Posts Tagged ‘Taxi Driver’


Rhymes-For-Young-Ghouls-e1389736337611By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Writing in the Toronto International Film Festival program book Steve Gravestock said Rhymes with Young Ghouls plays, “as if an S.E. Hinton novel were re-imagined as a righteously furious, surreal thriller.”

The self-assured debut feature from director Jeff Barnaby is the story of Aila (Devery Jacobs), an Aboriginal teenager who is guided by the spirits of her departed mother and brother to exact revenge against a vicious Indian Agent named Popper.

“I think the idea behind what we were doing was to show the enormity of that went on,” says Barnaby. “You do want to shock people but not with the content of the film but with the idea that the content of the film actually happened. Most of the reviews have been astoundingly positive but the couple of bad ones that we’ve gotten have complained about the Popper role, and how over the top it is and how he is like this moustache twisting villain, but if you know the history, these guys had to have existed.

“I suppose you could be polite about saying, ‘You can’t leave the reserve and you can’t go find work and you have to live in this poverty, and by the way, you have to give us your kids.’ I’m sure there was an Indian Agent or truant officer somewhere who was really cool about it but at the end of the day these are the acts of evil men.”

It’s a pop culture savvy movie; a work Barnaby calls “a cinephile’s film.” A pop culture sponge himself, he says years of influences came together in the making of Rhymes with Young Ghouls.

“I grew up being saturated in everything, comic books, books,” he says. “My stepmom was going to university at the time so she was bringing home all these great books, like English poetry, T.S. Elliot and Robert Frost, so I began to appreciate art at a very early age.”

Near the top of the influence list are Batman and Conan the Barbarian.

“They are both anti-heroes but they share this idea of not being above physical violence in order to rectify a situation,” he says. “They both lost their parents, they’re both vigilantes particularly with Conan we follow the storyline of the first Schwarzenegger movie—a religious cult comes along and destroys his family and he goes searching for them and destroys the cult. That is more or less the model we used for Rhymes although very loosely, in the way Scorsese says he used The Searchers for Taxi Driver.”

He also cites Scott Hampton’s The Upturned Stone, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club but adds the influences go “through all these filters and by the time it hits the screen what you are trying to emulate has turned into something completely different.”

The special spark of great director-actor teams In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA February 19, 2010

shutter-island03Last week, the Internet lit up with news that one of the great actor-director teams might reunite to remake one of their classic films.
Rumours (since debunked) had Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro set to give Taxi Driver the sequel treatment.

It seemed too good to be true — De Niro is busy overseeing the Tribeca Film Festival and Scorsese is occupied with new muse Leonardo DiCaprio — and the rumor turned out to be just that — a rumour.

But for a tantalizing moment it seemed there might be a new film from one of the most dynamic director-actor pairings since Bogart and Huston or Mifune and Kurosawa.

Not that there are any shortage of director-actor teams. Scorsese and DiCaprio’s newest bit of teamwork, Shutter Island, opens this weekend and the latest Pedro Almodóvar-Penélope Cruz film, Broken Embraces, was recently nominated for a Golden Globe.

“I think you find, when you talk about a collaboration between a filmmaker and an actor, that it’s always evolving,” said Shutter Island producer Brad Fischer. “I don’t think it begins and ends with any one movie.”

Diane Keaton cites the evolution of collaboration with Woody Allen — they made seven films together, including the classic Annie Hall, between 1973 and 1993 — with elevating her from a “novice who had lots of feelings but didn’t know how to express herself” to someone who “can be braver and more spontaneous.”

Penélope Cruz is more effusive when discussing her mentor Pedro Almodóvar, who made her an art house darling, international star and claims to have “saved her from Hollywood.”

“He changed the way I looked at the world before I even knew him,” she says.

“There is something that works really well in our relationship that combines both our friendship and the professional side,” says Almodóvar. “We operate like lovers. So while we don’t have the pleasures of sex, we don’t have the complications of sex either. We work really well as a couple who don’t sleep together.”

Sometimes the director- actor relationship extends past the movie set. Four years after shooting The Life Aquatic in Italy, Wes Anderson regular Bill Murray (five films together) asked the director to deliver 10,000 Euros in cash to his former landlord.

“It’s not as weird as it sounds,” said Anderson on paying the rent a little late. “Bill can be a little weird with time.”