New Cinema Scope! Editor Mark Peranson calls this issue "the annual ‘let’s throw things together ahead of schedule, cross our fingers, and pray we’re done in time’" one, and among the online goodies are Michael Sicinski‘s interview with Scott MacDonald, Robert Koehler on the "seven-disc-plus-booklet box set of the works of Norman McLaren produced by the National Film Board of Canada" and Christoph Huber on Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival.
At first glance, Miami Vice would only confirm the most widespread critical opinion about Michael Mann as an artist of exceptional talent, whose stylistic virtuosity makes up for the lightness of his intentions, the intensity of the form having the tendency to mask the incoherence of the intrigue or the vagueness of the thought. But his last film belongs to those that would require two viewings. The first, to make a list of its disappointed expectations and weaknesses, and the second, to attend to what it does do: exploit the aesthetic possibilities of high definition and to draw all the consequences for the narrative. Then the weaknesses are changed into hypotheses, undoubtedly fragile but unfailingly innovative, of a new regime of the visible, generating a new kind of action film.
At the New York Times, Lawrence Levi reviews David Thomson’s "Nicole Kidman": "Ostensibly a critical biography, it comes off as a weird and unseemly mash note." At the London Times, more of Thomson‘s mashing — on Kidman‘s upcoming project "The Visiting": "Iâ€™m not sure how proven a director [Oliver] Hirschbiegel is, but I suspect he was a large attraction in this project for Kidman. (If you were doing that story, would you have Kidman as the valiant heroine or the ultimate alien, with her staring blue eyes and her luminous pale skin?) Itâ€™s hard to be sure how these films will turn out." And over at the Independent, Shane Danielsen conducts an argument with Thomson over the merits of his subject, musing "Ah, you’ve got it bad…"
And a few quick things: Via Empire, John Krasinski of the US "The Office" has written a script based on David Foster Wallace‘s "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," and plans to shoot it in November. We love DFW, and we cannot begin to comprehend how someone would adapt any of his books or stories for the screen, particularly that one.
One day, having grabbed a steaming hot dog from a street vendor to tide me over till dinner, I got into an elevator, hoping to slip upstairs unnoticed, when suddenly a swarm of festival-goers crowded into the elevator, led by Parker Posey, who mercilessly mocked my choice of condiment, wondering why I had picked ketchup when there were now so many other tantalizing alternatives available.
Also at the LA Times, Lorenza MuÃ±oz reports that Fox "plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year under a banner called FoxFaith. At least six of those films will be released in theaters under an agreement with two of the nation’s largest chains, AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas." Transparently cynical marketing ploy, or savvy courting of ignored market? We report, you decide (ploy).
And Saeed Taji Farouky at BBC News sends a dispatch from Cinema Days of Beirut:
The city’s only art-house cinema had its official opening on 11 July, the day before the Israeli bombardment of the city began.
Hania Mroue, festival director and Metropolis founder, began housing refugees in the cinema space and organised workshops and screenings to keep the city’s besieged residents distracted.
"People continued coming to the cinema the next day, even though war had started," she says. "They came. I don’t understand how and why they came even though Beirut was being bombed, but they came. And even the third day they kept coming."
+ Issue 28 (Cinema Scope)
+ Very High Definition (Cahiers Du Cinema)
+ Godard and Varda in Space (Cahiers Du Cinema)
+ Star Struck (NY Times)
+ Nicole at forty (London Times)
+ Nicole Kidman: a debate (Independent)
+ John Krasinski Finds Hideous Men (Empire)
+ Toronto scene: Stars and substance (LA Times)
+ New Fox Unit to Produce Christian Films (LA Times)
+ Beirut festival’s defiant gesture (BBC)