Someone Who'll Watch Over Me - Scene Seven from Jack Kyser on Vimeo.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me - Scene Eight from Jack Kyser on Vimeo.
Black Cat Picture Show, followed by a screening at the Hudson Valley International Film Festival! I was thrilled to screen the film at the Black Cat Picture Show, only one year after my film You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory won their Best Student Film prize. You can see a clip from our film in the trailer for the festival.
received rave reviews. On opening night, there was a Q&A after the film with Nancy and Christine Lahti (who starred in Lumet’s Running on Empty), followed by a great after-party at the Tisch WNET Studio in Lincoln Center. Lonergan joined us for the after-party, as well (our editor, Anthony Ripoli, edited the Director’s Cut of Lonergan’s masterpiece Margaret), but I didn’t actually get to meet him until after a screening of Margaret the next weekend (also at the Museum of the Moving Image). MOMI screened the Director’s Cut of the film (they were doing a retrospective of all of his films), and Lonergan held yet another fantastic Q&A. After the screening, I shared with him my adoration for both Margaret and Manchester by the Sea (not to mention his first film, You Can Count on Me). It’s always an honor to get to meet your heroes, and I’ve truly enjoyed familiarizing myself with his work as a playwright this year.
Pacino’s Way retrospective. I could have lived at the Quad during this run of films, screened mostly on 35mm. At this particular screening of The Panic in Needle Park, director Jerry Schatzberg introduced his film, and discussed working with Pacino in depth. He also directed the masterful Scarecrow (1973), with Pacino and Gene Hackman, which has long been one of the unheralded highlights of 1970s cinema. I was sad to be working during Pacino’s visits to the Quad, where he screened his passion projects Salome and Wilde Salome – but I cherish my memories of seeing him onstage in The Merchant of Venice (2010) and Glengarry Glen Ross (2012). Pacino recently turned seventy-eight, and he continues to inspire and amaze – most recently in his magnificent performance in Barry Levinson’s Paterno on HBO (less than a year after Levinson’s great The Wizard of Lies with Robert De Niro, also on HBO).
In Austin, in addition to my residency with Lucas and my UT campus visit, my mom and I saw Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which was a total blast (and just flat-out mind-boggling that Spielberg released the film within the same three-month period as The Post). We also saw John Krasinski's A Quiet Place, which I wish I could say I viewed in a very quiet place. I loved the movie (between this and 2016’s The Hollars, Krasinski is one talented director), and I think filmmakers should slowly start conditioning audiences to this level of silence in more movies. It is a truly effective dramatic tool – and it requires audiences to shut the hell up.
Sunday, April 29th was the sixteenth anniversary of my dad's passing. I know I share a lot of the same videos of him, but here's something he shot on our family's 1996 trip to New York. He was a wonderful soul, and over the years I've been overjoyed to transfer more and more of his home video recordings as a way of remembering him.
The Kyser Family in New York - 1996 from Jack Kyser on Vimeo.
my full review for Austin Family Magazine here.
The next weekend, we saw Jason Reitman’s Tully, which was a delight, reuniting the dream team behind Young Adult (2011) – Reitman, writer Diablo Cody and star Charlize Theron. It’s exactly the kind of interesting film that rarely gets made anymore. Reitman never ceases to surprise and engage me – he never makes the same film twice (I remain a fan of his slightly un-loved Labor Day and Men, Women and Children). Tully is also a movie that I heard people dismissing before it was even released. I’m irked every time I hear people talking about a film they haven’t seen, prejudging it and having no real interest in what the picture might have to say – instead reducing the movie to its most basic elements. This happens with older films, too, as social mores change and folks want to reevaluate certain films based on a new set of criteria and whether it aligns perfectly with today’s ideas. What they don’t seem to understand is that the capturing of a certain time and place is precisely what makes a film interesting, and in time, today’s seemingly evolved values and ideas are going to seem outdated, too.
There is a shot near the end of the film in which the camera does a slow, nearly-360° rotation around Johannes (Preben Lerdorff Rye) and his niece (as her mother lays dying) that simply took my breath away. It was one of the most profound and haunting marriages of dialogue and camera movement I have seen in some time, and it will not leave my mind any time soon.
On Saturday night, Sophia and I saw one of my all-time favorites, Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (1985) in 35MM at IFC, as part of their Waverly Midnights: Scorsese program. It’s as much of a delightful and exhilarating ride as it was when I first watched it on VHS as a kid – frenetic, thrilling and truly bizarre. Over the past year, there have been a lot of terrific opportunities to see Scorsese’s work on the big screen – I saw Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1975) and The Last Waltz (1978) at the Museum of the Moving Image last year during their amazing Scorsese exhibit, and IFC has been screening much of his filmography over the last few weeks (I’m going back in June to catch another favorite, Bringing out the Dead, in 35mm). Soon enough, I’ll have seen most of Scorsese’s films in cinemas (so far, I’ve seen nineteen, including the ones that were released in my lifetime).
My job at Comedy Central is going well – it’s always a joy to work on an interview clip with a guest I truly respect and admire. Here’s Sean Penn on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah this past March – with a (hopefully good) still I picked out for him. I’m currently reading his first novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, and it is a wild ride – a truly original and fascinating peek inside Penn’s mind. I miss seeing him onscreen these days, but Bob Honey is holding me over until his next film.
I also got to work on a great interview clip with Matt Damon and Gary White of water.org, which you can find here.
Lastly, I never thought it’d happen, but I’m going to Springsteen on Broadway with Sophia in July! I haven’t been this happy since the last time I saw Bruce Springsteen during The River tour and made something of a tribute video here.