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The Reeler Blog

The News: NYC's Indie Patriarch?

Paul Mezey and one of his champions, HBO's Maud Nadler, at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival (Photo: Gety Images)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Some of today's movie news from around New York:

--I suspected the worst from all the top-heavy taxonomizing, but Anthony Kaufman's profile of producer Paul Mezey -- whose Pennsylvania-based Journeyman Pictures label backed the latest Fleck/Boden drama Sugar and Azazel Jacobs' Momma's Man (not to mention work by their NYC contemporaries Jim McKay and Josh Marston) -- is one of the best reads in this week's Village Voice. And maybe even heartbreaking when you realize that the minority of his work finds theatrical distribution. "They're really looking for movies that are going to gross $30 million," Mezey told Kaufman about the volatile buyer's market. "But we have to exist outside of that reality. And you can pull power away from the studios. If you keep making these films and they're getting the ink on the editorial and review pages, it's going to draw attention."

--Over at Thanks For the Use of the Hall, Dan Sallitt has a terrific read of Michael Clayton -- namely, why the ambivalence? "I am not indignant at the restrained reaction to this amazing movie in my usual circles," he writes. "On the contrary, I'm forced once again to wonder whether 'amazing to me' bears any relationship to 'amazing.' "

--Clayton is also included among a cringingly desperate Variety diagnosis of "modern anxieties" in this year's Best Picture nominees, including There Will Be Blood's "blood-for-oil theme [that] emerges as an allegory for all that's gone wrong in the killing fields of [Iraq] and Afghanistan." The read on Atonement is even better. Or something.

--We somehow overlooked this last weekend, but Tony Silver, whose 1984 graffiti study Style Wars remains the definitive New York documentary of its era (maybe of any era), passed away after years battling an "irreversible brain condition." As artist Min One might say, "That's never-forgive action." Rest in peace, son. [H/T: Jamie Stuart]

Posted at February 13, 2008 8:32 AM

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