10 items from 2011
I was recently afforded the opportunity to talk to Alex Stapleton, the director of the wonderful documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (review here) about the many sides of the “schlock king” Roger Corman. Through a tenuous phone connection (I do have an At&T iPhone and live in New York City, after all), we discussed the process of making this film, how she got roped into doing crew on a Corman movie, Jack Nicholson‘s lounging gear, and doing interviews from the barber’s chair. The Film Stage’s questions are in bold, Alex’s responses follow.
Is there going to be a big premiere out there?
Well we had our kind of fancy premiere at Lacma [Los Angeles County Museum of Art], actually as a part of Film Independent’s series that they were running with Elvis Mitchell. So that was kind of our fancy night. So we will have on the 16th of December, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
Two-lane Blacktop (Masters of Cinema) is to be released in the UK on Blu-ray & Ltd Edition Blu-ray Steelbook on 23 January 2012. We have 3 copies of the Blu-ray to give away to our readers.
With the melancholy open-road epic Two-Lane Blacktop, American auteur Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Cockfighter, and the recent Road to Nowhere) poeticised the beautiful, terrible rootlessness of his nation in the era of Vietnam. Funded by Universal in a bid to recreate the success of Easy Rider – by giving a number of filmmakers $1m and final cut – Hellman’s effort is now regarded as one of the key films of the New Hollywood renaissance of the early 1970s.
While driving eastward on Route 66, two rival car owners – The Driver (singer-songwriter James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys) in a souped-up, drag-racing ’55 Chevy, and a middle-aged braggart (Warren Oates) in a gleaming Gto – begin to »
- Matt Holmes
Yes, those enigmatic cinematics are back with the launch of Season 2 of their popular podcast. So far this season the Crew has release three episodes as well as a Halloween Music Special, and there’s no stopping them now.
Here’s what’s been unleashed so far…
Well, they’re back… with a whole new look, a streamlined format, and a bunch of new contributors… all designed to slap your face and call you “Shirley.”
Ok, so… Season 2 Episode 1. First off, as always, there’s the Mighty Canuck Andrew Mack bringing you all the news that fit to cruise in his Twitch News of the Week. Next up, Sean and Thom go over a few of the films they’ve watched (and these by no means even scratch the surface of the amount of cinema these guys watch) over the break. After that, there’s Jonathan Lloyd Walker fresh »
Written by Variety editor Steven Gaydos and starring Shannyn Sossamon (40 Days and 40 Nights), Dominique Swain (Fall Down Dead), Waylon Payne (Walk the Line), Cliff De Young (Suicide Kings) and John Diehl (Down in the Valley), the romance-thriller film tells the enigmatic tale of cult film director Mitchell Haven (Tygh Runyan, TV’s Stargate Universe), who has found the material to make his next movie. It’s a true crime story based in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, involving a beautiful young woman, Velma Duran (Sossamon), and her older politico lover, Rafe Taschen (De Young). Just as their so-called “true crime” goes awry, so does Haven’s obsessed »
Monte Hellman's best films begin by pretending to tell a story. Take your pick: Ride in the Whirlwind, Two-Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter, Iguana—every of them establishes a good punchy premise (often aided by a startling opening shot or scene) and then, without ever fully abandoning "plot," inches towards an earthy, unshowy, existential bleakness with each scene. In an odd (and ironic) interplay of inertia and impermanence, his frequently stubborn characters become metaphors while their all-consuming goals fade away into the landscape. Road to Nowhere ups the ante by pretending to tell several stories at once: one about the production of a film (also called Road to Nowhere), another about the crime the film is based on, and a third involving a mysterious video-recorded conversation between the film's director and the blogger whose reporting formed the basis for the film. However, the various strands, which are intentionally not differentiated, don't »
Updated through 6/10.
To Hellman and Back: An Evening with Monte Hellman is set for this evening at the Walter Reade Theater, and here's how the New York Times' Dave Kehr recommends you be there if you can: "The undisputed master of the existential road movie (Two-Lane Blacktop, 1971) will be present for a 6 pm sneak preview of his new feature, Road to Nowhere, to be followed by a rare screening of Mr Hellman's magnificently bleak adaptation of Charles Willeford's novel Cockfighter, starring Warren Oates as an itinerant gambler. A discussion with Mr Hellman follows the screening, as does a book party celebrating the reissue of the Willeford novel from PictureBox Books."
"Combining an almost quaint self-reflexiveness with state-of-the-art digital filmmaking, Road concerns the production of a film based on a controversial lovers' double-suicide in North Carolina," explains Nick Pinkerton in the Voice. "Director Mitchell Haven (Tygh Runyan) is determined to »
As a fan of Monte Hellman, the famed director of the 70's seminal counter-culture classics such as Two Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter, it is very hard for me to report to other Hellman fans that Road to Nowhere, his new film in more than twenty years, is...umm...absolutely...dreadful. There I said it. Such is the burden of being the messenger of bad news. Prior to the screening Hellman told the audience the advice he got from someone once- 'never explain your film, never apologize for your film and never reimburse tickets.' He succeeded in getting couple of laughs out of that. In retrospect, he wasn't joking. It was his ominous preemptive strike. The film concerns a young, esteemed Hollywood director Mitchell Haven (Tygh Runyan) adapting a »
If Monte Hellman never made another film after Two-Lane Blacktop—a 1971 road movie about men who love driving their cars down the open road so much, they either don’t notice or don’t care that it stretches to oblivion—he could have retired knowing he’d still be talked about today. Some films are reputations unto themselves, even though Hellman did interesting, sometimes startlingly good work like The Shooting and Cockfighter both before and after his most famous effort. He worked sporadically in the years after Blacktop, and then not at all, seeming to settle into a career »
Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray opens this evening and runs through April 26 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center: "Of special interest is Home and the World [1984; image above], his final, wonderful adaptation of a work by his mentor, Rabindranath Tagore (whose 150th anniversary we celebrate this year), as well as his final, luminous work, The Stranger, an extraordinary summing up of so much of Ray's worldview graced with a sensational lead performance by Utpal Dutt." Plus, "we asked some friends of the Film Society: what film would you recommend seeing, and why?" Meantime, Paul Brunick posts a roundup on Distant Thunder (1973) at Alt Screen. Update, 4/20: Salman Rushdie for the Fslc on The Golden Fortress (1974): "The film is a true delight and the moment when the Golden Fortress is discovered — when it is revealed not to be a child's fantasy but a real place, shimmering on »
There’s little better at restoring one’s faith in cinema then when a great director returns from the wilderness. Terrence Malick was Mia for 20 years between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, but Monte Hellman’s time away from feature filmmaking has been even more prolonged. It was as far back as 1988 when Hellman made Iguana, his last “proper” film, but now the director of such cult classics as Two Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter has happily returned to filmmaking.
Last fall, Hellman unveiled Road to Nowhere at the Venice Film Festival – where he won a Jury Award Special Lion for Career Achievement – and declared the movie his first truly personal work. It’s a deliriously enjoyable film about filmmaking, centering on a director, Mitchell Haven (Tygh Runyan) and screenwriter, Steven Gates (Rob Kolar), who set out to make a movie based on a recent crime story involving murder, »
- Nick Dawson
10 items from 2011
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