Recent Entries in Film

Ever thought you could remake a film, using a first person shooter? Possibly remake a scene from classic military flick "A Few Good Men" as if it was actually a scene in Half-Life 2?

R. Glass of Seattle went so far as to spend two months of his life making it using the HL2 engine, in a process made famous by Red vs. Blue -- a process for animation called "machinima".

A Few Good G-Men takes the voices of Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise, gives them to new characters and resets the scene in a HL2-style courtroom. It's neat. Makes me want to go buy the game now.

few_good_gmen.png

A Few Good G-Men

Heh. I love this line:

"No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it."

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

SF writer Harlan Ellison questioned why director Steven Spielberg didn't give more credit to fellow author H.G. Wells in his upcoming film adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Speaking to SCI FI Wire at Enigma Con at the University of California, Los Angeles, Ellison said: "What annoys me is that Spielberg is such an egomaniac these days that it has to be 'Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it."

Ellison, author of such books as I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, added: "That shows his arrogance. It's like Disney. Disney didn't write Snow White or Robin Hood or Bambi, but it's 'Walt Disney's universe.' It's the universe according to frozen Walt."

Ellison hosted a 90-minute panel at the conference, which he titled "How Does SF Stay in Business in a World of Marching Morons?" "Spielberg is only a craftsman, that's all he is," Ellison said. "He's not a genius. He's not a trendsetter. There isn't one moment of any Spielberg film ... that matches the least moment of a Kurosawa film. Kurosawa was a blinding genius of cinema. His vision was astonishing."

Steven Spielberg's movie adaptation, which has its first UK screening tonight ahead of globally coordinated openings later in the week, is unlikely to be as convincing: many have even expressed scepticism about whether the off-screen romance between its star, Tom Cruise, and British actress Katie Holmes is anything more than a cynical PR confection. But The War of the Worlds desperately needs to convince cinema-goers that this is the real thing.

...

The marketing strategy for this film, though, has been unusual. There have been few advance screening for reviewers, with some publications (including the New York Times) refused admission and other critics required to sign an embargo agreement holding back their notices until close to the film's official opening. While Cruise has appeared on numerous talk shows, he has said little about the film, preferring to discuss Katie Holmes or, as on NBC's Today show, the over-prescription of the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin.

Such departures from the traditional film business strategy, in which a phased release of media pieces and trailers attempt to create "advance word" or "buzz", have usually been used by studios which know they have a stinker on their hands.

Guardian Unlimited Film | Features | Mark Lawson: War of words to push Spielberg's latest

German film critics are up in arms over Paramount's worldwide embargo on reviews of Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" until the film's day-and-date release next Wednesday.

The country's leading film critics association launched an official protest Wednesday against what it calls "a violation of basic constitutional rights."

In an open letter, the German association of film critics called on its members to protest the "War of the Worlds" embargo by publicizing details of the studio's demands and criticizing the distributor's no-review policy. The association also called on its members to violate any future embargoes or to refuse to review films where an embargo is imposed.

"We know this (embargoes on film reviews) is common in the U.S., but it has never happened here in Germany before, and we won't stand for it," Andrea Dittgen, head of the German critics association, said in an interview. "We believe this violates basic freedom of speech rights and is illegal under German law."

Entertainment News Article | Reuters.com

The lastest word on War of the Worlds is that it isn't really War of the Worlds. It's just another Independence Day. Recent interviews with Spielberg and his crew have revealed that a lot of the key elements from the book are being completely left out. For instance, the aliens aren't Martians. Yes, that's right, they aren't from Mars. They're just random aliens from somewhere out there in the Galaxy, because, according to Spielberg "that's more realistic".

Ok, first off, you're making an alien invasion movie here. If you want to make realistic movies, try making one about a guy in Wisconsin milking cows. Secondly, while we've found no evidence of life on Mars, it wouldn't be any harder to invent a reason for us to have missed it than it is to make the aliens from somewhere else. Part of the genius of War of the Worlds is that the aliens in it are our nearest neighbors. And they've been watching us, studying us. They're right there, a short hop across the cosmos away, glaring at us with malice. Well, this movie has tossed that out the window.

The other big element being left out of Spielberg's narrative is the Black Smoke used by Wells' aliens on Earth's populace. It's their alternative weapon, one symbolic of fear and utter death. Spielberg has tossed it, along with the idea of his main character making a lonely trek for survival. Instead, his lead has a family and a minivan to tote along with him.


Movie Preview for War of the Worlds (2005) - 2005-06-13

Rhett Butler's immortal line in Gone With The Wind was considered so risqu� that it breached the Hollywood Production Code. But the producer David Selznick refused to replace it with the more innocuous "Frankly, my dear, I just don't care" and was fined $5,000.

Sixty-seven years on, he has once again been vindicated as an American Film Institute (AFI) poll voted "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" the most memorable film quote ever.

The Independent Online Edition > Enjoyment

  Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out

Neat Op-Ed by Neal Stephenson:

In the spring of 1977, some friends and I made a 40-mile pilgrimage to the biggest and fanciest movie theater in Iowa so we could watch a new science fiction movie called "Star Wars." Expecting long lines, we got there early, and found the place deserted.

As we sat on the sidewalk waiting for the box office to open, others like us drifted in from the towns, farms and colleges of central Iowa and queued up behind. When the curtain in front of the big Cinerama screen finally parted, the fanfare sounded and the famous opening crawl appeared against a backdrop of stars, there were still some empty seats. "Star Wars" wasn't famous yet. The only people who had heard about it were what are now called geeks.

Twenty-eight years later, the vast corpus of "Star Wars" movies, novels, games and merchandise still has much to say about geeks - and also about a society that loves them, hates them and depends upon them.

Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out - New York Times

When Italy remade Star Wars (Star Crash, 1979), they turned the character of Chewbacca into a sexy, sexy woman in a bikini and added David Hasselhoff. In Turkey, they turned Luke and Han into kung fu masters forced to battle armies of oversized fuzzy muppets while on trampolines (Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam, 1982). But in Brazil, they kept Star Wars more or less the way it was and just threw in four wacky idiots from Earth.

The Wave Magazine - The Bay Area's Best Entertainment Magazine... Ever.

Similar to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is a sumptuously illustrated fairy tale with a pro-environment and anti-war slant, though unlike those modern classics, the anime titan's latest effort suffers from a narrative confusion that bogs down its initially effervescent spirit.

A gloriously animated fantasia blessed by familiar Miyazaki hallmarks -- vibrant, ethereal artwork; whimsical creatures; a rural world in which mysticism and technology happily coexist -- the film (being released in both subtitled and dubbed versions, the latter of which I saw) has a light aura of juvenile romanticism and a manic, tangible physicality that stands head and shoulders above anything previously crafted by the maestros at Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli (including Katsuhiro Otomo's recent Steamboy).

Wired News: Miyazaki's Castle Crumbles

A U.S. studio has released a pared-down DVD of a new movie in China the same day the film hit domestic theatres.

In the ongoing battle to combat international movie piracy, Warner Bros. Entertainment released a DVD of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in China last Wednesday, when the teen flick opened in North America. The pared-down DVD has no extra features and the Chinese subtitles on the film cannot be hidden.

It is believed to be the first time a major U.S. studio has simultaneously released a film in theatres at home and on DVD abroad.

CBC Arts: New film's DVD release in China geared to stopping piracy

For a change of pace, let's go back a few years and pick on a Star Wars film from the old trilogy ....

On its own, Return of the Jedi has a lot of problems. But compared with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, it's just plain bad. Search your feelings -- you know it to be true. Like most of you out there, we love Star Wars more than words can say and will always respect and thank George Lucas for providing a generation of moviegoers with the most significant mythos of the last twenty-five years.

But also, like most of you out there, whenever we watch the trilogy, the awed reverence with which we watch Wars and Empire is replaced during Jedi by laughing, moaning, and shouted insults that make MST3K look tame by comparison. Fifteen years after its release, it's become sadly evident that Jedi hasn't aged well at all, while Wars and Empire increasingly gain acceptance as cinema classics. (We could just as easily have made a list of one hundred reasons Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are two of the greatest films ever made, but where's the fun in that?)

It would be easy to put the blame for Jedi's failure squarely on the shoulders of its director, the late Richard Marquand. But while few would argue that Marquand was the greatest choice to inherit the franchise, the fact remains that it was executive producer George Lucas who hired him, who told him how to handle the material, and who always had the final say. So we'll let Marquand rest in peace; chances are he did the best he could.

50 Reasons Why Jedi Sucks

  Pervert!

Pervert the Movie! We have nudes, sex and gore! All in one movie, can you believe it.

Link to the trailer:

Pervert!

The government of Ontario officially ended the banning of motion pictures on Monday with the introduction of the Film Classification Act.

The new law removes the Ontario Film Review Board's power to ban movies from the province.

The law is being introduced more than a year after a ruling from the Ontario Superior Court that deemed the board's powers unconstitutional.

From now on, the board will be able only to apply classifications to films – from G (general) for films that anyone can see, to R (restricted) for those only Ontarians aged 18 years or older can see.

If the board suspects a movie breaches obscenity laws, the board will pass it to police, who will determine if charges under the Criminal Code are warranted.

CBC Arts: Ontario ends banning of films

  The Geek Age

Buried Lede | Stephen Lynch | Geeks

The finales of 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' mark the end of a golden era of geekdom:

"I wonder if the Emperor Honorius, watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill, truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall?"

I quote not Gibbon, not Kennan -- not even Coulter. No, it's Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Picard was referring to the villainous Borg (in "Best of Both Worlds, Part I" when ... uh, never mind), but the sentiment, for geeks at least, has particular resonance today. The Visigoths have Nielsen boxes, and they're watching wrestling. Our empire is about to crumble.

On May 13, the last episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise" will air on television. For the first time in 18 years, no "Star Trek" series will take its place next fall.

A few days later, the last of the "Star Wars" series, "Revenge of the Sith" will open in theaters. Most of you, I'm sure, are reading this while in line. Dressed as a stormtrooper.

On fictional universes and the fans who rationalize them.

As a writer/editor at the American Council on Science and Health, I often criticize "crank" scientists who cling to a faltering theory long after it has become plain to all sane observers that the pet idea just doesn't hold together logically. They are pathetic, quixotic figures.

We science fiction fans are not so different, though, when we struggle to rationalize away the contradictions in our favorite fictional universes.

The fictional universes depicted in movies like the Star Wars or Star Trek series tend to get very complex (for beginners: the former features Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the latter Captain Kirk, the Enterprise, and a loyal crew made up of people like engineer Scotty; if you get them mixed up, you are worthless). That complexity means that--inevitably--the occasional "continuity error" occurs. In normal movie parlance, a continuity error means one of those embarrassing moments when, say, the bandage on an actor moves from the right hand to the left hand between scenes due to a mistake by the makeup department. For science fiction fans, though, continuity refers to the overall logical and historical coherence of our beloved fictional universes.

Metaphilm - Star Wars

13 reasons to be hugely grateful that "Star Wars," the king of adolescent space epics, is finally over

Can we just say it? Can we admit it now? Is it finally time?

Here goes: Thank the great Sith Lord above that the massive computer-driven marketing hellbeast that is the overblown "Star Wars" epic is finally over.

There I said it. Can we agree? Because the truth is, this most bloated of megamovie franchises hasn't been a certifiable cultural phenom, something to get truly excited about, for over 25 years. Admit it now, get it over with, move on to pretty happy things like puppies and porn and sunshine.

Look, I'm sorry, but I don't care how many gazillions the last three flicks have made at the box office from ubergeeks too old to get "Harry Potter" and too emotionally immature to graduate to real movies. Episodes I-III are mostly one thing and one thing only: huge exercises in CGI acrobatics, manic video games writ large, numbly awful movies full of fine actors reduced to stiff mannequins in bad monk robes and uncomfortable headpieces delivering stone-cold line readings seemingly written by that slightly twitchy tin-eared dweeb who sat next you in fifth-grade algebra, sweatingly.

May The Force Please Go Away / 13 reasons to be hugely grateful that

Ontario's film reviewers are putting away their "censored" stamp for good after the provincial government passed a bill that will end the practice.

Only films that are found to breach the Criminal Code will be banned from the province following a court ruling last year that found Ontario censorship laws flawed.

Films will now simply be classified up to the most restrictive 'R' rating unless they are deemed illegal.

London Free Press: News Section - Ontario bill ends censoring of films

We are saddened to report that Indian born filmmaker Ismail Merchant has died in a London hospital after a brief illness.

Born December 1936 in Mumbai, Merchant was educated in the United States, graduating from New York University with a Masters Degree in Business Administration. From here he was drawn towards the world of filmmaking, and producing in particular.

In 1961, he took his first film, The Creation Of Woman to the Cannes Film Festival, and it was here that he and future long term collaborator James Ivory first agreed to form Merchant Ivory Productions, which would go on to become one of the longest partnerships in Hollywood.

Empire: Film Reviews, Movie News and Interviews

David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, a taut psychological thriller starring Viggo Mortensen as a small-town family man who may have a criminal past, had been considered Canada's best hope for a prize. Though many were surprised the film did not win any awards, Cronenberg, who served as jury president in 1999, made it clear he puts little stock in prizes. He said last week that Cannes was important primarily as a way to launch his film internationally.

This year marked the first time in 28 years that two Canadian films were among the 21 films from around the world in the official competition. The other was Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, a multilayered backstage drama about two fifties' television stars and an unsolved murder that splits apart their act.

The Globe and Mail: Cannes festival dashes Canadian hopes

Financial success is the primary reason that studios make movies. However not all films are guaranteed to be successful. A good indication of the success of a film is to look at the budget of the movie and then see what the gross income of that film was. Studios expect that a film's "domestic" (which the film industry defines as the United States and Canada) box office gross will exceed production costs.

If it recoups this cost, then it can be considered a success; otherwise, it is often referred to as a box office bomb. It should be noted that different genres of film are subject to different standards of success. For example, action movies typically have higher production and promotion costs than romance movies.

List of movies generating losses - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Revenge not so Sweet

On our humble little planet, a long time ago, medieval thinkers whiled away entire lifetimes in earnest debate over how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. So much more enlightened, we ponder Star Wars. And ponder and ponder. Twenty-eight years of scrutiny and counting, a generational span devoted to grappling with that overwhelming question of our age: Did Star Wars spark the birth of cinema, or spell its death?

Sides have been chosen, volumes have been written, blood has been spilled, but the only certainty is that the pop force is still with us. To that, with the release of Episode III Revenge of the Sith, we can now add the near-certainty that the saga is complete. Translation: The greatest story ever has finally been told. Or, if you prefer, the damn thing has come to its merciful end.

The Globe and Mail: Revenge not so sweet


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