Monday, May 30, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 33

NEW IN THEATERS

  • Beautiful Boy* / 100%
  • Beginners* / 89%
  • Mr. Nice* / 50%
  • Submarine* / 89%
  • X-Men: First Class / 100%

* = Limited Release

NEW IN STORES

  • Biutiful / 63%
  • Drive Angry / 45%
  • Kaboom / 55%
  • Passion Play / 4%

% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *

TRAILER ROUND-UP


Because the first one didn't leave us happy enough, here comes "Happy Feet Two." I for one was fine with just one. The trailer is just over a minute and I felt I had seen quite enough. Is this supposed to come off as cute? Because I was left irritated. This trailer reveals nothing, except that there will be more singing/rapping penguins who are "bringing fluffy back." Looking over the plot description I read something about "The Mighty Sven," a penguin who knows how to fly. What's more? This caused me to learn Pink's real name! I will not be the one to tell you. The film comes out this Novemburr. That's it, I'm done.


Alexander Payne has a knack (nay, a gift!) for delivering stories deeply rooted in realism. His characters are often relatable, sometimes sympathizable, and occasionally pitiful. We see this in Warren Schmidt (played by Jack Nicholson) in "About Schmidt" and in Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) in "Sideways." I particularly love his segment ("14e Arrondissement") in "Paris, Je T'Aime (Paris, I Love You)" where a woman tells her French class (at least that is what I assumed) in needy French (again, what I assumed and was later assured) about her vacation in Paris, alone. In "The Descendants," a father is forced to play a larger role in the lives of his daughters when his wife suffers a boating accident. George Clooney seems a natural choice for Payne to work with. He can easily fit the bill of the characteristics I just listed. Payne's films find humor in the bizarre and wretched episodes that could very possibly show up in any of our lives. Rightly so, there are also very touching moments in his canon. "The Descendants" arrives on December 16th.


Rachel Weisz stars in "The Whistleblower" playing an police officer from Nebraska who serves as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and discovers horrors of human trafficking. Think "Taken" sans the ridiculousness. This drama (and the drama herein) is based on the actual experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac. The whistles start blowing August 5th.


"Shark Night 3D" is no "Jaws." It seems that when any movie actually puts 3D in the title, they are showing their true colors. They simply making ride-movies and that is where their ambitions end. It may appeal to the same crowds who swam to "Piranha 3D" last year. The concept is absurd and the attempts to scare are oceans away from original. The best part of the trailer is a title card that reads, "And one of the producers of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'" (I am sure they are referring to the lackluster remake, not the original, which has its rightful place in the Horror Hall of Fame.) "Shark Night 3D" is directed by David Ellis who brought us two of the installments in the "Final Destination" series, the jettison known as "Snakes on a Plane," and a thriller I was thrilled by, "Cellular." As the trailer tells us, "On September 2nd your worst fears are about to surface." True statement in one way or another. (Here's an idea! Why not mix "Shark Night" and "Happy Feet Two"? That is a movie I would definitely go see! Musically inclined penguins running for their lives from a hungry king of the sea!)


"50/50" are the chances of Adam's survival after he has been diagnosed with cancer. Adam is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who I recently sung the praises for during my thoughts on the trailer for "Hesher" (which took the highest honors of that week's Trailer Round-Up). Gordon-Levitt turned 30 this year, but my goodness, he does not look it. He is like Leonardo DiCaprio in that regard, who he starred alongside last year in Christopher Nolan's magnum opus, "Inception." He is also like DiCaprio in that he is a natural actor. He began young and is currently one of the better ones. (He is also like DiCaprio in the coolness of last names.) "50/50" is a drama full of laughs, but feels far from light-hearted. If anything, I would say it is a heavy-hearted comedy. Fitfully, it captures the uncertainty and fear that accompanies misfortunes all the while finding the fun that should be found at every corner in life. The result appears delightful if somewhat crude at times. Philip Baker Hall, who I know and love from the works of Paul Thomas Anderson ("Hard Eight" and "magnolia"), has a very funny scene herein. Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick, and Seth Rogan co-star. Rogan plays the reliable friend with unreliable advice, a schtick he is sticking with. He does it amusingly largely thanks to his comedic timing. Another delight is the included set-up for the "50/50" trailer. Seth Rogan introduces himself, Will Reisner (the writer), and Evan Goldberg (the producer). I would like to see this more often, at least when appropriate. Bringing out those behind the camera or having the actors shed their roles reminds us of the work behind the scenes. Anytime a film gets made there are untold hours of work that went into its making. The cast and crew deserve much. Such concepts recall the ending credits of a Bollywood motion picture. I am also reminded of the refreshing trailer for "The Bishop's Wife." For the pre-trailer message of "50/50," they joke what the film is about and then Reisner, who apparently this story is based on, concludes, "Find out if I live, go see '50/50.'" The answer must be as obvious as it seems: It is silly, but also poignant. I believe that is what audiences are in for with this one.


Toss of the Week: I have seen Michael Shannon in a few films (mainly in Herzog's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?") and Jessica Chastain in one (this past weekend in "The Tree of Life"). They were both incredible discoveries for me in those specific performances. Proof that there is no shortage of fine actors in the world today. In "Take Shelter," they star as husband and wife of a young family. As patriarch of the home, Shannon's character is haunted by visions of an apocalyptic storm that threatens his family and so he takes measures to prepare for such a possibility. Is he a prophet or is he mentally ill? He goes to considerably lengths, much to his wife's bewildered dismay. He sees a shrink or two. Then we have all sorts of crazy events going down! Consider me officially intrigued. I am a fan of film equations (as I call them), they will soon grow in presence here in The Film Tome. I thought of one after seeing this trailer. "A Beautiful Mind" if directed by M. Night Shyamalan + "Twister" = "Take Shelter." The chime-y music is quite chilling, no? "Take Shelter" comes from writer/director Jeff Nichols whose first feature film, "Shotgun Stories," is one I have heard plenty of good about. The storm will come (or will it?) on October 14th.

* * *

ENLISTED


Here is a fitting list for today, "Top 10 Films For Memorial Day Weekend." (A Google search for such a list brought me to Daily Press.)


If you have ever wanted to become well versed in the films from across the pond, I recommend to you Total Film's recent serving of "50 Coolest Britflicks." I for one will surely use this as a resource to stock my queue. Still gotta see me some "Trainspotting"!

* * *

CAST AWAY


News from Middle Earth (and more below)! Over the weekend we learned from Peter Jackson's Facebook page that Orlando Bloom would be joining the cast for "The Hobbit." His playing Legolas in the trilogy brought him to the world and large (and into the binders of school girls everywhere). Seeing as that particular brazen elf ain't in "The Hobbit," he must be playing someone else (undoubtedly one of the wood elves).

* * *

THE GOOD


Any word on the progress for "The Hobbit" is good! Peter Jackson continues his wise decision to utilize Facebook as a way to advertise for the film and keep the fanboys happy. One of his latest endeavors is to answer 20 questions (of the thousands that are being submitted). Head over to Jackson's Facebook page for yourself to see "Question #1." As you will see (and learn the story behind the above picture), Jackson has a sense of humor. We must remember some of the films this guy was making before he landed the "Rings" gig. /Film covers the story in length.


In other news concerning hobbits, the two films have their official names: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (hitting theaters 12.14.12) and, as Biblo himself would approve, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" (arriving 12.13.13). I love these subtitles and I love that we are bound to get 5 hours of screen-time for Jackson and team to tell my favorite tale! Confirmed by The Hollywood Reported.

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OR THE COOL


Over the weekend, China opened an $690 million animation facility in Tianjin (a port city near Beijing). The Hollywood Reporter's Jonathan Landreth reports, appropriately including "Kung Fu Panda 2" into the story. Hopefully in the coming years we will start seeing some animated films that are "made in China." As the article goes on to tell, Tianjin Film School recently announced "Legend of the Rabbit" (seen above), a feature-length 3D animation to take on the like of "Kung Fu Panda 2." Curiously enough, it is also involves a panda and kung fu. Methinks this is more than a coincidence...


Peter Jackson is not the only cinemator (yes, I just founded that word - "one who contributes to cinema") to be taking advantage of Facebook. Vin Diesel (who can currently be seen on the big screen in "Fast Five") has over 25 million fans and recently announced an upcoming "Riddick" film on his page. Apparently, he and David Twohy are working on an "R-rated" installment. Knowing this would mean less money, Diesel said, "Money is always second to art." JoBlo talks more.

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Updated on 6/1/2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 32

(Author's Note: As I said before, "Mondays are my goal for releasing 'The Film Tome Report,' but sometimes Tuesdays will have to suffice." And after that comes Wednesday, as I am sure Rebecca Black would agree.)

NEW IN THEATERS


The Hangover Part II
Hello Lonesome*
Kung Fu Panda 2 / 80%
The Tree of Life* / 89%
We Are the Night*

* = Limited Release

NEW IN STORES


The Big Bang / 8%
Burning Palms / 29%
Gnomeo and Juliet / 55%
I am Number Four / 31%

% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *

TRAILER ROUND-UP


"Ironclad" speaks a lot for itself and recent memory speaks right back. (This could have been The Head-Scratcher of the week if "Straw Dogs" was not so madcap.) The film bears the tag-line, "Heavy Metal Goes Medieval." There goes half the audience. This is the kind of concept old people would shake their fists at while teenagers (and those who don't grow out of those tendencies) would bang their heads to. Can't say it has me won over. Has this ever worked well? Some might argue that "A Knight's Tale" succeeded in similar strides. That is a film I enjoy, but "Ironclad" seems void of comedy. Most recently, the dreadful-looking "Your Highness" tried to bring the crude stoner atmosphere to the Middle Age. Now for a change of direction: This type of role seems a first for Paul Giamatti, who took home a Golden Globe earlier this year for his work in "Barney's Version." (He looks perfectly pissed in the backdrop for the trailer's page.) That page also mentions this is a cross between "300" and "Braveheart." Besides a cousin setting, I see few similarities. Some of the sets looks nice, especially from far away, but I could not help notice the video type. This was shot in digital. Voices cried out when Michael Mann used the format to shoot his gangster picture, "Public Enemies." It was set during the Great Depression and mixing a modern look with such a distant time distracted many. Medieval times are even further. Yet Mel Gibson managed well enough in "Apocalypto," set several centuries ago. Yes, the context of cinema provides its own commentary. There is the look in addition to the whole heavy metal side of things. Still, you have to admire when producers certainly don't try to please everyone and instead try to please someone. Truth is, you can never do the former, so why try? However, you can do the latter, so do try. Now we just have to decide if we think we are the ones who will be pleased by the likes of "Ironclad." Some will not even have to think. I for one still am; I delect medieval that much.


Romantic comedies are far from my preference. There is usually at least one showing at any given theater, and on any given day it would not be my first choice. However, this Thanksgiving comes "Green with Envy." It looks very promising! The pairing of Amy Adams and Jason Segal is sure to capture our interest and warm our hearts. Give the trailer a watch and it just may impress you how much their relationships grows on you.


All right, breathe in, breathe out... No. I am still furious (though calm and controlled). What has me so annoyed and upset is the trailer for "Kidnapped." This Spanish thriller looks outstanding, a realistic nightmare, but it has been sorely violated by American distributors. It has been dubbed! Dubbed! And not just any dub, these voice actors belong in a soap opera, not a cinema verite horror film! It mars the whole experience. If anything, turn the sound off and give it a watch. Maybe add a soundtrack of your choice - Y'know what? I am gonna try that! Be right back.
Much better! But then again, just about anything would be. (FYI, I watched it with "Eventually We Find Our Way" from "The Social Network" soundtrack. I am sure I could find a better companion, but it worked for my spur of the moment exercise.) If "Kidnapped" hits theaters dubbed, which I cannot fathom, I will protest. There a few exceptions to the "no dubs" rule and this ain't one of them.

It is prime time for some Trailer Round-Up Awards!


The Head-Scratcher: This is unintentional comedy at its very best! (Though it certainly must apply to a more macabre sensibility.) From the ridiculous book-ending to the frequent image-flash (with shrieking sound effect to boot), the trailer for "Straw Dogs" left me dazed and chuckling. This film looks completely off its rocker! The religious subject matter seen herein seems wild like in "Night of the Hunter," but that was a film about false prophets, about a mad man, a commentary on love and hate and a mad man. I refuse to believe these effects were purposeful (or that such elucidation even exists) in "Straw Dogs." It might just be a crazy ride and sometimes that is what we call for.

Toss of the Week*:

*For the record, Toss of the Week is what I deem to be the best trailer of the week's round-up. My mother told me it sounds like the worst of the week (y'know, "toss out"). Why then call is "toss"? Going with the round-up notion, it is the trailer I choose to leave my lasso around and bring home to the farm. Besides that I hope my comments on its behalf are glowing enough to no doubt come off as a strong recommendation. Without further ado, here is "Issue 32"'s Toss of the Week:


"The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn." Sounds like something boys would run away from, when it actually looks like something they would flock towards. I am not familiar with the franchise, based on a comic book of the same name that began publication as early as 1929. Steven Spielberg, whom we haven't seen a film from since he brought back Indy, is sitting in the director's chair! I was surprised to learn that Edgar Wright (director of "Shaun of the Dead" and last year's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is a co-writer for the film! (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost lend their voices and likely their bodies to the project as well, you see, it is done with motion-capture). I am equally surprised to learn that Robert Zemeckis is not attached to the project, seeing as motion capture seems to be his forte (see "The Polar Express," "Beowulf," and "The Christmas Story"). Instead we have Peter Jackson producing who has brought along Mr. Mo-Cap himself, Andy Serkis (who played Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" and some big ape in "King Kong"). The visuals are stunning. Most impressive is the shot in a ship's corridor with steam coming from below and pipe-works for ceiling (at :35) and the blue car speeding away upon the wet cobblestone street at night (at :46). It is the kind of film you want to look good yourself to see. I will probably part my hair the night I go to the theater. I could not help think of the high caliber cutscenes we have been privy to in the video game market. The trailer and demonstration for "Bioshock: Infinite" and the opening cinematic for "Fable 3" immediately come to mind. And of course the trailer for "Dead Island'! Those were fabulous pieces to watch and left me wanting more. Now we get a similar flavor for a feature-length film in "Tintin"! Contemporary games are becoming more and more cinematic. "L.A. Noire," which came out last week, was even shown at Tribeca Film Festival this year. Last year's "Red Dead Redemption" had enough cutscenes to form a feature film. Actually, John Hillcoat (director of "The Proposition" and the adaptation of "The Road") made a short film using "Red Dead Redemption." The fact of the matter is that when games feature cutscenes, they are no longer games during their duration (apart from the few that have some interactive moments), they are animated movies. As technology increases and the medias converge, this will become a larger matter.

* * *

ENLISTED


When I saw the feature's title, "20 Movie Houses You Can Live In," on Total Film's homepage, I was waiting for the subtitle. "Yeah? If you got the dough!" I said to myself. Clicking on the link I saw it: "If you've got cash to splash..." :) I'm keen on this list, some very memorable abodes for sure. But where is the smart house from Disney channel's "Smart House"? What a menacing residence!


Cracked is back (at least back in "The Film Tome Report," because they are always around) with "6 Tricks Movies Use to Make Sure You Root for the Right Guy." (What a title!) It is funny how right they are. Thank you Josh for recommending this to me.

* * *

CAST AWAY


Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz join the cast of "The Hunger Games" as Haymitch and Cinna. (In the above picture the two surround Stanely Tucci, who is already onboard.)


Remember hearing about a remake for "The Three Stooges"? Well, it is still happening, just not with famed and intriguing cast we once heard about (Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro). Instead, it is three guys I have never heard of (that's probably saying more about me than it is about them). Oh, Sean Hayes is from "Will & Grace." That is why I have never heard of him. And what about Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos? Anyways, me not knowing them means nothing about their acting. Some photos were taken of them getting made-up in preparation for a seen, courtesy of On Location Vacations. The Farrelly Brothers (of "Dumb and Dumber" fame) are still in the dual directorial chairs.

* * *

THE GOOD


Here I practice favoritism (not for the first or last time). Sunday concluded Festival de Cannes, the international film festival where the art of cinema is embraced in a resort township in Southern France. It was then that the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), the festival's top prize, was awarded to Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life." As Michael Moore was apt to Tweet, it was the first time the award went to an American (director and film) since his doc, "Fahrenheit 9/11," took home the honors in 2004. (The man holding the Palme d'Or is not Terrence Malick, read why below in And the Weird.)


I am not sure why Roger Ebert did not attend Cannes this year, but at least his wife, Chaz, was there and provided coverage for the Ebert Presents website. She is a very pleasant reporter! I learned a lot from her upbeat and informative videos. You can view them here (scroll down). For more Cannes goodness (not to be confused with canned goodness, which would undoubtedly be black olives), check out Festival de Cannes' official website. It is a classy one!

* * *

THE BAD


O von Trier! It was a rough last week for the egotistical Danish autuer, Lars von Trier, whilst at Cannes. In a press conference for his film, "Melancholia," which was in Official Selection at Cannes, von Trier went off on some unnecessary tangent wherein he said he sympathizes with Hitler, among other things, and concludes by declaring, "I am a Nazi." You can watch this part of the conference here. It is painful to watch as the director digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole. At some points it seems he is trying for laughs. It is somewhat reliving that he is not all serious, but one would think he could find better material for his comic sensibilities. Kirsten Dunst, who starred in his film and won Best Actress at Cannes, sits besides him and looks oh-so uncomfortable. The Hollywood Reporter has the fully story. Consequently, Cannes banned the director from the Festival (whether that is a lifetime ban is still not clear). Wisely, von Trier issued an apology for his remarks. For one thing, English is a second language to him. I can certainly relate to not being able to fully express/explain yourself. A press conference must be extremely stressful for anyone in their mother tongue, let alone for von Trier, who is reportedly not a fan of them and was speaking a foreign tongue. Some related yarns: Lars von Trier saying, "I'm a little proud" of the ban. Lars von Trier saying, "If Hitler made a great film" Cannes should select it. And most recently, an Iranian culture minister rebukes Cannes for the ban, which led von Trier to further express some thoughtful words that I was pleasantly impressed by.

* * *

AND THE WEIRD


Another intriguing incident occurred at Cannes with a director of one of the films in running. The aforementioned Terrence Malick was absent from many of the festivities and proceedings, including the awarding of the Palme d'Or. Bill Pohlad, producer of "The Tree of Life," who accepted the award on the director's behalf mentioned Malick being "very shy and discreet." Jim Emerson covers the story at length on his blog. (Note: At the end of his post, Emerson gives some pertinent comments concerning trailers for films.)


'The Dark Knight Rises," Christopher Nolan's third and final installment in this "Batman" series, began production this month. Last week they launched the film's official website. Um... If you see nothing and only hear distorted chanting, good news, your computer is working fine. (And yes, above is a picture of blank black, quite similar to the website's.) So, what do you think? It kind of creeps me out... As it turns out, the site is an elaborate puzzle of sorts! Mike Sampson of JoBlo shares his thoughts and the fanboys' discoveries for the bewilderingly blank, but audible site. The much-anticipated film is scheduled to release July 20, 2012.

* * *

TV TOO


To commemorate Oprah's final week of her show, The Hollywood Reporter has posted "The 5 Best Clips From 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.'" You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be some couch-jumping action. Cheers Oprah.


Jon Heder, from "Napoleon Dynamite" fame (for playing the namesake himself), is slated to produce and star in a new sit-com for the Disney XD channel. As is protocol, a pilot will be made first. The premise in far from revolutionary, involving an adult who must go "back to school" to finish his education, but there are enough quirky additions that have me interested. Read more at KSL. Thanks father for sending this article my way!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 31

NEW IN THEATERS


  • Louder Than a Bomb* / 100%
  • Midnight in Paris* / 84%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides / 43%

* = Limited Release

NEW IN STORES


  • The Other Woman / 38%
  • The Mechanic / 53%
  • The Rite / 19%
  • The Roommate / 4%
  • Vanishing on 7th Street / 51%

% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *

TRAILER ROUND-UP


"Project Nim" is right up my alley. First and foremost, it is an indy doc (heart & heart). It comes to us from the director of "Man on Wire," the sensational documentary about the Frenchman who tightrope-walked between the World Trade Center towers in NYC. That project mixed a dramatization of this event with interviews in a way we've never seen. "Project Nim" has a similar feel, but with much archival footage. What's more? "Project Nim" is about a chimpanzee and a handful of people's attempts to treat him like a human. One woman goes so far as to breast feed the baby chimp. I am a fan of "Koko: The Talking Gorilla," which also documents efforts to teach a primate American Sign Language. This doc swings into (select?) theaters on July 8th.


The self-revealing "Horrible Bosses" comes to us from director Seth Gordon whose documentary of two all-Americans as they compete for the high score in the arcade game "Donkey Kong" won my heart. You should see it: "King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters." It is a remarkably entertaining piece that has given us one of the best onscreen rivalries that I know of. Oh, right... this is suppose to be about his new film, "Horrible Bosses." This is no documentary. The trailer picks up about a minute in, but then I realized that was largely due to the song courtesy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the appearance of Jamie Foxx. Man, Foxx is one talented cat! Compare his jittery portrayal of a taxi driver taken hostage in "Collateral" with his coolness and badassness at work here. The guy also played Ray, which I still gotta see. Colin Farrell is another virtuoso who is very entertaining in the bits we see. The cast is solid, so is the concept, but some crude attempts at humor are a miss for me. The final wisecrack did leave me chuckling though. Jason Bateman, the movie's star, is in familiar waters and is always great at what he does.


Sheesh... this third and hopefully final (unless they can somehow redeem it) trailer for "Cars 2" is a mess and left me with a headache. It is rather despairing that this is the legendary studio's follow-up to "Toy Story 3," a film that nearly reached perfection. There is so much talent herein, from the voice actors to the superb animators, that are misused on a poor concept. My allowance revolts the countless pop-culture references in this chaotic world of transports. The visuals themselves are shiny and striking, but just might prove to be seizure-inducing at this rate of visual antics. Ridiculousness does not always equal awesomeness. If I do go catch this one in theaters come June 24th, though I am now planning on avoiding it like I would a heavy metal concert, it would be to see the Woody and Buzz and the rest of the gang return in the short that plays before the movie. I love Pixar, but this vehicle is running on empty! Why has Pixar made this film? That's why. But hey, as much as it hurts to hear: film is not just an art, it is a business.


"Fright Night" is a remake of the 1985 cult classic of the same name. It revisits the pertinent and timely question of what a kid is to do when his mom starts dating the next door neighbor who happens to be a vampire. Horror fans will surely find some fun with this entry, while others will want to make sure and avoid it. Then again, Colin Farrell playing the baddie in question might bring anyone in. Here's hoping it is better than the vampire film that released almost precisely one year ago from when it sinks its fangs into theaters August 19th.


Toss of the Week: "City of Life and Death" tells of a horrific time in Chinese history. In 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army took over the capital city of Nanking, during which time the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians were taken. Shot in black and white, I could not help considering this the Chinese equivalent of "Schindler's List," though some moments look more in the vein of "Saving Private Ryan." The film captures the terrors of war in a beautiful way. How is it that black and white material is sometimes the most vivid? The film is directed by Lu Chuan, a considerably young, gifted, and promising writer/director out of the Beijing Film Academy. Today I added his two previous films to my Netflix Queue. Nancy, my Chinese girlfriend, told me that every Chinese person needs to see this film. I was shocked (and naturally and honorably jealous) when she told me she had already seen it. I should think everyone else should see this film too.

* * *

ENLISTED


Total Film's list of "50 Coolest Movie Cops" would be right at home below in Or the Cool, but is a posh list indeed and here it situates. #forthecops :)

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THE GREAT*

*For news that is more than good!


P.T. Anderson's (writer/director of  "magnolia" and "There Will Be Blood") previously announced film, "The Master" is still a go! That said, it has undergone some changes: a new name, though it is currently untitled, and a script revision. I shudder a little to think that one of our greatest screenwriters made alterations to a likely masterful (punny) script because of outside hassles. Then again, P.T. was still the one writing. Few writer/directors have as flawless a track record as P.T. Anderson. He has given us five feature films since he emerged in 1996. Masterpieces every one. The film formerly known as "The Master" will star the always dedicated and mesmerizing Phillip Seymore Hoffman (a P.T. favorite - and for good reason) as a man returned from war, confused by the world, and so he founds a religion. It is fictional tale, but somewhat based/inspired on/by L. Ron Hubbard, the man who started Scientology. Thanks to Megan Ellison who is financing the film. The Weinstein Company, who has made several wise investment choices lately ("Black Swan" and "The King's Speech") chose to buy the world rights for the film. Deadline has the full story.

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AND THE WILD*

*Like I have said before, I can change this adjective as needed.



According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, the producers for Baz Luhrman's (director of "Moulin Rouge!" and "Australia") adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" may have shelled out as much as $3 million for the purchase of three period piece cars: two Duesenbergs and a Packard. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of our greatest actors, is playing the Great himself and will get to sit behind the wheels. He deserves it. The film begins shooting (with 3D cameras?) this August down on Luhrman's native Aussie turf. Read the final line in THR's coverage for an ironic puff.



Like many of us, Paul Tassi over at JoBlo is fed up with vampire films. That is not stopping two more from being made! The directors behind these ones? Neil Jordan and Jim Jarmusch. Jordan is no stranger to the vamp-flick; he brought us the polarizing "Interviews with the Vampire" in the early 90s. Jarmusch, who has dabbled in all sorts of genres, can finally bring us vampires in an artsy indy fashion. Read Tassi's words for more details. Besides these two, and not counting the aforementioned "Fright Night," there are at least five additional vampire films scheduled for release!


Without a doubt, the most wild news last week (or any) is that the ever-controversial auteur, Lars von Trier, is teaming up with Martin Scorsese to remake "Taxi Driver." Firstly, this is supposed speculation. Secondly, it is not quite as it seems. Hold on to your hats because this may get complicated. Back in 2003, von Trier made "The Five Obstructions" (a film I will probably finally watch this week). In it, he challenged confrere Danish filmmaker, Jorgen Leth, to remake his own short film, "The Perfect Human," five times. Each time von Trier would give Leth an obstruction, a rule he must adhere by whilst remaking the film (e.g. no edit is allowed to last more than 12 frames, meaning each shot in the final product cannot be longer than half of a second). This explanation was necessary because as it turns out, Scorsese (a living legend among filmmakers) is von Trier's next victim for another helping of "The Five Obstructions." Yes, it is a remake (of sorts) of a documentary about remakes. The main question is which film will von Trier choose for Scorsese to remake. Because of last year's rumors seeping out from the Berlin Film Festival that von Trier and Scorsese were remaking "Taxi Driver," it seems a tenable option. A feature is more than likely out of the question, but it is possible that a scene could be selected. Might von Trier appoint "The Big Shave" to be treated, Scorsese's infamous short that he made whilst studying film at NYU? I have an idea for an obstruction there! Make him shave with a banana! This news excites me when I first thought it would irk me. You see, "Taxi Driver" is one film that should not be remade. It is great and timeless... like "Psycho." However, I am all for cinematic experimentations. To me, the exercise captured in the documentary, "The Five Obstructions," sounds beyond fascinating! It is no wonder that Leth was originally willing and that now Scorsese wants to. If this dissection of the news confused, perhaps you should read The Hollywood Reporter's take, which was my trusty source. Whew.

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OR THE COOL


Speaking of "Taxi Driver," one of the most significant American motion pictures, here is a great photo-essay from Total Film about its making. Special thanks to Nancy for showing me this.

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TV TOO


Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the hit animated series, "The Family Guy" will be behind the reboot of "The Flinstones," one of the most beloved and iconic American animated series. The Hollywood Reporter's article claims that "much will remain the same about the cartoon." MacFarlane's head seems to be in the right place creatively as he plans on updating the show for a 21st-Century audience. "What's the animal version of the iPod?" he wonders. MacFarlane and co. will begin their work later this year for a 2013 debut on Fox. JoBlo commentates.


As the above THR article mentions at its close, an animated version of "Napoleon Dynamite" will premiere later this year. Having seen a bit of it, I can report a bit: It has a sort of "King of the Hill" look about it, while capturing the mood of that remarkable film. The timing seems strange, but I am willing to give it a chance (especially Uncle Rico is involved). Are you?

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TOMEKEEPING

Y'know, like housekeeping, but on a tome's behalf.

THE FILM TOME

As you may know, a tome is "a book, esp. a large, heavy, scholarly one" (as my Dictionary Widget puts it). In this digital age, books are becoming an onscreen affair. In fact, The Film Tome has yet to be printed on paper. I dream for volumes to receive such treatment someday. A boy can dream, can't he? I think of Roger Ebert and his "Great Movies" and his "Movie Yearbook"s, published series that belong on any cinephile's shelves. He and others like him, his works and others like them, are inspirations to any film critic, theorist, scholar, analyzer, blogger, writer of whatever. Still, before any like undertaking can half-deservedly come to pass, I have a lot more work to do.

Originally, The Film Tome was a Word Document file, for my personal use and joy. It was a means of record keeping, primarily a place where I documented each and every film I have seen. When I came home from my mission, all those years ago, blogs had become oh-so popular. The idea to a writer, to post and post his words and words to you and you, was too much to pass up. The Film Tome, in blog form, was born. (The word files still exist on my computer and hold content you have yet to see here. In their time, those that shall be posted shall.) Heretofore herein, "The Film Tome" will refer to this very blog.

Some months ago, The Film Tome received a pretty facelift. It took on a new template and color scheme, but chief among the changes was the original design for the blog's header (seen above and below). I acknowledge and thank my sister, Mandy, for developing it. She also helped immensely with template transfer(s), measurements, etc. Thank you Mandy.



Regarding the design: The name is on the slate, in a worn and weathered font, reminding me of the Western. Atop that we have a bit of film strip, complete with eight frames. Each is from a particular film I love and lean. Let me this indulgence. Though, I have yet to see one of them. Yes, it is possible. You may notice four are from black and white films, four are from colored. (Of course, if this was actually run through a projector, it would last one-third of a second and be unto us a blur of mur.) Some are old and some are recent. Five different countries are represented. I picked these films for reasons. I picked these frames for reasons. Perhaps I will further dissect The Film Tome's strip on another day...


BOOK DUST BLOW


I love this picture. Typing "book dust blow" on Google images will give you such results. It fits this post, which is primarily concerning The Film Tome (its past, present, and future) and how I can refresh it and how I can progress it. For such renovations, this is a fitting image.


IN AN EFFORT TO ADD OIL


I feel The Film Tome is in need of improvement. Here I am, the only one responsible. As the Chinese say, I need to 加油 (jia you - pronounced "jaw yo"). The phrase literally translates to "add oil." The meaning? Well, I dare say there is not as nifty an English equivalent. That is, nifty in so few words and such much meaning. They use 加油, for example, before the name of their sports team as a means to cheer them on. Where we would say "Go Team!" they would say "加油 Team!" A definition I found and liked online reads, "Persist! With more effort!"

Below I will address several specific areas of The Film Tome, describe them, and plan to proceed. Rest assured, the possibilities of posts are limitless and there may certainly arise a type not covered herein.

REVIEWS

Geez... I have not posted a review since February! Before that I could count how many reviews I have done on my fingers... Writing about not writing reviews just seems silly. The same would apply for any of these topics really, but I will briefly discuss them nonetheless. The reviews I have written are somewhat lengthy. I could consider shortening, but I feel that should depend on the film and will decide on a case by case basis. One key is to work on a film's review soon after I have seen it. I will attempt this in the coming weeks. Still, I will strive to provide articles for many films which I saw various lengths of time ago. Opinions of many beg to be shared. There will be reviews.

TOP TENS

I have only ever posted one "Top Ten" list on this blog thus far. And that was last June! It was an important list: "Movies I Can't Believe I Haven't Seen." Today I watched the #1 on that list, "Lawrence of Arabia." I am happy to report that only one remains, my #2, "The Birth of a Nation." I still plan on providing reviews for all ten. After that, it will be time for a second round of "Movies I Can't Believe I Haven't Seen." I hope to have more "Top Tens" posted before that comes.

BEST OF

This is an ambitious item. I would like to reveal my choices for the best films of given years, decades, and someday, all-time. These are a sort of "Top Ten" list, but are certainly not restricted to that specific number. These will come when I feel they are ready (namely, when I have seen my share). I can go back through the years and holding my own award ceremony of sorts. This is a stately way to geek out over films. One luxury I will ever prize is one's right to alter their opinion or view. We change and so do our lists (especially as we see new films).

THE FILM TOME REPORTS

Finally, an area I am doing rather well in if I do say so myself, and I do. This is a way for me to stay on top of movie news. It is as much for me as it is for any who might happen to read it. If it informs or entertainments someone else, then posting my findings and commentary is all worth it. I will continue to bring the trailers, lists, and all manner of news on a weekly basis.

CONCERNING TELEVISION

Lately, TV shows have become a greater presence in my life. As I spend more of my free time watching TV shows and as my current internship brings me to several, I will no doubt have thoughts and feelings regarding them. I have no determination to begin another tome right now (at least in blog form, because I already have a doc made for The TV Tome). Rather, I will incorporate TV shows as I see fit, making sure to clarify distinctions. That said, TV and film do share so much, but their differences are bounties for both parties.

WORK AND LOVE

Yes, it seems I have got my work cut out for me. Of this project, The Film Tome, there is no finishing. I would argue that many-a-thing are this way. I will not be finished with it and it certainly will not be finished with me. Films will not cease and I am glad. Even if they did, there is more than enough already to ever expect to see and I am glad. It might seem an overwhelming woe, but no. To me, it is an overwhelming joy.

I love to write and I love films. Naturally, a great deal of my writings are about films. I also love to make films of my own: from pondering concepts and stories, writing screenplays, working a camera and composing shots, acting, to editing (especially connecting music to visuals), distributing, and beyond. I love this process, but I have a lot to learn. Individuals do not make films. I have learned that. I cannot do everything. I have learned that too.

This has been a helpful slice of tomekeeping for me. A moment to evaluate, revaluate, and now 加油.