John Sayles

Lone Star Movie

Continuing through McGenreHey, Cargill and I further prove the power of Matthew McConaughey by dissecting a movie in which he barely appears, but one in which his character’s presence is felt in every scene: Lone Star. John Sayles, henceforth known as the patron saint of Junkfood Cinema, writes and directs this southern-fried noir that spans time and operates on so many fascinating levels. One of Cargill’s favorite films, Lone Star is a captivating exploration of myth, especially of the preference of myth over truth, and how Texas is particularly prone to uplift the legend while burying the ugly facts. Oh, and it’s a film in which Matthew McConaughey plays…Chris Cooper’s father? Download, listen, and return to the scene of the crime with us! You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #32 Directly

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Roger Corman’s career in show business spans nearly 60 years, so audiences may initially wonder what might be left to say in a documentary about the exploitation master. Yet Alex Stapleton’s Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel offers a comprehensive, enlightening portrait of this most influential filmmaker-mogul. The doc offers a well-rounded treatise on Corman’s indelible influence, benefiting from a strong cast of talking head contributors and the ease with which Stapleton parallels his subject’s career with larger historical currents within the industry. The movie employs a straightforward linear approach in charting Corman’s filmmaking life, which began when the Stanford engineering grad found work in 20th Century Fox’s mailroom, advanced to the position of story reader, and eventually quit to begin making pictures himself during the ’50s. It charts the highlights of Corman’s various periods, including the American International Pictures and New World Pictures eras, and offers a wealth of testimony from Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and others of the premier cinematic talents who got their starts with the B-movie maestro.

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For his 17th feature film, writer/director John Sayles performs one of his periodic 180 degree shifts. Throughout his 33-year directing career, the gifted chronicler of the histories and familial legacies of small-town Americana (in films such as Lone Star and Honeydripper) has occasionally ventured outside that comfort zone. The Irish-set Secret of Roan Inish and the Spanish language, Latin American-set Men with Guns are among Sayles’s best-reviewed works. In Amigo, his most ambitious film yet, the filmmaker heads to the Philippines, circa 1900, for an old-fashioned yet all-too-resonant portrait of U.S. imperialism run amok. There’s an aesthetic stiffness to certain elements of Sayles’s picture, which concerns the drama that plays out in a fictional village during the Philippine-American war. The camerawork is stately and largely of the front-and-center medium shot variety, while the limited, spare jungle setting exudes a sort of abstract theatricality. It’s not always the most vibrant enterprise as it charts the ups-and-(mostly) downs of the American occupation of that village. The cross-cutting between the activities of the soldiers and the Filipino rebels is at times rather heavy-handed, following a pattern that appears to have been determined by Sayles’s desire to give them equal air time, so to speak, rather than the natural flow of the narrative.

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Attention film geeks: Angela Ismailos’s new documentary sits ten directing icons down and gets dirty with them, their inspirations and their processes.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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