Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jean-Michel Basquiat At 50

By Lars Trodson

Today is artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 50th birthday. He was born Dec. 22, 1960 in Brooklyn and he died of a drug overdose, just as his fame was at its peak, on Aug. 12, 1988 in Manhattan. There’s Basquiat merchandise available now and in the last few years some of his paintings have sold for millions of dollars.

Basquiat died a year and a half after Andy Warhol, and it’s a little startling to think that, as young as Warhol was when he died (he was 58), he still had 30 more years than Basquiat. The two artists were frequent collaborators in the mid-1980s. Something in the New York art world has never been quite the same since they left.

I first came across Basquiat when I watched the eponymous Julian Schnabel movie from 1996 that starred Jeffrey Wright. Wright gives an absolutely beautiful, stunning performance in this movie -- completely overlooked, in my view -- and it is one of the (very) few movies about a painter in which you see the actor playing an artist actually paint. The scenes in which Wright -- as Basquiat -- sort of lopes up toward his empty canvases and starts to paint his images and words are unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in a movie about art. They’re hypnotic.

There is also Tamra Davis’s documentary, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”, which I have not seen, and the amazing “Downtown 81”, which stars a very young Basquiat and was shot over two months at the end of 1980 and early 1981 in New York, when the post-punk scene was glowing. I’ve seen this little movie, and it’s an incredible document -- even if the soundtrack was lost and the voices, including Basquiat’s, had to be dubbed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blue Christmas: Billy Wilder's 'The Apartment'

By Lars Trodson

I suppose it’s not traditional to think of Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” as a Christmas movie, or to even recommend it as something to watch during the holidays. It’s the saddest romantic comedy ever made. But the heart of the story -- the broken heart center of the story -- takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

This is a movie for people who maintain hope that their lives will work out okay, even if their run of bad luck has been long and arduous. That probably applies to a big chunk of the population during any Christmas season. Not everything is easy, but no day is ever without hope. This is to some extent what “The Apartment” is about.

This is not meant to be depressing. But not everyone is headed to joyous homes filled with family, presents, holiday decorations, a big fat turkey and reunions with long-lost loved ones. Some people are sitting in front of slot machines and at the bus station, waiting for something to happen. If you're lucky enough not to be doing that this year, you may be able to remember the times when you felt like you were.

Billy Wilder’s movie, which was released in 1960, catches that lonely feeling. But since it ends so joyously, with the right touch of reluctant bliss, it makes you feel almost like “It’s A Wonderful Life” does -- you feel like you’ve been on a tough journey, a real journey, with real hurt, and that you’ve come out all right on the other side. That may be what any given year feels like for most of us. Real hurt, real joy for 11 months -- but hopefully we’ve come out okay at the tail end.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Holiday Affair': A Christmas Gem From 1949

By Lars Trodson

Finding a holiday movie that you like but haven’t seen before is akin to hearing a new Christmas song that’s worth hearing a second time. It’s a rare bird indeed. But I came across a little movie, from 1949, that I had never heard of before despite the fact that it stars my main man, Robert Mitchum.

The movie is called “Holiday Affair” and it has not only Mr. Mitchum, looking his post-war movie star best, but it also has Janet Leigh, in all her early MGM beauty, and this movie is a little treat. What’s nice about Christmas movies from the 1940s is that they’re not only sweet, but they also have a tinge of realism to go along with the syrup. There’s a hard won reality to these stories that almost always make them worthwhile.

I guess this little bit of pepper was deemed too much for modern movie audiences, because as time has gone on, each successive movie about the Christmas holiday has become so unbearably sweet as to be intolerable.

But anyway, here is “Holiday Affair”, which tells the story of single mom Connie Ennis (Leigh), whose husband was killed in the war (some of the pepper) and who is raising their son, Timmy, all by herself. Connie calls her son “Mr. Ennis” and he calls her “Mrs. Ennis” and this at first seems like a sweet affectation until Steve Mason (Mitchum) accuses Connie of trying too hard to keep her dead husband alive and not leaving any room in her heart for anybody else.

Connie and Steve do meet cute. He works in the toy department of a large New York department store. When Connie buys an expensive train set -- she’s a comparative shopper for another store -- and then returns it the next day, Steve gets fired for giving her money back. In the meantime, little Timmy (Gordon Gebert) catches a glimpse of the train when it was brought home, and he thinks it’s for him.

When he finds out it isn’t, and it’s returned to the store, the story begins to unfold.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The New York Revue: SantaCon 2010

By Lars Trodson

Photos by Joan McCabe

The bus careened down Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem. I would guess we were at 135th street, and I was looking into the lighted windows of the apartments, just as I did when I came in on the bus to New York on the way to school more than 30 years ago.

It was a cool crisp night, and we lurched into the Port Authority Bus Terminal at about 5:45 -- we were an hour late coming down from Providence -- and the Peter Pan bus pulled up to the gate and we all emptied out.

I walked down to the subway and got on the A train to go downtown to West 4th street and I sat next to three guys who were discussing a new haircut one of their members had just received. When I got on the train this new haircut was the first thing I saw. The back of this guy’s head, which was still glistening with product, looked vaguely like a tangled black fishing net with a bunch of crap caught in it.

The two other guys were telling the other guy who good he looked, but when New Haircut Boy got off at 14th street, one of other guys immediately said, “Dude looks ridiculous.”

They were selling Christmas trees right there on 6th Avenue, right in front of the CVS as I crossed the street, which was full of revelers and movie-going people, and just a little while later I was at the Barrow Street Theatre watching Michael Shannon in “Mistakes Were Made” -- a shaggy-dog tiny little wisp of a play but during which Shannon doesn’t ever leave the stage or stop talking. It’s a 90-minute monologue, with one minor character coming on stage at the end, and Shannon pulled this thing off with more artistry than maybe the play itself deserved. Shannon, you may remember, played the disturbed son of Kathy Bates in “Revolutionary Road.” He was the only good thing in that disaster, and he was nominated for an Oscar.

The next day my friend Joan and I were walking up to Washington Square, and I pointed out that this was where I first saw some kids break dancing, this was back in 1979 or 1980, and it was the first time I had ever seen such a thing, and you knew you were looking at something completely new.

We saw some Santas drifting through the Square, more than one, these elves dressed up in such a way that made you realize they had no pretense of making children happy, and one of the Santa Claus’s, lighting up a cigarette, had dropped his hat. A woman came over and yelled, “Hey, Santa, you dropped your hat!” and so Santa went laughingly back and she gave it to him and he and three or four other Santas stood on the corner smoking.

This was my introduction to SantaCon 2010, a five-year old tradition in which thousands of people dress up as the merry old elf and walk around the city in a free-style revel.

It was a few hours later when the entire city-wide congregation of Santas seemed to have drifted down to Greenwich Village, there were Santas coming in from every direction, many of them already on their way to some kind of yuletide nirvana, and they poured into a square tooting their horns and flirting and yelling and screaming and drinking out of cups and water bottles.

Suddenly everyone walking by had a smile on their face, and everybody took out their cameras and cell phones and videocams. Everyone was laughing, and there was a mixture of Santas like you have never seen in your life.

I don't want to bother distinguishing whether a man or a woman was a Santa or an elf helper, they were all Santas, no matter what their sex, on this day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leave John Wayne Alone

By Lars Trodson

More than 30 years after his death, John Wayne still can’t get a little respect. The latest sideways attack, in the pages of The New York Times, seems as unnecessary as it is unfounded. It came in the form of a formless and unfocused article by Michael Cieply (published Dec. 3), headlined “Coen Brothers Saddle Up a Revenge Story (or Two). Maybe Cieply needed to denigrate Wayne in order to fawn over Joel and Ethan. Who knows?
The topic arises, of course, because the Coen brothers have made a new version of “True Grit”, the film that, in the words of Cieply, starred a John Wayne “well past his prime, (who) won his only Academy Award for portraying Rooster Cogburn.” The use of the word “only” I suppose is there to indicate that one’s career is somehow deficient if you only won one Oscar. Okay. I’ll agree. John Wayne is certainly no Kevin Spacey.
Cieply says that Wayne’s “selection fiercely split those who felt justice was thus served from those who viewed this original ‘True Grit’, released in June 1969, as the last gasp of a Hollywood stuck in its own past.” Hollywood wasn’t stuck in its own past; it was conflicted, as always, about its future. Cieply notes, but does not seem to grasp the importance of the fact that the year Wayne won, the Best Picture Oscar went to the X-rated (at the time), “Midnight Cowboy.” So it wasn’t “stuck”, it was falteringly moving from the past into the future. But for Hollywood, unfortunately, the future never seems to arrive. It’s always today in Hollywood and it's almost always late about everything.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Rhythm Man: Drummer Colin Bailey Has Played Jazz With (Fill In Just About Anybody Famous Here)

Colin Bailey
By Lars Trodson

The first track on the album "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" begins simply enough: a bass line and the rythmic beat of drums. The tune, "Samba de Orfeu," was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa for the film "Black Orpheus" and on this record was being interpreted by pianist Vince Guaraldi, bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey. The drum-bass combo lasts about a minute, and then the piano kicks in. The music hits a beautiful, easy stride.
"Jazz Impressions" was a big hit, and it spawned a monster single called "Cast Your Fate To The Wind," which won a Grammy for composer Guaraldi in 1963. This isn't music that gets a lot of airplay today, unfortunately. Guaraldi's stature as the creator of the iconic music for the Charlie Brown TV specials has overshadowed, to a very powerful degree, the fact that he was a hugely respected jazzman. And he had a rhythm section, Budwig and Bailey, that was peerless.
Drummer Colin Bailey is the only member of that trio still living. Budwig died in 1992 and Guaraldi passed away in the 1970's. Bailey is still active, playing drums in jazz bands and teaching. He's written three hugely influential books on drumming, and he's adapted his teachings to DVD.
And he's played with just about every major jazz figure in the 20th century — and then some. This is the only guy who may have played with Miles Davis and George Shearing and Roy Clark. Bailey's done it all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Todd Hunter's "Summer Blink": A Review

By Lars Trodson

Tana Sirois
The factors that make truly independent cinema so thrilling are wholly on display in Todd Hunter’s recently released feature film, “Summer Blink.”

“Summer Blink” is thrilling because you’re able to watch new talent emerge, and to see how smart filmmakers ingeniously overcome the obstacles of a budget that doesn’t allow for extravagant locations or huge extra-filled scenes. Thrilling also because its a high-wire act during which the audience can sometimes see the artists wobble -- only to have them recover and walk triumphantly over to the other side.

Hunter, who wrote and directed “Summer Blink”, has created a mature work. He’s a theater director making his first venture into film, and he has assembled a great cast that he handles with astonishing dexterity. I say mature because Hunter not only shows a remarkable affinity for the unique demands of film, but also because his film treats issues such as sex and wanderlust without the fawning romanticism you see in most American movies. 

Haven't Seen 'Bighorn'? Check It Out Right Here

Our friend Freddie Catalfo's short film "Bighorn" continues to make the rounds at festivals and generate buzz. Wondering what it's all about? See it right here. Catalfo describes "Bighorn" as "a 15-minute, supernatural historical fantasy based on a true fact: that General Custer's bandmaster, Felix Vinatieri -- an Italian immigrant and the great-great-grandfather of Super Bowl-winning kicker Adam Vinatieri -- was ordered to stay behind at the 7th Cavalry's Powder River camp and missed the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The story takes place in 2002 and 1876. BIGHORN is the latest from award-winning filmmakers Alfred Thomas Catalfo (writer/director of the internet hit “The Norman Rockwell Code” and winner of 21 major screenwriting competitions) and Glenn Gardner (producer of Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or winner “Sniffer”). The renowned Steve Alexander, recognized by the U.S. Congress as the world’s foremost Custer living historian, portrays Custer. Native American and adopted Lakota Bill Watkinson portrays the Lakota Medicine Man. The NFL graciously granted the filmmakers permission to use footage from the 2002 Super Bowl."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson and James Franco Should Team Up To Make Jack Kerouac's “On The Road”

By Lars Trodson

“I hope you get where your going and be happy when you do.”

It sounds like an Irish blessing, something that has come down to us over the years, something that is said when people get married, have a drink, consecrate a death, or begin a journey. “I hope you get where your going and be happy when you do.” How much more simple and beautiful can you get?

But it isn’t an ancient blessing. It’s a throwaway line in Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” -- appearing on page 134 of the scroll version, and it's said by an old hobo called Mississippi Gene that’s hitching a ride on the back of a truck out in the midwest. (The spelling used in the phrase is Kerouac's.) It’s good, practical advice, something that sounds right coming out of the American mid-west at night, and I suppose this is what made me think of Clint Eastwood, and made me think that if there was anyone on the planet that could turn “On The Road” into an honest movie it would be him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Great Gatsby: Is It Filmable?

By Lars Trodson

Turning “The Great Gatsby” into a movie comes down to a central question: how well can you dramatize a single line of prose?

That single line is: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

Gatsby is a great novel without much a plot. It’s a long lament. It’s a memory drifting away in the hot summer sun. But that line is a real thumper -- it knocks everybody out when they first come across it -- and it may be the one line everybody remembers aside of the very last beautiful line of the book.

In the 1974 film version, Sam Waterston plays Nick Carraway, and he delivers it in that halting, sideways style of his that dissolves all the power from it. And if you don’t get that line of the book right you don’t have the movie. Jack Clayton directed that version, and it starred Robert Redford as Jake Gatsby. We know it it all turned out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Roundtable Pictures at NHFF

Photo by Ralph Morang

Roundtable Pictures' short film "Tuesday Morning" was well received at the New Hampshire Film Festival. In the photo above, Lars Trodson, far right, of Roundtable Pictures answers a question about the film during a question and answer session at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Should’ve Put More Cayenne Pepper Into The Sugar Bowl: Leon Russell and Elton John Make A Record

By Lars Trodson

If the background story of how a record got made counted toward its musical quality, then “The Union” would be a masterpiece. As it stands, it’s a moving reintroduction to one of America’s great lost singer-songwriters, and one that, with hope, will spur Leon Russell to go and make some more of his personal and idiosyncratic works all on his own.

You have to admire the passion that Elton John put into the project. After apparently hearing a song of Russell’s while on safari more than a year ago, John got in touch with Leon Russell himself, and with his producer, T. Bone Burnett, and in less than a year a veritable army of singers, musicians and Annie Leibovitz’s staff converged in L.A. to produce “The Union.”

It’s a meticulously made record, to be sure. Elton sounds as robust as ever, just as Russell’s reedy voice is cracked and unsteady. That doesn’t bother me. I like the late recordings of Frank Sinatra as much as any he ever made, those mediocre duets with a voice made haunting by too much heartbreak and booze and too many cigarettes. Russell’s voice on “When Love Is Dying” is as unvarnished as anything you’ll hear in a modern recording -- it has a little Willie Nelson twang to it, in fact -- but that makes it beautifully human in an era or airbrushed voices and digitized high notes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Tuesday Morning' Screens This Week At The New Hampshire Film Festival

Our short film, "Tuesday Morning," screens this week during the New Hampshire Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday. If you can duck out of work early on Thursday, check it out at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, at 1:30 p.m. The picture can been seen again on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Moffatt-Ladd House in Portsmouth.

We also wanted to extend our congratulations to Whitney Smith, who is nominated for best performance for her role in "Tuesday Morning."

We were blessed with a remarkable project from start to finish, beginning with a haunting but touching screenplay by Lars Trodson, beautiful performances by Whitney and Teddi Kenick-Bailey, photography by Jonathon Millman, and the considerable talents of Stan Barker, Jason Santo, Christine Long, Mark Dearborn, Casey Mitchell, Alex Knuuttunen, Andrew Bohenko. The picture was directed by Mike Gillis.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Old School: David Fincher’s 'The Social Network'

By Lars Trodson

The first thing we see the Internet used for in David Fincher's "The Social Network" is an act of petty vengeance. The Internet is shown as a tool of remarkable efficiency, anonymity, and rapid-fire nastiness. These are notions that the rest of the film does not try to dispel. In fact, all we see about the Internet in "The Social Network" is a mechanism that destroys friendships, releases jealousy, initiates lawsuits and causes general unhappiness.

In this movie, trouble tends to erupt when people communicate by email, or through lawyers, or when they don't attempt to communicate at all. In "The Social Network", Facebook turns out to be the biggest troublemaker of them all.

Human contact, as elliptical as it sometimes can be, especially as it revolves around the lead character, Mark Zuckerberg, is always much more satisfying. It may not end well for one or more of the people involved in the conversation, but motives are at their clearest when people actually speak to each other. The fact that the dialogue is so clever has almost disguised the fact that the words said in this film are used to try to convey a feeling. There is a desperate attempt to communicate in this film. It doesn't always work, but it's there.

That may be why, by and large, computers, in relative terms, have a minor presence in this film. We see them ubiquitously in the early section of the film as Zuckerberg's Face Smash program goes viral (this is the little thing where students were able to rate the appeal of various female students). But then laptops, as a tool, by and large disappear from the movie.

Friday, October 8, 2010

'Tuesday Morning' In Showcase Magazine

Our short film, "Tuesday Morning," which will screen at the New Hampshire Film Festival next week, is discussed in this week's Showcase Magazine.

Read the story here:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Limited Edition Book On Movie Poster Designer Bill Gold Available Monday

A Retrospective Of One Of Hollywood’s Most Remarkable Careers

Bill Gold may have never directed a movie or starred in a film, but he has arguably helped create more Hollywood memories than anyone in the history of that town. He designed movie posters.

A beautifully crafted new book published by Reel Art Press is now celebrating this remarkable career. “Bill Gold: Posterworks” will be available for pre-order at beginning Monday, Oct. 11. The foreward is by Clint Eastwood.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, Bill Gold has had a hand in more than 2,000 movie posters - many of them for the greatest films ever made. His collaborations include films made by Kazan, Hitchcock, Truffaut and Clint Eastwood. Gold has collaborated with Eastwood for almost 40 years.

Included in this new collection are posters for “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Dial M For Murder”, “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Bullitt”, “My Fair Lady”, “Unforgiven” and countless more.

The book also includes Bill Gold’s personal collection of unseen designs, alternative versions, sketches, drafts, notes, photographs, diaries. This incredible history has never been accessible to the public until now. An enormous task, the book has been meticulously edited by Reel Art Press founder Tony Nourmand over many hours spent with Bill, researching his staggering career.

The book will be available in 1,500 numbered and signed editions; 1,250 Master Editions that include a signed letter from Bill Gold, and 250 Super Deluxe editions that include a numbered gelatin photographic print, as well as six signed and numbered unused Bill Gold poster designs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cities Are So Similar, They Could Be Twins

Editor's note: The following article appears in the Oct. 1, 2010, edition of The News, based in Portsmouth, UK. The article quotes Lars Trodson of Roundtable Pictures. Trodson was managing editor of the Portsmouth Herald in New Hampshire for several years, and later wrote a column about Portsmouth, New Hampshire for The News. The article below can also be read here:

By Sarah Foster
The News

Published Date:
01 October 2010

It's a tale of two cities, divided by the Atlantic Ocean and separated by thousands of miles.
They share the same name, a seaside location and even a proud naval history.

Now the gap between the American city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and our own city could be closed.

Lars Trodson
Tourism bosses over there want to form a twinning partnership with us, creating cultural links and boosting tourism.

'There's an appetite to pursue stronger links,' said Valerie Rochon, tourism manager in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

'It makes so much sense as we have so much in common.

'I have asked the city government here what steps need to be taken to initiate the process from our end.

'I'm sure there will be interest in helping to build some form of special relationship.'

Pompey is already twinned with two European cities - Duisburg, in Germany and Caen, in France - and the arrangement sees councillors and residents taking part in exchange visits each year.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, now hopes to replicate the success of those schemes by forging a similar relationship.

The Portsmouth across the pond has its own naval dockyard and Royal Navy captain John Mason founded the first settlement there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo: 1968's 'The Boston Strangler'

By Lars Trodson

The list of Academy Award nominees for Best Actor in 1968 included Cliff Robertson ("Charly"); Alan Arkin ("The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter"); Alan Bates ("The Fixer"); Ron Moody ("Oliver") and Peter O'Toole ("The Lion In Winter").

Not listed here was Tony Curtis, who that year played the real-life Albert DeSalvo, the long-suspected but never convicted man who was tagged as the terrifying Boston Strangler. Curtis gives a spare, haunting performance in this Richard Fleischer film - he's a void, a cypher, a black hole. He's a silent, morbid center, and Curtis gives one of the most convincing depictions of a killer ever put on the screen.

Curtis was undoubtedly overlooked by the Oscars because "The Boston Strangler" - the film - was controversial. The New York Times hated it. Variety loved it. It was explicit and grimy. Hollywood was still unsure of where it was headed. Just the year before, "Bonnie and Clyde" received 10 Academy Award nominations, but earned only two. (That film's director, Arthur Penn, also died this week.) Curtis was a real glamour boy, conventionally handsome in that 1950s way, and so maybe Hollywood thought that if it didn't reward him he would go back to his silly personas of "Some Like It Hot" and "The Great Race."

He had already proved his acting chops in "The Defiant Ones" (Best Actor nomination) and the gorgeous "Sweet Smell of Sucess." In the latter film, which is not an indictment on Hollywood, as some have written, but rather a look the rotten core of some human beings, Curtis played Sidney Falco, a cheap press agent, and he should have been nominated for that film, too.

Curtis also had another memorable part in 1968. He played the role of Donald Baumgart, an actor going blind, in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby." Curtis never appears on screen, but if you listen to Curtis over the phone (he speaks to John Cassavetes) you can hear the voice of a man whose heart is breaking because he just lost his chance.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Trailer for 'True Grit' Ponies Up

By Mike Gillis

The Coen Brothers' take on the John Wayne classic, "True Grit," is mentioned in the post below as one of the movies we're looking forward to seeing this fall. Now, the first trailer for the film, is out. You can see it right here at the end of this post.

The film stars a stable of stars from earlier Coen Brothers outings, including Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin, as well as Matt Damon and newcomer Hallie Steinfeld, who plays Mattie, the young girl who hires damaged U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges in this version, Wayne in the original) to avenge the death of her father.

It's clear from the trailer the Coen Brothers are taking a... grittier approach, which, to me, suits their style (some will argue over stylized). Bridges certainly has big shoes to fill -- Wayne won an Oscar for his performance in the 1969 original -- but that seems to be no bother. Bridges is a fantastic and remarkably versatile actor. His roles, which span a wide spectrum from comedy to misery, are always more interesting and richer under his care. Pair up films like "Fearless" and "The Big Lebowski" and you'll wonder if the two Bridges are the same.

Although I would agree with the minority who maintain "No Country for Old Men" is not their most solid work -- other Coen Brothers films like "Miller's Crossing" and "A Serious Man" are better, if not nearly perfect -- I can't say it's a bad movie. That said, I think the Coen Brothers were a bit saddled by that film. All Coen Brothers films veer into black comedy, but "No Country" seemed to relish in the black a bit too much, at the expense of the narrative.

"True Grit," if one is to judge from the snippet here, may be the picture that synthesizes what the brothers do so well: character, homage, story and style.

What do you think?

See the teaser trailer here:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Movies We're Looking Forward To This Fall

Sept. 22: "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" -- strong cast, including Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Patricia Clarkson, speaks Woody Allen-speak. The trailer is excellent. This appears to be a new script -- one that Woody didn't take out of a drawer and dust off.

Oct. 8: "Secretariat" -- We're suckers for a good story at the track. Directed by Randall Wallace and starring the sublime Diane Lane.

Oct. 22: "Hereafter" -- Director Clint Eastwood has taken on Boston gangsters, women boxers, World War II, old age and Nelson Mandela in recent years. Now he takes on life after death with his new fave Matt Damon. With the terrific Jay Mohr and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Oct. 22: "The Company Men" -- Can Hollywood honestly capture the anxiety and humiliation of the modern worker? Director John Wells gives it a shot with Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and the Craig T. Nelson. The only woman in the cast appears to be Maria Bello, which means what?

Nov. 12: "Morning Glory" -- ONLY for Rachel McAdams.

Nov. 19: "The Next Three Days" -- Paul Haggis directs an all-star cast in a thriller whodunit headed up by Russell Crowe and the great Elizabeth Banks. That's the most interesting pairing of the fall.

Dec. 1: "Black Swan" -- Not a huge fan of Aronofsky's. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei notwithstanding, "The Wrestler" was overrated. "The Fountain" was awful. But this pic, with Natalie Portman, looks interesting.

Dec. 17: "How Do You Know" -- A curiously lackluster title, but with a great cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. From writer/director James L. Brooks.

Christmas Day: "True Grit" -- More out of curiosity than anything else. Jeff Bridges, an actor everybody seems to love, takes over from John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn. This version is said to be more faithful to the Charles Portis book, which is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl. Let's hope the Coen brothers keep big chunks of the book's dialogue as did the original 1969 movie.

What do you want to see?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Mini Review: "The American"

By Lars Trodson

If you happen to have two unique parents -- in this case Fred Zinneman's "The Day Of the Jackal" and Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" -- and those two parents have a child, it would look like "The American."

The child owes a debt to each parent, of course, but it is blessed with a personality all its own.

"The American" is a beautifully made film, made sturdy with old school craftsmanship. It's got pleasures very few films offer up these days, including a pervasive and mesmerizing sense of place, and a quiet, haunted center, which is the presence of George Clooney.

See this film if you can.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Clive Donner's "A Christmas Carol"

By Lars Trodson

The director Clive Donner passed away two days ago at the age of 84. Many people, like myself, may have gotten him confused over the years with the more prolific and successful Richard Donner, director of the original "Superman" and "Lethal Weapon" franchises. Clive Donner, on the other hand, was an Englishman. His career started out with a bang in the early 1960s -- he made the wildly successful "What's New, Pussycat?", written by Woody Allen -- but by the 1970s he was mainly doing TV work. He hadn't made a film since 1993.

But he did direct one of the most sublime film versions of "A Christmas Carol" ever made. It was for TV, in 1984, and starred George C. Scott as a perfectly cast Ebenezer.

This is a gorgeously realized production, with a particularly muscular and memorable Scrooge from Mr. Scott. Donner made a beautiful movie.

If you are looking for something fresh to watch this upcoming holiday season, and have not seen Clive Donner's "A Christmas Carol", put that in your movie queue and then watch it with the family. It'll put you in that good old Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tough Guy 101: Michael Winterbottom’s “The Killer Inside Me”

By Lars Trodson

At one point during Michael Winterbottom’s appalling retelling of Jim Thompson’s “The Killer Inside Me”, lead character Lou Ford (played by Casey Affleck), reaches up to find a particular book on a shelf.

As he picks out the book, the camera lingers long enough for the audience to see that one of the titles on the shelf is “The Basic Writings Of Sigmund Freud.” This is okay, because that book was published in 1938, and “The Killer Inside Me” takes place in the late 1950s.

Only the book jacket for this specific Modern Library edition was not available until at least 1977, when the Modern Library updated its look to the tan dust jacket with the fat brown decorative font.

I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but by this time my mind had wandered on to things that didn’t really have to do with the plot. I haven’t seen a movie so dumb and badly made since maybe the Sean Penn remake of “All the King’s Men” several years back.

But at least that stupid movie had the good sense to at least try to be respectful to the women  in the cast. “Killer” is a movie that will only get one of its two female leads out of bed so they can be beat up. Sometimes they get beat up in bed, which I suppose is Winterbottom’s attempt at economical storytelling.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Terry Gilliam’s ‘Don Quixote’ Stuck Again

By Mike Gillis

Terry Gilliam’s take on the Don Quixote tale has stalled yet again, according to Variety.

Gilliam had lined up Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor in the lead for “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” the director’s second attempt at a silver screen treatment of the story that famously plagued and eluded Orson Welles his entire career. Gilliam first made a go of it more than a decade ago, having cast Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. The self-destructing production is the subject of the wonderful documentary “Lost in La Mancha,” which sprang from footage captured by a television crew documenting the making of the picture.

Gilliam tells variety that “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” should be shooting now, but instead, Gilliam is laying low at the Deauville American Film Festival. "I shouldn't be here,” Gilliam tells Variety. “The plan was to be shooting 'Quixote' right now.”

Unfortunately, time away from the set may be exactly what Gilliam needs.

Friday, September 3, 2010

'Deliverance' Movie Still Delivers Nearly 40 Years Later

By Mike Gillis

The New York Times recently acknowledged the 40th anniversary this year of James Dickey’s novel “Deliverance,” a book that catapulted Dickey to fame. That celebrity was well deserved: Dickey’s novel leans on the linguistic mechanics of poetry, of which Dickey was a master, and weaves a brutal tale of four men who navigate away from the city to the backwoods of Appalachia for a respite, and, perhaps, a smattering of soul-searching. Instead, they stir up primal fear and death, and none leave the woods unchanged, if alive.

Dickey’s celebrity wrecked his family, according to a memoir he and his son, Christopher, penned, “The Summer of Deliverance.” It diluted his writing, too, he admits in the book.

It did, though, two years after its publication in 1970, lend itself to a rare phenomenon: a movie that rivals its source material.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dr. Laura To End Her Radio Program

To which we say: Welcome the silence.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No, no, no, no, NO!

Stop, stop, stop, stop, STOP!

By Lars Trodson

I just saw this photo with Helen Mirren giving Russell Brand a bath. They are apparently on the set of their new "film", "Arthur", in which Brand is playing the sweet-natured and lost little rich boy, Arthur. "Arthur", as almost everybody knows, was a character created by writer Steve Gordon and brought to life by Dudley Moore. Moore won a much-deserved Oscar nomination for his portrayal in that 1981 film. When he told his girlfriend, played by Jill Eikenberry, that some people drink because they aren't poets, most of the world knew what he meant. You didn't forget Arthur.

So now there is the photo of Brand getting a bath by Mirren, and Brand is quoted as saying, "Never has getting clean been so dirty." Oh, my goodness. That is one funny line. Yessir!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Summer Movie Of All Time: “The Endless Summer” (Bruce Brown Films, 1966)

By Lars Trodson

A friend of mine and I used to have a little summer ritual. We’d park the car on the side of some road and crack open a beer and listen to the Red Sox on the radio. We’d just lean against the car, drink the beer, smoke a couple of cigarettes and listen to the game. It is an indelible memory of summer for me; it seems almost the essence of summer for me. If there is one movie that captures that feeling, that soft gentle buzz of contentment that only the warm summer months can conjure, it’s Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer.”

I didn’t see this when it first came out -- I would have only been six -- and I can’t remember under what circumstances I might have first watched it. Something tells me I saw it on Dana Hersey’s Movie Loft on the old channel 38 that was broadcast out of Boston. I might have seen it on an early video cassette. I don’t remember. Either way, it cast a spell over me, which is a considerable achievement given that I have about as much interest in surfing as I do trigonometry.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patricia Neal and "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

By Lars Trodson

It could be that obituary writers for Patricia Neal forgot to mention that she was in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" because Audrey Hepburn so completely overwhelms the aura surrounding the movie. Perhaps. But it's worth noting that between the gauzy romanticism provided by George Peppard, and the touching hokiness offered by Buddy Ebsen and the cringe-worthy presence of Mickey Rooney, Neal braces the movie with some realism as the sophisticated New York designer who keeps Peppard's character in such nice clothes.

"I am a sophisticated girl," Neal says to Peppard after she writes him a check so he can take Holly Golightly on a vacation and get her out of his system. But he doesn't want the check, he only wants the sports jacket he had when they first met. He leaves her, and Neal is out of the picture. It's too bad, because then "Breakfast at Tiffany's" further devolves into a kind of slapstick jaunt, and the sharper edges of the movie, as hidden as they were anyway, fade away from view completely.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is not filled with very nice people, if you think about it. Holly uses her sexual allure to pay her rent. Peppard's Paul Varjak is a gigilo first and a writer second. Most of the men in the movie use Holly - the "rats and super rats" as she calls them. They only want to pay her for sex -- fifty dollars to meet in the "powder room." But their natures as obscured partially by the glitz of the stars.

Neal saunters into the movie, as sexy as any of them, but she doesn't hide her character behind a veneer of niceness and cute facial expressions. She pays Varjak to satisfy her sexual appetite, it's as simple as that, and she isn't particularly distressed over that fact. She alone balances out the movie in the few short scenes she's in.

The continued popularity of the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is no doubt due to the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. No question about it. But if Patricia Neal wasn't in it, it would still be remembered fondly, but it wouldn't be nearly as good as it manages to be.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Most Beautiful Movie Trailer In Years

By Lars Trodson

The most exciting moment during an otherwise expendable trip to the movies the other day came when the trailer for David Fincher's "The Social Network" was played. This was an inspired bit of moviemaking, especially the touch of having a choir sing a cover of Radiohead's "Creep." The audience was rapt -- an emotional connection that was not continued, by the way, when "Inception" began.

Fincher is like the Kubrick for his generation. There are very few directors around that make you actually look forward to their next film, and his vocabulary is indelible. "Zodiac", for me, is one of the finest movies in the past decade, easily, and a very beautiful movie, too, in its own way. It's still galling that Robert Downey Jr. didn't win an Oscar for his performance (he wasn't even nominated)

But anyway, if "The Social Network", which is about the founding of Facebook, is as good as the trailer, it will be quite an experience. It's quite beautiful. Check the trailer out.

A word or two about "Inception." I once had a book about dream interpretation that boiled the meaning of every dream down to just one thing: sex. Apparently all we ever dream about is sex. Except, of course, in "Inception", even with the presence of the gorgeous Marion Cotillard, where nothing is about sex. It is definitely not about sex. It's the most sexless movie ever made, I bet.

It also sets some sort of record, in terms of the script. Every word spoken in this movie (with the exception, by my count, of two very lame jokes) is about plot. In the theater, this is called "speaking plot", where you move the story along through dialogue.

Each word in this movie is about what is supposedly happening. "We're going down three layers!" "Wait for the kick!" "Whose dream are we going in to anyway?"

Things like that. The guy a few seats over fell asleep, even during the Alistair McLean "Ice Station Zebra" finale among all that snow and skiing and shooting.

"Inception" was like listening to a 2 1/2 hour treatise on a subject that doesn't exist.

See the trailer for "The Social Network" below:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Tuesday Morning' Gets A Poster

Here's a look at the poster for our new film, "Tuesday Morning." The film is now complete and will premiere soon. The poster was designed by the film's art director, Mark Dearborn. See the post below for more information on "Tuesday Morning."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Sneak Peek At Our New Film, 'Tuesday Morning'

Here's a a clip from our new film, "Tuesday Morning," starring Teddi Kenick-Bailey and Whitney Smith. The film takes place in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The film, which was shot on the RED, will premiere soon. Check back here for details.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Roundtable Pictures Talks Summer Movies On CNN

You can catch an interview with Roundtable Pictures' Lars Trodson on CNN by clicking the link below. Trodson talks about the state of summer movies.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Roundtable Pictures In The 'Spotlight'

Check out today's edition (July 8) of Spotlight Magazine and Jeanne' McCartin's column for a peek at what Roundtable Pictures is up to. Jeanne' spent some time chatting with Lars Trodson and spills some generous ink on what's in the works here.

Click HERE to read Jeanne's column.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peace And Love

Ringo Starr turns 70 years old tomorrow. He is asking everyone to participate in a global celebration. Just take two minutes at noontime June 7 -- no matter where you are or what you are doing -- to raise a peace sign and offer a prayer for "peace and love" in the world today.

It may seem silly but yet, really, it's not.

Peace and love, Ringo.

-- Roundtable Pictures

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's Time For Movie Critics To Expand Use Of The Word Dystopia

By Lars Trodson

Why is the word "dystopian" always used to describe the future? It isn't really in the definition of the word, but movie critics have adopted it as a kind of shorthand to describe a future that is a mess.

Every movie and every book depicting our supposed future is now described as "dystopian." How many times have you seen this yourself?

Google the phrase "dystopian movies" and you'll get reams of responses — entire sites dedicated to the "Top 50 Dystopian Movies" and on and on and on. But every movie they mention takes place in the future.

A writer on the blog Popcrunch got it right when he wrote: "Pretty much every film in which the future is shitty is considered dystopian, so that means everything from post-apocalyptic to corporate control to biological viruses. It’s a huge field..."

It also seems to be used when a critic wants to describe a future world without beauty.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why Does Clay from 'Less Than Zero' Want To Remake Our Movie?

Bret Easton Ellis has a new novel out -- it was published on June 15.

In the book, which as another Elvis Costello inspired title, "Imperial Bedrooms", Ellis revisits the characters he created in "Less Than Zero", his famous debut novel from 1985.

The protagonist in both books is Clay (played by Andrew McCarthy in the film version, if you recall), and in "Imperial Bedrooms" Clay has grown up to be a successful writer. He's in Hollywood to help cast a film called "The Listeners."

But, hey, we already made "The Listeners" back in 2005! Somebody should have told that to Bret before he wrote his book. Our version stars Kristan Raymond Curtis, Tim Robinson and Bernie Tato. We have no idea who Clay intends to cast, but we hear he's looking at Selma Gomez and Justin Bieber.


See our own little "The Listeners" here on the site.

-- LT

Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome To The Portsmouth Museum of Art

By Lars Trodson

Cathy Sununu, the director of the Portsmouth Museum of Art, has a neat analogy about her vision for the space that opened just over a year ago in Harbour Place.

There was a time when Portsmouth was very much a working port, Sununu said, and ships from all over the world docked here. The city’s streets were inhabited by people of every ethnicity and background, and they brought with them the latest European and Asian fashions.

The now-historic homes lining Portsmouth’s streets were filled with the very latest creations, both aesthetic and industrial. Portsmouth in the 1700s was very much a modern city, showing off wares that had never been seen anyplace in America before.

And so it is with the Portsmouth Museum of Art. “I’d like to be the place where new art gets seen first,” Sununu said. “We’re going to plug into the great new and emerging work that’s happening in New York and Beijing and every place else and bring it into Portsmouth.”

She added that "we're focused on 21st century art, on contemporary, living, working artists."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Is 'Breathless' Really That Important?

By Lars Trodson

Film criticism seems too often to live in a world of absolutes. This or that actor is “the voice of a generation.” This or that film “changed movies forever.” Film trends are too fluid and too global to sustain such arguments, I think.

Let’s, just for the sake of argument, believe that Marlon Brando was the cinematic voice of a generation. Was he, then, still speaking for that generation when he made “The Formula” or “Superman” or “The Score” later in his life? Does one still speak for a generation long after one has passed into middle age? Is Sean Penn still the voice of his generation?

This is an appellation that only seems appropriate when young.

So it is with Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless”, now 50 years old, safely ensconced in middle age. It is no longer young. Is it still speaking for its generation? Is it still the movie that “changed film forever?”

If this is so, one would be hardpressed to find its influence -- or Godard’s, for that matter -- anywhere you looked today. Films today are almost exclusively devoid of politics -- real political talk, that is. And film geeks today will kill you if you make a mistake in continuity. You’ll get trashed for that. So how could Godard’s contempt for any kind of coherence be seen as influential?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Film Director Joseph Strick, Interpreter of James Joyce And Others, Dies At 86

(From the New York Times) Joseph Strick, an Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer known for filming the unfilmable — in particular weighty, bawdy literary works whose screen adaptations often ran afoul of censors worldwide — died on June 1 in Paris. He was 86 and had made his home in Paris since the 1970s.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


By Lars Trodson 

The most driving question behind the new horror flick “Splice” is this: Would two rock-star bio-scientists that have appeared on the cover of “Wired” drive around in a bright orange Gremlin with racing stripes? 

I don’t think there’s a logical answer to that, but then again there is very little about “Splice” that makes any sense. The movie is such a bundle of contradictory emotions -- none of which are handled well -- that the audience is left confused and ultimately defeated. At two key moments in the film the audience did not react with horror or shock but with laughter. What does that tell you? 

The movie itself is a mutant; a kind of genetic splicing of “Rosemary’s Baby” and David Cronenberg’s “The Fly.” In fact, this film owes a lot to Cronenberg. It has the flat, cheerless, angular feel of so many of Cronenberg’s early films. (“Splice” was shot in Canada). But that’s not really a compliment.  So what is happening here? Clive (a seriously floundering Adrien Brody) and Sarah Polley (much more focused than the material given to her) are geneticists who have helped spawn a mutant organism that is designed to provide the basic DNA to help fight disease throughout the world. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Strange Alchemy That Made “Carnival Of Souls” Work

By Lars Trodson

The challenge in creating a believable dreamlike sequence for the movies is in getting the recipe right: a dream in a movie must have that odd mixture of fact and fiction played out on both a three-dimensional landscape and in that other place we can only call the dreamscape. This is a place beyond our dimension, although it is populated with people we know and its topography is certainly recognizable.

There is something else as well. Dreamscapes in movies almost always tend to emphasize their ephemeral qualities, their creators want them to float away, because that’s what dreams are supposed to do. That's what we think dreams do; they pop when we wake.

And yet, as we know, dreams are uncommonly sturdy, both in their logic and in their stubborn willingness to keep following us. Dreams may have more of an impact on us than our daily interactions. They are often far more durable than a conscious experience. That, too, becomes a challenge to the artist. How does one create a movie dream that feels like a dream, but also has that quotidian reality that all dreams have in their hearts?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Film Review: 'How I Got Lost' (2009)

By Lars Trodson

Here is a film, "How I Got Lost", that actually has the feel -- depth is a better word -- of time and place. It is too easy these days to watch a movie, even a movie you have liked, and emerge from it with the feeling that it has floated away on air; those movies have the gnaw of an undernourished meal. Often enough it is because the film has no sense of place -- or time. The place could be New York, or Chicago, or even L.A., but the architecture has a slight hint of Europe, or Toronto. And no one in movies seems to go anywhere any more.

So it's with more than just a hint of satisfaction that Joe Leonard's "How I Got Lost" (from Osiris Entertainment) shows off Manhattan to great effect. You are on Wall Street, you are in a New York City taxi, and you're having a drink in a New York bar (when you could still smoke inside!). As someone who believes that film should be, as much as anything, an honest chronicle of time and place, then it is easy to say that "How I Got Lost" is a minor miracle.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today Is Mr. Cheever's Birthday

By Lars Trodson

John Cheever was once called "Ovid In Ossining." What you have there are two references that may mean little or nothing to today's reading audience, and so it goes with Cheever. He seems fixed in some awkward artistic purgatory, only in Cheever's instance heaven and hell could be J.D. Salinger and John Updike. No one seems to know who Cheever is any more, or what he was talking about.

Salinger and Updike have staked out their territories quite clearly. Salinger was the voice of post-war New York and Updike trained his eye on a more fluorescent age. But they are most definitely realists. Given that Cheever is always lumped in with this small crowd, you open his books and very much expect him to be in that tradition, and he is not. He is the suburban surrealist, even though his topography appears quite real. So there is a vague notion of being disappointed when you finish a Cheever story, but only because you were told to expect the terrain to be related to Salinger and Updike. It's not, though. It's Cheever's own vision.

Salinger also did something incredible with his art. He got out of its way. Salinger the man is a void, and so his personality impinges not one whit on his art. What you are left with are the stories.

With Cheever it is the opposite. Portraits written by his children, as well as the subsequent publication of his journals, show a breathtaking difference between the man and his prose. The difference is so spectacular, and the revelations are so fascinating (even though, in some instances, this is due to their sordidness), that Cheever's writing almost strikes one as a fanciful pose, a facade. That's a problem for a writer; you always want to think that the writing came from an honest place.

I think with Cheever it did, though. The writing was scrupulously honest. He was, page by page, word by word, story by story, trying to create a world he could understand. It's like the process of the old aboriginal songlines -- Cheever was singing his world into existence.

So, today, May, 27, John Cheever would have turned 98. With the death of Salinger earlier this year, the old New Yorker triumvirate is gone. Maybe this will finally give Cheever a little breathing room.

But gone only in flesh. John Cheever's books are still happily in print. If you have a few minutes, celebrate his birthday -- if not today, on another day -- by reading some of his words. He's a writer to be cherished, and we should be happy that he lived.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mr. Arkadin, The Novel, Is One Sorry Mess

By Lars Trodson

I don't think I have ever come across a book by someone I respect that has pissed me off more than this novel called "Mr. Arkadin" that was supposedly — but maybe not — written by Orson Welles.

Welles, of course, directed a movie of the same name. The movie was accompanied by a novelization of the screenplay that was published in 1955, ostensibly to support the film, and now a new edition of the novel, published by icon!t, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has just come out. I decided, dupe that I am, to pick up a copy at the local Barnes & Noble.

The subtitle of the novel, at least for this version, is "The Secret Sordid Life of an International Tycoon." The cover is a pretty miserable affair, black and yellow with a hand-lettered title.  A blurb promises a "witty, madcap, pulp-noir adventure." It is not.

The back cover describes the film version of "Mr. Arkadin" as "controversial" — a term so broad as to mean everything and nothing. But "Mr. Arkadin" is not controversial. It is a terrible film. It may be, in fact, the one film in the Welles canon that cannot be redeemed in any way. It's a shoddy, lumpen affair.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ladies And Gentlemen, After A Five Year Delay, 'A Bootful Of Fish'!

Four or five years ago we had a plan. 

In 2005 a small group of folks got together on two freezing nights in New Hampshire to create a short film called "The Listeners." That group included the actors Kristan Raymond Curtis, Tim Robinson and the late, great Bernie Tato. When we finished "The Listeners" it was garnering some attention and so we -- or perhaps it was just me -- decided on a brilliant plan.

Let's make another movie right away! 

So we made "The Listeners" and then right on the heels of that we made "A Bootful Of Fish." 

By the time we were finished with "Bootful", which by our standards was a huge production, and after it went through a particularly painful editing process, we were all but wiped out. We had kind of blown it with "The Listeners", which should have gotten much more attention than it did. With "Bootful" we didn't know where to go or turn - our finances were so strapped we didn't have any money for festivals, and we were exhausted. It had exactly one showing, at the New Hampshire Film Festival in 2005.

And then it sat on the shelf, as it were. And that is altogether too bad.

And now, with the passage of time, Mike Gillis (who directed) and Jonathon Millman (who shot it), recently looked at it, and saw it for what it is, which is a sweet, lovely little film about this theater group trying to put on a show.

It was shot at the Rochester Opera House, which looks gorgeous, and we had a lovely, lovely cast of actors.

We have a marvelous opening song from the great Michelle Lewis, which should have been a hit on the radio, and great opening title sequence and a really funny dance number at the end. That's right, it's a bit of a musical. A lot of enormously talented people worked on the film, which runs about 15 minutes.

If the film has any flaws, don't lay it at the feet of the actors, or the choreographer, or the folks who contributed to the music. They worked very hard on this - and you can see all the hard work right up there on the screen.

So, without further adieu, here's "A Bootful Of Fish". You'll have a fun time.

But don't take our word for it, check it out. 

And if you like the work of any of the people in the film, or helped contribute to it, seek them out and hire them!

Mike Gillis, Lars Trodson and Jonathon Millman

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Norman Corwin Turns 100

By Lars Trodson

Our friend Norman Corwin turned 100 years old yesterday.

Please help honor this wonderful American writer, who was always an eloquent proponent of tolerance and true American values, by participating in an effort to have the United States honor him appropriately for his work.

Please visit here: 

…and join the effort as you see fit.
If you have not read Norman, or heard his broadcasts, please seek them out. They are stirring, beautifully crafted pieces of prose poetry that you will not forget.

Happy Birthday, Norman.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Photos From the Set of 'Tuesday Morning'

We've just begin editing our latest Roundtable Pictures production, "Tuesday Morning," and we like the way it's turning out. Here are a few nice shots from the shoot, which took place in Dover, New Hampshire. The first stop for the film, we hope, will be the New Hampshire Film Festival 2010. Thanks to Stan Barker and other members of the crew for the pics.

The cast includes Whitney Smith (in the blue blouse) and Teddi Kenick-Bailey (in the purple hat). Director of Photography was Jonathon Millman. The picture was written by Lars Trodson and directed by Mike Gillis.

We'll post more about "Tuesday Morning" soon.