The last proper feature from maverick director David Lynch was the 2006 shot-on-DV effort Inland Empire. Since then he’s made commercials and music videos, done quite a lot to promote Transcendental Meditation, and worked on multiple albums. The most high-profile of those was with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse [RIP], called Dark Night of the Soul. Music has always been one of the director’s passions — he’s had a big hand in writing and recording much of the music for his films — but the Danger Mouse project must have left him wanting more in a similar vein.

This week the director dropped a digital single on iTunes featuring two songs. They’re the first inking of the music project Mr. Lynch is working on now, which he’s calling “a kind of modern blues.” Read More »

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Never Let Me Go

After the Telluride Film Festival premiere of his latest film, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview director Mark Romanek for a long-form interview. It was a collaboration between Alex from FirstShowing and myself, which explains how we were able to get so much time with the filmmaker.

Mark Romanek is one of the best music video directors to come out of the 1990′s. His videos have included Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”, “Scream” – Michael Jackson’s grammy award winning collaboration with sister Janet Jackson (at $7 million, one of the most expensive music video ever made), Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”, Johnny Cash’s gut-wrenching cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”, En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”, Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut”, Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”. His 2002 feature film One Hour Photo is probably best known for Robin Williams’ dramatic turn. While the film is beloved by cinephiles, it pretty much went under the radar of mainstream audiences. It did however gain Romanek a lot of the respect in the movie industry. His follow-up, a big screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s novel Never Let Me Go, premiered at the 37th Telluride Film Festival. The book was named one of TIME’s 100 Best Novels (from 1923 to the Present), featured on many top ten books of 2005 lists, and a finalist in the National Book Critic Circle Award.

After the jump is part one of the chat, where we talk about the director’s influences, how he became a music video director, his long journey back to feature filmmaking, and what it took to create his latest movie, Never Let Me Go.

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As the movie industry slowly goes through major changes, unusual funding methods might start to be more prominent. Crowd-sourcing isn’t a fringe tactic any longer, when Ridley Scott is using it to gather footage for a film (following in the footsteps of Bruce MacDonald and others) and Kevin Smith has talked about using the method to finance a film.

Now David Lynch is getting into the game. He’s producing the last of three documentaries about, er, himself, and is offering a handful of goodies to those who drop a $50 investment on the film. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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David Lynch has dipped into the world of advertising more than once. His ads for Calvin Klein’s Obsession, for example, were lush black and white glamour shoots featuring Benicio del Toro and Heather Graham. (Before Graham appeared in Twin Peaks.) Now Lynch has directed Marion Cotillard in Lady Blue Shanghai, a sixteen-minute film/ad for Dior. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Read More »

robin_hood_header

The public hasn’t had a chance to check out Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, which premieres at Cannes, but if the receipts are high, we may see more than one episode featuring Russell Crowe as the famous British character.

Speaking to the Times Online, Scott defines this film as an origin story, saying, “It is the beginnings of how the man becomes known as Robin the Hood…You don’t really get that until the last few minutes. When you realize that ‘Ah, this is who he is’. Let’s say we might presume there’s a sequel.”

From his perspective, the idea of a sequel seems natural. “If there were to be a sequel to Robin Hood, you would have a constant enemy throughout, King John, and you would follow his reign of 17 years, and the signing of Magna Carta could be Robin’s final act.”

Read the source for some great quotes about that semi-famous early draft of the script, in which Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham were the same character. Some pretty blistering comments in there about that take (“CSI: Sherwood Forest,” Crowe calls is) which makes the long development and rewrite process make more sense.

After the break, we’ve got word on possible films to follow Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Mulholland Drive. Yeah, I’m confused about that last one, too. Read More »

wraith10

It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding Valentine’s Day starring every safe, boring white actor ever, that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.

In 1986, a supernatural moto-fantasy about a murdered bro who returns via a phantasmic, black stealth race car to kill his killers was released on Earth and no one gave a shit. More than two decades later, The Wraith, though forever without a wet ‘stache lick from Peter Travers, is cult-minted for being memorable-enough ’80s-ploitation. Next month sees the release of a Special Edition DVD that adequately recognizes and explores the movie’s legacy and history with commentary courtesy director Mike Marvin and featurettes on the film’s semi-iconic Dodge racer and co-star Clint Howard (who, if not semi-iconic himself, sported a semi-iconic wig inspired by Eraserhead for the film).

Revisiting The Wraith, what’s interesting is how this derivative hybrid of genres and classic revenge films—Marvin references High Plains Drifter and The Road Warrior—remains sublimely adolescent but in an inherently cold and detached way. Stranger still is how this suits the film’s undead hero, vehicle, and hints of an afterlife with a decidedly mechanical bent. And before viewing the S.E. I had no idea a crew member died and many others were injured in a chase scene gone awry. One stunt coordinator recounts how a grip fell 60-feet down a rocky embankment and was only found knocked-out but okay hours later. Nor did I know (or need to) that a sunbathing scene with lead star Charlie Sheen as the titular, ghostly hero and co-star Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart) was shot on a “near-freezing” day. Hearing these stories, I wonder now if the troubles of the production didn’t contribute to the overall tone. And looking back at the film itself, which was released the same year as Top GunFerris Bueller, and Blue Velvet, might The Wraith, however unintentionally, deserve to be called Lynchian?

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