Welcome to The Morning Read.
It's Tuesday morning, so that means we kick the column off today with our "On The Shelf" round-up of everything of note that's hitting home video today. It's still not a great week, but it's better than last week was, and there are a few things I'll absolutely be picking up.
This is the first season I didn't watch "Weeds" while it was being broadcast, so I'm looking forward to catching up with "Weeds: Season Four" on BluRay. I wish I was a bigger fan of "Defiance" or "Revolutionary Road" so I could be excited about their release this week. Those are probably the two highest profile releases today. Maybe "He's Just Not That Into You," the chick flickstravaganza starring everyone working in Hollywood today. The Kenneth Branagh BBC release "Wallander" is of extra interest to geeks this week since it costars Tom Hiddleston, who'll be playing Loki for Branagh in the Marvel Studios film "Thor." If you're looking for catalog releases on BluRay, it's a big mixed bag of a day. Titles include "Air Force One," "The Graduate," "Glory," "Roadhouse," "Inside Man," "Out Of Time," "Anaconda," "Fletch." and the first one I'm going out of my way to find, "To Live And Die In LA." Even though it's DVD only, I'm going to pick up "Tender Mercies," a film I really like, but that I haven't seen in a while. I thought "Thrilla In Manilla" was a fascinating documentary at Sundance this year, another telling of the story of the fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, and the first to ever make me question my unblinking support of Ali in all matters. Also at Sundance, but not nearly as good, as the comedy "Spring Breakdown," with Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, and Rachel Dratch. It's not the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's so hit or miss that I would have a hard time recommending it. Finally, I'm not sure I'll ever have the spare scratch for the 10-BluRay box of "Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1," but I've got my eye on it in case I just go crazy one day and start swiping my credit card randomly.
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TITLE OF THE WEEK: And I don't mean "most worthwhile DVD of the week," either. I mean this is the best title of the week, regardless of how the film is. "Retardead." Sounds terrible. Looks terrible. And a mere mention of it on Twitter tonight sent dozens of retweets a flyin', so I'm guessing they'll move some units. Hats off.
Jess in Needles, California is the first subject of David Lynch's "Interview Project," and if the whole thing is going to be this good, I may have just found my new daily obsession. It's a 20,000 mile road trip over 70 days, and along the route, Lynch's team interviewed hundreds of people. Each day, we'll get a new short piece, and if you want to get a sense of what you can expect from the series, try the intro to the site.
Why is being a geek dad great? Because of moments like this one:
That came from the new production blog for "Where The Wild Things Are," which also happened to feature a clip that has nothing whatsoever to do with film or filmmaking, but which is hypnotic and worth at least a peek if you've got any interest in nature.
The dastardly director of "The Brothers Bloom," a mostly-drunken reprobate named Rian Johnson, steered my attention to a piece in the New York Times by the oh-so-cool Ricky Jay about... of all things... Susan Boyle. Seriously. Take a look.
Seems like James Cameron's feeling sort of chatty this week, doesn't it? First he makes that Aero Theater appearance and talks about aspect ratios and all sorts of geeky tech particulars involving "Avatar," his impending SF epic, and now he's at E3, where he was a big part of yesterday's Ubisoft presentation. How big a part? Well, he spent fifteen minutes pretty much describing the entire plot to the movie, including the ending.
And yet, no footage. Not even a finished film still behind him while he was talking. Madness. Instead, IGN.com seems to have scored the week's big exclusive in the form of three gameplay stills from Ubisoft's "Avatar" tie-in, as well as one piece of production art of Pandora, the moon where most of the film takes place. I know there was an unofficial piece of art last week that leaked, but this is all being released by Ubisoft, meaning the first time we're being given an official look at this amazing world that Cameron has spent years designing and building... it's through screen shots from the video game tie-in. That seems ill-advised at best, completely asinine at worst. I hope this wasn't the "very sooooon" that Cameron was alluding to in his Q&A on Saturday, because this does not count as a real first look at the film. Bring it on, JC.
If only there were a website that somehow catered directly to my deeply-seeded need for both explosions and boobs. Hmmmm...
When I was working for Clive Barker, one of the things I had to ask him about was the potential for a "Nightbreed" director's cut to one day be released. Clive said then that Fox had no interest in doing one, and that he wasn't even sure they still had all the missing footage, or where it would be stored. Well, CHUD did a little digging into the matter, and it's not all bad news.
I forget sometimes that not everyone has an intimate understanding of the way film production works, or of the differences in the process for animation and live-action, and so it's nice to see a piece that explains what the role of a director is in animation in simple, clear language, especially when it actually gets it right.
Brian Lynch? Very funny man. One of the funniest guys on Twitter, if you ask me. I like the way he reviews movie posters instead of movies, and I wish some of these films were exactly as he describes them. It could only be an improvement.