Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Richard Brody reviews what is perhaps one of the most difficult movies to write about, 'The Tree of Life'. Here's a clip:
Whew. Brad looks confused. Can't wait to see it.
The latest cut:
The uncompromising poster:
Apple is running a hi-def version of the new trailer
Monday, May 30, 2011
Words fail. I'll just go with 'beautiful'.
Recommend 720p (control appears on lower right corner of player after you click play)
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Reason I'm posting it? Simply: it's available in its entirety through today, Sunday, May 29th only. So, this would be just about your last chance to see it in this venue. Later, it might cost a lot, or not be available at all. So, you see, posting it now makes sense. Watching it now makes sense too...in the most literal logical way.
Wish things had gone different. Sean Young was the goods. Her YouTube user name is msy: Pariah. Says it all. Too bad.
But, enough of that. Check out this footage. Thank god for stuff like this. I couldn't take it if we didn't have stuff like this. Thank you Ms. Young
Here's a bit from the Seattle International Film Festival:
A must for those who love films about the forgotten corners of history, director Abdellatif Kechiche relates the intriguing story of Saartjie Baartman, the Khoikoi tribeswoman (admirably played by newcomer Yahima Torres) from southern Africa who was dragged around Europe in the early 19th century as a freakshow exhibit. Known as the “Hottentot Venus,” for her outsize features, she was a source of widespread fascination, leading to constant humiliation as she was made to perform like a circus dancing bear and poked, prodded, and gaped at by all.
And a clip from the Seattle weekly The Stranger:
The black woman is on all fours. She growls like a wild animal at the white audience in a Paris salon.
A white man/master holds the leash on her. She pulls on the leash and threatens a white woman with her teeth, and the white woman screams in fear. A dashing and fearless white man approaches the black beast, assumes control of the leash, straddles her, and repeatedly, powerfully, heroically slaps her big buttocks. He tames the African animal.
Plays at SIFF (Egyptian Theater) tonight, 8:30.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Then you watch it again. That's when you know it's good.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Here's a trailer
Here's a making of featurette
And here's a set visit
In the last few days we've gotten video of James Cameron and Michael Bay discussing the pros and cons of working in 3D. Now, we get more from THR which wasn't included. Here's a clip:
Apparently, THR is going to run the entire transcript, and hopefully the full video. In the meantime you can read what's available at Bay's site.
Rachel Weisz and Kathryn Bolkovac.
This story is almost too good. It's like some fantasy a screenwriter whipped up. Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop from Nebraska, gets this gig through an outfit called DynCorp to go to Bosnia and train local police officers. Once there she discovers that U.N. personnel are involved in sex trafficking of young girls.
Here's an excerpt from Bolkovac's interview with Diane Rehm (audio):
Kathryn Bolkovac: I took the local police officer who was with me and we started walking the premises and eventually found the staircase on the side of the building, which went to the second floor on the outside with a locked door at the top. And wound up breaking that door in and finding seven young women there who were huddled together on bare mattresses on the floor. Condoms strung over the garbage can, plastic bags of their street clothes and working clothes, just terrified. Beaten and terrified.
Diane Rehm: How old would they have been?
KB: Yeah, they were teenagers. There's no real way of telling their real ages, other than their passports, but they were teenagers, 15 to 20-year-olds. So at that point in time, we transported them out of there. I had additional units come to transport the women and separate them, trying to keep them separate.
When she brought this activity to DynCorp's attention she was threatened and summarily fired.
Bolkovac successfully sued DynCorp for unfair dismissal. Many of the people that were involved in trafficking resigned, but none were prosecuted.
The movie, based on Bolkovac's book 'The Whistleblower' stars Rachel Weisz (as Bolkovac), Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave, and David Strathairn.
Here's a trailer
Clip from Variety's review:
"Juan" may upset opera purists who prefer their favorites staged with no jarring alterations to the basic material. But this raunchy, modernized "Don Giovanni" -- music intact, but libretto and action profanely updated -- will strike the more open-minded as a bold but satisfying interpretation channeling what Mozart and Da Ponte might have created today, with free access to explicit sexuality and language.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
There's mention of Cooper's emotional reunion with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. I got curious so searched for video. If you haven't seen it, yes, it's very emotional, very good.
Found this which is fun. Cooper, when he was a second year drama student, asking Sean Penn about his role in 'Hurlyburly'. (In the first segment above, Lipton mentions that he had told Cooper's parents he would go all the way and be a success in Hollywood. In this clip you can tell -- Cooper had focus, what it takes -- it's just so clear this guy is headed for a successful career).
Works well. Loaded with potential. Perfect composition. Conveys a sense of deeply conflicted character. This could be good.
A clip from Frank Bruni's 7-page story on JJ Abrams:
Pretty nice write up.
NYT profiles Kutcher's approach to investing:
His firm’s latest and largest investment, to be announced Thursday, is in Airbnb, a start-up company in San Francisco that matches budget-conscious travelers with local people who are willing to rent out their spare bedrooms.
Airbnb has more than 60,000 listings, from seaside apartments in Barcelona to houseboats in the Bay Area. It charges a fee for each reservation and says its users have booked more than a million nights through its service.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Seems Todd Phillips is re-applying the winning formula from 'The Hangover'. Well, if it ain't broke...
Here are snippets from reviews.
Ian Buckwalter at NPR:
Eric Hynes at Village Voice:
Matt Goldberg at Collider:
Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune:
I’ve got a great idea for "The Hangover, Part III": Show director Todd Phillips counting the audience’s money and laughing for 100 minutes.
That’s perhaps the only way Phillips and his crew could show more contempt for their audience than they do by making "The Hangover, Part II," which repeats the formula of the 2009 predecessor almost exactly.
And, my favorite, Manohla Dargis:
Feig says that, to him, one of the most important things in comedy is that characters come off real, that they're something the audience, real people, can connect with. Looks like he succeeded with 'Bridesmaids'. It has a flow. Like these are everyday people who just happen to be in a movie.
Like this scene:
Rings true. You know these two people are friends.
Even when the setup is conventional the energy works. It's not like a line-reading.
When I first saw this I braced myself for that point when the schtick would get uncomfortable to watch. It didn't happen. It never became schtick. Rose Byrne stays sincere, real, the whole time, and because of that it's funny. You feel for her. She's so determined, and a little sad and lonely. It's touching and comic.
But, the flick isn't a touchy-feely exploration of friendships (between women). It gets pretty raunchy, as gross as anything from the Apatow boy's club. (If anything, more so).
'Bridesmaids' doesn't pull punches like a by-the-numbers girly comedy (I won't offer any titles but there's a non-stop parade. They're sterile, predictable, safe, with fakey cutesy scenes that nobody can get invested in without feeling like an ass, and they fail again and again).
This scene would usually have that vaudeville feel -- as if each joke is followed by an unheard ba-dum ching drum shot:
Plays great. Just rolls. Sick funny, but also real and natural. I can't think of another recent comedy that features women in central roles that goes there, pulls that off.
Audiences have responded. There's good buzz. 'Bridesmaids' may have legs.
I put this up earlier today, but it fits here, so I'll post it again:
Sorry, I like the first one better. New poster looks like a test. Don't think it works. (Well, more to the point, it's a disaster).
Stay conventional. Movies with female protagonists, especially action movies, have a hard enough time drawing an audience. Don't reinvent the wheel on the marketing for 'Colombiana'. Zoe Saldana deserves better.
Keep the one sheets gritty and tough and forget the floral overlays.
With James Franco and Julianne Nicholson. Getting the feeling this won't see a theatrical release.
It's a good trailer, doc should be worth a look. But, someone at Apple decided to black out certain imagery in the trailer. They did the same in the poster. I know -- there are rules. It's mass media, after all. However, the contradiction is a bit cute. And a bit ridiculous.
I wonder what Leeson thinks of the promotional effort.
Check out the trailer if you haven't seen it. Here's the adjusted poster.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Like the clip that rolled out a couple weeks ago, poster is disarming and has a flow, a natural feel. Really, this composition should fail but somebody treated it just so -- it works.
Subtext is there -- middle-aged man wearing wedding ring looking at two young girls on the beach, smile on his face. Story should have some weight, good character arc.
With Alexander Payne at the helm expect a subdued but persistent sense of pace. He has a way with quiet character-driven material. Loved the way he handled the fragile narrative in 'Sideways'. His stamp, as producer, is unmistakable in 'King of California'.
George Clooney looks to be maintaining career inertia effortlessly.
Great trailer. Reminds me of why I love the movies.
Michael Shannon brings this character to life nicely. Jeff Nichols is a director to watch.
Here's a clip, intro by Nichols from Sundance, and some observations.
1) Has that highly photshopped look. Pastel colors, mismatched contrast characteristics -- the robot has deep blacks and Hugh Jackman is in a fog (that implies heavy smoke or distance) even though both are the same distance from the viewer and should be lit the same, have the same contrast values. Visually confusing, takes you out of the moment. Large area of backlit smoke that serves as a backdrop is tacky. It's there to make the main subjects pop, but comes off very cheap.
2) Faces in background have been defocused. You can tell they were in sharp focus in the original image but, as that would draw attention from the main subjects, they were defocused. Looks cheap.
3) Shadow mismatch. The robot and the man cast shadows in different directions. This happens with multiple lights, but then there should be multiple shadows. There aren't. Each subject casts a single, clearly defined shadow. Incorrect, cheap, looks like shit.
At this point I figured RS would be one to skip.
Then came this trailer.
I was surprised by the quality of the CGI and changed my assessment -- the movie might be something worth watching. It did come off a bit sappy and superficially emotional, though. Whatever, it's for kids, I get that. That's what DreamWorks is all about. That's okay, I don't need to see (well, more precisely, hear) this story again. I just want the eye candy -- I'll listen to some classic rock from the 70s and turn the sound off.
Now we get this teaser poster:
It's nigh on impossible to articulate what's wrong with it, but I'll try:
1) The arm of the robot could not bend a steel cable that much. It would have to weigh, oh, as much as three cars (?) to do that. (It would have to weigh a lot).
2) Just overall cheap looking. Again, pastel, not photo-real. Crowd is very amateurish. Star effect in flashes is very sloppy, overdone, and there are too many.
3) Silly. Has something to do with 2 fingers wrapped around the cable. Looks dumb.
I know it's just a teaser but shouldn't it look better than that? Same thing is going on with the cartoony posters for 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'. What's up with that? Spend $100 million plus on production but pay some guy fifty bucks to do the teaser posters in his spare time?
So, now I'm back to 'nobody cares'. And, there's a sequel scheduled for 2014? Not sure about that. Kids are pretty smart. If RS goes up against something better it'll get its ass handed to it -- and an arm, torso, robot head, linkages and wiring.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Ryan Gosling's work is minimalist yet projects depth. He flits from one emotional state to another in a natural, non-technical way. It's as if the camera wasn't there and it catches you off guard.
Movie has a very 70s feel, as many have said. If you haven't seen the clip, take a look:
Anne Thompson interviews Gosling at Cannes. Also tight, lean, with good forward motion. Great insight into the genesis of the flick.
That's one of the best interviews I've seen. Thanks.
Gosling picks his projects judiciously and it pays off (from all accounts -- 'Drive' is getting great reviews). Director Nicolas Winding Refn is one to watch.
Love the placement of the license plate
Improved over previous efforts but still looks too painted. Where's the photo-real imagery? Saving that for later, suppose. Roll out the good stuff closer to opening. Okay, waiting...
Friday, May 20, 2011
Movie is about the elite group 30 Assault Unit created by Ian Fleming, who is also reputed to have developed operations Mincemeat and Goldeneye.
He also cooked up James Bond.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Over at Quiet Earth I happened upon this assessment of the trailer, which I have to agree with. Really, can't believe they went there. What do I mean? Won't say. Even typing the words is just so anti-story I can't bring myself to do it, but suffice it to say there's a major spoiler. (But, when you think about it the inclusion of this element may be a reflection of just how confident the director, Jacob Tierney, is. That is, it's one of those things a really smart audience will see coming, or think may be a possibility, so when it happens it'll cheapen the experience, so Tierney beats us to the punch by including it in the trailer).
So, like Marina says, check out the trailer if you want but I urge you to skip it. Instead, watch these clips that I lifted from QE. They're knowing, loaded with craft, creepy, and a lot of fun. This is a movie for film buffs.
goodneighbours1 by blankytwo
goodneighbours2 by blankytwo
goodneighbours3 by blankytwo
Love her stroking the cat's tail and the placement of the guy's hand in last seconds. Very, um, suggestive on a level the viewer would probably not realize in the moment. You'd need to watch again to catch that kind of thing. This is work by a capable director.
One thing for sure, the DVD extras will be worth the price even if you don't watch the movie.
I've hated the trailers and think the posters have sucked, but this featurette is fucking funny as hell.
Distributor must feel they have a hot property with 'Point Blank'. They spent some money to tweak this poster. And it shows -- it's better than previous one sheets, which used the same image but featured a protagonist without a gun running in a way more boring alley, thus:
Ah, the wonders of digital manipulation (double entendre intended).
hotter trailer (if you haven't seen this one, check it out) [of course, I suppose you can't tell whether you've seen it just from a link called 'hotter trailer'. that doesn't tell you anything. well, click it, watch a few seconds, and if you recognize it, keep watching anyway, you'll be glad you did. if you don't recognize it, that means you haven't seen it and should definitely keep watching].
Did you watch the (hotter) trailer? Good, huh? See? TOLDJA! (potential [pending] copyright infringement intended)
'Point Blank' (À Bout Portant) is looking fantastic. Pure action, infused with story, inhabited by characters with depth. From Fred Cavayé, who gave us 'Pour Elle' (For Her), remade as 'The Next Three Days' with Russell Crowe, directed by Paul Haggis.
Strange, but gets under your skin. Could be powerful, could be experimental silliness.
I put this up July last year.
A Film By Mark Pellington
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Plot clearly defined, characters well-drawn, and everybody's had bosses from hell. Should do well.
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