Michael Cimino joins Twitter
The account hasn’t been verified yet, but it appears director Michael Cimino is now on Twitter (@cimino1939).
(Edit: Since the publication of this post, the account has been revealed as a parody. Oh well.)
Cimino is best known for two things: directing the war epic The Deer Hunter (for which he won two Oscars in 1979), and following it up with Heaven’s Gate (one of the most notorious flops in Hollywood history, it earned just $3 million on a budget of $44 million in its domestic run). Things have been pretty quiet since then. Cimino has barely a handful of credits in the decades since. Excluding his contribution of a segment in 2007’s A Chacun Son Cinema, his last directing job was 1996’s The Sunchaser.
His tweets thus far have been quite interesting. Click on through to read some of the highlights.
Here’s what he had to say about his vision for Footloose, which he was signed on to direct (he was fired after he voiced a desire to delay shooting to rewrite the script):
He also tweeted about his vision for Star Wars:
He talked about how opinions on Heaven’s Gate have warmed considerably in recent years (the film was recently given the Criterion treatment):
Finally, he talked about his future plans:
Again, I can’t say for certain this is actually Cimino himself, but if not, someone is doing quite an impersonation. I will definitely keep following. I haven’t seen Heaven’s Gate, but The Deer Hunter is an amazing film. If he can make something half that good again, it’ll be great. I hope he gets the chance.
Kevin Smith announces plans for Clerks III
It’s not exactly a secret that I was a pretty big Kevin Smith fan at one point. I mean, just look at the name of this website, for pete’s sake. These days, though? Not so much… I don’t know what changed, exactly. It might just be an overexposure thing. I used to listen to all his podcasts religiously, but at a certain point things got repetitive. It seems like he can find the same joke as funny the hundredth time as he found it the first time. And now that he’s baked essentially 24/7, he finds humour in a lot of unfunny things. That gets old.
And in terms of his career direction, I don’t know. Red State had plenty of detractors, but I liked it okay. It just didn’t seem like a movie made by a guy who’s been at it for almost twenty years now. Like he was still the same amateur he always has been. And then there was that whole self-indulgent rant he went on at Sundance last year. Not terribly endearing.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The news of the day can be summed in the following tweets:
If you’ve been following this thing, you know that Smith has been talking up Hit Somebody for a long time now, declaring it his last film. At first it was one movie, then two, and now it’s a miniseries. My enthusiasm for the project is on a steady downward trend. I’m not going to dismiss it out of hand, but it seems like movies are rarely made better by being padded for more runtime. The early reviews for The Hobbit seem to be bearing that out.
As far as Clerks III is concerned, well, again, I won’t dismiss it out of hand. I actually had a fun time with Clerks II. I think it’s Smith’s best made film. It’s like he’s in his comfort zone, but still stretching just a bit. As opposed to movies like Cop Out and Red State which have a lot of action and wound up looking like they were simply beyond his abilities in some respects.
The thing I wonder about is how many great trilogies are there in the world of cinema? Not many. Usually at least one of the three drops the ball or at least doesn’t live up to the others (Temple of Doom and The Godfather: Part III, anyone?) I just don’t know that I see this ending well.
Primer director Shane Carruth releases teaser trailer for his sophomore effort, Upstream Color
After almost a decade of radio silence, Shane Carruth has returned to the director’s chair. His first film, 2004’s Primer, wowed audiences and critics with its low-budget take on time travel. The film was of note not just for its intricate plotting (detailed in various infographics – some super-elaborate, others not) but for its realistic approach to dialogue. The main characters were friends who made circuit boards in their garage, and dabbled in other tech experiments in their spare time. They were, in short, massive nerds. And the movie treated them as such, and trusted the audience to be smart enough to follow what they were talking about. The shitty version of Primer would begin with one of the main characters inviting a non-tech-savvy friend over and explaining everything to them (and, by proxy, us). Thankfully, Carruth was way too smart for that.
Upstream Color sounds equally intelligent, but broader in scope. The IMDb summary reads as follows: “A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.” And with that, I am in! Show it to me now!
Sadly, all that’s available for the moment is this cryptic teaser trailer.
I’m definitely intrigued even though I don’t know quite what to make of it. And it’ll be awhile before we all get to dive in. Upstream Color premieres at Sundance in January, with a theatrical release currently slated for March.
IMDb also lists another Carruth project (A Topiary) as “in-production”. But I don’t know if I see that happening. The script was floating around online for awhile and it was very long and very ambitious. But who knows? Maybe Upstream Color will be a huge hit that’ll give Carruth the clout needed to make something even crazier. I hope so.
Critics are going nuts for Zero Dark Thirty
There aren’t many movies left this year I’m excited for. My enthusiasm for The Hobbit has been tempered by the mixed reviews. The rest of December looks uninspiring (except of course for Django Unchained, which I cannot wait for). But now I have at least one more to anticipate: Zero Dark Thirty.
I knew about it, of course. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal – fresh off the success of The Hurt Locker – were teaming up again to tell the story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. But for whatever reason, that didn’t do it for me. The cynical part of me just said, “Oh boy, another ‘ripped-from-the-headlines’ spy story, whoopee.” Even the involvement of Jessica Chastain, who is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses, didn’t do much for me.
But now some early reviews are coming in (the movie doesn’t begin its limited run until December 19th). And they are pretty ecstatic. Katie Rich‘s review addresses one of the concerns I had, which was that I knew the story going in, so how could they build tension? She writes, “Telling a nearly three-hour story with an ending everyone knows, Bigelow and Boal have managed to craft one of the most intense and intellectually challenging films of the year.”
Devin Faraci‘s review is even more laudatory. I don’t always agree with his opinions, but he’s the kind of critic who doesn’t suffer melodramatic bullshit, so his praise has weight in my eyes. Of Chastain, he writes, “Chastain is astonishing as Maya. Zero Dark Thirty is a procedural, so there isn’t a moment spent with her that isn’t about her work in the War on Terror and the hunt for bin Laden, but Chastain creates a complete character between these scenes. Subtly, often just physically, she delineates a striking difference between the woman who shows up for her first day of work to see a man, strung up from the ceiling, shitting his pants and the woman who positively identifies the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”
Zero Dark Thirty currently sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, only 22 reviews have been counted so far, but it’s a good start. I’m sure there will be a few pans. With luck, they’ll be as hilariously written as Rex Reed’s review/fever dream about The Cabin In The Woods.
Anticipation is a funny thing. A week or two ago, I had none for this movie. Now, I’m super hyped. That’s why I like to go in knowing nothing when I can. No expectations means I can react to the film more honestly. That’s definitely been blown out of the water for Zero Dark Thirty. I hope I dig it. Either way, you’ll hear about it on the podcast.