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Film Review: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (USA 2018)

The Other Side of the Wind Poster
Trailer

A Hollywood director emerges from semi-exile with plans to complete work on an innovative motion picture.

Director:

Orson Welles

In the words of Orson Welles himself: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is a crazy picture.  It is not a documentary.  It is a departure from moviemaking.   Everybody will think the film is autobiographical but it is not.  

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is a film within a film.  It is supposed to be Welles’ comeback film after being ostracized by Hollywood.  He never completed the film and passed away with the footage locked in  a Paris vault.  Funds were eventually provided by Netflix for its completion.

The film opens by a voiceover describing the final day of Jake Hannaford (John Huston), an aging Hollywood director who was killed in a car crash on his 70th birthday.  The narration is from an elderly Brooks Otterlake (Peter Bogdanovich), who had been a protégé of Hannaford’s. Just before his death, Hannaford was trying to revive his waning career by making a flashy film, laden with gratuitous sex scenes and violence, with mixed results. At the time of Hannaford’s party, this film (titled The Other Side of the Wind) has been left unfinished after its star stormed off the set, for reasons not immediately apparent to the audience.

A screening of some incomprehensible parts of Hannaford’s unfinished experimental film takes place, in order to attract “end money” from studio boss Max David. Hannaford himself is absent, and a loyal member of his entourage, the former child star Billy Boyle, makes an inept attempt to describe what the film is about. Intercut during this, we see various groups setting out for Hannaford’s seventieth birthday party at an Arizona ranch. Hannaford arrives with a young Brooks Otterlake, a commercially successful director with a talent for mimicking celebrities, who credits much of his success to his close study of Hannaford.

The story goes on but the film is all over the place and hardly coherent when one finally figures out what is happening.  The film contains a few stunning segments, the most notable being these two most sexually explicit ones:

 – the beginning graphic lesbian steamroom scene, rapidly intercut, featuring Oja Kodar (the actress at the time was Welles’ lover), which Hannaford is in the process of filming at the start.

the sex scene in an 1968 Ford Mustang fastback. The car takes off in the rainy night, and as the boyfriend drives, the pair have sex in the passenger seat next to him. After a few minutes the boyfriend stops the car, grabs the girl off of Dale (the actor playing the lading character in WIND), and appears to make an attempt to engage her for himself. She rebukes him and the pair is then tossed out. John Dale, with his pants halfway down, lands in a large puddle.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is definitely not a masterpiece as Welles hoped it to be.  It is not even a good film.  It is madness personified into a film, with a few absorbing segments as well as unconnected boring parts in between.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND will be more interesting to cineastes (for example; what does the title even mean?) but for the rest the film is best avoided.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMWHBUTHmf0

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Film Review: THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD (USA 2018) ***1/2

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead Poster
Trailer

In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.

Director:

Morgan Neville

THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is a 2018 American documentary film, directed by Morgan Neville, revolving around the making and filming of the infamous never completed and now just completed THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, directed by Orson Welles.

A bit of background knowledge is necessary in order to appreciate the Orson Welles/Neville doc, THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD.  The doc should be watched together with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, though best before or after could be argued.  WIND was Welles’ comeback movie that took him umpteen  years tin the making but never competed due to his craziness and lack of funding.  WIND was supposed to be autobiographical though Welles claims it was never so.  He had directed his best friend John Huston play the director and Peter Bogdanovich play another director who was not Peter Bogdanovich.  He has impressionist Rich Little hired to act in his film and then edited him out.  More information and madness are revealed as Neville’s doc unfolds.

The doc is immensely entertaining for several reasons.  Firstly, Welles was a charismatic and intriguing character.  It is also about filmmaking and  filmmakers implying that all cineastes should love the doc.  And Neville has done a wonderful job revealing both sides of Orson Welles.

Neville also includes short clips (wish he had shown more) of Welles’ famous films like CITZEN KANE, THE TRIAL and A TOUCH OF EVIL while mentioning his never completed films like THE DREAMERS (not to be confused with the Bertolucci film of the same name).

The title takes the words from from a prophetic comment Welles made to Peter Bogdanovic that centred on Welles’ return to the U.S. in the early 1970s to shoot his ill-fated Hollywood comeback film.  The documentary concludes with his death in October 1985. “Welles is the protagonist of my documentary,” Neville said. “(The Other Side of the Wind) is so autobiographical, even though he said it was not.

The doc is also a study of the madness that goes with genius.  Welles’ not only drove himself crazy but those around him.  Like his cameraman, Gary Graver.  After working him to death to the point that Graver would strangle him and call Welles a fucking fat idiot, Welles would put his arm around Graver and tell him that he was doing a great job.

The film is all about great directors.  Besides its subject Orson Welles who made arguably the best film (as polled by critics over the years) of all time CITIZEN KANE, the film features Peter Bogdanovich who accomplished three great films during the making of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, PAPER MOON and WHAT’S UP DOC?. This film is directed by Morgan Neville who directed the Best Documentary Oscar winner, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM as well as the well critical received BEST OE ENEMIES and WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

This film should be seen together with the recently completed THE OTEHR SIDE OF THE WIND, thanks to additional funding provided by Netflix.   THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is also a Netflix original film now playing on Netflix.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_kOsnGzfYY

Film Review: THE GREAT BUSTER: A CELEBRATION (USA 2018) ***

The Great Buster Poster
Trailer

Documentary on the life and works of comic genius Buster Keaton, directed by Peter Bogdanovic.

Buster Keaton is not someone as well known Charlie Chaplin.  But this is by no means to say that Buster Keaton is no less a genius.  Myself, I first saw Buster Keaton in a supporting role in Richard Lester’s 1966’s comedy A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.  The doc, THE GREAT BUSTER: A CELEBRATION includes a footage of Keaton in the film.

The film is a celebration of actor/comedian/filmmaker and genius Buster Keaton.  Buster, in those days meant ‘Fall’ and Buster Keaton grew famous in funny falls from the young age touring the country with his travelling show parents.  The film is an examination of the artist from literally a baby to adult, which writer/director Peter Bogdanovich undertakes.

Who better than Peter Bogdanovich whose most famous film WHAT’S UP DOC? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal was likely influenced by the slapstick antics of Buster Keaton.  Bogdanovich also loves black and white oldies and made the excellent THE LAST PICTUR SHOW and PAPER MOON, all black and white period pics.

Unless one is familiar with Keaton’s films or grew up in those times (i.e. if you are over 70), there is much to enjoy in the old footage assembled by Bogdanovich.  From Keaton’s early pictures like his two reelers to his shorts and feature films, expect plenty of laughs. 

Bogdanovich also ties in the passion of film into the doc.  Not only is Keaton’s talent for comedy shown but his genius in filmmaking.  

The early comedic sequences are the ones with Fatty Arbuckle and Keaton.  Arbuckle was Keaton’s mentor and introduced him to film, which aided Keaton’s fame.  The sequence of the two having dinner is not only funny but a genius in its set up.  Other simple sequences featuring these two are equally priceless.

Every genius has his downfall or at least bad times in life.  Arbuckle got entrapped with a murder charge and scandal.  For Keaton, it was his drinking and contract with MGM.  The film was clear to point out that MGM destroyed a few classic comedians of the time including The Marx Brothers, Stan and Ollie and Abbott and Castello with churning out their worst films.  Keaton’s drinking led to his divorce and firing at MGM, fed up with his drinking.  The height of his depression led him  to be committed to an army hospital taken away in a straight jacket. ‘Straight Jacket required to move Buster Keaton to hospital, ” read the newspaper headlines.   

It becomes apparent half way through the film that material is running out.  Bogdanovich inserts old Keaton film footage as fillers.  At least they are funny and satisfying in filling the time.

The film ends with Keaton’s death in 1966 and with the words of Dick Van Dyke who delivered the eulogy at the funeral service.

THE GREAT BUSTER is a celebration of not only Keaton but the artists of the silent era.  The film’s best segment is the clip from Charles Chaplin’s LIMELIGHT where Chaplin and Keaton performed together for the first and only time.  

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsffUJBYya0

Full Review: 78/52 (USA 2017) ****

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

78/52 Poster
Trailer

An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), the “man behind the curtain”, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

 

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

HOT DOCS 2017 Reviews: 78/52 (USA 2017) ***1/2

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

7852An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the “man behind the curtain”, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
Stars: Alan Barnette, Justin Benson, Peter Bogdanovich

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
78/52 offers an unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO – the “man behind the curtain” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. The famous shower scene – the opening and closing of the bathroom door; the water streaming from the shower; the curtain slowly pulling apart; the repeated stabbing; the blood flowing down the bath; the door bathroom door slamming shut.

The entire scene’s storyboard with the script is read aloud (and also the pages of the novel of the same name by Robert Block, illustrating the differences) to the audience as the scene, unfolds one step at a time, offering a fresh insight.

The contribution of both Edward Hermann to the music and George Tomasini to the sound effects are detailed in the film, providing more insight and pleasure to the cineaste.

The film includes clips of films that have been influenced by Hitchcock. Director Philippe (DOC OF THE DEAD) has done thorough and detailed research on Hitchcock and the shower scene and it shows.

The result is one of the best and most insightful documentaries on the techniques of the Master of Suspense.

Clip: http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/208152/sundance-2017-new-7852-clip-goes-psycho-shower-scene/
 

_________

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Happy Birthday: Peter Bogdanovich

peterbogdanovichPeter Bogdanovich

Born: July 30, 1939 in Kingston, New York, USA

Married to:
Louise Stratten (30 December 1988 – 2001) (divorced)
Polly Platt (June 1962 – 1972) (2 children)

The Last Picture Show
1971
dir. Bogdanovich
Cast
Timothy Bottoms
Jeff Bridges
MOVIEPAPER MOON
1973
dir. Peter Bogdanovich
Starring:
Ryan O’Neal
Tatum O’Neal
THEY ALL LAUGHEDThey All Laughed
1981
dir. Peter Bogdanovich
Cast
Audrey Hepburn
Ben Gazzara
MaskMask
1985
dir. Bogdanovich
starring
Eric Stoltz
Sam Elliot
Noises Off …
1992
dir. Bogdanovich
Starring
Carol Burnett
Michael Caine
THE THING CALLED LOVE MOVIE POSTERThe Thing Called Love
1993
dir. Bogdanovich
Starring
Samantha Mathis
River Phoenix
MOVIE POSTERWHAT’S UP DOC?
1972
dir. Peter Bogdanovich
Stars:
Barbra Streisand
Ryan O’Neal
MOVIE POSTERINFAMOUS
2006
dir. Douglas McGrath
Stars:
Toby Jones
Daniel Craig
MOVIE POSTERHUSTLE
2004
dir. Peter Bogdanovich
Stars:
Tom Sizemore
Dash Mihok
SOPRANOS SEASON 1Sopranos
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