yourself, and Smith is right. That’s the way I’ve always approached films, the way I approach everything. Just make ’em.

He’s become one of my favorite directors.

In Conversation: Steven Soderbergh — Vulture

A Brief Remark on Zero Dark Thirty « The Pinocchio Theory

Zero Dark Thirty is the ne plus ultra of proceduralism, its ultimate expansion and reductio ad absurdum. It’s all about the well-nigh interminable process of searching for, and then eliminating, Osama Bin Laden. The premise and initial impetus of this process is of course the mythological demonization of Bin Laden, as the ultimate culprit responsible for Nine Eleven. But in the relentless proceduralism that the film presents to us, this goal or rationale is abraded away. The torture which the film has become controversial for depicting is of course part of this. But so is the process of painstakingly correlating irrelevant information, the accidental discovery of leads in years-old records, the repetitive tracking of the vehicle of the suspected courier, the endless bureaucratic meetings at which officials seek to decide if the information is valid and what should be done about it, and above all the military operation in the last thirty minutes of the film (has military action ever been depicted in the movies with such relentless a focus on operational techniques, in a manner that is utterly devoid alike of the horror of war and of the glory and heroism that are so often invoked to justify it?). The goal has been so absorbed into procedural routine that the ostensible climax of the film, the actual killing of Bin Laden, occurs offscreen; and we barely even get a glimpse of the corpse, zipped as it is into a body bag, which is to say treated entirely (and literally) according to Standard Operating Procedure.

A Brief Remark on Zero Dark Thirty « The Pinocchio Theory

Badlands: An Oral History: Movies TV: GQ

Martin Sheen:

Terry called one night and said, “I want you to play the part.” I had to get up very early the next morning to go to work, and I was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in a little Mazda. I was listening to a Dylan album I was fond of, and the song “Desolation Row” was playing, and the sun was rising, and it hit me that I was going to play the role of my life. I had been a professional actor since I was eighteen. I was thirty-one, I had four children, I was struggling, doing a lot of television—a lot of bad, silly work just to make ends meet—and I wasn’t having any luck in features to speak of, and here was the part of my life. And I was overwhelmed, and I pulled off to the side of the road, and I wept uncontrollably.

Also, from assistant director Bill Scott:

We were so green. A couple years ago, Terry told me that on that first morning of filming, after he got his big wide shot, the cameraman turned to him and said, “Should we go in for coverage now, Terry?” And Terry said, “No, let’s do an over-the-shoulder shot’"—which is coverage. And I remember when someone asked me if I had ordered the honeywagon, I said, "Yeah, the catering’s all lined up.” The honeywagon’s the toilet truck.

I gotta watch Badlands again.

Badlands: An Oral History: Movies TV: GQ

30 Things We Learned from the ‘Thief’ Commentary | Film School Rejects

Caan comments on Frank’s manner of speaking and how he never uses contractions. He and Mann determined Frank was a man who was trying to make up for lost time, and his way of speaking slowly, methodically, and clear makes it such that he never has to repeat himself. […] “You knew he didn’t say anything he didn’t mean”.

Awesome.

30 Things We Learned from the ‘Thief’ Commentary | Film School Rejects

The Eastwood Conundrum – Esquire

An anecdote from his work on A Perfect World:

Costner was a big star who had agreed to make an art film while Eastwood was determined to make a Clint Movie, and they were at cross-purposes. Finally, Eastwood called Costner from his trailer for a scene, and Costner told him to wait — that he wasn’t ready.

“Find his extra,” Eastwood said, “and put a shirt on him.”

He wound up shooting the scene with the extra — with the extra walking through a field, and the camera so close to him he became a blur. Then Costner emerged from his trailer and announced that he was ready to work. “Never mind,” Eastwood said, “we’re moving on.”

The Eastwood Conundrum – Esquire