Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Did you know that Terry Gilliam (see my Time Bandits post) has a new film bubbling under that stars not only the late Heath Ledger, but Johnny Depp, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits and Colin Farrell? It’s called The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Cinematical has more on its alleged troubles making it to the finish line.

My friend Nick over at Fataculture was giving away some online passes for a fascinating documentary called Must Read After My Death, and in addition to a big thanks to him, I’d like to throw the spotlight over to Gigantic Digital Cinema. They’re a distributor of small films and I love the idea of making independent films available -- in their entirety -- online. Why not?! I might pay a couple bucks to rent it if it’s not showing in my area, so why not send them $2.99 directly and watch it on my laptop (something I never thought I’d do as much as I’m doing now!). They have some great looking stuff. My next viewing there will be The Doorman, which looks pretty funny. (Oh, and I didn’t praise Must Read ... enough. See it!)

Another cool sight where you can get indie films -- documentaries, specifically -- directly but for free, is SnagFilms. You can also put the SnagFilms player on your own web site/blog page, which I may do in the future. Their offerings are spectacular: Whether you’re interested in a doc on Robert Mapplethorpe, the Iraq war, the Wright Brothers or Incan Mummies, you’ll find something well worth your time! You can search by topic, by channel, or use the “What’s Hot” button to browse some of the most popular titles.

I think we need more of these “direct to viewer” sites for films that just don't receive major distribution. Support these sites! (And tell me if you have a favorite, please!)


  1. I cannot wait to see "Doctor Parnassus!" Tom Waits is my favorite musician and is the only person who can play 'The Deveil'to a Waitian perfection! I hope the film is still coming out this September!

  2. Hard to believe a film with this cast might actually go direct to DVD (according to another source). That just can't happen! (I love Waits, too!)

  3. No, direct of DVD simply cannot happen! This is the last I've heard on the film.

    Here's part of the article:

    The presence of a key marketing element like Ledger does indeed make sellers and investors aim for higher dollar figures -- especially true for a film whose budget is thought to be upward of $20 million.

    And as much as buyers might covet the Ledger aspect, the pic still presents a marketing challenge. Gilliam has grown more experimental in recent years, and experts say that retailing "Parnassus" as a Ledger film risks running a word-of-mouth problem with general audiences unaccustomed to that kind of material.

    And even the director's more straightforward fare, like the 2005 con-man movie "The Brothers Grimm," has struggled,

    A U.S. deal is expected shortly, with a mini-major or larger indie expected to make the play. (The movie does already have a deal for Mandate International/Lionsgate to release it in the U.K., where Gilliam tends to fare better, and is expected to open there in the summer. Other territories, from Japan to Spain, have been presold to international distribs as well.)

    Still, the absence of a sale for an icon's last movie nearly six months after talks began speaks to the difficulty of selling art house films to the domestic market, as buyers wait until later in the production process, take fewer bets and offer lower prices. "This movie stars Heath Ledger in his final performance -- it will get a deal and come out in the U.S.," said one indie film veteran. "But it's no accident that it's taking this long."

  4. It’s so ridiculous that the film might not be released because people aren’t used to the artier side of films…. Give me a break! Everything these days has to be spoon-fed! God forbid a film that may require thinking!

  5. Hey, RainDog, sorry i've been not paying close enough attention here! thanks for the whole article... and i agree, it CAN'T (and won't, I think) go straight to DVD. No way. But the whole episode has been pretty strange.


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