LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST) PODCAST SERIES

Cole & Mike

LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST) on iTunes

Mike and I discuss Nagisa Oshima's DEATH BY HANGING while drinking Racer 5 from Bear Republic.

DeathByHanging

In this episode Mike and I drink Numero Uno Agave Cerveza (from Flying Dog Brewery) and discuss Elaine May's 1972 romantic comedy THE HEARTBREAK KID.

The_heartbreak_kid

 

In our debut episode of LA GRANDE BUFFE (THE BIG FEAST), Mike Lacy and I discuss Charlie Chaplin's "THE GREAT DICTATOR." Bon appetite!

The-Great-Dictator

 

In this episode of LA GRANDE BUFFE (THE BIG FEAST), Mike Lacy and I discuss Jafar Panahi's Taxi" Enjoy!

Taxi

 

In this episode Mike and I discuss Francois Truffaut's "Day for Night."

Dayfornight

 

In episode #5, Mike Lacy and I drink "Delicious IPA" (Stone Brewing) while chewing the fat over Robert Altman's unforgettable 1992 film.

Tim Robbins

 

In episode four, Mike Lacy and I drink Flower Power IPA (Ithaca Brewing Co.) and discuss Andrzej Żuławski's 1981 psychological thriller POSSESSION. Bon appetite. 



POSSESSION

 

In this episode Mike Lacy and I drink Hoptimum (from Sierra Nevada) and discuss Woody Allen's 1986 romantic comedy Hannah and Her Sisters. Bon appetite. 

Hannah and Her Sisters

LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST) on iTunes

June 20, 2016

BLACK COMEDY

Heathers

Black comedy is one of the least mined of all film genres. Many audiences want nothing to do with its dark humor, which in most cases, is meant be disturbing if not disruptive. The codified genre makes visceral and intellectual demands that some viewers find themselves unwilling or unable to go along with. Taboo subjects involving all manner of murder and death frequently come into play. While there are exceptions to the rule (see “King of Comedy”), at least one death must occur (see “Dr. Strangelove”) to meet the transgressive demands of the genre. They don’t call it “Black” comedy without reason.

Monsieur Verdoux

It is a satirical form that arrived relatively late to cinema. Charlie Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdoux” (1947) is one of the earliest, if not the first, filmic examples of Black Comedy. Robert Hamer’s “Kind Hearts and Coronets” (1949) followed just two years after Chaplin’s unpopular film. It’s telling that both films involve serial killers plying their trade for wealth, and social status.

More recent examples of Black Comedies include “Heathers” (1988), “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” (1989), and “Starship Troopers” (1997).  

This revolutionary genre can be traced back to literary roots laid down by Jonathan Swift, whose scathing 18th century essays (especially “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick”) shocked many readers to their core. Many people missed the joke. Swift’s keen sense of gallows humor resonates against the 18th century work of the Marquis de Sade, who took fetishistic glee in putting the reader inside the mind, and body, of victimizers on a mission to defile, humiliate, and ruin their captives (see “The 120 Days of Sodom“). Modern authors, such as Vladimir Nabokov (“Lolita”), Joseph Heller (“Catch 22”), and Kurt Vonegut (“Slaughterhouse-Five”), used the darkly comedic form to stunning literary and popular success.

André Breton

The surrealist movement of the ‘20s and ‘30s contributed heartily to establishing an artistic perspective whose aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality” in a revolutionary, anti-political (anarchistic) form in response to the horrors of World War I.

Andre Breton, the French writer and father of Surrealism (see his Surrealist Manifesto), contextualized black humor in his essential book “anthology of black humor” (originally published in 1940), in which Breton places side-by-side excerpts from such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry, Franz Kafka, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, and Lewis Carroll.

Black comedy has an intrinsically secular aspect to it because it contextualizes horrific events or experiences in a comic way. This unconventional point of view necessarily insults all organized religion on fundamental grounds.

A death row prisoner, who discovers Jesus after a lifetime spent as an atheist, is the diametric opposite of one who chooses to adopt the personality of his guard as a way of mocking his doomed fate. Both are using their imaginations, but one is taking a much more active role in the part that he plays. Gallows humor is, if nothing else, the ultimate defense mechanism against all form of physical or psychological abuse.  

INSIDE JAWS — DOCUMENTARY ON SPIELBERG'S HORROR CLASSIC

Sink your teeth into Janie Benning's "INSIDE JAWS: A FILMUMENTARY." It's like eating pure cinematic ice cream for two-and-a-half hours. This unofficial documentary was made not-for-profit. Bon appetite movie lovers!



NEW BEVERLY JULY 2016 SCHEDULE

New Beverly July 2016

My advice for anyone visiting L.A. is to be sure and visit the New Beverly cinema. It's my favorite art house in the world. Check it out. It's crazy cool. And, the popcorn is cheap.

June 19, 2016

ANTON YECHIN: 3/11/89 — 6/19/16

Anton-yelchin

The gifted young actor of such films as "Alpha Dog," "Charlie Barlett," "Star Trek," "Odd Thomas," and most recently "Green Room," died at the age of 27 when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down backwards in his steep his driveway and pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence at his home in the San Fernando Valley early Sunday morning. The actor died of blunt trauma asphyxia.

2015-jeep-grand-cherokee

Yelchin's 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the subject of a recalls due to an unreliable gear shift that allows the vehicle to remain in neutral if the driver leaves the car. More than 850,000 of Yelchin's 2015 have exhibited such issues with Jeep's "e-shift transmissions." Look for a sizable law suit to follow. 

Anton Yelchin in Star Trek

Yelchin will be remembered for his sensitive performances that won him a legion of fans the world over. The accidental tragedy sets into relief Yelchin's prolific work in 40 feature films, five of which are yet to be released. 

Be on the lookout for Mark Palansky's "Rememory" (starring Peter Dinklage and Julia Ormond), "We Don't Belong Here" (with Catherine Keener and Riley Keough), "Star Trek Beyond," "Porto" (with Chantal Akerman), and "Thoroughbred" (with Olivia Cooke). 

Anton Yelchin2

Here, Yelchin stars in a scene with Tom Hiddleston in Jim Jarmusch's 2013 film "Only Lovers Left Alive."

Anton Yelchin's gift for portraying characters with depth and nuance will be sorely missed. The world has lost a truly great actor whose performances will continue to entrance movie audiences in his absence. This is a very sad day indeed.  

Anton-yelchinin Charlie Barlett

Anton playing opposite Kat Dennings in "Charlie Barlett." You can't miss the chemistry. 

Anton Yelchin3

You also can't miss Yelchin's incredible sense of intensity. He was a truly wonderful actor with an infectious warmth and sense of humanity. Above all, Anton Yelchin was a natural.

Von Trier's THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT ready for production

Lars-von-Trier

Variety reported that Danish auteur Lars von Trier has finished the script for his next film, "The House That Jack Built." The 10 million dollar-budgeted film will go into production in August. Von Trier's follow-up to "Nymphomaniac Vol. I and II" is a thriller that covers ten years in the development of a serial killer plying his trade in Washington D.C. Think "Man Bites Dog."  

At a recent Cannes press conference, the film's producer Louise Vesth said, “It will be a serial killer movie like you’ve never seen before. He [von Trier} wants to be able to change it between periods of shooting because when we’ll have done the body of the film in the fall, he will then go edit it and he sees how he can combine the murders.”

After being unceremoniously (and ridiculously) thrown out of the Cannes Festival by artistic director Thierry Fremaux in 2011 for jokey comments about Hitler (regarding his film "Melancholia"), von Trier was labeled "Persona Non Grata." Although Fremaux has since backtracked on the decision and said that the filmmaker is no longer banned from the festival and would be welcomed back in the future, it is doubtful that von Trier will ever return to Cannes after being treated so poorly. You can only be treated the way you let people treat you.  

June 18, 2016

Quentin Tarantino at AFI Conservatory 2016 Commencement

June 16, 2016

Money in Politics — With Ben & Jerry

Kirsten Dunst — "Turning Japanese"

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES SUMMER NEW RELEASES LINEUP

 

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced its full lineup of new releases for the 2016 summer season, featuring films by Ira Sachs, Ivy Meeropol, and Werner Herzog; a documentary about Norman Lear; an exclusive run of the restoration of the late Andrzej Żuławski’s sci-fi epic On the Silver Globe; and more. Please see below for the complete list of films with run dates and synopses, as well as a sneak peek into the fall.

Opening July 1

Private Property – New Restoration!
Leslie Stevens, USA, 1960, 79m
Warren Oates stars in this slow-burning, sweat- and sun-drenched psychosexual thriller—newly restored in stunning 4K by Cinelicious Pics and created from the original film elements rediscovered and preserved by UCLA after more than 50 years of being thought lost! This California noir centers on Duke and Boots (played with menacing, barely sublimated rage by Corey Allen and Oates), who set their sights on Ann Carlyle (Kate Manx), a sweetly alluring but neglected housewife who spends long, lonely days at home in her husband’s Beverly Hills villa. When the two men take up residence in an abandoned house that overlooks the Carlyles’ swimming pool, the setting becomes a stifling, and ultimately explosive, pressure cooker of sexual frustration, manipulation, and aggression. Directed on a shoestring budget by Leslie Stevens (three years before creating The Outer Limits), Private Property was denied MPAA approval under the Production Code upon its release, and even today, the film’s broodingly sinister depiction of sexuality gone awry is startling in its frank, unflinching intensity. The return of this classic, which had its world premiere at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April, also occasions our Oates retrospective, taking place July 1-7. A Cinelicious Pics release.

Opening July 8

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady, USA, 2016, 91m
Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp, 12th & Delaware, and Detropia) reteam for this lovingly made documentary about Norman Lear—the legendary, influential mind behind 1970s sitcoms like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude. Touching on the many facets of his life, from growing up Jewish on the East Coast, to serving in World War II and returning to America to work in TV, to his eventual shift toward activism, Ewing and Grady reflect on Lear and the extraordinary impact he had on the national discourse during his television heyday. The film also captures the now 93-year-old subject as he reacts to his shows’ unforgettable moments, and features appearances by fans like George Clooney and Amy Poehler to discuss his legacy. Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is a celebratory portrait of the fearless creative who addressed divisive issues with intelligence, sensitivity, and humor. A Music Box Films release. Norman Lear, Heidi Ewing, and Rachel Grady in person opening weekend!

Indian Point
Ivy Meeropol, USA/Japan, 2015, 94m
Indian Point Energy Center, an aging nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York, looms just 45 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. Despite millions of people living in close proximity to a potential nuclear disaster, the facility’s continued operation has the support of the plant’s operators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission—but a large opposition in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear group alarmed by Japan’s Fukushima accident, worry about a catastrophe occurring in the U.S. Capturing the debates for clean energy and the dangerous risks of government complacency, congressional-speechwriter-turned-filmmaker Ivy Meeropol presents a revelatory film about the uncertainties of our nuclear future and our insatiable demands for energy. A First Run Features release.Ivy Meeropol in person opening weekend!

Opening July 22

Summertime / La Belle saison
Catherine Corsini, France/Belgium, 2015, 105m
French with English subtitles
Acclaimed director Catherine Corsini has made melodramas that range in tone from the bleak and violent to the tender and emotionally warm. At first glance, her new film, a prizewinner at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, is one of her brightest and most bucolic. Soon after Delphine (Izïa Higelin) moves from her conservative parents’ farm near Limoges to Paris in 1971, she meets the older Carole (Cécile de France), a feminist organizer with whom she embarks on a passionate, mutually invigorating love affair. When a family sickness pulls Delphine back to the farm, Carole has to decide whether to follow her into hostile territory—and Summertime becomes something more complicated and fraught than its seductive, luminous visual palette initially suggests. A Strand Releasing release.

Opening July 29

On the Silver Globe / Na srebrnym globie – New Restoration!
Andrzej Żuławski, Poland, 1988, 166m
Polish with English subtitles
After a 16-year absence, Andrzej Żuławski returned to Polish cinema with On the Silver Globe, which proved to be the most ambitious and difficult project of his career. The largest Polish production of all time when shooting began in 1976, it was halted by the Ministry of Culture for two years due to its alleged subversiveness, before finally being reconstituted and completed after the fall of communism over a decade later. The resulting sci-fi epic follows a group of astronauts who, after crash-landing on the moon, forge a new society. As the first generation dies off, their children devise new rituals and mythologies to structure the emergent civilization, until a politician from Earth arrives and is hailed as the Messiah… An inexhaustibly inventive and absorbing film maudit that quite literally creates a new cinematic world, On the Silver Globe is perhaps the grandest expression of Żuławski’s visionary artistry. This very rarely screened film returns in a new digital restoration—personally approved by Żuławski and DP Andrzej Jaroszewicz—courtesy of the Polish Film Institute. A Film Studio KADR release.

Opening August 5

Little Men
Ira Sachs, USA/Greece, 2016, 85m
English and Spanish with English subtitles
Much like his previous film, Love Is Strange, director Ira Sachs’s Little Men captures the modern New York City landscape with a tender and intelligent relationship portrait, this time through the life-defining friendship of two teens caught in the middle of familial tumult. When his grandfather dies, 13-year-old Jake (Theo Taplitz) moves with his family from Manhattan back into his father’s old Brooklyn home, where he meets Tony (Michael Barbieri), whose single mother, Leonor (Paulina Garcia), runs a dress shop downstairs. Soon, Jake’s parents Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) ask Leonor to sign another, more expensive lease for the store, which kindles a feud between the adults. The friendship struck by Jake and Tony forms the heart of the film, with Sachs observing this connection with humanism and insight to ultimately craft a timely, sophisticated story of displacement and class. A Magnolia Pictures release.

Neither Heaven Nor Earth / Ni le ciel ni la terre
Clément Cogitore, France/Belgium, 2015, 100m
French and Persian with English subtitles
The ingenious conceit of Neither Heaven Nor Earth, a critical success at Cannes (where it was titled The Wakhan Front), is to transform the Afghan battlefield—dust and boredom and jolts of explosive violence—into the backdrop for a metaphysical thriller. Jérémie Renier stars as a French army commander who begins to lose the loyalty of his company, as well as his sanity, when soldiers start mysteriously disappearing one by one. Rarely is the madness of war conveyed on screen with such simmering tension and existential fear. Rarely, too, is the ignorance and mistrust between cultures—are the shepherd villagers innocent civilians or Taliban spies?—limned with such poetic insight. A 2016 New Directors/New Films selection. A Film Movement Release. Clément Cogitore in person opening weekend!

Opening August 19

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
Werner Herzog, USA, 2016, 98m
From the brilliant mind of Werner Herzog comes a new exploratory documentary, which looks at the intricacies and unsettling omnipotence of technology—and society’s rapidly growing dependence on it. Structured in chapters that cover the birth of the Internet, self-driving cars, athlete-robots, and beyond, the film shows us captivating and bizarre stories from eclectic people, whose experiences with technology at once charm and sober. The bigger picture of our brave new world looms behind Herzog’s authorial voice as he threads together these stories that imagine the revolutionary, otherworldly, and often dangerous nature of our wired lives. But while the future of humanity’s relationship to technology remains up in the air, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World wrestles with the profound and intangible questions that all of us should be asking. A Magnolia Pictures release. Werner Herzog in person opening weekend!

Opening August 26

Fatima
Philippe Faucon, France, 2015, 79m
French and Arabic with English subtitles
Middle-aged single mother Fatima (Soria Zeroual) lives with her two teenage daughters in France and works cleaning jobs to pay their way through school. Inspired by a true story and the poetry of the North African writer Fatima Elayoubi, who emigrated knowing very little French and slowly taught herself the language, Faucon’s eighth feature—winner of the prestigious Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film and three César Awards for Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Most Promising Actress—is a patient, reflective study of a woman pressured by her children and her neighbors alike to assimilate into a culture of which she’s wary. Despite the display of everyday racism, both veiled and overt; internal domestic disputes; and external gestures of inhospitality, Fatima offers an uplifting experience and one of recent French cinema’s most trenchant and moving portraits of immigrant experience. A Kino Lorber release.

Opening September 9

Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Jeff Feuerzeig, USA, 2016, 110m
Author: The JT LeRoy Story unravels the notorious, utterly fascinating tale of JT LeRoy, the literary sensation who turned out to be a hoax. “JT Leroy,” revealed in a 2005 exposé as the invented male persona of Laura Albert, a punk rocker and freelance writer from Brooklyn, published numerous, tough-prose memoirs about a life of prostitution and drug addiction; meanwhile, telephonic relationships with figures like Tom Waits, Courtney Love, and Gus Van Sant contributed to the author’s global allure and mystery. Director Jeff Feuerzeig, who profiled another troubled artist in The Devil and Daniel Johnston, lets Albert recount the infamous ruse in her own words, alongside reenactments, animated sequences, home movie footage, and recorded phone conversations. The result is a gripping story about creative desire, authorship, and deception. An Amazon Studios/Magnolia Pictures release.

To Sleep with Anger – New Restoration!
Charles Burnett, USA, 1990, 102m
Charles Burnett became known to world cinema when his 1978 UCLA thesis film, Killer of Sheep, won the Critics’ Prize at the 1981 Berlin Film Festival. His legendary reputation among cinephiles never quite segued into mainstream recognition, even though his 1990 drama To Sleep with Anger—novelistic in its narrative density and rich characterization—is one of the finest films about the black experience in modern America. Danny Glover (also the film’s executive producer) stars as Harry Mention, a mysterious drifter from the South who visits an old acquaintance (Paul Butler), now leading a middle-class life with his family in South Central Los Angeles. Though imbued with charm and traditional manners, Harry has a knack for mischief that creates powerful rifts throughout the family. Burnett’s overlooked masterpiece connects the past to the present in emotionally resonant ways, making this film as imaginative and insightful as his debut feature. To Sleep with Anger returns to the Film Society in a beautiful digital restoration. A Sony Pictures release.

A sneak peek into the fall:

Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales – New Restorations!
September 16-29
In 1950, leading French publisher Gallimard rejected a manuscript of a short-story collection called Moral Tales, submitted by a 30-year-old fiction writer. More than a decade later, the writer in question—by then an influential critic and a late-flowering movie director—resolved to adapt the stories for the screen, each inspired by F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise, in which a man, committed to one woman, is tempted by another. The resulting series of works, which took a decade to complete, established Eric Rohmer’s international reputation as a filmmaker. Thrillingly intelligent portraits of self-centered, articulate, often foolish men and the women they belittle, idolize, long for, and stalk, staged with offhand visual imagination and full of electrifying high-stakes verbal showdowns, the six Moral Tales represented an entirely new way of handling male-female relationships on screen. Occasioned by our revivals of La Collectionneuse andChloe in the Afternoon, the Film Society is pleased to present all six Moral Tales—newly restored—in September! Courtesy Janus Films and Films du Losange.

Dancer
Steven Cantor, UK, 2016, 82m
English, Russian, and Ukrainian with English subtitles
Opens September 16
Ukrainian-born “bad boy of ballet” Sergei Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer at age 19. But two years later—at the height of his success—he walked away from it all, resolving to give up dance entirely. Steven Cantor’s Dancer tracks the life of this iconoclastic virtuoso, from his prodigal beginnings in the Ukraine to his awe-inspiring performances in the U.K., Russia, and eventually the U.S., where he went viral after David LaChapelle filmed him dancing to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.” Yet beyond celebrating the raw talent and wild ambition of Polunin, whose sights are now set on Hollywood, Dancer considers how wealth and success may not be enough when it comes to finding personal and professional identity. A Sundance Selects release.

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