Saturday, April 18, 2009

Notable film and media links--April 18, 2009

---How does one become one of the foremost bloggers on the internet?  Writing for Intelligent Life, Johann Hari considers the impressive success of Andrew Sullivan and his blog the Daily Dish:

"Sullivan is regarded by his critics as an attention-deficit bundle of contradictions. He is a conservative Christian who rages against the self-proclaimed forces of conservative Christianity. He is a pioneering crusader for gay marriage savaged by the gay left as `chief faggot', herding homosexuals on behalf of The Patriarchy. He admits: `I’m very uncomfortable with audiences who agree with me… I’ve never really had a place where someone didn’t dispute my right to be there.' So what is the glue that holds together the blogger-king?"

---For The New York Times, Michael Cieply wonders "What's the Skinny on the Heftier Stars?":

"Hollywood’s pool of leading men is getting larger — and not necessarily in a good way.

Based on a close look at trailers, still photos and some films already released, at least a dozen male stars in some of the year’s most prominent movies have been adding on the pounds of late.

In `The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,' a subway heist movie due from Columbia Pictures and MGM in June, Denzel Washington, 54, goes cheek-to-jowl with the bulky John Travolta, 55 — and they are beginning to look like a matched set. Mr. Washington is no longer the lean, mean boxing machine he portrayed in “The Hurricane,” 10 years ago."

---Have you seen Disney plagiarize itself in Boingboing's template video?  It seems very wrong, and yet fascinating because one would never notice it without the exact juxtaposition.  

---Brendon Connolly of /Film replies to the TCM list of the 15 Most Influential Classic Movies with his list of "The Ten Most Influential Films of the Last Ten Years."  Rushmore and The Matrix I can see, but Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

---For The Powerstrip, Jon Lanthier entertainingly shares his "Thoughts on Mamet: House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner":

"Yes, Mamet's a talented guy. He has an ear, a knack, a palate, for rich, testosterone-dripping non-speak -- talking without saying much, or saying the kinds of things that Harold Pinter's characters were probably thinking to themselves during the playwright's signature punctuations of silence. And he's no L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E dramatist, either, a la Sam Beckett or any of the surrealists whose cadences meant far more than their words did (Lorca, etc); he's interested in the visceral sound of garrulousness because it's the sound of manipulation (which is, after all, but one way of perceiving social interaction). But then, I wouldn't want to give the impression that he's a pessimist, or a misanthrope: he admires the manner in which human beings play one another for suckers, it's part of the entertainment, the inherent drama, of life."

---Is it just me, but does Steven Spielberg's hearty second-hand endorsement of Michael Bay's upcoming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen seem a little . . . dubious?  Spielberg thinks it might be Bay's best film?  Does that mean much, next to, say, Spielberg's canon? I'm just wondering. Although, this teaser clip from Cinematical does tease effectively.

---Claire Cain Miller finds various reasons to justify the existence of Twitter.  To be fair, I have included them here.

---Aspiring filmmakers take heed: the way to Hollywood lies in your willingness to convey "blood, chills, and pulp," not to mention women-in-prison exploitation films.  For Cinematical Seven, Monika Bartyzel explains how seven "Great Directors Started with B Movies."

---We've seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Now, it is time for the zombified version of West Side Story.


JUS said...

Interesting note about growing leading men. I watched State of Play last night and noted that Russel Crow was sporting an extra chin and some tire-age around his mid-section. Perhaps this was intended to emphasize the contrast between the weathered print-reporter and the sleek, modernity of his antagonist/partner, the ambitious blogger played by petite Rachel McAdams. The juxtaposition also works with his college-friend-turned-congressman co-star played by the flawlessly trim and neat Ben Affleck.

But Crowe was big.

I was fascinated and wounded by the Disney animation revelation. It is an interesting look at the economies behind the artistry. The mass-production formula of recent Disney productions is well-known, but I have nursed a notion that in "the Good Ol Days" things were different. At some level, I have always known that my notion was romantic rather than authentic, but it was a comforting delusion. The re-use of animation sequences in the classic Disney canon points out that the practice goes back farther than I'd like to imagine, robbing me of my delusion. Sigh.

FilmDr said...

Thanks for your insights, JUS.

I wish I had had a chance to see State of Play this weekend. I was also curious about Rachel McAdams' return to the screen. One wouldn't think that Americans are all that ready to watch their male stars gain much weight. I wonder if actors like Russell Crow are just taking advantage of their celebrity status.

I agree with you about the Disney plagiarism. Robin Hood (1973) was one of my favorite Disney animated features, and now it looks like an honor code offense.