Category Movies

The Godfather Wars

A 21 page article on the making of the Godfather. One of the most fascinating things I’ve read in the last month.

A Murder Scene Written By – Hitchcock!

From Mystery Man on Film:

So then a funny thing happened. At the ripe young age of 68, Hitch sat down to write this screenplay himself. The protag would be called Willie Cooper. There would be two murder sequences and a big ending. The first victim, Caroline Varley, works for the United Nations, and gets offed in Central Park. Willie meets the second victim, Patti Landis, at a Manhattan art school and much suspense is drawn out of when and how Willie might murder this girl, which would eventually take place on an abandoned U.S. battleship from World War II.

And then there’s the ending. A female policewoman is sent out as a decoy to capture Willie, and he actually falls in love with her.

Hitch called it his “dark love story.” Hehehe…

Now Hitch went further in the development of this film than any other project that never made it to the big screen. He was going to break new ground with the use of indoor natural lighting and a 360 degree pan of an entire apartment. He scouted locations and did test footage (the stills from those tests are peppered throughout this article). The sex and violence would’ve broken the kind of barriers that were later broken in films like Bonnie and Clyde. Hitch was ahead of his time. Dan Auiler wrote, “Here is one of cinema’s greatest directors proposing a groundbreaking film that would have eschewed the American studio style for the kind of filmmaking Hitchcock was seeing in France and Italy. More importantly, [Kaleidoscope] would have returned Hitchcock to the kind of dark films that characterized his British period.” But Universal’s rejection of his concept (and that of a serial killer protag) was absolute. It was a decision that irked Hitch to the end of his life.

The thing is, Hitch was right. His concept would have worked, and everybody was (and is) wrong about unsympathetic protags. Sympathy or its lack of has nothing to do with a great protagonist. What matters is character depth. If you have a dynamic character as your protagonist, who has many different sides to his character, a guy who is incredibly charming and yet also a demented killer, people will be repulsed and also fascinated. And if this dynamic character is surrounded by sympathetic supporting characters, they will watch the film to the end, because they will try to A) figure out what makes the killer tick, B) they will quietly sympathize with (and worry about) all of those innocent supporting characters, and C) they will root for his downfall and be overjoyed when it finally happens.

Inglourious Basterds Teaser

FilmSchoolRejects have a clip from Quentin Tarantino’s latest.

The Sopranos Profanity Cut

27 minutes of every swear ever uttered on The Sopranos.

Watchmen Viral Site Up and Running

Woohoo. I love me some virals. Especially when the virals include news footage of Doctor Manhattan:

(via SF Signal)

25 Classic Monologues in Cinema

From Mystery Man on Film:

Austin Powers

Therapist: Oh no, please, please, let’s hear about your childhood.

Dr Evil: Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it’s breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

Therapist: You know, we have to stop.

30 Unforgettable Movie Opening Sequences

From Smashing Magazine.

Trading Places Ending Explained

From Mah Two Cents:

They were selling high and buying low? And they got away rich? Gah-huh?
Like I said, I thought that, too. Okay, as explained to me and I figured out: Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy wanted to get back at the Duke Brothers (Don Amechie and Ralph Bellamy) for making them trade places. They learned they were getting the orange futures from an industrial spy (Paul Gleason, you know, that prick teacher from Breakfast Club) So they intercept the report that says the frost won’t affect the orange crop and give the Dukes a fake saying the opposite, I assume. As explained to me, in the futures market you can buy shares from the exchange (and I assume on margin, or a fraction of the cost, with the full amount called in certain circumstances as we’ll get to later. And key to this transaction, at the end of the day, they have to give back the options to get their money paid for same.) So our heroes take Ophelia’s and the butler’s money, get all the shares they can, and are ready. Our heroes sell their futures at around 29, then the report comes on saying the orange futures aren’t affected by the frost, and buy back around 131. The Dukes realize what’s going on, but too late to take action, their margins are called and told their seats would be taken if they couldn’t pay. As pointed out to me in that explanation, that’s probably why all 4 of our heroes took off to the Caribbean to escape the inquiry that would most certainly rise as a result.

Win Ben Stein’s Mind

Roger Ebert’s scathing and funny belated review of Stein’s ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’.

The more you know about evolution, or simple logic, the more you are likely to be appalled by the film. No one with an ability for critical thinking could watch more than three minutes without becoming aware of its tactics. It isn’t even subtle. Take its treatment of Dawkins, who throughout his interviews with Stein is honest, plain-spoken, and courteous. As Stein goes to interview him for the last time, we see a makeup artist carefully patting on rouge and dusting Dawkins’ face. After he is prepared and composed, after the shine has been taken off his nose, here comes plain, down-to-earth, workaday Ben Stein. So we get the vain Dawkins with his effete makeup, talking to the ordinary Joe.

I have done television interviews for more than 40 years. I have been on both ends of the questions. I have news for you. Everyone is made up before going on television. If they are not, they will look like death warmed over. There is not a person reading this right now who should go on camera without some kind of makeup. Even the obligatory “shocked neighbors” standing in their front yards after a murder usually have some powder brushed on by the camera person. Was Ben Stein wearing makeup? Of course he was. Did he whisper to his camera crew to roll while Dawkins was being made up? Of course he did. Otherwise, no camera operator on earth would have taped that. That incident dramatizes his approach throughout the film. If you want to study Gotcha! moments, start here.

That is simply one revealing fragment. This film is cheerfully ignorant, manipulative, slanted, cherry-picks quotations, draws unwarranted conclusions, makes outrageous juxtapositions (Soviet marching troops representing opponents of ID), pussy-foots around religion (not a single identified believer among the ID people), segues between quotes that are not about the same thing, tells bald-faced lies, and makes a completely baseless association between freedom of speech and freedom to teach religion in a university class that is not about religion.

Making Iron Man

Jeff Bridges’ photo diary that he took while on the set of Iron Man.

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