Posts Tagged ‘animation’

“Filmed” with Whatever

March 31, 2011

Do wonders never cease? Not only can the iPhone™ let you surf the web, take photos and has loads of cool apps that lets you do anything from find the nearest coffeeshop to listen to your favorite radio station, you can also make a movie with it.

I’m not talking about something high school kids make in a few minutes and upload to YouTube to so that others can laugh at their sophomoric hijinx (i.e. burp and fart jokes). What I am talking about is South Korean director, Park Chan-wook who was given $130,000 by a South Korean cell phone company to make a movie with an iPhone™. While this has the feel of a promotional venture, Park isn’t the first director to use tools that weren’t exactly high end in order to make a movie.

Christopher Nolan, of Batman and Inception fame, made his first film, Following with limited equipment and a ‘crew’ of people who had day jobs. While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it is respected among the cult film aficionados. Independent director Lena Dunham shot Tiny Furniture on a Canon EOS 7D, a still camera that sells for $1500 and she got a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Independent Spirit Award.  Robert Rodriguez’s budget for El Mariachi was only $7,000 and the movie was financially and critically successful.

So, will the next Scorsese, Lucas or Cameron use off-the-shelf equipment and work with a budget of thousands, maybe tens of thousands of he or she is lucky enough to get that much money. Most likely yes. Still, it is important to remember that in the end it isn’t so much the equipment that makes a good movie, rather it is good storytelling. After all films like Star Wars, Love Story, Avatar, Gone With The Wind, and When Harry Met Sally captured the popular imagination the way that they did because films had a good story to tell and each of them told it well. Pyrotechnics, animation and 3D will have the audience saying “Wow”, but without a good story, it is just an exercise in visuals.

So, who knows what the tech heads will dream up. It could be something that you hold in the palm of your hand, use to order pizza on a Friday night and inspire a future Oscar winning director. Something to think about the next time you make a phone call on your smart phone or happen upon a bunch of teenagers filming fart jokes on an iPhone™.



Unexpected Pairings in Movies Or That’s Odd

September 15, 2010

Recently, I learned that Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton will be in a movie together. Titled Joyful Noise, Latifah plays the mother of two kids who are in a church choir. The choir director dies and Latifah takes over as choir director. Parton plays the widow of choir director and she wanted to be the choir director, which sets up a rivalry between the two. The film is set to start production in 2011.

In case you didn’t know, Queen Latifah is a rapper and Dolly Parton is a county singer, so it will be interesting to see how well they work together in a movie. Why did the studios do it? There is the novelty factor and seeing what it looks like when opposites star in the same film that attract moviegoers. Of course, this is not the first time seemingly mismatched co-stars have been put together in a film. There have been others, such as:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
It’s Los Angeles 1947 and private eye Eddie Valiant is hired by Roger Rabbit to prove that his wife Jessica is cheating on him with Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and the owner of Toontown. Soon Acme is found dead and signs point to Rabbit.  So, Rabbit urges Valiant to help clear his name. What’s so odd about that? You ask? Just another private eye story or is it?

What makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit? unique is that this movie combines live action with animation. In fact, the title character is an animated character. Other animated characters are part of the film, such as, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Droopy Dog and more. There is one memorable scene where Donald and Daffy are dueling pianists and Daffy says, “That’s the last time I share the stage with someone with a speech impediment.”  So, the oddness comes from the genre/animated character mash up and it worked. Critics loved it and it did well at the box office.

Stop or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
What happens when you bring together Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty? No, that is not a dream that is the byproduct of falling asleep during a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime after you ran up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. The answer is a movie about a cop (Stallone) and his mom (Getty). Stallone is a bigmouth Los Angeles cop whose methods of crimefighting don’t endear him to his fellow police officers. Then his overbearing mother (the kind that shows baby pictures to his colleagues at LAPD) and comes to visit and she happens to witness a crime. So, it is up to the two of them to catch the bad guys. Critics weren’t kind to this film and many said that Stallone should stick to action films, and not follow Arnold into comedy genre.  Stallone agreed and didn’t make another comedy after this film.

Twins 1988
Speak of the devil, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his first foray into comedy and his co-star is none other than Danny DeVito. They play fraternal twins who were separated at birth and find each other after 35 years. While this could have bombed like Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, it didn’t. It could be due to Schwarzenegger actually being better at comedy than Stallone (check out the one-liners Schwarzenegger delivers in Pumping Iron to see what I mean).  Also having a co-star like DeVito, who has good comedic timing, helps.

Well, that’s all folks. What will the next unexpected pairing from Hollywood look like? Hey if I knew, then it wouldn’t be so unexpected.