Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PTA DVD Pick: ‘White Heat' (1949)

Another bit of new old news here while we pass the time. We recently came across this link that revealed Paul introduced an Academy screening of the James Cagney classic "White Heat" last year in LA. In lieu of an official DVD pick (if anyone has a transcription of what he said during his intro that would be great), we thought we'd pass that recommendation along here. Synopsis below (via Amazon):
This superb 1949 crime drama takes elements of plot, character, and theme familiar from '30s melodramas and orchestrates them as an existential tragedy noir. James Cagney, in a towering performance, is Cody Jarrett, a transparently psychotic robber with a molten temper, feral cunning, and mercurial charm that are finely calibrated extensions of the doomed gangsters he played a decade before, this time coiled not around a Depression-era impetus of greed or class rivalry, but an Oedipal bond. Cody's beloved, calculating "Ma" (Margaret Wycherly) is the compass for his every move, her iron will and long shadow acknowledged not only by Cody but by his gang, his bored, restless wife (Virginia Mayo, radiating sensuality and guile), and the undercover cop (Edmond O'Brien) planted in Jarrett's path.
In other news, actor Jonah Hill recently joined Twitter and made "Punch-Drunk Love" his Movie Of The Day. You'll remember he also had "Boogie Nights" in his Top 5 so it looks like he's officially a fan.

As always, you can get the latest news on Cigarettes & Red Vines on Twitter and Facebook. Tell your friends.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Paul & Maya Expecting Child #3

It looks like some major congrats are in order because according to People Magazine Paul and partner Maya Rudolph are expecting their third child together. Their new baby will be joining daughters Pearl (5) and Lucille (1). Congratulations guys! (via xixax)

As always, you can get the latest news on Cigarettes & Red Vines on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Could ‘Inherent Vice' Be PTA's ‘Big Lebowski'?

Vanity Fair seems to think so. In a recent article the magazine draws some (vague) similarities between the two (both LA-set stoner mysteries) following up films that won critical kudos ('Vice' following "There Will Be Blood," 'Lebowski' following "Fargo") but lost Best Picture. VF also compares 'Vice' to Altman's 70s LA mystery "The Long Goodbye" and suggests that a finished script is now circulating in Hollywood though it doesn't appear that they've read it.
Thomas Pynchon’s novels are notoriously unfilmable, and in functionally illiterate Hollywood, the idea of any agent or film executive reading one—let alone wanting to make it into a movie—is funnier than this weekend’s S.N.L. Charlie Sheen opener. At least, that was the case, until Pynchon wrote Inherent Vice—which foregoes his usual cerebral, paranoid, scientific-philosophical synthesis of Western civilization for a more genial, pot-hazed look at psychedelic-60s Los Angeles. It’s a kind of Altman-esque take on The Long Goodbye—with a lot more Mary Jane. It’s not surprising that the L.A.-themed project would appeal to native Valley boy Anderson, whose entire oeuvre, from Boogie Nights to Magnolia to Punch Drunk Love, features Southern California as a kind of background character. (To boot, There Will Be Blood is dedicated to the late, great Altman himself.) And if there’s one filmmaker whose talent feels up to the task of adapting any Pynchon novel, it is the bravura Anderson, especially if he’s armed with Robert Downey Jr.’s nuclear charisma.
You can read the full piece at Vanity Fair.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Robert Elswit Talks PTA & How He Almost Didn't Do ‘Boogie Nights'

A bit of new old news here while we wait for new news. Robert Elswit, cinematographer on all of PTA's films (who won the Academy Award for "There Will Be Blood") and his wife Helen (a visual effects person) gave a talk in 2009 at Principia College and thanks to Youtube that hourlong talk has now surfaced. (It was actually put up about a year ago but just now made it's way to our site.) The interview ranges from topics like exactly what a Director of Photography does to how to break into the business ("write a screenplay") and naturally Elswit brings up Paul several times during the talk. He calls Paul a "luddite" when it comes to technology and says that even though he's a young guy he likes to work with very old fashioned methods. He also says Paul is "a director who hopes that movies will come to life if accidents occur. There's a certain amount of planning, but some of it, he hopes will be serendipitous." He goes on to say that even though he liked Paul, he almost passed on "Boogie Nights".