Director Steven Soderbergh removed the dialogue and color from Raiders of the Lost Ark to fully showcase Spielberg's mastery of visual staging. Read the rest
Read the rest
Richard Kiel who played the steel-toothed Jaws in the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) has died; he was 74 and 7-foot-2.
Mel Brooks put his eleven fingers in cement yesterday at Hollywood's famed Chinese Theater. (Today)
Pioneering special makeup effects artist Rick Baker has Tweeted these amazing unseen creature designs from 1980 for Spielberg's never-made mean alien film Night Skies. The film was meant to be Spielberg's pre-E.T. "sequel" to Close Encounters of the Third Kind featuring malevolent aliens such as E.T.'s grumpy ancestor above and the following curious creatures.
Here are the opening credits to Forrest Gump, directed by Wes Anderson. (video by Louis Paquet)
As part of Saturday's Record Store Day releases, The Wizard of Oz Soundtrack has once again become available on vinyl! The "75th Anniversary" edition is pressed on emerald green vinyl and includes a digital download of the original version of "If I Only Had A Brain" which you can hear above. Ray "The Scarecrow" Bolger's first recording of the tune, only rediscovered in 2009, was much mellower than the one ultimately picked for the film.
‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of raping teen boy in 1999; case mentions sex offender Marc Collins-Rector of DEN
Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming film “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is accused in a lawsuit filed today in Hawaii federal court of drugging and raping a teenage boy in 1999. The case is a civil case, not a criminal case, and Singer's attorney says the charges are "without merit." AP reports that the lawsuit was filed in Hawaii "because of a state law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases."
Also mentioned in the lawsuit is Marc Collins-Rector, a sexual predator and founder and chairman of Digital Entertainment Network (aka DEN or <EN), an early internet video startup that made headlines for high capitalization and sex parties involving founders and teen boys. Collins-Rector is a registered sex offender who fled to Spain, and was arrested there in 2002. In 2004, Collins-Rector pled guilty to charges he lured minors across state lines for sexual acts. The allegations of sexual abuse involving Collins-Rector and other DEN executives shocked the web startup world in 1999, and led to the collapse of DEN's IPO.
A problem crops up when filmmakers try to adapt epic fantasy worlds to the big screen—particularly beloved, richly-imagined literary ones. Sacrifices must be made. Characters are cut, and plotlines are re-routed. Scenes and places don’t match what readers have pictured with their minds. Fans of the original book cry foul.
In the case of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, his vision for Frank Herbert’s masterwork Dune was so over the top, so surreal (and, at times, so absurd), it probably would have blown the minds of critics before they had a chance to grumble.
That is, if Jodorowsky’s translation and transmogrification of Dune had ever been made. It never was.Read the rest
Remember this incredible video above? In the new issue of BusinessWeek, I profile the brilliant minds behind it, creative robotics studio Bot & Dolly, whose astonishing technology was also instrumental in the special effects of Gravity:
Behind a small cafe in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood stands an unmarked warehouse where the future of human-machine interaction is taking shape. Inside this sprawling maze of soundstages, machine shops, and computer labs, artists collaborate with engineers, cinematographers brainstorm with coders, and everyone has a collegial relationship with the small army of industrial robots stationed here. This is Bot & Dolly, a boutique design studio that specializes in combining massive mechanical arms with custom software for movies, architecture, digital fabrication, and entertainment installations. “We’re a culture of makers, of creators with open minds,” says Tobias Kinnebrew, Bot & Dolly’s director for product strategy. “We work on things that don’t seem possible and try to make them possible.”"Bot & Dolly and the Rise of Creative Robots"
A new Peanuts movie will come to the big screen on November 6, 2015, produced by Charles Schulz's son Craig Schulz with a screenplay co-written by his son Bryan Schulz.
"It's about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that's about as far as I'm willing to go," Craig Schulz told USA Today.
Hollywood, legendary home of creative accounting, wants a new round of subsidies. David Sirota at Pando Daily:
Now that California has a budget surplus, the question for the state’s lawmakers is pretty simple: Should they use all the new money to reverse recession-era cuts to social programs. Or, should they spend up to $400 million a year of the new resources on more taxpayer handouts to the film industry? Yesterday, 59 California state legislators called for the latter, sponsoring a bill to increase tax credits to the film and television industry. Call it yet another Hollywood heist, this one engineered with a double-shot of chutzpah.
Shirley Temple Black, child movie star and adult diplomat, has died. She was 85. Above, Temple sings "On the Good Ship Lollipop" in the 1934 film Bright Eyes. (New York Times)
Christine Fox, the former mathematician at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar who inspired Kelly McGillis's character in Top Gun, has become the first female Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two role at the Pentagon. Fox will serve in an "acting capacity" until a permanent person is confirmed for the job by the Senate. (CNN)
What do Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Julia Roberts, Benicio del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Richards have in common? As young, mostly-unknown actors they all appeared on Miami Vice, my favorite TV cop show (except for Barney Miller). Yes, that's Ben Stiller in the above clip. "27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice" (Mental Floss, via Next Draft)
The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet (1956) was a milestone moment in the history of electronic music. It was the first entirely electronic film score, composed by Louis and Bebe Barron using DIY circuitry inspired in part by Norbert Wiener's 1948 book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, a seminal text in its own right. At the time that the film's producer at MGM, Dore Schary, met the Barrons they were beatnik musicians hanging out in Greenwich Village. The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet continues to astonish even today. (Listen to the "Main Title" at left.) My friend Ken Hollings, author of the fantastic outré history book "Welcome to Mars," created a wonderful audio documentary that just aired on BBC Radio 3 about the Barrons and their iconic "electronic tonalities."
You can listen to the BBC Radio 3 piece here: "Sound of Cinema: Return of the Monster from the Id"
And you buy the soundtrack here: "Forbidden Planet: Original MGM Soundtrack
Artist John Stezaker collected, cut up, and collaged vintage publicity photos of classic Hollywood film stars into provocative portraits of unreal celebrities in juxtaposed elegance. Simple but highly effective.
“Images in charity shops are like orphans,” Stezaker told the British Journal of Photography. “They’ve lost their context or culture, they’ve gone a little bit out of date. They’ve been neglected and overlooked for years and people have passed them by, then suddenly here I am, the alternative foster home, but unfortunately I then inflict terrible abuse down in the basement where I cut them up.”
"Two Faces, One Portrait" (Smithsonian)
Vijay Pandurangan visualized the colors found in movie posters since 1914. Would you look at all that teal? Thanks, Hollywood complementary color voodoo! [via Explore]
Short-statured actor vows "100 Midget March" to protest Snow White casting tall people as little people
Making the rounds on Hollywood local blogs today: Some so-called "Little People" who work in Hollywood are upset at the producers of the forthcoming Universal motion picture Snow White and the Huntsman, because tall people have been cast in the role of Snow White’s dwarfs. The bodies of the "tall people" actors will be morphed using special effects tech. Matt McCarthy, speaking for a prominent self-decribed “midget theater group” (this is the word Matt uses, not my selection), says they plan to stage a protest.
You'd think that the proponents of SOPA would give up that legislative dead parrot's ghost. But they're still doing the rounds on radio and in print, claiming that millions of Americans were 'duped' into opposing their harmless little internet censorship law.
The fresh (!) talking points go like this: Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and others 'lied' to the public about what SOPA was in the crucial final moments, 'abused our power' by going dark for a day, and thereby tricked legislators and the public into turning on a much-needed new law.
What rot. Read the rest
Read the rest