Sunday, November 25, 2007

How to Survive Those Pesky Zombies!

I just discovered this on youtube. It's a solid mimic of the old Civil Defense films from the 1950's - "Duck and Cover", etc. - focusing on how to handle a zombie attack. It was made by a film student in Melbourne, Australia, as a final project, and I must say that he did an excellent job. Decide for yourself....

"...and we all know that girls can't defend themselves." Ha!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ron Moore, the Writers' Strike, and Galactica

If you've kept up with this blog, then you know I'm an admirer of Ron Moore, showrunner of Battlestar Galactica, writer of many of the best episodes in the Star Trek line. He's a talented, friendly, and generous guy. The following comes from his blog, and concerns the impact of the on-going writers' strike on what many have called the best show on television:
Production wrapped on episode 4.13 late last night, and there’s no certain date to resume shooting. No more scripts exist. My office staff has been laid off. My cast has been suspended, without pay.

I refuse to believe that we won’t finish, that we won’t be back to film our final stories, but I know and accept there is that possibility. The strike will be a seminal event for many of us in this business as it’s put literally everything we care about in the balance (if only for a short time so far) for something we all believe is important.

Writers talk a lot about the strike, about the reasons we’re out on the picket lines and our feelings and experiences in the business. It’s been an interesting three weeks. I’ve connected with more scribes in the last few weeks than in many months before and I come away from it to date with a sense of optimism about the solidarity of the membership and admiration for my peers.

Galactica’s coming back, I frakking promise you that. But I am ready to put the rest of the story on the table and take the risk that I’ll never be able to tell it, in support of this strike.

Like Adama says, you make your choices and then you live with them.


A helluva gamble.

Amazing Trailers:
Marie Antoinette

I really looked forward to this movie. I had loved Lost in Translation, and thus had every faith in Sophia Coppola. However, I didn't like it. I won't say that I hated it, but it was a real let down - especially after waiting a YEAR from when the studio released this trailer. The big hook for me: The bold combination of costume drama images with '80's new wave. I'd never seen the like. So, here you go. A feast for the eyes and ears.

The New Daily Show

Writers of the Daily Show take it to the streets:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"It's been traveling twenty-two years to get here."

Sometimes I've felt like it's been that long since I've seen an honest-to-goodness Coen Brothers' film. Truth be told, they're fairly productive - twelve films in just over two decades. But, honestly, their last few contributions to cinema have felt... well.... Let's just say that I - and who the hell am I, really? - that I didn't really care for their last three features. After marvelling at everything from Blood Simple and Raising Arizona to Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski, the trifecta of The Man Who Wasn't There, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Ladykillers felt like one helluva let down, filmically speaking. And - cards on the table, here - I really only enjoy half of O Brother, Where Art Thou? It kinda falls apart for me right near the end. There, I said it. However, I cannot be more thrilled to write this entry in praise of the Brothers' lastest - No Country for Old Men.

I'm not going to offer up any kind of synopsis. Suffice to say this is truly a return to form for the filmmakers. And, what form would that be? Well, this is where it gets interesting.... If you want a simple, surface comparison, then it is definitely a sibling of Blood Simple and Fargo, in everything from tone to story style to plot elements. This is not the happy-go-lucky quirkiness of O Brother or Intolerable Cruelty. And while there is humor to be had, the vast majority of it is rather dark. But, trust me, you'll be glad it's there. Anyway, like I said, we're just talking about the surface here. For you real Coen Brothers' aficionados, once you dig a little deeper, well that's when things get a might interestin'.

In many ways, this might be construed as the ultimate Coen Brothers' film - particularly for those who know their oeuvre in detail. Again, the story and tone are very close to Blood Simple and Fargo. You'll see plenty of elements from both, especially the latter. But, Raising Arizona? Yep. "Good guy" Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and his wife live in a trailer that is a dead ringer for the one occupied by Nicolas Cage's H.I. McDunnough. After we see this place for the first time and my initial shock and giggles die down, we're treated to a shot of Moss in bed - shot in an identical style from the '87 film. (Okay, yes, that's pure movie geek. But, that's what I'm talking about right now.) Oh, there's plenty more - motel rooms and hallways that mirror Barton Fink, a Texas drawl voiceover opening like The Big Lebowski and Blood Simple. All of which brings us to Anton Chigurh.

In his portrayal of Chigurh, Javier Bardem creates the most menacing sociopath to hit the movie screen since... well, I guess I can say Tony Hopkins' Lecter, although that role got pound into self-parody. Chigurh is cold, precise, driven, and follows a very distinct code that frequently confounds the other characters in the film. He is a clear-cut cousin to Fargo's Gaear Grimsrud, he who finished off Steve Buscemi in the wood chipper. But, this guy.... Let's just say I walked out of the theatre hoping and praying that I didn't dream about this guy. Happily, I didn't.

Performances are all top notch. If Oscar looks to honor anyone here with a nomination, it will likely go to Tommy Lee Jones for his downhome Texas sheriff. Bardem and Brolin deserve nods as well, but the Academy rarely looks favorably on sociopaths or film noir misfortunates. Are there any women in this picture? Yep. Tess Harper gets a couple scenes as Jones' wife, but it's Kelly Macdonald who scores real points as Brolin's spouse. She turns what could easily have been a throw-away role into a scene-stealing performance.

All right. Enough of this writing. I've got a coin to flip....