Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ridley Scott's doodle on the screenplay copy of his film The Martian


Is it time to give Terrence Malick another shot with his latest entitled SONG TO SONG?


What we do know about Terrence Malick's latest, which was called "Weightless, but is now called "Song to Song":

Running Time: 145 Minutes

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Haley Bennett, Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer, Benicio Del Toro, and Holly Hunter.

Plot: "Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas."
Some sequences were filmed during the Austin City Limits festival a few years back, the actors performed in the midst of concerts by Arcade Fire, Iron & Wine, Fleet FoxesBlack Lips, and Patti Smith

How some cool silent film effects were done

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Carrie Fisher's Urn is a Huge Prozac Pill

The movie "Her" has some, um, interesting credits


BEAUTIFUL 'Beauty and the Beast' Triptych Poster

The 6 Worst Cases of "Whitewashing" in Hollywood History

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Grace Kelly leaving Hollywood forever New Year's Day 1956. She married Prince Rainier III 2 months later.

Source (Getty Images)

John Lee Hancock's The Founder

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I'm actually quite surprised that John Hancock's "The Founder" hasn't had any kind of traction this holiday season. It's a well-done and gripping portrait of the greed the seeps through the cracks in this country. Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) plays the titular "founder," more of a schemer that found his way to stealing the labor of love built by the McDonald brothers in San Bernandino, California. They didn't want to franchise due to keeping their integrity intact and that, well, quality control when you franchise fast food is almost impossible. Kroc didn't listen to them, although he convinced them to have him open up another McD's location in a small Illinois town, he expanded. 19 States. Then he decided to replace ice cream-based milkshakes with powdered milkshakes, which got the brothers fuming and then he decided to real-estate McDonald's locations and the rest is, as they say, history.

Keaton deserves all the awards love for his portrayal of Kroc. He's been having quite the comeback lately, but this performance, just like the film itself, has been ignored by most, if not, all end-of-season awards. It's career-best work for Mr. Keaton. Yes, Hancock's film follow a familiar trajectory, but the story itself is fascinating nonetheless. There is plenty of stinging cynicism is Robert Spiegel's (Big Fan, The Wrestler) screenplay, the satirical aspects of the script are not far off from the times we live in today. The American dream, although a beautiful and resonant idea for the values of this country, can produce toxicity of the highest levels as seen here. If anything, I'd say the weak spot of the film is Hancock's direction, which just lies there and doesn't really do much in the way of augmenting the fascinating story at hand, but maybe that's what the film needed, a by-the-books, just-tell-the-story kind of approach.

So with all that being said, why has this film, but, more importantly, Keaton's performance, not gained any traction during awards season? Well, firstly, they didn't screen the damn thing for press here (Boston) until this week. How do you build buzz if no critic sees it. They only limited screenings of it to the major critics group members, but that's not enough to build buzz. At the moment Keaton is on the outside lookin' in for a possible Oscar nom, but he is well-loved and if enough industry people catch the film they will vote for him. I know it. His performance is better than most of the would-be contenders in the category.

Roger Deakins' handwritten list of 10 greatest films ever made

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rogue One bombs in China, makes just $460k from Midnight screenings. Projected total gross is lower than that of TMNT 2 and the Angry Birds movie.

David Fincher's Advice To Young Filmmakers Is Just General Good Advice For Life

David Fincher's Advice to Young Filmmakers

"I always wanted to give a lecture at film schools. You go in and you see all these fresh faces, and you say: 'You! Stand up, tell me your story. Tell me what your film is going to be about.' And they start, and you go: 'Shut up and sit the fuck down!' And if they do, you go: 'You're not ready.' Because the film business is filled with shut-up and sit-the-fuck-down. You got to be able to tell your story in spite of sit-down and shut-the-fuck-up. If you are going to let something like that derail you, what hope do you have against transportation department? What hope do you have against development executives?"

This is from a book passage which can be found HERE

Bobba Fett unmasked

Carrie Fisher had a major role in "Star Wars: Episode 9"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Scorsese on his cinematic future: "I'm Exhausted"

Martin Scorsese / photo courtesy Paramount

Of all the Martin Scorsese interviews I've read these last few weeks, I believe this might be the best one, right up there with Nick Pinkerton's Film Comment piece (Here).

Commonwealth Magazine which seems to be a faith based publication has an in-depth and deeply personal conversation with Scorsese in its latest issue.  I recommend you read the whole thing, but the most interesting tidbit for readers of this site might be Scorsese's thoughts on his future as a director and his religious beliefs.

On seeing himself making movies ten years from now?

 "I don’t know. Even though there’s an enjoyment with filmmaking, and it’s an obsession every time ... I’m exhausted. It’s like, I’ll never make another film! But I’m getting ready. DeNiro is talking to me. You know, it’s the old story: DeNiro and I, we’ve had this project in mind about an old hit man—a true story. He was about seventy-four years old; we happen to be seventy-four. It takes place in the 1960s. It’s about the price you pay for a life that you lead, and a sense of good and evil. So here we are."
"With any movie, the question is, do you really want to be there? You really have to have a story that you want to tell and that you feel you could tell. And also people that you want to be with. That’s the main thing. Life gets to be too short. Ultimately, the one thing I thought I could do in life was—how should I put it? I thought I could nurture the gift I was given by God, the gift of creativity.  Now, in terms of the results, whether they’re good, mediocre, bad—I don’t know. But it turns out it doesn’t matter. It’s about growing as a person, and in your creative work, if you can grow any further. Is there anything more to mine there? Take the analogy about fishing and the intellectual waters. How deep can you fish, you know? How deep can you do it? "

On Religion vs Science:
"It’s a matter of not accepting the certitude of scientific thinking, or even philosophical thinking. Yes, there are many problems with organized religions. But the certitude of who we are, and what this universe is, and this life—it just can’t be. This is an old man talking, but we might be in a world where younger people won’t even consider that which is not material, that which one can’t see, taste, or feel. And ultimately, when everything is stripped away in Silence, that’s really what’s left. It is the spiritual."

Apple's iOS 10.3 on the way already might have 'Theater Mode' option for texting during a movie

Source: The Guardian

"Sources also believe the software will include a 'Theater Mode' presented as a popcorn shaped icon that dims the display and disables features to make devices suitable for movie theaters."

"Apple also owns a patent for 'Theater Mode', which it had published in 2012."

"While the user is in the movie theater, the mobile device deactivates its cellular communications interface and/or automatically sets the device to a silent mode,' reads the patent published in 2012."

"When the user leaves the movie theater, the portable device enables phone communications and/or restores the ringer setting to the setting utilized prior to the device's deactivation."

I've been dreading this day ever since I heard "rumors" about Apple devising this app. No, you don't need to be texting during a movie. You should watch the movie and be courteous to those around you. If it's super urgent someone will call you or text you during the movie then step the fuck out of the theater when they do. Be courteous. The cinematic experience will go extinct because of "inventions" like these.

GoldDerby, A consensus of 24 Oscar pundits, claims these are your 10 Best Picture frontrunners

Source: Gold Derby

Gold Derby is usually pretty dead-on with their predictions. Over 24 Oscar "experts," which includes bloggers, critics, pundits, industry, have made the claim that these are the 10 films that will be fighting it out for Best Picture come Oscar time. My guess is that we will have around 8 nominees this year, which has been the average, but some are claiming we might actually have the lowest number yet with 6.

My own Oscar predictions (HERE) are not far off from these. Some of the exceptions: I don't believe that "Jackie" and "Silence" have the support to get nominated. "Hidden Figures" seems to be well-loved across the board and should be in contention. I also think "Sully" has a real shot, despite the Golden Globes snub. For Best Actress, Ruth Negga might sneak in and oust Annette Bening. The Best Actor lineup I have no problem with, but I think Tom Hanks might oust Viggo, we shall see, ditto Supporting Actress which looks dead-set. As for Supporting Actor, I'd take out Dev Patel and Hugh Grant, replace them with Michael Shannon in "Nocturnal Animals," and Kevin Costner in "Hidden Figures."

Michael Keaton didn't star in "Batman Forever" because the script "sucked"

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I grew up on Tim Burton and those first two Batman movies. I was obsessed and continuously rewatching them. My fandom stopped once "Batman Forever" happened, which was met with a resounding "WTF?" I mean, it's one thing changing Tim Burton for Joel Schumacher as the director, but replacing Michael Keaton with Val Kilmer as Batman was the final straw for me. I wouldn't be a fan until Christopher Nolan took over. I do, however, still think Keaton has been the best on-screen Batman we have ever had. He just nailed the caped crusader in a way that not even Christian Bale could.
Well, it seems like Keaton made the right decision because he claims that he didn't return for the series because the screenplay underwhelemed him.
It sucked,” Keaton said about the script he read. “I knew it was in trouble when he [Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?’ ”
This isn't the first time Keaton bashes "Batman Forever." Per Screen Rant, in a 2014 appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, Keaton said he turned down a $15 million payday because “it sucked…Yeah, it was just awful!” 
Over the years, Keaton has had this to say about his time playing Batman:
"Having played Batman and being very proud of playing Batman. I never back off that. The idea was bold, interesting, and cool when Tim made it. I didn’t really put it together, Edward did [a superhero movie] too. I just go to work."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Some of the creepiest makeup of the silent era

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The first message when you play the Eraserhead Blu-ray from Criterion.

The first message when you play the new Eraserhead Blu-ray from Criterion.

I couldn't sleep one evening and decided to pop in my Blu-ray of Eraserhead since it's, for me at least, the ultimate midnight movie. You can't watch Eraserhead middle of the afternoon, it just doesn't work that way. You have to watch it late at night and with as much isolation surrounding you as possible. This message surprisingly popped on the screen before the film began. I did as was told and closed every light in my apartment.

The film is all about atmosphere with Lynch's masterful calibration of sound and image colliding to create a toxic and surreal atmosphere that just sucks you in, even when you're not always entirely sure what is going on. Suffice to say, if you didn't "get" Erasherhead, you just haven't experience it the right way or in the right setting.

I can wholeheartedly confirm this theory to you based on personal experience. The first time I saw "Eraserhead" was in an afternoon film class, same thing with the following viewing. I didn't feel any of it. Nada. It left me shrugging in indifference, but upon third viewing, in the right time and setting, everything just clicked. This has been billed for year as a "cult" midnight movie for a reason. It has been created for you to watch it in the wee-wee hours of the evening and revel in its atmospheric absurdities. You gotta love Lynch.

Tom Hiddleston’s email to Joss Whedon after he read THE AVENGERS script, and Whedon's response

Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon

Whedon's response to Hiddleston

Steven Spielberg on superhero movies: "There's eventually going to be an implosion"

"There's eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm. We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn't mean there won't be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns."

Source: THR

Marion Cotillard Says She Cries Whenever She Watches "Step Brothers" and that she's seen it more than ten times

"Rogue One" editors reveal how they massively changed Jyn's intro and the third act

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Monday, January 2, 2017

This is the FURY ROAD legend that George Miller wrote on flight from LA to Australia in 1997

This is the FURY ROAD legend that George Miller wrote on flight from LA to Australia in 1997

Studio notes to Spielberg over Back to the Future

Vince Gilligan's brilliant Better Call Saul adds Gus Fring to the mix

Breaking Bad was quite possibly the greatest TV drama of all time, right up there with The Sopranos and The Wire, at least. So then, it was with great restraint that I started watching its spin-off Better Call Saul. Any doubt I had was quickly eviscerated by the first episode. This is a really good show, even maybe a great one. You can't make comparisons to Breaking Bad though; it'd be like comparing The Godfather to Goodfellas. On its own, Better Call Saul is a significant achievement because of its focus on character and the subtle dilemmas that invade these well thought-out characters' lives. If the other show was showy and epic, this one is restrained and minimalist. It has nothing to do with Breaking Bad, which is another reason why it's so damn good.

Of course Bob Odenkirk owns this show, but if there is a true undervalued MVP in the cast it's Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler. Her film credits are reduced to mostly TV movies, but something tells me we'll be seeing her on the big screen soon. She is phenomenal as Wexler, who is really the heart and soul of the whole show. She encompasses the most pronounced example of a strong female lead on TV and does it with such bravado. The whole show is supposed to be about the boys club, but she reduces their impact and makes you cheer harder for the lone female warrior. There's a great Salon interview with Rhea, which you can find HERE.

All this to say that the much anticipated third season has a sneak peek and it looks like Gus Fring will be back. Should add extra spice to an already invigorating show. Vince Gilligan was touted as a kind of David Chase-like genius with "Breaking Bad," but I find that what Gilligan has done post-Breaking Bad is much more successful than what Chase did post-Sopranos. It is no secret that they both reinvented television with their landmark shows, but TV seems to be changing every year and you have to keep up with the zeitgeist if not you'll probably get written off as a has-been and the next genius will show up and, eventually, get lost as well. Very interesting times we are living in and it seems like TV is slowly, but surely, overtaking American cinema's artful cred.

The annual Criterion drawing, giving hints of what movies are to come!

What do you see?

I count sixteen candles...Sixteen Candles?! Are we getting John Hughes in the collection? 

The flag is Buena Vista Social Club?

Ghost 'whirl' = Ghost World?

Jeanne Dielman and Tampopo are obvious.

What's in the box? Se7en?

Anything I might have missed?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The 5 Stop-Motion Animation movies you have to see

I actually wish I could have included the underrated "Shaun the Sheep," but, alas, we'll have to settle with these 5 landmarks of stop-motion animation. With Wes Anderson announcing his next film, Isle of Dogs, will be using stop-motion, we figured it would be a good time to look back at the very best that stop-motion animation has offered us over the years. This isn’t a new technique by any stretch of the imagination. Stop-motion animation has been in use for decades, notably in 1933’s King Kong, which had animator Willis O’Brien creating the aforementioned monster-sized ape out of a model with movable limbs. Here are ten movies that advanced the technique and made unequivocally beautiful art out of it.

New BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017) Poster

Ridley Scott: "Cinema is pretty bad ... I'm Concerned for its future prospects"

New BEAUTY AND THE BEAST still courtesy of USA TODAY


The Best Movies of 2016

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