On the cusp of August, film goings-on have slowed considerably (so much so that our guest post on Greencine Daily, which generated far more controversy than we’ll doubtless ever manage again, has earned its own spot as an item at The Reeler). Anyway, Mel who? Some reads to get you by:
The Telegraph reprints Chuck Klosterman‘s Esquire article on what’s wrong with "Snakes on a Plane." Similar territory was covered by Aemilia Scott later in Salon, but even despite our Klosterman allergy we like his piece quite a bit, partially because of signature anecdotes like this:
Here’s a true story. My friend Jenny is in law school, and one of her classmates went to see a movie in April. When the coming attractions started, the first image was of dozens of unsuspecting plane passengers sitting in the cabin of an airborne 757. The moment he saw this, the mischievous law student yelled, "Snakes on a plane!" presumably to amuse and unify the other patrons.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be a trailer for 9/11 movie United 93, which significantly reduced the hilarity of his outburst. But, hey, you know how it goes. That’s life. Snakes on a plane, or whatever.
There’s also a new issue of Filmmaker out â€” up on the web are the annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film" list, Matthew Ross‘ piece on "Half Nelson," Anthony Kaufman‘s interview with Kirby Dick, an interesting piece from Alexandra Delyle on MySpace and online marketing with regards to indie film, and a few other pieces.
The Guardian has blurbs from various critics about what reviews they could recant if they could. One of the film selections:
Anthony Quinn, the Independent, film
It’s an occupational hazard to overrate movies. There’s so little of merit that when a half-decent film comes along the surprise of it tempts a critic into excessive praise. But the only review I would amend is of Roberto Benigni‘s Life is Beautiful. I generally deplored its Chaplineseque sentimentality, but in conclusion gave him the benefit of the doubt and acclaimed his "exuberant humanity and foolhardy courage". How wrong can you get? When I read David Denby‘s incandescent review of it in The New Yorker I felt ashamed of my fence-sitting. So, for the record, it stinks – and I wish I’d said so.
Also in the Guardian, John Patterson writes with dread of the now ubiquitous trilogy; in the Toronto Star, the always-entertaining Geoff Pevere explains why it’s always been futile to expect originality out of Hollywood:
So today’s movie culture of retreads, knockoffs, rip-offs and re-makes is the opposite of new. (Or, God knows, original.) It’s as firmly stitched into the very fabric of popular moviemaking as ideas like: sex sells; you can’t shoot the dog; and, always appeal to your audience’s basest prejudices and fears.
Sequels go back at least as far as Charlie Chan and Frankenstein, re-makes to the original silent versions of Tarzan, The Wizard of Oz and Ben-Hur, and franchises to such endlessly marketable popular brands as Abbott and Costello, Bulldog Drummond, Blondie, Gene Autry, the Thin Man and Count Dracula.
+ The shape of fangs to come (Telegraph)
+ SUMMER 2006 (Filmmaker Magazine)
+ Prose and cons (Guardian)
+ Third time unlucky (Guardian)
+ Haven’t I seen this somewhere before? (Toronto Star)
+ The Top 50 Movie Endings of All Time (FilmCritic)