Originally published as part of the Bloor Cinema Column at DORK SHELF
How To Make A Book With Steidl
Meet publisher and printer Gerhard Steidl: revered and sought after worldwide for his ability to make the most exquisite art books imaginable. Using profits from his work with such long-time clients as Chanel, Günter Grass and Karl Lagerfeld, Steidl underwrites his publishing of limited edition books with the world’s best photographers. Superb cinematography frames the scenes between Steidl and the artists in action, revealing the playful, yet exacting process of their creative collaborations. Steidl is constantly in motion, travelling to London, Paris, New York, Vancouver and the deserts of Qatar, allowing us seductive glimpses into the rarely seen homes and studios of such renowned artists as Robert Adams, Robert Frank and Jeff Wall.
How To Make A Book is an intriguing portrait of a fiercely determined and his all-encompassing fascination and obsession with paper and ink (kind of like this week’s other film about Tomi Ungerer). At times a self-deprecating master schmoozer, at other times a grumpy and vindictive control freak, Steidl is never a boring character. During the course of the film we also traverse a product’s lifespan, from conceptual beginnings to the final product of Joel Sternfeld’s book i Dubai, and see how Steidl’s exacting standards, with all the bickering, infighting and frustrations included, work in driving creating and producing a unique and bold final product.
Audiences who invest in the journey and the man will be captivated and engrossed, though the film will likely be too dry and one sided for those who are turned off by Steidl’s OCD tendencies.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
Most people have encountered the work of Tomi Ungerer during some point in their lives. From his award-winning children’s books to his provocative and iconic anti-war illustrations from the 60s and 70s, his work has always had a clever, biting edge balanced with a playful fearlessness. But his outspokenness made him a target of controversy and intense malice. This became even more evident when Ungerer began to illustrate erotic books late in his career, a move that outraged fans of his earlier work and blacklisted him and his publications from most major libraries, schools and bookstores.
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is the story of a fascinating artist who never compromised his vision even when it meant the children’s literary world completely excised him. Reminiscent of the brilliant Wayne White documentary from last year, Beauty is Embarrassing, Far Out brings us another eccentric, reformed, and solitary man who chose to step back from his limelight and accolades. While not as accomplished or engaging as the Wayne White documentary, Far Out still tells a great story. With the multitude of drawings and artwork the filmmakers have to pull from, the picture has a fantastic and vibrant look.
Fellow author the late Maurice Sendak, of Where the Wild Things Are fame, calls Ungerer one of his greatest influences. Hopefully Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is ‘far enough’ to influence a new generation to put pen to page.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
Email me at email@example.com
- Dragon Girls Review (Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
Starting this weekend at the Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto is the newest from the director of “Pineapple Express” and the upcoming Nicolas Cage film “Joe”,David Gordon Green. “Prince Avalanche”. Avalanche is a small, inclusionary tale set against the backdrop of a wildfire and used the filing location of Bastrop, Texas to emulate the effects after the Bastrop County Complex fire of 2011.
Starring Paul Rudd and Emilie Hirsh
Written and Directed by David Gordon Green
Meditative and stern Alvin (Rudd) and his girlfriend’s dopey, insecure brother Lance (Hirsch), leave the city behind to spend the summer in solitude repainting traffic lines down the center of a country highway ravaged by wildfire. As they sink into their job in the remarkable landscape, they learn more than they want to about each other and their own limitations. (more…)
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the critically acclaimed story of the struggle for a better life and the perilous journey that happens along the way in “La Pirouge”. The tale of African refuges is a story that has rarely been seen on screens before and was a big sensation at last year’s Cannes film festival, even becoming a nominee for the ‘un certain regard’ jury prize.
Starring Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Laïty Fall, Malaminé ‘Yalenguen’ Dramé
Written by Éric Névé, David Bouchet
Directed by Moussa Touré
Each year, thousands of people leave Africa in rickety boats to undertake the dangerous (and illegal) voyage to Europe in search of a better life for them and their families. Moussa Touré’s powerful and suspenseful drama focuses on Baye Laye (more…)
The tale of Iceberg Slim is one of the most extremely unlikely forms of influential and highly regarded people you are likely to see this year. Starting this weekend at theBloor Hot Docs Cinema “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp” recalls the turbulent life of the now deceased Slim, and how his gritty and realistic novels still inspire many to this day. The film features and candid interview with the man himself before he passed away as well as interviews with those closest to him.
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp
Directed by Jorge Hinojosa
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp tells a turbulent and transformative tale about the life of Robert Beck, who became an author following decades of pimping. As a young man searching for a role model, (more…)
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the new music documentary that unearths one of the most influential bands that almost nobody has ever heard of, “A Band Called Death”. The documentary boats executive producers Scott Mosier (friend and producer of Kevin Smith’s films) and Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara, which just goes to prove the vast and different influence their music has had. A band becoming a hit 30 years after recording your demo tape is a compelling and unique story, and one that has never been told on screen this way before.
A Band Called Death
Directed by Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino
Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was Death. Formed in the early 1970s by three teenage brothers from Detroit, Death is credited as being the first black punk band, and the Hackney brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis, are now considered pioneers in their field. But it wasn’t until recently, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of Bobby’s attic nearly thirty years after Death’s emergence, that anyone outside a small group of punk enthusiasts had even heard of them. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family chronicle, the story of Death is one of brotherly love and fierce, divinely inspired expression.
Starting this weekend in theaters from Universal Studios is the eagerly awaited sequel to the 2010 cult film that hit large on home video, Kick-Ass 2. This time around the film is under the reigns of writer/director Jeff Wadlow and only produced by the original’s director Matthew Vaughn. The graphic novel sequel to Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall, is a veritable blood bath, which beckons the question of how the film will translate to the theater screen.
Written and Directed by Jeff Wadlow
When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl (Moretz) and young masked hero Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson), they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do with their shared calling, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire, leaving her to navigate (more…)
New in Canadian theaters this weekend is the new romantic comedy from first time director/writer Lake Bell, In a World… The film marks a large step forward for the gorgeous actress known mainly for her roles in “Children’s Hospital” and “How to make it in America” as Lake Bell is putting all her cards on the table here, and the gamble pays off.
In a World….
Written and Directed by Lake Bell.
Carol (Bell), an underachieving vocal coach, is motivated by her father (Melamed) the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. But when her success starts to interfere with the hopes Sam has for his protégé Gustav (Marino), unbeknownst to Sam, they become rivals. Carol moves in with her sister Dani (Watkins) and her husband (Corddry) who with the help of producer Loius (Martin), who is enamored with Carol, help her succeed amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction.
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the critically acclaimed Icelandic film that made the Oscar shortlist for best foreign language film at last year’s ceremony, “The Deep”. The film comes from director Baltasar Kormákur, the director of the Mark Whalberg starring “Contraband” and “2 Guns” and features a stellar lead performance from one of Iceland’s best actors, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.
Starring: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson, Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir, Stefán Hallur Stefánsson
Written by: Jón Atli Jónasson, Baltasar Kormákur
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
In 1984, a fishing boat goes down miles off the coast of Iceland’s Westman Islands in some of the most forbidding seas on the planet, leaving the fishermen at the mercy of frigid and turbulent waters. Miraculously, one of the crew Gulli (Ólafsson) manages to survive, (more…)
New in theaters this weekend is the film from Disney’s direct to video division that was later deemed to be worthy of a theatrical release, Disney’s follow up to Pixar’s “Cars”, “Planes”. That last point is a very poignant one, this is a Disney in house animation project NOT a Pixar project, and the script for Planes sadly makes this point all too clear.
Written by Jeffery M. Howard
Directed by Klay Hall
From above the world of “Cars” comes Disney’s “Planes,” a 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (Cook), a small-town plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to naval aviator Skipper (Keach), who helps Dusty qualify to take on Ripslinger, the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.
Starting this weekend at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the documentary that strives to delve behind the controversy and motivations of one of the most infamous personalities involved in the activist movement over the last decade. Informant takes a spellbinding look at Brandon Darby, a radical activist turned FBI informant who has been both vilified and deified, but never fully understood.
Starring Brandon Darby
Directed by Jamie Meltzer
In 2005, Brandon Darby became an overnight activist hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a friend stranded in the Ninth Ward. Soon after, he became a founding member of Common Ground, a hugely successful grassroots relief organization. After two young activists were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby shocked close friends and activists nationwide by revealing he’d been instrumental in the indictment as an FBI informant. As the only film with access to Brandon Darby since his public confession, Informant presents his compelling journey using direct address interviews and re-enactments featuring Darby. Darby’s story is often contradicted by commentary from acquaintances and expert commentators on various points along the political spectrum. The film invites viewers to form their own opinions about Darby’s character and actions, as well as the larger political context he operates within.
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the newest action opus from the brilliant director behind such classics as “Election”, “Breaking News” and “PTU” Johnnie To, “Drug War”. The hard-boiled and unrelenting crime drama features some of the great gun and driving stunts that To films are infamous for, but also packs some serious performances from its leads.
Written by Ryker Chan, Ka-Fai Wai, Nai-Hoi Yau, Xi Yu
Directed by Johnnie To
Drug War is an explosive new thriller, the first of Johnnie To’s action opuses to be set in Mainland China. After his narcotics factory goes up in a ball of flame, drug manufacturer Choi Tin-ming (longtime To collaborator Koo) is captured by hard-nosed cop Zhang Lei (Honglei), who is spearheading a sting operation against a massive narcotics network. Coerced by the threat of the death penalty to turn informant, Choi takes Zhang undercover into the narcotics pipeline. But as Zhang Lei gets deeper and deeper into the drug syndicate and tightens the net around the dealers, he is still unsure whether his unwilling partner has an alternate plan in place that will blow open the entire operation.
New in theaters today is the sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Theif” which brings back most of the main cast members, minus Pierce Brosnan as Percy’s cedar (half man/half horse) mentor and protector, in another epic tale of Greek gods and their half human offspring in the modern world. This time around Percy and friends end up taking on the ‘Sea of Monsters’, know to humans as the Bermuda Triangle, as they have to save the world all over again.
Written by Marc Guggenheim based on the book by Rick Riordan
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Percy Jackson (Lerman), accompanied by his friends Annabeth Chase (Daddario), Clarisse La Rue (Rambin), Grover (Jackson) and Tyson (Smith) his half-brother, goes on a journey in the sea of monsters to retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece and save camp half-blood. The camp has been attacked and the barriers that protect the campers are down thanks to Percy’s rival Luke (Abel), another half-blood and the son of Hermes (Fillion). The adventure takes many dangerous and twisted turns and the nefarious plans of Luke could bring the end of days crashing down on earth in a heartbeat if he succeeds.
New to Blu-ray is the latest film from Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle that marks his first step back into the realm of the psychological crime thriller since his debut film “Shallow Grave”, “Trance”. The film is the feature adaptation of writer Joe Ahearne’s television film from 2001 of the same name and features a stellar trio of actors leading the small ensemble set in the high stakes world of art thievery.
Written by Joe Ahearne, John Hodge
Directed by Danny BoyleSimon (McAvoy) is a fine art auctioneer who gets mixed up with a gang led by Franck (Cassel) looking to steal a painting. After the painting goes missing, Simon and Franck, along with Franck’s crew, join forces with hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Dawson) to recover their lost spoils. As boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur the stakes rise faster than anyone could have anticipated. (more…)
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the film that caused quite the stir at the formal TIFF 2012 festival, Berberian Sound Studio. The film features the always dependable and engaging Toby Jones as the proverbial fish out of water, his character traveling from his home in Surrey England to work in the Italian film business during the heyday of the Italian ‘Giallo ‘ film. The film is an exercise in style, atmosphere and tone and delightfully hearkens back to the Italian thrillers it bases itself in the midst of.
Berberian Sound Studio
Starring: Toby Jones, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, Salvatore Li Causi, Chiara D’Anna, Tonia Sotiropoulou
Written and Directed by Peter Strickland
Summoned to an Italian studio to record the audio effects for a bloody horror opus, meek British sound engineer Gilderoy (Jones) quickly finds his genteel disposition clashing with that of his alternately boisterous, genial and hostile Italian hosts. As Gilderoy becomes unhealthily submerged in his work, the simulated aural violence (snapping celery stalks standing in for cracking bones, pulverized watermelons for squishing craniums) starts to take on a cruel edge. As tension in the claustrophobic studio mounts, it becomes clear that the film is corrupting Gilderoy’s fragile psyche.