Posts Tagged ‘Inception’

“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™.

Sources:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/episodes/episode-108/videos/88

http://blog.koldcast.tv/2010/koldcast-news/the-15-cheapest-movies-that-went-on-to-become-cult-classics/

Advertisements

2011 Oscars in Four Moments

March 3, 2011

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards took place on February 27 and here is the list of  winners:

Best Picture
The King’s Speech

Best Director
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Best Actor
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

Best Actress
Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Best Original Screenplay
The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network

Best Animated Feature
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film
In a Better World

Best Documentary Feature
Inside Job

Best Animated Short
The Lost Thing

Best Documentary Short
Stranger No More

Best Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland

Best Cinematography
Inception

Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland

Best Film Editing
The Social Network

Best Live Action Short
God of Love

Best Original Score
The Social Network

Best Original Song
We Belong Together
Toy Story 3

Best Makeup
The Wolfman

Best Visual Effects
Inception

Best Sound Editing
Inception

Best Sound Mixing
Inception

Of course a lot goes on in an Oscar broadcast, too much for me to write about, still there are four moments that I would like to present for your consideration.

Hosts Moment or Moments
In an effort to attract a younger demographic, the Academy picked Anne Hathaway and James Franco. I thought Hathaway was good as a host. She really put the effort to be engaging with the audience in the hall and with the television audience. As for Franco, he was just there, even dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Since I’m a recent MBA graduate, the only reason I can think of for Franco’s not engaging performance was that he was very concerned about his studies and that got in the way of his host duties.

Can’t Take That Away From Me Moment
In the celebrity world of plastic surgery, botox and all around shallowness, it was great to see how Kirk Douglas handled himself. Yes, he doesn’t walk as well as he used to and he doesn’t talk as well as he used to, still for someone who is 94 years old and still dealing with the aftereffects of his stroke he showed the world two things:

1.     His mind is still as sharp as ever.

2.     While a stroke can make it difficult to walk and talk, it doesn’t take away the fact that you have class and Kirk Douglas has it.

By the way, the person who fought over Douglas’ cane was none other than Omar Sharif, Jr. Yes, he’s the son of that Omar Sharif. He has appeared in Egyptian television shows and films and now he wants to try his luck in Hollywood.

This Broadcast Has Been Brought To You By…
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC), at least until the year 2020. While some didn’t like it the network promoted itself during the Oscar broadcast, I didn’t mind. The Oscars has a worldwide audience of at least one billion, so I can’t fault the network for getting the word out about itself. After all with the Internet and satellite television providers, ABC doesn’t have to content itself with North America anymore. There are opportunities to get the network’s programming out all over the world. So, when opportunity to do some promotion came up, ABC grabbed it.

Bravo Bravo Natalie Moment
Yes, I was rooting for Natalie Portman to get the Oscar for Black Swan. Not only did she work hard in preparing for the role, she worked hard and smart throughout her career. She choose roles that weren’t just “girl next door” or love interest. They ran the gamut from Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequels to Evey in V for Vendetta and it paid off on Oscar night for her. Also, she was gracious enough to thank her parents, her fiancé Benjamin Millipied and the many, many people who were involved in Black Swan. It costs nothing to say thank you, but it means a lot to those who hear it.

Well there you have it, the Oscars in four moments. What will happen with next year’s Oscars? We’ll find out next year.

Sources:
http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees;_ylt=AgaPEOKqWkPbaM8JKL5jrzhIPKJ4

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41817860/ns/today-entertainment/

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/movie-guide/When+Kirk+Omar+Hollywood+story/4370595/story.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfzmj5yYI4Y

My Musings on the 2011 Oscar Nominations

February 4, 2011

The 2011 Oscar Nominations were announced on January 25, 2011 and here are the nominees for Best Picture:

Best Picture

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Again, the Academy has 10 pictures up for Best Picture, it seemed to work well last year, so the powers that be decided to repeat it. If you want to see the entire list, go to: http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.

Now for my musings on topics related to the Academy Awards

Those Who Weren’t Nominated

Hereafter
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, such as Best Director, Best Actor or Best Screenplay. After all, Clint Eastwood was the director and unlike a lot of people in Hollywood, he is not a one trick pony. He’s gone from Spaghetti Westerns to Action films to directing and sometimes starring in films as varied as The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and others. While he won Best Director for Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, it wouldn’t hurt to honor him again.  Also, let’s not forget the multi-talented Matt Damon. His performance was good enough to merit a nomination. Don’t you think Damon’s Best Screenplay Award is a little lonely?

Conviction
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, as well. It dealt with the important topics of wrongful conviction, loyalty, fighting for the truth and the Academy often rewards films like Conviction with a nomination or two. Shoot me, but I thought Hillary Swank’s performance was good enough to get a nomination, as well.

Michael Douglas
Here’s someone else who did not get nominated. Not to sound morbid, but considering that he had cancer, I thought he would be nominated for Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, not so much as a pity award but more as a lifetime achievement award. Here is someone who didn’t just cash in on the fact that he is the son of Kirk Douglas. He worked his way up from doing episodic television (he got his start in The Streets of San Francisco) to starring and sometimes producing films (he got the rights for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and produced that film). Not that he didn’t have his demons to deal with, but considering how he could have ended up (i.e. Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan), Douglas ended up more than okay.

Bravo Natalie
Congratulations to Natalie Portman for her Best Actress Nomination for Black Swan. Here is someone who could have be forever known as Luke and Leia’s mom, instead she went to college (university for those living outside of the U.S.), picked roles that weren’t “Girl Next Door” or “The Love Interest” (check her out in V and you’ll know what I mean) and now it is paying off for her.

The Co-Host Might Get An Award
James Franco, who will be the co-host with Anne Hathaway of this year’s Academy Award’s ceremony, is up for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in 127 Hours. The last time a host or co-host was nominated was in 1958 when David Niven was nominated and won for the film Separate Tables. It would be interesting to see if this happens again. As for the film 127 Hours, I must admit that I didn’t see it. The story of a mountain climber who has to cut his own arm off in order to free himself from a boulder, didn’t appeal to me.

The 83rd Annual Academy Award ceremony will take place on February 27, 2011.

Sources:

http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000140/#Director

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000142/awards
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2010/11/29/entertainment/doc4cf3fa0a0753e470574252.txt

Highest Grossing Films of 2010

January 6, 2011

Here are the top ten domestic grossing films, as reported in the December 24, 2010 issue of The Hollywood Reporter

1.     Toy Story 3 $415 million  (The folks at Pixar and Disney must be very happy.)

2.     Alice in Wonderland $334.2 million

3.     Inception $292.5 million (Christopher Nolan has proven that he doesn’t need Batman to boil his pot.)

4.     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 $265.7 million

5.     Shrek Forever After $238.5 million

6.     The Twilight Saga: Eclipse $300.5 million (Team Jacob or Team Edward? Who cares! Vampires AND Werewolves aren’t sexy.)

7.     Iron Man 2 $312.1 million

8.     Despicable Me $250.5 million

9.     How to Train Your Dragon $217.6 million  (Or How to Train Your Dragon and Make Millions in the Process)

10.  Clash of the Titans $163.2 million

Joking aside, four out of the ten films in the 2010 list are animated. It is not hard to figure out why, since the ongoing recession has people yearning not just for an escape but a reminder of childhood and animated films do both.  (I explored this idea further in my blog entry of July 21, 2010 and you can read it here: https://justmovieposters09.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/animated-movies%E2%80%94they%E2%80%99re-not-just-for-kids-anymore/). Also, half of the films in the list are sequels. Love’em or hate’em, sequels make the cash register go cha-ching million of times over. From Harry Potter to Twilight and loads of movies in between, people like to see how characters progress over time. I admit, I like sequels for that very reason. Because people want to see the next chapter, they go the see the sequel and the film makes lots of money. It’s not rocket science, folks. It’s what the engineers call “If it works, it works” principle.

So, what will 2011 bring in movies? While I could wax poetic about the art of film, the reality is that the studios aren’t going to mess with a good formula. So, there will be more blockbusters, sequels and animated films in 2011. Of course, there is a chance that I’m wrong and there will be less films that are just formulaic plots with different characters and more films that explore the human condition.

Naaaaa.

Source:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/top-10-grossing-films-2010-65349

2010 Summer Movies

May 4, 2010

Yippee! It’s May and for the Northern Hemisphere that means summer isn’t far behind. As a child, there were many things I loved about summer. No school was tops on the list, hot weather and summer movies were next. Now that I’m an adult, I don’t have long blocks of free time, and I can’t enjoy the weather as much as I did as a child, but I can still go the movies. A full list of 2010 summer movie releases is available at:

http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=10562

Speaking of which, I want to highlight a few films that will be coming out this summer.

Robin Hood (Expected Release Date May 14, 2010)
Yet another film about that guy from Ye Olde England who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. This time Russell Crowe is the Prince of Thieves. Expect Crowe as Robin Hood to fight the good fight and woo the Lady Marion, not necessarily in that order.

The A-Team (Expected Release Date June 11, 2010)
Based on the television show from the 1980’s of the same name, the movie deals with four Army veterans from the Iraq War who were framed by the government for a crime they didn’t commit. Expect a lot of car crashing, guns shooting and B.A. Baracas saying “I pity the fool.”  For what it is worth, I didn’t watch The A-Team when it was on television, because I thought it was a dumb show. I don’t have high hopes for the movie version.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Expected Release Date June 30, 2010)
Read my entry Vampires Aren’t Sexy (https://justmovieposters09.wordpress.com/ 2009/12/11/vampires-aren’t-sexy/) and you will find out how much I am looking forward to this film.

Inception (Expected Release Date July 16, 2010)
An original summer movie—what a concept! This film is directed by Christopher Nolan, he’s the person who gave us Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, so it should be good. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and the movie deals with being able to enter someone’s mind and steal information that exists only in that person’s memory. Cool.

The Other Guys (Expected Release Date August 6, 2010)
Yet another original summer movie. Two for two. Anyway, this film stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as New York City cops who work in the forensic accounting department. They always wanted the chance to leave their desks and catch the bad guys themselves. Well, one day they get their chance—with comedic results, of course.

Will these films be blockbusters or busts? Movies that critics will praise or pan? Who knows? Still, summer movies are fun. That’s why so many people see them.

Sources:
http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=10562

http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=10562&page=2

http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=10562&page=3