Archive for December, 2009


Mixing It “Up!” w/”Gran Torino”

19 December 2009

One of the movies OFG members attended this past year was Gran Torino (as part of our Night Out at the Movies series at the Oswego Cinema 7).

Here’s another of those recut trailers on YouTube: this one cuts Gran Torino dialog into Up! clips.Enjoy.


A Most Successful YouTube Audition: “Ataque de panico!” (“Panic Attack!”)

19 December 2009

Matt Goldberg on

…Fede Alvarez, a Uraguayan filmmaker who created a YouTube hit with his low-budget sci-fi short, Panic Attack!, has signed a deal with Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures to develop and direct an original genre project.  While Panic Attack! only cost several hundred dollars, his deal with Ghost House is reportedly in the six- against seven figure range (meaning that he’s being paid $X00,000 and if the film gets made he gets a bonus amount which would bring his salary to $X,000,000).  The same day Alvarez posted his video, Hollywood came calling as they were impressed with what he was able to accomplish with such a low budget. Alvarez’ short is less than five minutes long and is about robots invading and attacking the city of Montevideo.  That’s all that happens in the movie.  The robots invade and then they attack.  The end.  I do understand and congratulate what Alvarez on his success and his movie is technically impressive, but the story here isn’t Alvarez.  It’s the power of YouTube to create a calling card so fast and powerful that you can nab such an incredible deal.

Here’s the YouTube video that started the bidding war:



‘Simply having a wonderful Christmastime…’

12 December 2009

I saw the same clip from The Ten Commandments of Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea twice this week: last night as the Syracuse Crunch hockey team took to the ice (they won) and during A Christmas Tale (Un conte de Noël, 2008, dir. Arnaud Desplechin), when the family watches the movie on TV during their holiday visit.

Emile Berling, Mathieu Amalric, and Catherine Deneuve in "A Christmas Tale"

The film was a critical success (though I see from the sampling of comments on The New York Times on-line, viewers seemed to either love it or hate it). I didn’t have such strong feelings about it; I enjoyed it and wasn’t bored despite its length (2.5 hours). I haven’t seen any other Desplechin films; I don’t know if the unusual music and scene pairings and other attention-getting devices are typical. The story’s a well-worn subject: the dysfunctional family get-together over the holidays. I found what pleased me most about the film was its staying power. Too often it’s not only the blockbusters that seem to disappear from thought as soon as the credits end–for me, plenty of art-house films also seem as insubstantial. I thought about the characters and wondered about the Christmas (and Easter) story parallels that might be drawn days after I saw A Christmas Tale.

The film is out on DVD and it’s available on Sundance on Demand. (For you Time Warner customers: see your Free Movies on Demand channel). Postscript: For OFG friends who saw our screening of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it was a twist to see Anne Cosigny and Mathieu Amalric work together in A Christmas Tale as well–not as close collaborators in Diving Bell, though, but as two completely alienated and hostile siblings.


A Seasonal List: 10 Christmas Movies

4 December 2009

In the very entertaining 10 Bad Dates With De Niro: A Book of Alternative Movie Lists, edited by Richard T. Kelly (Overlook/Rookery: 2007), the final entry is Graham Fuller’s  ‘Ten Movies to Save Us All From Satan’s Power’. Here are his picks (minus his full comments). They’re a mix of some expected seasonal entries, but also some unusually dark ones, including a noir with an innocuous title (Christmas Holiday) and some cynical and sad office intrigue (The Apartment). Also featured: two great duos, Laurel & Hardy (Swiss Miss), and Tom & Jerry  (The Night Before Christmas).

10. Christmas Holiday (US, 1944, dir. Robert Siodmak)

9. Swiss Miss (US, 1938, dir. John G. Blystone)

8. The Man Who Came to Dinner (US, 1942, dir. William Keighley)

7. The Magnificent Ambersons (US, 1942, dir. Orson Welles)

6. Comfort and Joy (GB, 1984, dir. Bill Forsyth)

5. The Night Before Christmas (US, 1941, dir. William Hanna & Joseph Barbera)

4. A Christmas Story (Canada, 1983, dir. Bob Clark)

3. The Apartment (US, 1960, dir. Billy Wilder)

2. Scrooge (GB, 1951, dir. Brian Desmond Hurst)

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (US, 1946, dir. Frank Capra)


Link Added to The Auteurs

2 December 2009

We’ve added a link to The Auteurs, a site for on-line film viewing. There’s a charge (usually $5) for the films offered, but every month the site features one or more free options.

Earlier, we posted the Pixies’ “Debaser” video; now here’s the song’s film inspiration, plus two other free films:

The Auteurs is now showing 3 films by Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel for free in the US to celebrate the release of the beautiful remastering of the filmmaker’s unheralded 1956 French/Mexican co-production Death in the Garden, shot in gorgeous Eastmancolor and starring Michel Piccoli, Simone Signoret, and Charles Vanel.

Death in the Garden and two classic Buñuel films from his earlier and most vividly surreal period, Un chien andalou (1929) and L’âge d’or (1930) are available to watch for free in the US. The Auteurs is presenting the 1956 film alongside more renowned films made before and after to put it on the context of his career.

(See The Auteurs under “On-Line Viewing Options” and the link to the 3 free Buñuel films under “As Mentioned in the Post” in the sidebar).