Oh, Hell(boy 3)

July 14th, 2014

Guillermo del Toro has some bad news for those of us hoping to see another live-action Hellboy film one day. In a Reddit AMA he responded to a question about the film's prospects:

It is a question that I myself ask of the world many times, but we have gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested. I think that the first movie made its budget back, and a little bit of profit, but then it was very very big on video and DVD. The story repeated itself with the second already, it made its money back at the box office, but a small margin of profit in the release of the theatrical print, but was very very big on DVD and video. Sadly now from a business point of view all the studios know is that you don't have that safety net of the DVD and video, so they view the project as dangerous.

Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it is proven almost impossible to finance. Not from MY side, but from the studio side. If I was a multimillionaire, I would finance it myself, but I spend all my money on rubber monsters.

That's a very del Toro way to wrap up that explanation.

[Via The Dissolve]

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Would You See a Movie Based on This Tag Line?

July 13th, 2014

Susan Doll's piece about the tag lines employed on movie posters The Power of a Well-Placed Exclamation Point, or Would You See a Movie Based on This Tag Line? is well worth a read, not least for this little gem:

The poster for the b-movie Canon City (1948) is trying convey that the film is based on a true story, while still titillating audiences. Instead, the tagline merely mixes its metaphor: "Filmed with the naked fury of fact!"

Yes, really:

Canon City poster

[Via The Dissolve]

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Time Travel Lover

July 6th, 2014

Time Travel Lover:

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IMCDb.org

June 30th, 2014

You might have thought that the Internet Movie Database had cornered the market in film-related data. You'd be wrong. Sometimes the Trivia section of the IMDB just isn't up to the job, and there's nothing for it but to consult the Internet Movie Cars Database. Seriously, this exists and seems to be ridiculously thorough.

For sentimental reasons I asked it for appearances in film and TV by the Vauxhall Chevette and it brought up two pages of results, with screencaps, confirming that between the mid-1970s and the 1980s you couldn't walk up a streets anywhere in the United Kingdom without seeing a Chevette parked. It even had a starring role in an episode of The Likely Lads and a bit part in Christopher Eccleston's season on Doctor Who.1

Seriously, I know most of us don't need to use a resource like the Internet Movie Cars Database on a daily basis, but it's good to know that it's out there, being maintained by people who care about making this sort of information freely available to the rest of us.

[Via Matt Patches, talking in the Fighting In The War Room podcast at the 15:36 mark while reviewing David Michod's The Rover. (Not talking about the Vauxhall Chevette specifically, mind, just about the existence of the IMCDb itself.)]

  1. It was in Father's Day. Holy crap! Was that the car that ran Pete Tyler over?

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The Gunfighter

June 26th, 2014

The Gunfighter:

Director Eric Kissack, writer Kevin Tenglin, and producer Sarah Platt have fun with both the classic Western and the convention of the omniscient narrator in their short "The Gunfighter." But even more than nodding to old Hollywood, the filmmakers call back to Mad Magazine, Stan Freberg, Firesign Theater, National Lampoon, and all the other comedians over the decades who have pulled popular culture apart so they could play with the pieces.

[Via The Dissolve]

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KILL BILL 8 Bit Cinema

June 25th, 2014

KILL BILL (Vol 1 and 2) – 8 Bit Cinema:

I was hoping it'd spend more time on the Crazy 88, but despite that omission1 this is a pretty fun tribute to The Bride's rampage.

[Via kottke.org]

  1. Also, I'd hoped that Vernita's daughter would show up, but I suppose that little conversation didn't really fit the style of this piece.

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The Man with the Plan

June 23rd, 2014

Having seen Oculus the other night,1 I was reading the comments at the IMDb and came across a mention of a short film made by Oculus director Mike Flanagan back in 2006 that was related to his feature film debut.

Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan uses many of the same story beats as the current film, so you probably shouldn't watch it if you have any thoughts of watching the feature film because Flanagan's full-length effort really is best seen knowing as little as possible about why these characters are doing this thing they're doing. For anyone who has seen Oculus, the short – which can be viewed in full on Vimeo, is an even more compact – and pretty effective – take on one portion of the same story.

  1. My one-sentence review: Oculus is just 104 minutes long, but it's an extremely tense 104 minutes.

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Godzilla (2014): The Abridged Script

June 13th, 2014

Godzilla (2014): The Abridged Script is pretty funny…

FADE IN:

EXT. THE PHILIPPINES – 1999

KEN WATANABE and SALLY HAWKINS, who work for a SECRET ORGANIZATION that is so top secret they put their LOGO on their helicopters, and have a LOGO, arrive at a MINING SITE.

MINING SITE GUY

Welcome, Ken and Sally. Check out this enormous fossil we discovered! There's also a giant hole leading to a giant trench where something giant escaped and is headed towards populated areas, but fuck that.

KEN WATANABE

(stunned)

My God, it's… amazing.

SALLY HAWKINS

And look, two egg-sack things, one of which has hatched! Well, I'm sure Godzilla will be along soon to take care of it, restore balance to Nature etcetera, because that's what he does, right Ken?

KEN WATANABE

(stunned)

My God, it's… still the prologue, Sally, so not yet. […]

Be sure not to miss the caption on the still at the start of the script. Why didn't I notice that when I first saw a clip from that scene in a trailer?1

  1. Answer: I was too busy gaping at one of the first decent views we got of this version of the King of the Monsters.

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'Relatively restrained in its depiction of attempted posthumous sexual assault'

June 10th, 2014

I know it's wrong, but somehow Chris Klimek's scathing review of The Human Race makes me more likely to stay tuned should I stumble across it on TV some day. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the plan, and the flaw is in me:

Aside from The Girl Who Did Not Have Any Tattoos That We Know Of But Who Did Beat Cancer But Then, Sadly, Stepped On The Grass, Hough invests two other characters with backstories, and still another pair with personalities, though he never dares cross those streams.

That's a relatively tame bit, but the real highlights of the review need to be read in situ to get the full effect.

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David Lynch's Return of the Jedi

May 20th, 2014

David Lynch's Return of the Jedi:

Had he agreed to direct ROTJ I don't think there's any chance whatsoever that Lynch would have got to give the conclusion of the Original Trilogy a properly Lynchian feel. But it's fun to imagine, isn't it…

Even better, imagine the path Lynch's career could have taken if he'd been credited with directing a bona fide blockbuster and he'd had his pick of mainstream Hollywood's hottest projects. Can you imagine David Lynch's Titanic? David Lynch's Fight Club?

Then again, that path might not have led Lynch to Twin Peaks, and that's too high a price to pay.1

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. Sorry Dave, back to total creative freedom on lowish budgets and critical respect you go.

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'Or perhaps toppling buildings is a sexual display that sexual partners cue on.'

May 8th, 2014

The Ever Increasing Size of Godzilla: Implications for Sexual Selection and Urine Production:

In 1954 Godzilla was a mere 50 meters (164 ft). In the newest movie, Godzilla is estimated to be 150 meters (492 ft). For comparison the Empire State Building in New York City stands at 381 meters (1250 ft). Incarnations of Godzilla went from 13% of the height of the Empire State Building to nearly 40% of the height in just 60 years. It took cetaceans 55 million years to go from 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) to 30 meters (98 ft) in length. […]

Perhaps we're going to see some new problems solved by the SFX folks in the new Godzilla. A realistic tidal wave of urine, 60ft high, flowing between the skyscrapers.

For what it's worth: Please don't suck! Please don't suck! Please don't suck!

[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]

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In Your Eyes, on your PC / tablet / TV

April 30th, 2014

The Joss Whedon-scripted romance In Your Eyes has been getting a bit of attention for having been given a global, online release rather ending up in cinemas. You can argue whether this is because Whedon's production company couldn't find a distributor for a film with no big stars based on a story idea he had back in the 1990s or because Joss Whedon is being paid so much money for Avengers 2 that he can afford to bypass the big screen entirely and indulge his artistic whims.1 Does Whedon see this as the way forward for all his non-Marvel work over the next few years, or just as a way of claiming a bigger slice of the smaller pie when he's not telling stories of superheroes? Beats me.

All that stuff about distribution is fascinating and five or ten years from now we're all going to be able to see that obviously this was [insert phrase according to taste: "the way of the future" or "a folly that only someone whose main job was making US$150 million blockbusters could get away with".] The question that matters right now is, how's the film we're being invited to send Joss Whedon and friends $US5 for?

The answer is, not bad at all. The film wastes no time clueing the audience in about the supernatural (and never explained) twist that our two main characters have never met yet each can experience life through the other's eyes. They can't read one another's mind, so they have to verbalise their thoughts. As the two characters conducted conversations as they shopped or walked along the street or just did their household chores the logical part of my mind2 wondered why they didn't carry round a mobile phone or better yet a Bluetooth handset, since nowadays we're quite used to people carrying on one-sided, sometimes quite animated conversations with other people who aren't really there. The dominant part of my mind didn't care, because Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David sold their delight in the conversation, and in the escape this new relationship brings from their daily cares, so well.

I won't go into detail about how their story develops, but let's just say that this is a romance and once the introduction of their mysterious connection is out of the way the story develops in ways that you might expect. But that's not a problem; the idea isn't to throw us all off the scent with unexpected plot twists every twenty minutes or so, it's to let us get to know a couple of basically likeable, yet very different characters and ride along as their lives are changed by this unusual means of communication.

Which brings me to the one respect in which I thought the film fell short. We get a reasonable sense of the personalities and priorities of our two lead characters, but there's not much time for us to get to know more about some of the peopke in their lives. Above all, Kazan's character's husband is just a sketch of a character, and given that she clearly loves him3 I think it hurts the story that we don't get to see more of his personality and their shared history. I know that he's cast in the thankless romance movie role of an obstacle to the story we're really watching, but given that from an objective angle his worries about his wife's behaviour looked not unreasonable and the actions he takes in response drive so much of the film I'd have liked the film to have been 20 minutes longer to give us some more time to see the shape of Kazan's character's life prior to the events that kick off the main storyline.

Still, my misgivings shouldn't be allowed to distract from the basic point: this is an enjoyable romance with a twist and whilst I wouldn't go as far as Stu and make it one of the five best films I've seen so far this year, I certainly got my money's-worth. I hope we'll see more such experiments from Joss Whedon. I mean, if Marvel will insist upon dumping truckload after truckload of money on his front lawn that man's got to do something to keep himself busy. It might as well be making little, witty novellas like this and making it easy for us to see them.

  1. In Your Eyes is the second release from Whedon's Bellwether Pictures, the first having been last year's adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
  2. Or was it the sceptical voice of another person whose presence I haven't acknowledged yet?
  3. Albeit in a somewhat dependent way, as someone who is afraid that she can't be trusted to manager her own life.

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Russian Roulette

April 28th, 2014

Ben Aston's Russian Roulette won a prize at the Sundance London shorts competition. A neat idea, nicely executed.

[Via The Dissolve]

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Scattered filmed

April 21st, 2014

Back in 2012 I posted about an Indiegogo project I'd backed to film an adaptation of a Ken MacLeod short story. I'd forgotten all about it, until earlier this evening when I found myself watching Scattered and realised that there was a reason this story seemed so familiar.

MacLeod's short story works rather nicely as a short film, I think. It'd be good to see someone try The Execution Channel or Descent one day. Not as shorts, obviously. But they'd be easier to film cheaply than the MacLeod adaptation I'd really like to see, of the Fall Revolution series.

[Via Pop Loser]

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The Adjustable Cosmos

April 12th, 2014

The Adjustable Cosmos:

In the fifteenth century, three worthies come together to tackle the Emperor's disastrous horoscope. They lift themselves to space in their medieval vessel, braving the terrors and wonders of the of the Ptolemaic universe, to reach for the stars…

[Via MetaFilter]

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Best of Björk

April 6th, 2014

Perusing a recent Guardian article listing 10 of the best tracks by Björk, I came across a mention in comments of her performing a David Arnold arrangement of You Only Live Twice. I'd never heard this before (for some reason it didn't show up on David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred album of Bond theme cover versions) and it's fantastic:

That said, I'm not sure that this would make it into my personal Top 10 Björk tracks; not a slight on this performance, more a consequence of Björk having spent twenty-odd years making distinctive and frequently surprising music so that there's a lot of competition for the honour.

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Moses Supposes…

April 4th, 2014

義足のMoses is pretty much the cutest thing I've seen all week:

[Via MetaFilter]

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Lucy

April 2nd, 2014

It's entirely possible that Luc Besson's Lucy, a story of an unwilling drug mule who inadvertently gets dosed with the contents of her package and finds herself gaining what amount to superpowers – will be completely terrible. Goodness knows, the man is a phenomenally uneven director. But then consider how much stylish, pulpy fun his best work has given the world…

.. and contemplate this trailer, and the cast involved …

… and tell me that doesn't look like a pretty fun way to spend a couple of hours of your time.

I know, Besson's best work is mostly back in the 1990s (though I really enjoyed The Extraordinary Adventures… when I finally caught up with it last year) and Morgan Freeman's presence in a film isn't exactly an infallible sign of a quality product, but still. This may not be good, but it sure looks like good fun.1

[Via The Dissolve (again!)]

  1. And yes, the "we only use 10% of the brain" schtick is awful science that would normally make me cringe. But delivered by Morgan Freeman, in the midst of an unhinged Besson action-fest, I'm willing to let it pass.

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Story Of Your Life

April 2nd, 2014

Good news from Hollywood: Amy Adams In Talks To Star In Alien Movie 'Story Of Your Life'

[...] Amy Adams is in early talks to team with Prisoners helmer Denis Villeneuve on Story Of Your Life, the sci-fi thriller based on a short story by Ted Chiang, a top contemporary author in the genre. Scripted by Eric Heisserer, the thriller takes place after alien crafts land around the world. An expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.

Two important points to keep in mind. First, Ted Chiang's story is a lot more interesting and unconventional than that summary makes it sound.1 Second, the role Adams is up for would suit her down to the ground. If the screenwriter and director can translate Chiang's story into something that works on screen, Amy Adams could absolutely find herself finally picking up that elusive Best Actress Oscar.

Or, alternatively, this one goes back into development hell six months from now, Amy Adams gets her reward for another performance, and Ted Chiang never gets to become a household name.2

[Via The Dissolve]

  1. See this old interview with Chiang, published back in 2002 just after his first collection of short stories, including the one that is being adapted for Adams to play in, was published for a sense of how wonderfully varied his work is.
  2. Which, in fairness, would quite possibly be fine by him.

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Christopher Walken Dance Now

March 22nd, 2014

Christopher Walken Dance Now: a neat concept, greatly enhanced by some sharp editing…

[Via MetaFilter]

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