"Did you not plan for this contingency? I mean the Starship Enterprise had a self-destruct button. I’m just saying." - Saul,  Breaking Bad: Season 3.
#444 | June 5, 2012
INTERVIEW: Robert Downey Sr.INTERVIEW: Amy Seimetz
She owns an IMDB page stacked with credits that many of her acting peers might take a lifetime to accumulate. But what many folks don't realize is that no-budge MVP Amy Seimetz started out with ambitions as a writer-director, which she takes to the limit in her debut feature Sun Don't Shine. Seimetz says that someone told her "it's a surrealist movie posing as a vérité movie," and from the jump, she's created an immersive experience whose cinematography and sound design enrich a minimal screenplay that pushes faces, character and passion to the foreground, using a pulp-noir genre template as a structure for something surprisingly visionary. At far too early an hour, Steve Dollar sits with Seimetz  to talk about the film over coffee. Sun Don't Shine has its New York premiere this Saturday as part of Rooftop Films' SXSW Weekend program. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: Declaration of War, Tomboy, and more. 
  • What We're Watching: Too Late Blues, Plot of Fear. 
  • Explore: Retro Active - Piranha II: The Spawning; The Good, the Great and the Grungy: Spotlight on Spaghetti Westerns. 
  • Contest: Moonrise Kingdom Prize Pack Giveaway!
"Irradiating everything we know about tearjerkers, director Valerie Donzelli and co-writer Jeremie Elkaim have turned the real-life challenge of their infant son's cancer into a stylish, funny, postmodern romance," writes Joe Williams of the Post Dispatch. The French couple "wages war" against their son's illness with a quirky, life-affirming,  never-maudlin panache. "As a filmmaker, Donzelli deploys a heady, headlong style that recalls some early French New Wave (lots of running across city streets, lots of exuberant music, fast cuts, interior monologues and voice-over), but it never comes across as precious, or predictable. Declaration of War feels very present, very alive," adds Steven Rea
declaration-of-war
Continuing our look at gems from France comes this LGBT festival circuit award winner from Water Lillies director Celine Sciamma. A 10 year-old girl poses as "Mikael" when others assume she is a boy when her family moves to a new suburban neighborhood. Indiewire calls this "a tender and warm tale of early sexual awakening, with an amazing performance by Zoe Heran as the conflicted child." Slant's Diego Costa adds, "Queer theorists should be proud...Films like this...seem to know and accept the inadequacy of complexity, or spectacle, of form and style when the task at hand is expressing the unspeakability of the human condition."
tomboy
What We're Watching
Plot-of-Fear
Plot of Fear is a pretty good title for such a twisted example of the giallo genre. The "plot" starts out in a recognizable fashion, but eventually moves into a series of flashbacks and twists, gets a little on the convoluted side. The "fear" part comes at the thought of trying to describe the "plot" part. Inspector Gaspare Lomenzo (Michele Placido), who has a fashionable 1976 moustache, is assigned to solve a string of murders, connected only by illustrations in a children's fairy tale book. Read more >>
Too Late Blues
John Cassavetes was a handsome, severe actor in television and "B" movies when he raised a few dollars to make the landmark independent movie Shadows in 1959. After that, he juggled two sides of a career, in marketable ventures (The Dirty Dozen, Rosemary's Baby, The Fury), and in pure, artistic achievements (Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, Love Streams). Sometimes these things crossed comfortably, as in his masterpiece The Killing of a Chinese Bookie -- set among the world of strip joints and contract murders -- or uncomfortably, as in Gloria, a script he wrote to sell, but ended up directing. Too Late Blues actually wrestles with the phenomenon itself: the struggle between staying true to your art and making a living. The movie itself came about as a result of the success of Shadows Read More >> 
Explore
RETRO ACTIVE: James Cameron may be credited as the director of Piranha II: The Spawning, but given his own rocky participation in the project—his Italian producers removed him from viewing or editing the footage he shot, and thus he had little to do with its final form—it's hard to slam the future "king of the world" for the legion of failures that define this sub-B-movie. A sequel to Joe Dante's smart and funny 1978 original (made with the legendary Roger Corman), Cameron's film is a misshapen mess that, unlike its cheeky predecessor...  Read more >>
RETRO ACTIVE: Piranha-II
Film Forum's curated three-week examination of several classic spaghetti westerns  is a reasonable cross-section (the only commonly cited staple that's missing is the 1970 comic hit They Call Me Trinity) of a genre still rarely closely examined except by dedicated cultists. The digital projections of Django and The Big Gundown are among the better shown there so far, but many films are on 35mm, a last-chance-to-see for New Yorkers. Vadim Rizov reviews some of the highlights. Read more >>
The Good, the Great and the Grungy
Contests!
One more week to enter our Moonrise Kingdom prize pack giveaway!

Audiences everywhere are buzzing over Moonrise Kingdom, the new movie directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Wes Anderson. "Beguiling and endearing," (Joe Morgenstern), the film is now playing in theaters.  Read more >>
Moonrise Kingdom

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