The Afternoon Read (3.06.09) Buzzkill On Boyle and trailers galore
Plus David Foster Wallace and Horton Foote remembered
Let us never speak of Wednesday or Thursday again.
Of course fate would conspire to keep me away from the computer on two days where tons of stuff is happening online, including trailer debuts and all sorts of news. I guess that means this afternoon's read is going to be a huge one, and we're also going to have to throw in a special Weekend read just to catch up completely. Sound good?
By the end of the weekend, I expect most of you who want to see "Watchmen" will have seen it, and I'm going to be on G4's "Attack Of The Show" to talk about the film, as a counter to David Poland, who is somewhat less enthusiastic about the film than I am. I've had a fairly contentious relationship with David over the years, and we've never done any media appearance together. Should be interesting. If you don't have G4, or if you believe your TV is trying to kill you so you never turn it on, I will have the appearance here on the Morning Read on Tuesday for you to watch.
TED talks are always worthwhile, and they cover any number of subjects that are of interest to people in all walks of life. There's a great one up now for fans of FX, and for anyone curious about the process used to create the Oscar-winning character work in "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button."
Over at Empire, they've got a short piece detailing more details on Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life," and what appear to be three different cuts of the film, or three distinct versions that will have different purposes theatrically. I had a lovely surprise this week when a draft of this showed up in my mailbox, and I've got some time bookmarked this weekend to read the script. I'll have my thoughts on all of these rumors, and some thoughts about what Malick seems to be making, early next week, in a HitFix exclusive.
[more after the jump]
Another piece you'll see here next week will be a look at the new "French Connection" BluRay and, in a larger sense, some ideas about what "restoration" and "preservation" mean in this high-definition age. It's an important issue for film fans, and for future audiences, and one worth getting into. In the meantime, William Friedkin's been defending his controversial new transfer of his police drama classic.
And finally, it's going to feel like old times at the start of next week when I have a two-part "Sherlock Holmes" set visit that will be published over at Ain't It Cool News. Yes... that's right... it's the encounter that had to happen. Moriarty... meets... Sherlock Holmes. If you want a hint of what you can expect details about, take a look at this short "Holmes" preview by Erik Davis. That's also where you'll see the full image that I've used as today's illustration, all part of Moviefone's exclusive first look.
I'm intrigued by Roger Ebert's reaction to seeing "Watchmen." It's cool that he felt like he needed to go back and see it a second time in IMAX, and then write about it again. I think that, love it or hate it, "Watchmen" is an experience for people, and for many, it'll be something they're compelled to try a few times before they even know how they feel about it.
Some might say the age of the critic is waning, but then I see something like this, which suggests that the audience's relationship with critics is changing, and so is the relationship between critics and artists. And it's changing because the way we digest our media is different, changing every day.
Speaking of Glenn Kenny, I was reading his site this week, and his post about his reaction to the recent wave of David Foster Wallace material in the headspace this week was rough. It did lead me to check out some of the articles, though, like this piece of new fiction by Wallace, and this piece, which is what set Kenny off in the first place. I guess it didn't hit me until now that we're not going to see any more work by Wallace... I don't think of a loss of a person like that, not at first. It's only later that the loss of the potential art sets in as well, a different type of grief if you loved someone's work.
Wait... I can't stop myself... I have more "Watchmen" links. I mean... everyone's talking about it. Even Hitler heard something that has him a little worked up...
I knew he was a fanboy. Makes total sense.
There's an interview with Zack Snyder on a small culture paper called The Rumpus, and the backstory to the interview is just as interesting as the interview. The guy conducting the interview went to camp with Zack, and the interview is rambling and personal and really not like any other junket interview Snyder's done.
Kim Morgan... she gets it. That first photo she runs in her review... she totally gets it.
And I have so much love for this YouTube short that I feel unqualified to even introduce it. This is genius.
And the sad thing is I'd watch that. And I'd eat Froot Loops while I watched it. And it would be awesome.
I can't be more excited about Jim Cameron's "Avatar" than I already am. There's no more excited than "all the way excited." But when I read a story about a 12-minute-long point-of-view IMAX 3D sequence in the film, it makes me feel all faint. I love that idea. God, I hope that's true. I really, really, really love the notion of Cameron making us feel like Pandora is a real place by putting us in the eyes of an Avatar.
Okay... let's talk about trailers and rumors. Plenty of both of them out there this week.
First up, a new trailer went online today for Pixar's "Up." Great trailer, too. Smart recutting of the stuff everyone's seen from the first half, really setting up the dynamic that drives the film. And then a second half with a ton of new story elements. I love the villain who looks like Kirk Douglas. Great job introducing the talking dogs and the giant bird. And there's stuff we glimpse in the trailer that was only hinted at in the 45 minutes of the movie that I've seen. You can see it in high-definition at Yahoo! right now.
The new "Star Trek" trailer went up overnight, and we've got it embedded on the movies page here at HitFix, courtesy of the fine folks at TrailerAddict. And this... this is the best summer movie trailer I've seen so far for anything coming out this year. I thought the "Transformers 2" trailer was pretty cool, well-cut and stylish and big, and I thought the "Terminator Salvation" trailer was good, a nice suggestion of story and scale. But this new "Star Trek" trailer looks to me like a moment in pop culture, a turning point for a series, and if the gamble works, it'll be remembered as a canny move in playing with a movie franchise. It all hangs on that line in the trailer, "James T. Kirk was a great man... but that was another life". This idea for rebooting something... it's bold. It keeps classic "Trek" fans happy, it offers up something genuinely new... it could end up being as pop-savvy as the giant interconnected Marvel movie plan. I get goosebumps from the score in the trailer, and I don't recognize it. If that's Giacchino's work for the film, we're in for it. That sounds appropriately epic and amazing, and the trailer sells the idea for me that these are people who sign up for adventure, for destiny, for exploration. Kirk sitting in that chair. And the scenes of battle that close the trailer. What can I say? It did what a trailer is supposed to do. It got me.
There's a "Public Enemies" trailer that's new as well, and I think it's beautifully cut. Confident. Brash. Looks like the most commercial Michael Mann film in a while. Johnny Depp's so in the zone these days that the film practically leans in his direction every time he's in frame. Everyone looks good, though, and i'm intrigued by the use of the HD cameras to shoot a period film. I can't wait to see the final look, the final score, the final choices made by Mann. Right now, I'd call this one as a pretty big hit a la De Palma's "The Untouchables" back in '87.
"The Hangover" looks really deranged and funny, and when I spoke to Mr. Beaks about it recently, he had a lot of good things to say. I take it he's embargoed in terms of talking about the movie, but what he told me got me very interested, and the trailer works in terms of selling this as a wild left curve of a movie.
And out of all of them, the one that surprised me the most, in that way that almost never happens to me these days, was the trailer for "The Limits of Control," a new film from Jim Jarmusch, which was shot by Christopher Doyle. I've been a Jarmusch fan since the mid-'80s, and there are a few of his films that I consider among my very favorites, so this is exciting.
Okay... so last week, I got an e-mail from The Sun, with a link to their article about how Danny Boyle had been offered the new Bond film. And I e-mailed back and asked, "Is this as true as your last story you e-mailed me, about the 'Sherlock Holmes' reshoots that aren't happening?" And it turns out... yep, it's just exactly the same amount of true, as in none at all. None true. Which shouldn't surprise anyone. I'm reading people who are already saying, "It's a real shame Danny Boyle decided not to do the new James Bond film." Repeat after me... he didn't decide that. He was never offered the film. The Sun made it up. That's what they do. They make up movie rumors that are disproven immediately. And it gets them attention and traffic. And those rumors get spread so quickly by news sites, even though it's The Sun, and then they take on a life of their own. Now, no matter what, some people will think Danny Boyle bailed out on Bond because he won the Oscar and so now he's too serious and... and nothing! He didn't refuse. He wasn't offered the job. We should institute an Internet-wide rule that if a rumor starts in The Sun, no one should reprint it. Ever. Because it will never be true. That would be awesome.
Upcoming Film Scores broke the story that Daft Punk has officially signed on to write the score for the new "Tron" film from Disney for next year. And while I think Wendy/Walter Carlos is awesome, and has created some very memorable scores, I also think that any "Tron" film has to absolutely be a record of the moment when it's made. The first film looks like that year, that part of California, that time in the arcade culture, that step in the history of video games and computer animation. It all played a part in what "Tron" is, and I would hope that Daft Punk plays with the awesome Carlos score from the first film, but in their own stayle, and I'm willing to bet they'll do something awesome for the film. It's an inspired choice.
If you're not interested in the "Mad Max" anime and videogame, both created with George Miller based in part on the "Fury Road" script that's never going to get shot, I can respect that. You don't have to be interested. But can you do me a favor? Don't whine about it too much so that they'll actually make both of them, because I can promise you that I will own that anime on BluRay, and I'm going to play that video game about a brajillion times.
There's a new edition of "Understanding Screenwriting" up over at The House Next Door. Always worth a look.
And a couple of nice features over at /Film today. First, Pete Sciretta's gone through and made a list of people you might want to follow on Twitter if you're interested in film.
And he's got a guest blogger at the site for a few, none other than Alex Proyas, and he's talking about the release of his new movie "Knowing." It's a cool idea to get a guest like Proyas to come in to write directly.
Anyone else think Horton Foote might have just won his Tony? I think Foote was a giant, one of those guys whose best work was so far beyond the pale that it's hard to discuss it critically. It's music. He wrote beautiful, wise music about people, and I think "Tender Mercies" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" are among the very best screenplays ever written. There are few writers alive who can take his place, but I think that's always been the case. He was a rare breed.
On that note, I'm out of here. I've got more stuff for you this afternoon and evening and weekend and... well... I've just plain got some work to do. Hope you guys have a great weekend, whatever you watch.
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