Posted tagged ‘the wrestler’

The Ram’s gearing up for his biggest match yet…the Oscars

January 20, 2009


Allow us a blast from the past for a moment: The Wrestler closed the 46th annual New York Film Festival last October, but it’s generating a lot of Oscar buzz. And if you’re checking it out in theaters now, you may enjoy some of our past coverage:

Read NYFF festival correspondent Tom Treanor’s review.

Watch one of FilmCatcher’s excellent video interviews, this one with Darren Arronofsky.

Heck, checkout New York Mag’s hilarious “Ten Things You Need to Know About The Wrestler”

See all of our Wrestler coverage

The Ram is back! Learn all about the making of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler

November 28, 2008

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

In a rare treat that would make an extra-special pre-holiday present for the cinema loving/hair metal-listening/professional wrestling fan in your life, the Film Society screens Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler with a whole host of key behind-the scenes contributers on deck to talk about the making of the buzz-worthy film.

On Tuesday, December 9 at 7 join producer Scott Franklin, cinematographer Maryse Alberti and editor Andrew Weisblum as they discuss the peculiar challenges of their own spin on the underdog-sports-hero-makes-good story. Buy tickets

PLUS, check out our archives for exclusive coverage on the Wrestler:

Read NYFF festival correspondent Tom Treanor’s review.

Watch one of FilmCatcher’s excellent video interviews, this one with Darren Arronofsky.

Heck, checkout New York Mag’s hilarious “Ten Things You Need to Know About The Wrestler”

Getting the sense that we are just a tad excited about this event? Check out everything the filmlinc blog has written about the Wrestler. We’ll see you front row center.

Perfect marriages: Top 10 song-film matches

November 5, 2008

10. “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones in Basquiat

As movie soundtracks go, I really have to hand it to the Basquiat team for putting together a compilation that so perfectly captures the subject matter and era, heavy on classics from the eighties and nineties, covering everything from “White Lines” to Public Image Limited to the Pogues. But this quick cameo from Courtney Love gets me every time.

9. “Le Tourbillon De La Vie” sung by Jeanne Moreau in Jules et Jim

Staff member Irene gives props to this selection from the Truffaut gem.

8. “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding in Pretty in Pink

If Molly Ringwald needed any more evidence that Jon Cryer’s Ducky was the man for her.

7. “Get Up off at That Thing” by James Brown in Dr. Detroit

Staff computer whiz Benno says: “I like James Brown and I like Devo, and I just think it’s funny that they’re in the same film. I think that’s why I went to see it.”

6. “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John in Almost Famous

High schmaltz factor, and extremely catchy. Go ahead, sing along, no one’s watching.

5. “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson in Midnight Cowboy

I had a legendary teacher at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts who taught the art of screenwriting through lengthy examination of Keats’s “negative capability” an exhaustive analysis of Midnight Cowboy, where the central conflict is never actually ever expressly stated in the film and very little actually happens. It affected me forever after, and what’s truly impressive is how well this song ties up the meadering, sidelong narrative.

4. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones in Mean Streets

This super cool slo-mo intro of a young Bob DeNiro as Johnny Boy was not only a perfect pairing of sound and image, it also helped set the tone for Scorcese’s inventive use of pop music to undercut his gripping mob dramas.

Bonus! You can see Mean Streets during our Manny Farber series later in the month!

3. “The Wrestler” by Bruce Springsteen in The Wrestler

Writing for the Vulture blog, Will Leitch said this bespoke creation is “straight from The Ghost of Tom Joad — aching, sad, gorgeous. The song’s so good, you almost expect Sean Penn to write another movie based off it, like with The Indian Runner and Bruce’s ‘Highway Patrolman.'” I just thought it was the perfect capper to a Aronofsky’s take on the classic underdog sports movie.

Check out all our coverage on The Wrestler.

2. “Ring Them Bells” by Sufjan Stevens in I’m Not There

Confession: I’ve never actually seen this movie. But I give the soundtrack big ups for blessing the marriage of Sufjan Stevens’s maximallist stylings (complete with glockenspiel and trademark harmonies) with Dylan’s minimalist songwriting style. Who knew a Dylan song could sound like this? The matching seems to bring out the best in each, even the hundred millionth time you hear it.

1. “Trouble” by Cat Stevens in Harold and Maude

This is a gimmick I’d like to see revived: a singer-songwriter taking control of an entire movie soundtrack (and I think the Stevens above might be the perfect person to carry the torch). Cat Stevens + this unlikely love story starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Court comes together as an idiosyncratic masterpiece with the climactic “Trouble” montage.

Of course, this is a highly unscientific survey. Complaints, additions? Please leave them in the comments.

Snapshots: Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei

October 15, 2008

New York Film Festival Snapshots sponsored by:

The women of The Wrestler

Photo: Godlis

Snapshots: Mickey Rourke, Evan Rachel Wood and Darren Aronofsky

October 14, 2008

New York Film Festival Snapshots sponsored by:

Mickey Rourke, Evan Rachel Wood and Darren Aronofsky at the closing night party for the Wrestler

Photo: Godlis

Ram! Ram! Ram! Ram!

October 12, 2008

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

The New York Film Festival closes tonight, with a screening of Darren Aronofsky’s lastest.

Read NYFF festival correspondent Tom Treanor’s review.

Watch one of FilmCatcher’s excellent video interviews, this one with Darren Arronofsky.

Heck, checkout New York Mag’s hilarious “Ten Things You Need to Know About The Wrestler”

NYFF Closing Night: The Wrestler brings the camera to the arena

October 10, 2008

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky, director of the virtuoso Requiem for a Dream (2000) and last behind the camera for The Fountain (2006), is striking at new ground with The Wrestler, a film of surprising compassion about the small-town circuit of professional wrestling. Aronofsky himself mentioned at the NYFF press screening that he’s always been curious why there were so many boxing films as an American oeuvre, but none that tackle the sensation of professional wrestling. With this film, he does it graceful justice.

Ahead of the camera is a sublime, anchoring performance by Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a man well past his heyday from the sold-out crowds of his professional wrestling career in the mid-1980s. His very vitality, however, still lies with wrestling; it’s his only source of income, all he knows how to do, all he loves to do, and he moves up and down the mid-Atlantic through towns like Rahway, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware to do it. He’s well-respected among his fellow wrestlers, though it’s clear that he’s approaching the eclipse of his career. Playing to smaller arenas and various perversions of the standard WWF glam of the 80s (including one match involving stapleguns and barbed wire), The Ram is running out of gas, finally collapsing of a heart attack after a particularly brutal match.

This heart attack is the pivot of the film; The Ram, more aware of his mortality than ever, is adrift with a job behind the deli counter at a Central Jersey supermarket. He tries to reach out to his estranged young adult daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), though he isn’t sure of his own intentions. He tries to forge a deeper relationship with Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), a simpatico stripper he’s known over the years; it’s perhaps with her that he is able to grapple with hope with respect to What Comes Next in his life, and a scene where the two share a mid-afternoon beer at a dive bar is both tender and unflinching in its honesty.

The screenplay by Robert D. Siegel is a fascinating deconstruction of two people whose lives are critically connected to their jobs; both are past the prime their profession requires, and this fact alone is an inevitable threat to their respective occupations as professional entertainers. Tomei’s Cassidy serves as an effective foil to Rourke, playing both parallel and counterpoint to The Ram and thereby provides a satisfying depth of context to the film. Rightful praise is being showered upon Rourke; his performance is effortless and careful not to drift toward the sentimental. Tomei (who likely can boast more shirtless screentime than many other over-40 Oscar-winning actresses) is always a welcome presence onscreen, though this role doesn’t grant her the access to the break-out intensity of some of her past work.

Much of the pleasure of Aronofsky’s work is in his sincerity to the material. Reaching out to the professional wrestling community, Aronofsky casted only professionals as the wrestlers in his film. He’s careful to not mock his characters despite their flirtations with destitution. This ode to a fictional wrestler at the pinnacle of his life is captivating and never rings false; Aronofsky is consistently proving himself to be one of his generation’s most gifted and earnest filmmakers.

The Wrestler closes the New York Film Festival this Sunday night.

See the filmlinc blog’s complete coverage of the Wrestler