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December 5 at 12:38pm

The Benefits Of Less

For my tastes, I have long encouraged the practice of getting away from the cinema of excess and getting back to the compromise.  I have always learned a great deal by bouncing back and forth between budgets.  Truth be told, for me it is out of necessity, not strategy.  Yet for directors, the proof has come that it should be part of the process.

Time and time again, filmmakers have rejuvenated themselves, their work, and their careers by dropping their budgets and picking up some freedom in exchange.
Ang Lee, Alfonso Cuaron, Gus Van Sant, Steven Soderbergh have all done this, with Crouching Tiger, Y Tu Mama, Gerry/Elephant, and Schizopolis.  Coming off of The Hulk, Great Expectations, Finding Forester, and The Underneath respectively, these subsequent “indie” productions yielded great work (generally) and a major creative reboot.
And now we get to witness this again with Darren Aaronofsky’s The Wrestler, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, and Jonathon Demme’s Rachel Getting Married.  These are three of the year’s best films.  This formula could also be applied to Van Sant’s Milk (which I hope to see this weekend) but now the back and forth between budgets and control appears to be part of Gus’ process.
Ann Thompson pointed this out to everyone in the business today so hopefully we can witness a few others gaining from the new poverty.  Anne includes my other fave of the year, Ari Fohlman’s Waltz With Bahir, as another benefiter of this approach.

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November 27 at 12:17pm

The Perfect Marriage Of Sound & Vision

I was completely inspired by Danny Boyle’s SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.  In many, many ways: Form and content aligned;  Not only was it about the world today, it was about film history and where it can go;  It had total respect for the audience and desired to both please, inform, and encourage.  We all need to reach higher.  

The list could go on and on for me, but a key thing was the soundtrack.  Man, did it rock.  And take me to other places.  Immediately it went to the top of my wish list.  And now I can listen to it free.  Legally, too.  That’s something to be thankful for.
Rhapsody has added it to it’s library.  Rhapsody allows you to listen to 25 tracks for free a month. So that means you can listen to the Slumdog soundtrack right now.   It may be early morning, but we are dancing in our house.  This soundtrack is to me what Last King Of Scotland’s soundtrack was previously.  Why is it that when Brits go to other countries to make great films, they come back with great soundtracks?
Any way, you can join the party and listen to it by just clicking here.  Just then add each song to your player and let your ass do all the rest.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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