Sunday, July 31, 2011
I got curious and checked YouTube for clips. It's more watchable than I would have guessed. These clips are strange but compelling -- hard to resist.
At Slate, Matthew Garrahan writes up his lunch with Angelina Jolie. A fairly fluffy piece except for this tidbit:
Has this been mentioned? Had not heard. Would be a shame. She's the biggest action star we have.
The rest of Garrahan's lunch diary.
TrailerAddict has more
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
So... These aliens have advanced technology, can travel vast distances, possibly utilizing some kind of time-warp drive, find our planet in an obscure solar system in a nondescript galaxy on the other side of the universe, but they can't hit a horse at full gallop?
You know, you look at the still, they're not even close. They've missed the nearest rider by -- looks to me -- about 50 to 75 feet.
Why can't bad guys in movies shoot straight? Here's a clip from a documentary that sheds light on the subject:
That explains a lot:
There's just something, that rare quality that's hard to capture when making a movie but easy to spot when watching one, in every second of trailers and clips from Block that tells me the script is tight, the story delivers, and the movie is a lot of fun. Cowboys goes for it, stretches. It's sort of there, in a professional, mechanical way. They just don't quite deliver. I don't quite feel it. And, this hard-to-capture quality -- you don't see it you feel it.
I can see re-watching snippets of 'Attack the Block' over the years just because I want to relive it -- feel it again. I do that with some films -- watch for a certain camera technique, an edit, a line of dialogue, or even just a shot. I'll spin the DVD and review maybe as little as a minute or two, get that feeling, that uplift some movies provide, then move on to the next flick. 'Attack the Block' will be one of those. On the other hand, I'll probably watch 'Cowboys & Aliens' once to get it under my belt and review it maybe every ten years.
Fish has spent six years in jail. Six years alone. Six years keeping his mouth shut about the robbery, about the other men involved. The night he is released, the four men he protected with silence celebrate his freedom with a congratulatory dinner. The meal is a lavish array of sushi, served off the naked body of a beautiful young woman. The sushi girl seems catatonic, trained to ignore everything in the room, even if things become dangerous. Sure enough, the four unwieldy thieves can't help but open old wounds in an attempt to find their missing loot. Written by Kern Saxton
Tarantino-esque. People will talk.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Awesome cast. Eddie Murphy (was wondering where he was), Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Alan Alda.
Here's a trailer
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We got an internet banner/poster earlier if you want to see that. Same thing basically, but you might like it -- it has this funny kind of 3D or weird visual effect going on cause the two sides are out of focus and what's in the middle is in sharp focus which gives it depth, or something.
This one, though. One of the best posters I've seen in a long time. Nice. Don't know plot details but I'm sure there's some sort of thematic element represented in this poster. Like, the young guy, Gosling, is telling the presidential candidate, Clooney, what to say and what to do, so the public likes Clooney but only cause of what Gosling says and does. Something like that.
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking this story is about. One of those movies where the characters are playing each other to get what they want. But, it's not that simple.
First, the Inciting Incident: Character A (Clooney) sets up Character B (Gosling) to get something.
Then: (First Act turning point) A gets what he wants at B's expense. B looks like a chump. A gloats.
B spends the first half of Act II looking bad and sulking around the place.
But then: (Second Act midpoint) B also gets what he wanted all along even though it appeared he was being played for a sucker. Turns out B was the one playing A the whole time and let A think he had won when actually he was being set up by B. A ends up looking stupid and we figure it's all over. B wins, A loses.
However: A wanted B to get what he wanted so that A could achieve his hidden agenda which was something he could only get after B got what he wanted. Now, because A got what he really wanted, B looks stupid (again). Really stupid. A tells B something like, "Look kid. This game isn't about winning, it's about finding out who you really are. And, you're not a winner. I am. That's why I beat you. And that's why you look like a schmuck. Because, that's what you really are. A schmuck. I'm a winner, you're a schmuck. That's what this has been. That's what we've been doing. I've been winning, you've been a schmuck." You know? One of those speeches that comes off really evil but is so clever and smoothly delivered you kind of like the guy that delivers it even though he's being a complete tool. (I can just see George Clooney delivering a speech like that. You know. Like in 'Out of Sight' when he was a crook, a bank robber, but he was so smooth when talking to the bank teller, telling her what to do, what kind of bills to put in the bag, and to stay calm and everything was going to be alright, and how he said 'no dye packs' but it wasn't like a rude demand but more like a polite request, and he didn't even use a gun but was so cool and intelligent and had that buttery voice and those eyes that the teller was captivated by that she practically wanted to give him the money, and they were flirting while he was robbing her and he even asked that she smiled and try to look friendly and she smiled but it wasn't forced but natural because she was so charmed she couldn't help it, and you kind of liked him and rooted for him even though he was robbing a bank). One of those speeches.
So now, even though the speech was really smooth, we hate A for what he did to B and we want him (A) to burn.
But: (Third Act twist/reversal) B knew all this all along and allowed A to think he was playing B for a fool (again), except it was B that was playing A for a fool so that B could achieve his hidden agenda which was only possible if A thought he had accomplished his hidden agenda. So now, B looks great and A looks like a clod.
Thing is, though, A looks so bad now we sympathize with him and hate B. Well, we kind of hate both A and B, but mostly B, at this point.
And, you know, the tag on the cover of Time: Is this man our next president? plays into all that. This man? There's two men. So, just who are we voting for? The front man or the guy with all the brains who's pulling the strings, making things happen? And just who is pulling the strings, making things happen? A or B? That's the point. We can't tell. Hell, things are so complicated they don't even know. We don't know, they don't know. It's all sort of a cosmic 'Things happen the way they're supposed to happen no matter how conniving or smart you think you are' thing. And that's the thematic stuff represented in the poster with the two faces jammed together so it's hard to tell where one man's identity stops and the other's begins. Like they've spent so much time and energy fooling everybody you can't tell who's who anymore. And the lesson of all this is: don't scheme so much you forget who you are and make your life so miserable you can't tell yourself from your worst enemy. Or, something like that.
So, that's what the movie is about. But, wait!
Theeeen: (big reveal at the end of Act III) Turns out character C (most likely female -- some cutey-pie [there's a couple in the movie -- Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, maybe a couple more] that nobody figured had a horse in this race cause she's just too cute to be smart enough to compete with the big smart men) winds up being the one that was playing both A and B to get what she wanted all along.
Now both A and B look terrible, which is good cause we hate both of them and C looks great which is okay with us cause she's really pretty and was such an underdog that nobody even took her seriously -- which makes everyone in the audience feel wonderful, and everyone wakes up the next morning with a 'fuck you get out of my way cause I'm a winner and you're a schmuck' attitude which is how movies are supposed to make us feel and we all go out and make the world a better place which is what movies are supposed to make us want to do so it all works out for the best.
Okay, I don't know the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon, which the movie is based on, or the political maneuvering that the play is based on. I'm not that kind of guy. I just know this movie, based on the imagery in the poster, must play out along the lines described above. I like to do that -- I like to try and guess what stuff is about from just a couple clues or a small amount of data, like what's in a poster or trailer. That's the kind of guy I am.
Anyway...nice poster. Don't know why there's so much negative space on the left side, though. That's kinda weird. But, I like it anyway.
Just announced on their blog is a deal with AMC to stream the first four seasons of Mad Men.
ZDNet reports on the Netflix agreement with CBS:
This, along with a potential deal with DreamWorks Animation, could take some of the sting out of recent rate hikes by Netflix. Nice move -- considering what a box set DVD collection of a season of Mad Men costs.
Have to say, the timing on this couldn't be worse. 'Battleship' doesn't have the weight of, say, District 9 or the visual zip of, oh, Transformers.
The zoom at 1:46 is just too cute (they still do that?). This movie should have been released 5 or 10 years ago. Pre-Transformers this could have been cool. Now, though, cheesy is the best word I can think of.
Can't see many people looking forward to this.
But, initial reaction on the sites that got the 'Battleship' trailer this morning wasn't very good (both from bloggers and in the reader comments), and the trailer was taken down after a few minutes seemingly in response. Not a great start for a picture that cost $200 million just to get in the can. Marketing would add, what, 25% more? At least.
Anyway, here's the beginning of the rollout as of 8:30 am. Not very impressive.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
J. Hoberman on 'The Future' written, directed by, and starring Miranda July:
Is there such thing as a sincerely calculated naïveté? Or put another way, does Miranda July have any idea of how annoying she is?
I can't argue.
I watch some movies a few minutes at a time on DVD. Depending on who the actors are, the plot, genre, etc., it may take me a week to a couple years to finish the movie. 'The Future' is one of those movies.
With Milla Jovovich, Juno Temple, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen. Dwight Yoakam brings that thing he has, that energy.
Much better than the first tries. Man...can't even hardly look at these.
Were these designed by our idiot Marketing Division?
"I've got one text left! This is too much madness to explain in one text!"
WOMAN: Jesus, he looks about six!
BOY: I'm nine and a half!
"Good is good. If something comes along and it's a good script and you can get a great cast, you know, who cares what the subject matter is."
"When it's called 'Cowboys & Aliens'...that joke's over when your butt hits the seat...and you gotta deliver something beyond that." -- Harrison Ford
Well conducted interview. Easy to watch.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Chart describes Netflix subscriber mix for Q3 2011. I was surprised at the difference between the numbers for streaming-only and DVD-only subscribers. We've all been hearing how traditional media is on the decline but this chart is sort of a slap in the face. Most people get their movies via streaming and I can't blame them. Just fire up the lappy, a couple clicks, and you're watching a hi-def movie. Middle of the day or night, no traffic, no lines, no commercials, no rude people. Can't beat it.
Here's a clip from ZDNet's coverage of Netflix projections and recent rate hikes:
Netflix defended its decision to raise prices on DVD and streaming movie bundles, but does anticipate some impact to the third quarter as it delivered a weaker-than-expected outlook.
Netflix reported second quarter earnings of $68.21 million, or $1.26 a share, on revenue of $788.6 million. Wall Street was looking for earnings of $1.11 a share on revenue of $791.5 million. The three months ended June 30 reflect a quarter that ended before Netflix changed its pricing model. Neflix ended the second quarter with 25.56 million subscribers.
But all eyes were on the company’s outlook with the price change. Netflix decoupled its DVD by mail and streaming media plans. One DVD out and streaming movies is now $15.98. Netflix said in a shareholder letter:
Rest of ZDNet's story.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Not sure what the point is after the poster (complete with hidden word-search references) that came out a few days ago featuring Gary Oldman's image comprised totally of code. Everyone was talking about it, almost everyone liked it. Along with a sizzling teaser trailer, the TTSS campaign was off to a running start with a solid one-two punch.
This new one sheet, though... Just stops you -- and, not in that good 'whoa, look at that!' way. This piece is a study in staid graphics. And, what's with poor Colin Firth jammed in the lower left corner like that? Did they run out of room?
Plus, isn't this design too contemporary for this story? Isn't this the standard-issue one sheet for ensemble dramedies and rom-coms set today with actors in their own little boxes? You know the ones:
How is that right for a spy movie set in the 1970s? How? Tell me.
You know what they should do... A series of posters in the same style as the one for Oldman (below). You know? I can just see it. Colin Firth, John Hurt, and Tom Hardy each with their visage made completely out of code! That would be very cool. People would love those. They would! Don't you think? That would be so much more...spy-y. It would be thematic, grab everyone's attention, do a slow burn build-up of anticipation, and not make the movie look like a silly-ass ensemble rom-com featuring four old guys. It's a win-win!
Could somebody please get on that? Now that we've all been lulled to sleep by the crazy-boring new poster. Please. Somebody?
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Daniel Craig's Hair as well as Spoilers, Misdirections, Bait and Switches, Red Herrings, and Anything Else Kooky in the Trailer for 'Dream House' Along with Some Wild Speculation About What the Real Plot Might Be
By now you've probably heard. "Don't watch the trailer for 'Dream House' unless you want the story ruined." Bloggers are complaining the trailer is so filled with spoilers that the story is all but given away. Not only that, they're suggesting it's just another 'Unknown', so...why bother.
And, I admit I felt a little like that too after seeing the trailer. I was thinking that, essentially, the character played by Daniel Craig either a) kills his family or survives an attack in which his family is killed, b) goes to a nut house for a five-year stint and, c) gets out, goes back to the house and is haunted by the ghosts of his dead wife and kids then, d) with the help of the character played by Naomi Watts figures out who the real killer was, finds him, and brings him to justice. Not bad, not bad. I could watch that. A popcorn thriller with standard issue twists. I was okay with that.
But, it's not what I was hoping for when I heard Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, and Rachel Weisz were headlining this movie. I was expecting a major flick that would be talked about for years and, like most of the blogosphere I was disappointed after watching the trailer, figured this was kind of a lightweight summer thrillride and would be a tough sell because of the twists involved, especially considering they were given away already. But, then I got to thinking about it, running it over in my head, watched the trailer a couple more times, and felt like maybe there's more here. It just seemed too easy. The giveaways were too clumsy.
I went through the trailer again and found some pretty interesting tidbits. Now, I'm thinking (read: praying) this flick has an ace or two up its sleeve and maybe Universal has duped us. If what I'm seeing indicates what I think, what bloggers are calling spoilers are actually red herrings. The trailer is totally spiked with misdirection and we've been had.
Let's take a look, shall we.
Over a god's eye shot of a charming cul-de-sac, the narrator, Daniel Craig, says "Once upon a time there were two little girls who lived in a house." At the word 'house' the halting performance of Für Elise stumbles, hits a sour note, and we cut to a man standing in front of a house, at night, in the snow. Nice opening. Reverse angle on our protagonist, a man content with life viewing his home, his eyes filled with pride, and we're off to a good start.
In the next few seconds we're introduced to the wife and kids. There are shots that establish a happy healthy family life, then weird stuff starts happening and the piano tune collapses into a single eerie repeated note.
There are the expected genre visuals: pencil lines on the wall marking kids' growth (former occupants of the house), something hits the window, a figure in the woods, people scream, man goes to basement to investigate something, incomprehensible whispering voices come from nowhere, discovery of someone hiding -- all while the single piano note gets more insistent. Sure. Got it. This is The Shining, Amityville Horror, and The Others territory tried and true. Par for the course.
Now comes the first strange plot element. EXT. NIGHT -- GROUP GATHERED NEXT TO A VAN. A girl says 'You live here and you don't know about the murders?'
Why is that strange? Well, during the first viewing of the trailer, it isn't. Some neighborhood kids got into a friend's van and headed over to the 'murder house' to maybe get high and have some fun. Normal kids stuff. But then, when the girl is face to face with Craig why doesn't she recognize him as being the killer or the father/husband of the family that was killed in the house?
If Craig is a local celebrity because (as is implied later in the trailer) he killed his family, then how could local kids a) not recognize him and b) ask a stupid question like 'You don't know about the murders?' Kinda weird, yes?
Next we learn that the father of the murdered family, one Peter Ward, was a suspect in the killing. This is where we get a clue. A female voice, presumably Craig's wife says, "How could the neighbors not have said anything to us?" Yeah. How? Why didn't they say anything? What does that indicate? "The house has been empty a long time," says neighbor Naomi Watts in way of explanation. Well, sure. No reason to mention all those killings to the new family that just moved in since it happened like what, five years ago. That's a long time, right? Best forget it, not say anything, move on.
Then, major spoiler, Craig goes to the local loony bin to talk to this Peter Ward himself and finds out the guy is...himself. Craig is Peter Ward and was just released from said bin days before. Here's an interesting thing you might not have noticed. When Craig talks to the guy that runs the mental institution he looks like this:
Then he sees his own image as a patient from the video archive:
And, when we cut back to Craig, he looks like this:
His hair is slicked back. The lighting is cooler, contrast harsher. His shirt has become very dirty -- like nasty, been worn and slept in for a week dirty. And, presto chango, he even needs a shave all the sudden. All within a couple seconds.
So, we have an identity switch/twist going on, but it's not run-of-the-mill. I can't remember this type thing, where a guy's appearance changes like that when the reveal happens. It's a cut above and it's one of the reasons I'm hoping this movie will deliver more than the trailer suggests, (and Universal knows that and that's why they're not afraid to give away so many pseudo-spoilers).
Okay. So Craig is, apparently, Peter Ward. This is where things get really interesting. At IMDb they list Craig's character's name as Will Atenton.
No mention of a character named Peter Ward. Why is that? No ideas here, just pointing it out. But, you gotta admit, there's more going on than just another twisty movie with a trailer that gives away too much. This has layers. And, to me, it all seems pretty solid, well thought out.
Next comes the montage where Craig (as Peter Ward, all grungy) tears down the 'No Trespassing' sign and moves into (what you figure is) his old house. Now we know (or are supposed to think) this guy is mentally unstable. We see him in the abandoned house, sitting in the kitchen by candlelight, when he hears, or thinks he hears, a child laugh. Next, his wife jumps out of the shadows, hugs him and, once more, he looks nice again, like before.
Shirt buttoned all the way up (but missing a tie), clean and white, he's clean-shaven, and his hair is all fluffy and nice. His wife is beautiful, kids running around laughing, the house is in order, everything hunky-dory.
Then, there's a very strange bit. Craig (nice and clean) asks Watts, "Did I do it?" She says no and asks, "What do you remember?" Craig replies, "I left my wife and my family at home this morning." This morning? See, we just got used to the idea that it's been years since the murders, now it's 'this' morning. Today. The comment is voiced over a scene where (super clean) Craig gets off what looks like a commuter train very smartly dressed for a day at work.
Is that the same buttoned up white shirt? Of course, the tie is in place as he's going to work and all. And, behind him, stepping off the train, is this guy.
That's Elias Koteas. Good character actor. Usually has smaller roles, but brings a lot to the show. Here, though, he has all the markings of the bad guy -- the way he moves, the way he's following our protagonist. The thing that's strange about Koteas, though, is he's credited at IMDb as playing 'Hooded Man/Boyce'.
I'm sorry, what? He plays two characters or a character that goes by either Hooded Man or Boyce. In the screen capture he isn't wearing a hood so he must be Boyce. However, here there is a hooded figure:
I know that's kind of hard to make out. He's moving from right to left (the direction bad guys move. Good guys usually move left to right). You can see it in the trailer, at 1:57. So, is this Koteas as Hooded Man?
This hooded figure appears immediately before Craig's wife, Libby Atenton played by Rachel Weisz, is shown obviously frightened, holding a butcher knife, ready to defend herself. So -- the hooded man is the killer? Would that make Koteas the killer? Looks sorta kinda like it would. What does that mean plotwise? Craig/Ward was in a prison for the criminally insane after killing his family, as the trailer leads one to believe, or in a mental health facility being treated as a post-trauma emotionally shattered man after the Hooded Man (played by Koteas) killed his family?
So now we have another ambiguity when it comes to identity. First, Craig is listed as portraying Will Atenton not Peter Ward (and IMDb does not list a character with that name) and the trailer suggests he is the killer, then we get this thing with Koteas' character's name(s) and the implication the Hooded Man is the killer along with the possibility Koteas plays another character named Boyce. Again, layers. There are twists within twists, and that could add a lot to the movie. None of which is obvious from a casual viewing of the trailer.
Okay. Here's where I'm going to posit my take on the plot.
END OF WILD SPECULATION
It does fit together. A fair interpretation I think. Would not be too unlike elements of 'The Sixth Sense', yes?
It's a twisty supernatural thriller with what might be a cool hook and a very compelling story. Universal may be playing us for suckers by spoon-feeding a trailer filled with non-spoilers that are designed to make you think the movie is a predictable by-the-numbers thriller when it's much more.
This could be a fairly gripping movie with a nicely cut plot. But, then again, it could be a predictable by-the-numbers thriller. Remains to be seen.
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- Morning Coffee
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- 'Mysteries of Lisbon' Trailer
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- The Myth of the American Sleepover
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- Jennifer Aniston is NOT Naked in this 'Horrible Bo...
- New 'Conan the Barbarian' Trailer
- Every Movie is Exactly the Same
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- 'The Iceman' Gets a Poster
- 'Dream House' Poster
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- New Poster for 'Final Destination 5'
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- Team Ghost - High Hopes
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- Music from 'Captain America'
- 'Page One: Inside the NYT' -- The Insiders React
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- A 'Dialogue Delivery' Scene From 'Transformers: Da...
- 'The Whistleblower' Gets a Poster
- New Image from Pixar's 'Brave'
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