The Teachers' Lounge - a year for the ladies

My moviegoing is really gearing itself toward female roles this year. I have a history of looking at two things each Oscar season..writing and best supporting actor. Those two categories usually thrill me more than most. That being said, I was a little irritated that Michael Fassbender's wonderful portrayal in The Killer was looked over. But from the land of another Fassbinder , The Teachers' Lounge has been nominated for best International Feature Film. I'd mistaken The Zone of Interest , a United Kingdom film, was also a German entry. The Teachers' Lounge knocked my socks off. I like a film that hasn't been overly promoted and reviewed before I have a chance to see it for myself. Although this feature has tons of articles, I was able to view it in an almost empty theater with only one guy and myself. Strangely enough, I'd selected my seat from the online chart only to discover I was next to a wall with no way to exit other than trip over that poor man on the

Sandra and Sandra

Two of the best films I've seen in the race for Oscar this years are The Zone of Interest and Anatomy of a Fall. In The Zone of Interest Sandra Hüller plays the wife of a Nazi commandant who runs Auschwitz. She brings depth and a human quality to a loathsome type of character. That takes some rare skill. In Anatomy of a Fall, Hüller takes on the role of Sandra Voyter, a novelist who's been accused of murdering her husband. The story is told well as the French can do. I often think of something I read years ago about French filmmaking. Something about a French film with long take for no reason on say a cloud. And it means something. Almost as if we're used to the French means of inserting some sort of element because they can. I was reminded of this when I watch Anatomy of a Fall. A lot of bold moves, fast editing, almost too much dialogue which really worked with the entire feel of the film. You felt uncomfortable. I kept getting that weird "don't open the door&q

2024 Super Bowl commercials

Amidst the Temu spots, here's the roll out that struck my fancy. I've been a long time Super Bowl ad watcher, even more so than the game. These ads are in order of presentation, not necessarily best or worst. Vince Vaughn reads on Tom Brady for BetMGM - who doesn't love Vince?  This from somebody who believes Christian rock is for people who can't make it in real rock...the Jesus commercials were pretty great..esp. the INXS one with the AI pictures... Let the good times roll, ya'll...Kawasaki puts a mullet on everybody including the American is that? It's the real deal, Chris...more cowbells! Oh no..that was something else...Take me home, wait..back to the REAL Chris..featuring Usher...who put on a really good 1/2 time show ... Christopher Walken really is a national treasure... Kate McKinnon and the mayo cat...MAYO...p.s. if anybody's interested in my feature length screenplay and book The Meanest Cat in the World... I'm one of th

Zone of Interest

I'm dropping the "The" from The Zone of Interest , my only humble suggestion. Jonathan Glazer's film is about a real family living on the grounds of Auschwitz - we all know about it - Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. Glazer's work takes a look at Rudolf Höss, his wife Hedwig and their children living a fairy tale type of life with the big dark shadow of Auschwitz always looming in the backdrop. The film is difficult to watch and was difficult to make. The director's choice to wire cameras hidden amidst plants and staged scenery creates a documentary feel to the piece and it works. In fact, the camera takes on it's own persona, something I'm mesmerized with in filmmaking. As when something magical happens and the 'film goddess' takes command as she will do. There is definitely another dimension added t

Sometimes you see a movie and...

Image's a whole big bag of things you don't think you've seen before. You've become accustomed to formula, to Hollywood or whatever. Then something starts happening like splicing the soundtrack into the dialogue. Has somebody ever done that? I'm sure they have, but I can't recall. And I've seen a whole bunch of films. This one is The Killer on Netflix.     Adapted from the graphic novels by French writer Alexis Nolent a.k.a. Matz and illustrated by Luc Jacamon. Yeah, that soundtrack. (Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross) lots of Smiths and you become accustomed to Morrissey's singing and lyrics as part of Michael Fassbender's first person account of how to be a successful hit guy. Let me list some of the parts that make this an outstanding modern noir. Characters like they spilled over from the old Howard Hawks film The Big Sleep each one more delicious and full of crazy nuances than the previous - Tilda Swinton Sophie Charlotte Kerry O'Malley (a perso

The Wrecking Crew

Last night's entry in my music documentary travels was The Wrecking Crew a 2015 film directed by Danny Tedesco. It took Danny a long time to finish this work of love for his father Tommy and the other Wrecking Crew band members who played on so many popular albums, mostly unacknowledged in the credits and financially. Besides being yet another comment on the smarmy side of the music business, the film is a well put together tribute to those sessions players who created those albums so many of us grew up with. What I took away was just like the work these people did whose love for the music overrode the injustices of low pay and no credit - the music in the film transcends. You can't help but be inspired by the end result...the songs. The documentary pays tribute to the studio musicians that made up the Wrecking Crew - listed here in Wikipedia . Tedesco, Carol Kay, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Barney Kessel, Larry Knechtel (later in the band Bread,) Plas Johnson, Mike Melvoin, Don R

Moonage Daydream

A little back story first. I am in the midst of shooting a documentary about the Fabulous Thunderbirds and their huge I believe contribution to what is now known as the music capital of the world. There is a lot of information and my intention is to convey the story as I experienced it. When I first came to Austin in 1979, it was a different place than it is now. Kind of a little big college town with lots of cosmic cowboys and students. The T-Birds were really taking off and had just released their first album. It was a place of experimentation and our world here was filled with music, with art, films and people expressing themselves and learning about things. I was no different. What I remember most clearly was an introduction to French New Wave films and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Both on and off the screen I was surrounded by a real wonderment. What I want to do is to produce a documentary that gives the viewer a simulated experience much like the one I encountered here in Austin w