Friday, April 29, 2005
GreenCine Daily is daily once more
The 800-pound gorilla of the film blog world, GreenCine Daily, is back after a few days of downtime due to technical difficulties. They were even kind enough to give us a plug in their massive roundup of items that built up in the absence (Hello GreenCine readers! Hope you stick around.).
Why Star Wars Sucks
Why Star Wars Sucks. Weblogger J.D. Roth of foldedspace.org goes into great detail on why George Lucas has forsaken heart and simple storytelling for hollow razzle-dazzle. My sentiments exactly.
Edison: The Invention of the Movies
What could one possibly learn from Kino's new DVD box set Edison: The Invention of the Movies (Amazon)? Absolutely everything. I'm 75 films into the 140 little miracles in this box set, all produced between 1893 and 1918 by Thomas Edison's crew of filmmakers. It includes classics like Blacksmith Scene and The Great Train Robbery, as well as an early Erich von Stroheim feature, The Unbeliever. Watching this wide range of stuff, from dancing to violence to comedy to simple documentary from all walks of life, you marvel at the sheer power of the motion picture camera. Your brain wanders back in time, taking in bits of century-old attitude and wondering if we aren't better off now. In many ways we are, and the invention of DVD is one of them. Kino's "Edison" box is already a front-runner for the coveted "DVD of the Year" spot.
Slant's Camp Horror
The ever-dependable Slant Magazine just introduced the latest in its series of fantastic film features, Camp Horror, including reviews of such family favorites as The Corpse Grinders, Sleepaway Camp, and The Slumber Party Massacre.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Bonding with Daniel Craig
Some rumor mills have begun to circulate that Pierce Brosnan is out and Daniel Craig is in as the next James Bond. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Craig to discuss his new movie Layer Cake and I asked him about Bond. He said that he has never been officially approached about such a thing and that, if he were, he's not sure he would accept. How do I know he was telling the truth? "If I were doing it, I wouldn't be allowed to talk about it," he said.
Sound Design; Classic Portraits
FilmSound.org is a comprehensive site dedicated to "the art and analyses of film sound design". Also, check out the gorgeous large-format portraits at Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans (both via Wiley Wiggins).
Two-for-One Trailer Geek Test
Which are you more excited about? Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins or George Romero's Land of the Dead?
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
The gee-whiz trailer for Joss Whedon's Serenity is online. Interestingly, it contains review quotes from DVD Journal and the like for the home video version of the TV series the film's based on. A strange tactic, but I guess Universal is trying to hook those who liked Whedon's Buffy and Angel but never checked out Firefly.
Putting in His 50 Cents
Did anyone else out there realize that the new 50 Cent movie (Get Rich or Die Tryin') will be directed by none other than Irish arthouse favorite Jim Sheridan, the guy behind such weepy dramas as My Left Foot and In America? I can just see 50 Cent making a tear-drenched speech about the glories of the American dream.
Convoluted as they were, the first two Mission: Impossible films benefited from crisp, beautifully stylized direction by Brian De Palma and John Woo, respectively. For the third film, the producers flirted with David Fincher, which would have been great, and with Joe Carnahan, who did the stylish, overrated Narc, which would have been okay, but they settled on some guy named J.J. Abrams, a TV director. Likewise, the third X-Men film has lost series helmer Bryan Singer to rookie Matthew Vaughn (the producer of Snatch). I smell Part 3 stinkbombs, not unlike The Matrix Revolutions, in the air.
Dench says Brosnan will be back as Bond
Cinema Confidential reports that Judi Dench ("M") recently told the New York Post that, despite rampant rumors to the contrary, Pierce Brosnan will in fact return as James Bond in Casino Royale, to be directed by GoldenEye's Martin Campbell. Personally, I think Brosnan would be far better than any of the rumored future Bonds (save maybe Clive Owen, though it's unlikely he'd take the job). What would have been really fantastic though, is if they could have gotten John Boorman (The Tailor of Panama, Point Blank) to direct it.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
More Hitchcock remakes on the way
If you've ever wondered how much better a Hitchcock movie would be if only Michael Bay could have somehow been involved in it, you'll soon get your answer. As Ain't it Cool News reports, his production company, Platinum Dunes, is going ahead with a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. And that's not all. As one of the talkbackers on AICN points out, there's also a remake of Hitchcock's 1951 classic Strangers on a Train (an even better film than The Birds) in the works. But IMDb doesn't list anyone as being attached to the project at the moment, so there's still some hope that this ridculously bad idea will be ditched before it gets any further.
... and introducing Mindjack Film
Welcome to Mindjack's new and expanded film section, cleverly titled Mindjack Film (you don't want to know how long it took us to settle on that name). There have been tons of side effects to the incredibly rapid growth of DVD, but probably the best one is that it's made everyone a film student. This site is for you. We're not going to try to cover every bit of movie news that's happening or review every DVD that comes out, but we do hope to share our passion for movies.
Since there's no way I could do this myself, I've called on a couple of great writers and peerless film geeks to join me in this seat-of-the-pants endeavor -- you'll see a few of their posts below already. Jeffrey M. Anderson is a freelance film critic who's work appears in the San Francisco Examiner and the Las Vegas Weekly, among other publications. He's also the man behind the long-running and always excellent Combustible Celluloid website. You may know our other regular contributor, Matt Hinrichs, better by his nom de blog, Scrubbles. And if you've read his site, you know he has a wide-ranging and eclectic taste in movies, and always has something to say about them.
We also still have room for a couple more contributors. If you're as comfortable talking about Roger Corman and George Romero as you are discussing Fellini and Godard then you're the type of person we're looking for. Send a few sample posts and a brief bit of information about yourself to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll go from there.
Monday, April 25, 2005
The Guardian Chooses 40 Best Directors
The Guardian has published a list of the 40 best directors, culled from a poll of seven critics (including Molly Haskell, Derek Malcolm and my friend B. Ruby Rich). The list is a bit odd. It goes out of its way to include lots of great international directors that might not be household names, such as Abbas Kiarostami (#6), Bela Tarr (#13), Tsai Ming-liang (#18), Aki Kaurismaki (#19), Michael Haneke (#22), Alexander Sokurov (#26) and Samira Makhmalbaf (#36). But it also contains some serious stretches. Steven Soderbergh comes in at #4; it's arguable he should be on the list at all. He's made three near-great films (sex, lies and videotape, Out of Sight and The Limey), several overrated behemoths and no great ones. Other overrated directors on the list include Michael Winterbottom (#20), Walter Salles (#23), Ang Lee (#27), David O. Russell (#34) and the Wachowski Brothers (#35). Could the makers of the abominable The Matrix Revolutions really be considered in the top 40? On the plus side, David Lynch comes in at #1, and the list had the good grace to consider David Cronenberg (my personal #1) at #9. Even the great animator Hayao Miyzaki earned a slot in the top ten. I guess the ultimate point of such a list is to liven up discussions, and they certainly have done that.
John Carpenter's Still Alive, You Know
With Assault on Precinct 13 already come and gone, the second John Carpenter remake is in the works, The Fog. Carpenter is on board as a producer. I had the opportunity to talk to Carpenter about the original, 1980 version of The Fog when it was released on DVD a few years ago, and he did admit that there are things about it that he would do differently today. So why isn't he directing it himself? And why won't anyone hire him to make new films?
Sofia Coppola revisits Marie Antoinette
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation is the best American film in years. It has a transcendental quality that films by Murnau and Dreyer have, plus a deeply felt human connection as well as some good laughs. Yet I worry about overpraising the film, because I want the younger Coppola to have a long and prosperous career, with time and money enough to make more masterworks. But because of the success of Lost in Translation, she now has all eyes watching her, and too much is riding on her third film, Marie Antoinette, now shooting in France with Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn and Molly Shannon. Hopefully she's artist enough to disbelieve the hype and just do her best work.
I know I'm getting old when the new Superman movie has some guy playing Superman that I've never heard of. Who the hell is Brandon Routh? Also in the cast are Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Hugh Laurie, Kate Bosworth and Eva Marie Saint. Come to think of it, when I was a little kid and saw the first Superman movie, I had no idea who Christopher Reeve was...
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Todd Solondz Interview
An interview with the always thought-provoking Todd Solondz, from last week's LA Weekly.
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