Movies In Another Universe

Okay, sure they will be the same films, but looking at these posters for Hollywood films of 20 & 30 years ago, all redone by Polish artists for then Soviet-controlled Poland, makes me want to see all of them! They look so much better this way. 

How great would it be if our posters could look this good! Wellmedicated has put together a great list of 50 Incredible Film Posters From Poland.
Can you name the film by the poster?  The Hollywood Studios would say it's a problem if you can't, but to me that's the joy.

But What IS Mingering?

If I had to pick one thing and one thing  only that truly moved, inspired me, expanded my mind, and moved my feet,  I would hand that golden stature to the greatest soul superstar you never heard of: Mingering Mike.

How all this incredible work found its way back to this world is pretty great too.  A record collector, Dori Hadar, bought some crates of records sight unseen.  Although Dori knew pretty much all there was to know about soul music, he encountered records he had never seen before.  Upon closer inspection, these sealed and stickered discs were clearly hand-painted.  A full examination revealed a complex world of musicians, producers, and session players, their rise and fall, complete with side explorations into movie soundtracks and benefit albums.  A complete mythology and rockin' universe.
Although the actual discs in the jackets were often cardboard facsimiles, Mike and his cousin recorded several tracks over the years, singing all the instruments themselves.  "Coffee Cake" is my number one single of the last three seasons.  Mike's music is now available for download on eMusic.  The book is must-buy for anyone who has ever danced or sang in their dreams (and Amazon has it bargain priced now).  The Ted Museum would certainly give Mike's entire collection front hall prominence.  And the movie, well the movie, will change your life and blow your mind (but we have to make it first!).

More Godard Trailers

You have to love the music in the MASCULINE FEMININE trailer:

I know that this film is to blame for my film school laundromat shoots, and those of many others.  And many young women's hair style and fashions to this day live comfortably in this forty year old footage.
BREATHLESS is responsible for so much, a day doesn't go by without being chock full of references:

The Land Of 1000 Cereals (this is that free choice you heard so much about?)

Over at BOWL OF NOSES there is a post of Charlie Chaplin's Eating Machine from Modern Times.  With it's robotic Rube Goldbergian complication, it delights me in it's misguided quest for efficiency.

Ryan Alexiev is an artist with complicated relationship to cold cereal, creating elaborate mosaics and more.  He's made one of my favorite short films I have seen in a while, THE WIZARD OF O'S, and with it brought a nicely streamlined version of Charlie's machine: The Golden Spoon.  Check it out.

Homemade Doctor Who

It's the weekend, so we are watching the Doctor.  We are almost done with Season Two.  Soon we will have to say good-bye to Rose.  It's tough to get enough.  I am sure that they can't make them fast enough.

Thankfully, the fans have started to make their own.  BoingBoing tipped us to this "sweded" adventure.  It's gets big points for the Dalek costume.

I Want To See This: Fear(s) Of The Dark

Why do Americans think animation is for kids?  Most of my favorite films last year were animations.  Animation works on so many levels and can truly tap into our subconscious.  The freedom of form is exhilarating.  

My daily surfs took me to this trailer for Fear(s) Of The Dark.  I hope the film comes to NYC and soon. -- I just got word that IFC is bringing it to NYC in November! (thanks Jim!)

postscript: I saw the film. Charles Burns section is worth twice the price of admission!

Recommended Viewing #3: Nausica Of The Valley Of The Wind

NAUSICA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1992) was the first film of Studio Ghibli (even before they were Studio Ghibili!).  It's got everything in it, from the first seeds of steampunk, robots, a great female youthful heroine, and an environmental message (plus another one of how aggression is often a cry for love...).  We've watched it numerous times, have the figures, and our very own pet fox-squirrel.

New Miyazaki Film!

The new film from Hayao Miyazaki will open in Japan this month.  So the countdown for it coming stateside has begun.  It's already being called a classic.

The official Studio Ghibli website for it is here now though (okay, so what if it is in Japanese, just click around it and explore!).  Evidently it is geared for a younger audience than the last few and is closer in tone to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE.  The film is called PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA.
The title character, Ponyo, is a girl fish with a human face who decides one day to leave her underwater home — and her school of smaller sisters — to see what lies on the surface. Riding on the back of a jellyfish, she is nearly trapped by a drift net, but escapes — with her head stuck in a glass jar. Sosuke , a boy who lives on a house on a seaside cliff, spots Ponyo in the shallows and rescues her. He is delighted with his new pet — and Ponyo is delighted to be in the human world at last. She says her first words, to Sosuke's astonishment — and begins a transformation from half-fish to human.

Meanwhile, her human father, Fujimoto, who lives in an undersea manse with Ponyo's sea-queen mother, starts to search for her. With his long hair, beaky nose and tormented, bags-under-the-eyes expression, Fujimoto looks like a decayed aristocrat from a shojo manga (girls' comic), but he possesses magical powers over the waves, which become like living creatures under his command. What can a mere kid, if one with a feisty mom he calls Lisa, and a good-natured, if mostly absent, ship-captain dad, do to stop him?
I wonder what will the equivalent of the Cat Bus in this one?

One Of The Top Films Of All Time: Chris Marker's La Jetee

Chris Marker's LA JETEE haunts many filmmakers' work.  When I went to NYU, it was required viewing and I think you can see it's influence in many grads' work.  Its marriage of form and content has rarely been equaled.  His film SANS SOLEIL has also forever provoked me to deliver a true Essay Film -- and I will one day.  Both are Required Viewing.  

One of the beautiful things about his work is that its effect runs far beyond the work at hand; he changes how we look at things, makes us reflect upon our own choices.  Marker is a true believer in the power of the dialogue between screen and audience. He recognizes how some of the best work is created when our imagination fills in the gaps.  Today far too much is actually shown, preventing us from becoming complicit in the narratives. His great essay on Hitchcock's VERTIGO makes clear his passion for this process.  If only others could follow this lead...

There's a lot of great writing on this film out there. Here's Senses Of Cinema's...

Recommended Viewing #1: My Beautiful Girl Mari

Lee Seong-kang's MY BEAUTIFUL GIRL MARI (2002) was one of our great film discoveries this year.  The animation is beautiful and inventive.  It's the story of a young boy who seems to have everyone around him always leaving him.  He seems to find a solution by entering a dream world, where he meets Mari.  Seeing it's set during his summer vacation there's no better time to watch it than right now.  We'd say appropriate for age 7+.

Wanted: New Database

I have a child.  I am always looking for new films to explore with him.  It's hard to find truly age appropriate films.  I have a pretty good handle on the classics, but we like to explore too (Check out our blog Bowl Of Noses).

How sweet it would be to have a database that sorts all of the films by the age of the protagonists?  Does it exist?  Will you build it for us?

The Fifty Greatest Cartoons Ever!

The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals is a 1994 book by animation historian Jerry Beck.  Five of the top fifteen are up on the internet for you viewing pleasure, including one of our faves Duck Amuck.  Porky In Wackyland is so great (and not available on line).  If you don't have the Looney Tunes Collection, we recommend a netflix order or purchase.  Vol. 1 has Duck Amuck.  Vol. 2 has Porky In Wackyland.  No life is complete without having seen Wackyland.  Seriously.  You have our word.  Check these out online.

15. Bad Luck Blackie (1949)

Best Film of 2008: Blu

I saw another installation/film of Blu's awhile back at a gallery in NYC with my family and we were blown (bluwn?) away.  In that one you could see him painting the animation but this one, sans human, with the sun and clouds working as the clock, adds onto the prior one's promise. 

Right now, this is my favorite film of the 2008.  This guy's imagination soars -- and thus does the same for mine.  My son had loved the first one as much as I did.  You might want to scout this one first before screening for the young 'uns as it is a tad freaky -- but good freaky fun if you ask me.  
Of course it is ultimately graffiti and you may have to explain that one, less your walls start to change.  Not to mention the explanation on why Buenos Aires is looking cooler than NYC.

Check out his whole website here.