Hollywood’s favorite unlikely badass Jesse Eisenberg steals the show in American Ultra as Mike, a stoner gas station clerk and unwitting government ... More
Film by Nima Nourizadeh
Hollywood’s favorite unlikely badass Jesse Eisenberg steals the show in American Ultra as Mike, a stoner gas station clerk and unwitting government agent whose life is overturned when the government tries to exterminate him for liability reasons. The action-comedy, directed by Nima Nourizadeh (Project X), premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and is reminiscent of TV-series Chuck (2007-2012), in which a less stoned but equally involuntarily normal dude discovers that he too has secret agent prowess. Kristen Stewart plays Mike’s girlfriend Phoebe, who is along for the bloody, boisterous ride. The rest of the star-studded cast includes Connie Britton, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman and Tony Hale.
Film duo Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott (The Last Days Here, The Atomic States of America) have teamed up once again ... More
Film by Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott
Film duo Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott (The Last Days Here, The Atomic States of America) have teamed up once again to direct Slow Learners, a romantic comedy about two coworkers in search of love and reckless fun. The film, acquired by Sundance Selects following its success at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, stars Adam Pally (The Mindy Project) and Sarah Burns (I Love You, Man) as the socially inept pair Jeff and Anne. Together they ditch their routine, gun-shy personas in favor of newfound alter-egos. Following an arc of frustration, plotting and revelry to an ultimate watershed about who-matters-most, Slow Learners is an easy summer watch that also co-stars the lovable faces of Reid Scott, Bobby Moynihan and Kate Flannery.
Formed in Seattle as a four-piece female band, La Luz has an established quintessential surf rock brand. To record their sophomore album, ... More
Album Weirdo Shrine
Formed in Seattle as a four-piece female band, La Luz has an established quintessential surf rock brand. To record their sophomore album, Weirdo Shrine, La Luz retreated to a surf shop in San Dimas, California with producer and San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall. Courtesy of Segall’s signature fuzz, the album is a lo-fi followup to their successful debut LP, It’s Alive. La Luz turned to poet Richard Brautigan for inspiration while writing the lyrics for Weirdo Shrine, alluding to his poems “Oranges” and “A Boat.” The result is ethereal four-part harmonies and guitarist Shana Cleveland’s fuzzy guitar solos imbedded in vibrant noir surf rock.
via Hardly Art
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A trippy hologram of Marlon Brando’s talking head narrates Listen to Me Marlon, the feature-film teaser for a ten-movie Brando tribute by ... More
Film by Stevan Riley
A trippy hologram of Marlon Brando’s talking head narrates Listen to Me Marlon, the feature-film teaser for a ten-movie Brando tribute by Film Forum scheduled this August. Curated from hundreds of hours of Brando’s audio recordings and directed by Stevan Riley (Fire in Babylon, Blue Blood), the documentary spans Brando’s prolific career as the star of exceptional films—most notably On the Waterfront, Apocalypse Now and The Godfather. It also integrates more personal notes including his daughter’s suicide. While comprehensive, Listen to Me Marlon is moreover insular, featuring no interviews or voices besides Brando’s. In this, the film accentuates the essential humanness beneath his legend, cast within the finite perspective of a man, his tape recorder and his thoughts.
The End of the Tour begins in medias res as David Foster Wallace publishes his radically contemporary 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, one ... More
Film by James Ponsoldt
Interview by Clare Shearer
“I just read the script and it was so moving!
Such a tonal tightrope walk.
—James PonsoldtAnd I was like, oh fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.” — James Ponsoldt
The End of the Tour begins in medias res as David Foster Wallace publishes his radically contemporary 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, one of the greatest in literary memory. David Lipsky, then a journalist at Rolling Stone, lobbied to cover the end of Wallace’s book tour. The resulting article never ran, but Wallace only continued to gain a cult-like following and, eventually, a tragic mythos after his 2008 suicide. Like many, Lipsky felt the loss of a great mind deeply. Adapted from Lipsky’s 2010 memoir, which revisited the tapes of that interview and his former self, the film takes a deeply humanistic approach to their rapport over five days of driving and flying and talking over junk food and cigarettes.
With Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky, the film is based in rambling conversations, revealing Wallace as a sustained dichotomy of genius and normal guy-hood. Only 34, he feared what his newfound fame might mean for his writing. Lipsky was 30 and—though also an acclaimed young writer at the time—confronted by self-doubt and the growing realization that Wallace, who had everything he wanted, still wasn’t fulfilled.
Known for his staunch criticism of modern American culture and the corporatized distraction of mass media, Wallace is a man who (we can assume, and his surviving relatives assert) would not like to see a movie made of himself. An early devotee of Wallace, director James Ponsoldt (known for The Spectacular Now) is well aware of the weight of expectation this film must—and has—taken on.
“Infinite Jest came out in 96 and I started college in Fall of 97,” Ponsoldt tells me. “I was an English major and everyone was reading that book, or had a copy of the book and said they were reading it. It was not ‘the best book of this spring,’ it was this crazy huge thing that you had to contend with, and was probably the most substantive relationship I had that year.”
He read everything Wallace had ever written, and Wallace’s voice became a touchstone for how to filter the world. When there was a conversation or a fight or a question, Ponsoldt would ask himself, What would Wallace have to say about this? “He was this person who wasn’t literally in the room, but you felt was around… I felt like he understood something about what it was to be alive at that time that most other writers didn’t, and spoke to the psychological and emotional experience of that, and being a complicated, damaged human.” Hundreds of thousands of fellow readers felt the same.
“I felt like [Wallace] understood
something about what it was to be alive
at that time that most other writers
didn’t, and spoke to the psychological
and emotional experience of that,
and being a complicated, damaged human.”
— James Ponsoldt
So when he was sent the script by his former Yale professor (and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright) Donald Margulies, Ponsoldt had to ask himself, “Is this a losing proposition?” It’s not an unfair question, as it’s a tenuous and almost insurmountable task to portray a very private, very admired writer when he had previously existed in the world of the mind, on paper, without intermediary. “I just read the script, though,” Ponsoldt says, “and it was so moving! So pitch-perfect. Such a tonal tightrope walk. And I was like, oh fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.”
This tightrope walk is Wallace’s almost monolithic legend, but as Ponsoldt reiterates, “The movie’s not a biopic, it was a very subjective story about Lipsky’s time with Wallace… Lipsky was super tough on himself, so in the movie we tried to be equally tough and honest. Lipsky is our point of entry into this story. He’s like a surrogate for the audience, sometimes in his jealousy, maybe in his pettiness, and all these things that are very very human. That’s what I relate to. I’ve been that guy far more than I’ve been a genius who can write a thousand page novel.”
“This is a movie about two guys who wrote books and were discussing ideas. And hopefully there’s a universal story about getting to spend time with someone you thought about a lot from a distance, someone you’ve idealized or romanticized or have deeply jealous feelings towards. Who you measure yourself against. It’s much more about yourself always. It’s having so much burden of expectation and realizing, man, people are fucked up and complicated and it’s really, really hard.”
What Ponsoldt and co. have achieved is exactly that sentiment. The film is fiercely dedicated to getting the story right—both philosophical and entertaining, as painful as it is darkly funny—and speaks to something larger than itself. And, by the way, Jason Segel makes an unprecedented turn to the dramatic without losing the warm-hearted effortlessness that has defined his career. For those who have never heard of Wallace or Lipsky or any of this, Ponsoldt says it best, “If this movie was only for the fans of Wallace, we should just rent out a theater at the Arclight. We’ll knock it off in a single weekend. The fans are there, I’m one of them.”
Inspired by a donut shop near his Hollywood home, director Sean S. Baker together with co-writer Chris Bergoch produced Tangerine, an independent ... More
Film by Sean S. Baker
Inspired by a donut shop near his Hollywood home, director Sean S. Baker together with co-writer Chris Bergoch produced Tangerine, an independent comedy-drama. The entire film was shot in Los Angeles using an iPhone 5s and premiered at Sundance earlier this year before being bought by Magnolia Pictures. Tangerine begins on Christmas Eve, as transgender prostitute Sin-Dee Rella finishes her prison sentence and heads to Donut Time to meet a friend, who informs her that Sin Dee’s boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her with a white, cisgender female. Outraged, Sin-Dee sets off on a hunt for her boyfriend and the “fish” who stole him away. Actors James Ransone and Karran Karagulian feature alongside new faces and some of LA’s most beloved streets.
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“I’m trying to find the sublime in the post-internet age,” says Montreal artist, filmmaker and essayist Jon Rafman of his photo series ... More
Jon Rafman Photobook
“I’m trying to find the sublime in the post-internet age,” says Montreal artist, filmmaker and essayist Jon Rafman of his photo series Jon Rafman: Nine Eyes. In 2007, Google added Street View to its online maps, using composite images taken by a fleet of hybrid electric cars, each with a nine-lensed camera mounted on the roof. Rafman began combing through millions of its images and compiling unedited screenshots into his online blog “9-Eyes.” What began as an internet photo project, then gallery exhibit, is now encapsulated in a clothbound volume containing some of Google Street View’s most poignant, breathtaking and, at times, disturbing scenes. Nine Eyes elucidates the world brought to you by Google as fragile, subversive and saturated – an inadvertent document of complex cultural texts and relationships.
Published by Jean Boite Éditions
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Long Beach native, fellow Cutthroat Boyz rapper and Odd Future collaborator Vince Staples released his lengthy debut album, Summertime ‘06. Staples’ prolific ... More
Album “Summertime '06”
Long Beach native, fellow Cutthroat Boyz rapper and Odd Future collaborator Vince Staples released his lengthy debut album, Summertime ‘06. Staples’ prolific studio recordings include guest versing for the likes of Ghostface Killah, Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller and Common, as well as releasing several noteworthy mixtapes and EPs: Stolen Youth (2013), Shyne Coldchain Vol.2 and Hell Can Wait (2014). In spite of his myriad connections, Vince doesn’t pledge allegiance to anyone – neither his former hometown gang nor any rap clan. The album is raw with this integrity, poised between Staples’ hood credo and his sharp defiance of racism, inequality, and its fallout on the streets. Produced by No I.D., Summertime ‘06 is a stripped-down flood of percussion. Staples’ clear vocals and cool-mannered restraint underpin the lyrical surge of contradictions, revealing a thoughtful and multi-dimensional songwriter.
via Def Jam
In May 2009, The New York Times Magazine published “A Prom Divided,” a photo-essay by Gillian Laub documenting segregated school dances at ... More
Book by Gillian Laub
In May 2009, The New York Times Magazine published “A Prom Divided,” a photo-essay by Gillian Laub documenting segregated school dances at Montgomery High School, Georgia. Her photographs portrayed Montgomery’s youth in their effort to subvert the racism enforced by older generations. “A Prom Divided” sparked nationwide defiance and the eventual upheaval of Montgomery’s backwards regulations – culminating in a historic campaign to elect their first black sheriff and dampened by the murder of a young black man featured in Laub’s photos. Disregarding protests by school faculty and sheriffs, Laub returned in 2011 and 2012 to document Montgomery’s ongoing change through the eyes of its ever-hopeful teens. In May 2015, HBO premiered the film documentary Southern Rites – Laub’s directorial debut examining the aftermath of “A Prom Divided.” The accompanying book, Southern Rites, is a comprehensive, 12-year visual study of radical change led by determined youth against deep-seated racism and generations of resentment.
Published by Damiani
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