Friday, August 31, 2012

Podcast: "Writing for Tony Scott", Q & A with Quentin Tarantino & Richard Kelly

Just had a listen to this great podcast conducted by Jeff Goldsmith (Backstory magazine) with filmmakers Richard Kelly and Quentin Tarantino, who paid tribute to the late Tony Scott at a double feature screening of True Romance and Domino at the Los Angeles Film School last week. A really entertaining, candid listen if you have an hour or so to spare, packed with anecdotes where the directors talk about everything from script development to their personal and working relationship with Scott. What's especially interesting is how Scott figures in the generational gap between Tarantino and Kelly - the latter was only in high school when True Romance came out! The infectiousness of this Q+A is almost enough to make me want to revisit Domino...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Re-Cut Trailer: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Excellent, on-the-nose re-imagining of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey as an ear-splitting, seizure-inducing trailer for today's audiences (reminds me of the trailer for a certain recent space film...).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Classic Trailer: The List of Adrian Messenger

Sorry that's not quite accurate, this is not a trailer - couldn't find one on youtube. Instead here are the opening credits of The List of Adrian Messsenger, another old neglected gem Vendetta Films is releasing soon. They're still one of the few distributors around anymore who actually manage to really dig into the back catalogue and find lesser known films worth unearthing, so it's good to support these guys whenever we can. This one's a nifty whodunnit from John Huston, with one of the great A-list casts of the period: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchem, Tony Curtis, George C. Scott. If you like old-fashioned mysteries with a slight gimmicky twist, add this to your queue now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

R.I.P. Tony Scott

I'm probably the worst person to write obits, but the news of Top Gun director Tony Scott's suicide was such a mad shock it left me reeling and wanting to devote some space to the man. So here are some stray thoughts and things:
  • Why was it such a shock? The dude's a mega-successful Hollywood director who didn't seem to have any problems with drugs or illnesses or any bad shit - at least none that was made public anyway. He just appeared to be this jovial, energetic British guy who made fast, flashy mainstream films and enjoyed doing so (he called directing "the best job in the world").
  • He's not a critically acclaimed filmmaker. His films do not grace Top 10s. His increasingly ADD editing and visual style were often derided. But one wonders how, or if, in the sea of grief-stricken tweets and comments, taste matters. There are people saddened that the guy who made "one of the greatest films ever" Man on Fire has passed, or those exclaiming that Crimson Tide changed their life. The fact is Scott entertained a heck of a lot of people - even if his films weren't critical favourites. 
  • Which brings me to this tweet... Harsh? Insensitive? Or painfully true? 
  • It's entirely true that Scott is responsible - or at least partially - for a lot of what glossy modern blockbusters look and sound like these days, both the good and the bad.
  • Reports initially stated Scott had inoperable brain cancer and that's why he jumped - now that's apparently incorrect. Truly bad form, ABC.
  • For the record, my Scott faves: probably True Romance and The Last Boy Scout
  • A collection of celeb reactions to his death here, and a proper obit here from BBC.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Trailers: The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head

I'll admit that I wasn't too crazy about the '80s-action-hasbeen-revival-fest that was The Expendables - the idea seemed funny on paper, but watching the film was completely something else: a dreadful, eye-rolling experience which didn't match the novelty of its casting. But this nostalgia for over-the-hill action heroes ain't going away any time soon with The Expendables 2 on the way, and these two forthcoming vehicles for Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But I have higher hopes for Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand than The Expendables 2, because:
  • They're both solo outings, which means Stallone and Arnie have more time to uh, shine and won't need to vie for attention amidst other stars. One of the things that killed The Expendables for me was star-studded suffocation.
  • Directors: Bullet to the Head pairs Stallone up with one of the greats of the genre from the late '70s/early '80s, Walter Hill (Hard Times, 48 Hrs.). The Last Stand is directed by one of South Korea's top filmmakers of the moment, Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Bittersweet Life).
Having said that, though these trailers are pretty fun, I also wouldn't be surprised if the films turned out to be lemons either. Time to hang up the guns and retire gracefully guys - your time has come and gone. :)