Friday, June 29, 2012

I WISH: LETTING KIDS BE KIDS




There's absolutely no doubt after watching Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest film I Wish that his reputation for being among the best two or three directors working in Japan today is well deserved.  Relating the story of two brothers, Koichi (Koki Maeda) and Ryunosuke (Ohshirô Maeda), separated by their parents divorce, this is a simply told and greatly observational drama that stands with the director's best work, including Still Walking and his 1998 masterpiece, After Life.






Living with his mother, Koichi quietly mourns the loss of his family life.  Early in the film, Kore-eda allows us to see how the divorce has impacted his social life at school, where he's made to feel ashamed when a teacher doles out homework based around the occupations of each student's father.  Koichi takes refuge in fantasy and denial and, when news of a new bullet train hits town, he (naturally?) theorizes that the exchange in energy created by the simultaneous passing of old and new trains will grant a wish to anyone who witnesses it.






In addition to the trains, Kore-eda cleverly plays with the dynamic between the old and the new in several places in the film.  Koichi repeatedly holds up his current home life against how things were in the past.  And his grandfather expresses their distaste for contemporary Japanese sweets by trying to replicate and mass produce a traditional recipe from his youth.  Nostalgia is a hallmark in many of Kore-eda's films and, like in his prior work, it's never overemphasized here as much as it flows out of the material with a gentle honesty that's perfectly matched with the material at hand.






Best of all, this is a movie that excels at letting the child actors shed the appearance of performance; it allows these kids to be kids.  No doubt, a film involving children dealing with divorce needs to have some gravity, but, thankfully, I Wish doesn't force the type of emotive trauma that's become almost  de rigueur in contemporary coming of age cinema.  This is a very good film that wisely applies a light and fanciful touch in lieu of the dark theatrics favored by others.  And what a refreshing choice that is.






I Wish begins its run at Living Room Theaters on Friday, June 29nd.  More info available here.

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

PINK RIBBONS, INC.: THE PINKWASHING OF AWARENESS



There was a point nearly halfway through Pink Ribbons, Inc. where I began to actively wonder what exactly was the thesis of the documentary I was viewing.  It was clear that director Léa Pool was passionately trying to work towards revealing the "pinkwashing" that's become nearly unquestioned in the corporate sponsorship of public campaigns promoting breast cancer awareness and research.  And yet, the actual point of the film, that there's an inherent hypocrisy built into the cynical practice of corporations, especially those selling products containing carcinogens to women, marketing their products using lil' pink breast cancer awareness ribbons, doesn't end up being very well articulated until far too late in the film for its impact to be fully appreciated.





It's also difficult to shake the feeling that the film is treating women who buy into the themed products and events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in a condescending manner.  Time and again, it cuts from dark proclamations from the film's cadre of experts about the uselessness of the current awareness culture (pink yogurt lids, juice bottles, etc.) to supremely light and silly images of women (oh, my god, actually having fun and bonding while) participating in that culture. 





It's not as if the points being made by Pool's interviewees aren't valid.  Yes, breast cancer campaigns were once linked to activism that demanded actual results in medical advancement, rather than the vague banner of "awareness" that most efforts rest under today.  And it's true that there's something rotten in Denmark when Ford can slap a pink emblem on the side of a car, rake it in, and only contribute a miniscule amount of the profits to breast cancer research.  Sadly, there's a lack of focus in the manner that these observations are organized, contributing an overall slackness to the piece that makes it feel overly long and tangential at times.





Fortunately, it's not all gray skies, as there are many things that the film does gets right.  In particular, there's a wonderfully sharp and charismatic interview with breast cancer activist Barbara Brenner woven throughout that offers up many of the most clear-eyed moments of insight in the film.  Brenner quickly becomes the film's voice of reason.  Pool also brings her cameras to a gathering of women living with stage four cancer.  Both their thoughts on the commercialization of their illness and their mere presence in the film force the viewer to grapple with what is truly at stake.






Pink Ribbons, Inc. begins its run at Cinema 21 on Friday, June 29th.  More info available here.

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HOW TO GROW A BAND: REACHING FOR RESOLUTION



Personally, I had never heard of Chris Thile or his former band Nickel Creek before viewing Mark Meatto's How to Grow a Band, a documentary about Thile's post-breakup (of both his band and marriage) efforts to rebuild his musical persona via a radically different angle on the roots-based music he's played since childhood.  Thile picked up the mandolin at the age of five and, if the testimonials of such musical luminaries as John Paul Jones and Yo-Yo Ma are to be believed, he's a musician of uncommon talent.  Now at a crossroads in his career and personal life, the mandolinist finds himself writing a 45-minute, classical bluegrass string quintet for his new band The Punch Brothers.





Meatto's film spends a lot of time intimately peering in on Thile and his bandmates' interpersonal relationships as they tour this new music around the country.  For all that focus, there are only hints of tension followed by a few terse band deliberations about how to make the difficult music being played more palatable to audiences.  Various members of the band think that some compromises can be made to audiences; Thile disagrees and shuts down every time the topic is broached.  Even with Meatto's cameras capturing discussions that exclude Thile from the conversation, the overall effect of all this polite disagreement is a rather toothless reading of the conflict present in something like the far superior Sam Jones documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.





Fortunately, the film knows what to do when it's time to witness what the band does best.  It would be a complete disservice to the audience if, when conveying the four movements of their "The Blind Leaving the Blind" quintet, the standard music doc practice of cutting away from the performances was employed too prematurely.  To Meatto's credit, he knows when to stay in the moment; there are extensive sequences throughout the film of the band playing the piece and the film is even divided into sections that relate to each movement.





How to Grow a Band sheds any reservations one might have about the individual personalities within the band and truly comes alive in these moments.  Just like the music being featured, it's a difficult concoction that only periodically reaches for resolution.




How to Grow a Band screens at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum) on Friday, June 29th and Saturday, June 30th at 7pm and 9pm.  More info available here.

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME -- A FASCINATING MESS, INDEED-Y



Easily among the most confounding broadcast-to-big screen translations ever produced, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me completely capsized both in terms of critical and audience reception at the time of its 1992 release.  To be fair, a good deal of the once large, built-in, tv fan base for the film had already fallen away during the final season of the show (for more discussion on that topic, see this previous post).  Personally, I recall seeing the film on opening night at a small town, local theater with somewhere around seven other people in attendance; the film was dead upon arrival and limped out of town shortly thereafter.





The reviews were brutal.  The late Vincent Canby wrote that it was "not the worst film ever made; it just seems to be."  Peter Travers declared that "the impulse in the arts to build idols and smash them has found another victim in David Lynch."  My own reaction was a fairly muted response; I liked the parts I liked and remained curious about the other stuff, but it's a film that's difficult to be enthusiastic about on a first viewing.  Time has been kind to FWWM (Fire Walk With Me) and, unsurprisingly, given Lynch's growing reputation as our nation's chief surrealist, a cult audience has been erected around the film after its release on home video.





As an unabashed Lynchophile, I've seen it at least two dozen times now; it was one of my favorites vhs tapes to toss on when I was working graveyard shifts in the late 90s.  Some fans (British critic Mark Kermode among them) now insist that it's his greatest work, an assessment that I find more reasonable each time I view the film.






To a large extent, though the film's plot is explicitly informed by conditions drawn out by the series, the major difference between FWWM and many of the other films in Lynch's oeuvre is that there's such a magnitude of obscurity packed into its many wild and wooly passages that by the time the end credits crawl across the screen it remains essentially unknowable; it becomes an indecipherable mystery that trumps the relatively basic puzzle proposed by the series.

In terms of sheer inscrutability, only Inland Empire, the film that very well end up being Lynch's swan song, can challenge FWWM for pure WTF whiz-bang.  Fire Walk With Me is both an untidy and teetering mess from a master filmmaker and a masterwork that contains many ill-advised and resolutely awful sequences of questionable performance and construction.  A fascinating mess, indeed-y.





Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me plays one-night-only at the Hollywood Theatre on Wednesday, June 27th at 9:30pm.  More info available here.

 

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.
 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

GRINDHOUSE FILM FESTIVAL presents DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE



It's that time of the month again: Dan Halsted's back with another installment of his Grindhouse Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre.  This month's selection is the 1980 Joseph Ellison chiller Don't Go in the House.  It's a rare opportunity to see the film on the big screen and probably the only chance most Portlanders will ever have to see in projected on 35mm.  Don't miss it.

Here's the Grindhouse Film Fest rundown of the event:
Don’t Go in the House (1979) Donald is a young man living with his overbearing mother. When he comes home one day to find she has died in her sleep, his sanity (which was a little shaky to begin with) flies out the window, and the voices in his head become overpowering. When he buys a flamethrower, this becomes one of the greatest horror films of all time. 35mm 70′s horror trailers before the movie!




Don't Go in the House plays one-night-only at the Hollywood Theatre on Tuesday, June 26th at 7:30pm.  More info available here.

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

MUSIC FROM THE BIG HOUSE & SURVIVING PROGRESS



Hey there faithful readers, 
I'm in the midst of shooting a couple of projects right now, so, rather than writing two separate posts, here's a couple of capsule reviews of two new documentaries opening today in Portland:


Bruce McDonald directed one of my favorite b-grade road movies of the 90s (Highway 61).  For Music from the Big House, he turns his eye to the real life setting of Louisiana's Angola State Penitentiary, one of the sites where the blues was born.  It's the prison where Leadbelly and countless other inmates suffered and turned that suffering into musical expressions based in their experiences.  

Canadian blues singer Rita Chiarelli has visited Angola off and on for some time now, eventually inspiring her to hold a collaborative concert within the prison walls with several bands made up entirely of inmates.  And while the film is based around that mission, McDonald wisely places the majority of the focus on the inmates, rather than Chiarelli.  It's not that she's particularly uninteresting--quite the contrary, actually--but it would take a lot to trump the moving, personal tales of woe relayed by the inmates to McDonald and his crew.

Recommended.


A still from Music from the Big House



Music from the Big House begins its run at the Hollywood Theatre on Friday, June 22nd.  Rita Chiarelli will be in attendance and will perform at the Friday, June 22nd screening.  More info available here.




A still from Surviving Progress

Surviving Progress is a documentary adaptation of Ronald Wright's A Short History of ProgressIt's one of those apocalyptic, doom and gloom eco docs of which there seems to be no shortage of nowadays.  The film sports a sizable cast of A-list intellectuals, such as Margaret Atwood, Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall and Wright himself, all of which make a strong case against the drive for endless progress; Wright calls out the experiment known as civilization as being what he terms a "progress trap."  

Somewhere around the 2/3rds point, though, the film bogs down as it attempts to cover too much ground for an under 90-minute feature.  The message gets a bit lost as the filmmakers spend an extensive amount of time investigating the theft of Third World resources by multinationals, something already documented quite well in many other films.  Surviving Progress would have benefited from both a bit more focus and, perhaps, some specificity when it came to offering solutions to the problems it presents.


  


Surviving Progress begins its run at Living Room Theaters on Friday, June 22nd.  More info available here.

Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

IN THE FAMILY: THIS FILM BREATHES



If you see enough movies, you quickly become accustomed to the particular rhythms and stylistic flourishes associated with various genres and levels of production.  It gets to the point where, whether you're headed into a summer blockbuster, the latest indie hit or a made-for-export foreign flick, you can probably reasonably predict the form that the film will inhabit.  This isn't a criticism of what some might term cookie-cutter cinema; it's just an observation.  These conventions exist and are used widely because they're time-tested, work well and help filmmakers engage the audience in a story without having to reinvent the wheel with each new project.




All of which is a means of introducing the level to which Patrick Wang's In the Family upends one's expectations of how low-budget indie fare should operate.  Most indie films try to obscure their lack of means via quick, clever editing schemes that build excitement belying budgetary constraints.  In the Family goes almost the complete opposite route.  This is a shockingly, slowly-paced movie.

To be clear, the film isn't slow in the vein of a Tarkovsky or Malick, where transcendence is imparted to the audience via glacially measured beats matched with technical brilliance.  Instead, Wang fills every scene with the potential for reality to be reflected in the moment; basically, In the Family breathes more than any film I've seen in a very long time.




Those readers who have seen Steve McQueen's Hunger may recall the long sequence where Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and a prison priest (Rory Mullen) discuss the political and philosophical angles of Sands' hunger strike; it's an extended display of acting ability, one that seems to last forever without a cut.  In the Family feels like the three-hour version of that scene. It lives in the moment being presented, always.  And, as a result, it soars without relying on cheap tricks or diversionary tactics.  It's a film that leans hard on the writing and performances; there's really little else to the film, both of which are superbly focused and marvelous to behold.  Yes, it's a patiently-moving, long film but, make no mistake, every minute vibrates with a quiet, resonant beauty.





The story itself is simple:  a man's (Wang) life partner (Trevor St. John) passes away and, due to an outdated will, his custody of their son (Sebastian Banes) is called into question.  What's far more complex is the overall impression one gets while watching the film.  To view In the Family is to witness the birth of a new and authentic voice in American cinema.  Wang's work, both in front of and behind the camera, is impressively self-assured, especially given that it's his first time as a director and, as the lead, he's front and center for much of the three-hour running time.  This is an astoundingly great film, easily one of the ten best I've seen all year.







In the Family begins its run at Cinema 21 on Friday, June 22nd.  Director Patrick Wang will be in attendance for the 7pm screening on the 22nd and the 3:30pm and 7pm showings on the 23rd.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT: A QUEST FOR HEALING



Following last year's awe-inspiring but nearly hopeless Hell and Back Again, it's refreshing to see the subjects of Not Yet Begun to Fight deal with the everyday struggles of returning home from war with some semblance of optimism that life can be reclaimed, even when facing down strong odds.  The film focuses its attention on a group of severely disabled veterans taking part in a six-day, fly-fishing excursion put on by Warriors and Quiet Waters, the brainchild of Eric Hastings, a retired Marine colonel and veteran of the Vietnam war.






After his combat experience came to a close, Hastings was able to center himself and find healing through the meditative practice of catch-and-release fly-fishing.  Acknowledging the power that it had over his own recovery process, he sought to give others the experience of returning a creature outside one's self back to the waters, an act that he highlights as running completely counter-intuitive to the forms of cruelty one must embrace to survive in combat.  With the other members of the Warriors and Quiet Waters organization, Hastings has made that dream a reality, offering a form of catharsis to veterans that's as uncommon as it is effective.






Directors Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee allow each of the men on the trip to tell their own stories.  Most are struggling to relearn physical and mental skills possessed since childhood, while some want nothing more than to return to combat.  The film balances their personal tales with quiet moments of observation and beautiful imagery that evokes the importance that place holds in the form of therapy being practiced.

Perhaps most moving of all, though, is Hastings' own story: here is a man who found peace in the wake of chaos.  In the most frank moment of the film, Hastings frames his use of fly-fishing as therapy as "an absolute desperate, physical and mental need," admitting that he "had to do it or I was going to kill somebody."  Admirably, rather than just focus on his own recovery, the soothing ritual has moved him to help others find respite after unimaginable loss.

Not Yet Begun to Fight is a gracefully-told, inspirational investigation into an often marginalized population's quest for healing.  Highly recommended.





Not Yet Begun to Fight screens at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum) as a part of their ongoing Northwest Tracking series on Thursday, June 21st at 7pm.  Director Sabrina Lee will be in attendance at the screening.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

BIKES, ZINES & THE GOONIES: ONLY IN PORTLAND



Proving the theory that in Portland pretty much anything can be cross pollinated with the local bike culture, the Portland Zine Symposium and Independent Publishing Resource Center are joining forces to present a "Zine Bike Ride" followed by a "Bike-In Movie" (yup, that would be a drive-in movie, only with bikes instead of Fords and Chevys) on Thursday, June 21st.  The film selection for that second event?  None other than Richard Donner's 1985 made-in-Oregon classic The Goonies.

The event is a fundraiser for the upcoming symposium.  More info is available on the I.P.R.C. and Portland Zine Symposium websites.






The Goonies screens as a "Bike-In Movie" at the new I.P.R.C. at 1001 SE Division on Thursday, June 21st at 9pm. 


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 




FOUR SUNS: A CZECH-FLAVORED TAKE ON INDIE DRAMA



Would it be cynical to note that the local screenings of Bohdan Sláma's (The Country Teacher) latest feature Four Suns are scheduled to arrive just in time for Father's Day?  While the movie certainly doesn't belong to any of the genres (action flicks & westerns among them) usually marketed alongside the holiday, one could easily point to it as a meditation on fatherhood or, more accurately, how to completely mishandle that role.





Fogi (Jaroslav Plesi) is a man in his late 30s with a wife and two kids.  Despite his family obligations, he continues to party without purpose, ignoring the passage of time.  His eldest son Véna (Marek Sácha) is running wild, causing Fogi to worry that his willful case of puer aeternus has set a poor example for his kid; he's right, of course.  Meanwhile, Fogi's long suffering wife Jana (Anna Geislerová) is finding her affections tested by her husband's chronic irresponsible nature. 





While this Czech import plays out very much in the standard indie family drama mode, it does quite a few things well, exploring Fogi's existential crisis through his connections to others.  There's also a quirky and unexpected metaphysical component added to the tale involving stones, trees and the quest for a "master" that adds a lot to the proceedings even if it's hard to take it all that seriously.





Traveling a well-worn path, Four Sons is a well-acted, finely produced film that doesn't offer much new in the realm of family dramas but still manages to tells a compelling story.  It comes across like the hybrid, love child of the early films of Miguel Arteta if they settled down with a slightly lighter version of Mike Leigh's output.  All in all, a very pleasant, if not earth-shattering, film.





Four Suns screens at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum) as a part of their New Czech Cinema series on Saturday, June 16th at 7pm and Tuesday, June 19th at 7pm.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

POWFest HAS OPENED THE GATES TO 2013: SUBMIT NOW!


A big heads-up to all you creative women working in film:

Jen Wechsler, the managing director of POWFest, reached out to me (quite a while back, admittedly) to share the news that the annual Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival is accepting submissions for their 2013 outing.  

Here's what Jen wanted to convey to any and all interested parties:

The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (a.k.a. POWFest) is now accepting entries for its sixth annual festival scheduled to take place March 7 - 10, 2013. The regular deadline for entries is Friday, August 17, 2012. POWFest showcases the art and cinematic contribution of women directors from around the world and seeks to present films that have been directed or co-directed by women; of any length, style, or genre. 

Deadlines & Fees Early Bird Deadline: Postmarked by June 20, 2012 ~ $20 
Regular Deadline: Postmarked by Friday August 17, 2012 ~ $30 
Late Deadline: Postmarked by Friday September 14, 2012 ~ $35 WAB 
Extended Deadline: Postmarked by Friday October 5, 2012 ~ $45 

For more details regarding the submission process go to www.powfest.com. Filmmakers can also submit via Withoutabox by clicking on this link https://www.withoutabox.com/login/6065.  


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 


WRITING MYSELF & THE LOVE OF BEER: 2 LOCAL DOCS HIT PDX TONIGHT



Those looking to check out the work of solid, locally-based filmmakers have two strong options this evening.  Brian Lindstrom's (director of Finding Normal and the much anticipated Alien Boy) latest documentary Writing Myself will have its local premiere at Cinema 21.  The film is Lindstrom's exploration of Portland's own Playwrite Inc., an organization that helps "underserved-youth" create works for the stage. 

The official synopsis goes something like this:

“Writing Myself” is the newest full-length documentary by filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, taking a peek into a 2-week PlayWrite workshop and showing the transformation of 8 students into performed playwrights.




Also screening tonight at the NW Film Center is Alison Grayson's The Love of Beer.  Grayson's documentary takes a look at the local brewing explosion, spending much of its time with women who are carving out a place for themselves in the overwhelmingly male world of meticulously-crafted beer.

The film's website describes the doc as being:

...a feature length documentary celebrating the women in the Pacific NW beer industry. Produced by Lingering Illocutions and created by Alison Grayson, The Love of Beer stars Bend Brewing’s Tonya Cornett and Saraveza’s Sarah Pederson and featuresTeri Fahrendorf, Lisa Morrison, Gayle Goschie, Amy Welch. 








The Love of Beer from Lingering Illocutions on Vimeo.


Writing Myself screens at Cinema 21 on Thursday, June 14th at 7pm.  More info available here. 
The film screens again at the Clinton Street Theater on Friday, June 15th at  7pm.  More info on that screening here.

The Love of Beer screens at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum) on Thursday, June 14th at 7pm.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

KUNG FU THEATER presents MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG



Dan Halsted's monthly Kung Fu Theater series strikes again at the Hollywood Theatre this coming Tuesday night.  As per usual, Dan's got an über-rare 35mm print to share with the martial arts faithful of Portland; this month's selection is Mercenaries from Hong Kong, an early 80s release from the prolific Shaw Brothers Studio.

The film eschews the period-based action of many Shaw Bros. classics, instead focusing on the (then) modern day travails of a Vietnam vet who's moved into killer-for-hire work after the war ends.  Here's what the Kung Fu Theater crew has to say about the film:

A martial arts mercenary-for-hire is recruited for a dangerous mission of tracking down a deadly assassin in Cambodia. He assembles a crack team to assist him: a knife expert, a sniper, a kung fu master, and a bomb specialist. Dressed in synchronized tracksuits, they set out on a nail-biting adventure filled with car chases, motorcycle stunts, shootouts and kung fu fights. It doesn’t take long for the double crosses to set in, and the mercenaries have to question who they can trust as they fight for their lives. This is over-the-top martial arts action insanity!






Mercenaries from Hong Kong plays one-night-only at the Hollywood Theatre on Tuesday, June 12th.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

A SLIGHT CHANGE OF PLANS THIS WEEKEND @ THE NW FILM CENTER


Word came down the pike a few days ago that the scheduled weekend screenings of A Cat in Paris have been canceled at the NW Film Center.  While it's a bit of a bummer that the animated, Academy award-nominated feature won't be lighting up the screen at the Whitsell, one can hardly complain about the films filling in the programming gap.

Here's what the folks at the NWFC have brewed up for the weekend:

My Neighbor Totoro on Fri. June 8th at 7pm, Sat. June 9th at 5pm & 8:45pm and Sun. June 10th at 7pm.  My review from a few weeks back is here.  This will be the English language version, so it's super kid-friendly.  One of the best children's movies out there, really.

The Triplets of Belleville on Fri. June 8th at 8:45pm, Sat. June 9th at 7pm and Sun. June 10th at 5pm.  Nominated for two Oscars.








More info about the screenings available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CINEMA PROJECT & THE CREATIVE MUSIC GUILD present 13 SUMMERS



It's nearly impossible to talk about Timothy Treadwell without acknowledging the impact that Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary Grizzly Man has had on the public's understanding of him and his work.  For most, myself included, Herzog's incredible film was an introduction to the man, one that focused attention primarily on his demise, negating much of what his intent as a naturalist might have been as he spent his summers communing with the natural world.



 Photo © Timothy Treadwell


As Cinema Project's spring season draws to a close, they've put together a rare opportunity for Portland to view Treadwell's work as a filmmaker and photographer, divorced of any commentary associated with his end.  Heather Lane, one of the organizers of the collective, states that, "this is an attempt on our part to change the focus on Timothy Treadwell from who he was (and how he died), to what he accomplished as a filmmaker and photographer."
"The footage does not include him, but focuses on the animals and landscape. It is amazing that we have been given access to this footage and have been allowed to edit it for this show, something that Cinema Project has never done before as an organization."



Photo © Timothy Treadwell 


The result, 13 Summers, draws from the footage that Treadwell shot over the course of his time in the Alaskan wild.  This single-night event, arranged in conjunction with the opening of The Creative Music Guild's Experimental Music and Art Festival, will pair the images with live musical accompaniment, courtesy of an ensemble of local and traveling musicians. 



 Photo © Timothy Treadwell



Here's Cinema Project's press release detailing the presentation:

This program features a multi-screen projection performance of footage from filmmaker and naturalist Timothy Treadwell. With live accompani­ment by an ensemble of local and international musicians, this event opens the Creative Music Guild's Experimental Music and Art Festival. Treadwel spent thirteen summers in Hallo Bay and Kaflia Bay in Alaska, living among and filming grizzly bears. His life and death have been well docu­mented, but his work as a filmmaker and photographer has been some­what overlooked. 
This screening is an attempt at un-tethering the footage from narration and from media-driven perspective, in order to highlight the beautiful and majestic images as they are. With the addition of a live musical soundtrack, the audience's experience of the natural world and theanimalsweshareitwith becomes more immediate, and more personal Timothy Treadwell's footage was generously made available to us through Grizzly People, a grassroots organization devoted to preserving bears and their wilderness habitat in the hopes that humans will learn to live in peace with the bear, wilderness, and fellow humans. 

UPDATE: The Creative Music Guild's Facebook page reports that the ensemble for the event will include:

Tim DuRoche- percussion
Reed Wallsmith - saxophone
Jon Shaw - bass
Doug Theriault - guitar, noise
Dan Duval - guitar
Joe Cunningham- saxophone

Maybe more too.
 

Cinema Project & The Creative Music Guild present 13 Summers at the Bamboo Grove Salon on Friday, June 8th.  More info on the program available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

B-MOVIE BINGO presents HARD TO KILL



B-Movie Bingo is bringing everybody's favorite ponytail to the big screen at the Hollywood Theatre this Tuesday.  Yup, before he played Steven Seagal: Lawman on television, Steven Seagal fully inhabited the role of Mason Storm in Bruce Malmuth's Hard to Kill, surely the 5th or 6th best film of all-time to include an action scene set beside a billiards table.

Just in case anyone needs to catch up with what exactly B-Movie Bingo constitutes, here's the skinny, straight from the horse's mouth:

B-MOVIE BINGO is a game that is exactly like it sounds — OR MORE. It’s simple–we play bingo to the most awesome movie cliches ever committed to celluloid, like: “LONG BORING SCENE OR MALE PONY TALE”, “TEAMED UP WITH ROOKIE OR ANIMAL”, and “WHITE SUIT OR TROPICAL ENDING”. For maybe the first time in a theater, see the relatives and employees of A-list actors you know and love like Sylvester Stallone, whose brother bears a remarkable resemblance to him. Compete for prizes! Yell at your fellow movie nerds over the elusive and mysterious “BLANK SQUARE”! Relax: it’s B-MOVIE BINGO.

Wanna know more about the film?  Here's the B-Movie Bingo synopsis:
You can take THIS to the bank! In HARD TO KILL Steven Seagal is Mason Storm (best movie hero name ever), an L.A. detective who spends the first twenty minutes of the movie in a seven year coma. (RIP Mason Storm’s coma, 1983-1990). 
When he wakes up from the coma, he has a huge goatee, which is a sure sign your nurse has the hots for you. Within seconds of becoming aware of his surroundings, he flashes back to the atrocities that befell his family at the hands of a dirty politician… while a hit man roams the halls hunting him down as he wheels around on his gurney. 
After a narrow escape, his nurse takes him to an Eastern-tinged country estate where he recuperates, enduring various training montages and meditation zones. Once he regains his strength and hones his lone wolf attitude, total violence ensues as he exacts revenge on those who wronged him. Then he goes on a vacation.









The B-Movie Bingo presentation of Hard to Kill happens on Tuesday, June 5th at the Hollywood Theatre.  More info available here.



Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FAMILY PICTURES presents THE BLACK STALLION



This is definitely a last-minute posting on my part, since the film being highlighted plays today at 2pm.  But, as I mentioned a while back, Carroll Ballard's 1979 adaptation of The Black Stallion was one of my favorite films as a kid.  And it's a movie that still stands up when viewing it with adult eyes; the storm sequence at the beginning is thrilling and more than a little bit frightening (but in a good, not gonna make anyone under the age of five begin weeping, kinda way).

Very highly recommended.






The Black Stallion plays today (6/2) at the Hollywood Theatre at 2pm.  More info available here.


Remember to find and "like" us on our Facebook page.
Subscribe to the blog's feed here.
submit to reddit