Milk

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Penelope
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Postby Penelope » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:40 am

Harris Savides has varied the grain to suggest everything from 35 to 16 to we're thrown right into the midst of things.


rolo, I think we're missing a paragraph (or two) here....
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:11 am

here is an interesting review of the film from a blog i read.

"Milk is magnificent. Unlike anyhting Gus has done before it's a rock solid piece of political filmmaking in the tradition of Francesco Rosi with a dramatic solidicty redolent of Sidney Lumet. Sean Penn give the performance of his fucking life, the rest of the very large supporting cast is teriffic, I want to adopt Emile more than ever, and as "Variety" would say "all tech credits pro." But over and abive all Milk is a stark reminder of what the gay rights mvement is REALLY about and why the HRC and NLGTF are pititfully inadequate substitutes for the street activism that GAVE US OUR FUCKING FREEDOM!!!!!!

This is San Francisco in the 70's when gays are just starting to settle into the Castro. There are no housing and employment laws, "sodomy" statutes are still on the books, and precious few are out and proud. Mixing vintage footage (and it's amazing how much Anita Bryant and Sarah Palin look and act alike) and all manner of image types (Harris Savides has varied the grain to suggest everything from 35 to 16 to we're thrown right into the midst of things. The film covers the birth of the Castro, the fight against the Briggs amendment, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in school and of course Harvey's murder. It shows how the Briggs fight was won, and in so doing it shows a united community, with gays in the Castro reacting to battles against Anita Bryant's bigoted pushbacks in everywhere from Florida to Kansas as of it were right in their own back yard as the Briggs fight was.

Sean Penn is is every scene, but it's not two hours of screaming. He captures Harvey's sweetness in innumerable ways. How grabbing a bullhorn and leading a march dovetail right into his love for Scott Smith (the ever-gorgeous James Franco)and the crazy Jack Lira (Diego Luna, hot as a pistol) and we really believe his inspiring street kids like Cleve Jones (Emile.) My favorite scene is one where he talks with Jones for the first time. He's trying to get him to join his campaign and Jones is with stret rat pals who he says are going to take him to Spain. Milk keeps talking to him as Jones walks back and forth. He leaves with the street rats, but of course comes back later and becomes an important activist. Still the moment between mindless exhuberance and commitment is put on film as I've never seen it before.

Josh Brolin is a wonderful sad wreck as Dan White -- who Harvey suspects may be a closet case. The film dosn't pump that point. It simply notes it as Harvey's view. That could well have been true but it's part of the film's intelligence that it doesn't hammer such an notion home as an "explanation."

More to say in the future but for the moment it's enough that this is NOT TO BE MISSED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

And it made me feel 30 years younger."
--David Ehrenstein
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

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Postby flipp525 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:52 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:i see all my art house films at e street cinemas. i love the place. i never had a chance to go to the dupont theatre.

I hit the E Street Cinema up almost exclusively as well. What a wonderful bastion of film that place is.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:41 pm

i originally saw BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN at a film festival before it was officially released. i saw it again in d.c. at a mainstream theatre packed with straight couples between the age of 30 and 50. my boyfriend and i were the only gay couple and the only young people.

i see all my art house films at e street cinemas. i love the place. i never had a chance to go to the dupont theatre.
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-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

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Postby rain Bard » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:41 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:if anyone on this board gets a chance to see it tonight at its premiere in san francisco, i am sure we would all love a mini-review. i think i am more excited about seeing MILK than i was about seeing BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN -- if that is even possible.

Huge ticket prices, and still it sold out within days of its announcement- people are offering vast sums on craigslist right now for a chance to get to this gala. Not that any of this is a surprise. So no report from me.

I do get to go to a press screening of the restored print of LOLA MONTES next week at the Castro though. That excites me! I'll see MILK in due course.

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Postby flipp525 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:18 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:i think i am more excited about seeing MILK than i was about seeing BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN -- if that is even possible.

Rolo, did you see Brokeback Mountain during its limited release that first weekend at the Cineplex Odeon 5 right on Dupont Circle (next to Olsson's Books, Ben and Jerry's and Cosi)? That theater is closed now, due mainly to budgetary concerns and every time I walk by it on my way home from work, I think about standing in line to see that film.

It really is a shame that huge multiplexes such as the ones in Georgetown and Chinatown have driven smaller, independent DC theaters out of business. The Key Theater in Georgetown where I got to see Kids in 1995 as well as the small theater off of 19th Street where I saw Boys Don't Cry both succombed to similar fates.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:04 pm

an interesting article about the marketing challenges of MILK.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUKTRE49R11K20081028

my favorite part of the article:
"At a recent Vegas test-screening for a middle-class, straight audience, several senior citizens tried to leave after a gay love scene in the early moments but couldn't because they were trapped in the middle of a row (near Focus production chief John Lyons, in fact). The seniors eventually said they were happy that they stayed, but, like independent voters in an election contest, these are the viewers Focus must woo."

if anyone on this board gets a chance to see it tonight at its premiere in san francisco, i am sure we would all love a mini-review. i think i am more excited about seeing MILK than i was about seeing BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN -- if that is even possible.
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

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Postby Penelope » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:24 pm

A kinetic typography video of Harvey's "Hope Speech": click here for video.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:37 am

seeing this film will either be celebratory or bitter-sweet depending on how the election turns out on the national level and defeating prop 8. either way, early word pegs MILK as an amazing movie and a true oscar contender.


After 30 Years, a Film Returns to a Harrowing Time in San Francisco
LOS ANGELES — One morning in 1978 a disgruntled San Francisco politician, Dan White, climbed through a City Hall window, assassinated Mayor George Moscone, then shot and killed an openly gay adversary on the city’s Board of Supervisors named Harvey Milk.

It was a fractured moment in a troubled time and place. Memories of it soon will be roiling the Oscar race.

On Oct. 28 Focus Features expects to introduce its film “Milk,” directed by Gus Van Sant with Sean Penn in the title role, at a gala in San Francisco hosted by local luminaries, at least one of whom — Senator Dianne Feinstein, then the president of the board of supervisors — was just steps away when Mr. Milk and Mayor Moscone were shot. The movie will begin playing in some theaters on Nov. 26, just ahead of the 30th anniversary of the killings on Nov. 27, then gain wider release as the awards season gets under way.

Already the film is drawing attention as an early contender in the coming Oscar race. Following early screenings, for instance, Hollywood insiders and others have been startled by Mr. Penn’s picture-perfect rendering of Mr. Milk, a politician who was at once gawky, ambitious and unforgettable to those whose lives he touched. “Sean’s portrayal of Harvey is so beautifully right,” Cleve Jones, a Milk friend who is played in the film by Emile Hirsch, said in a phone interview.

Yet the movie presents no small challenge for Focus, the specialty division owned by NBC Universal that two years ago pushed its gay-theme “Brokeback Mountain” to the cusp of Oscar glory with eight nominations, only to see “Crash” win best picture.

This time around, studio marketers are wrestling with an inherently political film at a time when audiences have been wary of them. Only last weekend the combined star power of Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe was not enough to save an issues-oriented thriller, “Body of Lies,” which opened poorly for Warner Brothers.

Focus and Mr. Van Sant will have to connect millions of filmgoers with a world that could seem weirdly disconnected, even back then. Only nine days before the murders, for example, the Rev. Jim Jones, whose People’s Temple had become influential in San Francisco politics, had orchestrated the death of more than 900 followers and others at Jonestown in Guyana.

The publishing heiress Patricia Hearst, meanwhile, was tucked in a Bay Area prison, the consequence of her engaging in a bank robbery for the Symbionese Liberation Army, which had kidnapped her.

“You’re giving me an acid flashback to all the chatter before ‘Brokeback,’ ” said James Schamus, chief executive of Focus, responding to a question about the universal message in Mr. Milk’s struggles. Those could turn on matters as weighty as gay rights, or as slight as an ordinance requiring dog owners to clean up after their pets.

“Harvey said, ‘This is a quest for everybody’s rights,’ ” Mr. Schamus said. “That was his genius.”

If the ranch hands of “Brokeback” were subdued, nothing about Mr. Milk was. He loudly insisted that gay people should be out of the closet, at a time when public homosexuality was largely confined to San Francisco and a few like-minded enclaves.

Mr. Milk’s grandest political battle was his successful fight against a California initiative that would have banned gay teachers from the state’s public schools. His roughest was the backroom scrap in which he helped to block Mr. White’s reappointment to a supervisor’s post from which he had resigned two weeks earlier. Mayor Moscone was planning to discuss that decision publicly on the day of the murders.

(Upon Mr. Moscone’s death Ms. Feinstein, as president of the board of supervisors, became mayor, propelling her political rise. Mr. White would later use a “Twinkie defense,” in which his junk-food diet was cited as representative of his diminished capacity, to avoid conviction for first-degree murder; his conviction on the lesser counts of manslaughter sparked the so-called White Night riots in the city.)

According to the film’s producers and others, some of the political intricacies were whittled from Dustin Lance Black’s script. Though the People’s Temple had supported Mr. Milk, for instance, Mr. Jones was largely cut. “It would take so much time to explain to people who Jim Jones was,” said Dan Jinks, who with his business partner Bruce Cohen are among the movie’s producers.

What remained, according to Mr. Jinks, was the story of a “regular guy” — before politics, Mr. Milk was best known as co-owner of a camera store in the Castro district of San Francisco — who decided to make a difference.

The documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk,” directed by Rob Epstein, won the Oscar for best feature documentary in 1985. “Execution of Justice,” shown on the Showtime cable network in 1999, was a drama based on the murders.

Mr. Van Sant’s film came together suddenly last year after he and other filmmakers, Bryan Singer and Oliver Stone among them, had struggled for two decades with various attempts to find a feature film in Mr. Milk’s life.

Mr. Black, himself a director, bypassed those earlier efforts, many of them based on Randy Shilts’s book “The Mayor of Castro Street,” and began researching an original script with the help of those who knew Mr. Milk. In early 2007 one of those friends, Mr. Jones, showed the script to Mr. Van Sant, whom he had known for years.

Mr. Van Sant, speaking by telephone, said he signed on partly because Mr. Black had managed to confine the story to the brief and heady period that preceded Mr. Milk’s death. “He made choices,” Mr. Van Sant said.

Mr. Penn joined up, as did Mr. Jinks and Mr. Cohen. They next connected with Groundswell Productions and its chief executive, Michael London, who in turn joined Focus in financing a film that cost a relatively modest $20 million or so to make.

Yet “Milk” acquired a kind of epic quality as much of San Francisco became involved. “It took on almost Tolstoyan proportions,” Mr. Schamus said of the movie’s familial sprawl.

A number of Mr. Milk’s aging associates are not only portrayed in the film, they also have bit parts. Danny Nicoletta, who worked in Mr. Milk’s camera shop, for instance, is played by Lucas Grabeel of “High School Musical” and, in turn, plays Carl Carlson, an aide to Mr. Milk who was one of the last to see him alive. In addition Mr. Nicoletta advised Mr. Black on the script and worked as the film’s still photographer.

In one more twist this month’s premiere, a benefit for various gay and lesbian youth groups, will open with a screening at the Castro Theater, near the site of Mr. Milk’s old camera shop, and will end with dinner and dancing at City Hall, where he died.

The moral in all of it, Mr. Van Sant said, is ultimately political. “It’s an illustration of pretty extreme grass-roots politics,” he said of his film’s message, “that you can do it.”

But others are hoping that he has found the beating heart in Mr. Milk.

“He wasn’t Mother Teresa,” Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco supervisor who appears in the movie, said of Mr. Milk. “He just connected with people, one by one.”
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

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Postby Uri » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:37 am

Penelope wrote:Sorry. Dullest. Performance. Ever. Nominated.

I can't help but loving you, Penelope. You seem to have such a genuine, sincere belief that movies can – no, should - have the ability, even commitment, to uplift us, to be some kind of obviously transcendental, joyful experience. Not for you are neither the misanthropic pleasures of a Coens's comedy nor the minuscule changes in the seemingly monotony of Keener's (great) performance. Lina Lamont, who would have made a sparkling Harper Lee, was spot on when she said: "and If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'", wasn't she?

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Postby Penelope » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:58 am

Sorry. Dullest. Performance. Ever. Nominated.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby flipp525 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:30 am

VanHelsing wrote:
Sabin wrote:James Franco is also exceptionally subtle, though I suspect his low-key work will be ignored...

That didn't stop Keener from getting a nomination.

Not to bring this whole debate around again (although, I know Sandra Bullock is one of your obsessions, VanHelsing), but I'm reading Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee at the moment and peering into the life that Charles Shields has etched and cobbled together from various sources leaves me even more convinced that Keener's portrayal of her in Capote was the true one - an opinion I've always defended here.

Lee's state of mind during the time preceding her trip to Kansas as his research assistant was so wrapped up in completing her own novel. The trip to Kansas was the perfect escape from the inner turmoil the creation and evolution of that book had created in her life. And her relationship with Capote at the time was one of mutual respect and deference. She was the calm, quiet presence that the people of Holcomb could relate to whereas Capote was like a creature from Mars. Keener perfectly captures all of that in a rich, subtle performance that the Academy rightly recongnized.




Edited By flipp525 on 1223555687
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Postby VanHelsing » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:39 am

Sabin wrote:James Franco is also exceptionally subtle, though I suspect his low-key work will be ignored...

That didn't stop Keener from getting a nomination.
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Postby Sabin » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:09 pm

Jeffrey Wells has reported a few different responses to 'Milk'. All ecstatic. Here's the most recent, which seems to cite the film as a solid contender with Sean Penn and most likely Josh Brolin as acting contenders.

SLIGHT SPOILERS...

"I was able to catch an early screening of Milk in Portland this weekend, and can confirm that it's stellar," a critic friend wrote last night. "It's impassioned and immediate, with beautiful use of light. It looks as if Gus Van Sant shot every major scene around 4:30 pm -- not the 'golden hour' but that especially crisp hour right before.

"I'm not much of a Sean Penn fan --- I generally find his showiness distracting -- but he disappears into Harvey Milk. I think he's a lock for a Best Actor nomination. James Franco is also exceptionally subtle, though I suspect his low-key work will be ignored in favor of Josh Brolin's performance as Dan White, who gets a couple of emotive clips in, and Emile Hirsch, who plays completely against expectations as a street hustler who Milk convinces to politically organize his fellow tricks.

"The most interesting thing to me about the movie -- and the reason why I thought I'd write you about it -- is that I don't think it would have been possible without Brokeback Mountain's mainstream success. This is a picture focusing on an activist gay man with a flamboyant streak and several lovers (mostly offscreen) and despite the poignant ending, it focuses less on gay suffering and more on the thrill of finding personal identity and a political voice. It isn't afraid to come busting joyfully out of the closet, and I'm not sure it could have gotten the traction it will get, if not for Brokeback."

It doesn't include the Dan White trail and the twinkie defense, the subsequent aquittal and the White Night Riots at City Hall that followed, he says. "It ends at the candlelight vigil," he explains. The other stuff is covered in a "where are they now?" text.
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Postby barrybrooks8 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:50 pm

I thought Hirsch was stiff and not believable at all in Into the Wild. The scenes where he didn't have to speak were his best. Whenever he expelled his BS about the world was when I was most bored and sometimes even irritated.
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