Archive for February, 2013

Indie Roundup: ‘No’

Straight off, “No” is one ugly movie. Shot on a grainy 1980s U-Matic video camera with a muddy gray-and-brown color palette, the Oscar-nominated flick by director Pablo Larrain is not going to win you over with pretty pictures.

Of course, the movie takes place in a very ugly period in history: the waning days of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime. No Chilean needs to be reminded that the military strongman seized power in 1973 following a CIA-led coup and then brutally crushed all dissent. Yet what made sense back during the realpolitik of the ’70s became an embarrassment in the late ’80s when the Soviet Union was gasping its last breath. Bowing to international pressure, Pinochet grudgingly allows a referendum on his reign to go forward in 1988. A yes would give the mustached generalissimo another eight years in power. A no, in theory, would not. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘No’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Like Someone In Love’

Abbas Kiarostami helped put Iranian cinema on the map back in the ’80s and ’90s with movies such as festival faves “Close Up,” “A Taste of Cherries,” and “The Wind Will Carry Us.” For the past couple of years, however, Kiarostami has been making movies abroad, no doubt because of the increasingly political environment in his native country. In 2010, he released “Certified Copy,” starring Juliette Binoche and set in the Tuscan countryside. That movie — about marriage, identity, and authenticity — was beautiful and elusive, leaving many critics baffled and enraptured.

Kiarostami mines similar thematic territory in his follow-up movie “Like Someone in Love,” but it’s set in Tokyo with an all-Japanese cast. The result is very odd but strangely satisfying. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Like Someone In Love’’

Soderbergh Interview Part 2: On making ‘Side Effects,’ working in Hollywood and scaring Matt Damon

In the first half of my interview with director Steven Soderbergh, he went into great detail about what he’s going to do during his retirement: He’s looking to do nothing less than reinvent cinema.

In this second half, Soderbergh talks about his insanely busy schedule — he’s made five, count ’em five, movies in the past two years — the difficulties of working in Hollywood, and how he completely freaked out of Matt Damon. Continue reading ‘Soderbergh Interview Part 2: On making ‘Side Effects,’ working in Hollywood and scaring Matt Damon’

Steven Soderbergh talks about his retirement, becoming a ‘a primitive’ and the next iternation of cinema

Steven Soderbergh will talk to you only in 45-minute chunks of time. For most press junkets, the standard interview time is a mere 4 minutes. So when I got a chance to interview the director of “Magic Mike,” we had plenty of time to talk.

Soderbergh has had one of the most enviable careers out there. The director has made Oscar favorites like “Traffic,” Hollywood blockbusters like “Ocean’s Eleven,” and art-house flicks like “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Che.” Most remarkably, he navigates these very different spheres of filmdom without changing the way he makes movies. Soderbergh not only directs but also shoots and edits his films, no matter what the scale of the project.

Recently, Soderbergh has been making movies at a breakneck rate. Since 2011, he’s cranked out five flicks, including “Side Effects,” which comes out this week, and a Liberace biopic for HBO, “Beyond the Candelabra.” When the latter airs sometime later this year, that will be it, according to the director. He’s either retiring from big-budget movie making or he’s taking a long extended break. He’s not sure.

In this interview, the first of two parts, Soderbergh talks about what he wants to do during his retirement. It looks as though a Hawaiian vacation or catching up with his stamp collection isn’t at the top of his priority list. No, Soderbergh wants to take time away from the Hollywood rat race to reinvent the language of cinema.

[Related: Malik Bendjelloul talks about his Oscar-nominated movie ‘Searching for Sugar Man’]

Continue reading ‘Steven Soderbergh talks about his retirement, becoming a ‘a primitive’ and the next iternation of cinema’

Jennifer Lawrence charms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

“It’s exhausting and an honor. It’s an exhausting honor,” said “The Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence while on the red carpet at the Arlington Theater in downtown Santa Barbara this Saturday. Though last week the 22 year-old actress was reportedly suffering from pneumonia, she looked terrific in her off-the-shoulder Stella McCartney pant suit. Behind her was a throng of squealing teenage girls who would periodically shout her name in unison.

A frontrunner for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” Lawrence was in town to receive the “Most Outstanding Performer of the Year” award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival; one more prize to put on her increasingly cluttered trophy rack. Continue reading ‘Jennifer Lawrence charms at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’

Indie Roundup: ‘The Taste of Money’

Firebrand filmmaker Im Sang-soo’s last movie was a remake of the 1960 Korean classic “The Housemaid.” While the original is a film noir about middle-age anxiety, Im’s version was an extravagant middle finger extended to Korea’s 1 percent. In his latest movie, “The Taste of Money,” he once again spins a deliriously baroque tale about the sordid lives of the uber-rich. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘The Taste of Money’’

February 2013

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