Some days, when you're on week two of the head cold/flu bug/plague from hell and your head feels like it's going to explode from some point directly behind your right eyeball, your ability to come up with a witty blog post title gets diminished. I figure lots of other people out there are sick too -- at least I know they are here in Seattle, because the Safeway keeps running out of and restocking the Theraflu and Triaminic, and they've added a great big display of Kleenex, Gatorade and chicken noodle soup at the front of the store. When you're feeling crummy, the one thing you can do to pass the time is sit your ass on the couch, wrap up in your favorite warm and fuzzy blankie, zone out on cold medicine and internet-surf. And we, dear Cinematical readers, are here to serve you in your hour of need. You don't have to think too hard about which other film sites to check out. Just read on, we've rounded up some of the coolest film stuff out there for you right here. And there's nothing like a big group hug to make you feel better, right? So read on ...
We cover a lot of Asian film here at Cinematical, and I'm kind of an Asian film geek, but even I'm not as up -to-speed as I should be on Malaysian film. Thank goodness for sites like The Seventh Art, which most recently includes a write-up about Ho Yuhang's Rain Dogs, which played recently at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film premiered at Venice in competition before TIFF, and post-TIFF has moved on to Vancouver, Pusan, and then Tokyo, which has a whole section devoted to Malaysian film. Martha Fischer caught Rain Dogs at TIFF; I, sadly, did not. The Seattle International Film Festival usually has a solid emphasis on Asian film, so maybe I'll get to see it then, but dang! That's not until late May. That's an awful long time to have to wait.
Even if I hadn't found this site interesting, I would have had to find a reason to write up Singapore site A Nutshell Review, if only because you have to love a site that touts itself as "Probably Singapore's #1 Movie Blog." Yeah! So take THAT, all you other wannabe Singapore film sites. We've probably got number one covered, so back right the heck off, bucko. Anyhow, the site has a write-up on a new cinema opening this weekend in Singapore, called GV VivoCity, the theater boasts 15 screens. According to A Nutshell, the dazzling new movie facility boasts three Gold Class theaters with a lounge area serving wine and rich food. He says "for those who can afford it, it's probably the best halls in the house," with plush and comfy seats that can recline flat horizontally -- and you can "summon food and drinks" through a call-button! Damn! If I ever needed a reason to visit Singapore, this is it. There's also another "hall" called Cinema Europa, which distinguishes itself with green seats(!), wider armrests and a side table for your food and drink, and GV MAX, which claims one of the widest screens in Asia, with stadium seating and not a bad seat in the house.
If you're a filmmaker (or just a movie geek who's interested in what it's really like to live the glam life of a struggling indie filmmaker), check out Kiyong Kim's site, which dares to keep it real with the simple title Kiyong's Short Film Production Blog. Kiyong breaks down the entire process of making his short films, from writing to post production. He writes recently about having to go back to a warehouse location to get pick-up shots, and the annoyance of having put a notice on craigslist for extras, only to have just a few of those who responded even bother to show up. He also talks about the process he goes through in reviewing headshots when casting for a film (his note to wannabe actors: include shots of yourself with different expressions to show you can do more than just smile or look serious). See, this site is a perfect example of why I love indie filmmakers. Would Scorsese or Spielberg blog this kind of stuff? Nope. This is the kind of stuff a lot of folks, I bet, would like to read about the process of making films, and Kiyong is out there putting it on the line for you. Kiyong, send us your short when it's done, Erik would love to take a look at it for his Eat My Shorts feature.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, or taken a trip there, chances are you've looked around and wondered if this or that place has ever been filmed in a movie, or where they shot that scene from Rebel Without A Cause or Mulholland Drive, or where George Takei lives. You don't want to take one of those cheesy bus tours, but still, you're morbidly curious. That's where The Movieland Directory comes in handy. They have more info about Hollywood sites and addresses than you can shake a stick at over there, all searchable, and all guaranteed to suck you in and waste hours of time you might otherwise spend writing or doing other productive work. Just use the site for good, not evil, okay? If you start lurking outside stars' homes wearing a creepy t-shirt that says "Marry Me" and holding a dozen wilted roses, don't call us to bail you out of jail. No one likes a stalker.
Everytime I check out Blank Screen, I think to myself: Boy, wouldn't it be cool to live back in New York City again, with access to all the cool film stuff there? Then I remember how much I love living in Seattle, and that we have lots of cool film stuff here too, plus water and mountains and great espresso and my fave Thai restaurants, and I feel a little better. But I'm still jealous of NYC-dwellers, and every now and then I like to head over to Blank Screen just to torture myself with all the cool film events I'm missing out on. Like, for instance, Terry Gilliam was at the Museum of Moving Image the other night talking about his new film Tideland. The Brooklyn Academy of Music(BAM) had The End of Cinematics last week, a Susan Sontag-inspired "opera verité" trilogy about "Americans attitudes about religion, spirituality and pop culture." Cool! At Film Forum last week, they had Wrestling With Angels, a documentary about Tony Kushner, playwright of Angels in America. The film is helmed by Oscar-winning director Freida Lee Mock, who was on hand with Kushner for the Q&A. If you live in NYC, and you don't have Blank Screen bookmarked, add it already. They're moving their site on Halloween to a new URL (details on the site), and will be adding more filmmaker interviews and such. Nice work over there, guys.
I don't read Spanish as well as I'd like, but even so I still like to mosey on over to a couple of my favorite Spanish-language blogs and see what's going on there and how much of it I can figure out. Over at Cinencuentro, they're talking up the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, and they also have an interview with Peruvian director Franceso Lombardi. I really love this site, but I wish they'd add an English-language version for those of us to took German and Latin instead of Spanish. Or maybe I should just shut up and buy some Spanish-language tapes already, so I can speak more than what I've picked up from my kids' Spanish lessons, which basically includes numbers, colors, animals, and some fun Spanish songs which I sing along merrily with even though I only understand about half of what I'm saying.