On this week’s ICONOCLASTS — tonight at 8P on Sundance Channel — we get to listen in as two of the most painfully, hilariously honest artists creating movies and TV today talk about the love (your work) letter that brought them together.
Sundance Channel and Grey Goose Entertainment are set to debut the highly anticipated sixth season of the critically acclaimed series ICONOCLASTS on Tuesday, October 9 at 8P. Each half-hour episode of the innovative six-part series, which will air on Sundance Channel, pairs two visionaries who come together to discuss their lives, influences, passions and creative processes.
“Indie” is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the 70′s and 80′s, you were either in or outside of the studio system. Now, the boundaries have blurred, with studios trying to get in on the independent action. Indie filmmaking is indeed a high-risk venture, as with anything that requires little money up front and the potential for a huge payoff. These are the directors, from Spike Lee to Terrence Malick, who have made it work.
Time to jingle those piggy banks and see what shakes loose — if you’ve ever wanted some of the best of contemporary and classic films for your very own, here’s your chance. Barnes & Noble is offering all of Criterion Collection’s movies at 50% off, including such faves as HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, 12 ANGRY MEN, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE THIN RED LINE, THE 39 STEPS, RUSHMORE and the miniseries CARLOS. Most titles are available on beauteous Blu-ray.
Making movies costs lots and lots of money. Dependency is the name of the game in the studio system and the cliché of the executive producer coming to set and scaring everybody straight is surely based on actual events. ‘Indies’ used to be the alternative to that system, but that movement is now so big, such an institution in its own right, that ‘Independent’ may no longer be the most accurate nomenclature. ‘Indie’ is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the era of Steven Soderbergh’s watershed indie hit SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, things were more cut and dry, you were either in or outside of the studio system.
The premiere of HBO’s newest sitcom Girlswas on Sunday night, but at this point, I don’t really remember a world where people weren’t talking about this show. There might have been a time where my subway ride was plastered with Garfield posters instead of Lena Dunham’s expression of disillusion, but I don’t really recall it. There might have been a time where me and my 20-something urban comrades went unrepresented, living under the radar as we listened to Feist and went to brunch, but now everybody knows our secret:
The first episode of Lena Dunham’s
Because writer/director Lena Dunham cast herself in the lead role of her impressive breakout film TINY FURNITURE and because she picked her real life mother and sister to play her character Aura’s mother and sister, and because she shot the whole thing in their family’s Tribeca loft, there was a tendency to assume it was an intensely autobiographical film. Maybe not. Aura was a directionless slacker. Dunham is anything but. Her new HBO series, Girls, debuts in April, while her first work as a co-writer, Ry Russo-Young’s NOBODY WALKS premieres later this month in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
HBO’s teaser trailer for Lena Dunham’s upcoming series Girls proves that everybody on television is having sex.
If that sounds too broad for you, let me put it another way—every girl on television and living in New York City is having sex. It might not be attractive or pretty or without use of the word ‘lube,’ but it’s something that is happening. In fact, it’s probably better television fare if it’s kind of gross. Gritty and unattractive are the new ‘honest’—like Kristen Wiig’s sex scene in BRIDESMAIDS or all the dark jokes in 2 Broke Girls. Sex has returned to its rightful place in the bottom of the gutter, and most female-centric comedies this season aren’t afraid to lay in it. It’s clear that the Sex and The City look-at-all-of-my-pretty-shoes-Lady is dead, only to be replaced by a vintage dress-wearing version who can’t stop rolling her eyes. She’s your new girl of the moment, and she’s certainly prevalent in Girls. She’s poor. She’s in charge of her sexual prowess but barely in charge of everything else, including her flailing limbs. No, I’m kidding, she’s not really in charge of anything because he’s not calling her back.
If you happen to be shopping online, a stop at premier DVD publisher Criterion is likely to derail your giving into dreams of receiving. Their site kicks ass, frankly. Not only can you drool over new releases of your favorite classic, arthouse and foreign films, you can browse a plethora of famous peoples’ top ten Criterion lists. Bill Hader is actually a cinephile genius with Kurosawa’s HIGH AND LOW as his number one and an obscure Ozu as his number three! Bill Hader and Ozu? I teach at a film school and when I wear my Ozu t-shirt that’s shaped into an Ozzy logo I get nothing but blank stares. Nice work, Hader. And Kim Gordon puts a film on her list (Catherine Breillat’s FAT GIRL) that she admits to not having seen! Awesomely bold.
But back to buying. Criterion does such an amazing job reinventing a film through not only through its famous Criterion extras, but also by redesigning a film’s identity and thereby inviting you to rediscover it in a new way. Take Kieslowski’s brilliant 1994 trilogy, THREE COLORS: RED, WHITE, BLUE.
Lena Dunham’s TINY FURNITURE premiered at SXSW this year, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Alamo Draft House for the premiere screening. It’s an understatement to say that I’m pleased to be reporting on a young woman director’s launch with a beautifully crafted coming-of-age piece, terrain usually reserved for the boys — the ones who annoyed me all through film school with their sense of aw-I-just-threw-it-together-it-was-nothing entitlement. Bravo, Lena!