Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Jailed

Truly one of the crappiest film news of the year, the kind of injustice that should outrage anyone who lives in a free-thinking society. Here's a wonderful, intelligent, moving defense from him. If you haven't watched his films, please check out: The Circle, Crimson Gold, Offside.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We Need To Go Deeper

It's the film that refuses to go away. Here's more food for thought, if you've just caught up with it on DVD... (SPOILERS EVERYWHERE)

Watch the film's dream levels unfold simultaneously:

A cool video essay looking at how Inception's parallel editing harks back to the pioneering work of D.W. Griffith:

Last but not least, Christopher Nolan's hand-drawn Inception map:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

R.I.P. Blake Edwards & Jean Rollin

Blake Edwards, director of the Pink Panther movies and Breakfast at Tiffany's, a true comic genius. He was 88. New York Times obit.

Jean Rollin, who isn't as widely known as Edwards, but nevertheless carved his own unique niche in the world of horror films. The French auteur, who died at 77, made a bunch of haunting, surreal vampire movies in the '70s which were recognised for their mix of dream-like imagery, eroticism and trance-like qualities. One of my favourite experiences at the old retro Incredibly Strange Film Festival was being completely spellbound by Rollin's Shiver of the Vampires (trailer below). Unfortunately none of his films are available from any of our local distributors - a situation which will hopefully be rectified in the future.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Tron: Legacy - While investigating the mysterious disappearance of his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges), techie Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) lands in a beguiling computerized world of enslaved gladiators, where his dad has been living for the past 25 years. Joined by Kevin's trusted friend (Olivia Wilde), the father and son must journey across a breathtaking - and perilous - cyberscape in this 21st-century update to the beloved 1982 sci-fi classic. (in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D Experience in selected cinemas)

- Set amid the hallowed grounds of Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont, this atmospheric dramedy centers on a hard-living actor (Stephen Dorff) whose life is thrown for a loop when his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) pays him a surprise visit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are 3D Movies Even 3D?

I'm not asking this facetiously; after last night's premiere of Tron: Legacy, I feel compelled to whine again about the non-3D-ness of recent so-called "3D movies". I've posted a bit about this on my Avatar review from a year ago, and now a year later, nothing's really changed: 3D movies simply don't look 3D enough to warrant the ticket price or the experience. You just have to look at the 3D intros of IMAX or Disney (see below, in 2D) to see the difference. The IMAX intro practically destroys you with its depth - it's IN YOUR FACE. And you want to reach out and GRAB the images. On the other hand, the "immersive" thing of most current 3D films go for strikes me as just pointless. It's disappointing after being hyped up by these eye-popping intros to find that the main film is kinda flat-looking and not as visually striking. If someone can tell me why this is, I'd appreciate it!

Random Stuff #13

Monday, December 13, 2010

Projectionists: A Dying Breed

Interesting article over at Slate by Grady Hendrix about the imminent extinction of The Projectionist as we know it. You know, the person behind the scenes switching reels, checking the film is running smoothly, looking/sounding good while we're watching it. It's probably not a widely known thing (or maybe it is?), but when you go to your local Event Cinema to watch a movie, there's most probably no one there in the booth while it's being projected. Actually, just to illustrate this even clearer - if you've ever been to Sylvia Park Cinemas, it's all out there in the open. When you exit the theatre from behind, you can walk through the projection "booths", and you'll see everything's fully automated, and no one's there manning the equipment.

The machines-taking-over-people argument is a common, unsurprising debate, but nevertheless Hendrix's piece poignantly touches on the human costs of implementing such technology. It's also an "art" that'll be lost; the chemical and physical qualities unique to film projection will soon be completely replaced by a couple of mouse clicks.

I'm a "purist", and not entirely convinced by digital yet, so I'll cling onto 35mm film and projection until the very end. Seeing grain is still important to me! It'll be a sad day when the world is ruled by digital projection, but maybe by that time it might also offer the same magical properties as celluloid used to, and still do - I'll give it that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Love Crime - Imagine Dangerous Liaisons crossed with Working Girl and you are well on your way to the core of Crime d’amour. Alain Corneau’s latest film is a remorseless tale of office politics played out by two ruthless executives, deliciously portrayed by the superb Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. With ambition and jealousy oozing from their pores, they achieve the magnificent feat of eating up the scenery while delivering highly understated performances as competitive colleagues who become bitter enemies. Corneau’s script is so tight it squeaks, with precise, propulsive scenes that are bitingly sharp and cut to the quick. No asides, no longueurs. This is a masterclass in filmmaking.

Megamind - When a cunning supervillain (voiced by Will Ferrell) accidentally kills his crime-fighting nemesis, the rogue suddenly finds life boring and uninspired. So, he creates a new enemy (Jonah Hill) who seeks to destroy the world, forcing Megamind to play the hero role for once in his life. (Also screening in 3D)

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - With their dour, bookish cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in tow, the youngest Pevensie offspring - Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) - take an unexpected trip back to Narnia and join noble King Caspian (Ben Barnes) for an epic high-seas adventure. Setting sail aboard the Dawn Treader, the young heroes head for the end of the world, determined to rescue seven once-powerful lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle. (Also screening in 3D)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Aliens from Blomkamp for Second Film

A few details about District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's next film have emerged: it's going to be called Elysium, it will feature aliens (on another planet though) and will star D9's lead Shartlo Copley. It'll also be another D9-style socio-political story apparently. I'm in alien-fatigue mode at the moment so I'm feeling a bit indifferent to this, but based on D9, one hopes it'll be some kind of fresh take on the genre. The question now is, does this viral teaser that hit the web last week have anything to do with the movie:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trailer: The Beaver

Man, this one's been a long time coming... I recall getting excited when I first read about Kyle Killen's script, which topped the Black List's Top 10 Unproduced Scripts in Hollywood in 2008, but I think my initial enthusiasm has dampened somewhat to a meh? since Mel's career-killing raging psycho tirades earlier this year, and from watching this trailer. I think I was hoping for something more twisted and darker, but the trailer seems to sell the film as generic family-friendly/redemption fare - although something about the whole project does smell of "unintentionally funny misfire", with the added bonus of the Mel-scandal trainwreck factor. Trailer up first, then the inevitable fan re-edit:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fatblog's Favourite Festive Flicks

It's almost Christmas time, and it's also that time of the year where we're all scrambling together lists - best-of-year lists, shopping lists - so here's a list of classic and slightly unorthodox Christmas films for your viewing pleasure.

10. Black Christmas - I really don't expect anyone to be actually sitting down during Christmas watching this naaasty movie, but it's one of my favourite '70s slashers - and I guess if you're feeling er, masochistic or something, by all means check it out (forget the remake).

9. Batman Returns - best of those '90s Batmans. Who better to ruin the Christmas spirit than the Penguin?

8. Brazil - another kinda bummer/cynical pick; like no Christmas you'll ever have experienced.

7. Gremlins - GIZMOoooo!!

6. Miracle on 34th Street - the best heartwarming Santa movie ever

5. Home Alone - very fond memories of watching this one when I was a kid...

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas - enchanting stop-motion animation beauty from Tim Burton + terrific songs by Danny Elfman

3. Die Hard - yippee-ki-yay mofo, the most fun time you'll spend at a hostage situation during Christmas!!

2. It's a Wonderful Life - you thought this was going to be no. 1 right? no. 2 is still pretty good. Jimmy's always welcome at this time of the year.

1. Bad Santa - the best arsehole Santa movie ever. Not for the easily offended, but if you're a bit adventurous and like your humour a bit off-colour, you can't beat Billy Bob Thornton in a Santa suit cursing at kids and urinating in his pants.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

A Woman, A Gun, A Noodle Shop - Master director Yimou Zhang tackles an adaptation of the Coen brothers' classic Blood Simple in this period dramedy full of slapstick and plot twists. When the owner of a Chinese noodle shop attempts to kill his adulterous wife, the fireworks fly. The proprietor also hopes to eliminate his wife's woebegone lover, but complications and high-flying action arise courtesy of a rampaging band of feudal soldiers and the shop's wacky employees.

Devil - In this edgy thriller, Det. Bowden (Chris Messina) must not only save five people trapped in an elevator - a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), an old woman (Jenny O'Hara), a guard (Bokeem Woodbine) and a salesman (Geoffrey Arend) - but he must act fast because the devil is among them.

Easy A - High school is the setting for this freewheeling comedic twist on Nathaniel Hawthorne's 19th-century novel The Scarlet Letter. Ambitious student Olive (Emma Stone) decides to boost her popularity by pretending to be the school slut. As the school's swirling rumor mill increases both her notoriety and her finances, Olive enjoys her new found status but eventually must decide which is more important: popularity or self-esteem.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - Director Jalmari Helander expands his award-winning shorts for this unusual Christmas story set in the frozen beauty of Finland, where local reindeer herders race against the clock to capture an ancient evil: Santa Claus. Single father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) and his young son, Pietari (Onni Tommila), are caught up in the chaos as international scientists dig for artifacts. What they find endangers the entire village.

Skyline - After a wild night of partying with friends, Terry (Donald Faison) awakens to discover that he's one of the few remaining people on Earth. Banding together with a small group of survivors (Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Brittany Daniel and Crystal Reed), Terry sets out to solve the mystery of what happened to the human race.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader 3D - With their dour, bookish cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in tow, the youngest Pevensie offspring -- Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) -- take an unexpected trip back to Narnia and join noble King Caspian (Ben Barnes) for an epic high-seas adventure. Setting sail aboard the Dawn Treader, the young heroes head for the end of the world, determined to rescue seven once-powerful lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Random Stuff #12

Creepy Spanish Simpsons

In honour of today's release of The Simpsons - Season 13 on DVD and Blu-ray, check out this truly creepy clip of a live-action Spanish version of the show. I have no idea what its origins are but yeah... don't let the kids near it.