Last night at the Tribecca Film Festival, I ushered for Colour Me Kubrick which is a comedy-drama film staring John Malkovich as Alan Conway. It is about the true story of a man (Conway) who posed as director Stanley Kubrick during the production of Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut, despite knowing very little about his work and looking nothing like him. If you are a Malkovich fan, this is a classic. In Q and A after the movie, Mr. Malkovich said that he didn't necessarily study the accents for Alan for the film, because Alan didn't know anything about Kubrick so he just when with layering many accents on each other. Alan was a deeply disturbed man, but the director, Brian Cook stated that they chose to keep to the lighter side of Conway for this film. I am not endorsing this film by any means, but it was an interesting look at the life of this man who was able to con so many people.
I ushered last night at the Tribecca Film Festival for the theater for families of 9/11 to view United 93. Robert DeNiro, founder of the festival, welcomed the families to the showing and introduced the film's writer/director/producer, Paul Greengrass and others associated with the making of the film. When I saw the trailer for it recently on TV, I did not want to see it. But, I watched it last night and I am glad that I did. Mr. Greengrass did a tremendous job of telling the story, but at the same time, he did not overwhelm us with images that frankly, we can't get out of our heads anyway without having to see them again on the big screen. It is rated R for violence and I agree with that rating. However, if you have read any of the stories from families of the heroes of Flight 93 (i.e. - Lisa Beamer's book Let's Roll), you feel connected to them and it was griping to see them portrayed. Whether you agree or not with this movie even being made, you need to see this film.
So tomorrow I start my volunteer schedule for the 5th Annual Tribecca Film Festival here in Manhattan. I am pumped! I am working in special events . I am scheduled to work 5 different slots over the next 2 weeks. I will be blogging here for the next couple of weeks about different films that I see or hear about that are coming out this year. I am so excited! More to come...
C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia,” which was released on DVD by Gaiam March 28, is a masterful portrayal of the life of C.S. Lewis and his heart behind the creation of Narnia and so many other stories. The one-hour docudrama, which was filmed in many of the actual locations in England where Lewis studied, lived, and worked, is a dramatic reenactment of his life.
All of us have our favorites when it comes to our picks for our favorite screenplays. Something that is well written sends chills down my spine! Some of my favorites are Dead Poet's Society, Gladiator, and the one that was recognized as THE BEST script ever written. Check this out...
LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- "Casablanca" has topped the list of "101 Greatest Screenplays," a first-ever ranking by members of the Writers Guild of America that was revealed Thursday night at a reception in Beverly Hills.
The screenplay for "Casablanca," by Julius Epstein, Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, was followed, in order, by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather," Robert Towne's "Chinatown," Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" and Joseph Mankiewicz's "All About Eve."
"This list and the films on it are meant to be scrutinized and criticized, dissected and collected, viewed and reviewed," WGA West president Patric Verrone said. "They are the literature of our industry and the legacy of our union."
Added WGA East president Chris Albers: "It's difficult to think of American life without the films on this list. Just reading the titles reminds us of the fantastic journeys they have provided."
The results, sponsored by the unions and Premiere magazine, were revealed at a gala tribute at the Writers Guild Theater.
Members nominated more than 1,400 screenplays. Any produced screenplay was eligible regardless of era or language.
Rounding out the top 10 are Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman's "Annie Hall," Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr.'s "Sunset Blvd.," Paddy Chayefsky's "Network," Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's "Some Like It Hot" and Coppola and Puzo's "The Godfather Part II."
Three writers -- Allen, Coppola and Wilder -- had four films on the list, while three others had three: William Goldman, John Huston and Charlie Kaufman.
Forty-five were original scripts, while 56 were adaptations; the list also was heavy on dramas (60) as opposed to comedies (26) and comedy/dramas (15).
Full credits and the complete list can be found at www.wga.org.
I have just been introduced recently to a movement called Artisan. Stuart Haseldine is one of the contributors and wrote an interesting article about the role of film today and its impact on the church. Here is an excerpt...
"Star Wars creator George Lucas once said that, for better or worse, filmmakers have become the priests of modern society. In my opinion he’s half-right.
Priests used to be the opinion-formers and dream-shapers of world culture, and the modern mass art forms of film and popular music have drained some of their influence by giving us things we’re more interested to watch and listen to; vividly-told big-screen journeys and rousing musical confessionals which express our innermost dreams and desires WITHOUT judgement, and WITHOUT the requirement for us to do anything – to change our lives in any way – in order to achieve personal happiness.
And that’s the difference. That’s why it’s a mistake for Christians to think filmmakers and songwriters have simply replaced priests in order to perform the same basic function. Because if we think that we’ll delude ourselves that things can one day change back. That a revival will come and we’ll all stop going to the movies and listening to music in favour of a mass return to the great Sunday sermon.
That’s never gonna happen, boys and girls. Last century, Western society made a fundamental shift from formal to informal, from authoritarian to anti-authoritarian, from dictatorship to democracy and we’re not going back. Not in this life anyway, because we no longer trust our leaders and those of us who don’t know any better don’t trust God anymore either..."
You can read the entire article at this link.
From today through Friday of this week, our street has been taken over with semi-trucks and trailers for a movie shoot. The movie is called Pride and Glory and is about a three-generation family of cops whose moral codes are tested starring Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Samanta Morton, Jon Voight, Lake Bell, and Noah Emmerich. We are hoping sometime today or tomorrow to get a sneek peak of shooting. We are right across from the 79th Street Boat Basin where they are shooting. You may remember the Boat Basin from "You've Got Mail" when Tom Hanks is working on his boat and the kids get dropped off with him for the day. As Todd was leaving this morning, he said that he overheard one of the production assistants radio someone "Mr. Norton (Edward) will be here in 20 minutes." Just a normal day on the Upper West Side! (yeah, right...)
We saw this film last weekend at the IAM conference and it was great. Produced by David Hunt and Patricia Heaton, it really captures the essence of family and hometown. Check it out!