We’ve been utterly squashed by other work these past few days, and between that and keeping an eye on the election results (yes!) this blog’s been rather neglected. Still, a few things that need to be mentioned:
Like everyone else, we’re shaken by Adrienne Shelly‘s murder â€” Thomas J. Lueck and Al Baker at the New York Times have more details, and they’re awful. There’s been a lot of shock around the office, where many people were fans and/or had worked with her in some way (she had a role in IFC Films’ "Factotum" and in the network’s doc "In the Company of Women," and "Trust" is actually programmed to air later this month). Walter Chaw at Film Freak Central writes of "Trust":
It wasnâ€™t the quirk that affected me, but the writing and performances: telling too much to say that I connected hard with the depressed television repairman with a grenade and a crush. (Telling, to this day, that there are still large swaths of myself that persists in that identification.) When I learned that Shelly might have hung herself with a bedsheet, I remembered her character Mariaâ€™s announcement of her pregnancy leading to the sudden death of her father â€“ and there, vague and filamentous, an emotional, diaphanous connection between her life and this art. I canâ€™t put my finger on it, but I can feel it vibrating in the air.
I havenâ€™t felt this sad about a strangerâ€™s death since Spalding Gray walked into the frozen drink.
Daniel Pearl’s murder, although nearly five years old, is hardly solved. The most recent stir erupted in September, when President Musharraf revealed for the first time in his memoir, "In the Line of Fire," that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (identified by the US 9/11 Commission Report as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks) either killed Pearl or played a leading role in the planning of his murder. Musharraf says he confessed under Pakistani interrogation. Mr. Mohammad is currently being held at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, and has never been tried in connection with Pearl’s murder.
The Best Animated Feature Oscar long list â€” if all goes as planned, there will be five nominees this year as opposed to the three of the past few years.
The SF Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle launches a blog (all the kids are doing it these days). In celebration, he interviews himself. Incidentally, Criterion now has a blog, and Dave Carrpetbagger is back at the New York Times.
Does it feel a little like the old days? You’re on your own now with no corporate parent as you head into the Oscar season?
David Thomson at the Guardian thinks there are too many festivals and too many films:
Yet everyone who programmes these festivals will admit (quietly) that all over the world the number of films worth celebrating or saving from lack of distribution grows smaller every year. In other words, nobody interested in films is falling for this mania. The best we can do is try to ignore it.
At the Chicago Tribune, Monica Eng attempts a better-in-theory-than-in-practice piece that involves taking two Kazakh grad students to see "Borat" and then talking to them about it. One observes that "Americans don’t understand Kazakhstan anyway, so if it were a totally made-up name, it wouldn’t matter. You could say it’s near Russia and called `Mujikistan.’ A fake place would have been OK. No country would have been affected or offended."
In biz news, Martin Scorsese signs a four-year first-look deal with Paramount (via Robert W. Welkos at the LA Times). The Weinstein Co. picks up Gillian Armstrong‘s fictionalized Harry Houdini biopic "Death Defying Acts" â€” magicians! Fictionalized! Trendy! (Via Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter.) And First Independent has acquired Paul Fox‘s "Everything’s Gone Green," which is written by "Generation X"‘s Douglas Coupland (via Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE).
+ Actress Was Killed in Hanging Meant as Cover-Up, Officials Say (NY Times)
+ Trusting Adrienne Shelly (Film Freak Central)
+ Filming of movie brings new tension to Daniel Pearl case (CS Monitor)
+ 16 Expected to Contend for 2006 Animated Feature OscarÂ® (Oscars.org)
+ Mick LaSalle uncensored (SF Chronicle)
+ What makes Harvey Weinstein run? (LA Times)
+ Let us not see it all (Guardian)
+ ‘Are you like Borat?’ (Chicago Tribune)
+ Paramount teams with Scorsese (LA Times)
+ Weinstein in "Death Defying" deal for Houdini pic (HR)
+ First Independent Goes "Green" (indieWIRE)
+ Issues. November blowout. (Greencine Daily)