Thursday, July 28, 2011


I've said it before and I'll say it again; Todd Solondz is the most underrated and influential modern American director working in independent film today. I pretty much summed it up in my previous Todd Solondz blog (*WHICH YOU CAN READ RIGHT HERE*), but I'd like to take it a step further. I was browsing's "movie posters of the week" section and I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the posters looked like Todd Solondz' movie posters from the 1990's through today (welcome to the dollhouse & happiness to be exact). But of course no one ever wants to give Solondz the respect he deserves and I feel like I'm the only one who notices this shit. Its one thing to completely steal from his movie making style and take the common themes from his films and pass them off as your own (make sure you read that blog i did), but copying his poster designs is just taking it to a whole other level. I mean jesus christ, someone get Todd Solondz a good lawyer so he can start collecting royalties off these copycats.
Below are 4 movie posters from Todd Solondz' filmography minus 'Storytelling' (Welcome To The Dollhouse, Happiness, Palindromes and Life During Wartime). Then below those we have movie posters from various "indie" American films from over the years ranging from Napoleon Dynamite to Juno. I know most of these aren't EXACT copies (although some are pretty damn close), and I'm aware that Daniel Clowes did the artwork for both; 'Happiness', 'Art School Confidential' and 'Savages', but i think you guys know what I'm getting at. The colors, the cartoonish designs, the font selection, etc. 

I dunno, judge for yourselves...

Welcome To The Dollhouse (1996)

Happiness (1998)

Palindromes (2004)

Life During Wartime (2009)

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Junebug (2005)

Junno (2006)

Art School Confidential (2006)

American Splendor (2003)

American Teen (2008)

I love You Beth Cooper (2009)

Lars & The Real Girl (2007)

The Squid & The Whale (2006)

Year Of The Dog (2006)

No Impact Man (2009)

Eagles vs. Sharks (2007)

Prom Wars (2008)
Savages (2007)

Monday, July 25, 2011


'Fishing With John' was a BRILLIANT idea. Take a hip yet somewhat obscure/cult-like figure (John Lurie) and send him all over the world to fish with one of his many cool celebrity friends (Willem Dafoe, Dennis Hopper, Matt Dillon, etc). What some people fail to realize is that not only is John Lurie a pioneer in modern jazz music, and a frequent collaborator of Jim Jarmusch, but he's also done the soundtracks for movies like 'Get Shorty' and 'Excess Baggage', was a cast member on HBO's 'OZ', and has acted in plenty of other films outside of Jarmusch's (most notably 'The Last Temptation Of Christ' and 'Paris, Texas'). So even though he may be kind of obscure, he's certainly worked with plenty of famous people. For years i always wondered what kind of guests he would've had on his show had it not gotten cancelled. Well I've got about 4 seasons worth of guests in my head so I thought I'd share them with you one imaginary season at a time. The rules to being on the show is that you have to have more than one connection with John Lurie, whether it be a personal friendship or some kind of an artistic collaboration. Also, we're going to keep within the time period that season 2 would have taken place (probably around 1992 or 1993). So here's my list of guests for season two...

EPISODE 201: Roberto Benigni 
Lurie & Beningi @ Cannes in '86
1. Lurie and Begnini acted together in 'Down By Law', 
2. Lurie did the soundtrack for a film Benigni's wife acted in ('Mystery Train')

This would be an interesting episode because Robert Benigni doesn't seem like the kind of guy you'd want to do anything semi-dangerous with because he's so hyper all the time and might cause an accident. They could reminisce about acting together in 'Down By Law' and possibly tell funny stories about Jim Jarmusch. I'm leaving open the possibility that Benigni might drown. I picture him capturing a fish and getting so excited that he jumps in the water, but he cant swim (like his character in 'Down By law') so he'd drown. Way to kick off season 2...

EPISODE 202: Wim Wenders 
John Lurie in Wenders' 'Paris, Texas'
1. Wender's "silently co-produced" a film John Lurie starred in ('Stranger Than Paradise')
2. Lurie acted in Wender's 'Paris, Texas'

For some reason Wim Wender's doesn't come off as an outdoorsman so it would be funny to throw him in to a situation like this. Wim Wenders isn't as popular as the other names on this list so i imagine this episode wouldn't get the highest rating. But episode 203 would definitely get things back on track...

EPISODE 203: David Lynch
John Lurie in Lynch's 'Wild At Heart'
1. John Lurie acted in Lynch's 'Wild At Heart'. 
2. Both Lynch and Lurie are moderately successful painters outside of their main professions.

Around 1993 'Twin Peaks' had already been cancelled but at this point David Lynch was pretty well known as the "weird" oddball director. This would be perfect. David Lynch is from Montana, which i believe is like a fishing mecca in America (well that's what the movie 'A River Runs Through It' led me to believe), so that's where this episode would take place. It would be like a homecoming for Lynch. As they fly fished, they could talk about their favorite painters, colors, textures, etc. Then David Lynch would take one of the fish he caught and use it in a painting (he's used everything from live ants to dead mice on his canvases).

EPISODE 204: Steve Buscemi 

1. Both came from the same NYC "No Wave" scene. If they aren't friends in real life, which I'm pretty sure they are, but if they aren't, I'm sure they use to bump in to each other pretty often at art galleries, concerts or movie screenings.
2. Lurie did the soundtrack for a film Buscemi acted in ('Mystery Train')

Around this time Steve Buschemi would have just blown up thanks to 'Resrvoir Dogs'. Him and John could talk about the old New York City days, and share stories about Jean Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo (who was considered for the part of "Mr. Pink" first)

EPISODE 205 & 206: Werner Herzog 

None that I'm aware of (im already breaking my own rules in the first entry)

I just think that a show where people travel all around the world just to fish is right up Werner Herzog's alley. I'm sure in this particular episode (which would be a two-parter like the Deniss Hopper episode from season one), Herzog would request to go to the most dangerous place on earth and he wouldn't use any kind of a fishing rod, as he would probably use his bare hands. The climax of the show would be Werner saving John Lurie from a shark attack by stabbing it to death with a handmade spear.

Friday, July 22, 2011


In this sense, cinema is the art of reality, the medium in which reality’s beauty is captured, where you can film marble or a face, or record someone’s voice, a sunset, the innate beauty of what you’re contemplating. Tarkovsky achieved this.   - Carlos Reygadas 

 JAPON is the best Tarkovsky film Tarkovsky never made - Nigel Andrews on Carols Reygadas' feature film debut 'Japon'

(Tarkovsky's work) was rather a confirmation of my own vision - Alexander Sokurov (mentored by and also a friend to Andrei Tarkovsky)

Dedication to Tarkovsky that appears at the end of Lars Von Trier's 'Antichrist'

One thing i love about (the facebook inspired social networking site geared towards movie nerds) is the list making feature. A while back i made a list called; "The School Of Tarkovsky" (a list of films that i felt were inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky's work) and got some pretty decent feedback on it. Although he may be one of the best at it, Quentin Tarantino isn't the first & only director to use or lift imagery, music, characters and scenes from other people's movies and put them in his (even if people act like he invented it). In the early films of Lars Von Trier (nocturne, image of relief and the element of crime), you can see traces of 'The Mirror', 'Stalker' and 'Sacrifice'. If you've been reading my blog recently, you've seen that I've compared Micahel Haneke's work to Robert Bresson and Jim Jarmusch's work to quite a few different directors (wim wenders, senji suzuki, akira kurosawa, etc). This blog is partially inspired by Jim Jarmusch's quote regarding stealing & inspiration. Its easy to say "so & so" was inspired by "so & so" and leave it at that. But sometimes you gotta go a little further and show images from 2 different movies next to each other to really drive the point home. Note certain similarities like the placement of the actors in picture, the colors, background, etc.
Sometimes i think people like to just name-drop Andrei Tarkovsky and blindly say how influential he is without putting too much thought into it. I get the feeling people just like to say his name sometimes because it sounds nice, and makes people sound smart when they talk about movies. I mean think about it...a last name like Tarkovsky sounds like it could be the last name of a famous Russian composer, painter, sculptor, etc. And on the flipside, i don't think too many people who've seen recent films like 'There Will Be Blood' or 'Antichrist' are familiar with Tarkovsky and didn't know where some of the great imagery they saw in those movies came from. Some directors, like Carlos Reygadas and Lars Von Trier have flat out admitted to how much they've ripped off his work early on in their careers, while others make his influence so obvious (Elem Klimov and Alexander Sokurov) that they don't even need to say anything. Even a weirdo like Terrence Malick has been inspired by his work. Ever since Terrence Malick reemerged in the late 90's, all of his film since 'The Thin Red Line' have had this poetic quality about them that can only be compared to Tarkovsky's work. 
So we're gonna look at some of my favorite scenes from various films placed alongside scenes from Andrei Tarkovsky's work so you can really see how influential he truly is. There were a few pictures i couldn't get, like Jessica Chastain floating in air in 'The Tree Of Life' (which reminded me of a scene in 'The Mirror'), but i think i got a enough pictures below for you to get the point... 

Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky)
The Element Of Crime (Lars Von Trier) 
'Antichrist' wasn't the first time Von Trier made a direct reference or a dedication to Andrei Tarkovsky. Both 'Andrei Rublev' and 'The Element Of Crime' start off with a scene of a donkey struggling to stand up.

The Mirror
Tree Of Life

The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky)
There Will Be Blood (PT Anderson)
The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
Farewell (Elem Klimov) 
This one is interesting because its as if Elem Klimov took the scene of the burning house and mixed it with the imagery of the tree from 'Sacrifice' in one scene.

Solaris (Tarkovsky)
Antichrist (Von Trier)

Stalker (Tarkovsky)
The New World (Terrence Malick)
some of these images from 'The New World' are repeats from an older Terrence Malick blog, but they're so relevant to this entry that i had to include them again
Antichrist (Von Trier)

Nostalgia (Tarkovsky)
Antichrist (Von Trier)

Mother & Son (Alexander Sokurov)

Japon (Carlos Reygadas)

The Mirror (Tarkovsky)
Nocturne (Von Trier)
The Element Of Crime (Von Trier)

The Mirror 
Antichrist (Von Trier)
Time Of The Wolf (Haneke)

Ivan's Childhood (Tarkovsky)

The Ascent (Laris Shepitko)


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