Post by Scott Gordon on 1/18/2013 11:13am
Below the jump: Old-school trailer for "Blue Velvet," playing Friday night at UW Cinematheque.
This week in Madison arts journalism might help readers understand things they usually overlook, whether because they tend to not visit art shows or because they never really wondered what that weird-looking place on Lakeside Street is.
Ben Munson visits said place, Red Dragon TV studio, in a revealing Isthmus piece about founder Ari John White Wolf's passion for local music.
In 77 Square's fine-arts department, Lindsay Christians profiles Trent Miller, whose work is currently on display at the Overture Center's Watrous Gallery, and reviews Ellsworth Kelly's show of prints at MMOCA.
In Isthmus, Jennifer A. Smith declares that two exhibitions currently at the Chazen Museum of Art are "essential viewing." [http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=38806]
Post by Jason Dean on 3/31/2012 11:15am
Architecture is the art of structure. Wisconsin Film Festival has a history of bringing documentaries that feature world-renowned architects. 2012 is no exception.
Nicknamed the "Mozart of Modernism," Foster is responsible for some of the world's most striking structures, including Wembley Stadium and 30 St Mary Axe (the "Gherkin") in London, Hearst Tower in New York, and Millau Bridge in France, the world's tallest bridge. The film combines the aforementioned beautiful images of Foster's creations along with interviews of experts, including a candid Foster himself. The architect fills in important details of his biography, including his working-class Manchester upbringing, graduate school at Yale and the founding of his first firm, a small outfit that designed innovative factories and office buildings. Insightful and entertaining, the film charts Foster's journey to international renown, providing a peek into his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.
How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? plays Friday, April 20, 2 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater, and again Sunday, April 22, 1 p.m. at Sundance Cinema 2. Tickets are available through the WFF website beginning March 31.
Post by Jason Dean on 3/26/2012 6:53pm
Late last week, the Wisconsin Film Festival (WFF) released its 2012 schedule. For those that haven't vigorously studied the film guide, Dane101 will post a trailer-a-day until the festival begins on April 18.
Our first trailer is Margaret. Featuring Anna Paquin, Matthew Broderick and Matt Damon, Margaret was filmed in 2005 and went through six years of editing before a limited released last year. From the WFF website:
A privileged, precocious, and extremely self-absorbed New York City teenager, Lisa (Anna Paquin), in pursuit of a trifle, distracts a city bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) and later feels more than a little responsible for the fatal accident that follows. Though she initially gives false testimony to the police, Lisa's guilt looms heavily and she seeks advice from a variety of adults including her mother (J. Smith Cameron) and two ineffectual teachers at her private prep school (Matt Damon and Matthew Broderick). Determined to live a morally uncompromised life, Lisa proceeds to set things right, turning several people's lives, including her own, upside down.
Margaret plays Thursday, April 19, 3:30 p.m. at Sundance Cinema 1, and again Friday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Orpheum. Tickets are available through the WFF website beginning March 31.
Post by Russell on 4/10/2011 4:55pm
For those looking for more substance in their action films, Bodyguards and Assassins delivers a potent mix of history, fiction, and sacrifice. Depicting the early struggle for democracy in China around the turn of the 20th century, the film feels grand in scope despite taking place almost entirely in Hong Kong across only a few days.
The beginning shots make it clear that this is not a typical martial arts film. We see a confusing jumble of light and shadow flitting across diagonal lines. As the camera pulls back, the underside latticework of a flight of stairs is revealed, and the moving shapes resolve to many pairs of feet. These feet belong to students eagerly following a beloved teacher before he is struck down for his pro-democracy beliefs. As they mourn the loss of their teacher, we come back a few years later to find another pro-democracy leader under the threat of assassination. This leader is Sun Yat-sen who has been in exile in Japan but is briefly coming to Hong Kong under the guise of visiting his mother. In truth, the real reason for his visit is a secret meeting with the heads of Chinese provinces to plan for the uprising against the Qing Dynasty.
Post by Christie Taylor on 4/7/2011 9:40am
A musician and steelworker, Chen, is being divorced by his estranged wife. Their daughter, Xiao Yuan, will go with whichever parent can buy her a piano. Chen cannot afford such a luxury, but he is determined and scheming, and embarks on a quest that includes his singer girlfriend, worker friends, and the members of his band (they play mainly Russian music). Spontaneous, often surreal, musical numbers, zany capers, and gorgeous shots of the crumbling industrial city lead us, in the end, to an unexpectedly sad resting place.
The preview summary of the Chinese film compared it to Full Monty, but without the stripping. I admit, this is one reason I decided to see it. And I could see echoes, in the striving of a group of men made economically obsolete to recover a sense of dignity. “We workers can do anything when we put our mind to it,” says one old engineer, when they consider the idea of building Xiao Yuan’s piano from scratch. “We should always try.”
Post by mtbaier on 4/4/2011 3:46pm
Everyone has a unique relationship with day and night. Most people prefer the daytime for its life-giving brightness, its social normality, and its convenient shopping hours. Not to say these people don't have a personal relationship with the flipside of day. It could anywhere from fear, discomfort, indifference or even a limited love based upon the safe early hours of the dark evening with its relaxed comfort and less rigid socialization of the business hours, slipping into recreation and merriment. Night Shifts (or Nachtachicten for those, unlike me, who speak German), is not about any of those people. A 2008 documentary by film maker Ivette Locker (plus umlaut), Night Shifts is a look at the lives of several self-chosen 'night people and the many details of their routines as they stalk or walk through the night. Set against a midwinter night over and in a snowy Berlin it is as much a collection of their lives as it is a picture of a city during its darkest hours of slumber. It is also Berlin at its snowiest, which is an integral part of both the mood and the plot. An aspect much magnified for this viewer just coming off the end of a Wisconsin winter. I'm just saying...
Post by Sean Weitner on 4/4/2011 2:40pm
Square jaws, square shoulders ... Beneath Hill 60 is as square a movie as has ever played at the Wisconsin Film Festival. Now, squareness cuts both ways -- this WWI picture is conventional down to its very bones, but it's also a handsomely set gem of classical filmmaking, and delivers its upbeats and downbeats with conviction; the first casualty whose death we truly mourn is portrayed in a truly dynamite, pure-cinema kind of shot. (My colleague Matt has more to say about its filmmaking virtues.) The movie cuts between Capt. Woodward's arrival at the Western Front as the new commanding officer of a mining unit charged with burrowing beneath the German line, and flashbacks to his days in Australia as he decides to leave his supervisory job at a copper mine and join the army. The movie won a prize from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which awards movies that deal with scientific and technical issues, and the movie was selected by the Wisconsin Film Fest to draw in enginerd moviegoers (a number I count myself among; in her introduction, festival director Meg Hamel also noted the three generations of Wisconsin engineers in her family).
Thinking about this movie's appeal to a technical audience provides one of the most useful vantages for peering under its hood. How can a movie incorporate scientific content? It can show science in action, it can show scientists in action, and it can probe into the morals and ethics of how science is applied.
Post by Christie Taylor on 4/4/2011 11:48am
When I arrived at the Bartell Theater Friday night for the 6 p.m. screening of Monica and David, the line for rush tickets was almost as long as the line of people who had purchased tickets for the sold-out screening. This surprised me mostly because I don’t associate documentaries with crowds.
The documentary follows a year in the life of Monica and David, two young adults with Down syndrome, as they marry and begin their life together. This is a new challenge for a group of people who, in the 1980s, faced an average life expectancy of 25. Now, it’s closer to 60.
The documentary is light on narration throughout, and we learn most biographical details from interviews with Monica and David's parents. Meanwhile, fly-on-the-wall footage leads us through the routines and events of their lives.
Post by Cassie Pientka on 4/4/2011 9:10am
Eavesdropping. It could be a roommate’s quarrel overheard at a grocery store, a phone conversation at an airport, or even a domestic confrontation heard through thin walls. No matter who it is, where it takes place, or what it is about, there is something intriguing and almost ironic about listening to something that you are not meant to hear. But at what point (or volume) does the conversation switch from private to public? At what point does it turn from eavesdropping to entertainment?
Shut Up Little Man is a comedic documentary and pop culture phenomenon formed around the art of eavesdropping. It tells the story of how two college graduates, Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell D., stumble across conversations equating to comedic gold. Eddie and Mitchell moved to San Francisco in 1987, signing an apartment lease on a complex they like to refer to as the “Pepto Bismol Palace.” Late in the evening, lying in bed, Eddie began hearing loud yelling and arguing, "Shut up Little Man!" He awoke the following morning, finding that Mitchell hadn’t heard anything. After weeks of reoccurrence, he finally wakes Mitchell up in the middle of the night to have him listen to the maddening domestic disputes next door. It was the ramblings of their two drunken neighbors, Raymond Huffman and Peter J. Haskett. The irony was that Raymond was a loud-mouthed alcoholic homophobe living with Peter, a “Queen Bee” argumentative homosexual.
Post by Adam Schabow on 4/3/2011 9:30pm
Shorts 1pm including "Legend Lake" and "Open Season"
A whole post could have been written just about the Q&A session for the two documentary shorts spotlighting two very local, very racial issues within up-north Wisconsin. Hell, it wasn't really even a Q&A session, but rather a town hall meeting with everyone venting their frustrations.
The first of the two, Legend Lake, dealt with the racial tensions between the Menominee Indian tribe and whites regarding property taxation, land rights and environmental issues on Legend Lake.
Honestly, I have lived in Wisconsin all my life and never knew about this heated conflict. It's hard to figure what type of compromise could be had between the two sides, but I was grateful to have seen the film and to have learned so much from it. The Executive Producer of the film stated that they're in the process of adding the film to the Menominee school district's curriculum.
The second documentary short, Open Season, examined the incident in 2004 where a Hmong hunter, Chai Vang, shot and killed 6 white hunters in Hayward, WI. The film not only explored the trial, but also the love of hunting that both the white and the Hmong culture embrace.