Category: The Auteurs

KEVIN SMITH LIVE!

Published October 30, 2008

WORDSLINGER’S NOTE: Here’s another post that kind of defies categorization. This could literally go under Pop Culture, ROFLMAO – funny videos, The Auteurs, hell, considering the subject, even This Site is 420 Friendly. While I hesitate to lump Kevin Smith in with Hitchcock, Scorcese or Spielberg, if an auteur is an artist with a distinctive style, I think the man qualifies … even if some would say he put the stink in distinctive.

Say what you will about writer/director/actor Kevin Smith and his lewd, crude and hilarious oeuvre (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), the man has his followers and they are legion. His latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, is getting good reviews despite the fact that the title of this erstwhile slacker love story is causing certain theaters to ban the flick, which, like most of Smith’s work is an odd mix of dick jokes, scatological humor and sentimentality. The man’s heart is definitely in the right place, even if his mind is in the gutter. And yet, give the man a microphone, a spotlight and an audience, and he is arguably more entertaining than his films.
Kevin Smith
Between An Evening With Kevin Smith (2002) and An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (2006), two concert films where Smith talks to various college audiences, there are literally HOURS of material. Nearly 8 hours between the two DVDs. (A third, Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith, has just been released.) Featuring some of the funniest Hollywood anecdotes I have ever heard, Smith is a natural-born storyteller.

After watching Smith’s first two ‘concerts’ on You Tube, I knew I had to blog about this. And yet, I have been scratching my brain trying to figure out what to include. There is WAY too much material to put up (unless, of course, you guys ask me to post them in their entirety, and I will do so). Until then, I have picked some of the juiciest bits, including Smith relating the story of how in the mid-1990s über-producer Jon Peters hired him to write Superman Lives (the unproduced script can be found here), his ensuing feud with Tim Burton (who was to direct the film with Nicholas Cage starring), and a later battle with his Royal Badness, Prince. Nobody dishes dirt like Smith and these are some of the funniest insider stories I have ever heard.

Smith’s language can be quite blue, but you knew that.

Prepare to be entertained.

(Oh, a couple of these videos are slow loaders — pausing and waiting helps.)


KEVIN SMITH ON SUPERMAN, JON PETERS AND TIM BURTON
part one




KEVIN SMITH ON SUPERMAN, JON PETERS AND TIM BURTON
part two




KEVIN SMITH ON SUPERMAN, JON PETERS AND TIM BURTON
part three




KEVIN SMITH DISHES ON PRINCE
part one




KEVIN SMITH DISHES ON PRINCE
part two




KEVIN SMITH DISHES ON PRINCE
part three




KEVIN SMITH DISHES ON PRINCE
part four




KEVIN SMITH ON REACTIONS FROM PETERS, BURTON AND PRINCE

SCHICKEL INTERVIEWS HITCHCOCK

Published October 4, 2008

Shot in 1973, film historian Richard Schickel’s multi-part documentary The Men Who Made The Movies is a fascinating look at cinema and its more distinctive auteurs. Never more so than when he interviewed Alfred Hitchcock and got the Master of Suspense to talk at length regarding some of his most infamous films.
Hitchcock in front of the Bates' home
If you read an earlier post called HITCHCOCKED! — regarding a brief-but-fascinating documentary about the filmmaker — this doc is much more in-depth, featuring Hitch himself explaining his cinematic style, his theories on suspense, the invention of the MacGuffin and why he is terrified of policemen. Films discussed include: The Lodger, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Torn Curtain and Frenzy.

If you are a Hitchcock fan, this is well worth your time.


THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES – ALFRED HITCHCOCK

AFI’s THE DIRECTORS: MARTIN SCORSESE

Published September 11, 2008

I’ve been a fan of Martin Scorsese for years. My favorite films of his being, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Color of Money and GoodFellas. After a couple of missteps — I hated Bringing Out The Dead and Gangs of New York — he found his footing again in the new millennium with The Aviator and The Departed.

Having said that, I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t until a few months ago that I saw Mean Streets for the first time on TCM. Needless to say, I was blown away. It played like a warm-up and a prologue for GoodFellas. I loved it.

DeNIRO and SCORSESE on the set of TAXI DRIVER (1976)
Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese
Is there another filmmaker alive today with the savant-like instant recall of the history of cinema? As I stated in a previous post, the guy is a walking, fast-talking encyclopedia of film history. He is also a director of monumental skill.

What follows is the Martin Scorsese episode of AFI’s acclaimed, The Directors series. Starting with Marty’s early years, the hour-long documentary covers his films up through 2000.

Pretty fascinating — take a look.


AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 1)




AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 2)




AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 3)




AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 4)




AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 5)




AFI’s THE DIRECTORS – MARTIN SCORSESE (part 6)

HITCHCOCKED!

Published September 10, 2008

I’ve written at length on this site about my passion for the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Most recently about Psycho and Notorious. To those young readers who are unfamiliar with the movies of this undisputed Master of Suspense, I offer the following primer: HITCHCOCKED!

Produced in 2006 by Starz, this documentary packs a bevy of fascinating info into its all-too-brief 25-minute running time. Fillmmakers as diverse as Larry Cohen, Keith Gordon, Joe Dante, Carl Franklin, Ernest Dickerson and Sean Cunningham comment gleefully on how this British genius influenced not only their films, but the entire cinematic landscape of the last fifty years
Alfred Hitchcock
If you are a Hitchcock buff, you are sure to enjoy this program.

If you are a newbie, this is a great way to start learning about, arguably, the greatest filmmaker of all time. After you’re done, go out and rent … no, go out and buy the Hitchcock starter kit: Psycho, Vertigo, The Birds, Rear Window and North by Northwest. You can thank me later.


HITCHCOCKED! part 1




HITCHCOCKED! part 2




HITCHCOCKED! part 3




Interested in other filmmakers heavily influenced by Hitch?
See Brian DePalma, John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg.

MARTIN SCORSESE’S FAVORITE FILMS

Published September 5, 2008

I’ve been on a Martin Scorsese kick lately — I recently added After Hours and The King of Comedy to my Scorsese shelf (both highly recommended). As a result of this latest obsessive-compulsion, I am posting the first of perhaps three articles regarding this legendary filmmaker.

Produced in 1993 by Cinemax and The American Film Institute, the following program, Martin Scorsese’s Favorite Films, is a fascinating look into Marty’s passions and influences. If you’ve never heard Scorsese wax cinematic, I dare say there is no other film historian alive today who has the sheer depth of knowledge regarding the history of movies. The guy is a walking, fast-talking encyclopedia.

Here he reminisces about the films of his very-impressionable youth.

Have at it — more coming soon.


MARTIN SCORSESE’S FAVORITE FILMS – part 1




MARTIN SCORSESE’S FAVORITE FILMS – part 2




MARTIN SCORSESE’S FAVORITE FILMS – part 3

WATCH THE SKIES! SCI-FI, THE 1950s AND US

Published August 23, 2008

WORDLSINGER’S NOTE: Here’s another example of categories being limiting. Should this documentary be filed under Pop Culture, DVD reviews, Steven Spielberg? I think, given the visionary über-directors involved, I will put it under The Auteurs.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Critic and film historian Richard Schickel’s documentary, Watch The Skies! Science-Fiction, The 1950s and Us is a fascinating look at Hollywood sci-fi films, post-World War II. Produced in 2005 by TCM, the hour-long doc features George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Ridley Scott riffing on the alien, monster and nuclear-menace movies from their Cold-War paranoiac childhoods. They speak with love and affection of these pulp classics, explaining at length how they were influenced by such.

There are many clips from movies like, Forbidden Planet, Invaders From Mars, The Thing From Another World, The Day The Earth Stood Still, among others. The film wraps up with Steven Spielberg talking about his update of War of the Worlds (released the same year) and is a nice cap to this utterly fascinating and very entertaining program.
Forbidden Planet
Hey, I just noticed something. The two posters above both feature robots carrying scantily-clad damsels in distress. Perhaps such titillation was the fetish o’the day — King Kong would understand. Regardless, they sold millions of tickets and thrilled a generation of adolescent (and grown-up) filmgoers.

Whether you lived through the fifties or were born long after, this is a must see for cinemaphiles and sci-fi fans. And remember … just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Here you go.

NOTE: A couple of the videos below begin with a few seconds of bit-mappy static, but they all clear up shortly.


WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 1




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 2




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 3




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 4




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 5




WATCH THE SKIES! SCIENCE-FICTION, THE 1950s AND US – PART 6

STEVEN SPIELBERG – career retrospective interview

Published May 30, 2008

Despite the risk of over-saturating this site with posts about Steven Spielberg, I recently found a 2005 interview with the director conducted by British film historian, Mark Kermode. Covering the years 1969 (Night Gallery pilot) to 2006 (post Munich), this fascinating conversation is almost as good as Richard Schickel’s, TCM produced, Spielberg on Spielberg from 2007 (as soon as that is available for internet embedding, I will put it up). Also covered is the rumored legend of how a teenaged Steven walked off a Universal Studios tour bus and set up an office in a deserted sound stage — fascinating.
Steven Spielberg
If I have any complaint regarding this hour-long program, it’s that many of the films are discussed out of sequence and are instead ordered thematically — a quibble, but I’m anal.

If you are a fan of Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, or any of the other classic films by this gifted filmmaker, you will find something of interest in this career retrospective.

Here you go.


BBC’s THE CULTURE SHOW – INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN SPIELBERG (2006)