Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Smart People

So, I'm watching this trailer for the new indy 'Smart People' and I'm thinking, okay that looks good, this is well-made, not bad...then who appears? None other than Ellen Page. The cool cool new actor from 'Juno' who has such a natural energy on camera -- and, right away, just like that, 'Smart People' has must-see status. Page plays Dennis Quaid's daughter in this character-driven comedy. She's one to watch.

Kelsey Hubbard interviews three of the stars of 'Smart People' at Sundance, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Heydan Church, and Quaid.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not So Sqeaky Clean Star Trek

Star Trek

The teaser for the new 'Star Trek' movie features the Enterprise being built by sweating construction workers using torches, a voice-over of Apollo countdowns, crackling voices over the radio saying 'God speed John Glenn', and 'the Eagle has landed', and JFK announcing "...the eyes of the world now look into space".

In below excerpt we see a ship that, apparently, is driven by some type of turbine, similar to the ones that power jets today -- look to the left for spinning blades.

(Sorry, I don't know how to insert the Quicktime media here. You can see the excerpt from the teaser at my dot com here).

JJ Abrams, and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, seem to be striving to create a connection between the world of the new 'Star Trek' and the world we live in today. By doing so he sets the stage for characters we might accept as being our children's children and, as such, he enables us to care about them.

Abrams is going for an Enterprise born of a real technological evolution -- that is, a ship that could be built someday, by us, if we continued to advance technologically. Up to now I've gotten the sense the movie Enterprise(s) were of a future that is not meant to be plausible, totally separated from our reality -- a fake construct that had nothing to do with us and our world, which only served as a stage for fanciful stories that, while entertaining, had little foundation in real human experience and was informed by the thinnest of universal theme.

The teaser for the new 'Star Trek' suggests that the story takes place in a future that has grown out of our reality and is a direct result of our accomplishments (both those of the past and those yet to come), and is populated by characters who live in a real world and are familiar with day-to-day problems the average person grapples with.

I'm calling an audible based on the approach Abrams has selected with the teaser. In the new 'Star Trek' look for anti-Star Trek dialogue and a story that brings out a genuine humanity in the characters. I wouldn't be surprised if this movie has a gritty side -- sort of a 'sci-fi verite' -- that will thrill most of us, and even offend many Trekkies.

I used to love watching Star Trek on TV when I was a kid but the movies have left me cold. The only one I can get into is 'The Wrath of Kahn'. The rest are so superficial and glossy there's no way to feel that the crew is real or that they face any real peril. So far, new 'Star Trek' is looking like something more substantial, like something that won't leave you embarrassed for having paid money to see it.

When I first heard Abrams was cooking up a new 'Star Trek' I couldn't have cared less. But, after seeing this teaser I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fallen Art

Here's another entry from Tomek Baginski, who also directed 'The Cathedral'

The Lost Sock

Rocketboom has solved one of the greatest mysteries known -- what happens to lost socks. Amazing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Tribute to Heath Ledger.  Photo by chasing twilight

chasing twilight posts this tribute to Heath Ledger on her Flickr site



Love U2. Their new 3-D concert movie 'U23D' looks to be the goods. Here's Bob Mondello's rundown -- he's got a way with words. And, here's a nice report on a showing at Sundance by Anne Thompson.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tim Burton Short

Written and directed by Tim Burton, narrated by Vincent Price. If you're a fan of either these two this is a must see. Guess that pretty much makes it a must see.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Teeth

This one's a tough call.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cloverfield Hyper-Analysis

Part 2 of a very thoroughly thought out preview of 'Cloverfield'. Part 1

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Emergency Movie Pitch by Frank Rogala

Well, I've never seen this before. Screenwriter desperately tries to sell script before losing the rights to the story.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight on

The Signal

When I first saw a teaser for 'The Signal' it struck me just as another B-shock fest -- all plot, no character, no theme, cheap thrills. The idea, a very Japanese sort of techno-horror, is that an audio signal played (with or without video) has the ability to turn us into homicidal maniacs. That's too easy -- you can see why I was skeptical. Well, maybe it's growing on me or maybe watching the trailers (over and over -- I don't know why I do that) has rewired my brain, but I'm starting to like the look of 'The Signal'. Above trailer is the best crafted of the bunch. Below is a copy of the signal in question.

Go ahead. Watch it. Over and over.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Juno Interview

That Indie Show interviews Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, the director and writer of 'Juno'. Reitman says he shot one particular scene even though he didn't understand it out of respect for the writing. Cody admits that scene was born of her lack of experience as a screenwriter and she would not write a scene like that now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Truth vs. The Stuff You Really Want To Hear

Sculpture by James Muir

Nikke Finke recently said there was a secret coalition of A-list writers being formed in order to force the WGA to accept whatever deal the DGA makes with AMPTP.

Craig Mazin, writer of Superhero!, Scary Movie 3 and 4, former member of the WGA board of directors, and shopkeeper over at The Artful Writer, says this 'story' is based on a hoax, or a lie, I suppose, however you want to look at it. I tend to believe Mazin -- Finke posted her jingle jangle story on the 3rd, it's now the 7th and her site is the only place where there is mention of such a secret cabal of top-drawer writers leveraging control of the WGA.

I've heard that Nikke Finke's credibility can drag the ground from time to time, but she leads the industry in breaking stories so much that reading DHD is de rigueur. According to Finke her site is so busy she is having trouble accessing it in order to update the material.

I don't really blame her -- it's not like she's a reporter for NYT (if she was there'd be a free desk over at NYT). Nikke serves it up hot, and fast, and can't be faulted if she botches a dish now and then -- her audience slurps it up quick, and forgets just as quick. If a story turns out to be totally unfounded it doesn't matter because the next day brings a bevy of new Finke stories -- some of which are true, some speculation, some based on anonymous emails... Her volume saves her -- she posts so much juicy stuff and keeps her batting average just high enough, we let her slide.

Really, though. A coalition of A-list writers who are planning to force the WGA to...wait a minute. I thought Mazin was the writer of fanciful fiction and Finke was the reporter. For the truth you might try NYT, but Finke is better for a quick fix of the stuff you really want to hear -- even if it's so mindbendingly silly you...what difference does it make. We'll forget by tomorrow anyway. By that time there'll be a whole new slew of internet folly to read.

(Photo of 'Truth'. Sculpture by James Muir)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Woody Allen

Cassandra's Dream

Woody talks with Scott Simon about his new movie 'Cassandra's Dream' and filmmaking in general.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Gang's All Here

Indiana Jones

Story at Vanity Fair, pics by Annie Leibovitz -- can't beat it.

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