Madman, maverick, adventurer, auteur: There’s no one in cinema quite like Werner Herzog. While “Grizzly Bear” finds the German filmmaker doing what he does best—shining a light on the extremes of human obsession—that’s just one of Herzog’s many explorations into the darker side of human nature. In fact, here are 10 movies that illustrate why Herzog is a moviemaking genius.
Very few people speak ill of Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy. The series shattered box office records, earned multiple Oscar nominations (and wins), and is often considered the greatest superhero trilogy in movie history. And yet, deep down in my heart, I’ll never be able to forgive Nolan for wasting precious years of Christian Bale’s productive career, when the versatile actor could have been making more passionate, provocative films like Werner Herzog’s stirring RESCUE DAWN — airing tonight at 10P on Sundance Channel.
“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.
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.
German director (amongst other things) Werner Herzog can almost always be relied on to say or do things that are just as entertaining as his films (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, GRIZZLY MAN). His most recent foray into delighting people on the internet comes in the form of this rant against chickens (via HuffPo):
Because it’s on a Monday this year, which means you’ve been dressing up in costume every night since Friday, this might just be the longest Halloween weekend ever. It’s not over yet, but if you’re partied out, or just out of fake blood, stay in and cozy up to the Halloween episode of my “My So Called Life.” Angela falls for the Jordan Catalano of the 50s, who’s ghost still haunts the school gym, and (spoiler) her parents get so turned on by their costumes (he’s a pirate, she’s Rapunzel) that they decide to stay in and role play instead of going to the neighbor’s party.
Once the clock strikes November, though, we ditch all things Halloween with EVERLASTING MOMENTS (2008), by Swedish director Jan Troell, who worked with Nordic heavy-hitters like Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman, who he directed in some of her finest films, including THE EMIGRANTS (1971) and THE NEW LAND (1972). Then we venture south to France with Claude Chabrol’s A GIRL CUT IN TWO (2007). Chabrol, who died just last year, is credited with starting the nouvelle vague. He was a critic at the famed Cahiers du Cinema in the 50s and directed…
As the PR for the f’ing hysterical children’s book “Go The F**k To Sleep” (previously) ramps up, the Internet joyfully listened to audio readings of this book by Samuel L. Jackson and hauntingly by Werner Herzog. I agree with Kottke: “All we need now are readings by Walken, Pacino, Oprah, Ian McShane, Joan Cusack, Alec…
I previously blogged here about Ryan Iverson who “has been casting a shadow over the Internet’s collective warm memories of books from our childhood with his droll parodies” of Werner Herzog “reading” classic children’s books. He’s back this time with Werner Herzog chillingly reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Werner Herzog narrates this short film, which utilizes papercraft animation with what looks like construction paper, about the time he randomly rescued Joaquin Phoenix from a car crash on January 26, 2006. Side note that only I will care about: January 26 is my birthday.
Ryan Iverson has been casting a shadow over the Internet’s collective warm memories of books from our childhood with his droll parodies of Werner Herzog reading “Curious George” and “Madeline.” Most recently, he explicates “Waldo” or rather “Voldo,” as Herzog ponders the dilemma of “a man unstuck from place and time…his only lifeline to his…
Werner Herzog is a lover of conflict. Whether it’s man vs. man, man vs. nature or man vs. himself, his films have a habit of pitting a man against the extremes. In RESCUE DAWN (2006) the man is Deiter Dengler (Christian Bale), a US Navy pilot who was shot down in Laos only 40 minutes into his very first mission in 1965 during the Vietnam War. Between surviving the crash, his Pathet Lao captors and his subsequent escape, Dengler confronted and triumphed over man, nature and himself.
On Sundance Channel’s Tastemakers Series this month. Every week, watch a different award winning film from festivals around the globe. A series of contemporary hits and timeless masterpieces that define cool and defy limits. Sundays at 10PM E/P.