Monthly Archives: June 2012

Godzilla My Dreams

Auteur Theory or Genre Theory?

Digital or Film?

Narrative or Documentary?

Black and White or Color?

Method Acting or Character Acting?

Child’s stuff. Passe debates. While these topics once provided movie fans endless fodder for conversation, they now seem to be old news in light of a recent development that poses perhaps (according to most modern film bloggers) the most important cinematic question of all time.

Will Godzilla show up to Comic Con?

http://www.slashfilm.com/godzilla-show-comic-con/

http://badassdigest.com/2012/06/29/countdown-to-comic-con-go-go-godzilla

http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00051812.html

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=62596

http://screenrant.com/godzilla-panel-comic-con-2012-rob-183472/

Maybe its just me, but I feel there are more pertinent things to be discussing in cinema besides the eminent return of the great schlock monster from beneath the sea. I don’t in any way want to come off as elitist, as most people with high standards are often confused of being, but I fail to see how  Godzilla perhaps making an appearance at comic con is worthy of any debate or discussion. Shouldn’t we be more questioning of whether or not originality still exists in Hollywood, or whether the theater experience can (and should) survive the digital revolution. Is there still any room left to discuss some of the grand old topic in cinema like Auteur vs Genre, and Method vs Character? Are we resigned to discussing only the juvenile and ridiculous in movies? Should we only be concerned with those things in film which are bright and shiny, titillating and sensationalist. I wonder if there any room still left for the modern film blogger to discuss thing of cinema that have some substance and weight?

As more and more film bloggers becomes slaves to the mindless buy me! model of modern film journalism, opportunities for intelligent discussion are seemingly more few and far between. For the film fan searching for deeper and more resonating film talk, a long and arduous search lay before them through the internet graveyard. Nonetheless, I feel that the tiniest morsel found by the most persistent and tenacious seeker of intelligent film knowledge will prove to be more filling and satisfying than anything from the unhealthy and hollow banquet daily made available by the popular film blog-o-sphere.

Turner Classic Movies Online: Underrated Oasis of Film Knowledge

 

Where would the serious film lover be without Turner Classic Movies? Over the years, as the standards for entertainment have dropped, and our televisions reflect nothing but a lack of imagination, Turner Classic Movies has remained by standing firm in their commitment to bring the average cable viewer great classic film (uncut) 24/7. The legacy of Turner Classic is even more impressive when you consider how many of their sister stations, starting out with similar resolve to show great entertainment (classic or otherwise), have eventually lapsed into hollow mediocrity.  (these include: AMC, TNT, TBS, FMC, FX, IFC, Sundance). Yet TCM has remained and is a shining testament to the benefit of keeping one’s high standards.

Fans of TCM (and good film journalism in general) will be glad to know that the level of excellence TCM upholds in their broadcasting also extends to their presence on the world wide web. Unlike other websites for television networks that exist only to sell more of its inferior product (big bang theory coffee mug….thanks TBS), the wonderful people at http://www.tcm.com/ have made their website a resource for movie fans to grow and flourish in their love of classic film and film in general.

Here is a sampling of some of their delicacies:

Movie Morlocks Blog: An offshoot film blog run by some of the people working at TCM. The articles are always fresh and informative covering a wide range of topics from the silent era thru today. Trust me, you’ll do a lot better here that at aintitcool.

http://moviemorlocks.com/

Classic Film Union: A great, grand, varied, and passionate community made for the classic film lover. This is a very interesting thing that TCM allows their fans to do. After signing up and becoming an online member (free), you are by default an official member of the Classic Film Union becoming sort of a hub with a stake in the TCM website, wherein you can connect with other users by creating your own specific webpage, submitting blog posts, creating and joining special groups with other film lovers, and viewing exclusive photos of classic Hollywood stars.

http://www.tcm.com/fan/

Turner Classic Movies Message Boards: A perk of being in the classic film union at TCM is automatic entry into their message boards. I suppose you could say that this is a message board like any other, except with a very specific difference: maturity. On average the talk and discussion is more enlightening and intelligent than offered by your usual film message board. You’d do a lot better here than at the awful cesspool awaiting you over at the  imdb.com message boards. Over there you’ll find almost nothing but contempt and scorn, while here you’ll find a great group of people just wanting to discuss and ask questions about great movies.

http://forums.tcm.com/

Turner Classic Movies Video/Audio Podcasts: This is probably one of the best resources you’ll find at TCM. You can search but I bet you wont find another place where can you hear wonderful in depth interviews with the likes of Stanley Donen, Mickey Rooney, Norman Jewison, Jane Powell, Sidney Lumet, and the great Charleton Heston. After you’ve listened to enough juvinelle, unlearned, vulgar discussion offered by most modern movie podcast, being able to sit and hear someone like Sidney Lumet discuss the craft of directing is akin to having cold water in the Sahara desert. Along with their classic series of interviews, you’ll also find a monthly podcast video series where TCM employees and special guest discuss the upcoming slate of movies for the week along with other more broad topics concerning classic cinema. Give a listen, you’d be doing your ears a favor.

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/podcast.html

Turner Classic Movies Article Series: This is a very wonderful resource and probably one of the most underrated on the entire web in terms of great film journalism. TCM just happens to run a wonderful series of articles on a variety of topics and figures in old Hollywood and new. Usually coinciding with a film or film series being shown that month on TCM, these articles are the companion pieces that accompany them, delving deep into their themes, the actors in the film, the directors, writers, and producers of the film, and the particular genre that the film embodies and explores. These articles are surprising well researched and through, not the usual puff pieces trying to get you to watch something. They are usually written by one of the more knowledgeable people behind the scenes at TCM along with ocassional pieces by the figures that introduce the films to us on a daily and nightly basis; Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. If that weren’t enough, there is also a monthly articles series written my none other than film scholar/director Martin Scorsese. This is a relatively new yet very well recieved facet to the TCM website. These “Scorsese Screens”, as they are called, are pieces that the director writes expounding on  and recommending select films being shown on TCM that month. With the addition of Scorsese, the article page at TCM has become no less than a must stop destination for any serious film fan in their daily online travels.

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even go into the wonderful film book reviews on the site, not to mention the valuable film news they offer, as well as their extensive film and photo databases. All great resources. Yet there is still more…..much more. TCM is a wonderful channel with a excellent website to boot. Do yourself a favor and refuse to do without either.

Source Material: 6/27/2012

“Our movie will be different however, because we’re going back to the source material”

“Going back to the source material”. In our day and age of remakes, reboots, restarts, re-imaginings, retoolings and redo’s, we should be very familiar with this all too common phrasing. This is the typical explanation given time and time again as we see more movies (from the past and present) remade for the “modern” up to date audience.

I’ve struggled to understand exactly why going back to the source material is a proper reason for remaking a film. Correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t a film based on a novel’s source material referred to as an adaptation. In other words, the medium of conveyance that literature presents, has to be adapted (in order to make a film) to the particular standards of the specific visual medium. That is unless each page is filmed to the tiniest detail, retaining every line of dialogue and nuance that the novel contains. That would at least be (truthfully) getting as close as you possibly can to the source material. However, involved in this process is always a bit of  compromise, some deviation based either on how long the movie would be if everything in the novel were included, or whether or not a particular situation from the source will translate well to the screen or not.

This raises a unique question for the filmmakers; is it worth it retreating to the source material just to make a faithful adaptation for adaptation’s sake. Does being faithful to the source material guarantees a good film. Stephen King was famously unhappy with Kubrick’s vision of “The Shining” and the changes that were made in adapting the source material to the screen. Several plot points and narrative touches were dropped and King sought to remedy this in his 1997 TV mini-series re-imaging. He failed. If not by means of pedigree of product than in terms of general perception and relevance compared to the original. Going back to the source didn’t make his version of “The Shining” better than Kubrick’s. Getting closer to the book doens’t guarantee a better movie regardless if you wrote it or not. Is it just about accuracy (which can be boring to the audience) or rather emphasizing and expressing the themes the novel presents in a visual form. Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique writes concerning Kubricks adaptation of “The Shining”:

Widely reviled by Stephen King fans for abandoning much of the book (King himself said his feelings balanced out to zero), Stanley Kubrick’s film version, upon re-examination, reveals that he took the same course he had often used in the past when adapting novels to the screen (such as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita): he stripped away the back story and exposition, distilling the results down to the basic narrative line, with the characters thus rendered in a more archetypal form. The result …[is] a brilliant, ambitious attempt to shoot a horror film without the Gothic trappings of shadows and cobwebs so often associated with the genre.

Lets just call a spade a spade. The “going back to the source material” argument is only a cover for a general lack of imagination and inventiveness that seems to be taking dominance in the modern Hollywood system. Studios unwilling to take risks, and stars more than willing to take paychecks, cannibalize and bastardize films that have come before, only to use the  familiarity and fan-dom that comes with that particular films title, to bilk the general public of a couple million before they catch on that the fact that they are watching inferior product.

At least that is what the people behind the new “Starship Troopers” believe.

http://www.slashfilm.com/starship-troopers-reboot-violent-faithful-book/

http://screenrant.com/starship-troopers-reboot-less-violent-ryanz-182955/

http://www.avclub.com/articles/starship-troopers-reboot-to-be-less-violent-and-mo,81901/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/producer-of-unwanted-starship-troopers-remake-says-new-film-will-be-less-violent-more-patriotic-than-original-20120627#

Adding  jump suits, removing gore, and adding patriotism doesn’t seem like great reasons to revisit this material. They seem like excepts from notes made by the studio about the first cut of a film. I don’t see any evidence that the makers of this remake went back to the novel and really dug in to find different  meaning and subtext. I just see a group of people looking to capitalize on the “Starship Troopers” brandname and make a quick cash grab of peoples nostalgia. They’ve gotten so deluded about their work, they are practaically explaining the who dirty process to us now;

“The more expensive a film is, the harder it is now to make it that violent. With Recall in particular, we made a conscious choice to keep it tonally closer to something like Minority Report. It gives the studio, and us as producers, the opportunity to reintroduce it in a new way”

Verhoeven took [Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel] from one extreme and made it almost comical, whereas our job is to be a little more faithful to the book, and ground it a little more…. Verhoeven made his movie a critique of fascism whereas Heinlein was writing from the perspective of someone who had served in World War II. Y’know, one man’s fascism is another man’s patriotism…

Working in a visual effects renaissance as we are, we have the ability to do so much more now. We can do the Jump Suits [armoured exoskeletons from Heinlein’s novel], for example, which I don’t think they could have done before.

They’re not discussing how they can make a more transcendent piece of moving and involving cinema. They’re talking about tailoring a film so it can sell to the maximum amount of people. Fast Food Cinema my friends. Rehashed, re-fried, overdone and ultimately forgettable.

Don’t take the bait.

“The Great Knight Hype”: 6/24/2012

That, in case you don’t know, is a set photo from “The Dark Knight Rises”……its Bane reading a piece of paper…….riveting.

We’re experiencing a growing tidal wave generated by the upcoming release of “The Dark Knight Rises”. Film bloggers seem to think that every new piece of news, every set photo, TV spot, trailer, early review, cast interview, or any general news concerning the upcoming superhero “epic” is worthy of out time. Clearly, they have gotten a poor idea of what we (those concerned with enlightened, intelligent film journalism) consider valuable. I don’t mean to come off as speculative or overly critical,  but I just fail to see how a new billboard advertising campaign counts as relevant film news/journalism.

http://www.slashfilm.com/potd-coolest-piece-marketing-the-dark-knight-rises/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/you-need-to-see-this-dark-knight-rises-marketing-hits-the-streets/

What a crazy state of affairs. Why do we need to see every freaking piece of advertising concerning “The Dark Knight Rises”? Its like a drug high. People can’t seem to wait for the film to come out, so they placate themselves with little news tidbits and droppings, getting their fixes, and feeding their addiction. Its nerd crack. Geek heroin. Can you imagine hype like this in old Hollywood.

Picture it;

Its 1939 and we’re smack dab in the middle of what some call the greatest year ever in film. We’ve seen trailer after trailer after trailer after trailer………….after trailer after trailer after trailer, for this upcoming new film from Hollywood hit maker David O. Selznick. Its an adaptation of that best seller…….oh…whats its name…..oh yeah, “Gone With The Wind”. Hype has been building to a fever pitch as fans eagerly await the new film from Selznick and the wizard behind “The Wizard of Oz”: Victor Fleming. Radio spots for the film have been appearing on the hour every hour in between Jack Benny and Fibber Mcgee and Molly. Theaters have been handing out lobby cards hand over fist featuring snap shots from the film (including all the fashions that Vivien Leigh will be wearing in the film).  The script for the film has been kept under wraps but there have been leaks, and we’ve been able to put together a rough estimate of the basic plot outline, and can now see if it follows the book or deviates in any way. Also, please don’t forget to get your tickets for the midnight premiere, as they are selling fast. 

Its Pretty Ridiculous, don’t you think, but its whats happening today. Isn’t it enough to want to see the film without having it force fed to you every other day from new set leaks and advertising blitzes? I’m sure that if you are out there and you want to see “The Dark Knight” you probably wanted to see it since Nolan first announced he was making it; before a lick of film had been shot. I understand the need for advertising. I understand the need to sell your film. Some advertising can be fun and entertaining (often more so than the film). I guess what I don’t understand is how every single insignificant piece of Dark Knight information is breaking news in the eyes of film bloggers. It actually wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t reprinting every story about “The Dark Knight Rises” over and over. Aren’t their other films, other gems that need highlighting and exploration/analyzing. I bet these bloggers couldn’t  go a week without printing one story on “The Dark Knight Rises”. It would be nice  if they waited until the film comes out before they write any more. Its seems like a funny idea but in today’s fast paste sensationalist movie advertising business, the last thing to get any consideration is the actually pedigree of the film. How it makes you feel, what it means to you and what its trying to say. These things don’t seem to be the concern of most of these Dark Knight fans/film bloggers. People get so concerned with figuring out the plot ahead of time just for curiosities sake, that they forget to weigh the actions and study the motivations of the people living inside the story itself. By the time the actual film comes along, the adverting has whipped them into such a frenzy that its almost impossible to view the film as a piece of art, but rather the as the next big thing. The next sensation. Its Apple I-phone frenzy at the mega-plex.

Carolyn Jackson Presents: Today’s Redeeming Piece of Film Journalism

 

 

When it is not being used for its more sordid and immature  purposes, the internet can be quite an illuminating place. You’d be very surprised, if you would only look, at the wonderful nuggets of information….the veritable oasis’s of wisdom there are to be found online.

As you may already know, one of our many jobs here at Film-Cycle, along with the vigorous task of challenging and discrediting  the current system of moronic film journalism, is also the reeducation of those who have come to rely on said current system as a reliable source of film knowledge. This is why, along with the many criticisms we do, we also provide links to many underrated and undervalued sources of online film critiques, journalistic pieces, and news hubs. We search in many dark corridors and under many rocks and are more often than not very surprised and delighted at the wonderful things we find. It goes to show that if you would only take the initiative to look, you could expose yourself to content of a higher caliber than if you just regularly skimmed the surface.

Our piece of redeeming film journalism for today comes to us courtesy of The Texas Archive of the Moving Image, a southern based film conservatory operating from the heart of the lone star state. The primary focus of the conservatory is to celebrate “the state’s home movies, industrial films, television output, and regional cine-club product as well as Hollywood and internationally produced images of Texas. Valuable to state history, these films also serve an important collaborative role in the preservation and restoration of the larger motion picture heritage for the United States.” So in a way, the T.A.M.I. functions like any other universal film conservatory would, except on a smaller Texas-centered scale. While it is still a fairly young organization, they have already unearthed a reservoir of very valuable and very vintage celebrity interviews from Texas’ past, conduced by local Austin TV personality Carolyn Jackson (from 1976-1980). Most likely these interviews were conducted during various southern publicity tours held in promotion of a forthcoming release. Some of her subjects include: Brian De Palma  and Amy Irving (for “The Fury”), Micheal Douglas (for “The China Syndrome”), John Frankenhimer (for “French Connection 2”), Martin Ritt and Sally Field (for “Norma Rae”), Peter Bogdanovich (for “At Long Last Love”), and many others. There are many wonderful interviews with some of the more prominent and up and coming actors, producers and directors of the 70’s and 80’s. You’ll find the interview material to be very in-depth, consisting of great questions and intelligent thoughtful answers. None of the EPK style stuff (what are you wearing and who are you dating) that you get so much of today.  The John Frankenheimer and Sigourney Weaver interviews are particularly good. She also manages to get a hold of many of the people (Carrie Fisher, Gary Kurtz) involved in “Star Wars: A New Hope” right around the time when the film was carving out its legacy.

Here is the Link;

http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php/Category:Carolyn_Jackson

Now go and learn something.

 

Just An Average Day In the Film Blog-o-Sphere…..Oh Yeah Andrew Sarris Died

 

 

It was just another average day in the film blog-o-sphere. I was perusing the “popular” site slashfilm.com when I saw something that immediately grabbed my attention. Squeezed in-between two headlines; one for a new international trailer for “The Watch” and the other for a musical remixed version of “Pulp Fiction”….whatever that is, was the blurb:

“Andrew Sarris, One of the Defining American Film Critics, Dead at 83”

http://www.slashfilm.com/andrew-sarris-defined-american-postwar-film-criticism-died-83/

After the initial shock passed, I read the article and was even more upended at what I was reading. I wasn’t shocked in the usual way I am reading internet film blogs, where I am taken aback at the immaturity and low standards showcased in the writing, but more at how surprisingly mature the piece was. A concise clear portrait (rather thin actually…wikipedia is clearly at play) of the man, his muse and his influence over the culture of film criticism. Shocking to see such an article from a website whose daily articles usually only relate information regarding the most up to date news on upcoming super-hero sequels. Sad to see that only the death of a great man can bring about such mature writing. Is death what it takes for these film bloggers to step up and write stuff that actually matters and has weight. Either way, the article was a good one. Score one for low expectations.

Yes Andrew Sarris is dead. Prepare yourself for the obligatory, epk style obituaries and remeberances that will be dolled out en mass over the next few days, from collegue and admirer alike. The list is already large and growing by the minute:

https://news.google.com/news/story?q=andrew+sarris&hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1C1RNBN_enUS438US438&prmd=imvnsubo&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1241&bih=642&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ncl=dzAyDIAQ5LSdmMME45H7RUp9Fu1EM&sa=X&ei=UmXiT_bvEOa62wXYy9m-BQ&ved=0CDEQqgIwAQ

However this is one film journalist who has no plans to join in on the festivities. No brief mythmaking bio will be served, no tweet worthy rememberences will be made and no milestones will be addressed. If you want to know who Andrew Sarris was, go look him up yourself (I would actually read some of his reviews instead of just making a trip to wikipedia). I however, plan to analyze this news event from a specific and important point of view, only drawing on my knowledge of Andrew Sarris to address what his death means to the continuing uphill efforts to legitimize  film criticism as a essential artform. In light of this viewpoint, Sarris’ death takes on special significance, for if you are a fan of serious film criticism, and want to see movie discussed with intelligence and integrity by journalists who are have more on their minds than box office tallies, than the death of Andrew Sarris should be a major blow to your morale. For you see Sarris was one of the last great film critics from the post studio era, whose classy style, witty prose and controversial stances on the auteur theory, helped to make film criticism a respectable entity in the years following the death of old Hollywood. Through the pedigree of his work (and legendary debates with critic Pauline Kael), Sarris established himself as a pillar solid and reliable film criticism. As time passes and we lose more of and more people like Sarris and Kael, it becomes ever more apparent the deplorable state that film criticism/journalism has sunk too. Armond White in his controversial article Discourteous Discourse (http://nypress.com/discourteous-discourse/) correctly surmises the sad state film criticism has sunk to in today’s online society:

“Attacks from bloggers—crude interlopers of a once august profession— are not about diversity of opinion. What’s at root is an undisguised rivalry. Every moviegoer with a laptop claims equal—vengeful—standing with so-called professionals. This anti-intellectual backlash defies the purpose of the Circle’s founding in 1935. Professional dignity is the last thing Internetters respect. Their loudmouth enmity and lack of knowledge are so overwhelming that it is imperative to put this crisis in perspective.

These new social networks overturn the informed judgments and occupational decorum of journalist-critics, substituting the glib enthusiasms and non-discriminating devotion of apparently juvenile cliques. Worse yet, this schoolyard style of peer group fanaticism has devolved into all-out, ugly intimidation: Internet bullying. It has begun to sway the professional ranks already frightened by media transitions that have cost many of my colleagues their jobs.

The most important concern exceeds the critical profession; it’s the danger these changes pose to the culture in general. Ridiculing the need for mature thought and discriminating judgment diminishes film culture. Any opinion that challenges the blockbuster market gets punished. We never experience a healthy exchange of ideas. The social networking approach to criticism encourages anti-intellectual harassment and the excoriation of individual response; it may spell the end of critical habits altogether.

After all the dust has settled and the condolences have been tweeted, ultimately what will be left is a  major void in the film world, not to mention a person who held a strong connective tissue from the bright film criticism we had in the past to the dark state of film criticism in the present. I guess my main focus in this article was to implore my readers to remember Sarris not only from his death notices, but by reading and digesting some of his film reviews, which contain the true nature of his personality and artistry. At the least it will be more heady stuff than what you’ll find on wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambivalence, Thy Name Is Zimmer: 6/19/2012

So this is…good…news?

Hans Zimmer has officially been chosen to score the new Superman film from Zach Synder. Which is good news because he is a great composer. Remember his iconic score from………you know the one that went like………..um……you know its the one that started out big then when small like……uh………..you know the one that……………well….you remember the horn sound effect off “Inception” right?……..awesome.

This is the sad reality kids. Hans Zimmer has written scores for over a 100 films, almost none of them memorable or noteworthy in any way. Think for a second and see if you can remember any iconic Zimmer themes. Got anything? Well let me help you a bit: “Crimson Tide”, “The Last Samurai”, “Nine Months”, “Gladiator”, “The Dilemma”, “Broken Arrow”, “Shark Tale”, “The Weatherman”, “The Da Vinci Code”, and “The Holiday”. Anything ring a bell? Of course not, because (regardless of the films merits) there is nothing in Zimmer’s work worth remembering. No defining attributes, embellishments, or trademark themes to hang his hat on. In fact the more I read of his “accomplishments” and all the film’s he’s produced soundtracks for, the more it seems he is just a throwaway guy, the guy you bring in not because he does any memorable or outstanding work, but because he is just “good” enough to get by. He’ll make a score that only rises to the level of “serviceable”; not harming the film but not good enough to improve it in the slightest. I don’t see why anyone, irregardless of the films Zimmer has worked on, would want to hire him after hearing that he scored Madagascar 2, not to mention “Spanglish”.

Amazingly enough, the overwhelming mediocrity of Mr. Zimmer’s work seems to have escaped the majority of the film blog-o-sphere’s notice. They are actually…….(sighs)….excited about this news:

http://www.slashfilm.com/hans-zimmer-takes-thankless-task-scoring-zack-snyders-man-steel/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/hans-zimmer-to-add-some-braaaahm-by-scoring-zack-snyders-man-of-steel-20120618

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/06/19/one-u-turn-later-hans-zimmer-latest-batman-alum-to-join-man-of-steel/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/hans-zimmer-will-officially-be-scoring-zack-snyders-man-of-steel/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Man-Steel-Feature-Music-Hans-Zimmer-31457.html

http://comicbook.com/blog/2012/06/18/man-of-steel-to-be-scored-by-hans-zimmer/

Besides some initial reservations that Zimmer, working under Dark Knight director and Superman producer Christopher “realism” Nolan, will produce a score too dark to fit Superman’s specific timbre, reaction to this news is almost overwhelmingly positive.

Angie Han over at slashfilm.com writes that:

“if anyone stands a chance of measuring up to the bar set by Williams, it’s Zimmer.

Ben Person at firstshowing.net says he is confident Zimmer will:

“produce some amazing work for Man of Steel. Though his success has generated a lot of copycat composers in the past few years, Zimmer is still at the top of his game.”

Are we listening to the same composer? Why are we expecting great things from the guy who just got done scoring “Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows” and “Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted”? Don’t they see he is a hack? Have our expectations really dropped that low?

I’m not saying that a change couldn’t be a good thing. John Williams wrote a score for Superman that is the musical embodiment of everything that character is. As Richard Donner (director of the original Superman) stated “if you listen to the [John Williams’]music, it literally says Superman”. Williams score carries such a weight that it can be almost impossible to craft a film, and create a world for any character (let alone a more modern Superman) to live up to it. I understand that a different director, in different times, can bring a different aesthetic to the material. Synder should at least have the opportunity to craft his own version of Superman from the ground up as it suits his personality and individual spirit. My only complaint is that, in seeking to explore (originally) his specific vision of Superman, he’s hired (meaning Nolan hired for him) one of the most unoriginal composers of the 20th century.

Want to hear a preview of the bland Superman theme we could get from Zimmer. Have a listen to his Dark Knight score.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1B3Mgklfd0

Now of course you automatically think of the film “The Dark Knight” because its most obvious  association(from the description), and a timely point of reference (being as the movie is only 3 years old). However, I can honestly say that if I didn’t already know from description that this was Zimmer’s Batman theme, I would think it sounded only slightly more above average than what you would hear on an episode of “CSI”or “The Closer”.

Now compare that with Elfman’s Theme from Burton’s Batman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9vdzumXOxI part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-HHuZpzME part 2

As well as Elliot Goldenthal’s re-imagined theme for the Schumacher sequels:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pexxk6tMKLQ

Two very distinct, striking, imaginative and haunting scores. Even if I had no knowledge that these two pieces of music had been written for a “Batman” movie and I was just hearing a random score, I would never for one second, confuse the complexity and genius of their work with the mediocre musicianship of Zimmer’s post modern prime-time TV aesthetic. Like Zimmer, you may claim that Goldenthal was a similarly D.O.A composer before he got the Batman gig, but if you were to compare their credits side by side you’ll find that Goldenthal, even in his mediocrity, produced work infinitely more interesting that Zimmer ever did even at the top of his game..

If anything this signals a bad sign for Synder’s Superman. Nolan as producer seems to already have his hooks buried deep in the project, apparently trying to bring it down to the level of unimaginative realism that he brought to his Batman franchise. How else are we to interpret the hiring of average Zimmer with his accompanying flaccid style. If Synder would have stuck with frequent collaborator Tyler Bates maybe we could have got something at the very least more interesting than standard fare. Not that Bates is in anyway a great composer, but his scores for “Dawn of the dead”, “300” and “Sucker Punch” at least show evidence of someone who is refusing to do anything ordinary or run of the mill (even if Bates mostly just remixes pop classics into frenzied rock apocalyptic anthems, as he is known to do, he will at least, if only by association, have a higher degree of imaginative output with his few films, than Zimmer ever did with his hundred). Instead we are stuck with the slightly better than prime-time player Zimmer. Alas, it seems the Dark shroud of Nolan is beginning to cloud all.

P.S.

Betcha a hundred bucks, that even if Zimmer hits it out the park, his Superman score wont even match up to this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZVRm1KcZY

Happy Fathers Day From Film-Cycle: 6/17/2012

We at film-cycle would like to wish all the fathers out there a very happy Father’s Day. Whatever you do for your family to the best of your ability, thank you for doing at least that. You may not realize but its the small things you do, the things you don’t even think matter, that make the most impact in your families lives. All the hugs and handshakes, fixings and findings, bug-killing and oil changing, though insignificant to you, make a great impact in the lives of your children, your wives, your community and your linage.  God bless you, and have a wonderful day.

P.S.

What is your favorite movie to watch with your father? If not your father; your grandpa, or big brother; basically anyone who was a mentor to you and had a great impact on your life in some way.

As for me and my pop, nothing beats a Saturday evening at home in front of Turner Classic Movies watching “Scarface”. I of course mean the far superior 1932 Scarface and not the obscene gore-fest that Depalma directed in the eighties. I don’t care how many bodies Tony Montana blew apart with his shotgun, or how many mountains of cocaine he snorted; nothing can match the menacing performance Paul Muni gave in that excellently crafted film. The screen crackles with his kinetic energy. Check it out if you get a chance. Here is the Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qx6DhjaAP8

Redeeming Piece of Film News: 6/16/2012

The mass hysteria over Dark Knight Rises has started. Last Monday saw the first batch of tickets go on sale for those wanting to get in first and see it opening day at midnight. It seemed that the tickets couldn’t sell fast enough. Servers crashed due to high volumes and many people who had tickets all ready to buy lost them almost instantaneously. They shouldn’t have been surprised though, seeing how this is almost a repeat of what happened a few years back with “The Dark Knight”, except now its on a much larger scale; http://movies.cosmicbooknews.com/content/dark-knight-rises-2012-imax-ticket-servers-crash-australia-being-compared-harry-potter-craze

If these super fans want to be realistic, they probably will have to wait about a week after release if they want to get in and see “The Dark Knight Rises”. Add about two more weeks onto that if they want to see it in IMAX. Either way, come July 20th, there are bound to be some people angry at the fact they have to wait to see the second coming after everyone else does. To remedy this, I suggest a change of perspective. Shift your eyes away from the dark, nihilistic, hopeless streets of Gotham, to the bright and cheerful town of Hollywood, California (circa 1927). Put on your tap shoes and dance, don’t walk, to the 60th anniversary screening of “Singing In the Rain” taking place on July 12th.

The wonderful people over at fathom events have put together another doozy following their spectacular 70th anniversary presentation of Casablanca. Ticket holders will be treated to a remastered print of the classic musical as well as a special before film interview with Debbie Reynolds conducted by the ultimate pusher-man of classic films, Robert Osbourne. Read about the event and purchase tickets here: http://www.fathomevents.com/classics/event/singinintherain.aspx?d=7/12/2012.

I have to be honest, I’d rather see “Singing in the Rain” any day over Christopher Nolan’s overly dark, “realistic”, nihilistic, un-entertaining, Law and Order: SVU styled, pseudo deep take on Batman. I think if you couldn’t get tickets for the first few weeks of shows for “The Dark Knight Rises” you could do a lot worse for yourself (better actually) by going to go see this wonderful movie that will lift your spirits. Please take the precious opportunity to see this great film on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen. Once you get a view of Mr. Gene Kelly hoofing it in glorioius full frame technicolor across the big screen, Nolan’s depression epic with all its shaky cam action will be the farthest thing from your mind.

P.S. If you want a more concise explanation of why I don’t like The Dark Knight, I’ll direct you to my friends at nypress and youtube to explain it a little bit better.

http://nypress.com/knight-to-remember/

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

What Hath “Glee” Wrought: 6/15/2012

Is this really what people think a musical is? How have we come from films like “An American In Paris”, “Wizard of Oz” and “Cabaret” to this? Ever since “Chicago”, people seem to have gotten a little bit mixed up on just what a musical is. I don’t mean to give a definitive definition as I am not in any way qualified to do so and because the musical genre as it exists has many facets and interpretations. I can at the very least tell you what I’m sure a musical are not (well a good musical anyway). It isn’t a bunch of star of the moment actors with no musical training or skill, rehashing and mashing up songs (that were better as their own entity), and performing them in flashy, substance lacking, narrative neglecting, show pieces to excite the easily excitable tween audience (see “Glee”, “Rock of Ages”, “Mamma Mia”, “Moulin Rouge”). Musicals at their best were expressions of pure emotion, true and heartfelt, given life through complex evocative choreography, and brilliantly written songs by the likes of Comden and Green, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. People may say that musicals never had strong narratives, but I think they are too quick to label a simple narrative as unworthy in favor of a more overly complex one. For instance the love between a man in a woman (which is the basis or aspect of many musicals) is brimming with opportunities for the emotional expressiveness that only song and movement can bring. Even still, the great musicals, even when lacking in narrative, found their worth in their ebullient (and sometimes sad) emotional displays of life, love, struggle and passion. This however, is a far cry from what people consider to be musicals today, wherein musicals only seem to exist only as long itunes download commercials with a “plot” thrown in for good measure. Trust me when I say that there is nothing emotionally expressive about Gwyneth Paltrow singing Forget You off key on Glee. Thats just a Saturday Night Live Skit and a bad one at that. Yet most of the film blog-o-sphere seems on board for this new brand of musical entertainment, which is shown by their anticipation of the new musical comedy “Pitch Perfect”.

http://www.slashfilm.com/perfect-pitch-trailer-anna-kendrick-capella-bring-on/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Pitch-Perfect-Trailer-Has-Anna-Kendrick-Showing-Off-Her-Voice-31419.html

http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/see-anna-kendrick-sing-her-heart-out-in-first-pitch-perfect-trailer/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/trailer-poster-new-images-for-musical-comedy-pitch-perfect-starring-anna-kendrick-rebel-wilson-elizabeth-banks-20120615#

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/pitch-perfect/21684/first-trailer-anna-kendrick-in-pitch-perfect

Most are resigning this film to be nothing but stupid fun all wrapped up in a blanket of guilty pleasure. Something akin to “Bring it On”. This however, is a unworthy assessment of a landmark film. Peyton Reed’s “Bring it On was an imaginatively directed, pastiche of Busby Berkeley flavored social consciousness (even at a superficial level) made not in a parodying or tongue in cheek style , but as a filmic extension of accepted popular cheer-leading myth, reveling in both the silliness and seriousness of the world that cheerleaders inhabit. “Pitch Perfect” however looks to be a demonic hybrid of the overrated “Bridesmaids” and the overvalued “Glee”. An unfortunate crossroads where over-long, undisciplined, and self-infatuated comedy of Judd Apatow meets head on with tonal vacillations, wanton disregard for character or narrative arcs, haphazard interjection of sentimentality, cynical pandering to the god of iTunes Downloads, and the leaden commitment to clichéd, “feel good” plot point of Ryan Murphy. I can’t wait.

The Film Colony ♛

with Alicia Mayer

Things 90s Kids Realize

A warm & fuzzy cup of nostalgia for my fellow 90s kids.

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