Movie City Indie Archive for June, 2019


Last-Black-Man-4The Last Black Man In San Francisco. Some movies you walk into knowing nothing and upon leaving, you feel in at least some way you know everything. Joe Talbot’s luminous, mesmeric The Last Black Man In San Francisco is a temporal-topographical dreamspace of sweet hallucination. Its characters’ wants are simple: Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) wants a Victorian home built long ago by his grandfather in the heart of San Francisco. [Read more.]

DO THE RIGHT THING 4Do The Right Thing.“Well, here’s the thing, though,” Spike Lee said way back in February 2019, promoting BlacKkKlansman via Politico, “and this is the biggest criticism of Do the Right Thing: ‘Spike Lee, he didn’t provide the answer to racism! To prejudice!’ That was 1989, and I’m not going to start in motherfucking 2019. That’s not my job. To show what the fuck is happening. And hopefully, through dialogue or whatever, people see what the hell is going on. But I will not sit in front of this microphone staring at the Capitol Building and tell you that Spike Lee has an antidote to cleanse the world of hate, and racism. I won’t do that. It’ll be a lie. I don’t have the answer.” Here’s a question though: have you seenDo the Right Thing”? Have you seen Do the Right Thing recently? Here’s your chance to see it in 35mm, a startling, electric creative dispatch from yesterday, and maybe even the future. [Read more.]

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese. “That’s all clumsy bullshit,” the elder Bob Dylan says at the outset of the thrilling put-on and picaresque “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese.” Scorsese’s own opening gambit is a slap of turn-of-the-twentieth century special effects by Georges Méliès, of disappearance-reappearance special-effects prestidigitation: you see the body; the form is obscured; the body returns. (A form of Gypsy Rose Lee’s key rule for the stripper’s calling, if you will: reveal, conceal.) [Read more.]

The Dead Don’t Die. Jim Jarmusch’s zombie apocalypse “The Dead Don’t Die” is a simmering if relaxed addition to his canon of understated pictures. Reviewers have roundly misunderstood its genial but not ineffectual slapstick and low japery (especially after the placid tonal mastery of “Paterson”). “Dead Don’t” is both a shrug and a muffled howl of rage that cannot find catharsis. “It definitely has a sociopolitical thread in it, which is reflective and therefore dark,” Jarmusch told Bilge Ebiri at Vulture. “But hey, everyone, wake up! We’re in the sixth mass extinction on this planet. To not have that darkness would have been a little superficial.[Read more.]

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable. Curator John Szarkowski called Garry Winogrand “the central photographer of his generation”; Winogrand called himself “a city hick from the Bronx.” Sasha Waters Freyer’s rich, bustling documentary, “Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable” (Kino Lorber DVD), captures the vitality of this street photographer eye-omnivore and the range of what the world at large transmitted to his roving gaze. [Read more.]

IN DEN GÄNGEN (R: Thomas Stuber); v.l.: Sandra Hüller und Franz Rogowski

IN DEN GÄNGEN (R: Thomas Stuber); v.l.: Sandra Hüller und Franz Rogowski

In The Aisles.Through tenuous romance and observant details, which the film’s producer nods to as “poetic realism,” Thomas Stuber offers a showcase for the charm and emotional range of his actors, including Franz Rogowski (Transit) and Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) whose flirtations start and stop and perhaps start again. The fragrance of the everyday rises without perfume. [Read more.]


Movie City Indie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon