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by Genelle Levy

23 Feb 2016


Tristes Deserts - a Robot's Tale (2015)

Strange people in strange places seemed to be an ongoing theme in the films featured at this year’s Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival in New York City. This year’s line-up featured many award-winning filmmakers. Although relatively unknown outside the indie circuit, many have garnered local press attention for their recent works.

Such filmmakers include Stephanie Winter, winner of best experimental film at the Sardinia Film Festival, Yung-Jen Yang, a previous Winter Film Award winner and Isaac Ezban, indie film veteran who has racked up 11 wins at the Austin Fantastic Fest, Baja International Film Festival, Morelia International Film Festival and several others.

by Michael Barrett

23 Feb 2016


Please Believe Me (1950)

Two made-on-demand discs from Warner Archive reveal odd moments from the career of director Norman Taurog, who resists most attempts to inhabit an auteur status. His long and prolific career, primarily in comedy and music, includes work with many stars such as W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley. Taurog won an Academy Award for Best Director with Skippy (1931), one of several boy-oriented movies in his catalogue, and was nominated again for Boys Town (1938).

The closer we look, however, the more he seems to embody the consummate professional journeyman, whose career depended on the script and actors rather than any personal stamp. Unfortunately, with mediocre material, the results are mediocre, and not interesting, failures.

by Steve Leftridge and Steve Pick

18 Feb 2016


Steve Leftridge: Okay, this one strikes me as different from the other films we’ve discussed here at Double Take. Sure, it’s easy to see why it made our Great 500 list, as the film’s accolades are a mile long, including the Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay. Critics dug it, for the most part, and it’s one of the most commercially popular films of all time.

So why do you dislike it, Mr. Pick? Are you one of those who has trouble fully embracing art that is too ubiquitously gargantuan in popularity? Are you offended by the play-it-for-laughs depiction of someone with cognitive delays? Are the historical rewrites too hokey? Or is the movie just too darn sentimental? What is it that bugs you the most about Forrest Gump?

 

by Steve Leftridge and Steve Pick

11 Feb 2016


Steve Leftridge: Okay, I have a lot of questions about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. First of all, why are you rooting for Butch and Sundance since they are criminals who hurt or kill, and steal from people? Specifically, would you be rooting for them if Paul Newman and Robert Redford weren’t such handsome sumbitches?

Steve Pick: I don’t know if I was rooting for them exactly, but I was enjoying their company. I guess that counts for something. I assume the real Butch and Sundance were nasty pieces of work, and nowhere near as pretty as early ‘70s male gods: Newman and Redford. But, despite being based on real people who actually robbed trains and moved to Bolivia, the film is a work of fiction, not fact.

by Michael Barrett

3 Feb 2016


Home movies become primal shimmers in Walden

“I live, therefore I make films. I make films, therefore I live.” So sings the ragged, unmusical, heavily Lithuanian accented Jonas Mekas—one of the prime movers of American avant-garde cinema in the second half of the 20th Century—as he accompanies himself with an accordion on the soundtrack of Walden (1969): his three-hour “diary film”. Later he says, “They tell me I should be searching, but I just celebrate what I see.” Still later: “The images go, no tragedy, no drama, no suspense, just images for myself and a few others”; and he adds that cinema is light, movement, the sun, the heart beating.

This monument to the world around him—mainly New York in the ‘60s—is in one sense as accessible as any home movie: clips of weddings, the park, friends, children, street activities. True, his friends are luminaries of avant-garde film, such as Stan Brakhage and Shirley Clarke, and along the way we glimpse even more famous guests: Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Bed-In.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Bad Graphics Are Still Impressive in ‘Spirits of Xanadu’

// Moving Pixels

"Spirits of Xanadu wrings emotion and style out of its low fidelity graphics.

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