Monday, October 31, 2011

'Life in a Day' Now Playing Free on YouTube

From Google's blog:

On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the world recorded videos of their lives to take part in 'Life in a Day', a cinematic experiment to document a single day on earth. From more than 4,500 hours of footage recorded and uploaded to YouTube, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald and executive producer Ridley Scott created a 90-minute feature film that offers an entertaining, surprising and moving view of life on earth.

After a theatrical release in countries around the world including appearances at the Sundance, Berlin, SXSW and Sydney film festivals, Life in a Day is finally coming home to YouTube—in its entirety, for free.

Here's the YouTube page

Death Star Moon of Saturn

Named Mimas. It's hard to deny a resemblance to a certain evil empire's mobile planet killer. According to Wikipedia it's purely a coincidence as the first hi-res images weren't available until three years after 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' was produced.

Here's another view which is more profound, a bit unsettling. Saturn looms in the background.

New Trailer and Poster for 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'

Though you can only see half of Swinton's face (and it's out of focus), the expression anchors this graphic and promises a performance of some consequence. Probably the best poster yet.

Apple has a new trailer which, like others for 'We Need to Talk About Kevin', runs cold as ice. This one, though, is more subtly brutal, insidious, and harder hitting than earlier efforts. Tilda Swinton's delivery defies convenient assessment, normal descriptions don't apply here. I was left staring and a bit numb.

Movie has a rare power. Not for casual consumption. To be honest, I'm a little frightened to see this one.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Teaser Trailer for Ti West's 'The Innkeepers'

Yesterday, I wrote up the new 'The Innkeepers' poster. Today, Apple delivers a trailer. The flick comes off very classical, almost stubbornly old-fashioned. There's ghost hunters with microphones prowling the halls of a storybook haunted inn, a nice slow ticking clock, and a mysterious guest that checks in who may not be what he seems.

I mentioned the use of a 'cheesy 70s font' in the poster and hoped it was a reflection of the style of story (70s, not cheesy, that is), and the trailer seems to confirm this. There's a very 70s feel, a lot of it plays like a Stephen King yarn, which usually take place in decades past. There is a Poltergiest-esque psychic medium who steps in halfway through to help the protags connect with the spirit world. (I know, 'Poltergeist' is from 1982 but it was done in a very 70s style, normal (almost unavoidable) for directors/writers Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg, besides it's just a few years one way or the other...).

Aspect ratio is definitely contemporary -- not that they didn't have such ratios in the 70s but a movie like this probably wouldn't have been done so wide then. Color balance is warm and not too saturated (much like the poster). Camera angles are perhaps a bit lower than they were back in the day, but not too much so.

As I mentioned yesterday, the quality of the posters and stills makes me feel like this movie may have a shot at being special. This is often the case -- PR/Marketing get stoked when they know the product is worth selling and it shows in posters and trailers. There's a lot of little touches in the footage that indicates director Ti West was careful with this film. Like, at :29, Claire (Sara Paxton) walks toward the inn -- it's a nice steep downward camera angle, very foreboding -- and when she walks under the sign (at :31) it's swinging back and forth (hinting at an approaching storm, wind. Good to unsettle the viewer without them necessarily knowing why). The sign is not swinging in the first shot but is, a half second later, in the second shot. Not many would notice this kind of thing, but that's the point: Not many directors would think to do that.

There's a lot of practical make-up effects, none of that cheap laptop-produced CGI look. What VFX there are (moving wallpaper) look organic and high quality. Not what you'd expect from schlock-horror.

The song 'Under a Blanket of Blue' (Composed 1939 by Al Neiburg, Jerry Livingston & Marty Symes) is a jazz standard that adds a perfect creepiness in this context (a nod to Stephen King who includes old songs in his stories all the time. Weren't there old tunes in the ballroom sequences of 'The Shining'?).

Trailer does a good job of not showing all the salient plot points -- something we've been inundated with lately. Hopefully, they're keeping their cards close because they have something worth protecting, and at first blush, it's difficult to argue with the praise (in the graphic above) the movie is getting.

Good trailer. Looking forward.

Yesterday, I gushed about the new poster for 'My Week with Marilyn', which is stunning, and while I mentioned Apple had a trailer I forgot to mention they also have a clip. Check it out if you haven't seen it -- very good stuff here. Cannot wait for this one.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Win a Copy of Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs Biography

It's easy. Send the Pixar blog an email with your info, get a chance to win.


New Poster and Trailer for 'My Week With Marilyn'

That's good.

Apple is running a luminescent full-bodied gorgeous trailer. Had not thought that much of this project, now it's must-see.

Totally sumptuous. Wow.

Another Great Poster for 'The Innkeepers'

I like this a lot.

Beautiful. Very genre but genuinely creepy at the same time. "Some guests never check out." strikes just the right tone -- a bit cheeky but with some weight. Love the somewhat cheesy 70s font. Goes with the tone well. Hope the movie has that character-driven thing from that era.

The large looming keys-as-headstones motif is just right. Graves equal death, keys allow passage through a locked portal, etc. Nice.

Does not look like this poster is by Tom Hodge, who did the first two one sheets for this movie:


Hodge, by the way, also did this for 'Hobo with a Shotgun', which is pretty much iconic at this point:

The reason I mention Hodge's work is simply to establish pedigree. The posters for 'The Innkeepers' have been so good it must reflect the quality of the movie. True, director Ti West is known for schlock-horror, but perhaps he's going for something different.

There's also something in the stills, some quality that's compelling:

Sarah Paxton -- just doesn't look like schlock. If Innkeepers turns out to be a cheap slasher/shock ride it'll still be known for having had some of the best posters.

Seems like a good ole haunted house creepshow. Looking forward.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poster for 'Return to Zero'

No idea. No listing at IMDb. No returns on Google. No indications the title is a translation. But, the poster is excellent.

Tagline: "Three minus one equals zero." is very good. Stops you.

Werner Herzog's 'Into the Abyss' Trailer/Poster

'Riveting' is a fair word for the trailer. Apple has it in hi-def.

Poster for 'New Year's Eve'

I'm liking this flick more and more. Posters have been well designed. There's an unabashed positivity that avoids sappiness -- a rare thing.

May deliver. I'm thinking people will respond, want to/need to see this, or something like it, considering all the bad news we're dealt on a daily basis.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Poster for 'ParaNorman'

Good teaser. IMDb has:

A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and moronic grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

An excellent idea. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell. Butler was a storyboard artist on 'Coraline' and 'Corpse Bride'. Fell wrote 'The Tale of Despereaux' and 'Flushed Away'. Good backgrounds both.

Voiced by Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, John Goodman, and Casey Affleck, with Kodi Smit-McPhee playing Norman. Lots of potential.

Poster for 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

Suggestive of cover art for a novel. Elegant, dark. Nice font choice for the tagline.

Thematically, opposite of the first poster (with Craig behind a nude Mara) in that, here, Craig's image is smaller than Mara's. He glances behind him -- always somewhat of a weak look. Mara dominates the graphic.

Monday, October 24, 2011

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' Gallery, Character Profiles

I like John Hurt's write up. Apple has more images in their gallery.

There's also a featurette concerned mostly with Gary Oldman's character with some comments from John le Carré, which honestly, in just those few minutes, was pretty impressive.

Movie looks better all the time. As if, after the first teaser trailer, that was even possible.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

(German) Poster for 'The Darkest Hour'

Strikes the right balance. Should be good. Can see people wanting to see this.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scorsese's 'Hugo' Gets a Passable Poster

First one of these that's gotten my attention.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mark Wahlberg's 'Contraband' Poster/Trailer

Had not even heard about this one. Looks fucking great. Giovanni Ribisi is effective as a twisted slime bag. Ben Foster takes a turn -- always a good thing.

But, the real thing to notice here, Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale look good. Not popcorn matinee good, really good. Not like they're not selling a shiny product to the story-addled, but like it's a real character-driven piece with arc, throughline, subtext, yadda yadda -- something they believed in when they signed on, something they wanted to do right. Both these guys can pout around for the camera as well as any working actor, have many times, but that ain't what this is, that ain't what they're doing in this trailer.

'Contraband' is looking like an investment, something you can sink your teeth into. I'm watching the trailer and it slowly dawns on me, 'Whoa. This ain't no Italian Job/Wahlberg looking tough puff piece for the masses with Beckinsale running around looking pretty'. This movie is worth watching and I'm thinking it's due to the non-Hollywood pedigree in directing and writing. Helmed by Baltasar Kormákur, from Iceland with a background in theater (who has a background in theater anymore?). Written by Óskar Jónasson, also from Iceland. This team instilled 'Contraband' with that Euro sensibility, that elusive slippery realness that makes even genre flicks spring to life, (that stuff the Hollywood machine strives mightily to mimic), and here it flows smooth and natural, is easy to watch, rings true, and creeps up and grabs you before you realize what's going on. This movie has gears. This movie grinds.

Apple is running a beautiful hi-def trailer. If you haven't seen it, take a look.

Here's the official site.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Tower Heist' Character Posters -- so bad They're Good

These posters are like the title...'Tower Heist'? -- so bad they're good.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vdio to Stream Movies and TV Shows

Here's another contender in the ever crowded click-and-watch field.

From Cnet:

In a statement to CNET today, Vdio Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Barrow, confirmed that Vdio will "let you instantly watch the best in TV and movies, right now." The spokesman said that the service is "currently in closed beta" and will initially only be available in the U.K. The service's pricing "will be announced at a later time," Barrow said.

And PCMag's coverage.

French Poster for '50/50'

Wow. Actually makes the flick look cool, like you might actually want to see it.

So much better than the dreadful (almost as bad as the box office) domestic version. The expression on Seth Rogen's face says it all:

Which I went on (and on) about. Yet again, another foreign poster that beats the hell out of ours.

Really. You can't help wonder what the take would have been if they had used the bright poppy French poster instead of the sepia-toned shaved squirmy-faced one.

Poster for 'The Awakening'

Cold, atmospheric, very British. Strange boding color. Love the fish-eye distortion -- added in post, clearly -- which lends an oddness to the composition, as if a force emanates from the house or the woman.

Too on-the-nose tagline would be better as 'Dead does not mean gone'. Not much better I suppose, and too contemporary considering the period setting, but the addition of 'sometimes' is just too cheeky and sounds like the tag for a teen cabin-in-the-woods slasher.

A very 'The Others' feel. A stock, very Spanish, in the vein of 'The Orphanage' (El Orfanato) storyline:

1921 England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she knew in unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.

Good cast. Loved Rebecca Hall in 'The Prestige'. She did a lot with a smaller role.

My kind of movie. Good for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Comic Book Poster for 'Red Tails'

Relationship-Centric Japanese Poster for 'Real Steel'

The father/son relationship carries this graphic. To the Japanese, this is about their relationship first, fighting robots second. In this country, however, posters for 'Real Steel' don't make it clear there is a father and son relationship.

Here's the first US one sheet:

A basic boxing-themed graphic with the stars of the movie, Hugh Jackman and a fighting robot named Atom (no boy in sight, no relationship with a human being hinted at). The two people (sorry, beings) are, it should be noted, not facing or looking at one another. Generic, conventional.

Then, we got this one:

This one has a kid, but it's not clear he's the guy's son. It's as if they wanted to mute that facet of the story. None of them is looking at the others, none face us, they are all walking away. They are even in silhouette so we can't make out their features. Cold, promises violence in the ring, very American.

Would a poster like the Japanese one make the target (American) audience -- boys age 13-18 -- squirm? Would boys that age not want to see the movie because it's about a father and his son? Would it be embarrassing for a kid to admit to his friends he wanted to see that movie? Sure, it's cooler to say you want to see robots bash the hell out of each other, we all went through that, but why can't the poster even suggest a relationship between father and son?

I noticed the same thing in the Russian poster for 'The Rum Diary':

It shows the leads relating to one another, looking into each other's eyes. None of the our posters have that. Here's the first US one sheet:

A whole bunch of little bottles of booze that form the title. Pure concept, no people. The next had a person, but his back was turned, and he was almost in silhouette -- anonymous:

Only after these two graphics introduced us to 1) the concept, and 2) an unidentified hungover  protagonist, did we get a look at an actual person's face (although he avoids eye contact with us):

Not only is the Russian poster the only one that features a relationship, it's the only one with more than one person. And, the core audience for this movie isn't a bunch of immature kids, yes? Are adults in this country so put off by relationships that hinting at them must be avoided when promoting any movie that isn't a rom-com?

Okay. Good question. I wanted to find out. Are rom-com posters different? So, I picked one, off the top of my head, totally at random. 'What's Your Number' with Anna Faris and Chris Evans came to mind. Don't know what that says about me, but here's the US poster:

Where's the male lead? This is a romantic comedy, yes? Guy and girl hang out, fall in love, etc. Not only is there no guy in this poster, the only person that is there isn't looking at us. Just like Johnny Depp in 'The Rum Diary' poster.

This one sheet is conceptual, and it's not even clear what the concept is. Faris is small, a bit hard to see, and she looks away from us. The effect is off-putting. This, at best, is sterile.

Here's the French version:

'[S]ex List', you gotta admit, is a pretty good title. (Gotta wonder what the significance of the [S] is). When translated to French it's probably a more fun title than 'What's Your Number' so their poster is already better. There's a guy in this one, too, and he makes eye contact -- like an adult. Plus, the two figures are much larger, easier to see (especially their expressions) than in the US poster. Yes, granted, Faris isn't looking at us, but it's the same image from the other poster so maybe they didn't have a choice but to use it. At any rate, that she isn't looking at us, rather she's looking to the side as if remembering Evans and hoping he might be the one -- that fits here. There's a endearing vulnerability in the fact that she looks away from us because, well, there's another person there and she's interested in him, and in the US poster she's alone.

The graphic works. It's much more dynamic, engaging. I like the scratch-outs and arrows and stuff around the names on the side -- adds a nice touch, like it's a real thing from a real person's life. That the title banner sags in the middle from Faris' weight adds an authentic feel. All-in-all, it has a charm and warmth that's completely lacking in the US poster. It's not great, I don't think, but it's way better, more human, than the domestic version. Honestly, it makes me want to see the movie whereas the US poster did not.

Admittedly, it's not necessarily a pattern. I only looked at one rom-com poster before I got hungry -- now I'm going for lunch. But still, that's three foreign posters with more heart, where the people connect more, than in their American counterparts. Makes you wonder. Are we relationship-phobic when it comes to movie posters? Do we get squeamish when the person in the poster makes eye contact with us? Would we rather see a sterile, conceptual image selling our movies than one with soul and mature people interacting in a real way? Are we that damn skittish?

These are burning questions I'll be looking into. Maybe after lunch. More to come...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trailer for 'This Means War'

Trailer tap dances and sidesteps jaded assessment that weary bloggers are usually eager to tag movies like this with. Kooky fun, sure -- but good? I figured I'd hate it, was prepared to hate it, even wanted and looked forward to hating it, but...didn't.

Tom Hardy and Chris Pine seem pitch-perfect (yes, that's what I'm going with) as CIA super-agents dating the same girl. Reese Witherspoon looks good here (yes, I mean that).

A mid-February rom-com action diversion that's actually enjoyable, clever? Here's hoping. Hey -- it made me use turns of phrase I never have before and never will again. That's something.

You'll excuse me. I'm going to watch the trailer again. It's the best thing I'm likely to see all day. (Yeah, I mean that too).

Poster for 'Act of Valor'

This I like. This will strike a chord with audiences.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Samuel L. Jackson Would Like to be an Actor


'The Divide' Trailer

At first, I thought this was a straight to disc/stream B-flick, but it's been looking better with each new trailer and poster. It's morphed into a must-see for cinephiles.


Men With Hats 'Sherlock Holmes' Posters

'Horrible Bosses' Rolls out on UV/Flixster

From Cnet:

Warner Bros. Studios is making available the first UV movie today with the release of "Horrible Bosses." On Friday, the studio will release "Green Lantern" for UV. Buyers of those films on DVD or Blu-ray discs will find within the packages a code, which they can use to obtain a cloud version of the movies at Flixster, an Internet video service. Users must also create a Flixster account; but once that's finished, the movies are stored in their own digital locker.

Sony Pictures will begin releasing movies for UV with a December offering of "Smurfs" and "Friends With Benefits." And CNET has learned that Universal Pictures, the studio owned by Comcast, has also agreed to release the title "Cowboys And Aliens" on UV.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Poster and Trailer for 'Angels Crest'

Apple has a trailer. Probably won't go over big at the box office but would be good for a rainy Sunday afternoon at home. Story, based on the novel of the same title by Leslie Schwartz (screenplay adaptation by Catherine Trieschmann), has teeth.

Nice ensemble cast. Thomas Dekker is one to watch -- he's so immersed. Good to see Mira Sorvino. Jeremy Piven and Elizabeth McGovern always welcome additions.

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