1. Name your five favorite actors and actresses of all time.
(copying Brandon) Humphrey Bogart/Jean Gabin
William Powell or Cary Grant
I could have easily found room for Max von Sydow, Joseph Cotten, Joel McCrea, Toshiro Mifune, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Charles Laughton, Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, or Dustin Hoffman. Obviously, that list goes on and on.
Myrna Loy or Arletty
Could have also made room for Gene Tierney, Joan Bennett, Maureen O'Hara, and Joan Fontaine.
My more modern affections are split between Laura Linney and Cate Blanchett.
2. Can you remember the first foreign-language film you saw that made an impact on you? If so, what was it?
I can remember seeing RUN, LOLA, RUN as an early teen and it having a fairly substantial impact on me. It fit right into the sort of "cool cinema" that appealed to me at the time – films that emphasized aesthetics and editing tricks like REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and TRAINSPOTTING. I think it also helped open the floodgates in terms of seeking out new foreign films to see.
As far as foreign art-house classics go, I think 8 1/2 and SEVEN SAMURAI were among the first I saw, and I thought they were both mindblowing. They were like reading Faulkner for the first time – just completely changed my perspective on art and what "cinema" meant to me.
3. Favorite moment in a horror film? Least favorite?
First, I should say that probably my favorite horror sequence takes place near the end of THE SHINING when Wendy is running through the hotel and sees a series of increasingly bizarre imagery from a bear suit sex tryst to a cocktail party of corpses. My mom happened to catch the ending once, and when the blood started pouring from the elevator she turned to me and said "whoever made this is completely sick." And I thought, "well done Stanley."
My favorite scene, however (off the top of my head), is divided between the night stalk scene in CAT PEOPLE and the seance scene in THE CHANGELING. The night stalk scene has one of the best jump scares of all time and also builds tension better than just about any film ever made. The seance scene just creeped the living daylights out of me. I have a hard time even thinking about it without getting a chill.
Now that I think of it, I'm also quite partial to the crucifix masturbation scene in THE EXORCIST – if only for how truly outrageous and shocking it still is to this day.
There are probably many horror film moments that have rubbed me the wrong way. The first that comes to mind is actually two moments in HOSTEL when we find the Japanese girl getting her eyeball drilled out and then her consequently jumping in front of a train. It was just the bitter icing on one truly unpleasant cake, and even the prospect of revenge against these torturers couldn't redeem my sadness.
4. Pick a film for each member of film club that you’d really like for her/him to see.
Adrienne - YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (maybe she's seen this already...)
Ben - AU HASARD BALTHAZAR (I feel like pushing Bresson on Ben for some reason)
Brandon - BLUE/WHITE/RED (or THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE or THE DECALOGUE. Just want him to see some Kieslowski).
Chris - LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (Been tellin' him to see it for a while now...)
Gentile - THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY (my favorite Bunuel)
Graham - PLAYTIME (feel like he might appreciate this being a Monty Python fan)
Jason - THE LEOPARD MAN (classic horror that still holds up)
John - THE SON (Brandon's on board with it, now I just need Bing to join him)
Lisa - STARDUST MEMORIES (Not sure if she has seen this one or not, but it's great)
5. Is there a film(s) that you once loved (and maybe even purchased) that now makes you question what you ever saw in it?
Oh god...too many. But I'm really not too ashamed of having bought shit like the THE BOONDOCK SAINTS when I was 13 because I didn't know any better then. I was just a stupid little kid. I think one of the slightly more recent films I always thought I loved until I watched it again a year or so ago is DARK CITY. I bought that back in the mid-2000s and used to really dig it, but now I think it's pretty damn dull and that Kiefer Sutherland's overacting annoys the shit out of me. I apologize to the memory of Roger Ebert, but I think DARK CITY is wack.
6. IFC has started releasing films on demand the same day they hit
theaters. Would you like more studios to do this or are you afraid it
may strike the death knell for movie theaters?
I would love for more independent studios to do this. I think it's a phenomenal idea. As Brandon was saying, it brings availability for smaller market areas such as ours to see foreign films or other art house stuff that would never come near us. I think it would certainly help these films and studios in the long run too because it provides a wide release at an essentially minimal cost. I'm definitely not worried about an On Demand system like this taking over movie theaters. Again to echo Brandon, the major studio systems and their overpriced, overblown blockbusters need a serious shake up. I never want to see movie theaters become obsolete, but I have no problem trimming the budgets, exorbitant actor salaries, and unnecessary spectacle of the hundreds and hundreds of movies the studios shit out each year. Most "big" movies are getting too expensive and too long and there needs to be some breaking point for this trend. Also, if the wave of the future for movie theaters is digital, 3D, 48 fps projectors then count me the fuck out.
7. Favorite movie(s) set during the summertime?
I actually had three movies in mind when formulating this question: SUMMERTIME, REAR WINDOW, and of course, DO THE RIGHT THING. SUMMERTIME, as the name implies, fantastically represents the idyllic beauty of how we'd all dream a summertime retreat in Venice to be (and also the potential loneliness behind the facade). REAR WINDOW and DO THE RIGHT THING are two of the best movies at making the feel of summer truly come to life on screen. And honestly (apart from STRAY DOG), I don't think there's ever been a hotter movie to watch then DO THE RIGHT THING. You can feel the sweat pour off ya just imagining it. It's one of the finest examples of using a season as a setting to enhance and comment on the conflicts inherent in the storyline being portrayed. Probably the quintessential summertime movie.
8. Which director working today do you think would make a great western
if given the chance (assuming he/she hasn’t already made one)? Or if
you don’t like westerns, which director working today do you think would
make a great sci-fi flick (also assuming he/she hasn’t made one yet)?
Given the right script, I do think David Fincher could make a great western. I think he's a talented enough director that he could probably master any genre, even one so complicated as the modern western. Nicholas Winding Refn could probably make a pretty spectacular, stylish, and violent western. I also think Jeff Nichols could make the greatest western of the bunch. Hell, he could even pull a Raoul Walsh and remake SHOTGUN STORIES but just set it in the old west and he'd have one awesome western right there.
9. Describe a perfect moment in a movie (courtesy of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule).
I think the restaurant scene in BEFORE SUNRISE where Jessie and Celine give fake phone calls to their friends (revealing their feelings for one another) is one of the great romantic moments in film history. It perfectly encapsulates the transparency, emotional candor, and impossible dreaminess of their serendipitous relationship. It's also one of the best moments at capturing the exhilarating and ineffable feeling of a burgeoning love. It makes you feel the excitement of the lived moment and also the quiet melancholy of its transience. Perfect movie moment.
10. Here’s a decent list of movies that came out in 1990: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_in_film
Can you name your top five favorites from the year?
Hate to be the hipster contrarian here (who am I kidding? I love it), but:
4. Edward Scissorhands
5. Miller’s Crossing
I actually chose 1990 so as to encourage y'all to see CLOSE-UP and METROPOLITAN. Great, great movies.
Younger version of me probably would have had these on the list: DUCKTALES THE MOVIE, ERNEST GOES TO JAIL, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (agree that it's still great), THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, and TREMORS.