Star Wars Movie Poster Mash-Up

Seems that all the rage in the art-design, poster world has been doing minimalist versions of one sheets from popular movies. And all across YouTube over the past however long, we’ve seen countless movie mash-ups that intertwines dialogue or the use of creative editing to make up films with a completely different feel to them or as comedy gags or as an entirely different plot with the same characters. I’ve never seen it done with posters to my recollection.

Then skimming around the various art/design sites/Twitters I frequent, I stumble across this series of posters that are simply amusing at first, but quite clever upon closer reflection. Using silhouette shots or familiar logos from the Star Wars franchise, artist Matthew Ranzetta takes these image and mashes them together with titles from other iconic films. Take a look at the posters below. I find the Cool Hand Luke poster design to be quite ingenious.

Click any image to see the larger version

 
 

 
 

Irvin Kershner: 1923 – 2010 [RIP]

 
Looks like it’s one of those weeks. Just on the heels of the sad passing of Leslie Nielsen comes word of Empire Strikes Back director, Irvin Kershner leaving this world at the age of 87 after battling illness in his Paris home.

Some other notable titles Kershner sat in the director’s chair for included James Bond: Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery and Robocop II. He also directed the great George C. Scott in Flim-Flam Man and a whole slew of other great actors over the many years Kershner was working in the Hollywood system. Of course he remains the director most famous for helping to create what the vast majority of Star Wars fans consider the best in the series: The Empire Strikes Back.

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” Rest in peace, sir.

 

Leslie Nielsen: 1926-2010 [RIP]

 

I’m not very good at these kind of posts. How do you sum up a man’ life and career in a few short words?

So instead, I just wanted to say thanks Mr. Nielsen. Thanks for not only making me laugh, but for helping to shape my sense of humour. Thanks for being one of many reasons why, at the age of 14, I laughed harder than I ever had before when I saw Airplane. Thanks for making “Police Squad” one of the funniest things to ever grace the flickering screen of my television (though for only a criminally short 6 episode run). Thanks for Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure and the myriad of TV guest appearances – from “Bonanza” and “The Big Valley” to “Night Gallery” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” to the many staples of the 70s (“Kojak”, “Ironside”, “Hawaii 5-0” and “Barnaby Jones” to name a few).

Thanks for being a member of the Order of Canada. I expect you were pretty proud of that. We were too. Thanks for making me smile every time I walk by your star on the Walk of Fame on King St. in Toronto.

Thanks Mr. Nielsen.

Film on TV: November 29 – December 5

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Night of the Living Dead, playing Saturday on TCM.

Among new things this week we find Charlie Chaplin’s first full talkie The Great Dictator on TCM on Monday, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, a relatively early oddity in Frank Capra’s career, on TCM on Tuesday, late Truffaut film The Last Metro on IFC on Thursday, and Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead on TCM on Saturday. TCM brings out some 1940s greats to go along the latest installment of Moguls and Movie Stars, which focuses on wartime Hollywood, so stay tuned for those Monday and Wednesday night.

Monday, November 29

11:30am – TCM – Gold Diggers of 1933
The story’s nothing to get excited about (and in fact, the subplot that takes over the main plot wears out its welcome fairly quickly), but the strong Depression-era songs, kaleidoscopic choreography from Busby Berkeley, and spunky supporting work from Ginger Rogers pretty much make up for it.
1933 USA. Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Starring: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Aline MacMahon, Ginger Rogers, Guy Kibbee.

1:15pm – TCM – 42nd Street
By 1932 when 42nd Street came out, the Hollywood musical had already died. So excited by the musical possibilities that sound brought in 1927, Hollywood pumped out terrible musical after terrible musical until everyone was sick of them. 42nd Street almost single-handedly turned the tide and remains one of the all-time classic backstage musicals. It may look a little creaky by later standards, but there’s a vitality and freshness to it that can’t be beat.
1932 USA. Director: Lloyd Bacon. Starring: Warner Baxter, Ruby Keeler, George Brent, Bebe Daniels, Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers, Una Merkel.

8:00pm – IFC – Barton Fink
One of the Coen Brothers’ most brilliant dark comedies (heh, I think I say that about all of their dark comedies, though), Barton Fink follows its title character, a New York playwright whose hit play brings him to the attention of Hollywood, where he goes to work for the movies. And it all goes downhill from there. Surreal, quirky, and offbeat, even among the Coens work. It’s based loosely on the experiences of Clifford Odets, whose heightened poetic style of writing has clearly been influential on the Coens throughout their career.
1991 USA. Director: Joel Coen. Starring: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, Tony Shalhoub.
(repeats at 1:45am on the 30th)

8:00pm – TCM – Moguls and Movie Stars: Warriors and Peace Makers
TCM’s Hollywood History series enters WWII, examining how Hollywood reacted to the war – everything from war-themed films to escapist entertainment to explicitly political films. A selection of those films directly inspired by the war and war efforts play tonight, then several other non-war themed 1940s films play Wednesday night as part of the series.

9:00pm – TCM – Casablanca
Against all odds, one of the best films Hollywood has ever produced, focusing on Bogart’s sad-eyed and world-weary expatriot Rick Blaine, his former lover Ingrid Bergman, and her current husband Paul Henreid, who needs safe passage to America to escape the Nazis and continue his work with the Resistance. It’s the crackling script that carries the day here, and the wealth of memorable characters that fill WWII Casablanca with life and energy.
1943 USA. Director: Michael Curtiz. Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains.
Must See
(repeats at 6:00pm on the 5th)

12:00M – TCM – The Great Dictator
Chaplin’s first completely talking film, and one in which he doesn’t play his Little Tramp character. Instead, he’s both Hitler and a Jewish man who looks strikingly like Hitler. This obviously creates confusion. Brilliantly scathing satire – it always amazes me that it was made as early as 1940.
1940 USA. Director: Charles Chaplin. Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard.
Must See
Newly Featured!

2:15am (30th) – TCM – They Were Expendable
There are films that don’t seem to be all that while you’re watching them – no particularly powerful scenes, not a particularly moving plot, characters that are developed but don’t jump out at you – and yet by the time you reach the end, you’re somehow struck with what a great movie you’ve seen. This film was like that for me – it’s mostly a lot of vignettes from a U-boat squadron led by John Wayne, the only one who thought the U-boat could be useful in combat. But it all adds up to something much more.
1945 USA. Director: John Ford. Starring: John Wayne, Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond.

3:45am (30th) – IFC – The Piano
I often find Jane Campion films overly pretentious, but this one strikes the right chord, with Holly Hunter as a mute woman in an arranged marriage who finds love with one of her husbands’ hired hands – but stealing the show is her young daughter, an Oscar-winning performance by Anna Paquin.
1993 New Zealand. Director: Jane Campion. Starring: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin.

4:30am (30th) – TCM – Hollywood Canteen
One of several films made during WWII that largely functioned as excuses for studios to parade their stable of stars on-screen in cameos, musical numbers, and comedy bits – in this case, the central device is the major Hollywood USO location of the title with a standard soldier-starlet romance plot, and the film has basically the whole Warner Bros. lot running around. It’s entertaining though not that good, and fun to see so many big stars playing themselves for a change.
1944 USA. Director: Delmer Daves. Starring: Robert Hutton, Joan Leslie, Dane Clark.
Newly Featured!

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The French Dragon CGI Flick: DRAGON HUNTERS (2008)

Did you know there was another big-budget CGI Dragon movie out? While I will never say that this one has as much heart or a screenplay up to Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon (Matt’s Review), it certainly wins the contest for visual imagination. French studio Futurikon and creators Guillaume Ivernel and Arthur Qwak have certainly succeeded in an act of wondrous world-building with Dragon Hunters. The film enjoyed a fairly wide release in Europe in 2008, but went straight to DVD in North America at the same time that HtTyD’s theatre run ended.

As to the rules of the world, the filmmakers do not offer much in the way of why or how, rather let the strange geography of floating islands and micro-planets which exist in the world-of-the-sky play out like a dream that the characters simply take for granted. And the characters themselves seem like a amalgamation of Norse, British, French and Chinese archetypes (The English Voice dub has Ghost Dog himself, Forest Whitaker, the french Dub as Gaspar Noe regular Philip Nahon) as the heroic and gentle Lian-Chu who leads a rag-tag bunch (a con artist, a dog-rabbit-thing and a little girl) on a quest to kill the worlds largest dragon at the behest of a more than slightly insane (and tellingly blind) lord of the land. The dragon designs are magnificently malevolent: A vicious pair of electrical beasties, thousands of bats that merge to form a fluid fire-breathing Frankenstein, a Hayao Miyazaki inspired rocket-powered pig-like things, and of course the megasized (with a great tree looking like a toothpick next to it for scale) World Gobbler who seems to be death itself (in skeletal form) and may or may not be the source of the worlds strangely unbalanced gravity. The camera work (if that is the correct term) is constantly trying to find the proper ‘horizon’ line while the characters often feel like they are in a real life ‘mario brothers’ game moving from floating platform to floating platform. The only draw back (although if you go with the ‘dream theory’ it is not so bad) is that the characters are able to take way more physical pummeling than even by the standards set in usual CGI kids fantasies.

OK, so the first 15 minutes of the film are a total slog, and the dialogue is at times hilariously offensive (not in a pop-cultural way, but rather like if aliens had came down and watched a few too many Dreamworks movies (or some of the snarkier entries of Disney and other purveyors of popular childrens entertainment) and made their own without really understanding the nuance of making the characters wise-ass. The language is harsh and the plotting clumsy, but boy oh boy is this a stunner to look at. Someone give these guys a real script, pronto.

I have read a few speculations that Canal+ and the other European distributors held off with a North American Theatrical release, because there was an argument with potential domestic distributors over up-converting this to 3D. Further speculation of my own is that it would have conflicted directly with How To Train Your Dragon which was advertising at the time, but released about a year later. And the TV show that the film acts sort of as a CGI-prequel is not really known outside of certain European markets. And yet, Dragon Hunters apparently has a ‘system-demo-level’ Blu-Ray release, and it sure looked stunning on HD-Netflix Instant Watch when we sat down for ‘family movie night’ in the home theatre. No, I still have not watched Kung Fu Panda (which admittedly is praised for many of the reasons stated above.)

 

Friday One-Sheet: Away we… Er… American Life

With how smaller American movies spread out to worldwide release, it seems Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (Rot’s Review) is getting a release in Italy this month. They’ve used the same basic “SCREAMING AMERICAN INDIE via PENCIL CRAYONS” (thank-you Team Anderson!) design as the American marketing of the film (toning down the clutter and hi-lighting the hearts and sunshine) but have curiously re-branded the film to a more ‘straight-forward’ title for their own audience. In lieu of any other interesting poster designs this week, Away We Go!

AFI Fest 2010: Boy

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A rollicking Kiwi film focusing on the joys and struggles of a young boy who idolizes his incarcerated father and Michael Jackson in roughly equal measures (the year is 1984), Boy won the AFI Fest’s Audience Award in the World Cinema category, and that doesn’t surprise me a bit. If there’s ever a film that fit the definition “crowd-pleaser,” this is it. And though I normally consider that epithet a bit of a jab, Boy actually earns the pleasure it brings and isn’t afraid to complicate that pleasure and eschew standard narrative closure for something ultimately far more satisfying.

Boy is an eleven-year-old Maori youth who describes his life in glowing terms for the school project that opens the film, talking about his amazing hero of a father, his little brother Rocky who has superpowers, and Michael Jackson. In reality, his father Alamein (played by writer/directer Taika Waititi) is an irresponsible petty thief, and his brother pretends he has superpowers as a way of coping with his guilt over believing he caused their mother’s death in childbirth,. When Alamein returns home, Boy is ecstatic at the chance to spend time with him and learn to be more like him, but though Alamein puts up a front of happiness at being home and spending time with his boys, all he really wants is the money he buried before he went to prison.

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My Favorite People of 2010

Funny People

It’s that time again, so begins the onslaught of end-of-the-year lists for everything! Keeping with tradition I thought I would start this post a month early and celebrate those fine individuals whom have most entertained me in 2010. The year will go down as one of my all-time favorites, when the time comes for the official top ten films list, I will be struggling to whittle down from my short list of 26 films and counting. It has been a solid year for American and Canadian movies, and unlike years past, the most anticipated tent-pole pictures of the year lived up to the hype (Inception, Shutter Island, 127 Hours, The Social Network, etc.). Feel free to share your favorites in the comment thread, but for now, without further ado, my pivotal players of 2010:

 


 

Bruce McDonald: God bless you, Bruce McDonald. I am ashamed to admit, I was late coming to the party. With the exception of Pontypool which I did actually see in a timely manner, and which I loved like all else who have loved it, I have been something of a snob towards Canadian cinema most of my life and as a result have missed the bulk of your output. Due in part to Pontypool being still affectionately fresh in my memory, and to my piqued interest in the concert doc concept of the trailer, I decided to catch This Movie is Broken, admittedly not expecting much, and not even all that familiar with the music of Broken Social Scene; I came out a believer. It is one of my favorite concert documentaries of all time, and I am now a fervent fan of BBS, with you to thank. Shortly after, Trigger premiered at TIFF and I was one of the first to get a look at it; this too, rocked my world. This two-punch of Toronto stories has inspired me to watch your back catalogue, and last week I finally caught your Magnus Opus, Hard Core Logo, which has now firmly cemented my love for you, and I wait feverishly for the sequel that is in the works.

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