Two of the most talked-about pieces to appear since yesterday’s roundup are Will Leitch‘s interview with Spike Lee for New York and Phillip Maciak‘s assessment of Aaron Sorkin for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Lee, of course, has a film rolling out next month, Red Hook Summer, and, as always, he’s not holding his cards close to his chest. On the state of the industry: “I do not think Oliver Stone gets JFK made today. Unless they can make JFK fly. If they can’t make Malcolm X fly, with tights and a cape, it’s not happening.” On his hometown: “New York City, I feel, is the greatest city in the world, but it will not be that anymore if it is only rich people here.” On Obama vs. Romney: “It is going to be tooth and nail, and I think it is going to get nasty.” Then they get into Tarantino, Eastwood, Lucas, even Tyler Perry.
To put it politely, Red Hook Summer was met with mixed reviews when it premiered in Sundance half a year ago, and by “mixed,” I mean that conflicting responses often battled it out within individual reviews. Andrew O’Hehir‘s initial take at Salon is pretty well representative; he called it “a messy film with a constant feeling of experimentation and invention. It doesn’t all work, the score by Bruce Hornsby often feels intrusive, and there’s a sudden narrative shift about three-quarters of the way through that will leave viewers unsure how to feel about this story and its characters. I could list other things that aren’t perfect about this movie, but the important thing to say is that I basically loved it, imperfections and all. I would even argue that the shambolic, semi-improvised quality of Red Hook Summer is essential to its spirit.”
As for Sorkin, Maciak grants that, “while David Milch and Matthew Weiner might be likelier candidates for the screenwriting Shakespeare of the quality TV generation, if there is a contemporary canon, Sorkin is in it…. But The Newsroom, more than perhaps any other Sorkin production, feels distinctly old. And it’s not just that the lines are familiar from previous series and films, and it’s not just that we’ve seen this scenario from him before. The Newsroom feels old because, after seven years away from the medium he helped to transform, the great Aaron Sorkin has become an anachronism.”
In the works. “Architect Peter Zumthor is collaborating with film director Wim Wenders on a film that will document one of his major projects from start to finish,” reports Phaidon. “Work on on the film was confirmed on Swiss TV at the weekend by both Zumthor and Wenders. It will take several years to complete and will be shot in 3D.”
Twitch‘s Todd Brown hears that Wes Anderson is “approaching” Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Angela Lansbury with an as-yet-untitled project: “Please, please, please let this be an Anderson-ized version of Murder, She Wrote. Because that would be kind of amazing.”
“The author Douglas Brinkley and the actor Johnny Depp are teaming up to edit House of Earth, a previously unpublished novel by the folk singer Woody Guthrie that will be released next spring,” reports John Williams in the New York Times.
“Michael Fassbender has signed up to star in a film adaptation of the blockbuster video game franchise Assassin’s Creed,” reports the BBC.
New York. For the Times, Erik Piepenburg talks with Bradford Nordeen, who’s currently “staging Dirty Looks: On Location, an ambitious project that marries 31 film and video works with 30 sites across New York City. Mr. Nordeen and a committee of 12 curators selected the works and scheduled screenings at bars, hotels, parks and other sites that in some way speak to the city’s gay past.”
Lists. Rotten Tomatoes regularly asks its interviewees to name their five favorite films and, at MetaFilter, dgaicun has plucked out several of the top names and linked directly to their picks and comments. E.g., Werner Herzog, Wes Anderson, Whit Stillman, and so on.
Eye candy. Murat Palta renders cult classics as ancient miniatures. And Anne Thompson has the poster that Dave Eggers has designed for the 2012 edition of the Telluride Film Festival, running August 31 through September 3.
For further mid-summer browsing, let me recommend this week’s “Underground Film Links” from Mike Everleth.