Archive for September, 2008

Paul Newman: 1925-2008

Posted in News on September 27, 2008 by Nathan Douglas

               

This is very sad news to be posting.  Legendary actor Paul Newman died Friday at his home in Connecticut, of cancer.  He was 83.      

I came late to seeing Newman as an actor, and even now, I’m not well versed in his filmography.  I know what work he’s done, but I haven’t seen a good deal of it yet.  My first exposure to Paul Newman was his last live-action feature, Road To Perdition.  His performance as the elderly lord of an Irish crime family is a masterfully tuned portrayal, balancing cold menace with grandfatherly warmth; weariness with icy resolve.  It’s an instantly memorable role.

The other Newman role that sticks with me is, of course, Butch Cassidy.  Newman’s presence as a character and as a movie star is at its peak in Butch.  His natural charisma and physical presence combine to make Butch one of cinema’s enduring heroes.

I cherish these two films, and I look forward to discovering more of Newman’s work.  He will be sorely missed.

For more information, I would suggest reading the CNN news story here and Roger Ebert’s piece here.

Update: The Ebert link has been fixed.

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Here comes VIFF…

Posted in Miscellaneous on September 24, 2008 by Nathan Douglas

VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival) starts tomorrow, Thursday Sept. 25 and runs until October 10. I’ve finally narrowed my picks down to five films I’ll be seeing over the course of the festival.  My choices are:

Ballast – Winner of Best Director and Best Cinematography awards at Sundance, this Mississippi Delta-set film tells the story of a suicide and it’s impact on the victim’s family.  The word on this is outstanding, and it looks to be another great entry in American independent cinema.  The trailer reminds me of Jeff Nichols’ Shotgun Stories, one of the better films of 2008 thus far.

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird – A Korean tribute to Sergio Leone, basically The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but set in 1930’s Manchuria.  A recipient of fanboy raves, (and here and here) this is looking like a delightful genre hit, and would make a great double bill with…

Action Boys — Also from Korea, this is a documentary that chronicles the lives and exploits of several young Korean stuntmen as they perform their difficult and dangerous jobs in films such as The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, and The Host.  Stuntmen don’t get enough mainstream exposure for their work; hopefully this doc will provide a revealing look into their profession.

Edison & Leo – The only Canadian feature I’ll be seeing at the festival this year.  It’s an animated stop-motion film with puppets, telling the tale of an inventor named Edison and the lengths he goes to in order to invent a workable light bulb.  The look of it is bizarre, creepy, and somewhat endearing. 

Gomorrah – What’s not to love about Italian crime epics?  This one made a splash at Cannes, where it won the Grand Prix.  With five storylines weaving together, this sounds like the Italian child of Babel and Goodfellas.

I’m also hoping to catch Forty Men For the Yukon, a short documentary by recent SFU film grad, Tony Massil.

I plan to post reviews of these films over the next couple weeks.  Stay tuned…