Posts published under “On Location”
ON LOCATION: L’ENCLUME (CARTMEL, CUMBRIA, UK).
I confess–I am totally in love with The Trip, the recent road movie featuring Steve Coogan and his colleague Rob Brydon exchanging some of the funniest banter of the year. But while we were laughing it up during the film, Steve and Rob were also visiting some of the most innovative and fabulous inns and restaurants in the north of England. Worth checking out more than a few of these, IMHO. I highly recommend L’Enclume–easily the most beautiful food featured in the movie–and it does not disappoint in person! Recently voted Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, L’Enclume boasts one of the UK’s top chefs– Simon Rogan– who uses fresh organic produce from his own farm located a mile from the village. Each dish is exquisitely presented and tastes even better. Be sure to look this one up on your next trip across the pond…the village is roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes from Heathrow and well worth the drive. Rooms are available as well and a full English breakfast is included. As you sit in the dining room, you can just hear those Michael Caine impressions!
COWBOYS AND ALIENS (2011/IN THEATERS) Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens, which premiered last week at ComicCon in San Diego and opens today in mega-release, takes a while to get going and will make you utter “good grief” more than once at its often ridiculous plot and dialog but ultimately is a really good time as an old-fashioned western with some sci-fi thrown in. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are solid as rocks in their respective roles as “bad guy with a good heart” Jake Lonergan and “former Civil War colonel/crusty rancher“ Woodrow Dolarhyde. If you’ve seen the trailer (and honestly how could you have missed it?), you’ll know that the movie opens with Lonergan waking up in 1875 New Mexico territory sporting no memory, no shoes, a giant wound and a weird metal cuff on his wrist. Three menacing cowboys ride up and soon Longergan not only has their boots, clothes and guns, he has a horse and a dog and is heading toward Absolution (the town, not the event). Here the plot will introduce us to Dolarhyde’s wayward son (Paul Dano), the town sheriff (Keith Carradine), a beautiful and mysterious young woman (Olivia Wilde), the town’s doctor and barkeep (Sam Rockwell) and an invasion by aliens—say what?! Here we go. Along the way, director Jon Favreau manages to fit in everything but the kitchen sink as well as every classic western line you remember. Stop groaning and just enjoy the ride. And remember–the second half does get better.
BTW: I am a big Jon Favreau fan. We all know him as the director of Elf, Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and most of us remember his awesome performance in Swingers which he wrote for his best bud Vince Vaughn, but did you ever catch his TV series Dinner for Five (2001-2005)? In it, he hosted four of his Hollywood colleagues every week to a fine dinner where they talked shop or just talked. Great fun. For a sample, catch this YouTube of Eddie Izzard (with Will Ferrell) discussing what “trans-gender” means in one episode.
ON LOCATION: Cowboys and Aliens was shot almost entirely near the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. This is Georgia O’Keefe country and is well worth your visit next time you’re out west. And be sure to check out Plaza Blanca, where the final battle for this movie was shot.
Everyone has a favorite movie shot in beautiful and soulful N’awlins. What’s yours?? IMBD lists over 1,000 movies shot here! Wow…the most recent is Green Lantern (2011), just released and already yesterday’s Times Picayune was lamenting the film’s poor performance at the box office in an article entitled meaningfully “What Went Wrong?” (see link above)–but mind you they are not apologetic about its filming location. Having queried a friend or two about their favorites, here’s the list so far: Pretty Baby (Louis Malle introducing us to Brooke Shields in the title role); The Big Easy (sexiest Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin ever); Interview with the Vampire (Kirsten Dunst as another impressive youngin’); The Road (who knew!); the upcoming On The Road (directed by Walter Salles–can’t wait for this one); Cat People (reviewed by yours truly for Serious Movie Lover way back when); and of course, Easy Rider. Tell us your favorite in the comment line–please! And just to say, on a personal note, this is my first post-Katrina visit to the city and it’s really great. Plan to come as soon as you can.
ON LOCATION: ST. PETERSBURG (May 2011)
My good friend Fred, a Stanford grad who worked many years for Brown University in the Library, has now lived in St. Petersburg, Russia for nearly 12 years, thanks to a wonderful marriage to a lovely Russian native (also a librarian). When I was with Fred this past month, sitting in the beautiful 5-Star Grand Hotel Europe, he showed me his most recent film purchase! With apologies for the poor picture quality, you can see it’s a kick-ass combo of Alexander Nevsky and The Battleship Potemkin plus one other Eisenstein masterpiece which I confess I don’t recognize. All in Russian, naturally!! Does Fred speak Russian now? No, but he bought the films anyway. He tells me he can buy 20 DVDs for 60 Euros. Not bad. He also said that Black Swan was available in Russia long before the official DVD was released—the only problem: it was dubbed
TAOS, NEW MEXICO Just how cool is Taos?! Pretty darn cool….In its fourth year, the Taos Shortz Film Fest which ran last weekend at the Harwood Museum of Art featured a terrific lineup of 60 selections and welcomed 20 filmmakers from across the globe. Three world premieres were featured: Next, a 5 minute experimental from Germany; The Necklace a 6-minute dramatic fiction work from Colorado and of course, our local favorite and winner of The People’s Choice Award Good Luck Mr. Gorski, which we reviewed earlier this week. Other award winners and personal favorites (of mine!) were two comedy fiction shorts: Asesino—a hilarious piece featuring Victor Ramirez in the title role and directed by Ravi Kapoor, and Uncle Jack—also hilarious, directed by Jamin Winans and filmed in Denver. The animation award winner was The Astronomer’s Sun from the UK, directed by Simon Cartwright (who was in Taos for the festival) and Jessica Cope—Cartwright informed us that this very compelling animation used absolutely no digital tricks and was completely hand-done. Impressive. My friends and I were also impressed by The Fall Line, directed by Tyler Stableford and featuring a young soldier who lost both legs in Iraq but is now a world competitive para-olympic skier and also Prayers for Peace, directed by Dustin Grella and dedicated to his brother who lost his life in Iraq—both these shorts received Honorable Mentions in their respective categories (documentary and animation). The driving force behind the Taos Shortz Fest is Anna Cosentine, who single-handedly started the festival and makes it bigger and better each year. She promises to be back in 2012. Excellent!
Check out the complete lineup of films here.
Over here in the land of The King’s Speech, people are equally excited about our upcoming Oscar broadcast on Sunday night. The Guardian, in particular, featured some quite illuminating articles today—my favorite had to do with just WHO actually votes for the awards. Their article, entitled “The Oscars: Who Calls the Shots” revealed that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wants to keep its membership at or around 6,000. They have 6,404 members now and are skewed to the over 50 crowd (as we all know, which is why The King’s Speech will win Best Picture on Sunday and The Social Network will not). Here’s a wonderful quote from a wonderful Brit: Read more »
Built in 1888, the gorgeous Hotel Del Coronado sits just opposite San Diego on the island of Coronado. The hotel has always been famous—movie stars like John Wayne and Frank Sinatra are pictured there and no less than eleven U.S. presidents have visited—but it became even more famous as the location used for all the resort scenes in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959), one of the all time great screwball comedies and a personal favorite of mine. Wilder found the hotel to be the perfect stand-in for Florida—not only was it close to Hollywood but it was also in a down-turn and thus was cheap! The stories about Marilyn Monroe on the set of this movie will make you laugh….check some of them out at IMDB’s Trivia Page. My favorite quote from Wilder is this one, referring to Marilyn Monroe while making the movie: “We were in mid-flight, and there was a nut on the plane.”
Visiting the Del (as locals call it) seems more than appropriate given Tony Curtis’ death just last year—you can still picture him on the beach there, doing his wonderful imitation of Cary Grant ☺
BTW: Follow this link for more about this gorgeous hotel. Worth the visit—grab a drink and enjoy the scenery!
ON LOCATION…at the College of Charleston in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. This fabulous and most hospitable southern city—rated among the top ten destinations in the U.S. now– has been used as a film location by plenty of pictures. Among the notables is Nick Cassavetes’ sweet but weepy movie The Notebook, which used several Charleston area filming spots including Boone Hall Plantation as the rich Hamilton family’s beach house and the College of Charleston as Allie’s college (quite appropriate). While the beach scenes were filmed in LA, Charleston’s Battery with its beautiful rows of mansions along the water, was used in several backdrops. Another biggie filmed here was The Patriot—remember when Mel Gibson was popular? And one of my personal favorites to be filmed in Charleston is Jodie Foster’s excellent The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. To see a full list of Charleston locations and films, check out this fun site. BTW: If you do get to Charleston, be sure to try one of my favorite restaurants: SNOB (which stands for “Slightly North of Broad”—south of Broad, naturally, representing old money here). SNOB’s Maverick Grits cannot be beat.
P.S. While most of Cold Mountain was filmed in the mountains of Romania , at least one of Jude Law’s scenes was shot right on the College of Charleston campus. More about the local shoot can be found here. Enjoy!
TAOS COMMUNITY AUDITORIUM (October 17, 2010) Google Peter Halter and you’ll get his photo linked to a website listing him as one of the Presentation Specialists (i.e. Projectionists) for Sundance in 2011, as well as for the Doha Film Festival which is running next week. Cool. Peter is also the Programming Director for our own “Movies at the TCA,” a wonderful weekly event featuring indie films which have missed Taos (and are still new enough not to be on DVD).
This past week, Peter was showing Get Low and I was lucky enough to meet up with him in the projection booth to talk about movies, film festivals and how to program successfully for an audience as quirky as the one here in Taos. Peter has been working with the TCA and Taos for 16 years now, 5 years as the Programming Director. Among the other festivals he has worked are the Travers City Film Festival (Michael Moore’s event), Telluride, Durango and the Dominican Republic Global Film Festival. He was also part of Taos Talking Pictures, the legendary film festival that ran here between 1994 and 2003, and created some serious buzz by giving away land to award winners. Unfortunately for all of us movie lovers in town, the festival failed thanks to a combination of financial and political issues and nothing yet has risen to take its place, though there’s still some talk. Read more »
SAM SHEPARD IN TAOS, NM. Sam Shepard, ruggedly handsome at age 67, walked out on stage at the Taos Community Auditorium this past Sunday evening in his jeans, striped shirt and casual western boots to read for us from an assortment of short works he has published over time. He dove right in with a funny (very funny) accounting of his memories of the 80s from the point of view of his young son (“My dad knows nothing.”) He read for well over an hour and we in the audience loved every minute of it. It’s interesting to note that some people only know Shepard as a writer, while others only know him as an actor. He seems a bit embarrassed about being an actor but has quite a body of work to be proud of. He wondered aloud why he, a seriously liberal type, is constantly being cast as a hard-ass military person and the last work he read described suiting up in just this way and waiting for the call to leave his trailer and head to the set. Blackhawk Down, perhaps? His description of the attitude of his character (weary but determined) would certainly fit. My favorite of his stories about acting was entitled “Winging It.” Here he described the six takes he offered to a German director for a scene being shot in Mexico. It’s hilarious and he voices both parts perfectly. I am now planning to run out and buy a boatload of his books. Join me and enjoy!
BTW: He referred to Hollywood as “nuts.” He has some fabulous stories of travels and childhood which are not to be missed, and what a discovery to realize he wrote the screenplay for Paris, Texas. Wow.