Amoeblog

Spotlite on Paul Anderson

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2008 09:04pm | Post a Comment

Background

Paul Anderson is a prolific Generation X filmmaker with a trademark style and five Academy Awards under his belt. He's also made music videos for everyone who's performed at Largo. In addition to his film-making, he's dated models turned singers, singers turned models, daughters of singers and models who only sing in the shower.

Style

Paul Anderson's films are notable for their flashy style and complicated, interweaving story lines. As one of the video store generation of filmmakers, he employs a large bag of cinematic tricks, including quick cuts, constant camera movement, stunning scenery, dutch tilts, low angles, high angles and revolving pullback shots-- tricks gleaned from growing up with a VCR rather than film school learning. He frequently employs female-led ensemble casts drawn from a stock of trusted actors. Making up that group are such players as Julianne Moore, Sean Pertwee, John C. Reilly, Colin Salmon, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeremy Bolt, Melora Walters, Jason Isaacs, and Luiz Guzman, to name a few.

Themes

Anderson's ostentatious style is frequently used to elevate the seemingly mundane to epic proportions. Sometimes the point of this ostentatious streak seems merely like showing-off, perhaps an effect of Anderson's high level of film exposure but probable lack of theory. He frequently revels in the seedy underside of outwardly blissful environs. Other frequently recurring themes include constructions and examinations of makeshift families, the role of media, divine acts, secret governmental organizations and the unintended consequences of technology run amok.

Films

He made his first film while still in High School. It was The Dirk Diggler Story. It was a short mockumentary inspired by the teenage Anderson's voracious appetite for porn.

Continue reading...

(I vilket författaren diskuterar hans favoritt direktör.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 14, 2007 08:23am | Post a Comment

Today is Ingmar Bergman’s birthday!

I know – you’re ready to leap from the computer to rush out to buy a piñata and cake.

Or, more likely, you re-read the above sentence a couple times as your brain grappled with confusion over whether or not I wrote Ingrid Bergman. Quite possibly, some of you still think I did.


Actress Ingrid Bergman, star of "Casablanca" and the Bergman film "Autumn Sonata";
no relation to the director and much better looking in a dress.

I’m not being (intentionally) condescending; it’s just that that’s what seems to happen every time I gush about my most favorite film director.

Fellini, Buñuel, Pasolini, Hitchcock, Godard, Woody Allen… There are many film directors that cause me to go weak in the superego, but none of them so deeply penetrate my soul and slop it on the screen like ol’ Ingmar.

Furthermore, many of his films star his ex-wife and one of my favorite actresses, Liv Ullman.


Liv Ullman looking ravishing as she has a nervous breakdown in "Persona"

I’m the first to admit that his films aren’t for everyone. They’re an intimidating option when considering an evening’s entertainment. When faced with “what to do”, who in their right mind would subject themselves to a somber, cryptic and psychologically penetrating film in which handsome Swedes come to grips with their innermost core-of-self amidst Midnight Sun landscapes?

Me. I would subject myself. Sadly, I’m often alone for the ride. It’s hard to convince your date that a five hour epic like “Scenes From a Marriage” – in which you see a happy couple crumble toward divorce in episodes that make “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” seem like “Oliver & Company” – is good material for snuggling.


"Oh darling, I can hardly wait until your treachery leads me to contemplate suicide!"
Liv Ullman & Erland Jospehson in "Scenes From a Marriage"
My father was a proud Swede. Actually, most Swedes are proud Swedes. Listening to him speak about Swedish culture, you’d think the Garden of Eden still existed, and it’s capital was Stockholm. He took me there when I was a teenager for a disastrous trip that was meant to bring us closer together but instead ended up in me pretending to have the flu and hiding in my hotel room to watch Euro-Mtv while he went out in search of museums and got lost.

Even so, his expressions of admiration for Sweden had an impact on me; not in that I was hypnotized with amour for the country itself, rather, it became a reminder of everything that was my father. He was a typical Swede, so Swedes remind me of him. (He passed away in 2000.)

Oh… I suppose I should have mentioned that Ingmar Bergman is Swedish. Those of you who didn’t know were probably wondering what the hell was going on as I leapt from subject to subject without any semblance of continuity. Sorry!

Anyway, milkshakes are a delicious, cool, dessert beverage that are wonderful to attract ants with on a hot summer’s day.


I cite my relationship with my father because it accounts for some of the profound emotional impact that Bergman’s work has on me. Those of you who didn’t have stoic, Swedish dads who were raised by Victorian women (and many of you don’t, it seems) may not buckle in the face of Bergman’s work like I do. The final scene of “Through a Glass Darkly” ends with the son exclaiming in astonishment that his father “spoke” to him (meaning honestly) and it makes me cry every time.

Even so, you may find yourself deeply pondering the nature of your heart and mind after watching one of his movies. Bergman himself stated (in a 2004 interview) that he can no longer watch his own films because they "depress him". Ouch.

Many, many filmmakers cite Bergman as an influence, and any film student will/has been presented with his work.

There are dozens of hilarious spoofs of his films: Chevy Chase and Louise Lasser do a sketch in the first season of Saturday Night Live about tricking Death into leaving them alone by sending him away to pick up a pizza; SCTV has a great scene in which listless women babble in fake Swedish while accosted by midgets; the character of Death in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" is a take-off of the Death character in “The Seventh Seal” and Woody Allen’s fantastic film “A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy” is rife with silly nods to the director.


"I would love to have children!" Happier times between Woody & Mia

Woody Allen very directly (no pun intended) went through a period wherein which he made films so obviously influenced by Ingmar that they are referred to as his “Bergman period”. They also account for the period in which fans of Woody’s comic pieces were frustrated and annoyed by him. Of these works, “Interiors” is the most obvious “Bergman film”.


Separated at birth: Scenes from Ingmar's "Autumn Sonata" & Woody's "Another Woman"

Are you still reading this? It’s not one of my funnier blogs. I get really worked up by Bergman.

If you’ve never seen any of his works, I recommend starting with “The Seventh Seal”. It’s his most famous, and it’s a good gauge to determine whether or not to continue with others. If you see it and like it, continue on with “Persona” (a personal favorite). If you hated it, try “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” because it is funny and has nothing to do with Bergman. At all.

And let me know what you think. I’m always curious to hear people’s opinions about his films.

Grattis på födelsedagen, Ingmar!

(In which the group's adventures come to a close.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 11, 2007 09:14am | Post a Comment
Everyone awoke a little gloomy. It was our last day, and check-out time was only four hours away. Logan in-particular was not okay with this and sought out the front desk to plea our case. The result was a new check-out time of four o’clock, at no additional charge.

I’m not sure what Logan had to do to get this sweet deal; knowing her, they were probably just charmed, but that makes for a boring blog, so let’s pretend she seduced the owner’s wife, or at the very least threatened them with rad karate moves.


"Hit me with your best shot" - Logan in control

With only half a day left, the majority agreed that the best thing to do was give me a haircut.

Uh, wha...? Really? It’s that bad?

What I saw as my sexy, shaggy mop – so hip and suave was, unbeknownst to me, something akin to Eric Stoltz’ hot look in the movie “Mask”. Apparently I had been unwittingly turning Greek adventurers into stone with my mere hairdo. Who knew?


Bad hair daze: Eric Stoltz, Medusa, and me

Carrie was adamant. She was going to cut my hair. My boyfriend immediately switched to publicist mode, yelling demands and controlling events from his chaise lounge. “Short!” he kept shouting, “Short… short!”


BEFORE: Carrie assesses the situation


The Master Hair-stylist can adapt to any situation


Beauty and the Beast

My own opinions were merely tolerated as flights of fancy. I had been reduced to a pre-Suffragette woman with hopes of one day earning a living for herself, winning the right to vote, or at the very least, opening her own door without being seen as a dangerous lesbian.

“All I want is a room of my own,” I implored, “Or a beer and a smoke. Get me a beer and a smoke!” I transformed into a high-maintenance star. I demanded fresh, cold bruskis and lit cigarettes. Logan, who photographed the event, became my unwitting slave.

“I want music!” I howled.

“The turntable’s in the living room,” Logan explained.

“Then move it into the kitchen!” I screeched. I reasoned I could afford to be so petulant, because I had subjected myself to the group’s desire to convert my coiffure. Suddenly, the cliché roles of Hollywood celebrity-versus-production company made new sense to me. They wanted to use me as a product; as such, my body/mind must succumb to their vision, the payoff for which is the need to keep me happy, lest I sabotage everything.

It’s a circle of life.


AFTER: Apparently I gained 15 pounds during my haircut

To her credit, Carrie gave me what I honestly believe to be the best haircut I’ve e’er had.

(For the last six or seven years of my life I have cut my own hair. I began doing this out of spite. Every time I went to a barber, I would carefully and clearly explain what I wanted, then they would proceed to do whatever gruesome scheme had been dictated them over the night by the dog down the street. Hair by Son of Sam. And for this I would pay money. Actual money! Finally I snapped and refused to stay in such an abusive relationship.

“I may well f**k up my hair by cutting it myself,” I reasoned, “But at least I won’t be paying for it, too.”)

After the styling, Corey couldn’t keep his hands off me, which is exactly the sort of behavior I encourage.


"Get that camera out of my love life!" - Job & Corey, post-haircut

The four of us milled around our beloved bungalow and lamented losing it. The time came to pack and we did. It was the first time in three days we had to do something we didn’t want to do, and we were little, whinny, crybabies about it.

Logan spoke of returning to Los Angeles as though she were being returned to Guantanamo Bay.

With heavy hearts and a loaded car, we left 29 Palms. We set course for an hour-long detour through scenic Joshua Tree. Carrie took it upon herself to play DJ with my 80-gig iPod, causing sonic whiplash as she segued from “Miss Clare Remembers” by Enya to “Nasty” by Janet Jackson.


We stopped along the way to take photographs. At some point during the shoot, Logan and Corey spotted a rattlesnake relaxing nearby. At the exact moment they announced this, I was snapping a picture of Carrie, and the face I captured is hilarious! But to keep her from deleting it, she made me promise not to post it. Let me tell you, you are missing out. But a promise is a promise and you won’t see it here on my blog.

HOWEVER, send $17.00 and a blank t-shirt to me, c/o Amoeba Music Hollywood, and I will make you a “Carrie reacts to news of a rattlesnake” t-shirt; destined to be a collector’s item and quite possibly the end of her friendship with me.


Christine McVie & Stevie Nicks... oh wait, it's Logan & Carrie.


"We'll build the next Amoeba Music on that rock, there" - Logan & Job

By the time we made it through the desert, night had fallen. It wasn’t long before we were once again engulfed in neon lights and acres of strip-malls.


This is what a Manager of Amoeba Music looks like. Apply within.

We stopped at In-n-Out Burger. Carrie and I could have sworn we saw a customer order “peppers” and receive some from behind the counter. She and Logan were also wowed by my fries, which I had ordered “animal-style”, an option they weren’t aware existed. I also order my double-double “protein-style”, which is sans-bun for those of you not in-the-know. It led to us pondering what secrets In-n-Out still has.

“What other options are there?” we wondered. Could I order my milkshake “Full House” and receive it with an autographed 8x10 glossy of a nude John Stamos?

Dude… that would rock...


[Insert a few minutes of silence here as the author ponders this, before sudden embarrassment snaps him back to reality.]

Logan was beginning to suffer from her recent sunburn, but gallantly drove us the whole way, cashing in on that private-reserve of stoic determination that God bequeaths all Daughters of Sappho. We played games of 20 Questions the whole ride home.

(I was unjustly ridiculed for some of my answers, dear reader. You would be horrified to learn of the way my fellow travelers abused me during this game. It was inevitable that my best friend and my boyfriend, meeting on this vacation for the first time, would eventually join forces against me. It was cruel, oh my brothers, so that even the Angels would weep for my soul as it was tormented by my friends’ total poopy-facedness.)

It’s moments like now that make having a blog so worthwhile.

Logan and Carrie dropped Corey and I off at his home, and we said our good-byes.

The next day, Carrie and I rendezvoused one last time for a brief shopping stint on Melrose, then we walked to Amoeba, where a taxi took her away from us. John Doe was playing an in-store, but even that couldn’t lighten Logan or my heart.

Huge, grey storm-clouds appeared and began drizzling. Babies cried, and mothers went out in a vain search for food. Men stood in unemployment lines, as cattle died of disease. Stock markets crashed and World Trade Centers crumbled again and again. French fries turned cold. In short, all was lame.

Until ten minutes later when I began watching season two of “The L Word”.

The end!

The Best Years of Our Lives

Posted by Job O Brother, April 14, 2007 08:44pm | Post a Comment

               EXT. GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATRE - NIGHT

               JOB, (early 30's) and his boyfriend COREY (late 20's), exit
               the theatre amidst the late-night crowds of tourists, all
               looking downward at the celebrity-made prints in the sidewalk
               panels.

               The marquee behind them reads "GRINDHOUSE".

                                   COREY
                         You like it?

               Job nods.

               Beat.

                                   JOB
                         Very much.

                                   COREY
                             (chuckles)
                         You're glowing!

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