Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Wild For 2009

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

2008 was a great year in entertainment: New Portishead, Santogold, Thievery Corporation… Not to mention The Dark Knight, The Fall and other awesome films that stormed our DVD collections. Now looking ahead, there are a few releases set for 2009 that I’m genuinely and proudly geekin’ out for in anticipation. On the top of the list is Spike Jonze’s film adaption of Maurice Sendak’s classic kid’s story:

Where The Wild Things Are

This was hands down one of my favorite lil’ twisted stories from my littleness. And though there’s nothing worse than having Hollywood corrupt, exploit or plain ruin such a magical childhood treasure, I have faith that Jonze is going to do this one justice. The director is sharing ideas with the book’s author in taking the tale to screen, and there are some great actors on board, including Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood).

With a number of stellar music videos under his belt for acts like Bjork, The Beastie Boys, Weezer and Daft Punk, you can count on this film sounding as incredible as it looks. Jonze has enlisted the talent of former girlfriend, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to write nearly the entire soundtrack for the film. Umm… awesome?!

Karen O

According to, the movie will hit theaters October 16, 2009. I’ll be there. Maybe even in a monster suit, covered in bells. Here are a few stills from the film, and some “leaked test footage” here on YouTube. (Does anyone else hear Beck in that clip?)

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

While you’re at it, check out Karen O’s sweet run with Adidas and Spike Jonze here. Also, Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans can count on a new YYY album this year, per the group’s blog.

Next in excitement… new Massive Attack in ‘09! The group’s highly-anticipated fifth studio album is rumored to see its release in the spring. According to, the album once thought to be called Weather Underground will be a double-album. “LP5″ is now the working title of the record. Whatever the name, the album will be a follow-up to 2003’s 100th Window, and Collected, MA’s Best Of record, which was released in 2006. Various sources on the net mention collaborations with TV On The Radio frontman Tunde Adebimpe, Stephanie Dosen, Dot Allison, Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, Horace Andy, Mike Patton and Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins fame. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Whatever the formula of collaborators, Massive Attack always delivers magic. Fingers crossed that it’s sooner than later. “Let the wild rumpus start!”

‘Master’ful evening with Stone, Pierson

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I had a great time at John Pierson’s master class down on the UT Campus this last week.

John, of course, is the indie film guru who is largely responsible for launching the careers of Spike Lee and Michael Moore and Kevin Smith (not to mention our own beloved Rick Linklater). These days he’s shifted to academia, in UT’s RTF department specifically. He teaches a “Master Class” where he invites in movie and TV types to speak to his students (recent guests include actor/filmmaker Steve Buscemi, The Wire’s David Simon and more).

You may also remember him from a hang in Chillville last year.

His book Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes should be required reading for every would-be filmmaker. You may also remember his television program Split Screen, which aired on IFC back in the late 90s.

Their conversation was a hoot. John really does a “master”ful job of engaging his guests in candid conversation (pardon the pun).

Stone was a total trip. You might have had the idea they he and partner Trey Parker intentionally push the envelope to get a rise out of the Comedy Central brass. In reality, they’re pretty much left to their own devices.

They still have to clear what is called “standards and practices.” But for the most part, there are no “notes” from executives. Considering that, as Pierson astutely pointed out, South Park pretty much built Comedy Central, I suppose that is a good thing.

I was also surprised that for such a mammoth enterprise, not to mention cash cow, that they can still be total slackers about how they go about it. According to Stone, they are usually putting together a week’s new show during the 7-10 days prior. In fact, they can add a joke or segment as late as Wednesday morning to air that night.

Also very interesting to me was his candor about having “The Simpsons” in his head. I can’t remember if he called it “the greatest show ever” (that could just be what I was thinking), but he acknowledged that on several occasions he and Trey will have a major lightbulb moment for South Park, only to realize it has already been done on the Simpsons.

The one edge he said they have (Pierson pointed it out, Matt concurred) was in being able to work on tight deadlines and insert topical material from the headlines before other shows (which they first learned with the Elian Gonzalez saga back in 2000).

Lastly, I was surprised that there is an entire archive of every South Park that can be viewed online, and that over 1,000,000 people view a new South Park episode online within the 24 hours it airs on CC. That’s a staggering figure if you think about it.