Todd Haynes’ film Velvet Goldmine memorably fictionalized the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and their relationship with the music-buying public at large. But the years in which Bowie and Pop were closely tied are too big a part of rock and roll mythology for just one movie.

And so the so-called Berlin years will be fodder for a new biopic called Lust For Life, named after Iggy Pop’s 1977 solo record recorded at Hansa Studio in Berlin, which was co-written and produced by Bowie. Read More »

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Jim Jarmusch is curating one day of the upcoming All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in New York state, which takes place over Labor Day weekend. He’s been sort of a fixture at ATPNY in the past; I saw him just hanging around the ’08 event, and last year he performed the Neil Young song ‘Cortez the Killer’ in a hotel room at the fest.

One of the bands lined up for this year’s edition is Iggy and the Stooges, and in a new interview, Jarmusch says he’s got a documentary about the band in the works, along with a new dramatic film for which he’s lined up Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. Read More »

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Any straight guy who sees The Runaways will have difficulty standing up to go text outside, what with a 15-year-old Dakota Fanning seducing Japan in a bustier, snorting coke, and tonguing KStew. I mean, what does it all mean? And it’s only moderately less awkward discussing the burgeoning sexuality and punk hedonism of young girls with another guy. So, rather than compute my feelings about the rock biopic into a traditional review, I decided to ask a female’s opinion. /Film could not be more psyched to discourse on The Runaways with NYC-based author Marisa Meltzer, whose swell new book, Girl Power, is about the history and culture of female rockers.

Hunter Stephenson: Following the press screening for The Runaways, I was surprised to hear you loved the film. Having written a book on the legacies and challenges of females in punk, rock, and pop music from the ’70s onward, what real insight does the movie offer on the subject?

Marisa Meltzer: I guess I should admit that I’m a person who is very easily entertained. When you throw in platforms, teenage makeout sessions, and The Stooges on the soundtrack, I’m willing to overlook the film’s flaws. And there are certainly flaws: too much exposition, terrible character development of the other band members, narrative cliches. But I think one important thing to remember is that there really aren’t that many stories being told about women in music—and directed by a woman, no less!—so I’m excited when anyone throws me a bone. I think it’s important for people, especially young women, who might go see The Runaways to realize that girls playing rock music wasn’t always a given, and that their gender was way more of a barrier just a few decades ago than it is now.

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In the new rock biopic, The Runaways, a glum Kristen Stewart sits poolside, suckling vodka from a water pistol before pushing it suggestively down the front of her stomach. In a separate scene, she coaches a bathing teenage band mate on how to get wet using a mental image of Farrah Fawcett and a shower head. And then there’s co-star Dakota Fanning, better known as Hollywood’s 15-year-old precocious precious, who hoovers enough blow on an airplane to soar with Kenny Powers. These scenes are presented as the on-tour lifestyle of the titular ‘70s all-girl rock band, assembled and curated by the group’s wiry and rude L.A. producer, a man named Kim Fowley. Foreseeing the popularity of The Runaways for their jail-bait appropriation of the aggression, punk music, and horniness typically associated with adolescent males, Fowley had no qualms with solidifying a legacy by way of the girls’ quicksilver paths to self-destruction.

Actor Michael Shannon plays Fowley with a commitment and intensity welcome and familiar to any viewer who saw his performance in the new Southern indie classic Shotgun Stories or as the best part of Revolutionary Road (which earned him an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor). In recent days, Fowley has come out in support of Shannon’s performance, calling him the Christopher Walken of a generation. Given Shannon’s unflattering if amusing portrayal of the guy as an id swimming in midnight oil and the naivety of young girls, the endorsement is mildly surprising. But the comparison is astute. After interviewing the actor this week in a hotel in NYC, I couldn’t shake similar comparisons with the cornhusk steeliness and alertness of a 30something David Letterman and the seen-a-lot-of-shit-ness of Ray Liotta. In our below interview, Shannon discussed the contradictions of Fowley, HBO’s forthcoming Martin Scorsese series Boardwalk Empire, and the time he hid in a doghouse.

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Suck

One of the films I regret missing at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival is a campire rock musical titled Suck. Rob Stefaniuk‘s Canadian independent rock comedy tells the story of  “a rock ‘n’ roll band that will do anything to become famous.” In a post-Twilight age, it is easy to write off any young vampire movie as just another one of those tween flicks, but this looks different. And early reviews coming out of the festival were very positive. Watch the trailer now, embedded after the jump. And as always, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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