Monthly Archives: February 2012

Oscar Hangover in the Film Blog-o-Sphere

Happy Oscar boxing day. I hope you enjoyed last nights festivities………….anyway here is what has been passing for film journalism lately.

Of course, to be expected is the obligatory post Oscar coverage, and the film bloggers don’t disappoint.

http://www.slashfilm.com/84th-annual-academy-award-winners/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Oscar-Winners-2012-Full-List-Academy-Award-Results-29653.html

http://collider.com/oscar-winners-2012/148136/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/watch-highlights-from-the-84th-annual-academy-awards-last-night/

The Oscars have long since stopped being about celebrating the art of motion pictures, so I find the new list of winners and losers already irrelevant. In a few months when the artist has been long forgotten and Midnight in Paris has blended into a non-nondescript piece of material in Woody Allen’s large patchwork quilt film library, the only thing left worth remembering from this evening will be the moments. Now, I don’t mean to be cynical, but I’ve come to the point where I watch the Oscars for spectacle and spectacle alone, because lets face it, when the name of the designer holds more weight than the nuance of your craft, you have to admit we’ve gone very far away from the roots of general artistic appreciation.

The sad thing is. Even as a spectacle the Oscar’s were extremely disappointing. Billy, whom I adore because he is a talented comedienne, was………..all wrong for the Oscars this year. His jokes fell flat, his comedic bits were stale, and his song (which he usually puts the most work into) was uninspired and campy in worst way possible. Even a cameo from almost the entire Christopher Guest school of comedy (no Parker Posey? couldn’t revive the spirits of the evening. The worst thing however, wasn’t just billy’s performance, but every one who came to the podium became a dead shark right before our eyes (Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow were particularly hard to watch). I’ve never seen joke writers so out of touch with the comedic sensibilities of the common man, and the current times, seeming, at their worst to posses no relative idea of what was and is an any way funny to any person who has ever lived and breathed air on this earth (relativity not withstanding).

What did you say? Its just all my opinion. Lets say it with clips. Why don’t you compare this;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5qpqBli880

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTYZhGtzVyQ (this one contains some footage of the awful song)

With what could have been;

http://a.oscar.go.com/video/PL55173797/_m_VD55175497

In about one minute and thrity seconds, Chris Rock all but saved a sinking ship. He was all at once scathing, warm, critical, celebratory, honest, and most importantly funny. There were no smarmy crystal-esque insider Hollywood jokes about Bragelina’s adopted kids, or awful and overdone Sammy Davis Jr. impressions: (coincidentally to see a white guy do Sammy right look at this; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GIQPWrKits&feature=related, if you want to see a black guy do it well, watch Tim Meadows in “Wayne’s World 2”, and if you want to see a master at work watch this; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFYiRTPsrqg). It was his balance that made Chris Rock so funny. He gave the audience the perfect about of sweet and sour in his routine. On the other hand, I sometimes found it hard to understand anything that was coming out of Billy Crystal’s mouth, because he had his lips so puckered up so to the backside of the “Glamorous” Hollywood Establishment. Its alright to celebrate our actors but not to the point of strained awkward and unfunny genuflection

Oh and besides Chris, check out what else we missed out on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bojnqBFadz4&feature=related (I apologize for the foul language, of course its not safe for work, but I know that cussing isn’t always appreciated outside of work as well)

So that is all for now, i’ll be back this evening with more fun stuff to enjoy. Before I go, regardless of what transpired last night, I think its best to leave thinking about what we have received, not matter how minuscule, rather than what could have been. So lets list some memorable Oscar moments.

1. Octavia Spenser winning for “The Help”;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g8YZA2FioQ

2. Jennifer Lopez’s Nipples. (search for clips yourself you pervs)

3. Viola Davis’s Buzz Cut.

4. Justin Bieber getting good mileage out of his deal with the devil.

5. Esperanza Spalding squandering her talent.

6. Seth Rogen, and Gabourey Sidibe  attempting to define what a good movie is.

7. Cirque Du Soleil trying to upstage  the interpretive dance inspired by Saving Private Ryan seen at the 71st academy awards. (not kidding)

8. The brand new marketing campaign J.C. Penny has to lure people to their stores with awful comedy.

9. George Clooney willing to get his gay on again with Billy Crystal after doing so with John Stewart when he hosted the Oscars. Anyone else sensing a trend here.

10. Sasha Baron Cohen putting ashes on Ryan Seacrest, which was the best moment of the night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhAg0COnqds

Honorable mention goes to Angelina Jolie and her Thigh.

 

 

Lazy Sunday

Good Morning, Happy Sabbath. Lets take a leisurely drive around the film blog-o-sphere and see what is passing for film journalism this morning.

Our friends over at AICN have a pretty pointless article up about Ridley Scott’s new film Promethus.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53879

Is Prometheus an Alien Prequel? Is this really the most important question that we should be asking now. For months and months, over and over, its been the same thing; Alien and Prometheus, Prometheus and Alien….what is the connection between the two? An interesting query, but again I wonder if we shouldn’t be asking a more important question. Like for instance, is Ridley Scott still making uninspired, unimaginative, pieces of entertainment? If the answer is yes and we are treated to yet another film like “Body of Lies”, “Robin Hood”, “American Gangster”, or “A Good Year”, then the mythology of the film should be the last things on our minds. In retrospect, does the mythology of Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection count for anything now, or is it just remembered as a detail in regards to two poorly made films? I say we stop worrying about The Alien connection; derelict ships, and space jockeys and start keeping a closer eye on things like film direction and screenplay, both of which are cause for alarm. Because not only do we have a director who is losing his vision at the helm, but a writer who never had a clear one in the first place; “Lost” TV series scribe Damon Lindelof. We should never be distracted by mythology, at the expense of film-making. Let us hope first for a good movie, and then if Scott and company deliver, then we can start discussing mythology. Lets make sure Scott still has the ability to grow a good tree (film), and then, upon appraisal, if we find the tree worthwhile, we can enjoy the fruits (mythology) thereof.

Elsewhere, collider.com is reporting on a new trailer for G.I.Joe Retaliation.

http://collider.com/g-i-joe-retaliation-trailer/148071/

Can you believe the excitement for this film? The internet film community is over the moon about it. They’re almost as over the moon as people were when the trailer for this other film hit a while back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaNs64k_2xw

Remember how great that turned out? Seriously, I can honesty say that” G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” was filled with some of the most relentless, unfocused, exaggerated, bloated, incomprehensible, cgi cartoon action I’ve ever seen in a film. It could almost be regarded as avant garde if it wasn’t for the fact that you knew the results were due to Stephen Sommers deficiencies as a director, not to mention some poor writing. However, in Hollywood, you don’t argue with film grosses. Paramount pictures certainly didn’t, and despite the negative reaction to the first film, here we are with a second. Along with the second movie and its subsequent trailer, you have a case of amnesia that has swept the film blog-o-sphere. They’ve forgotten that it was only three years ago when we were lured to theaters with a big flashy trailer and got a big flashy mess. Now it seems that once again we have a case of hook line and sinker. Be smart about your excitement. The trailer was great but, if this film is any good at all it wont be because the whole thing is a two minute music video for seven nation army with killer bass and cool cut scenes. It will be because director Jon M. Chu, who has some good visual chops, and writers Rhett Resse and Paul Wernick were able to take a military toy franchise and craft a good motion picture out of it. Time will tell.

Elsewhere the film bloggers are reporting some genuine good news. Filmmaker Mary Harron’s new film “The Moth Diaries” has a  brand new trailer.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/official-trailer-mary-harrons-new-vampire-thriller-the-moth-diaries/

http://collider.com/moth-diaries-poster-trailer/147911/

http://www.slashfilm.com/the-moth-diaries-trailer/

http://io9.com/5888283/american-psycho-director-bring-bi+curious-vampires-to-boarding-school-in-the-moth-diaries

Mary Harron you’ll remember is the director of “American Psycho” and “The Notorious Betty Paige”. Obviously, The girl has some skills. She can be tad extreme at times but can also wring general excitement and interest out of the most detestable scenarios, not only with morbid fascination but also good direction and the ability to maintain a strong sense of tone as well, in effect creating a grim sort of empathy in  in the viewer for the protagonist; regardless of  matter how dark their deeds may be. She’s sort of a off white version of Brian De Palma. Nevertheless, I don’t think its her directing chops that is attracting the excitement of the internet film community. All they seem to see is vampires, blood, and (supposedly) bi-curious school girls and thusly the possibilities of a slick new genre schlock piece. Lets hope and pray that it is much more than that. Although with a director like Mary H. at the helm, we have little reason to worry that there will be more than one layer to this onion.

That is all for now (thankfully). Have a nice day and enjoy the Oscars.

Star Trek 2 Throws Bait…..Film Bloggers Bite

Good morning. The fish certainly are biting today aren’t they.

http://www.slashfilm.com/star-trek-sequel-shot-partially-imax/

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53822

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53822

http://screenrant.com/star-trek-sequel-set-photos-benedict-cumberbatch-sandy-156299/

http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2012/02/24/star-trek-2-photo-benedict-cumberbatch-zachary-quinto/

Set photos. Catnip to the modern excitable film blogger. Why discuss film theory or the art of motion pictures, when you can salivate over photos that provoke of context ideas of what may or may not be happening in a movie? Our wise director J.J. Abrams has made sure that no one knows anything about the “Star Trek” sequel, regarding character specifics, down to the most minuscule plot details, and even the title. This has lead, as the studio intended, to a ton of conjecture about potential plot points and character details by film bloggers which, in the end, could turn out to be total bunk. In our frenzy to debunk these vague photos we are kept distracted from noticing a couple of alarming things. 1. The film is being directed by J.J. Abrams who was last seen bringing us the woeful “Goonies”/”ET” homage “Super 8”, not to mention his direction of “Alias the Movie” starring Tom Cruise (later re-titled Mission Impossible 3). Of course he did direct the first “Star Trek” reboot in 2009. You guys remember the marketing ploy that accompanied the film; “Not your daddy’s “Star Trek”. Yeah, you know, it wasn’t because my daddy’s Star Trek wasn’t a flashy but hollow rip-off of the original Star Wars plot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0j97RhZUQ), that had poorly written dialogue and convoluted plotting (what was Eric Bana doing all those years anyway). This brings us to our second alarming thing; the writers. If you count their credits collectively, from the mass world-wide joke that was the television series “Lost”, to the cinematic classics that are “Cowboys and Aliens”, “Eagle Eye”, “Legend  of Zorro”, the first two “Transformers” films, “Alias the Movie”, and the original Trek reboot, then these set photos should put your mind totally at ease about the new film. Shouldn’t they?

Well no, they don’t. In fact creating ease is the last thing the (the studio) were trying to do. These pictures were meant to redirect your thoughts away from things that really matter, like the craft of the film, towards more important things like; “how in the world can anyone overcome the Vulcan nerve pinch”. As more vague details are released by the mastermind J.J., they will lead to more and more convoluted conjecture, until the internet film nerds are whipped into a near frenzy. At this point hey don’t want to see merely a good film. They have to go see Star Trek 2. How else will they know if the neck pinch can be overcome, and if that guy is a villain then why is he wearing a a Starfleet shirt. It wont matter if the movie is good, because as long as they know these things, then everything will be okay. As long as they know these things, then they’ll excuse poor writing. As long as they know these things, they’ll put their trust a director and writers who haven’t earned it.

There is nothing wrong with being excited for an upcoming film. Excitement is fine, when it is healthy. This set photo frenzy however, is in any way healthy. All it inspires is distracting and ridiculous conjecture. You have to understand that in most instances the health of a person is dependent upon what they eat. How, I ask, then do the people behind Trek 2 expect their fans to be healthy if all we are given to feed on is vague garbage. I feel the whole film blog-o-sphere needs to do a collective bend and purge, and start to feed on the good fruits of film-making rather than the junk food provided by rabid nerd fan-dom.

Aintitcool and the Secret of Bad Movies.

You gotta love those writers over at AICN. They will probably be our chief providers of content for this website over its life span.

Check this out. This is an article on AICN from contributor Billy Donnelly. It concerns the marketing stragies of Christopher Nolan as regaled by his composer Hans Zimmer.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53827

Have any of you guys seen the trailer for the Apartment. Billy Wilder’s the Apartment. Head on over to youtube and check it out and them come back here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRta_ko0XGU

“Shut up and Deal”……..those, in case you didn’t know is the last line said in the motion picture. The line that cements and defines the relationship of the Jack Lemmon’s C.C. Baxter and Shriley McClane’s Ms. Cublink. Isn’t that astounding, in this day in age where directors scramble to make sure you know as little possible about their upcoming movie, billy wilder and his crew at MGM were willing to let it hang all out there. Well, why wouldn’t you, if you know the product is good.

Here is a little illustration. Take for instance, the pizza delivery business. You’re about to watch the game, and a commerical for pizza h…….domin…….little c…….a commercial for Aurellios pizza comes on. You are enticed by the sight of a delicious thin crust, sauce covered, cheese drenched dynamo. The deal for the pizza is listed in regards to price and free liter of pepsi with purchase. You ponder the possiblities for 10 seconds then pick up the phone and order. 40 minutes later there is a knock at your door and your pizza has arrived. Dinner is served.

This is the way the marketing campaign was held for “The Apartment”, as well as how most movie promotion worked back in the old days. They werent hiding anything, nothing was a mystery. We have a movie, we believe it is very good, here is the general idea of what it is about, the players, some key scenes, some critical lines, and the title. Nothing more, nothing less. Now lets re-imagine pizza delivery the Christopher Nolan way. You are watching the game and see a commercial. On this commercial you are shown a box. No distinguishable characteristics, but it is shaped like an ordinary pizza box. A narrator announcer that a certain company that may or may not make pizza like food stuffs could be offering pizza like food stuffs for a certain price made to order. There is no deliberating in the ordering process, as you will not be told what toppings could be on the pizza related foodstuffs. It could be anything from anchovies to pinnaple. You however will not be privy to any of the toppings as that would take the enjoyment out of eating it. Upon completion of the order you are told that the pizza will be delivered to your residence sometime during the day. Don’t worry about not knowing exactly when its coming as that is part of the fun.

That doesn’t sound like a pizza I would want. Sure you could get something good……maybe. What if you get something bad? What if you get goat cheese and pickles on your pizza with pineapples and anchovies? For that matter why is your pizza company being so secretive about its pizza? Is it because they know its so good that any mention of it will only do it a disservice, or because it is so bad that they want to bilk some quick money out of you before the word gets out (see “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”)? Whatever the outcome (usually the latter nowadays) the new emerging philosophy in film marketing is that of cloak and secrecy. Basically the filmmakers will tell the consumers the least amount of information that they can about a upcoming project, meaning details casting choices, story, and basic themes are for the most part left in the dark. As Hans Zimmer explains, in the article, the reason for this is ”

One, to be able to do really good work, you have to have the chance to fail in privacy. And if everybody’s watching you on the Internet, I think it stifles creativity. And I think ‘Dark Knight’ is the perfect example of this idea. Everybody knew we were making a Batman movie. But until it came out they didn’t know it was going to be that sort of a Batman movie.”

Doesn’t it seem kind of weird that in the motion picture business where an audience of billions will lay eyes on one particular film, people want to make movies with no disclosure contracts and lock downed sets. What difference, I ask, is there between failing in public and failing in private. It doesn’t matter because the work is ultimately shown before the public anyway. What does it matter if a bunch of people online know about some of what you are working on versus knowing all about later of it later. I get that some pressure may be applied by having so many eyes upon you while working, but is that the consumers problem, or the filmmakers. There are some filmmakers who could have throngs of people flocking them and still make great films. Why should we, based on the secrecy of modern marketing, put our money at stake only to find out a film we knew nothing was in the end, nothing worth knowing about anyway. Also, Mr. Zimmer, you spoke of making a different kind of batman film. How many, if I may ask, kinds of batman movies are there. If more people on the internet knew about “Dark Knight” would a different sort of Batman movie of emerged. So what Mr. Zimmer is saying is that differing levels of secrecy lead to differing  kinds of Batman films. This is just a suggesting but why not just focus on making a great movie regardless of subject matter. Zimmer then goes on to state that

“isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? We’re supposed to go and surprise you. And part of the experience has to be a surprise. It feels a little bit like we’re working very hard at protecting part of what is great about movies — the surprise. Because it seems like the world doesn’t want you to do that anymore. They want to know everything, they want to know about the stars and [this and that] immediately. And it’s not important to us. To us, really, the thing is the writing and the script and the ideas and the journey, and making it into something really good.”

Surprise us with what? Aren’t you supposed to be making good films, moving art, and riveting stories. What is the big fixation on surprises. The intent of “The Apartment” wasn’t to surprise. You knew all the players, the general story, and even the last line of the film. Some of the finer story points were left untold, but not in a way as to seem purposefully deceptive. You didn’t watch “The Apartment” to see what you didn’t know about the film. You went to the movie because, with the information you were presented about the film, including the stars, the scenario, and some comedic bits, you were expecting to see something worth while on the screen. The surprise, if there would be any at all, would have nothing to do with discovering any plot points, hidden characters, or last second twists. It had to do with seeing a movie you thought would be good but turned out to be excellent. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. As imagination and showmanship have dissipated from the profession, modern filmmakers have had to rely, not on the act of surprise (as they call it), but of deceit. Their main job is to whip you up into a frenzy with overly elaborate viral marketing, “leaked” set photos and countless titillating but ultimately hollow trailers for a film, all so they can get your money before you figure out that the film you are seeing is subpar and not deserving you your time or energy in the first place.

Well the internet film community seems to have taken the bait, finding the the shared ideology of people like Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams refreshing, when really they are just pandering to their audience. The fact is as films have gotten worse, directors have gotten better at hiding their ineptitude with clever marketing and pompous artistic philosophies. On the other hand, like with “The Apartment”, the filmmakers were very opening and non-secretive with their marketing because the truth is, good films have nothing to hide.

Wrath of the Low Expectations

I just have to establish myself really quickly, because things seems to be in sort of a disarray. Let just start with a general truth: 2010’s Clash of the Titans was an awful motion picture. Was there ever any question about that? The general critic consensus according to rotten tomatoes (28 percent rotten) coincides with this point. People didn’t respond well to or like the film at all really. So why is the online film community excited about this:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53777

http://www.slashfilm.com/wrath-titans-trailer/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/watch-second-official-trailer-for-liebesmans-wrath-of-the-titans/

http://collider.com/wrath-of-the-titans-trailer/147528/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-new-trailers-for-wrath-of-the-titans-the-raid-will-get-your-heart-rate-up/022312

http://movies.ign.com/articles/121/1219319p1.html

I can hardly believe it but people are actually looking forward to this film. I have to wonder why because generally if the first film is a poorly written, lazily directed, by numbers sci-fi action travesty, not even worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as one of those campy Saturday morning sci-fi schlock fest television programs ( like Stargate SG-1) any follow up would generally not be encouraged. Apparently poor scripting, acting and directing can be fixed if you throw enough monsters on the screen.

As Nordling, contributor to AICN explains; “This is more like it.  A ton of monsters, and a story that isn’t beholden to the original 1981 movie, and the result looks bat**** insane.”

Contributor Russ Ficher of Slashfilm.com echo’s his sentiments: “most of what this new look offers is monsters, monsters, monsters. Which is a big part of what we really need from a movie like this, after all.”

Now this is just conjecture, but perhaps, what would be a little better appreciated than more monsters would be a solidly written script, a capable director, maybe actors with a little bit of gravitas and computer generated imagery that doesn’t looks like it was done on Adobe 1. I think this would be more of an improvement than throwing a dozen more monsters up there on the screen. You could have 1,000 monsters in the movie but if  the movie is a stinker then it wont really matter anyway. Even if they are the most imaginative creatures this side of Winston and Baker their reputation will ultimately just be that of a pretty diversion in a bad film. Marred by Reputation.

Haven’t these bloggers noticed who is behind this film. If they took their eyes away from the shiny and pretty monthers and payed attention to the talent behind the scenes maybe they would be more reserved in their anticipation, for at the helm of this ship is none other than Johnathan Liebsman, director of such films as “Darkness Falls”, “Battle Los Angeles” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”. From the writing pool we draw from the talents of people who have written such modern works as the 2011 adaptation of “Red Riding Hood”, and  “Green Lantern”. So With all of this in mind; the awfulness the first film, and the pedigree of talent behind the second, I have to ask all the film bloggers why there is any reason whatsoever to devote any time, excitement, words, web space or fleeting thoughts to “Wrath of the Titans.” Are our expectation that low that we can only look forward to a couple of cheap creature thrills? Try raising your standards a little bit. Your readers deserve better than reading about your lowered expectations, and deteriorating tastes. You are hopefully better than this.

Morning Report Feb 23, 2012

To the modern day film blogger Pixar is a studio to be trusted. It is a studio that is as highly esteemed as the freed unit of MGM was in its heyday. The films that Pixar produces are almost always unanimously praised by the modern day film community. On the radar for Pixar is a new animated film (thankfully new after the lackluster toy story 3 and cars 2) entitled “Brave”. There have been rumblings and even trailers released about brave already, but the film blog-o-sphere is all aglow about a newly released poster and 2+ minute clip.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53768

http://www.slashfilm.com/watch-minutes-pixars-brave/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Trailer-Pixar-Brave-Shows-Off-More-Its-Unruly-Heroine-29596.html

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/watch-second-theatrical-trailer-clip-from-pixars-brave-revealed/

http://collider.com/brave-movie-trailer/146906/

There is a general can’t wait feeling about this prospect from the greater part of the film community, which is understood for the most part, as Pixar has rarely let them down (except lately). I can hardly say however that this new property has me excitedly over the moon like the rest. Let’s take a step back here. Firstly Pixar is not the end all be all of animated glory in the 20-21 century. I sit back and kind of marvel when, following a Pixar release, the film community offers up shouts of best picture Oscar and greatest animated film of all time. Toy Story 3 was……serviceable, but best picture material? I just wonder why this great love for animation today is reserved for Pixar and Pixar alone. Why all of a sudden are animated films so great? Is it just because Pixar is making them now? Where was the best picture animated film talk when Don Bluth was producing his masterpieces? What about the second golden age of Disney (“Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”). Sure those films had acclaim but not the worship and benediction reserved for mecca that is Pixar. What about recent great animated films like “Coraline” and “Monster House” and even the works of Hayao Miyazaki? Why does Pixar get all the attention you ask? The answer is sheen. That new fresh sheen. This sheen that we’re referring to is the animation style that the Pixar films use. This is the sole basis for their success. Of course this is the style we’ve come to know as 3D animation. It started with “Toy Story” and it still has a sense of newness and style that draws people. Now this isn’t a bad thing, as new frontiers in filmmaking should spark interest and exploration for their artistic merit. However, I believe that this “sheen” is the only thing worth noticing about a Pixar film, because without that sheen there isn’t much to a Pixar film. Sure the scripts can sometimes be clever, the animation pretty, and the storytelling occasionally earnest, but on the whole the catalogue is mostly very well made cotton candy. Simple stories, simply told. Unfortunately the trend seems to continue with Brave. Simple Story (girl can’t fit well with societies expectations of her, must fight to prove self worth by conquering amazing challenge to earn respect of her peers and herself), simple animation (except for her hair which a lot of time must have gone into, most of the people looks like slight caricatures of simple Irish human models, which is kind of lazy in my opinion. Where is the imagination and the folklore in the storytelling. There seems to be no daring in the animation style like there was in all of Don Bluth’s films. In fact, Bluth was so daring in his animation that the MPAA had to routinely check him on it……but that’s another story. Here, however it seems that Pixar has once again taken a simple story and refused to elevate it to something more either through daring and imaginative animation or inspired storytelling while stories of feminine identity have already been made into more transcendent fables in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mulan”. Oh well………..maybe the bloopers will be good.

Other than the “Brave” news, the film blog-o-sphere is pretty quiet this morning. Well, quiet if you don’t count the usual mess that counts as film news and journalism.

Check out (or don’t) Aintitcool News, still pimping out stories about Peter Berg’s Battleship

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53764

I still want to believe that the trailer for battleship (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B3moWiI_J4) is the most elaborate and expensive parody trailer that the MTV movie awards ever produced. Nevertheless, while the upcoming film clearly is a joke to anyone who enjoys good movies, the people at AICN still find enough to be interested in because they post about 10 topics about “Battleship” a week.

Some film blogger sites are also reporting the minor “news” that Sasha Baron Cohen will not be allowed in the Oscars this year.

http://www.slashfilm.com/sacha-baron-cohen-allowed-years-oscars/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/sacha-baron-cohen-banned-from-the-84th-annual-academy-awards/

It’s funny how the film nerds find this to be so offensive about the Oscars. Not the fact that the Oscars don’t honor film from all genres, only acknowledge sentimental weepy “important film” for awards (even if the film stinks) and will nominate pictures like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for best picture. All that we can live with. We however draw the line at not letting Sasha Baron Cohen come to the Oscars to play dress up and contribute to his ever growing abhorrent library of films. Just think, we might miss out on Sasha Baron Cohen putting his naked butt in Meryl Streep’s face (would be kind of cool I admit). I say boycott. If we allow this to happen what next, Billy Crystal coming back to host………..oh wait, shoot.

Film-cycle’s Evening Tugg

The film blog-o-sphere is excited tonight at some interesting news. Whats the news you ask? Another new screenshot from the avengers? No. A toy catalouge from Japan with detailed villains from the avengers? No. A picture of Joss Whedon taking out the trash? No, your way off track. My friends let me introduce you to tugg.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53759

http://www.slashfilm.com/service-called-tugg-helps-audiences-demand-book-movie-screenings/

http://collider.com/tugg-movie-theaters-online-service/147338/

http://www.ugo.com/movies/tugg-service-details

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/tugg-nadam.php

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/new-website-tugg-com-hoping-to-bring-more-movies-to-more-towns/

This right here is good news. Very good news. Analysts have tried to figure out why people aren’t going to the movies anymore. Usually the finger points to high ticket and concession prices, or annoying kids and cell phones in screenings, but the fact of the matter is the movies just aren’t good anymore. At least good enough to warrant the full theater experience. Why pay for a by the numbers action or romance film that will be on Cable or Netflix in 6-8 months anyway. Its probably a wild theory but I think people would go to the movies if there was something there they actually wanted to see. Until Hollywood catches up and starts making less disposable entertainment for the masses, tugg will be our saving grace. Tugg is basically group-on for movie theaters. You select a film to screen, get people to agree to come and purchase tickets, and tugg will deliver the film. The details are rough at this point but the idea of being able to personally custom order films from any time period or genre and have them play at your local cinema is making the modern film blogger exciteable. They very well should be. The theater is such a great presentation tool for the medium of film. Different people from all walks of life coming together to share a common story. Ask anyone, no matter if they’ve seen a particular movie thousands of times, seeing that particular film on the big screen is a completely different experience. You are humbled by the larger canvas and the pure sensory overload of the presentation which makes the movie become bigger than anything in your life, and thusly you are free to feel bigger and experience deeper. You laugh louder, cry softer, cheer and clap. Its the theater experience and there is nothing like it. So I welcome this news and I hope you seek out this tugg enterprise and support it:

https://www.tugg.com/home

Hopefully though your choices for films will be a lot more varied than what the film bloggers are using as examples for screenings. Yes Aintitcool, we know that “Alien” is a classic film but but what about “Sullivan’s Travels” or “The Clock”. What about”Better off Dead”. What are some titles you would arrange screenings for.

Afternoon Round-Up Feb 22, 2012

The Afternoon Round-up is a compilation and review of the what the film blog-o-sphere considers to be news and note worthy concerning cinema. Like morning report we pull from many different sources and post the most relevant topics and absurd meanderings for your enjoyment and information. We’ll go across the net doing the legwork so you don’t have to.

Most film blogs seem to have caught wind of a major casting announcement. The fifth entry in the Die Hard Franchise titled “A Good Day to Die Hard” has cast actor Jai Courtney (of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” fame) to play the son of John McClane.

http://www.slashfilm.com/jai-courtney-john-mclanes-son-die-hard-5/

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53757

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Die-Hard-5-Brings-Jai-Courtney-John-McClane-Jr-29580.html

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/jai-courtney-signed-to-play-john-mcclane-jr-in-die-hard-sequel/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/022212/spartacus-star-jai-courtney-lands-role-as-john-mcclanes-son-in-a-good-day-to-die-hard#

http://screenrant.com/die-hard-5-john-mcclane-son-jai-courtney-kofi-156121/

The general consensus is good. Most people like the casting. Although I don’t see how people can be happy about anything concerning this movie when they mention who is directing it. Enter John Moore the director of the esteemed Max Payne live action movie. You’ll also notice that the guy they got the pen the film is Skip Woods who you’ll remember for writing X-Men Orgins Wolverine, and Hitman (2007), as well as Swordfish. Now I don’t have a problem with a movie series having as many as five volumes. Think of Charlie Chan, the Nick and Nora thin man films, those Andy Hardy movies and the Rocky Saga. If you have a interesting characters and create good  narrative for them then let it ride. However I don’t think anyone would want to ride in the car if your driving around in a lemon. Most of these bloggers seems to glance over the fact that two most seemingly unqualified people have been tapped to make this film. Where is the outcry. Especially coming after the loathsome Live Free or Die Hard. Have people just dulled their expectations and are hoping for something that isn’t totally terrible that will further mar the franchise. Should we all be happy that Jai Courtney is cast in a movie that will 9 times out of 10 turn out to be awful. Why not just ask back John Mcterrinan or even Renny Harlan. Get a director who can do meat and potatoes action and do it well. Get a writer who doesn’t have the distinction of writing the worst movie Hugh Jackson has ever starred in. Then maybe I’ll give up a little excitement for John McClane Jr.

Elsewhere the film blog-o-sphere is reporting with glee that Edgar Wright of Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim fame has been tapped to direct Johnny Depp in The Night Stalker.

http://www.slashfilm.com/edgar-wright-directing-johnny-depp-the-night-stalker/

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53756

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Johnny-Depp-Wants-Edgar-Wright-His-Night-Stalker-29581.html

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/edgar-wright-to-direct-johnny-depp-in-adaptation-of-night-stalker/

http://www.ifc.com/fix/2012/02/edgar-wright-johnny-depp-the-night-stalker

http://movies.ign.com/articles/121/1219217p1.html

This is good news to the film bloggers. They like Wright. In this post Tarantino film world, his kinetic style and geek sensibilities have made him a magnet for the nerd-centric internet film-verse to the point where they salivate at even the smallest prospect of a new Edgar Wright project. To be fair the praise isn’t entirely without cause. Strip away the geek cred and you have a very inventive and stylish filmmaker, a genre specialist with kinetic sensibilities that often make for engaging films and loving satire. Even when a film is a disappointment it is not without strong merit (Scott Pilgrim). I find myself excited for this news but not in the way most of the film bloggers are. They seem to be eagerly awaiting the next nerd opus no matter what it is. All they see is vampires and Edgar Wright, not the possibility of a great film. Personally I look forward  to seeing Edgar outside of his element a bit. Sure the whole vampire thing is pretty genre-centric but the core fiction is down and dirty 1970 crime culture and even if the crimes are of a supernatural milieu, this material by its very nature affords Wright the chance to direct a more grounded film. More precisely a film without the immediate crutch of overbearing genre styling and homages (zombie film, an action film, and the video game culture). For that reason alone, the evolution/maturation of Wright’s style, this news is of some merit.

In the works as well is new film from Disney about their Matterhorn Adventure Ride. Some film sites are reporting that Scream 3, and Transformers 2 and 3 scribe Ehren Kruger has been tapped to write the new film.

http://www.slashfilm.com/transformers-writer-ehren-kruger-penning-disneys-extreme-sports-adventure-matterhorn-movie/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Disney-Matterhorn-Movie-Hires-Ehren-Kruger-Ditches-Matterhorn-Idea-29582.html

http://movies.ign.com/articles/121/1219230p1.html

This is awful news. For starters the last time Disney decided to adapt one of their rides into a major motion picture we ended up with a laboriously long, overblown, poorly plotted, franchise otherwise known as the pirates of the caribbean films. Out of the billion dollar study in excess we received there is only about 90 minutes of watchable entertainment and that is only if you cut some footage from overly long Curse of the Black Pearl. But if you had to, and I mean really had to adapt a Disney ride for the big screen, why I ask would you choose Ehren Kruger to adapt it. He has written two of the worst…………two of the most deplorable…….. you know, just go to google and look up some reviews for the 2 and 3 transformers films,  we don’t have the time to go into it now. I understand that the later transformers films made serious  bank but I can assure you it had nothing to do with his writing. It has to do with Micheal Bay being a great director of action. The greatest thing the Transformers 2 and 3 dvd producers should have done is release the films with a sfx only track. Because then your ears would be spared and we could have enjoyed the striking visuals and sound effects. But alas Mr. Kruger still is getting work and by the Disney corporation no less. This news, while being met with some outcry, is being view by most film sites as just another story. The best quote about this news comes from cinemablend writer Katey Rich who states:

“Before being credited with the last two TransformersThe Ring films, as well as Scream 3. So, OK, there aren’t a lot of classics on that list, but Kruger knows his way around a big movie, and that counts for something.”

How is that comforting. If you know your way around excrement really well, how does that count for anything. Its it still excrement. It is still a bad film, and this is still awful news.

That is all for now but join us in the evening for some fun before bedtime.

Morning Report February 22, 2012

Here at morning report, we rub the crust from our eyes and take a look at the earliest breaking news in the film blog-o-sphere.

The big news this morning is the newly released production diary from 007 Skyfall. It features Mr. Mendes waxing on about his love for bond, the new direction the series has been taking, and how he looks to bring a little bit of the fun back. That a good thing because when you think of fun cinema you automatically think of Sam Mendes. Other than some brief glimpses of the technology they’re using on the film, its strickly epk stuff. Perhaps the diaries will get more varied and interesting as time moves foward.

http://www.chud.com/84035/mendes-takes-a-page-from-pjs-book-with-skyfall-production-blog/

http://www.slashfilm.com/skyfall-video-blog-director-sam-mendes/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/First-Skyfall-Video-Blog-Goes-Behind-Scenes-James-Bond-Adventure-29569.html

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/brand-new-007-skyfall-website-relaunches-with-production-video/

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53744

Most of the film blog-o-sphere has reported this, pointing out the obvious Peter Jackson influence. Some find it lacking in comparison to Jackson’s more in depth approach, but on the whole they find it satisfying. Here is a link to the official Skyfall website.

http://www.007.com/

Some film sites are also keeping a tab on the new film “Detention” from Torque director Joseph Kahn.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/53728

http://www.chud.com/84022/dates-theaters-and-website-announced-for-joe-kahns-detention/

http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/52956/detention-gets-theatrical-release-date-and-new-clip

There is general excitement from most film bloggers that this unique slasher flick has finally received distribution. Some may find any excitement over the new film from the guy who directed Torque tedious, but I would challenge you to watch the film and take a close look at Joseph Kahn skills with the camera. He is very talented. Although I think most  film bloggers like him specifically for the so bad its good thrill. They take a high horse approach to the premise and don’t acknowlegde his obvious viseral visual pedigree (as also displayed in his many music videos). For someone who does appreciate  the film check out film critic Armond White’ s review.

http://www.poe-news.com/forums/sp.php?pi=1002040948

That is it for now, but I’ll be back throughout the day with updates and more worthy movie news and film blog critiques.

The Film Colony ♛

with Alicia Mayer

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