Friday, January 16, 2009

(Untitled) Premieres at Palm Springs

Jonathan Parker's new film (Untitled) [yep, that's the name of the picture] had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival last week.

You can read the Variety review by clicking on this link. Here is an excerpt:

Palm Springs



Shifting from the jet-black absurdism of "Bartleby," director Jonathan Parker jabs and pokes at the New York contemporary art world with some satirical success in "(Untitled)." Teasing today's new realms in painting, conceptual art and music is almost too easy, and the impressive aspect of Parker's latest is an evident grasp and respect for what's worthy and worthless in the fecund present-day scene. The smart-ass comedy isn't sustained throughout, but there's more than enough here for a bright fest roadshow and theatrical gallery space. Notably, this pic is one of the rare American indie films to land a world premiere at a fest prior to Sundance on the calendar (Palm Springs). And yet, it bears all the hallmarks of a prestige Sundance movie, from a hip cast including Adam Goldberg and Eion Bailey to a brilliant score by leading new music composer and Pulitzer winner David Lang.

The first film since "Art School Confidential" to seriously confront issues befuddling artists torn between their drives for personal expression and a demanding marketplace, "(Untitled)" surveys two art worlds repped by a pair of competitive brothers: terminally self-important composer Adrian (Goldberg) and commercially successful painter Josh (Bailey) -- as well as the network of gallery owners, dealers, patrons, critics and audiences that put the work in the public sphere.

ZAP played a small supporting role in the film's post production, as Bay Area director Jonathan Parker and his producer Catherine Di Napoli finished the film over the past nine months. San Francisco sound designer and ZAP friend Richard Beggs did the soundtrack; the film was shot on location New York City using Panavision Genesis cameras.

Parker's association with ZAP and friends goes back to his 2001 film "Bartleby" with sound design by our old friend Jennifer Ware of Homegirls Sound.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Amazon Ranks Godfather Blu-Ray Best of 2008

Amazon Editorial Reviews
On the DVD People used to say this was Frank Sinatra's world, and the rest of us just lived in it. After watching the multiple special features in the box set The Godfather - Coppola Restoration, one might conclude it's actually time for a cultural and historical revision: This is the Corleone family's world. The rest of us better tread lightly. Actually, the point of the half-dozen or so features crammed onto a disc accompanying the beautifully restored The Godfather, The Godfather II and The Godfather III, is that The Godfather movies have penetrated popular culture in such a deep and meaningful way that they are second-nature to everything. David Chase, creator of and writer on The Sopranos, for example, describes in the featurette "Godfather World" that his hit HBO series was intended to be the story of the first generation of mobsters actually influenced by Francis Ford Coppola's hit trilogy. Joe Mantegna calls the three films "the Italian Star Wars." (Mantegna co-stars in The Godfather III.) Alec Baldwin says no matter what one is doing, one is compelled to stop and watch the films if they're on television. Richard Belzer calls the films "a religion." And so on. A number of people similarly testify in "Godfather World" to the importance and ubiquitousness of The Godfather and its sequels in American life. There's no point in arguing, so its best to move on to the other featurettes, including "The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't," reviewing in detail much of what has been said about Paramount's mistreatment of Coppola, about casting fights (Steve McQueen as Michael?), about the studio's assumption they were getting a quick-and-dirty B-movie, and about producer Robert Evans' determination to keep his choice of director and unlikely actors under his wing. Fresh information within the special features, however, begins with "… When the Shooting Stopped," a fine study of post-production on The Godfather, with several surprising and fascinating facts. Among emerging details is an explanation of why Michael Corleone's scream toward the end of The Godfather III is silenced out. (Hint: it was meant to be the inverse of a sound effect in the first movie.) "Emulsional Rescue: Revealing The Godfather" talks about the painstaking work of restoring the first two films, beginning with a phone call from Coppola to Steven Spielberg (after the latter's DreamWorks studio became part of the Viacom family) asking if he'd request money from Paramount for restoration work. "The Godfather On the Red Carpet is a negligible series of fawning statements about the movie from hot young actors, while "Four Short Films" are brief and enjoyable takes on different aspects of The Godfather's impact on modern living. --Tom Keogh