|THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FILM CRITICQUENTIN TARANTINOTARANTINONFL|
In Hollywood, independent cinema is mostly made up of auteur filmmakers, producers, financiers, and up-and-coming talent who want to take a chance on a movie becoming a surprise hit or sparking a career that will bring them into the big leagues of Tinseltown. But in Wakaliwood, a makeshift production studio in Uganda, independent cinema is purely a passion driven by determined filmmaker Isaac Nabwana or Nabwana I.G.G., who continually rounds up volunteer actors, homemade props, crudely constructed camera equipment, and self-made computers, all so he can make blockbuster action movies.
Once Upon a Time in Uganda formerly known as Lights, Camera, Uganda is a new documentary that follows American actor and festival programmer Alan Hofmanis as he abandons his life in New York City to help the man known as “Africa’s Tarantino” get on Hollywood’s radar with his unique, bombastic brand of action comedy movies made possible by a passionate community in the slums of Uganda.
Director Cathryne Czubek A Girl and a Gun and co-director Hugo Perez Neither Memory Nor Magic take us on a journey into Wakaliwood through the eyes of Alan Hofmanis after discovering Isaac Nabwana’s bonkers action movies by way of a viral movie trailer on YouTube in December of 2012. Hofmanis was compelled to find Isaac, if only to meet him, but their meeting turned into a partnership that lasts to this very day and has turned Isaac’s films into midnight movie sensations around the world.
Initially, some of the story is told with dramatic but stylish reenactments that shift seamlessly from the more natural documentary-style filmmaking into action-inspired, saturated color palettes and shots. But this is only to set the stage early on. Once Hofmanis is firmly in Uganda and working with Isaac, we get a stream of footage from their early meetings when Hofmanis had some extra pounds and a trim haircut and beard to the more recent years where he’s lost a significant amount of weight and let his hair grow out into thick, salt-and-pepper locks. That’s just what happens when you give up everything you have in New York and move to an impoverished African nation to make movies for zero profit.
The bulk of Once Upon a Time in Uganda focuses on the makeshift production process that Isaac has created. You’ll see how a chain gun was created with a small engine and spare metal parts. You’ll marvel at the homemade jib arms made to create sweeping action shots. You’ll laugh heartily when you see a squib is just a magnum condom filled with fake blood that explodes in spectacular fashion. And you’ll be surprised by just how impressive the martial arts moves appear to be in endless fight scenes. Isaac has even built his own computers from spare parts so he can edit what he shoots. And there’s an...
Movie theaters across the country are currently shuttered due to social distancing measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one very notable theater is using its website to post movie reviews from one of the biggest directors in the world.
Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema has quietly posted reviews of classic movies from the director. Happy Mag spotted the reviews on the cinema’s website, and apparently the director has quietly written about movies like Escape From Alcatraz and A Man Called Tiger for months.
Tarantino bought the New Beverly Cinema in 2007 and last year’s release of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood made it very popular over the summer. This part of his work with the theater is not a direct result of coronavirus boredom, as he started posting reviews on December 22 with six entries, including Escape and The Image of Bruce Lee. Still, things certainly have picked up in recent weeks: there were just two posted in February but March saw 10 reviews including Gunsmoke, Sometimes A Great Notion and Daisy Miller. And as to be expected, Tarantino is far from an easy critic.
The reviews are a treasure trove of insight into the famed director’s mind. One of them likens a film script to “one hot f*ckin’ potato”, whilst another calls Prophecy 1979 “pretty much a piece of sh*t from the word go.”
There are some very positive reviews, though, and many are less like a review and more a reflection on the time and place where Tarantino first saw the film.
“I’ve loved this movie since I was a child, and the older I’ve got, the more my affection grows. For the uninitiated it might seem like dumb crazy ass sh*t. But for a martial art film expert, and Wang Yu fan, it’s like a fine vintage wine only a connoisseur can appreciate.”
Tarantino has always had plenty to say about movies, and in the past he’s said he hopes to write books about cinema when he officially retires from filmmaking. So perhaps this is just a warmup to the role he hopes to play once his current career ends. In the mean time, we certainly can learn a lot from what he’s putting out online, and maybe pick up a few classics to watch along the way.
Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, whose often disturbing and challenging avant-garde music has turned up in films from “The Shining” to “The Exorcist” and “Children of Men,” and as recently as the TV series “Twin Peaks: The Return,” died at his home in Krakow on Sunday, March 29. He was 86 years old.
Penderecki’s greatest influence on any modern composer can perhaps be found in the work of Johnny Greenwood, the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Radiohead and musician behind the soundtracks for films including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” “Phantom Thread” and “The Master,” as well as Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “You Were Never Really Here.”
“What sad news to wake to. Penderecki was the greatest — a fiercely creative composer, and a gentle, warm-hearted man. My condolences to his family, and to Poland on this huge loss to the musical world,” Greenwood tweeted on Sunday morning.
Penderecki began composing in the 1960s, going on to produce eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem, and many concertos and choral works, many of which are regarded as notoriously difficult to play. His compositions were often politically motivated, including probably his most famous work, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” which appeared in the films “The People Under the Stairs” and “Children of Men.”
The chilling composition below was also used by David Lynch in the landmark Episode 8 of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” set against images of an atomic bomb that appears to birth evil itself into the world. In “Children of Men,” “Threnody” sets off the film’s masterful long-take sequence as Clive Owen rushes to safety through a harrowing warren of chaos. In this piece, 52 string instruments collaborate to create a nerve-shredding soundscape.
Penderecki’s work also appeared in “The Shining,” with terrifying pieces employed by director Stanley Kubrick in lieu of an original soundtrack though composer Wendy Carlos did turn in a score, it went mostly unused in favor of preexisting music. Penderecki’s works also appear in David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” and “Wild at Heart,” Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” and Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” His work even appears in the 1996 disaster movie “Twister” and the Netflix series “Black Mirror.” He also contributed original scores to films as well, including most recently in the 2015 Polish horror film “Demon.”
Head over to The New York Times for a full obituary...