Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Superbad


If you're cool you'll definitely check out the Superbad official website where you can get totally cool stuff like wallpapers, buddy icons, see clips, download stuff (some of it dirty). If you're cool click here or click the picture to get to Sony's site. If you're not cool just like sit there like a dork and don't do anything.

If on the other hand it's not a matter of being cool or not cool and you were one of the kids that were as dorky as these guys when you were in high school, and you want to heal all those emotional injuries you suffered every time you walked down the hall to your next class and everybody you passed ignored you in an obvious way, or you sat in the cafeteria alone because your one and only friend was home sick that day, or you looked at any and every random object in order to avoid eye contact when you passed a pretty girl in the hall. Then, (I empathize, and...) let the healing begin.

Alternately, if you were cool and popular in high school you can visit the site just because you're a fan of Seth Rogen, who was in 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Knocked Up' and is one of the writers of 'Superbad', along with Evan Goldberg, producer of 'Knocked Up', then that's okay too. (However, nobody believes you were cool in high school and you might as well admit you were a dork and stop living a lie, but that's a matter for another time).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market. Photo by Alan Green

Photo by Alan Green

Seattle Shooting

Man shot in Seattle 073007. Photo by Alan Green
Photo by Alan Green

A man was shot in downtown Seattle this afternoon after arguing with at least two other people. I was a block away and heard four shots -- by the time I got there the ambulance was arriving. According to The Seattle Times the man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Police arrested four suspects within minutes of the shooting.

For Your Consideration...

You see the laurel wreaths framing the pronouncement that movie X is an 'Official Selection' at film festival Y -- more such pronouncements emerge out of a black screen and, urged on by a thoughtful and delicate yet harmonically complex piano melody, march toward the viewer becoming brighter and brighter, asserting more and more forcefully that this movie is, in fact, quite good -- and your spirits rise with the realization that there is at least a reasonable shot that this movie will be, oh, passable. Add to that glowing reviews by the leading genre critics and you feel you might just have something to look forward to.

What surprised me is all this is not for the next sensitive character-driven drama that is expected to make a run for the golden statuette, but an old-fashioned slice 'em-dice 'em horror movie with the unpretentious title, 'Hatchet'.

Want to read some over-the-top praise? Try Harry Knowles orgasmic review. You know, if Harry likes it, it's good to go. Trailer doesn't look special, but I guess you can't judge a book by its cover. Guess I'll put this one on my 'buy on disc someday' list.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

VAR









Photo by Alan Green

Things That Go Bump In The Night


What really traumatizes us?

First Person Shooter

Lisa Marks shares her movie-making experience.

I've never seen a bunch of people work so hard for so long for no money while remaining willing to continue until the work was done. I'm still feeling hopelessly emotional about the way they put their trust in me as their director but right now you could put that down to me being in an edit suite for nearly 18 hours.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Outdoor Theater

Outdoor movie theater

Story at NYT.

Watch While Eating Popcor?

This strange image was just emailed to me anonymously. If you look carefully you can barely make out what appears to be the words 'Watch While Eating Popcor'. Is this the new title for JJ Abrams monster movie? Why did they leave the n off popcorn? Is that some kind of code? Is Popcor a new snack that will be released at the same time this movie is? I must say this is all very perplexing.

Ha Ha. Told You

Monstrous, Cloverfield, JJ Abrams project

Turns out 'Monstrous' will not be the title of JJ Abrams' monster movie. The possibility that it may have been was enough drive the blogosphere to provide JJ with gobs of free publicity, though. You guys... Well, all I can say is, um...wait, let me get this just right -- ha ha told you. No, that wasn't quite it. Let me try again: HA HA! TOLD YOU!! There. I think that's got it.

Why Didn't You Say So?

Karen Allen

Getting Karen Allen involved in Indy 4 was very smart. She's what made the first movie work and might be what will make this one work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How To Jump Into An Open Window

Bourne Ultimatum

'The Bourne Ultimatum' is packed with stunts. Yahoo has an exclusive look at some of the stunt work, including a peek at how the 'Jump from a building into an open window in the adjacent building' was done. No word on the blue underwear yet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Abrams' Latest Ploy

Monstrous

First JJ takes advantage of the low cost of shooting digitally with the conceit that all the footage in 1-18-08 (aka Cloverfield) is provided by the characters recording events on camcorders. This allows for low cost CGI.

Second JJ releases stills without telling anyone a storyline and sits back and reaps gobs of free analysis of each photo on countless blogs.

Third (and not last, I'm sure) JJ misdirects with 'Monstrous' (still via Vulture) and enjoys as the entire blogosphere a) believes this will be the title of the movie and b) criticizes JJ for picking such a dumbass name.

I love watching this guy operate. (But, seriously dude, don't keep that dumbass title. Have you considered 'Movie' or perhaps 'Watch While Eating Popcorn'? Both are better).

Michael Moore Does NPR


Video also available at Blog of the Nation.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stardust Exclusive

Stardust

Yahoo has a couple exclusive clips from 'Stardust' which, I must say, are very good. This movie is taking a different approach to the fantasy-adventure, playing it much more real -- a sort brass-tacks swashbuckling as it would have been had magic really existed. The clip with Robert De Niro's character negotiating the sale of magic mojo lightning-in-a-barrel is especially well-done.

The clips are introduced by author Neil Gaiman. This one is looking better all the time.

Michael Moore Talks To The Nation

Michael Moore takes questions from listeners on Talk of the Nation. Here's one comment from Blog of the Nation:

Is it possible for employers to bear any more responsibility for health care costs than they already do? I am in favor of health care reform, but I wonder if we'll ever create change when there is such resistance to paying more in taxes to fund those reforms.

Sent by Diana | 2:40 PM ET | 07-23-2007


I couldn't agree more.
Other comments.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

High Noon

Andy Trudeau on how the music of 'High Noon' changed movie soundtracks.

How Smart Is JJ Abrams?

Cloverfield

First he shoots Cloverfield on various digi-cams to cut costs -- he doesn't have to buy miles of film and pay for processing and digitizing (before editing), and the quality of the CGI can be lowered to the image quality that you get when you shoot digitally (especially if the imagery is supplied by consumer camcorders).

So, now JJ has the production costs down, how does he get the marketing costs down? Simple. Build a website and release stills once a week that will then be posted (along with a 200 word analysis) on the biggest movie sites -- free of charge.

Here's some analysis from /film entitled, in case it wasn't clear, 'Analysis: third photo revealed on Cloverfield website':

The original photo showed a close-up of two wide eyed fearful young women at 12:36 am. Some people speculated that the two women were actually the same actress. This has been confirmed false. She can also supposedly be seen in the trailer at the party. Some people claim they can see something in between their heads. A monster may-be? How about their hair and a street light?

I love that. It's like this was footage from an assassination. It's both in-depth and highly analytical -- we learn that the thing between the girls' heads may be either a monster or a strand of backlighted hair. Over at Monstermovieblog they're claiming analysis is impossible (but JJ still gets his still displayed, analysis or not). At Cinematical they're claiming nobody cares anymore:

Folks like to play games for a little while, but there comes a time when they tire of the mind-fu**ing and simply want to know the deal.

However, they take 376 words to establish that nobody cares (and JJ got more exposure for his still). And now you've read this piece which makes fun of all the free publicity JJ is getting in which JJ got yet more free exposure for his movie.

Hats off Mr. Abrams.

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man

When I first heard that a movie would be made about Iron Man I rolled my eyes -- I'm betting you know what I was thinking -- 'Do we really need another vapid CGI-driven comic book movie'? The answer, of course, is 'no'. But, then I hear Robert Downey Jr. will bring the iron guy to life and my spirits are lifted. Then...I see a still like the one above and I can't wait to see 'Iron Man'. Can this guy act, or what.

Danny Boyle On The Treatment

Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle, who (in case you've been living in a cave) is the director of 'Sunshine', talks with Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment. DB wishes he could have been a musician, British movie theaters suck, people in England go to the movies twice a year.

Simpsons Movie Set

Simpsons movie

Here's a still from the Simpsons movie set. Via Goldenfiddle

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hairspray On Fresh Air

Michelle Pfeiffer in Hairspray

Terry Gross with Adam Shankman, director of the remake of 'Hairspray'. Gross also replays part of the 1988 interview with John Waters about writing and directing the orignal 'Hairspray'. (31 min.) David Edelstein reviews 'Hairspray'.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Comeback

Winona Ryder on Vogue

Winona Ryder is putting together a pretty good comeback. Here she is on the cover of Vogue and she looks very nice in 'The Ten'. The buzz on her upcoming 'Sex and Death 101' is better than one might have expected.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Closer Look

Harry Potter

Manohla Dargis and AO Scott take a look at the Harry Potter movies, including how the child actors have matured, the changes in CGI and nature of the stories, and the cool cool British thesps that populate the series. (4 videos, each about 3 minutes)

Torture-Porn Doesn’t Captivate Audiences

Captivity

It’s a bit sad that the ‘Torture-Porn’ genre ever got any traction in the first place, but such is the evolution of things. With ‘Captivity’ doing so poorly in its debut this weekend (and the last installment of 'Hostel' doing so badly) it looks like audiences have had their fill of movies about gruesome and slow ways to kill someone that you (or an antagonist who represents you in a movie) have kidnapped -- that is, until the next iteration of this plot that’s just different enough we have to see it.

Hostel 2

The names being invented to describe this new sub-genre are far more engaging than the movies themselves. I like the combo of: gore + porn = ‘Gorn’. It’s not as pretty looking as torture-porn but it’s more fun -- short, sweet, and doesn't require that you type the word 'torture' so much -- nice.

'Captivity' may not have done well, but this Pandora’s box has been opened and there’s no turning back. Each year from now on we can look forward to the next installment(s) of mindless, pointless, and almost plot-less excursions into the juvenile fantasy (posing as motion picture entertainment) of kidnapping and torture. And every year the blogosphere will object, but less and less vehemently as time passes, until, years from now, no one bothers to mention that the latest gorn is nothing more than an exploration of drugging, kidnapping, torture, and rape.

We find ourselves undergoing the inevitable decline that awaits all societies (in the past or future, on this planet or another) whose members possess that double-edged attribute known as Human Nature. I don't suppose anyone is to blame for that. Whatta you gonna do?

Captivity Cited For 'Grizzly Images'

Restricted 17

For those of you that were put off by the MPAA's R-rating for 'Captivity', which cited 'grizzly images' as one of its reasons for requiring that a person younger than 17 be accompanied by their parent in order to see this movie, I can report that there are no grizzly bears in 'Captivity'. There are a lot of grisly images and bare images, but no grizzly bear images.

While on the subject -- it's not clear why a parent would take their 8 or 10 or 12 year old kid to see a movie about the kidnapping, torture, and rape of a woman. On the other hand, the movie did not do very well at the box office. Perhaps that's because parents did not want their kids to see a movie about the kidnapping, torture, and rape of a woman that includes a grizzly bear. That's too bad.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Death Sentence

Death Sentence

Premise is very been-there-done-that, but the execution looks great.

The Ten

The Ten

The Heartbreak Kid

The Heartbreak Kid

I just don't get this poster. The colors are crazy-wrong. This poster doesn't say 'wacky comedy with Ben Stiller from the gang that brought you 'There's Something About Mary'', it says 'subtle, layered character-study about a Mexican boy that wishes he could go back in time and be a cowboy in the Old West'. Trailer tries a bit too hard.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Ten

The Ten

Trailer for 'The Ten'.

Kasi Lemmons On The Treatment

Kasi Lemmons and Elvis Mitchell

Elvis Mitchell chats with writer-actor-director Kasi Lemmons about her new movie, 'Talk to Me'. Like most I first saw Lemmons as Jodie Foster's roommate at the FBI Academy in 'Silence of the Lambs', but I first became aware of her ability when I saw 'Eve's Bayou', which Lemmons wrote and directed. I thought 'Eve's Bayou' was the best picture of 1997 ('Titanic' took the Oscar...'Eve's Bayou' was not nominated), and it's been one of my favorites since.

Clips for 'Talk to Me' are promising. Lemmons delivers quality and we need more like her.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pasty Effects Have No Effect

1-18-08

So far the only title attributed to JJ Abrams' upcoming monster flick is '1-18-08'. If you've been dying to see the much hyped trailer it's available. This movie looks like it will go great with a giant popcorn and soda.

Picture is shaky hand-held video cam style which (I believe) is supposed to be shot by the characters as they deal with giganto monster attack. The money shot in the trailer is the head of the Statue of Liberty being catapulted quite some distance, bouncing off a building, and landing in a sea of sparks on the street right in front of a character who shoots the event with a camcorder -- yeilding the above bargain basement CGI still.

You have to hand it to Abrams. The conceit of having all the footage provided by consumer camcorders allows for some great savings on the CGI side. Miss Liberty's head looks pretty 2-D to me, is pasty and blocked up, lacks detail, and the lighting doesn't match the scene. But why should any of that matter? A consumer camcorder would render the scene just so (except the lighting would match). Nice. Abrams saves gobs on post production computor wizardry due to the 'you are there' digi-cam technique and the picture still looks great because everybody knows camcorder footage is not supposed to look like film.

Looks like a winner with a better-than-average profit margin built in. Hats off.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bad Playback

Well, I have to retract my 'discovery' that the hi-def trailer for 'The Invasion' is different from the standard version. It's not. They're the same. The hammer appears in both versions but is less clear and partially blocked by pixilation in the freeze-frame from the standard trailer. (Also, the frame itself is tougher to capture in the standard trailer -- you tend to land on the frame before or after. The frames that I used for comparison are not the same). My apologies. You learn something everyday...

NYT Talks With Danny Boyle

Sunshine

'Sunshine' has got to be one the best-looking movies in a long time. This is top-drawer eye candy that should engage the intellect with its pop existentialism while delivering solid creepout factor.

NYT talks with 'Sunshine' director Danny Boyle, who has a fondness for his first movie, 'Shallow Grave'. He says, "I'm not saying it's the best one, but in some way it is and will always be the best one. Everything after the first one is business."

If you haven't seen 'Shallow Grave' you'll want to check it out -- it's one of the best Hitchcockesque psych-thrillers I've ever seen.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I've Got Paris Hilton's Cell Phone Number

Well, not me. I don't have it. Shira Barlow has Paris Hilton's (old) cell phone number. Shira needed a new number. Phone carriers have been recycling old numbers because they're in limited supply. Shira's company gives her Paris Hilton's old number. Shira now gets Paris' calls, text messages, party invites, etc.

The Missing Hammer

The Invasion still with hammer

So, I'm looking at the below still from the trailer for 'The Invasion' and I'm thinking 'What's wrong here?'. Turns out the business end of the hammer is missing. Above still is from the hi-def version -- which looks a lot better -- sorry, don't know what I was thinking.

Here is the same still from the standard definition trailer:

Standard definition still without hammer

It's interesting that different versions of trailers are being released based on their definition. Are people that select regular definition trailers more sensitive to violence or graphic content? I've never heard of this before. You learn something everyday...

The Hook

The Invasion with Nicole Kidman

Trailer for 'The Invasion' looks good. I imagine everyone will be talking about the above element.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cult Status

Shoot 'Em Up

Word of 'Shoot 'Em Up' with Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen has been trickling out for months now. Here is the first legit looking trailer. Giamatti plays Mr. Hertz. Get it? 'Hertz'. (Wow that takes balls). Look for this one to attain cult status.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Poster Needs Work

Invasion Poster

There's something(s) way off about the poster for 'The Invasion'. The font, for instance -- too clean, looks like a good choice for a musical set in the near future. The digital 'melt' effect of the bad guys at top of poster is too photo-shopped looking, also too clean. The placement of the two stars is very retro, like what you would have seen in the 50s. Their faces take up too much space (I didn't want to say 'their heads are too big'). Craig's head should be lowered so there's less vertical space taken up.

Taglines, clunky -- also seem like they're from the 50s when an audience would have had to have been told what to expect from a new genre.

'Do not trust anyone'. -- we already knew that. Being unable to trust anyone is de rigueur for paranoid thrillers.

'Do not show emotion'. -- well, duh. You don't joke with zombies or people whose minds have otherwise been commandeered. As for laughing or crying, please. We know we have to be stonefaced around the living-impaired.

'Do not fall asleep'. -- okay, that's pretty good. The 'avoid REM sleep' thing is alright. That should probably stay.

Okay, on to layout. The title at the bottom doesn't work here. Should be moved to the traditional placement below the names of the stars at the top of poster. Should also be shifted off-center, probably to the left, to work with the arrangement. Also, put it all on one line. Stacking the 'the' on top doesn't work -- there's plenty lateral space, not much vertical space. (On second thought, title should stay in the center -- composition should be changed so it will look good in center).

Nicole Kidman in The InvasionOkay, from the look on her face I don't think she's too happy with my suggestions, but I have just a couple more.

The color scheme is too simple, too flat -- there's just too much red. Try adding some depth and layers, use some dark purples with very grayed-down green around the edges (something that says 'My soul no longer exists').

Daniel's head is floating in space -- give some definition to his shoulders. (And, what's with Craig's expression? Not very paranoid, heroic, or 'you can't trust me even though you think you can'. What does that expression say? 'Look, I think there's a parking spot half a block up on the right.')

Where's the 'mother protects her child' element seen in the trailer? This poster makes the movie look like it's all about the relationship between Craig and Kidman, when the trailer hardly shows this at all. Trailer emphasizes the relationship between Kidman and her son. Come on, guys. This is Movie Poster 101 stuff.

Net effect: looks like someone slapped this together on a laptop in their spare time. Please apply above fixes.

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