Bookmarks for November 23-30th

What we’ve been reading over the past week or so.

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  • A Top 10: Lengthy Tracking Shots
    From Godard to Scorsese. Showy Shots abound. There are plenty more to add (feel free to suggest in the comment, I am surprised they left out the big D.W. Griffith shot in Intolerance. Or for that matter, The Protector, Brazil, Serenity, Boogie Nights, Satantango, etc. etc. But then again, it is only a top 10.
  • Playboy does James Cameron (no photos!)
    “Avatar is made very consciously for movie fans. If critics like it, fine. I can’t say I won’t read the reviews, because I may not be able to resist. I spent a couple of decades in the capricious world of being judged by those not knowledgeable about the depth and history of film and with whom I would not want to have a conversation—with a few notable exceptions. Why would I want to be judged by them? For me, this past decade has been about retreating to the great fundamentals, things that aren’t passing fads or subject to the whims of some idiot critic. You can’t write a review of the laws of thermodynamics.”
  • SPIEGEL Interview with Umberto Eco on the vertigo of making lists
    “I was fascinated with Stendhal at 13 and with Thomas Mann at 15 and, at 16, I loved Chopin. Then I spent my life getting to know the rest. Right now, Chopin is at the very top once again. If you interact with things in your life, everything is constantly changing. And if nothing changes, you’re an idiot.”
  • ‘Nine’ Leads Indie Heavy Golden Satellite Nods
    While the awards – handed out by International Press Academy – are generally disregarded as a serious Oscar precursor due to their often inexplainable decisions, this year’s batch is definitely full of worthy nominees, particularly from the specialty sector.
  • More Mainstream Press for THE ROOM.
    “Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” is a train wreck of almost incomprehensible proportions: Whole scenes are out of focus, while others are repeated in their entirety; characters appear without introduction, while others vanish without explanation; and the unfortunate cast engages in behavior that few would consider typical. All of which, of course, makes the painfully overwrought relationship drama one of the greatest comedies ever to be created entirely by accident.”
  • The Road Takes Desolate Journey From Page to Screen
    To deliver “The Road’s” worn and weathered ambience, Hillcoat avoided as much as possible the over-the-top digital approach employed by director Roland Emmerich for his post-apocalyptic spectacle, “2012.” Hillcoat shot “The Road” at 51 real-world locations to give the R-rated film, which opens Wednesday, an extra dose of authenticity.
  • 100+ Cliche Dialogue Lines
    ‘The Definitive List of Cliched Dialogue’ or just another day at the office for those ink stained grinders writing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Dacacos or Steven Segal flicks.
  • Critical Shift: New Moon vs. Gone With The Wind
    Peter Howell considers what has changed in the critical landscape in how lurid melodrama and hammy acting was received in 1939 vs. 2009.
  • Tres Chic Twin Peaks Photo Gallery
    Quite an awesome (yet creepy) set of on-set photos taken during the taping of Twin Peaks by Richard Beymar.
  • The 99 Most Jaw-Dropping Movie Moments
    We love those movie moments that make us feel like we’ve been swiftly punched in the gut. The shocking scenes that give us goosebumps and gasps at the same time. Because we love those shock & awe bits so much, we’ve compiled our 99 favourites, counting down to the all-time greatest jaw-dropping movie moment.

Bookmarks for November 20th

What we’ve been reading over the past week or so.

  • For Your Consideration: 25 Things The Academy Got Right In The 2000s
    As hard as it is for those prone to bitching about the Academy to admit, they don’t always get it wrong. In fact, it was surprisingly easy to find twenty-five examples of where they most certainly got it right (though mind you, it was even easier finding fifty things they got wrong). So for what it’s worth, here are my picks in descending order for your anticipatory pleasure. Unlike the 50 snubs, I opened to up to all categories, since, again, there wasn’t quite the plethora of options.
  • REEL TRUTH: Why Women Should Stay Away from Twilight
    Twilight was never supposed to get this big. It looked like it was simply meant to be a high brow straight to DVD film. Instead it turned the media world into complete chaos and because of that, females of many different ages fell into the beautiful lies Twilight created to make us believe about Bella and Edward’s intense karmic connection. Funny how so many women avoid or are completely unaware of the many flaws and bullsh*t they eat up from the series, but today is the day I am going to attempt to open their eyes to see how using Twilight as a guide book/film to dating will only bring disappointment to your love life.
  • David Lynch on Going to India to Shoot His Next Movie
    During his downtime, Lynch is working to bring meditation into schools worldwide. Vulture caught up with Lynch at the Russian Tea Room on Sunday, before his scheduled speaking engagement with the Hudson Union Society, to discuss his favorite directors, the importance of final cut, and how his next film project will take him to India.
  • Film features: The Story Behind Fight Club
    Reese Witherspoon, Sean Penn and Courtney Love might’ve starred in Fight Club? I think we’re all glad that it ended up the way it did. Here is how David Fincher brought this iconic film to realization.
  • Fantastic Planet (La planète sauvage, 1973)/De Profundis (2007) (Ferdy on Films, etc.)
    Marilyn Ferdinand looks at two unusually artistic (in the sense of looking like paintings) animated films, arguing for the continuation of this art form and its peculiar emotional pull in the face of modern computer animation.
  • Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2010 New Frontier Lineup
    In the first of its announcements for its upcoming 2010 program, Sundance Institute revealed Wednesday the selection of 13 artists from six countries whose works will be presented as part of the New Frontier sidebar at Sundance Film Festival. A collection of digital art, film screenings, multimedia performances, site-specific installations and video presentations will take part in what organizers promise to be “a fully immersive media lounge” for festival goers to experience throughout the event.
  • Up and Up!
    Last week, Disney/Pixar released to the home-viewing market Up, their CGI-animated colorfest that just happens to share a name with a 1976 fuckfest by Russ Meyer (the latter adds an exclamation mark just to convey how excited it is to exist). It would seem that an animated film about a man who saves his life from the shadows of the twilight years by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, sailing to a far-off land and saving a rare bird species from exploitation has little in common with a who-killed-Hitler murder mystery that’s a thinly veiled excuse to showcase people having (softcore but graphic) simulated sex while Kitten Natividad narrates it all as the one-woman Greek chorus. However, there are more similarities than you might think.
  • Only Eight of This Decade’s Best Picture Nominees Are Original
    You would think that there would be a huge divide between the most profitable and the most critically acclaimed films of this decade, right? You would think that while mainstream America flocks to established properties, the Academy of Motion Pictures would lean more towards rewarding originality. Not So… /Film commenter Keith points out that only 8 of the 45 Academy Award Best Picture nominees of this decade (so far) are originals.
  • ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans’ Producers Want It To Spawn A Franchise
    Producers Alan and Gabe Polsky hope to continue the “Bad Lieutenant” name as an ongoing franchise. Given the successful collaboration of Herzog and Cage, and before them Ferrara and Keitel, the Polskys admit they’d like to go further with other “interesting combos” for more stand-alone “Bad Lieutenant” installments. They specifically propose the director/actor team-ups of Darren Aronofsky and Brad Pitt and Michel Gondry and Bill Murray, which both sound like great ideas.
  • Top 10 Bad Messages From Good Movies
    Sometimes it can be hard to see the messages a movie teaches, especially if they’re unintentional. The best way to see a movie’s messages, and bad ones in particular, is to be a parent watching the movie with your kids. Suddenly you find yourself talking to your kids after you leave the theater or after the video finishes playing at home, just to see if they picked up on the bad messages. Then, if they did, you can try to do some damage control.
  • Bad Boys Grow Up
    Tarantino and Almodóvar finally make films equal to the ones they’ve always claimed as inspirations. Tarantino came to be regarded as a hyped-up pop culture junkie spritzing bloodshed and movie references in equal measure. And Almodóvar was thought of as something like the post-Franco John Waters, mixing ’50s Hollywood-style melodrama with cheerful hedonism awash in sex and drugs. At this year’s New York Film Festival, it was Almodóvar’s latest, “Broken Embraces,” that was chosen for the closing night slot. And about a month before the festival, Tarantino’s latest film, “Inglourious Basterds,” became the unlikeliest hit of the year. What links both of these films is that, for each filmmaker, they represent a point at which they demonstrate a mastery of craft equal to the Hollywood films that inspired them.

Things You Need to Know Before Seeing New Moon

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The build-up to New Moon, the much anticipated follow-up Twilight, the first film adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Saga,” is palpable. We’re nearing the breaking point of over-saturation and even for a fan, it’s getting a little out of hand. I’ve managed to steer clear of most of the media blitz but you can almost taste the estrogen in the air; the women are about to explode.

But what of the men? The studio has done a fairly good job of promoting the fact that this film has more action, better effects and an all around a more polished look, but is that enough to draw in the male crowds? We’ll have to see when the film opens on Thursday night (midnight screenings are sold out across the US and Canada) but here’s a hint: if you’ve got a girlfriend who is a fan, you may want to consider sucking it up and going with her to the movies. There are worse ways to earn major brownie points.

So for you, the lovable twi-dunces in the audience, here are a few tidbits, a cheat sheet if you will, of information that you should know before heading to out to brave the line-ups:

The Players:

Edward Cullen – The sex-haired vampire who makes millions of women break into cold sweats. He’s a little creepy (likes to watch women sleep – not to mention a bit stalker-ish), very handsome, gallant and completely in love with Bella. Special power: can read people’s minds.

Bella Swan – The damsel. She’s accident prone, hates blood, all things cold and wet but loves Edward with all of her heart. Special power: her mind can’t be read.

Jacob Black – Bella’s best friend who, in this instalment of the story, we also discover is a wolf (not to be confused with werewolf) and in love with Bella. Special power: can control his wolf transformations better than the others.

Alice Cullen – Edward’s sister. She has a wicked sense of style and loves Bella like a sister. Special power: can see the future.

The Wolf Pack – Sam (the leader), Paul (the volatile one), Embry (Jacob’s right hand guy), Jared (the joker) and Jacob. They all transform into wolves. Special power: the group can communicate telepathically when in wolf form.

The Volturi – Aro, Caius, Marcus (all three are leaders), Jane and Alec (guard), Demetri, Felix (enforcers). The Volturi live in Italy and are sort of “rulers” of the undead. They guard the secret of Vampirism from humans and ensure no one strays too far out of line.

Twilight in 250 words (or less):

Bella moves to Forks, Washington (the wettest place in the continental US) to live with her dad so that her mother can travel with her new husband. Bella is re-introduced and strikes up a new friendship with Jacob who she used to play with when the two were little.

On the first day of school, Bella sees the Cullens in a dramatic entrance into the cafeteria and is immediately drawn to Edward (it’s all in the hair). After a rocky start (he looks constipated the first time they meet), Edward and Bella strike up an awkward friendship that is always tinged with sexual tension that eventually transforms into a relationship that mostly sees Edward protecting Bella from a group of wondering Vampires one of which becomes obsessed with munching on Bella. After a heated battle in a ballet studio Bella, Edward and the rest of the gang return to Forks to live happily ever after. That is, until a little event at Bella’s birthday party throws their world out of whack.

Other tidbits to note:

– Edward does not want to turn Bella into a vampire in fear that she will regret losing her humanity.

– Jacob sees Edward as the opponent – the two can’t stand each other.

– The Cullens don’t drink human blood. The vampires that do have red eyes.

– In this universe, vampires don’t die in the sun, their skin sparkles in daylight.

You are now up to date. These little tidbits will help you maneuver through the events that will unfold in New Moon without feeling too lost. Enjoy the film and be sure to check in soon. Review is forthcoming!

Twilight Saga Eclipsed by More Rumours

Eclipse Movie HeaderFor all the perceived blandness of Twilight (our review) the other entries into the franchise are picking up steam and attention. And who can blame the media for the craziness? The first film generated buzz, particularly leading up to the release, but nothing of the proportions we’re seeing with Twilight Saga: New Moon. The franchise is everywhere from blogs to newspapers and there’s no one to blame for the growing fandom. The “Twilight” universe seems to be impervious to the downward trending economy and everything about the books, movies, actors and characters seems to be a hot commodity.

But alas, I’m already off track. The reason for the post is to encapsulate a number of recent happenings with the franchise. The first was a comment, from the horse’s mouth no less, that Drew Barrymore would not be directing the third instalment (and my favourite), in the franchise Twilight Saga: Eclipse. I’d previously commented on a rumour that Juan Antonio Bayona was in talks to direct the movie and now speculation abounds that David Slade, of Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night fame, has also been chatted up about possibly directing. I’m starting to think that regardless of what anyone outside the fandom might think, this franchise is really starting to get intriguing. Sure, rumours are just rumours but the fact that both Bayona and Slade are even being mentioned in the same breath as “Twilight” suggest, to me at least, that the studio is really pushing to open the movies up to more than just the teen market. And that excites me to no end.

If, I know there are some of you out there, you secretly (or not so secretly) care about the currently in production Twilight Saga: New Moon, the studio has release the first “official” image of the so-called “Wolf Pack”. As with the marketing material for Twilight, I’m under whelmed by the overly glossy and obviously photoshoped image but judge for yourself.

And just to rub it in, looks like I wasn’t far off on the “Breaking Dawn” speculation. There’s talk that there will be a film adaptation of the fourth book and considering the amount of attention the franchise is getting, I would bet that it’s as good as ready to go. I’m just hoping that we’re not all getting our hopes up for disappointment.

Twilight Saga Just Got Interesting

Eclipse Movie HeaderI take it back.

Earlier today Kurt posted a link to a story about a rumour that has been kicking around the web for a few days that Juan Antonio Bayona, the director of the great The Orphanage (our review), was in talks to direct the third instalment of the Twilight Saga Eclipse. I’ve been tacking so many rumours about the direction of the third film that I never considered the possibility that Bayona would agree to take on the job but go figure, the Spaniard has gone and surprised me.

According to Variety, Bayona has signed on to helm the third film in what is bound to be a media sensation for the next few years. I have to admit, I’m very impressed by the talent that Summit has brought to this production. I had problems with Twilight (our review) but thoroughly enjoyed the film and loved Catherine Hardwicke’s direction and the emphasis that she and scrip writer Melissa Rosenberg placed on the certain aspects of the story; most of my problems with the film were in relation to the effects, but these recent revelations go beyond what I expected from the franchise.

Summit decided to go against most of the fans (a studio with balls – but I guess 15 year old girls are less threatening than 30 year old men; maybe not…) and brought on Chris Weitz to take on New Moon. Not necessarily an improvement but definitely a director better suited to the story which unfolds in this entry into the series. Now with Bayona on board for the third, it’s clear Summit isn’t letting this franchise coast through. And can you blame them? This is a cash cow, and would continue to be even if the quality of the entries didn’t improve, but I’m thankful to see that they’re making the effort.

It’s early in the going, the cast didn’t land in Vancouver until early this week, but I’m very curious to see what comes of the rest of this franchise. As long as they do something about the sparkling effect (like maybe just leave it out? Just pretend it was never written alright?), improve on the “vampire effects” (again, just leave out the lame effect and improve on the wire work) and infuse some great Underworld-styled werewolf transformations and we should be good to go. All of a sudden, this franchise has gone from having my fangirl love to something I’m expecting quality from. Hope it doesn’t disappoint.

I’m officially opening the door on “Breaking Dawn” speculation.

Twilight Sequel Without Hardwicke

New Moon Book Cover ImageSo continues the teen vampire saga.

It was bound to happen so it came as little surprise that the week following the successful opening of Twilight (our review), it was officially announced that the second book in the series would become a film. New Moon is scheduled to push into production in March 2009 and thought both leads are signed on for part two, the same wasn’t true for director Catherine Hardwicke who had talked about the second film but had not officially signed on. Now it looks like we’ll never get to see her vision of the saga.

According to reports from Deadline Hollywood, Summit is officially moving on with the sequel without Hardwicke due to what they’re calling “differing visions”. I’m wondering if there’s something more at play like maybe the fact that Summit is pushing to keep the budget small yet this film will require a whole lot more special effects (with transforming werewolves and all) and considering the flack Twilight has taken for the cheesy effects, I’m not surprised Hardwicke wanted more money for a better looking film. Then there is the simple fact that book two features very little of the saga’s dreamy male lead (OMG no Edward?) – I’m wondering how they plan on working around this minor glitch which has nothing to do with the director but which I’m very curious about.

As much as I enjoyed the movie (and yes, I realize it’s not a great movie but I did like it a whole lot) I’m not quite sure Harwicke needs to come back for number two. The second part of the story doesn’t have the same amount of teen angst at play and now that it’s been set up rather nicely, they can move along with the rest of the story.

The question now: if not Hardwicke who? Let the fangirl speculation begin.