Modus Operandi

Written by Joe D on December 29th, 2009

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Who You Lookin’ At?

Here’s a very cool film by a dedicated smart filmmaker. I’ve only seen the trailer but it’s excellent, I hope to see the film soon, maybe at a local cinema. The film is Modus Operandi and the filmmaker is Frankie Latina. The things that impress me about this project are many, first of all Frankie shot it on film! Super 8 but it looks great, the look only real film can give so Bravo for that, secondly he shot MOS and post synched the dialog, in his own words “the way the Italians did it”. This is a great way to work, economically and creatively, all Fellini’s films were made this way as well as Sergio Leone’s! Post synching is a disappearing Art, there’s something eerily atmospheric about images -total silence- dialog recorded in a studio- backgrounds- music all put together , it can be very effective. Also Latina’s lighting techniques are right out of the 70’s exploitation filmmaking and they look great, it really re-creates that Truck Turner, Coffy, Slaughter vibe. And the subject matter, the sexploitation Spy Gangster genre, a lot of my favorite Art was created in the guise of pulp material, The Maltese Falcon, Fast One, Out Of The Past, Touch Of Evil, etc., this is a great way to create something cool and popular.

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Latina in a PorkPie

Then also the techniques of no budget filmmaking, I listened to a radio interview with one of the stars of the film, Mark Borchardt, where he asks people to show up at a theater as extras! They were filming that day! How cool is that! I remember hearing how Bootsy Collins went on the radio and asked all “Funkateers” to show up at a Detroit recording studio and sing a chorus for an album he was doing! This reminded me of that. Another creative solution to a production problem. All together a lot of admirable thought, passion, creativity and dedication went into this film and I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Influence and Controversy- More Performance

Written by Joe D on December 25th, 2009

I bought the dvd of Performance and this cool documentary was on there. Jack Nitzsche. Jr. is interviewed and a lot of other interesting people. Frank Mazzola’s interview is informative and deep. Jack Jr. says his father got one of the 1st Moog synthesizers for this score ( the 9th one made), how cool is that.

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Jack Nitzsche, a genius at creating music that made films come alive

Mazzola talks about intercutting the opening sequences and how “everything they tried worked” or “was right”. I know from experience that sometimes in the editing room you can reach a state of consciousness, some times from exhaustion or ingesting mind altering substances, where the energy flows right through you into the film, the film becomes alive on the editing machine, it seems to breathe on the picture head, the characters get off the screen and walk around on your flatbed editing machine.

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Besides being a great editor Frank M. was also an actor, that’s him on the right in Rebel Without A Cause. Dig That Crazy Pompadour!

If you want to experience that kind of editing watch the opening of Performance, actually the entire film but the opening is particularly strong. Mazzola said they worked from 7 at night to 5 in the morning, I think they cut it at Warner Hollywood in Sam Goldwyn’s old office.

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Get Out Of My Office!

Funny to think of Goldwyn’s ghost watching these two visionaries making this psychedelic poem of violence, sex, drugs, music, polymorphous perversity that was like a bomb going off in Hollywood and Midnight Movie house across the world. Like a virus of decadence infecting the minds of the stoned out audiences in movie theaters in middle class suburbs. What a trip!

Dan O’Bannon - Space Maven

Written by Joe D on December 18th, 2009

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Dan O’Bannon beamed up today, creative force behind Dark Star, Alien, and a prime mover in Sci-Fi, Fantasy genres. Here’s a great piece written about him on another film blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/dec/18/dan-obannon-alien

Donald Cammell, Performance, Jack Nitzsche, Frank Mazzola

Written by Joe D on December 12th, 2009

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Here for your viewing pleasure is a documentary about Donald Cammell, director of Performance , a hugely influential film that captures the drug infused psychedelic culture of 60’s London like no other. I knew the composer Jack Nitzsche for a long time, this was one of his greatest scores. He told me Mick Jagger had gotten him the composing gig on this film. When the Rolling Stones first came to America, they sought out Nitzsche because they loved his arrangements of the Phil Spector produced hits and wanted to work with him. I guess this was payback. It’s a unique score calling on a rostrum of enormous talents, Ry Cooder, Merry Clayton ,The Last Poets, Randy Newman, Lowell George, Mick Jagger to name just a few and Jack was the connective tissue that brought them all together. I must comment on Frank Mazzola’s editing as well. it’s groundbreaking, hallucinatory, fracturing reality like a broken mirror then putting the pieces back together in a beautiful, psychedelic way. Once again hugely influential although there is no one today following through on the potential revealed. Like a real Fairy Tale where Magic is beautiful, fascinating but dangerous, potentially deadly or perhaps capable of driving one mad.

Stanley Kubrick Interview

Written by Joe D on December 9th, 2009

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Check out this interview with Stan The Man. Inspirational stories of his origins as a filmmaker.