A movie to wrap up the two seasons of HBO's Rome is apparently in the works.
[Series creator Bruno] Heller would not discuss plot ideas, but the original series outline for "Rome" next called for the hedonistic Roman leaders to deal with the rise of a certain problematic rabbi...Ray Stevenson, who played the Shaftoe-esque character Pullo, is looking forward to reprising his role. This is by no means guaranteed to happen, but I'm excited. (via Roman Times) (3) #7/9/2009
There will be 10 best picture nominees starting with the 82nd Oscar ceremony, [scheduled] for March 7, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.My feeling is that this will make room for two types of movies that usually get snubbed: the well-reviewed big action picture, and the too small art film. E.g., last year this new rule may've made room for Iron Man and Frozen River. I like that. On the other hand, it will make Best Picture trivia that much harder. (via aicn) (12) #6/24/2009
Trailer for Tetro, Francis Ford Coppola's next film and the first original film he's both written and directed since 1974's The Conversation. This was the film he was working on in Argentina when his studio in Buenos Aires was robbed, resulting in him losing "15 years of computer data". (via aicn)
(1) # 5/4/2009
Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a big proponent of 3-D cinema. Well, Daniel Engber at Slate has written an article criticizing even recent advances of the technology that for the first time has given me pause.
He starts by arguing that even though 3-D technology has improved and there are far fewer complaints of eye soreness than its earlier iterations, there is an inherent issue with viewing 3-D on a flat screen:
Something different happens when you're viewing three-dimensional motion projected onto a flat surface. When a helicopter flies off the screen in Monsters vs. Aliens, our eyeballs rotate inward to follow it, as they would in the real world. Reflexively, our eyes want to make a corresponding change in shape, to shift their plane of focus. If that happened, though, we'd be focusing our eyes somewhere in front of the screen, and the movie itself (which is, after all, projected on the screen) would go a little blurry. So we end up making one eye movement but not the other; the illusion forces our eyes to converge without accommodating.
That movement sustained through an entire feature, he argues, causes eyestrain.
He also makes a point about people who have depth perception disabilities, which I first thought about seriously when I asked a small group of people to see Coraline 3D with me and two of them admitted not being able to fully process 3-D effects.
Five percent to 8 percent of the population is stereoblind and can't convert binocular disparity into depth information. That means they can't appreciate any of the 3-D effects in a RealD or Imax movie. An additional 20 to 30 percent of the population suffers from a lesser form of the deficit, which could diminish the experience of 3-D effects or make them especially uncomfortable to watch.
Certainly it was an issue for the colorblind when color film came about, but they could still watch the movie. But those incapable of viewing 3-D film experience unpleasant effects such as double vision.
And then there's the issue of permanent consequences if we start watching more and more things in 3-D:
[A]udience-members may experience very mild, short-term vision impairment after a movie ends. I won't pretend there's any hard evidence that these transient effects could develop into permanent problems. But if 3-D becomes as widespread as some in the industry claim—every movie in three dimensions, for example, and television programs, too—we'll no doubt have plenty of data...
All good points, although I have to admit that I haven't experienced much unpleasantness myself when seeing movies projected in RealD.
Maybe we'll never get to the point where everything is in 3-D, although I wonder if there are eye issues with holographs. Yet, I still consider myself a 3-D optimist, and I suspect that once the marketing hype of James Cameron's Avater picks up, which should begin fairly soon once a trailer comes out, we're going to see a lot more journalism about the viability of 3-D as a ubiquitous cinematic technology.
For those of you who have the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In coming up in your Netflix queues, you might want to know that the current DVD release has dumbed-down and sometimes inaccurate subtitles. Future pressings will have the original subtitles used in the theatrical release. This information came about a week late for me, although I still found the film to be subtle and excellent.
(14) # 3/31/2009
I'll end the week with a Dave Eggers twofer:
1) The trailer for Away We Go, an indie-like comedy written by Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida and directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road). I read a draft of the screenplay a few years ago when it was called "This Must Be The Place" and found it to be quirky/cute in a Little Miss Sunshine sort of way. (via kottke)
2) This one's a little old, but I just heard about it. Tom Tykwer, gun shootout director extraordinaire (and of Run, Lola, Run fame), is working on a film adaptation of Eggers's novel What is the What. I read WitW last year and I thought it was excellent -- you should all read it if you haven't yet. (8) #3/20/2009
I missed a few things in my "Notable 2009 consumptions, so far" post, and have one update, so here they are:
I saw this only a few weeks ago and I've already forgotten most of the plot points, but this movie was worth it solely for the gun shootout sequence near the end (for which director Tom Tykwer built somewhere in Germany a full scale replica of New York's Guggenheim Museum) -- one of the best scenes of its kind I've seen since perhaps Heat. I felt bad for screenwriter Eric Singer, though, who said in this podcast interview that he hoped the film didn't come off as a feature-length set up for that one scene -- to me it sort of did. Along with Children of Men, Clive Owen is now the master of well-shot action scenes.
Important Things with Demetri Martin
I haven't enjoyed a sketch comedy show this much since Mr. Show. You can view clips on the Comedy Central website.
The Hazards of Love (The Decemberists) (update)
Last night, The Decemberists played this entire album live and in full at SXSW, and NPR has the whole thing up on their site. It's not quite as tight as the album (not surprisingly for its live debut), but the energy is there. One odd thing is that the stream has pre- and post-show commentary by NPR hosts, although it was interesting to hear that the crowd didn't get fully into the performance until Shara Worden came on stage.
Since my blog is oddly one of the top hits on Google for "Zowie Bowie" (due to this post about how David Bowie's son and a flashy Vegas duo share the same name), I might as well continue to keep you all updated about Duncan Jones (the name David Bowie's son now goes by): he directed a "science-fiction black comedy thriller film" titled Moon, which just debuted at Sundance and is about "a solitary lunar employee who finds that he may not be able to go home to Earth so easily." Wonder if it's inspired at all by The Man Who Fell to Earth.
(0) # 2/2/2009
AICN's Harry Knowles, whose favorite movie of 2008 is Let the Right One In -- a Swedish film -- thinks that the rules for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award are broken (and I agree):
[B]ecause its country of origin didn't offer it up as the film representing its country, it will not even be considered for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM, which at the very least... it is. This is why that award in the Academy Awards is broken. When you depend upon a host nation to offer up a film for consideration for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM, you are forced to consider only the films that the nation in question feels artistically represent their country. As a result, films critical of their current country's policies and politics - won't be offered up.I haven't seen LTROI yet, but I've heard excellent things. (2) #1/13/2009
Before I've had a chance to make a significant dent in 2008's film offerings, Wired has posted a movie guide to "wild" (read: sci-fi, superhero, and fantasy) upcoming movies in 2009. Some things I've read little about before now: Land of the Lost (Brendan Fraser), The Wolfman (Benicio Del Toro), Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.), and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (Brendan Fraser).
(2) # 12/31/2008
Roger Ebert lists his top 20 films and 5 documentaries for 2008, but for the first time (as far as I know) refuses to rank them. I love this line of his regarding Synecdoche, NY:
[A] film that should never be seen unless you've already seen it at least once.Implicit in this statement: The first viewing of this movie is very unpleasant -- and it indeed was for me. But now I have an explicit recommendation to see it again. (16) #12/6/2008
Roger Ebert gives one star to a movie that he walked out of after eight minutes, and then justifies his actions in a separate blog post. He hasn't been this cruel since his reaction to Vincent Gallo's first version of The Brown Bunny.
(1) # 10/16/2008
That adaptation of Infinite Jest that I wrote about two years ago? Variety says it's still in early production, despite DFW's agent saying that the option ran out. I've read a draft of Keith Bunin's screenplay and though it was well-written, I didn't particularly like it. (Although if the rumor about a Jon Brion score is true, that would fit nicely.)
It's been awhile since I read the draft, but I wasn't a fan of it because it focused on the global crisis aspect of the novel, and left out what I think is the emotional heart of the book. I vastly preferred the approach of Matt Earp's stage version that he wrote and directed at Wesleyan in March of 2001, which concentrated on the students at the tennis academy, Hal, Madame Psychosis, and Mario. I drove from Boston to see that play and it was worth it. Here's a picture of the Eschaton scene from Matt's play, and here's a summary I wrote about it <gulp> eight years ago.
Hollywood: option Matt's play and build it into a feature, and then have him write a second feature that focuses on Gately. Or better yet, make it a cable TV miniseries.
This blog has been following Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler since it was announced, and now it's just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. I still have no idea what the tone of the film will be like, but it looks like Aronofsky is back on his feet after the critical failure of The Fountain.
(0) # 9/8/2008