Monday, December 27, 2010

Somewhere some-meow

After working in the marketing world for over four years I can say without hesitation (no hes) that the most effective marketing tool out there today is the movie trailer.

Behold, the evocative and captivating trailer for Sofia Coppola's new dog turd of a movie, Somewhere:

How VISUAL and INTERESTING was that? And Casablancas straight up doing his thing! (He should literally get a percentage of ticket sales) And even the sound editing; the 'Hey Dad/Hi Cleo' exchange-- it sounds so CRISP. This trailer is PERSUASIVE!

Now, if I had a bootleg version of the actual movie I'd paste it below and say something like 'Behold, the new dog turd of a movie, Somewhere' and I wouldn't really have to say anything else because it would be clear to you how nothing was added in those ADDITIONAL 95 MINUTES. Though I would probably also incorporate a picture of Garfield the cat because Sofia is so lazyyyy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blame it on the...

I think we're all pretty aware of the phenomenon that is high expectations. For example, if I believe for whatever reason that Jamie Foxx's new album, 'Best Night of My Life' will be sick as hell, I am creating a premature level of quality for the star of the 'Jamie Foxx Show' to achieve sonically, setting up the actual experience of popping BNOML into my computer and letting the crooning begin for failure. Whether Jamie likes it or not, I will be listening to his new full-length LP through a lens of 'this is gonna be some good ish' and if it's not then I will think of him merely as an actor-slash-actor.

Now, to be clear, I'm not referring what's commonly known as 'Hype' which has more to do with external excitement and expectations. No, high expectations is about the internal. I am partial to Jamie Foxx as a human being and am irrationally pinning my love for the Academy Award winning actor to his musical talent.

I had high expectations for Black Swan for a few reasons:
  • I'm interested in anything Darren Aronofsky does.
  • I read The Black Swan ealier this year and kinda jived with what the dude was saying (note: they are COMPLETELY unrelated).
  • My friends who had seen it already said they had to decompress afterward because it was so intense.
(Hmm I thought there were more reasons actually. And yea the last one is more hype, but bottom line is I had expectations of elevated proportions.)

I have to say though that the casting was really good.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Because its almost Halloween

Enjoy this Psycho remake/mashup.
Look out for the original in bottom right and Gus Van Sant's remake in top left.

And check out Psycho the way its meant to be seen at Film Forum this weekend through November 4th!

Hitchcock was constantly finding ways to test the production code enforcers of the day, and Psycho is chocked full of "questionable" material: Marion in lingerie, a nude shower scene...

Even flushing a toilet (seen frequently in the clips above) was controversial in films of the day. According to Hitch's writer Joseph Stefano, "A toilet had never been seen on-screen before, let alone flushing it. I thought if I could begin to unhinge audiences by showing a toilet flushing -- we all suffer from peccadilloes from toilet procedures -- they'd be so out of it by the time of the shower murder, it would be an absolute killer."*

Sure enough, the censors objected to this scene and Marion in her lingerie, and the nudity in the shower scene, but Hitchcock hatched elaborate bluffs and schemes manipulating them to approve the footage. But that's another blog post! One more thing about the significance of this bathroom scene, Film theorist Slavoj Zizek does a great piece about the significance of toilets and drains in a close reading of Psycho and The Conversation, in his great film The Perverts Guide to Cinema.

If you do plan on checking this out at Film Forum (and you should!) Here's something to keep in mind while the lights go out:

Back in the day (1960 that is) Hitchcock went awsomely overboard hyping the release of this movie, restricting critics from advance showings so nothing could be given away, and instructing theaters with strict directions:

"Close your house curtains over the screen after the end-titles of the picture, and keep the theater dark for half a minute. During these thirty seconds of stygian blackness, the suspense of Psycho is indelibly engraved in the mind of the audience, later to be discussed among gaping friends and relations. You will then bring up houselights of a greenish hue, and shine spotlights of this ominous he across the faces of your departing patrons."*

*These quotes and anecdotes are from "Alfred Hitchock: A Life in Darkness and Light" by Patrick McGilligan, 2003.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New York Film Fest Funfest Fest

The New York Film Festival is, as they say in the biz, 'on and popping', and you know the TCP had get a piece of the action. Actually deciding what to see was quite an ordeal, which is another story in itself. We settled on Of Gods and Men, this year's Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes.

There's nothing really to say about OGAM that's not covered in the synopsis. True story, very serious, subtitles. But what I will say is that the new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center is, to borrow another phrase from the biz, 'the shizznat'. Franco-Christian Monks filing paperwork never sounded so good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One fish, two fish...

Going into the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 theater last night, my mind was made up that Catfish was nothing but a hoax. I'm not sure why I was so sure about this. I think it mostly had to do with the well-crafted trailer which has a certain 'you've-never-seen-anything-like-this-and-there's-probably-a-good-reason-for-that' feel to it.

Well my friends, Catfish is real. Really fake! Psyche. It's bad! Got you that time. Hey c'mon! Oh I was only kidding! Come back!

Annnnd scene.

[Catfish. Out now in select theaters]

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breakfast Clubbing

So, I was graciously invited to a special screening celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Breakfast Club" hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Seeing it on the big screen with a jam packed audience at the gorgeous Paris theater left me reading things more closely than the last time I caught this on TV.

That might also be due to Kevin Smith's interview with Molly, Allie, Judd and Anthony following the screening. Let it be known: Kevin Smith is freakin' hilarious - would it be beneath him to consider stand up? The Wall Street Journal did a pretty good job covering their shmooze-fest here. They'll tell you what Emilio was up to.

I was born in '84 so I can ride the '80s pop culture train but only if I'm accompanied by an adult. Therefore, I relate way (waaaaaaaay) more to the '90s but I can't name a teen movie of the decade that even touches Breakfast Club's simple sincerity. During the cast member chit chat we learned that John Hughes cut a ton of BS from the final product of this film: dream sequences, half naked teachers, more kissing. And he let the crew improvise a ton on their own, so what came together (due in large part to a genius editor) is a bare bones story without any distractions.

I never thought I'd look back on the '80s and call them simple times -I mean- the hair teasing alone seemed like a lot of work to me. But watching this now made me very nostalgic for my heyday in the 90s, as do lots of things these days.

Anyway's, now I'm inspired to find highlights in under-the-radar-90's teen movies. Get ready for a regular segment on this topic. Suggestions are welcome!

Awesome image credit: Mark Todd, commissioned by Entertainment Weekly.

Lesson Up

Cause and effect [Coz ehnd ehfehkt]
n. and n.
1. Pretty self-explanatory

E.g. The PR machine for David Fincher's upcoming Facebook thriller, 'The Social Network', is in full force, at times painting its firebrand CEO Mark Zuckerberg in somewhat of an assclownish light. As it happens, this week Zuckerberg has announced his commitment to donate $100 million dollars to the Newark school system. Now that's some cause and effect ish right there.

(The real lesson here, of course, is that it is in the public's interest to make as many slanderous, unauthorized biopics about our most hyper-rich moneybags. Now go and be bad.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

69 Boy(girl)z

I grew up in a cable TV-less household. This left me with seven basic channels to choose from: CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, UPN 9, WPIX and PBS.  There were probably several reasons why WPIX (which has since dropped the far-from-vestigal W in its name) was my favorite of the bunch, but all I can recall at this present moment is that it was the closest thing I had to a movie channel. What I remember most are the commercials they ran for their movies. Well actually just a little salient bit of each. For example there's the clip from 'Moonstruck' where Cher urges some guy to 'Snap out of it!' and, without fail, slaps him in the face. Another I can recall is for 'Tootsie' with the stars & stripes imagery shown in the picture above. I remember it so goddamn well. However I never saw either of these movies.
Now when my pizza guy demanded that I watch Tootsie the other week, I expected to see something along the lines of Dustin Hoffman as a woman marching and saluting the camera for two hours. I was wrong. It's more like Dustin Hoffman as Mrs. Doubtfire for two hours, but replace Sally Fields with steady employment.

Choice quote: 'Tell me what's wrong or I'll kill you.'