J.D. Salinger

Salinger

Shane Salerno’s much-hyped J.D. Salinger documentary Salinger starts off promisingly enough – a man sits in his car staring at a small post office with a long-lens camera in his hand, narrating a story about the last time he sat in his car staring at a small post office with a long-lens camera in his hand (well, presumably it’s the last time he did this). Photographer Michael McDermott leads off the film with a story about how, in 1979, he traveled to New Hampshire with one aim and one assignment – photograph the elusive Salinger for Newsweek. His only tip? The author receives his mail at a local post office, just across the state line, in tiny Windsor, Vermont. McDermott waited outside the post office for hours, days, until he finally saw the man, ultimately capturing one of the first known photographs of the extremely private writer in the latter portion of his life. For the last half of his life, Salinger lived in Cornish, New Hampshire, a somewhat remote, somewhat isolated area of the state, just across the Connecticut River from Vermont. His choice of residence should have made it plain – don’t come here, I don’t want you here – but his decision was never fully honored by both his adoring public and newshounds looking for a story. The film is rife with arguments about whether or not Salinger was a true recluse – one talking head compares him to Howard Hughes while another refutes the claim simply […]

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Lost Finale

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Salinger

A superstar author who goes into hiding, a vault of unpublished work, a military past filled with haunting images. This is the suspense thriller of Shane Salerno‘s J.D. Salinger documentary. Making his directorial debut, the writer with credits on (no kidding) Savages and Shaft (2000) has conducted interviews with hundreds of people — including those who knew the iconic writer of “Catcher in the Rye” and creative minds like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman who were influenced by his work. There’s no doubt that the author left behind plenty of mysteries, and Salinger purports to solve (or at least explore) them. At the very least, it should provide a well-anticipated look into the life and career of a man who was responsible for millions of worn out paperbacks. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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JD Salinger

According to Deadline Hollywood, The Weinstein Company has acquired the rights to release Salinger into theaters. No word yet on when they plan to release the documentary about the famously reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Franny and Zooey,” and others. The deal is a testament to the quality of the work from director Shane Salerno (the writer of Savages and, no kidding, Shaft). He and his team first showed it to American Masters who made a deal to show it as part of their programming early next year. They then showed it to publisher Simon & Schuster who made a deal to publish a biography written by Salerno with David Shields. They then showed it to The Weinstein Company who made a deal to put it in theaters. Basically, everyone they show it to wants to take out their checkbooks and put a lot of zeroes on the line. In other news, we’re getting a thorough documentary of a genius. A glimpse into a world he kept hidden for most of his life. That raises a lot of interesting ethical issues regarding privacy and how we truly value an artist’s wishes, but the appeal of a fascinating story is close to overwhelming.  

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Criterion Files

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson is known for getting his inspiration from a variety of sources. While Anderson’s signature visual quirks make his films unquestionably his own, the director’s images, themes, and characters also emerge through an amalgamation of materials that inspire him, whether the source be the stories of J.D. Salinger or the pathos of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. But most of Anderson’s references are to other works of cinema, as detailed in this five-part video essay by Matt Zoller Seitz, which details Anderson’s particular influence by auteurs ranging from Orson Welles to Hal Ashby. However, certain films anchor their influence more directly than others. For instance, The Life Aquatic was greatly inspired by Federico Fellini’s post-Dolce Vita work, and The Darjeeling Limited is dedicated to celebrated Indian auteur Stayajit Ray. In the weeks since the Cannes premiere and commercial release of Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, several critics have noted that only does the film seem to be directly influenced by a specific director, but one particular film by that director. Pierrot le Fou, Jean-Luc Godard’s colorful, whimsically anarchistic couple-on-the-run film from 1965 seems to bear a great deal of similarity to Moonrise Kingdom, which takes place the year that Godard’s film was originally released in France (Pierrot’s US release was delayed until 1969, where it stood curiously opposite Godard’s polemical late-60s work). Having read several reviews that cite Pierrot‘s influence on Moonrise, I reflected back on both films, and here are some of the […]

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Criterion Files

Part of me is in complete disbelief that the release date of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums will have been a decade ago next month. It doesn’t feel so long ago that I was sixteen years old, seeing it for the first time in a movie theater and spending my subsequent Christmas with The Ramones, Elliot Smith, and Nico playing on repeat in my car (two years later, after hearing of Smith’s death, my friends and I gathered together and watched Richie Tenenbaums’s (Luke Wilson) attempted suicide with new, disturbing poignancy). And ten years on, even after having seen it at least a dozen times, and armed with the annoying ability to know every beat and predict every line, something about Tenenbaums feels ageless and fresh at the same time. But when you look at the movie culture that came after Tenenbaums, the film’s age begins to take on its inevitable weight. Tenenbaums was Anderson’s first (and arguably only) real financial success. Previously, Anderson was perceived as an overlooked critical darling following Rushmore, a promising director that a great deal of Hollywood talent wanted to work with (which explains Tenenbaums’ excellent cast and, probably, its corresponding financial success). With this degree of mass exposure, other filmmakers followed suit, establishing what has since been known as the “Wes Anderson style,” which permeated critical and casual assessment of mainstream indies for the following decade and established a visual approach that’s been echoed in anything from Napoleon Dynamite to Garden State to less […]

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Richard Ayoade’s Submarine is a much-needed corrective to the twee adolescent indie dramedy. The film maintains many of the recognizable bells and whistles of that exceedingly tired subgenre, but like the potential available in any catalog of clichés, Submarine finds a way to make them work. Instead of simply presenting us a socially outcast teen protagonist who speaks and thinks like somebody possessing cleverness and insight far beyond his years, Submarine provides specific reasons why its protagonist is so articulate while still giving us plenty of evidence that he is indeed an inexperienced teenager who has a lot to learn. Instead of assembling random visual quirks into a Jared Hess-style landscape in which decades of fashion are collapsed into one oppressively ironic and ahistorical moment, the setting and style of Submarine is (mostly) consistent in presenting a historical moment informed by nostalgia, even if we don’t quite know when that moment is (but we don’t really need to). In short, Submarine is refreshingly sincere. It’s an all-too-familiar coming of age tale, but the film gives us plenty of reasons to give a damn – its story in particular.

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A ton of news outlets are scrambling to understand the Estate Tax so they can write about whether or not “Catcher in the Rye” might end up being sold off in an attempt by the Salinger Estate to avoid the poor house. Fortunately, there’s no chance of that happening for dozens of reasons: the web of legislation it would take, the improbability of the Democrats passing such a bill, the inevitable court challenge that it would face, and the time all of this futile effort would demand shooting it far past the reasonable date where one could force anyone to pay retroactively on 2010 taxes.

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This week on Print to Projector, we dream cast the anthology masterwork of J.D. Salinger and enjoy some bananafish.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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