Saturday, October 16, 2010

[MISP] A 3fer

Three items, perhaps altogether worth sharing on the list:

1. My KUNM review of "LET ME IN", shot in Los Alamos I believe, audio here  and text below. An inspiring example of elegant moviemaking, in my opinion.  Comment from a NM colleague: "All paid for with NM State Investment loan. With rebate Producers walk away with a couple of hundred thousand dollars in their pockets. Lets hope it makes money so that the state can make 18% return on the net"

2. A logical project for New Mexico?


3. Interesting quote from Woody Allen:

Woody Allen considers himself to be a lazy filmmaker, said Adam Higginbotham in the London Daily Telegraph. “Look at the guys who are not lazy–say, Steven Spielberg,”says Allen. “They work. They go out on location, and they live in the desert for a year. And they shoot every angle and do everything. I haven‟t the patience.” Allen says he prefers to film in “places that are easy to live in,” like New York or London. He also prefers experienced actors, to whom he can give minimum direction, and shoots the minimum number of takes. “I‟m thinking, there‟s a basketball playoff on tonight, or the Yankees are playing. You know, artistic perfection is not my priority.” Yet when he sees the first cut of one of his films, he‟s always disappointed. “All your grandiose ambitions reduce themselves to, „How can I save this from being an embarrassment?‟” He has felt this way about all his films. When he first saw Manhattan, he was so appalled, he offered to make the studio another film for free. Now 75, he‟s reconciled to never being a great filmmaker–a Fellini or a Kurosawa. “I still delude myself sometimes and think, „Well, maybe you‟ll get lucky and something will come out like that.‟ But you know, after 40, 41 films you start to realize it‟s just not there.”

Jim Terr  Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA    Tel. 505-989-9298        Over half a million YouTube views - but who's counting?  

Review of “LET ME IN” – KUNM 

            Jim Terr © 2010

I’ve never been so proud to see a movie say “filmed in New Mexico” as I was to see “LET ME IN”, the American remake of the Swedish young vampire film of last year called – in English – LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. That film was a modest hit in the US and a big hit elsewhere, but I never saw it, and without regard to however good the original film supposedly was, the remake is excellent, though possibly not for everybody’s taste.


As I’ve implied, I’ve been generally disappointed with the films I’ve seen shot in New Mexico over the past 20-plus years I’ve been paying attention; at least none of them making my personal favorites list. I think my favorite so far as been a locally-produced film, a zombie spoof called ROMEO AND JULIET VS THE LIVING DEAD, which in turn inspired my own project in progress, ZOMBIE VERSUS VAMPIRE.


Believe it or not, I’m not a particular fan or expert on either zombie or vampire films; that just happens to be the subject a hand. LET ME IN is about a friendship between a timid and bullied 12-year-old boy and his mysterious neighbor who turns out to be much older than her 12-year-old form, and who knows a thing or two about taking care of bullies. I mean REALLY taking care of bullies.


There are some shocking moments of gore in this film, but I really appreciated it more as a young love story, very reminiscent of another Swedish film that was my favorite for many years, MY LIFE AS A DOG. Both are films I wish I had seen when I was closer to that age, and could have used some modeling of inter-species friendship and relating. I’m referring to the male and female species, not the human and vampire species.


Everything about LET ME IN is just about perfect, in my opinion: The casting, the acting, the sparseness, the authenticity of the dialogue, the scale of the production, which all takes place with a very small area – Los Alamos, actually, It’s an inspiring example of what had to be a very low-budget film still perfectly crafted in every way, much more engaging than almost any huge-budget, large-scale special effects or action film. The filmmakers very effectively create a small-scale adolescent world where the adults are marginal, unfortunate participants at best.


This is an affecting, exciting, fully engaging story with all the elements I appreciate except perhaps outright comedy – and an extra dose of supernatural weirdness at its core. I believe it might be described as, in the best sense, “Gothic” – a genre I always appreciate for some reason.


Congratulations to Albuquerque actress Rebekah Wiggins for her nice little role in this film, and the many other local participants in this production. A big “bravo” for all involved in LET ME IN, and to our fair New Mexico for providing an unexpectedly gloomy yet perfect backdrop.


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