David Lynch Does Duran Duran

David Lynch is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting directors in Hollywood. Duran Duran is one of the great party bands from the 80s. Putting them together, getting Lynch to direct a film of their 2011 concert should at the very least lead to something entertaining, right?

Well, actually, not so much. Actually what it leads to is overproduced crap. Sorry if that seems harsh, but hey, you come here to get my opinion, right? Well, there you go.

If Lynch had simply stuck to filming the concert, or simply adding a bit here and there to enhance the experience, that would have been fine, I think. but instead, he can’t seem to leave a frame of the film alone, and what he adds is so distracting that it seems even to be affecting the performance of the group onstage. Though actually I suspect that’s more a case of Simon Le Bon and the others feeling the almost 30 years that have passed since their heyday.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the complete director’s cut of the film is screening at Cannes today, and I’m sure it’ll get snapped up pretty quickly for a distribution deal which will see it screened at least in some kind of limited, likely art-house release. If you can’t wait, though, and want to see most of the concert footage, it’s actually been made available on Duran Duran’s YouTube Channel. Or, you can just click the play button below. (And I apologize ahead of time if you have to sit through an advertisement before the video actually starts. That’s just the way these VEVO videos are.)

So, what do you think? Are Lynch and Duran a combo made for each other? Or a combination made in hell? Go ahead and give me your opinion in the comments below.

A Quick Question Regarding this Django Django Video

Of course, I was attracted to this group because of their name, but it occurred to me while watching this video for Django Django’s new song “WOR”: is this a music video with extra commentary from and about these riders, or does it actually qualify as a mini-documentary on the riders with the music in the background? And just where do we draw the line between the two? Or do we even need to? Here, take a look:

So what do you think?

Presented in Glorious Color

Michael Sprouse - visual artist and essayist.
Michael Sprouse – visual artist and essayist.

In contrast to my earlier post about the 25 Greatest Modern Black and White Movies, I wanted to share with you an essay by an old friend of mine. Michael Sprouse is a very talented visual artist, but today he takes a bit of time out of the studio to comment on this beautiful early Koachrome test footage:

Here is an excerpt from Michael’s essay:

One can’t help but be pulled into the performances by the actresses. The line between a color test and a surreal voiceless yet visual message from the past becomes blurred when watching the clip.

These performers seem to be reaching into your psyche and tapping you on the shoulder with a soft celluloid touch. In essence, these women with their fluttering eyes, fragile smiles and vamping longing are colorized ghosts from a distant cinematic past beckoning to connect to your emotional essence.

Perhaps, the non-vocalized  emotions are buried yet even still deep within our being. There must be some connection as it is easy to identify what the characters are emoting in the clip even without scripted words. That recognition arises from internal knowing. This clip is emotionally akin to blowing off the dust from the cover of an old book found on the back of a forgotten shelf.

As you can tell, Michael is talented not only as a visual artist, but as a writer also, and I encourage you to head over to his blog to read the entire post. And while you’re there, be sure to check out some of his great original artwork, too.

Black and White ‘Sploitation – The 25 Greatest Modern Black and White Films

"If you say that again, I'll bite you."
Promises, promises…(Photo credit: mmatins)

Here’s another great list/compilation from the folks over at mewlists.

Of course, back in the day, movies were shot in black and white either because it was the only available option or for economic reasons. Today, though, it’s more of an artistic  choice. As the compilers themselves explain,

Modern black and white films are films that were taken in B&W, even after color filming had become the standard (1970 and on). These films are ranked according to their direction, story, originality, creative use of B&W, along with general success and influence. Up until around 1970, most films (especially dramas) were shot in black and white, therefore modern black and white films are those after 1969.

I think I’ve personally seen about half of these, and some of them are ones that would rank among my favorite movies of all time. There are also some that I’ve noted down to add to my watch list.

So what do you think? Are there any notable exceptions here? (One obvious one might be The Artist, but the compilation was made in 2011, thus explaining it not making the cut.)

The 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films

English: Wayne Brady at World of Color Premier...
Wayne Brady at World of Color Premiere at Disney California Adventure Park in June 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Improvisation is an artform, and like any art, there are certainly people who do it better than others. There are some people who are masters at it (Bill Murray and Robin Williams, both of whom are featured in the video compilation below, spring immediately to mind, as does Wayne Brady) and others who… well, it can generously be said they try.

Of course, when it comes to movie scripts, improvising lines, scenes, and even almost entire movies can at times be controversial. For the most part, the amount of improvisation in a movie is in the hands of the director. Some of them are very much “stick to the script as it’s written” people, whereas others allow more latitude and input from their actors. Most of the time, of course, these improvised, – or as they’re labeled in the compilation below “unscripted” – lines and scenes end up on the cutting room floor or pass largely unnoticed. Sometimes, on the other hand, they can lead to what can only be described as “movie magic” and become some of the most well-remembered, oft-quoted, and simply special moments in cinema.

I have to admit, I was surprised at some of the scenes included here, and I think you will be, too. Credit is definitely due to mewlists.com who compiled and uploaded this video. Be sure to give them a visit and check out some of the other great film-related lists they have put together. But, fair warning: if you go there, do it when you’ve got some time to spend, because you’ll definitely get sucked in watching some of the other videos.

Okay, I’m gonna quit talking now and just let you watch the video.

So, what do you think? Which of these scenes is your favorite? Do you know of a great improvised line or scene that was left out? If so, I’d definitely like to hear about it in the comments section below.

Because Sometimes You Just Have To Get Started

I hadn’t intended for this to be first post on here, but it’ll do for a quick trial, and I was curious how the video posts would look.

I didn’t realize just how overused this particular meme had become until I watched this video. In a way it is interesting to see the different variations and how some creators have at least tried to vary it up a bit and play with our expectations instead of simply using it for shock value, though I do have to wonder just how much actual “shock” can be left when my admittedly quick on the uptake 12 year old daughter Hannah (about/from whom you will certainly read more as time goes by, along with my other kids) and I were watching something the other night (I forget exactly what) and as soon as a particular character stepped off the curb and turned she simply said “Bus.”, and sure enough…

Still, there is a certain fascination in watching the 12 minutes (!) of this play out and realizing just how many times you really have seen this exact scenario play out. And, as a bonus, it also serves to get things off and running here.

I’ll be back soon with more, but for now, happy viewing!