Friday, April 15, 2005

We love Ted!
A shameless plug:
Hey, I don't care what Jane Fonda or the folks at the WWE say about him; Ted Turner is on our permanent list of all-time media good guys. Oh, I know he can say crazy things and threaten to apply crayons to every old movie in his library, but he just does that because he likes the way it makes your face turn all purple. In his heart of hearts, Billionaire Ted is a genuine hero. Why? Because no matter what else he may have done in his life, he brought us Turner Classic Movies, the classiest act on cable.
While the once-praised "American Movie Classics" has become so unwatchable that it's not even worth bothering to check its listing, TCM sticks to its artistic guns and exceeds expectations time and time again.
The evidence:
Tomorrow's five-film tribute to Jean Renoir;
A four part "Star of the Month" feast of Orson Welles films in May, including screenings not only of the obvious Kane and Touch of Evil, but also of The Immortal Story, Mr. Arkadin, F For Fake and Othello;
and a Cinco de Mayo salute to Luis Bunuel featuring Los Olvidados, Nazarin, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"Do you know anything about a guy going around playing the harmonica? He's someone you'd remember. Instead of talking, he plays. And when he better play, he talks..."

I don't know about you, but my Sergio Leone obsession hasn't brought me anything but a stack of Ennio Morricone albums and a wish that I could find a nice long duster. Lucky Christopher Frayling got a knighthood for his... The Independent talks to the man who wrote the definitive book of Spaghetti Westerns.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rescuing Ryan

In the early 70s, Ryan Larkin's animated short films like "Walking" and "Street Musique" were heralded as small masterpieces of personal expression, lively free-style displays of movement and color that gave the impression of an impressionist's sketches brought to life. Thirty years later, Larkin's successes have largely been forgotten and he's been reduced to living on hand-outs. In this year's Academy Award winning Ryan, Chris Landreth uses a very different style - imagine an animated version of Cronenberg's Naked Lunch - to tell the chilling story of Larkin's fall from grace. The Guardian tracks the animator down and suggests that Ryan may have been just the boost his dormant career needed.

(Ryan was viewable online earlier this year but seems to have disappeared. If anyone knows where to find it, let me know...)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

"If... my films are in contradiction with the age I live in, it's perhaps in the sympathy I have for anybody who must struggle to enter a world from which he's been excluded."
Though he's been dead for more than two decades, Francois Truffaut's films are as fresh as anything you'll see released in theatres this year. Gilbert Adair offers a brief assessment in the Guardian.