‘Rad Bad Valentine’

A project I shot and edited for the fashion blog, The Hourglass, in collaboration with thingsshemade. It was a real pleasure to help execute Jackie LeBrun’s energetic Valentine’s Day vision. (utilize quality! 1080please)

‘Silent Bell,’ a tonally opposite experimental short utilizing some of the shoot’s unused footage, will also appear shortly.

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Man vs. Movie: ‘Hearts of Darkness’ and ‘Burden of Dreams’

I have long admired directors who push themselves to the limits during the shooting process. We’ve all heard stories about actors being terrorized by directors on set, but what about directors who get terrorized by their own productions? There are two amazing documentaries that illustrate the impossible, never-ending nightmare of trying to make a movie, and they star two of cinema’s most egomaniacal (and entertaining) directors: Francis Ford Coppola in ‘Hearts of Darkness’ (1991) and Werner Herzog in ‘Burden of Dreams’ (1982). In ‘Hearts of Darkness’ we witness the endless horrors that plagued the shooting of ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979): monsoons destroying sets, a lead actor suffering a heart-attack (Martin Sheen), another actor arriving on set severely overweight and without having read the script (Marlon Brando), and the Filipino military re-routing helicopters mid-take to fight off communist rebels.

 Martin Sheen celebrates his 36th birthday in front of Coppola’s cameras. Sheen was later sidelined by a heart-attack during shooting and temporarily left the production.

Meanwhile, ‘Burden of Dreams’ captures Herzog lost in his own jungle with his own set of problems. During the shooting of his epic character study, ‘Fitzcarraldo’ (1982), he loses one lead actor to dysentery (Jason Robards) and another to a Rolling Stones tour (Mick Jagger originally played Robards’ assistant). The madness escalates when a frighteningly unstable Klaus Kinski arrives as Robards’ replacement, further disrupting the shoot with his frequent, frenzied outbursts (Peruvian natives propose to kill him, an offer Herzog considers). But all this is nothing compared to the production’s biggest challenge (and the film’s main set-piece), the actualization of Herzog’s most burdensome dream of all — hauling a steamship up and across an Amazon isthmus.

The trailer for ‘Burden of Dreams.’

Interview Archives: Rare Stanley Kubrick Audio

Here’s a surprising little treat for Kubrick scholars: an eleven-minute excerpt from an interview with the media-shy director conducted by French film critic Michel Ciment. In this rare audio clip, Kubrick explains technical details regarding ‘Barry Lyndon’ (1975), ‘The Shining’ (1980) and ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987).

In 2003 Ciment published the all-encompassing book, ‘Kubrick: The Definitive Edition,’ a must-read for any fan of the great director. Also worth checking out is the feature-length documentary, ‘Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures’ (2001).

‘The Elephant Man’

Of David Lynch’s early films, ‘The Elephant Man’ (1980) is the most appropriate for those interested in a more formal introduction to the famously strange filmmaker. Yes, David Lynch is definitely out there, and so is ‘The Elephant Man,’ but consider this: his second feature — and first job on a Hollywood production — garnered eight oscar nominations, including best director (also nominated that year was Martin Scorsese for ‘Raging Bull’). This was an amazing leap for the man who spent the majority of the seventies working on an intensely personal art film, the magnificently weird ‘Eraserhead’ (1977). ‘The Elephant Man’ is based on the touching true story of the physically deformed Joseph Merrick (John Hurt), who went from being a freak-show attraction to an admired intellectual in Victorian England. Anthony Hopkins co-stars as the doctor who befriends Merrick after rescuing him from his abusive owner.

The film’s unforgettable opening sequence.

Director David Lynch explains the origins of the film’s production.

‘Ace in the Hole’

Fresh off the success of his biting Hollywood satire, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950), writer-director Billy Wilder turned his focus to the dark side of the American news industry with 1951’s ‘Ace in the Hole.’ Kirk Douglas stars as Chuck Tatum, a ruthless, frustrated journalist in search of a story that will re-spark his career. When he happens upon a shocking tragedy — a man trapped in a cave — he sensationalizes the story and does everything in his power to keep it a headliner for as long as possible. An easy candidate for greatest anti-hero in film history, Douglas’ performance is downright bone-chilling. Wilder and writing partner Charles Brackett deliver another impeccable script.

The film’s original theatrical trailer.