Oh, man. People say the golden age of music videos is in the past, so we must be living in the platinum era! The latest Black Keys video hit the webz yesterday and it’s a fairly curious, and entertaining, collaboration with Harmony Korine (KIDS, TRASH HUMPERS). Oh, I’m sorry…it’s not a video, but “a film by Harmony Korine.” Anyway, if you’ve ever wanted to see Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach as babies carted around by prosthetic versions of themselves then Gold on the Ceiling is your chance! As for Korine, hopefully this little endeavor didn’t distract him from finishing up SPRING BREAKERS, because there are not enough bikini pics of Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez out there yet to satisfy my curiosity. Anyway, check out the video below, along with a few of our other favorite auteur-helmed musical collaborations.
Halloween or Williamsburg: Anyone that’s ever set foot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn can attest that outfits seen on the sidewalk can be startlingly strange. One minute, you’re looking at a modern Jimi Hendrix and the next, an NYU student’s take on Annie Hall. If you didn’t live here, you might think these people were en route to a costume party or similarly themed event. A brilliant new blog, “Halloween or Williamsburg,” documents some of the neighborhood’s goofiest get-ups…
Over at Opening Ceremony’s blog, Spike Jonze posted this video he recorded of famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma accompanying this kid, Lil Buck smoothily dancing at a “bring the arts to schools” event. Natalie Portman doesn’t have anything on this dancer. Finger snaps to whoever had these two artists’ names in their Rolodex. [Via]
Sundance Channel Spotlight on Meryl Streep, Thursday starting at 8PM
Meryl Streep is one of the busiest working actresses today, starring in 3 films in the last year alone: IT’S COMPLICATED, FANTASTIC MR. FOX and JULIE & JULIA, for which her performance as the much beloved Julia Child has earned her yet another Oscar nomination. In fact, Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award nearly every year since her very first nomination in 1979 for THE DEER HUNTER. And even though her roles in films like THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981) and POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990) have won her much deserved critical acclaim, she’s only managed to snag two of the golden statues, the first in 1980 for her role opposite Dustin Hoffman in KRAMER VS. KRAMER, which also won in all the big categories that year (Best Actor, Director, Screenplay and Picture), and a second time in 1983 for SOPHIE’S CHOICE.
Streep continues her 17-year nomination streak at next month’s Academy Awards, and in celebration Sundance Channel is showing 3 of her perhaps not lesser-known but recent under-awarded roles all in one night.
In his feature films, Spike Jonze has successfully melded his singular sensibility with other equally distinctive voices (Charlie Kaufman in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION, Maurice Sendak and Dave Eggers in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE). But for a taste of pure, unadulterated Jonze — to really appreciate the deadpan high concepts, the absurdist melancholy, the skewed sense of enchantment — turn to his music videos and short films.
Written and directed by Jonze (and financed by Absolut Vodka), the half-hour I’M HERE, the high point of a strong opening shorts program, follows in the venerable tradition of sci-fi stories about robots who discover the contradictions of the human heart. Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a sad-eyed android librarian in an unfriendly Los Angeles where the robots lead an underclass existence and seem fated for a lonely obsolescence. (He and his fragile fellow bots certainly look like last century’s models: boxy heads, Lego-like appendages, protruding wires.)
In watching Spike Jonze’s amazing film, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, I kept glancing at my five year-old son. Could it be true that we were actually enjoying the same movie on the same level of interest and engagement? That’s both fascinating and a little bit scary.
If you haven’t seen it yet, do. Unlike anything to cross mainstream screens in a some time, WTWTA is built on a series of purely visual, visceral experiences and interactions, and not at all on plot. Perrin Drumm made a similar point in her post on the film. (I won’t be giving anything away by telling you that the road to the climax hinges on one individual wanting to, like, build a really cool secret room out of sticks, and another individual being extraordinarily pissed and offended at the exclusivity of that conceit. The nerve!)
Max is a feisty little kid. First he gets upset because his older sister doesn’t want to play with him. Then he gets upset when her friends play too rough (i.e. caving in his snow fortress). His mom (Catherine Keener), though caring, has her own stuff going on (work, boyfriend) and she can’t be there every single time he builds a fort that’s really a rocket ship that will take them to the moon. As a kid, I remember being frustrated when I wanted to show my mom something, and she, busy working or conversing with another adult, would only walk very slowly towards the excitement I had waiting just around the corner, while I tugged mercilessly on her arm, trying to get her to break into a run. This is normal kid stuff, and I’m not sure its enough to summon the kind of tantrum Max throws, one severe enough to take him to a far away island inhabited only by big, scary monsters. It makes Max come off more like a spoiled brat than the hero-figure created by Maurice Sendak.
Spike Jonze planned his upcoming release of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE very well. He seems to be all around us. For starters, the latest issue of Wholphin includes three short Maurice Sendak-based pieces he directed. They’re very DIY (as in not very good) but they’re cute and kooky and serve a purpose, namely, to get us all amped up for the real, long-awaited, much-anticipated thing itself, in theaters Friday.
Usually in Hollywood we hear stories about how a director’s vision is compromised and corrupted by the influence of big business, movie heads, and focus groups. The New York Times Magazine ran a story about Spike Jonze’s journey of bringing Maurice Sendak’s brilliant, iconic Where the Wild Things Are to life. It seems in this case, art, and the good guy, have won.
Here’s yet another installment of your weekly round up of music videos unearthed from around the Internet. Since your bosses took the day off to begin their Memorial Day weekend early, go ahead: minimize that Excel worksheet, plug in your headphones and enjoy some tunes!
Spike Jonze’s adaptation of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE has been in the works for years, and it’s being readied for an October release. The first official trailer appeared on the web today, and it’s really promising. The script is by Dave Eggers, and the cast includes Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, and James…