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Friday, February 20, 2009

Let's take a look at Slant's review of Cocaine Angel

Since Mike Tully is wandering around the web declaring what legitimate filmmaking is & what legitimate film writing is (something he has done in defending his work at Hammer to Nail - a site that I actually like - so, for the moment, we'll leave that one alone) - let's take a look at a review of Tully's first & only fiction feature thus far - Cocaine Angel (don't worry Mike, if nothing else, this negative attention might sell a couple of DVDs of CA, since all press is good press right?) - from Slant:

"Piling miscalculation atop intolerable cruelty, this first feature by Michael Tully aims for Half Nelson's salient understanding of the strange, almost seductive allure of drug addiction. It's easy to see where the film goes wrong, beginning with the poetic strain of the title and ending with the main character's idiotic emotional unloading on a girl who looks like she might have been raped on her prom night. Somewhere between the opening title sequence and the film's embarrassing capper, Scott (Damian Lahey) receives a 30-minute blowjob from a pregnant woman. I don't know what's worse, the ridiculous foley work that attempts to approximate the sound of human mouth-on-cock suckage or the apparent smoke burn the woman has around her mouth when she comes up for air, but this much is true: Cocaine Angel talks more smack than Scott ever gets to snort up his nose or shoot into this veins."

Read the rest of the Slant review here.

I saw CA back in '06 or '07 on a DVD screener & thought it was an alright first time feature drama - well made, but I wasn't all that into the story - anyway, so what's the point? The man -Tully - who spends his time judging the work of other filmmakers as worthy/legitimate has received some very negative reviews for his work. And he has not made another fiction feature since (granted, it has only been 2-3 years, so, not that long of a time) but he has built a resume as a film writer. Anyway, when Tully unloads on the work of other filmmakers - and in the case of IFBRT fails to see anything positive or useful about the film - perhaps he is attempting to get back at the critics who dissed his first feature - in some strange way - anyway, whatever - good luck with your self-medication Mr. Tully.

Looking forward to Tully's next fiction feature - no doubt it will be "legitimate" - or I guess I'll finally be able to see what this "legitimate" filmmaking that Tully is so hung up on looks & sounds like. Hopefully Silver Jew - Tully's follow up project after CA - a doc about a band - is not an example of this elusive "legitimacy" - I turned it off after 30 mins of boredom 'cause that flick was made for fans of the band & I had barely heard of them before & the flick definitely did not give me a lot of reasons to stick around and try to get to know the band. Anyway, what do I know - so, according to the expert Tully - if legitimacy equals Cocaine Angel & Silver Jew, I don't think I want any of that.

- Sujewa

20 comments:

Alex said...

Wow Sujewa, you are SHAMELESS! IndieWire really needs to stop posting links to your ridiculous blog.

Bill C. said...

This is absurd. Why are you getting into a pissing match with Michael Tully? He's a thoughtful writer and your movie looks terrible. Let it GO.

The Sujewa said...

Looks like Tully fans/defenders/apologists/enablers are up early today... :)

so what, people can't blog about a movie made by Mr. Tully? He's somehow off limits? Strange rules you kids play by.

- Sujewa

Bill C. said...

You can blog about whatever you want.

What you can't do is make a movie that looks as boring as yours and expect to get away with it.

You got a slam on a well-read film blog and now you're coming out swinging.

You should've spent as much time on your movie as you've spent on your Tully posts.

The Sujewa said...

More Tully coverage coming soon Bill C., stay tuned.

Alex said...

Tully apologists? Puh-lease. This has nothing to do with Michael Tully. I hold his blog and insights into film in almost as low a regard as I do yours.

This has everything to do with you shamelessly self-promoting your film and then personally attacking critics who didn't like it.

Grow up, really.

The Sujewa said...

Alex,

How's quoting a review of a film a personal attack? It is a review of a film made by the reviewer who referred to certain ideas - legitimacy, excellence in filmmaking - when he reviewed my film. So, I am doing some research to see what exactly Tully's ideas of excellence & legitimacy are - & am reporting some of my findings on my blog. So, it's film related - not a personal attack on Tully.

Aside from that, all films that I decide to release will be promoted, but this post is not about promotion - of course you are free to read it as whatever you want.

The Sujewa said...

One more thing Bill C:

Re: "What you can't do is make a movie that looks as boring as yours and expect to get away with it."

I guess you live in the world where you need permission from some sort of a higher up to make a movie - and it needs to have some kind of an excitement quotent in order to justify its existence.

Luckily, where I live, those things don't exist. The movie is done, it's already played once, a clip of it has been watched over 3000 times, & the whole thing will be available for interested people in the coming months.

So, whether you or Tully are bored by the movie makes no difference to the movie - it will be fine.

So, to use your terminology (sp?) looks like I've already "gotten away with it".

And I'll be making & releasing more movies, while you & Tully sit there & complain.

I think it was Sarah Jacobson who said something like DIY filmmaking is unstoppable - and it's true. Lack of approval/support/whatever by Tully or Tully fans such as you means absolutely zero to my filmmaking work.

- Sujewa

The Sujewa said...

Alex,

Re: "This has everything to do with you shamelessly self-promoting your film..."

The only reason any DIY filmmaker should be ashamed of promoting a film of theirs is if they do not like their movie/what they made but have to promote it anyway - which is not the case with IFBRT - thus, it will be promoted at EVERY OPPORTUNITY. So, you might want to stay off the web for a few years - 'cause I like my movie & am not afraid to tell people about it.

BEES said...

This is ridiculous.

I never heard of Tully before his hilarious smackdown of your dumb sounding film, and I never heard of you until the Indiewire makeover.

But what I can say is that the fact that your dumb sounding film is getting more exposure than anything else on Indiewire due to the way the blogs roll is ridiculous.

You should either start a separate blog for your film, and one for your film criticism, or stop hogging up Indiewire screenspace.

This is actually making me nauseous.

tully said...

WOW!!!

For the record, I loved Mr. Gonzalez's review of CA over at Slant (though I did punch him in the face the first time I encountered him in real life after that). If you need more fodder, you can find such material on the Netflix/Amazon comments sections for the film. Reading that is a great way to not work on your next film this morning!

But all kidding aside, I've got an assignment for you, Sujewa. Read every review I've written between H2N and Boredom at Its Boredest from yesterday back to Sundance of last year (2008) and report back to me with the ratio of positive-to-negative. As you might find, I only feel the burn to become negative when the situation calls for it. Off the top of my head, those situations would be The Happening, Revolutionary Road, a pinch of a dig at Frozen River, and IFBRT. Feel free to point out others. As for positive, I can't even begin to list them, but for an example of three documentaries that I suggest you study as various ways to make exceptional, affecting non-fiction cinema: Up the Yangtze, The Order of Myths, and Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell.

To you other commenters, I can tell you from experience that This Is A Losing Battle! Sujewa is like a film blogger variation on the Energizer bunny--nothing will stop him, and the most rational black-and-white victory of an argument will be met with... another breakdown of how your argument was wrong. For sanity's sake, I suggest you turn your attentions elsewhere.

Chris Hansen said...

Sujewa -- FWIW, as a friend, I'll tell you that I think you're taking a bad approach to a critical review, and you should let it go. You are looking like someone who cannot take criticism.

I also have to admit that your "there is no wrong way to make a film" theory smacks of having no standards whatsoever. There are objectively right and wrong things about proper image acquisition, proven principles of good aesthetics. There are certainly some things that are open to taste. But not EVERYthing.

The Sujewa said...

So I've read all the comments thus far - & approved most of 'em - left the most useless out of the blog (but all of Tully's comments received are here).

So, a movie about a person traveling to several cities, talking to bloggers, creating a picture of the blogging community - though maybe not as important or affective or dramatic as Up The Yangtze - nevertheless is - or can be - an interesting thing (at least I believe so, and some people who have seen the movie agree, and we'll see how it/ w/ goes in future screenings, DVD, etc.).

Looking forward to Tully try to punch me in the face the next time we meet up (as he dreamt about doing to Ed Gonzales). As always, when confronted, internet bullys like Tully has to fall back on the veiled threat of violence to try to justify their position. That tactic's not gonna work with me kid.

Also, what's with Tully's warning to drop it? Really, what will happen if I don't? More negative reviews of IFBRT, more comments on the blog, more threats to punch people in the face - hmmm - I wonder? In fact I am positively curious about it, so, as Yoda might say - dropping it, will not be. Hey, maybe this might even be an idea for a new doc - When Internet Reviewers Attack could be the title.

So, I think Tully Watch will have to be a regular part of this blog. Since not many others are willing or able to stand up to his "reviews" & his goal of imposing "legitimacy" on the unruly & illegitimate (apparently, did not know, i though we were just making some low budget movies & showing them to people - not trying to win approval from whatever segment of society that Tully feels he needs to impress). But, continuing Tully Watch is gonna be a little difficult unless he makes more movies - which he threatens to do - so I guess there will be stuff to comment on related to the Accomplished & Beloved by Many Enablers World of Mike Tully.

So we'll see how things go.

- Sujewa

The Sujewa said...

Re:

"BEES said...
This is ridiculous.

I never heard of Tully before his hilarious smackdown of your dumb sounding film, and I never heard of you until the Indiewire makeover."

I've never heard of you period - well, not until you left a comment on my blog.

Julia said...

Sujewa,
You of all people, a person who just finished a documentary about blogs, should know better. What makes a blog legitimate and enjoyable to read? A talented, insightful writer who offers expertise and insider knowledge of his/her subject--be it about movies, food, sports or local news. Tully's blog is the prototype (which is why I assume you asked him to participate in your film). The worst kind of blog is what I am reading here: full of foolish, petty and rude comments that are a waste of time. Please learn from Tully--let this go and focus on something interesting.

The Sujewa said...

Julia,

All blogs are legitimate.

However, yes, I believe we are done on this back & fourth re: Tully's review of IFBRT, on to other - more pleasant - things.

- S

The Sujewa said...

Hey Chris,

Nice to hear from you.

Re: "I also have to admit that your "there is no wrong way to make a film" theory smacks of having no standards whatsoever. There are objectively right and wrong things about proper image acquisition, proven principles of good aesthetics. There are certainly some things that are open to taste. But not EVERYthing."

If you take a closer look you may see that what is considered objectively good cinema changes from decade to decade, from even year to year - but the big changes have happened probably every couple of decades. For example, the over-the-top acting styles of the 50's gave way to much more subdued acting styles in the 60's & continues 'till now, also - scratches on black film leader was found to contain creative value - avant garde film of the 60's - so, we're talking about film that wasn't even exposed, didn't even contain any traditional images.

Granted, if you wanted to entertain a large number of people at a give point in time using a film - that film will need to contain certain things - but that does not mean that films that do not contain those things are "wrong" - that's like saying there are wrong ways to make music or create paintings or write literature.

IFBRT contains the basic ingredients necessary for an audience member to perceive the object as a film - shots with images, edited together, with music, with information contained in the shots, etc. It's a movie about a summer road trip where we get to meet a dozen or so bloggers. So, not an IMPORTANT documentary like, you know, a doc on Rwanda or whatever, but, is it wrong to make such a doc/movie (as IFBRT) - of course not - the value of each movie is a matter of taste, that's why I say there is no wrong way to make a movie (provided that the thing is constructed in such a way that the audience recognizes it as a movie).

Are there less than effective ways to make TV ads or music videos? Of course. But is there a wrong way to make a movie/motion picture thing of any kind? I can't say there is - there are ways of making movies to create various effects on the audience, but ultimately I'd have to say none of them are wrong - some just are more effective than others.

Chris Hansen said...

We'll have to agree to disagree that there are SOME objective standards.

FWIW, I do find the subject matter of IFBRT interesting (even if it's not about Rwanda -- I don't think every doc has to be about important world issues). And since I haven't seen the film, I'm not commenting on the style or the problems that Tully and Campbell have mentioned (because I can't, really). I'm just speaking in generalities.

GHOST DAWG said...

dam strait sujewa, bitchez be playa hatin LIKE A MUG! niggaz is trippin, mumbacore is for SUCKAZ, 4 REAL...keeps on reprezintin da indie film bloggerz, D.I.Y IN DA HIZZOUSE BEEYOTCH!!!!

GHOST DAWG said...

and da silva jewz be some strait INDY DRIZZLE, BAAA HAAAAAA!!!! jus some wannabe STETSASONIC-BY-WAY-OF-BEEFHEART BITCHEZ!!!

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