trailer tuesday

this week's entry is for jean renoir's magnificent la bĂȘte humaine (1938).


trailer tuesday

this week's entry bends the rules just a little bit. it is a trailer for a live puppet show with film elements so i am going to say it qualifies based on that. it also qualifies in that this feature celebrates the art of the trailer and this one is fantastic, no matter what it's for. ladies and gentlemen, i give you kevin mcturk's the narrative of victor karloch.

it will see a film release in 2012 as part of heather henson's handmade puppet dreams film series. you can also find out more at the spirit cabinet. i can't wait to see the finished product. this is beautiful work.


having a field(s) day with starlite cinema

the january edition of starlite cinema is in the books and it was sorely needed.

let me tell you a little about why starlite cinema is so important to me and why i hope everyone can find the time to come out one of these evenings. it has been a difficult beginning to this new year. still in mourning for one friend, yesterday my friends and i lost another one. i keep thinking that someday soon we are going to wake up from this collective bad dream that has been 2012 so far and everything will be set right. i know a lot of people must be feeling similarly. i busy myself with work but that's not always enough and, as it goes when you lose someone, what you love about them and the void that is causing pain and grief are inextricably bound up in one another. it's sad and difficult to see the friends you have in common but, simultaneously, all you want to do is be there for whatever they need. i am a fairly solitary person, and it feels like that is only going to become more pronounced for the forseeable near future, but, in the wake of these terrible things, the thing that has made all of us feel a little bit better is how much everyone we know is coming together and helping each other. i read an interview with tom waits some years ago in which he mused about this life being a constant war between the light and the dark and the nagging suspicion that maybe the dark has just one more spear. well, as hard as these three weeks have been on everyone, at least it has shown me that that fear is unfounded. i have watched my friends pick each other up, lock arms and stare that dark right in the eye and the numbers are on our side. tonight was a perfect example of that.

knowing that these have been trying times, lauren went out of her way to find out what my most favorite dish is and to have that surprise on the stove when i arrived to start setting up for the screening tonight. it was one of those little things that means the world. she and stephen are always so gracious to us, sharing their home for these. this is more than that, though. your friends tell you they love you in all kinds of ways, some of the most important being just doing what they can to offer you simple comforts, a modicum of relief or just a place to set everything down for a little while. i appreciate it more than i can say. it will always be the best mushroom matar i have ever had. and, in typical above-and-beyond fashion, there was also blueberry pie and ice cream. in return, i offered an evening of some of my favorite things. our feature was the w.c. fields vehicle it's a gift (1934). since that's relatively short we also had a large program of two-reelers prior to the main attraction that included more fields in the dentist (1932) and the barbershop (1933), laurel and hardy's county hospital (1932) and the little rascals in mush and milk (1933), which includes this inimitable moment from tommy bond.

dear lord, that never fails to make me cry with laughter. these are the things that happen at starlite cinema. it's about so much more than watching movies. it's about being together, sharing moments that we're going to think about, with any luck, for the rest of our lives. i am fortunate to be rich with such friends. you should come spend these evenings with us, if you can.

our next program is going to be in mid-february and we will be screening jean vigo's luminous l'atalante (1934) in honor of valentine's day. this feverish romance is a milestone of french cinema, far ahead of its time. uncommonly sensuous and poetic, it was the last film vigo made in a career cut tragically short by tuberculosis. this also marks our first foray into high-definition projection so you will get a chance to see this film looking better than it has looked since 1934. our screening date is saturday, 2.18.12 at 7:30 p.m. you can rsvp via facebook here. if you're not facebook-enabled just get in touch and i will get you the particulars. i hope to see you there. until then, take care of one another.


buzz off to you too

here's a little tidbit for you. sometimes the greatest moments in this life are accidental. sometimes you are lucky enough to capture them on film. during the shooting of jim jarmusch's down by law (1986), roberto benigni was supposed to approach tom waits in this scene and say "that's sad and beautiful music". being benigni's first english language film, he misspoke the line as "it's a sad and beautiful word" which waits also misheard as "it's a sad and beautiful world". cinema's shortest game of telephone resulted in one of my favorite scenes in all of this world. love your accidents, folks.


trailer tuesday

in honor of muhammad ali's birthday today, this week's entry is for leon gast's when we were kings (1996).


just give me a decent muriel

the fine folks over at the muriel awards have been gracious enough to ask me to participate in this year's festivities and i couldn't be more pleased to take part, as some of my favorite web-based film writers contribute their two cents each year. i invariably find out about some great thing i missed via their thoughtful and eclectic ballots. right now i am scrambling like mad to catch up on the things i missed in 2011 to make sure no cinematic stone is unturned come 2.4.12, the day my ballot is due. in the meantime, head on over if you'd like to see the results from the past few years or a picture of muriel herself, the guinea pig this whole shebang is named after.

that is actually not muriel. she could probably lift at least twice that.

you can also check out our science is too tight while you're at it, which is where all the excellent work from muriel voters is regularly collected for you in one convenient place. peek in on what the other voters are watching, reading and writing about in our run up to the furriest award of the season. in the meantime, i will be filling out my ballot about a dozen times between now and then. see you on the red carpet!


trailer tuesday

this week's entry is for lee chang-dong's poetry (2010). if you find yourself often bemoaning the dearth of quality roles for women, especially older women, you owe it to yourself to see this.



if you are uncompromising and difficult, be grateful every day for the one who understands you.


trailer tuesday

this week's entry is dedicated to esme and all the friends we share simply because we all believed, at one point or another, that rock and roll would save us. you guys are all i can think about right now. ladies and gentlemen, allan arkush's rock 'n' roll high school (1979).



early sunday morning, when the new year was just a couple of hours old, our friend esme barrera was tragically, inexplicably murdered in her own home. it is heart-rending. just the idea that my little sister is so sick with grief is too much for me to stand, much less all the other terrible and far-reaching ramifications of this horrible crime. i can't recall another time in my life when so many people that i love were in so much pain. our whole city, at least our part of it, has had its heart broken. perhaps we can take solace in the fact that the overwhelming outpouring of love and support from hundreds of friends is a testament to just exactly how universally adored esme was. perhaps there is no solace to be had right now. i am not sure it is possible in the immediate wake of something so awful, random and unnecessary.

i was lucky enough to know esme through our job at the record store together, the same way a lot of my other friends met her. to a person, every one of them will tell you that she was kind, funny, irrepressible, loving, caring and giving. it's the absolute truth and it's an understatement. she deserved better. i will always hear haylee's voice, telling me about it, "she was a good girl, all she did was go home". she was more than good and this has left an irreparable hole in inestimable hearts. the only thing i can really think to do now is honor her example. you know those people that you're in the trenches with every day, behind record/book store counters, waiting tables together, teaching kids, whatever else you do? pick them up at every opportunity. let them know what they mean to you. if their face is the one that always brightens your day, tell them so. haylee, bobby, summer, joe (and i don't mean to slight anyone by not mentioning you specifically, this is just who is at the forefront of my jumbled thoughts right now) and all my other dear friends, i love you and i don't know what i would do without you. i know how much everyone is hurting right now and i am so sorry. until you see her again, know that she is saving you a space.