“”An eerie trumpet call over a lost battlefield.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was my favorite film of 2011. I was prepared for the byzantine plot but surprised by its emotional heft. The narrative’s pervasive sense of anguish, wrought by personal and professional compromise, was carefully anchored by Gary Oldman’s nuanced portrait of George Smiley. And the visual atmosphere, opulent yet decaying, reminded me of another portrait of societal decline, The Conformist.
The film easily affirmed Tomas Alfredson as one of the most assured stylists in cinema. And like neo-noir peers David Fincher and Park Chan-Wook, Alfredson uses VFX as an expressive yet often imperceptible tool.
This video reveals how he and the VFX team at The Chimney Pot utilized animation to subtly enhance the film’s visual scope.
Third project in a series of video installations for the band Wax Fingers.
My buddy Drew and his cohorts at Sunset Television just released this awesome video for Beirut’s song “Sante Fe.” Check it out and re-evaluate your priorities.
Today is the twelfth-year anniversary of his death. Michael Herr, who co-wrote Full Metal Jacket, wrote this humorous, sometimes revealing, Vanity Fair article about his experiences with Kubrick just after his death. It’s a great read, often detailing how funny the director was in person:
Kubrick, during a conversation on Hemingway: “Do you think it was true that he was drunk all the time, even when he wrote? Yeah? Well, I’ll have to find out what he was drinking and send a case to all my writers”
On the topic of another writer, Kerr relates:
I once told Stanley William Burroughs’s line “A paranoid-schizophrenic is a guy who just found out what’s going on,” and he took it to his heart. “Wait a minute, wait a minute. I’ve gotta write that down.”
On the film side, several of my friends have feature projects playing at SXSW next week. I’m really looking forward to checking out both films.
Eric Koretz, cinematographer on Iditarod, shot this superb-looking doc, Dragonslayer, executive produced by Christine Vachon.
My friend and fellow AFI classmate, director Zal Batmanglij is screening his film Sound of My Voice. It was shot by another good friend, and my cinematographer/co-writer on Redemption Maddie, Rachel Morrison. It debuted at Sundance to very positive notices.
Here’s a brief synopsis: Peter and Lorna, a young Silver Lake couple, delve into the underworld of a cult that meets in the San Fernando valley.
Check out a clip here:http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/35354
I don’t think one’s appreciation, or “fandom”, for a medium’s triumphs (whether it be music, film, literature etc.) is ever separate from one’s own proficiency or talent in said medium. You have to acknowledge what you like, what you’ve been inspired by, what makes you challenge yourself…because, certainly no man’s an island. On the one hand, there’s the rarefied people whether it be a Bob Dylan or a Claire Denis (relative, not absolute examples) through abstraction you aspire to equal as an artist…
On the other, sometimes you’re just lucky enough, to be awed by the people who you actually know.
The last few months have been a watershed, and a real kick in the ass personally, because I’ve been privy to several friends of mine deliver some astonishing work.
In no real order…check this work out. Or I’ll find you.
My old friend Zac and his stellar bandmates, Pete and Tommy, comprise the portland-based trio Wax Fingers and they just released their self-titled debut. Their influences are diverse, but suffice to say, if you’re a fan of Animal Collective or Battles, you will find something to appreciate. They just make spellbinding experimental rock that’s tethered by a gift for melody and subversive mood-spinning.
Check out one of my favorite tracks “Fasten the Hook”:
You can grab a copy of the album at CDBaby, Itunes or Amazon. Or if you’re in the Northwest check out one of their killer live shows.
Ethan and I have run across each other in several different circles over the years. We reconnected a while ago, and he was on the eve of releasing his debut as a singer-songwriter: Songs from a Toxic Apartment. It’s out now and I just had the pleasure of seeing him play at Hotel Cafe and the set, much like the album, was sincere and unnerving. Plus Toxic Apartment is thankfully, an ALBUM, intelligently produced and conceived with a thematic concept as the guiding structure.
An acoustic cut of “Why Don’t You Sleep”:
The album just received a strong review from Pitchfork and you can grab a copy on Itunes, Amazon, or directly at Ethan’s website.
My short film, Redemption Maddie, has been distributed through Reframe and Amazon. The film ended it’s run on the festival circuit over a year ago, but I’m still very proud of the short. So if you haven’t seen it…
NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
You can buy or rent digital copies:amzn.to/f7LLBp
OR purchase DVD copies: amzn.to/fEwask
CHECK OUT REFRAME AT: http://reframecollection.org/films/film?Id=1768
And check out the new HD teaser I uploaded to celebrate the release:
I’ve just discovered Japan’s Tetsuya Nakashima. As a filmmaker associated with frenetically-paced and provocative material, he seems to have succeeded Takeshi Miike and Shinya Tsukamoto as Japan’s enfant terrible of the moment.
His new film, Confessions was shortlisted for the foreign academy award this year. There’s a Battle Royale-esque manic energy coursing through the film’s trailer, but the story and choice of protagonist suggests something akin to Pedro Almodovar. Whatever the film’s actual tone, this appetizing tease of footage has whet my appetite for both Confessions and Nakashima’s work in general.
Iditarod is now up on Youtube.
The video short I directed for the band Cascade Array was recently posted here at Video Militia, a very cool music video blog that features distinctive music videos released through the internet. Check it out – and the myriad of other great videos they have posted – and support the site!
Bong Joon-Ho’s newest film is stupendous. I finally caught it on Netflix streaming, and it is emotionally affecting, poetic, and – like Memories of a Murder and The Host – filled with masterfully staged set pieces.
Check out the trailer:
…and welcome to The Pasture.
This is the second incarnation of my blog, The Pasture. It used to be housed at blogger and was primarily an outlet for various short stories and random musings.
Now, The Pasture has evolved into a video blog, one where I can share new and old film projects, music videos, and various cinematic experiments. In time, I’ll also be importing some choice short stories from the old blog.
So take a look-see, and let me reside in your brain for a bit. Don’t be a stranger.
This is a video short I created for the local indie-rock band, Cascade Array. Much thanks to my crew, Eric Koretz (my inimitable DP), Cindy Thoennessen (long-suffering co-producer), and to band-member Mark Aguirre and his family for letting us invade their East L.A. compound.
Short film completed on 35mm. Won grand jury prize at AFI Dallas, Best Short & Best Actress at BendFilm. You can purchase it at amazon.com:
Here’s a couple of video installations I created for the post-rock behemoths, Wax Fingers. Video was created as a supplement to live performances, projected behind the band during their shows.
Be sure to check out the debut album in the fall.
THIS IS AN OLD POSTING FROM MY PREVIOUS BLOG. THE EVENT OCCURRED IN LATE SUMMER 2009 WHILE MY GIRLFRIEND WAS MOVING IN
Around 10:15 pm in the evening of July 28, Socks came over to move in some more of her belongings. She’s been migrating into my apartment in steps, some clothes here, some books & DVDs there…and on this particular night she brought her toiletries.
Now, awaking from a night terror is awful enough. You’re disoriented, your breathing is accelerated, and your anxiety levels are tipping into the red. But to have your ear cavity penetrated by an unknown entity, at the exact same time, well that is a co-mingling of too many stressful events which can’t help but precipitate a wet panic.
What I did next could only be described as using “moronic child logic.” I covered both nostrils with my forefinger and thumb and blew through my nose. I guess I thought I could pressure the creature out.
I let out an emasculating, girlish scream and shoved open the bathroom door. “Cindy, wake up! There is a spider in my ear and you have to get it out!” Socks joined me swiftly enough to suggest she had already been awoken by my blowing fit. With a mixture of concern and dubiousness she peered at me and replied, “Okay let me see if I can take it out with my tweezers.”
She grabbed the ear pliers from her newly erected toiletries shelf and led me to the bathtub. I leaned over the porcelain rim and turned my head to its side. Socks seemed to be peering inside. “Do you see it?” I felt the tips of the tweezers graze the outer ridge of my ear canal. Socks was being timid. “I don’t want to hurt your ear drum.” It’s getting deeper…get the monstrosity out.
“There’s nothing in there, Aaron, it’s just hair.” Another spasm of movement, the insect is scissor kicking inside my skull. “NO! It’s in there! I can feel – you have to get it out, you can’t see it?!?” Sighing, Socks told me to stand still and went back in for another attempt. “Be still.” This time I felt some relief, like the insect was being dragged to a shallower trough, its cerci* moving upwards along my cartilage.
“Oh my god.”
Socks makes a dry vomiting sound. She continued pulling with the tweezers and I felt the thing slowly leave the vicinity of my ear. I hear a pathetic little wet hit on the tub floor. “Ughhhh.” Socks continued to make various noises of revulsion as I turned to confront my intruder.
It was not a spider. No instead the little mongrel was a cricket, a bit over an inch long (two inches with legs) and about half an inch in diameter. And the fucker was still kicking.
I decided to bag him up for photos the next day:
Surely every young couple who tries co-habitation encounters some mild road bumps; but only a very special few get to share the pleasures of insect-from-ear-canal removal. I think my ole lady passed with flying colors.
* paired appendages on the rear-most segments of many arthropods