4 items from 2016
Mubi is showing Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal (2002) in the United States from September 9 to October 8, 2016.The vast majority of forgotten films are, for the most part, uninteresting—neither excellent nor awful enough to really merit re-consideration. Far rarer are the obscurities that are practically bursting from the seams with imagination. And as its title might suggest (though not for the reasons you may think), Full Frontal is unmistakably the latter.Mainly following a loosely connected group of Hollywood industry types over the course of a single day, the film frequently cuts to a film within the film titled Rendezvous, in which Francesca (Julia Roberts) playing a journalist named Catherine, is doing a feature on Nicholas, a struggling actor (who at one point raps on “the state of being a chocolate leading man in Hollywood today”), played by a popular actor named Calvin (Blair Underwood). Such layered confusion is just the beginning. »
James + Semaj is a column where James Franco talks to his reverse self, Semaj, about new films. Rather than a conventional review, it is place where James and Semaj can muse about ideas that the films provoke. James loves going to the movies and talking about them. But a one-sided take on a movie, in print, might be misconstrued as a review. As someone in the industry it could be detrimental to James’s career if he were to review his peers, because unlike the book industry—where writers review other writer’s books—the film industry is highly collaborative, and a bad review of a peer could create problems. So, assume that James (and Semaj) love all these films. What they’re interested in talking about is all the ways the films inspire them, and make them think. James is me, and Semaj is the other side of me. »
- James Franco
Sure, Waking Life is in some ways Linklater’s metaphysical remake of Slacker, exploding the Gen-x barriers thrown up around that landmark work and bringing it closer to a transcendent plane that he’s trying trying trying to reach, especially in this era, but never quite grasping. That’s what appeals to a lot of us about Linklater’s work, that it’s never quite there. His curiosity has to be bound by the physical demands of cinema. But this, this weird film, shot-on-digital and animated by rotoscope on computers, comes closest. Those formats mean it never really “existed” in any physical space. Produced at the dawn of the 21st century, it’s the perfect summation of a moment in time when thought and curiosity might be enough to carry civilization, when restless unease was the result of an economic boom and not certain doom, when the popular cinema could still be a little wily, »
- Scott Nye
“A lot of this was done at the very last minute.”
2007’s Grindhouse experiment between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino was viewed as something of a misfire upon its initial release, but in the years since it’s enjoyed something of a reappraisal. Most viewers seem to have a strong opinion as to which of the two films is best, but regardless of where you land on that point there’s no denying that Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is far more attuned to the “grindhouse” aesthetic.
Where Death Proof feels like a slickly produced Tarantino film, Planet Terror is a gloriously intentional mess of jarring cuts, cheap tropes, B-movie dialogue, and crowd-pleasing beats. It’s not great cinema, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and one of Rodriguez’s most consistently entertaining movies.
Keep reading to see what I heard on the Planet Terror commentary!
Planet Terror (2007)
Commentator: Robert Rodriguez (writer/director)
- Rob Hunter
4 items from 2016
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