February 15th, 2015
In a scene between Mace (Angela Bassett) and Lenny (Ralph Fiennes), Mace says "…Right Here Right Now." This is exactly where Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook obtained the sample from that is heard in his single "Right Here Right Now".
(Sorry, I can't remember where I saw this mentioned a couple of weeks ago.)
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January 14th, 2015
Steven Soderbergh has posted his edit of 2001: A Space Odyssey:
maybe this is what happens when you spend too much time with a movie: you start thinking about it when it's not around, and then you start wanting to touch it. i've been watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY regularly for four decades, but it wasn't until a few years ago i started thinking about touching it, and then over the holidays i decided to make my move. why now? I don't know. maybe i wasn't old enough to touch it until now. maybe i was too scared to touch it until now, because not only does the film not need my – or anyone else's – help, but if it's not THE most impressively imagined and sustained piece of visual art created in the 20th century, then it's tied for first. meaning IF i was finally going to touch it, i'd better have a bigger idea than just trimming or re-scoring.
Well, now I know what I'm watching this weekend.
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December 29th, 2014
A lovely piece from Alan Bennett's 2014 diary, on popping round to the set of the film version of The Lady in the Van:
27 October. Late going round to the unit this morning to find them about to film the scene when manure was being delivered to No. 23 whereupon Miss S. came hurrying over to complain about the stench and to ask me to put a notice up to tell passers-by that the smell was from the manure not her.
Having done one take we are about to go again when it occurs to me that the manure, if fresh, would probably be steaming, as I seem to recall it doing at the time. While this is generally agreed, no one can think of a way of making the (rather straw-orientated) manure we are using steam convincingly. Dry ice won't do it and kettles of hot water prove too laborious. So in the end we go with it unsteaming, the net result of my intervention being that whereas previously everybody was happy with the shot now thanks to me it doesn't seem quite satisfactory.
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December 10th, 2014
As a rule I'm not a fan of film sequels appearing decades after the previous instalment, even when helmed by the same director as the originals. A flashy trailer can be deeply misleading. Bringing in a new lead actor in to play the hero can work, but it's a crapshoot. There are lots of reasons to be sceptical of George Miller's forthcoming addition to the Mad Max series.
But then there's this:
If the finished product is even 30% as much fun as that trailer makes it look then we're in for a treat.
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December 4th, 2014
Tony Zhou's latest instalment of Every Frame A Painting is Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy, featuring a positively awe-inspiring collection of action sequences. The best of them are lit and shot so that you can clearly follow what's happening every step of the way and feel every blow. Which shouldn't be remarkable attributes of a fight scene, but apparently are these days.
It's unfair to highlight a favourite bit, but I must say I was very taken with a brief scene1 from a film I'm unfamiliar with called Miracles – Mr. Canton and Lady Rose featuring a spiral staircase. Also, the various sequences from the Police Story films. And … oh, just go and watch it.
- Starting at the 2:08 mark. ↩
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November 25th, 2014
Just having seen The Drop, three thoughts spring to mind:
- James Gandolfini was taken from us far too soon. Any chance of a posthumous Best Supporting Actor nomination?
- Tom Hardy has come a long way since he played Praetor Shinzon.
- This isn't a film with a twist ending, but I do urge you not to read any reviews beforehand because you will get more out of the film if you go in a state of blissful ignorance.
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November 14th, 2014
Sequel is a rather nice collection of posters for imaginary film sequels. My favourite – both the film I'd want to watch most1 and the sequel with the nicest poster – is absolutely, positively My Neighbor Totoro 2:
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August 8th, 2014
Did you ever wish you could just transform any text anywhere on the Internet with "I am Groot"?
Of course you did. Or should.
For what it's worth, I keep seeing people say that Guardians of the Galaxy came out a bit like a Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Firefly/Serenity. Seems to me that it's a much closer match for Farscape:
- A human hero a long way from home…
- Who gradually forms a familial bond with a bunch of alien prisoners…
- Chasing / being chased round a big old universe full of colourful characters…
- Our Hero keeps on spouting pop culture references and figures of speech that are lost on his companions…
- Swagger. Lots and lots of swagger.
I'll freely acknowledge that four seasons of TV gave Rockne S O'Bannon and friends way more scope to develop their characters than James Gunn and co. had, but even so I've got to say that Scorpius (and Harvey) was a much more fun villain than Ronan The Accuser or Thanos.1
[Via The Dissolve]
- To be fair, I have a good deal of confidence in Marvel that when they finally get round to making Thanos the Big Bad of a whole movie this oh so slow buildup he's been getting will pay off big time. I mean, these are the people who make a blockbuster movie out of Guardians of the Galaxy. If someone had suggested that notion back in 1998 when Blade kicked off the current wave of Marvel film adaptations you'd have laughed in their face at the very idea! At this point, I wouldn't put it past Marvel to deal with their lack-of-a-female-lead-character problem by bringing Squirrel Girl to the big screen. And having her story pull in US$100m on the opening weekend! ↩
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August 1st, 2014
If Marvel ever decide that they want to atone for the terrible job they did of depicting Deadpool in the first Wolverine solo movie, they're welcome to do so by giving the world 90 minutes of this version of the "Merc' with a Mouth" instead:
Now that's more like it.
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July 14th, 2014
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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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!"
[Via The Dissolve]
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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.)]
- It was in Father's Day. Holy crap! Was that the car that ran Pete Tyler over? ↩
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June 26th, 2014
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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June 25th, 2014
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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.
- My one-sentence review: Oculus is just 104 minutes long, but it's an extremely tense 104 minutes. ↩
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June 13th, 2014
Godzilla (2014): The Abridged Script is pretty funny…
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.
My God, it's… amazing.
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?
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
- 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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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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May 20th, 2014
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?
- Sorry Dave, back to total creative freedom on lowish budgets and critical respect you go. ↩