“I came out of Che a different filmmaker. What we all learned from that was very applicable here, which is to strip everything down to its essence and be as simple as possible.” That’s Steven Soderbergh, talking to Andrew Romano at the Daily Beast about The Knick, his television series (already confirmed for a second season) premiering on Cinemax on Friday—and about TV in general: “The Sopranos happened at a time when the Internet was here, was with us, and I think it enabled a land grab to take place. Television took over a part of the cultural real estate that used to belong to movies and music. Technology accelerated that.”
All in all, this is a good, long conversation—not as recklessly funny as previous interviews with Soderbergh have been—but a sober discussion of his working methods, milestones in his career and the current state of two melding but somehow still diametrically opposed industries, Hollywood and television.
“Much is made of the fact that Boyhood was shot in real-time,” writes Wai Chee Dimock. “In fact, the cinematic medium here might be said to be unreal time, so elastic, and so weak in its power to eliminate that it seems to extend indefinitely in all directions, a horizontal field of possibility.”
Also in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Len Gutkin: “Snowpiercer wouldn’t, really, be worth writing about at all, except that a number of prominent critics… seem inexplicably convinced of its virtues.”
“Only Lovers Left Alive is Top 5 Jim Jarmusch for sure,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com, “a long, warm bath in sensuality, with flashes of Wong Kar-wai amid the ennui. In its deliberate slowness, it also ends up feeling like a requiem for 20th century film storytelling, and for the pre-digital world.”
In the 1980s, as a filmmaker and head of China’s Xi’an Film Studio, Wu Tianming, who passed away in March at the age of 74, “was a one-man reform movement.” For Artforum, Tony Rayns looks back on a remarkable life.
“Miriam Hansen: Cinema, Experience, and the Public Sphere” is the theme of the new issue of New German Critique and it features contributions from the likes of Laura Mulvey and Tom Gunning. Via Girish Shambu.
With the Pacific Film Archive series Over the Top and into the Wire: WWI on Film running in Berkeley through August 27 and The Great War: A Cinematic Legacy opening on Monday at MoMA in New York, we have another overview of the First World War on film, this one from David Mermelstein in the Wall Street Journal. Via Movie City News.
IN THE WORKS
Ridley Scott’s The Martian has a new release date, reports Leonard Pearce at the Film Stage: November 25, 2015. “Led by Matt Damon, it’s based on the Andy Weir-penned ebook in which an astronaut, Mark Watney, finds himself stranded on a Mars colony. While seeking some way to reach home as his NASA compatriots begin their own rescue mission, the battle to survive against hunger, environment, and madness rages on.”
“Bill Murray has joined the cast of Disney’s The Jungle Book as the voice of Baloo the Bear,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.
Viewing (29’58”). “Sight & Sound asked me to make a short film about the wrongs of the documentary canon,” writes Mark Cousins, introducing Dear John Grierson, a rough cut which may eventually become a “three-hour postscript to my 15-hour The Story of Film: An Odyssey.” The canon, of course, would be defined by the new poll of over 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers, “The Greatest Documentaries of All Time.”