After a few moving documentaries about individual puppeteers, this year’s SXSW debuted a new documentary directed by Frank Oz called Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets of the Show the Whole World Watched. The film is an hour-long free form discussion with Jerry Nelson (The Count, Mr. Snuffleupagus), Dave Goelz (Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew), Fran Brill (Zoe, Prairie Dawn), and Bill Barretta (Pepe, Tree-Face-Guy) loosely moderated by Oz. Because it features so many of the key personalities that have been only briefly touched upon in spotlight docs on Big Bird or Elmo, it’s a must-watch for any Muppet Show obsessive who wants to hear about what it’s like being buried in a room under a fire pit so they could perform a song with John Denver.
You wouldn’t know it from the way they talk
Its title is nearly longer than its 65-minute runtime, but that’s a fine length for a doc that plays like a snappy conversation between pals. Oz assembled said “Muppet Guys” (Oz plus Muppet maestros Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Fran Brill, and Bill Barretta) for an unprecedented gabfest, all filmed and assembled into a satisfying inside look at the people behind (and sometimes under) the world’s most beloved puppets. In his introduction, Oz promises a look at “the spirit of The Muppets,” and “Muppet Guys Talking” delivers on that claim.
Read More: The 2017 IndieWire SXSW Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted
Bringing those beloved characters to life might be enough for some people, but Oz went on to become a director for films like Little Shop Of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and In & Out. He also happened to voice another iconic character: Yoda, who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back.
At SXSW, Oz candidly ...
Oz, 72, started his career as a puppeteer when he met Jim Henson at 19, and he went on to become a successful director of such comedic hits as “What About Bob?,” “In and Out,” and “Bowfinger.” He got the idea for his latest movie from his wife, Victoria, a business consultant, who thought the close camaraderie he shared with his co-workers is rare — proof that business culture can still be fun.
Oz shot the conversation some years ago,
Michael Hirst, Francesca Brill and Brooks-Smith adapted the screenplay, which is based from Tim Winton‘s award-winning novel of the same name. The film centers on “Australian expatriate Scully (Worthington) who prepares to start a new life with his wife Jennifer and young daughter Billie in Ireland.” His life is then turned upside down when he goes to the airport to meet up with his family, but only finds Billie and not a word from his now missing wife. “With Billie in tow, he travels
Here’s the plot via Movie Hole:
“Australian expatriate Scully (Worthington) who prepares to start a new life with his wife Jennifer and young daughter Bille in Ireland. His life is blown apart when he goes to the airport to meet his family, but finds only Billie and no message from his missing wife. With Billie in tow, he travels to Korcula and Paris in search of Jennifer: beginning a journey of self discovery that will alter the course of his life in ways he could never have envisaged.”
Worthington will be joined by Charles Dance and Timothy Spall.
Robert Connolly is directing. Michael Hirst, Francesca Brill and Brooks-Smith adapted the Tim Winton novel for the screen.
Source: Movie Hole
Thanks to the success of the recent Muppets revival flick - a sequel to which has just been cheekily announced by Disney - interest in the work of Jim Henson is higher than any other time in recent memory.
With that in mind, has there ever been a riper moment for a documentary that looks into ‘the soul of a puppeteer’? In a stroke of serendipitous movie magic, this week we are treated to the release Being Elmo, a biographical documentary about Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash. The timing couldn’t be better, and, what’s more, the film isn’t half bad either.
Across a trim 80 minutes, director Constance Marks traverses not only Clash’s personal story, but also a detailed profile of the Elmo character itself.
Because Henson’s bizarre children are some of America’s most cherished cultural icons. Whether you identify with the trash-talking Oscar the Grouch, the endlessly-excitable Kermit the Frog, the karate chopping egotist Miss Piggy, or the balcony hecklers Statler and Waldorf, there’s certainly a place deep in your heart for these felt friends. And we want to celebrate that thermonuclear warmth.
We’ve partnered with The Jim Henson Legacy and Brooklyn Academy of Music to present a series of special Muppet-related programming. You’ll see some of the greatest moments of the 50+ year history of the Muppets, rarely seen gems from the Sesame Street vaults,
Beautiful Boy, Ok Buckaroos and Soul Surfer named as the Centerpiece screeningsAll Selections in the Target Documentary and Narrative CompetitionsThe Dallas International Film Festival presented by Cadillac announced today that award-winning actress Ann-Margret will be honored with the Dallas Star Award at the upcoming festival (March 31 . April 10, 2011). This marks the first announcement of the prestigious Dallas Star Award Honorees.
Poignant dramas Beautiful Boy and Soul Surfer and the world premiere of Ok Buckaroos will be featured in the coveted Centerpiece screening slots. Fourteen films will vie for the unrestricted $25,000 Target cash prize in both the Target Documentary Feature and Narrative Feature Competitions.
The selection of Ann-Margret as a recipient of the Dallas Star Award follows a Dallas Iff Honoree Hall of Fame that features esteemed greats such as Sydney Pollack, Lauren Bacall, Adrien Brody,
Director: Constance Marks
Cast: Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, Fran Brill
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’S Journey is that rare sort of documentary that is easy to forget about – a thoroughly lovely one. It’s a film about a very nice man who gets to play with puppets all day, because he loves it. Kevin Clash is a puppeteer – more specifically, he’s a muppeteer. And, if we’re really getting to the heart of it, Kevin Clash is Elmo, favored Sesame Street muppet of the younger set, famous for tickles and giggles, trademarked by his red fur and off-beat grammatical choices.
Read more on Sundance 2011 Review: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’S Journey…
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