The Morning Read: Noah Baumbach, Wes Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich and 'A Squirrel To The Nuts'
Welcome to The Morning Read.
Well, we're finishing out our first month of having The Morning Read back on the site, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the feedback from you guys so far has been very strong. It feels good to be back at it, and I'm surprised I let it go as long as I did.
On the one hand, I think I'm going to have to re-retire the idea of "one thing I love today" because I have no idea how my schedule will work out sometimes, and if I don't have that one finished at the end of a day, it ends up not getting written, and I'm not going to have it be this erratic thing that only occasionally hits its target. On the other hand, the podcast is back up and rolling, and I think I have a handle on how to produce it on my end so that it's simple. iTunes should have us up any day now, so that should help you guys who are hoping to use their interface to follow the show. Overall, a good October to follow up a crazy September.
When I was at the "Salt" premiere at the end of the summer, I ran into Peter Bogdanovich, and it was one of the best random encounters I've had all year. He is a true legend, a guy whose writing about film is just as crucial and significant as the actual films he's made. I just watched the new Warner Bros. Blu-ray of "What's Up, Doc?", and I was struck anew by how great Bogdanovich can be. Next month, Criterion's putting out "The Last Picture Show" on Blu-ray, another must-own. When we were talking at the party, I asked him about some of his other films and the possibility of ever seeing them on Blu-ray, like "At Long Last Love" and "Saint Jack," and he was frank about the difficulties with each of them and the roadblocks that stand in the way of any immediate release. If today's news is true, though, and he's got a few high-profile films coming soon as a director, then maybe those lesser-known and loved titles will be considered assets worth cashing in. I love the notion of Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach producing "Squirrel To The Nuts," a screwball comedy written and directed by Bogdanovich. I love it because that's a great trio of comedy brains to put together, and I love it because that's a wildly unsubtle title that made me laugh when I read it. And I have no idea what he'll do with a screwball comedy about "an escort, a theater director, and a private detective," but that's a promising start. The filmmaker has also adapted Kurt Andersen's Turn Of The Century, so here's hoping we get several films from him in the near future, new and old alike.
Mr Baby Man is a Digg legend, a power user whose influence helped drive giant highways of traffic to sites at the height of Digg's relevance. That cultural cachet has certainly been eroding in recent days, and when Mr Baby Man ran a link to this story, he said he felt like Michael Corleone confronting Fredo, broken-hearted. I've always viewed the world of sites like Digg as a sort of online voodoo, but I know that there were people who used that system with genuine good intentions and who weren't just trying to game some traffic to unworthy outlets. If you start with the story he linked to and then click to read the follow-ups, it really is a suspicious bit of detective work that makes Digg look very, very untrustworthy.
My god… has it been eleven years of BNAT? Really?
I can understand the frustration that leads to this sort of article. I'm sure there are a number of "TRON" fans who would love to have the film on Blu-ray already. However, Steve Weintraub got the word direct from Steven Lisberger last night at "TRON Night," and it sounds like the disc is coming, and like it will be worth the wait for fans of the film.
Besides, who needs made up science-fiction? We live in a sci-fi world these days anyway.
David Ehrlich loves Criterion, the company that has been turning out industry-best laserdiscs, DVDs, and Blu-rays for over 20 years now, and he's right to love them. They're awesome. He's just kicked off a monthly column on the company's output, and his first edition's a good one. I'll actually be on The Criterion Cast today to talk about the new release "House" and whatever else we feel like discussing, so if you're as big a Criterion nerd as Ehrlich is, tune in for that.
And speaking of the Criterion Cast, over on their blog, I was reading that three new scripts from Akira Kurosawa have been discovered and are set to be published soon. I think I'd rather have them filmed with a soundtrack by Tupac, but I'll take them in book form if that's how things work out.
Universal is doing some very good work on Blu-ray these days. The packaging for the "Back To The Future" set this week? Not their finest hour.
I kid about the pairing of Kurosawa and Tupac, but I do love it when you see really unlikely pairings, creatively-speaking. That's one reason anthology films can either be wonderful or godawful… finding that right mix of voices isn't easy. With AFM hitting town next week, we're going to be hearing about a number of projects that are just starting to take shape, movies that are being either pre-sold or premiered. One of the movies hoping to find financing is "Paris, I'll Kill You," a horror anthology of stories set in the city. They've got names like Joe Dante, Vincenzo Natali, Xavier Gens, Christopher Smith, Maury & Bustillo, and Ryuhei Kitamura all attached, which is a pretty solid line-up of strong names in current horror. You give those guys room to play, and you'll get something special.
I guess this is the game you have to play as a studio, picking release dates three years away, but boy, this all feels premature. They don't even have directors for half these films.
Speaking of things that are a long way off and tentative as tentative gets…
He's going to tease us for years, isn't he?
The conversation about digital piracy is often so black and white that people miss the larger point, which is that it is part of an evolution, and that we have to ask questions if we're going to navigate this brave new world. Eric Kohn's piece on where we are right now is one worth reading for anyone interesting in this ongoing debate.
Are they really not going to show critics this film before it comes out?
That's a shame. I'm in the mood for some giant monsters right about now.
You can go to jail for this? Good thing I don't live in the UK… errr, I mean, good! I'm glad! Seriously!
I'm on the side of the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust on this one. The film's a fine little piece of popcorn fun, but pretending that "Disturbia" didn't directly steal the structure and hook of "Rear Window" is preposterous. Last month's dismissal of their suit was baffling, and it sounds like they are still moving forward, looking to hold someone accountable.
All right-thinking people love Bill Plympton. It's a fact.
Oh, yeah, did I mention we live in a sci-fi world? Because we do.
Great piece with Danny Elfman, and I've never heard that story about Prince.
Ooooh… The Tobolowsky Files is back.
You know who else is back?
I do feel a little bad that I've kind of sat out the entire Halloween season. I'm a horror film writer and a lifelong horror film fan, and Halloween is my favorite day of the year. Typically, I love to start the celebration right around October 1st. This year, with my kids out of town and me realizing that this will be the first year we don't go trick-or-treating together since Toshi was born, I've had a hard time grappling with the holiday. It's Sunday night, obviously, and even if I'm a bit of a Grinch this year, I've been enjoying all the work everyone else out there is doing to keep the Halloween party rolling, and it's worth linking out to some of what's been making me smile.
There are a lot of lists out there, for example. Peter "Peel" Avellino runs a pretty great blog of his own, but he was a guest contributor to the blog of "Rupert Pupkin," co-host of the Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast when he put together his list of favorite underrated horror films. That's really the trick when recommending horror films at this point, isn't it? Anyone can recommend that you pick up "Halloween" or "The Haunting" or "Poltergeist" or any of a hundred other immediately recognizable and iconic titles, so writing lists of horror films this time of year is all about recommending something new, if at all possible. I find horror lists very revealing, because what scares one person might bore or amuse another.
Few things make me smile like Scott Weinberg writing about "Alien." Talk about a guy playing to his strengths.
Shouldn't the hole in the crotch just be part of the costume in the first place, since only dirty dirty perverts would be wearing it?
Need some last minute costume ideas?
You should definitely read Vern's review of "Long Weekend." And then you should probably see "Long Weekend."
There are so many Scott Pilgrim themed costumes out there that Edgar Wright set up a Posterous site just to stream them all. This film may not have been a theatrical hit, but I'm telling you… the ripple effects are just beginning to be felt. This one's going to be around, and its fans are going to be vocal. And right.
Jacob Hall did what I assume many people are doing as they head out to see "Saw 3D" this year, marathoning his way from the first film to the last. Better him than me. And Luke Thompson makes his case for why these movies are misunderstood.
I didn't know any of this. But I have rightfully been afraid of Canadians for my whole life.
Danny at TRS pointed out an annual tradition:
Happy Halloween. I'll have plenty of content for you all week, and two contests that I'm finally posting this afternoon. Keep checking in amidst your trick-or-treating, and I'll see you back here Monday for the next Morning Read.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn't.