In Production Interesting Trailers

There Will Be Blood – Trailer

PTA HeadshotIt has been nearly 5 years since we last saw a film from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson.

However, an early trailer for his latest film There Will Be Blood has surfaced online.

Based on the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair, it stars Daniel Day Lewis in the lead role.

Check out the teaser trailer here:


[Link via AICN]

Plus you can see PTA discuss the film in this IFC interview with Henry Rollins that aired last May:


It is thought by some that the film will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in late August.

> Check out the excellent PTA fansite Cigarettes and Red Vines
> IMDb entry for There Will Be Blood
> Photos from the production

Interesting Technology

Stephen Fry on The Internet

Video Jug has a straightforward but interesting interview with Stephen Fry and his thoughts on the web.

VideoJug: Stephen Fry: The Internet

Check them out in 5 parts by clicking on the following links:

> Technology

> The Internet

> Learning 

> Web 2.0

> His Heroes 

It is great to see someone outside geekdom or the computer industry speak so lucidly about how and why the web is important to our lives.

> Official website for Stephen Fry
> Ben Balbo with an article on VideoJug


Michael Moore on Oprah

Michael Moore was on Oprah recently discussing his new documentary Sicko which opens in the US on June 29th.

Here it is in two parts:



Cinema Festivals Interesting

The Hot Fuzztival

Hot FuzzThe Prince Charles Cinema is easily one of my favourites in London.

Great films show at great prices and they really treat their customers and members as intelligent film lovers.

But apart from the smart programming, the PCC also excels in the special events they put on, such as special Q&As, films you sing-along to or days where you can see films for a £1.

The latest outbreak of coolness to hit the holy ground of PCC is The Hot Fuzztival. This Sunday (June 10th) there will be screenings throughout the day of films that inspired Hot Fuzz culminating in a special showing of the film itself.

The screening schedule breaks down like this:

11:00am Hot Fuzztival: Hard Boiled
1:45pm Hot Fuzztival: The Last Boy Scout
4:30pm Hot Fuzztival: Point Break
8:00pm Hot Fuzztival: Hot Fuzz

The final screening will be of Hot Fuzz and will have Edgar Wright and cast from the film giving a live audio commentary on the film.

Tickets are FREE and are served on a first come first served basis. However, priority entrance will be given to those people who come along to ALL of the previous films.

They will be giving out cards at the 11am screening, which you get stamped as you come in for each film. At the Hot Fuzz screening there will be a queue for people with 3 stamps and a regular queue, the 3 stamp people get in first.

For more details check out the PCC website or visit their forum thread on these screenings.

> Official PCC Website
> Find the Prince Charles Cinema on Google Maps
> Official website for Hot Fuzz

Interesting News

Silver Surfer Wiki

Silver SurferThe new Fantastic 4 film has started a Wiki based around the identity of the Silver Surfer, the iconic Marvel character who appears in it.

Fox are allowing fans of the series to edit the wiki and build a community around it.

This is from the official press release:

Los Angeles, CA…. In the upcoming summer film FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SIVER SURFER, the Fantastic Four meet their greatest challenge yet, as the enigmatic, intergalactic herald, The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. Just who is the Silver Surfer? Comic book fans around the world are invited to collaborate together to answer that very question. Through a new wiki website, fans can work together and share information about one of the most revered comic book characters, and speculate on the ultimate mystery in the comic book world. is a one-stop destination to find everything you need to know about the origins of the Silver Surfer. Built using DokuWiki, a leading open source wiki solution that allows for multi-language functionality, fans can contribute to the official Silver Surfer wiki in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. Other languages can be added by request by fans around the globe.

“Wikis are a very popular way to share information, and fans of this franchise are a very passionate group,” comments Bettina Sherick, Vice President of Digital Marketing, Fox International Theatrical. “There are already wiki entries online about the Silver Surfer. We’re creating one destination for those fast and true fans to share their knowledge and love for the Silver Surfer with a whole new audience who will meet the power cosmic for the first time this summer in cinemas.”

Adds Dan Light, Head of Interactive for creative marketing agency Picture Production Company (PPC) in London, “We are excited to help Fox bring this project to life. It’s truly a collaborative authoring effort bringing together the fans and the distributor to an unprecedented extent.”

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer opens in the US and UK on Friday 15th June

> Check out the Silver Surfer Wiki
> Official site for the Fantastic 4 film
> Find out more about Wikis at

Amusing Interesting Random Viral Video

100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

This is a very clever countdown from 100 to 1 using different movie clips.

The films used are:

100. Night of the Living Dead
99. Laura
98. Dead Poet’s Society
97. Blade Runner
96. The Lost Weekend
95. Ocean’s 11
94. Star Wars
93. Midnight Run
92. It Came From Outer Space
91. The Right Stuff
90. The Fugitive
89. The French Connection
88. Back to the Future
87. Castaway
86. Quiz Show
85. Silence of the Lambs
84. Titanic
83. The Magnificent Seven
82. Rainman
81. Galaxy Quest
80. Harold and Maude
79. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
78. The Day The Earth Stood Still
77. The Apartment
76. The Great Escape
75. The Hustler
74. Ed Wood
73. The Jerk
72. Raiders of the Lost Ark
71. When Harry Met Sally…
70. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
69. MASH
68. The Breakfast Club
67. The King and I
66. Gentleman’s Agreement
65. The Princess Bride
64. Yellow Submarine
63. Network
62. Mr. Roberts
61. Singles
60. Gone With the Wind
59. The Awful Truth
58. Goldfinger
57. The Manchurian Candidate
56. It’s a Wonderful Life
55. The Blues Brothers
54. The Remains of the Day
53. Midnight Express
52. Waking Ned Devine
51. Roman Holiday
50. Cool Hand Luke
49. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
48. The Adventures of Robin Hood
47. The Big Sleep
46. On the Waterfront
45. The Hudsucker Proxy
44. Dirty Harry
43. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
42. Finding Nemo
41. Ben Hur
40. Superman
39. The 39 Steps
38. Aliens
37. Men in Black
36. Clerks
35. Harvey
34. Marty
33. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
32. All About Eve
31. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
30. The Wild Bunch
29. Young Frankenstein
28. The Bridge Over the River Kwai
27. The Usual Suspects
26. North by Northwest
25. Sunset Blvd.
24. Escape from NY
23. The Wizard of Oz
22. Casablanca
21. The Lion in Winter
20. Boogie Nights
19. The Shawshank Redemption
18. Almost Famous
17. The Maltese Falcon
16. The Natural
15. Being John Malkovich
14. The Professionals
13. Lawrence of Arabia
12. Ghostbusters
11. This is Spinal Tap
10. Citizen Kane
9. 12 Angry Men
8. Office Space
7. To Kill a Mockingbird
6. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
5. The Godfather
4. Fargo
3. L.A. Confidential
2. Once Upon a Time in the West
1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

[Link via MCN]

Amusing Interesting

Disney copyright mashup

Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University has made a clever mashup of Disney movies to make a few points about copyright:


> Find out more about copyright at Wikipedia
> Link to the video at Stanford law school

(Link via Boing Boing)

Interesting News

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino to reunite

Gregg Goldstein of The Hollywood Reporter says that Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will team up again for the first time since Heat in 1995.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat

But unlike that film they will share a lot of screen time together:

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are teaming to play New York police investigators hunting a serial killer in Jon Avnet’s $60 million thriller “Righteous Kill” for Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films.

The independently financed feature written by Russell Gewirtz (“Inside Man,” the upcoming “Labyrinth”) unites the longtime friends on screen for some 90% of the film — unlike their one shared scene in Michael Mann’s “Heat” and no shared scenes in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part II.”

“You see those two icons onscreen together for virtually the whole film,” Lerner said at his Festival de Cannes offices, “(something) never seen before in the history of cinema. It’s one of the hardest deals we’ve ever done to put these two actors together.”

Lerner and Randall Emmett closed negotiations on the CAA-packaged project late Thursday morning during the festival.

Righteous Kill starts shooting in Connecticut on August 6th.

In the meantime check out their scene in Heat:


Images © Copyright 1995 – Warner Bros

Amusing Interesting TV

The Evolution of The Simpsons Couch Gag

At the beginning of every episode of The Simpsons there is a couch gag as the family rush to sit in front of the TV.

Check out the edited videos below to see how they have evolved over the years.

From Seasons 1 to 5:

From Seasons 6-10:

From Seasons 11-16:


Festivals Interesting News

Joy Division film gets plaudits

Stephen Robb of BBC News is reporting good things about Control, a new film about former Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.


It is the directorial debut of Anton Corbijn and seems to have gone down well after opening the Director’s Fortnight strand of the Cannes Film Festival:

A British film about the life and death of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, starring a first-time actor, has earned a rapturous reception in Cannes. Unknown Sam Riley said he was “working in a warehouse in Leeds folding shirts” when he was cast to star in Control.

Debut film director Anton Corbijn said the newcomer had brought “an innocence and freshness that I was hoping for but never thought I would find”. This is a very hard role for anybody to play, because it is very hard to fit in somebody’s shoes who has become an icon in many people’s eyes,” said the Dutch director.

“I can’t think of the movie without Sam, to be very honest – I think he gave everything to that role. It was his first film, it was my first film – in a way we had nothing to lose.”

Control, which also stars Samantha Morton as Curtis’s wife, follows the singer’s rise with Joy Division until his suicide in 1980, aged 23.

Find out more about Control at the following links:

> Official site for Control
> BBC News article on Control at Cannes
> Find out more about Ian Curtis at Wikipedia

Festivals Interesting

Fincher in the The Guardian

Andrew Pulver of The Guardian has a short profile piece on David Fincher in today’s edition about Zodiac at Cannes:

“I never really thought about film festivals before,” he says. “I don’t think of myself as making festival pictures. I was shocked when they said they wanted the movie for competition. I thought it was a little too … lurid.”

Fincher says he initially offered Zodiac, his account of the serial killer who terrorised northern California in the 1960s and 70s, to Cannes for an out-of-competition screening, thinking that’s where they normally dump product they sneer at but want the stars to decorate the red carpet. But no: with his sixth feature film, Fincher was in. “I don’t know. It’s an odd choice. It doesn’t seem arty enough.”

Zodiac may or may not be arty, but it’s certainly artful. Fincher’s source material was a book written in the mid-1970s by Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist on the San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper to which the Zodiac sent a number of his mocking, threatening letters. Mindful of his past form – in the shape of his second feature Seven, one of the best-known serial-killer thrillers of the 1990s – Fincher went out of his way to establish clear water between that undeniably lurid carve-em-up and his far more sober true-crime project.

“I knew people would think: why would you make another fucking serial killer movie? There’s plenty of reasons not to. When I sent it out, I just said, read this, tell me what you think. It’s not that Seven thing. We already did that.”

Read the rest of the interview here.


Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell

This CNN video of Christopher Hitchens on the death of Jerry Falwell is currently No.2 on the Viral Video Chart:


> Find out more about Jerry Falwell at Wikipedia
> Christopher Hitchens writes more about Falwell in his latest at Slate column
> Read more about the Hustler Magazine vs Falwell case that appeared in The People vs Larry Flynt


The Greatest Long Tracking Shots in Cinema

Check out this fantastic post from Alan Bacchus over at Daily Film Dose of the greatest long tracking shots in cinema.

The Long Take

Touch of Evil is probably the most famous one but my personal favourites include Goodfellas, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Children of Men.

> The original post at Daily Film Dose (complete with YouTube footage)
> Listen to our interview with Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron (he talks about the other extraordinary long take towards the end of the interview)

Interesting News

IESB shut down over Iron Man photos?

Cinematical report a worrying story about fellow movie website IESB.

Apparently it was shut down yesterday for a short period after leaking those Iron Man photos (and some footage of the shoot):

You may have noticed that, about an hour ago, prominent movie website came back to life after being down for an extended period of time. Here’s what happened in a nutshell: After IESB posted some spy video and images of Iron Monger on the set of Iron Man, Paramount Pictures went ballistic and sent a legal letter to the IESB host demanding the site be shut down for copyright infrigement.

That much was pretty much common knowledge, but I got a more detailed account today from IESB’s Stephanie Sanchez. “We were not notified in any way, or asked to take it down,” Stephanie says. “We were literally in the middle of posting a story and all of a sudden our server was gone. We called our hosting company, they transferred us to legal and we were forwarded the letter that was sent from Paramount on Friday that demanded the shut down. Note, this is a letter we were never sent and weren’t given any warning about.”

Stephanie continues: “Here’s the kicker. The video and pictures that were in question were in no way property of Paramount. Both were shot from a parking lot of a 24 hour fitness center across the street from the Iron Man shoot that was taking place on a public street in Long Beach, CA. There was no violation of copyright whatsoever. After hours on the phone yesterday with Paramount reps (who had no clue about it) they completely apologized and said this should have never happened. It was the idiots in the Paramount legal department who did this.”

If true, it would appear to be a huge PR blunder. Don’t the legal guys get the idea that leaks like this help build buzz for the film? As I write, the most popular story on Digg in the last 24 hours was the hi-res shots of the Iron Man suit. But now, the story of the IESB shutdown is rapidly gaining momentum on the same site.

Legal tactics like this just make large companies look meanspirited and out of touch. To make matters even worse for Paramount, this follows the episode in which The Movie Blog was wrapped around the legal knuckles for posting images from the new Transformers movie.

It is true that bad buzz can be created from leaks and it is reasonable that a studio wants to control who sees what from productions they have invested a lot of money in. But surely by doing this, aren’t they just alienating the target audience for these films?

> See how many diggs the IESB story gets (441 as I write this link at 16.40 GMT)
> Film School Rejects chip in with their angle

Amusing Images Interesting

Grindhouse style posters for regular films

Grindhouse will be split in two for UK audiences (Deathproof arrives in September), but in the meantime check out some rather brilliant spoof posters of regular films done in the grindhouse style over at Something Awful.

My favourites include:

Children of Men:

Children of Men

An Inconvenient Truth:

An Inconvenient Truth

and The Prestige:

The Prestige

(Thanks to Boing Boing for the link)

> Check out more grindhouse style posters at SomethingAwful
> Find out more about grindhouse cinema at Wikipedia

Interesting News Technology

Blogs and film coverage

Anne Thompson of Variety posts a smart and lucid piece on how blogs are reshaping film coverage:

Bloggers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are professional journalists. Others are amateur fanboys. A few create original content, but most riff on other people’s blogs. (At, I do both.) Some are erudite and write with charm and brio. Others suck.

But for better or worse, blogs are here to stay. And they’re reshaping the coverage of films today. Movie publicity may never be quite the same.

Until very recently, studio information gatekeepers and press agents could to some degree control the flow of information about their movies and clients. They could confirm and deny facts and spin stories to a select list of reporters who played by the accepted rules of engagement that went along with their privileged access.

But the Internet has changed all that.

Early Web leaks and misinformation are giving the PR community headaches.

When something incorrect is posted, it spreads like wildfire. Too many viral postings from too many unfamiliar sources make it impossible for anyone to return calls, much less ferret out the source of the infection.

And then there’s the problem of timing. Bloggers typically reveal nuggets of film info — usually casting announcements — long before agents and studios are prepared to release the information, often because the deals aren’t done.

In October 2004, when announced newcomer Brandon Routh as the star of “Superman Returns,” it forced Warner Bros. to reluctantly confirm his casting a few days later. And when went full speed ahead and claimed that Emile Hirsch was in talks to star in “Speed Racer,” it turned out to be true. Warners was not happy about either breach.

The line between traditional journalism and indie purveyors of buzz continues to blur.

If you have ever wondered about the impact the internet is having on the film industry, then you should check out the rest of her article here.

Also check out her Variety colleague Peter Bart with his latest “Back Lot” column about blogs and the the film world.

> Anne’s blog at Variety
> Some other movie blogs at

Festivals Interesting

Roger Ebert speaks at Overlooked Film Festival

Roger Ebert recently appeared at his Overlooked Film Festival in Champaign.

The folks over at The Hot Button have posted a video of him addressing the audience with a little electronic help:


He has recently undergone complications after treatment for cancer so it is good to see him back.

> The Hot Button
> Roger Ebert’s official site

DVD & Blu-ray Interesting

Blade Runner DVD news

Interesting news on the ‘proper’ director’s cut of Blade Runner.

Film Ick reports:

The director’s cut of Blade Runner is finally due later this year. Not the so-called director’s cut – the real director’s cut. The film the way, at last, Ridely Scott wanted it.

Joanna Cassidy’s official site has broken the news that she has completed reshoots of her scenes: “Joanna has just finished re-shooting her scenes from the original Blade Runner movie. Joanna is wearing her original outfit (which she kept over from the first production). These new scenes will be part of the upcoming special Blade Runner DVD re-release. Check back for more details”.

Plus, they have more information from another source about the re-shoots for the DVD:

The shots are for the sequence in which Cassidy’s character Zhora is chased through the streets. In the original film, the chase shows Zhora in flat boots but previously we saw her put on heels – the reshoots feature heels; the control wires for the squib that released Zhora’s blood was previously visible – not any longer; a wound make-up that was missing in some angles is now in place;

Zhora gets a second shot in the chest now, whereas she didn’t before; the lighting is much improved; several new angles have been taken and, depending on the edit, the sequence could end up looking rather different overall.

All very interesting but it makes you wonder how much longer we’ll have to wait for this landmark film to be available as Ridley Scott intended it.

> Find out more about the Blade Runner at Wikipedia
> Extensive Blade Runner fansite

Amusing Interesting

The Landlord

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have had huge success with films like Anchorman and Talladega Nights. But why are they turning their hands to viral video with their new short film The Landlord?

Wired have an interesting article explaining why:

How do you make a viral web hit that scores more than 7 million views in 24 hours? Film a two-minute clip in 45 minutes, keep to one location and rely on friends and family for cast and crew. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you’re friends with comedian Will Ferrell, that your foul-mouthed 2-year-old daughter is hilarious or that venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road think you’re funny.

The rocket success of The Landlord, a video short made by former Saturday Night Live writer Adam McKay and his long-time friend Ferrell isn’t too surprising. What is, though, is that VCs from Sequoia Capital, known for backing the likes of Apple, Google, YouTube and Yahoo, had the foresight to set the whole thing up.

Several months ago, Sequoia went to Creative Artists with the idea for a site that relied on a mix of celeb and home-spun video clips that could be ranked by viewers — think of a cross between YouTube and Digg. Now Sequoia Capital is the backer of the site, named Funny or Die, which also offers up material from Gary Sanchez Productions, the company McKay runs with Ferrell.

Plus McKay explains why he’s attracted to the internet:

“On the web you do ideas you can’t use anywhere else. Like, a baby landlord would never work as a movie. We were excited by getting this chance to goof around with those kinds of ideas.”

Check out the rest of the article here and watch The Landlord here.

> Check out the Viral Video Chart
> More videos at Funny or Die

In Production Interesting News

The Bourne Ultimatum returns to Waterloo

The Bourne Ultimatum crew have been filming at Waterloo Station again.

I passed through the station yesterday afternoon as I was on my way to see Spider-Man 3 (more of which later) and I couldn’t help but take some more photos, especially as my post on the filming back in January is the most popular in the history of this site.

As I got off the train, I saw a crowd gathered near platform 9 and it seemed to be similar to the scene being filmed before. What appeared to be Matt Damon’s stunt double raced by me and several policemen (well, actors not real ones) then ran in the opposite direction. I have a feeling they are running to the scene of an ‘incident’.

Like before, the extras mingled pretty seamlessly with public. Maybe the effect the film makers are going for is the raw, hand held approach that worked so well in the second film.

Below are some pictures.

Crowd gathers
This is a scene where something happens at the station and the crowd gathers as Jason Bourne runs away.

Camera set up
From the other side of the station, the crew are setting up a shot of the same scene.

Filming begins
The crew stop to set up again.

Matt Damon’s stunt double
The guy in the centre of the picture (with his back to the camera) looked like Matt Damon’s stunt double.

Crew set up camera
The police in the background are actually actors.

Police rush in
Actors playing police officers rush to the ‘incident’ whilst the camera rolls.

The Bourne Ultimatum opens in the US on August 8th and in the UK on August 17th.

> Official site for The Bourne Ultimatum
> Wikipedia entry for The Bourne Ultimatum
> The London Evening Standard also had some photos of Matt Damon filming at Waterloo the previous evening
> Check out the cool one sheet poster at I Watch Stuff
> The trailer at Yahoo Movies

Interesting Lists

Controversial Films

Tim Dirks has compiled a list of controversial films over at FilmSite.

There are the usual suspects like Birth of a Nation, Basic Instinct, A Clockwork Orange and The Life of Brian, but there are some other notable entries that you might not expect.

Did you know that Disney’s Alladin offended Arabs? Or that The Outlaw starring Jane Russell drove a local judge in Baltimore to complain that “her breasts hang over the picture like a summer thunderstorm spread out over a landscape”?

For information on these and other controversial films check out the full list.

> Entertainment Weekly’s list of 25 controversial movies

Amusing Interesting

A short film by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently filmed some paparazzi in New York and posted the footage on his own website.

It’s called Pictures of Assholes:


The actor writes:

It doesn’t normally happen that paparazzi photographers pay me any attention when I’m not working.  In fact, it only ever happened once (thank god) that I can think of.  Luckily I had my video camera on me when it did.

A friend and I were just walking down the street in Manhattan when we passed these two photographers who were sitting outside the entrance of some hotel, presumably waiting to photograph somebody who was staying there. I didn’t think much of them until, a block or so later, they came running up and started to take my picture. I tried to be nice and politely ask them not to. They were neither nice nor polite. And that’s when I remembered I had my camera in my bag.  So that’s where the movie starts.

The only other thing I’ll say is (and I had trouble deciding whether or not to be so blunt with my opinion, but here goes) I do believe that the myth of “Celebrity” is not just innocently shallow entertainment, but a powerful and fundamental part of a larger movement revolving around greed, apathy and hierarchy that is currently dragging us down, down, down, lower and scarier, and perhaps weaker than we’ve ever, ever been. Smile!

It is an interesting little snapshot into how this branch of the media reacts when they have the tables turned on them.

[Link via ScreenGrab]

> Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s site
> IMDb entry for the actor
> An interview with the actor at NervePop

Interesting TV

The Sopranos in Seven Minutes

The seventh and final season of The Sopranos starts on HBO next Sunday in the US.

Someone has compressed the first six seasons (yes, all 77 epiosdes so far) into a neat seven minute video:


Before anyone at HBO fires off a take down request to YouTube maybe they should hire the guy who made it.

Or could it be an unofficial viral from the cable channel in order to promote the show?

(Link via Lost Remote)

> Official site for The Sopranos at HBO
> The Sopranos at the IMDb
> Find out more about the show at Wikipedia (the entry neeeds brushing up but is still worth a look)

Interesting News Thoughts

Transformers Preview Footage

Yesterday I attended a preview screening of footage from the new Transformers movie in London. It consisted of four scenes from the film and security was extra tight. That meant that I had to check in my mobile phone in with security and rely on the old fashioned pen and notebook to convey what unfolded before me.

I was three rows from the front, just behind the guys and girls from Empire magazine. The crowd was the usual folk who attend film screenings: like me they were from print, TV, radio or online outlets, invited to check out one of the big summer releases of 2007. The last time I went to one of these was a preview screening of 20 minutes from King Kong back in November 2005 when Universal showed an unfinished cut of the fight scene involving Kong and the dinosaur.

But this was a little different. Once the cinema had filled up Debra Shepherd, the Marketing Director of Paramount UK, took the stage. She thanked us for coming along and then introduced the producer of the film, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. He gave a brief introductory speech about the four scenes we were about to watch. He said that we would see four sequences, two involved the military (although he did stress that the context of the film was that the US army were fighting the evil transformers and not just engaging in jingoistic military nonsense) and that the other two scenes were more character based.

He also stressed that the footage was scored to a temp track and that the robots were not “fully rendered” (i.e. the special effects aren’t finished yet, as the movie is still in post production). However, he seemed in good spirits and appeared genuinely excited to unveil the footage. Anyway, he left the stage and the clips began…

Clip 1: It all began with a sequence you may be familiar with if you’ve seen the trailer. It is set in Qatar and involves the US military coming across a helicopter that transforms into a robot that starts destroying their airbase. Funnily enough the temp track was from Black Hawk Down (a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer – who ha s worked with director Michael Bay in the past) and I have a feeling it was a sequence from early in the film, introducing us to the Decepticons (for the uninitiated, they are the bad robots). It involves Blackout, who is a helicopter, and sees him land, transform and then proceed to wreak havoc on the base as he tries to plug in to their computer systems. It was filled with the usual Michael Bay-isms (swooping choppers, slick editing and dramatic music) and was rather good.

Clip 2: This was a different scene entirely and showed off the lead human character, Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf). Strangely the temp track was Thomas Newman’s main theme to American Beauty and it shows Sam at a party, exchanging some witty banter with a dumb jock. He then takes the girl he fancies (Megan Fox) for a drive in his car, which I’m guessing is Bumblebee. In this scene it seems to be trying to help him woo his girl by switching certain songs on the radio. It was funny and both actors showed they could hold their own in a film that is action and SFX heavy.

Clip 3: This appeared to be a sequence from the second half of the film where Sam has to deal with Autobots (Optimus Prime and Bumblebee) back at his house and moving around his garden. They want a pair of glasses (which I think is something to do with his grandfather, although I can’t be entirely sure) and the main thing is that Sam has to keep his unwitting parents from realising that giant robots are walking around their garden. It was pretty funny (some good gags about masturbation, strangely enough) and, like the other scene with LeBeouf, made you think that there was more humour and character to this film than was expected. John Turturro then turns up as the head of a government agency (the secret “Sector 7”) who are looking for the robots.

Clip 4: The final clip then returned to Qatar for a sequence you might be familiar with from the trailer as Captain Lennox (played by Josh Duhamel) and his unit of troops fight Scorponok (a robot like a scorpion) in the desert. It was well staged and although from the look of some shots the effects weren’t totally finished, it still conveyed the scale of the robot and how it interacts with the military trying to destroy it. Although Bay isn’t renowned for his subtlety as a director, in this bit he demonstrates again that he is highly proficient at blowing stuff up.

So that was it. Although it is impossible to judge a film from viewing a few isolated scenes the general mood seemed positive amongst the audience and I think there was enough here to suggest that Transformers could be a similar hit to Independence Day.

It is opening in a summer filled with sure-fire sequels (Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third and Pirates 3) but what might make it stand out like that 1996 hit is the fact that it doesn’t have any A-list stars, it is concept driven (the Transformers have a cult appeal amongst a certain demographic who grew up in the 80s) and the fact that there is a lot of heavy duty action.

But how will it do? Only time will tell.

Transformers opens in the US on July 4th and in the UK on July 27th

> Check out the official website
> Find out more about the film at Wikipedia
> Watch the trailer at Apple
> Find out what Empire thought of it
> IGN on the same footage screened at Showest about 2 weeks ago

DVD & Blu-ray Interesting

Disappointing DVD Cover Art

Dave Chen makes some salient points on why DVD cover art can be so disappointing over at More Than This:

In all seriousness though, why is DVD box art, in general, so bad? There are undoubtedly many factors that go into this, including artist fees and movie-related art availability in general.

But the biggest contributor to the horrendous art collection you have sitting on your DVD shelf is undoubtedly the actual purpose of DVD box art, which differs greatly from the purpose of movie poster art. Movie poster art is supposed to make you aware of the film and to create buzz.

Read the post in full here.

> More Than This
> A huge database of DVD covers

Interesting Useful Links

Free Online Documentaries

Just came across this interesting site via Digg – it is a comprehensive list of documentaries that can be viewed online.

Just use the menu to navigate to each film. (N.B. Some might take a while to load)

> Check it out the list of free documentaries
> Find out more about documentaries at Wikipedia

Interesting Thoughts

More on the David O’Russell videos

More bloggers are commenting on those videos from the set of I Heart Huckabees.

Dennis Cozzalio has a very detailed take on his site that is well worth a look. It has excerpts from a Playboy interview George Clooney gave after working with David O’Russell on Three Kings.

As Clooney put it at the time:

It was a dangerous time. I’d sent him this letter. I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, ‘David, it’s a big day. But you can’t shove, push, or humiliate people who aren’t allowed to defend themselves.’ He turned on me and said, ‘Why don’t you just worry about your fucked-up act? You’re being a dick. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, pussy, hit me.’ I’m looking at him like he’s out of his mind. Then he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, ‘Hit me, you pussy. Hit me.’ Then he got me by the throat and I went nuts. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away. By then, the Warner Bros. guys were freaking out. David sort of pouted through the rest of the shoot and we finished the movie, but it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.”  

Anne Thompson chips in on her Variety blog:

The internet is giving director David O. Russell a nasty spanking right now. Some of us at the office were looking at these YouTube clips that wouldn’t die–after years circulating on the web. Look at it this way. We all know George Clooney is a Very Good Guy. We wrote about what happened on Three Kings at Premiere and fact-checked the story to a faretheewell. Clooney stood up against Russell to protect the folks he thought he was abusing on the set. And Lily Tomlin is a Great Comedienne. In this video from the set of I Heart Huckabees, she protests the way she is being treated by her director, and he goes ballistic. And Russell? You fill in the blank.

Maybe Russell (who I still think is a very talented director) should post a video to YouTube explaining his behaviour?

> David O’Russell at the IMDb
> Sharon Waxman of the NYT reported from the I Heart Huckabees set in 2004



David O’Russell Mayhem

Two videos have surfaced on YouTube of director David O’Russell and Lily Tomlin going nuts on the set of I Heart Huckabees.

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

Apparently they made up afterwards but I think it is safe to say these are two outtakes you won’t see on the DVD.

(N.B. The salty language means that you might want to use headphones at work)

> Defamer have their take
> WWTDD also chip in



A new website called Delutube allows you to watch videos that YouTube have deleted.

Ars Technica write:

Even casual YouTube users have no doubt come across video clips that the company has taken down for one reason or another, but a new service gives viewers at least a chance to see the offending content. Delutube, as its name implies, can serve up some video clips even after YouTube has purged them.

Looking through a selection of random clips on Delutube provides insight into YouTube’s takedown practices. A large number of the clips contain copyrighted music, though the video is typically of high school girls trying to look like strippers as hip-hop plays in the background. (Note that not all of these clips may be work-safe.)

Delutube allows visitors to enter the video ID (pulled from the end of the YouTube URL) of a deleted clip, then attempts to retrieve the clip from YouTube’s system. Clips are not apparently deleted from YouTube’s database at the moment they are taken down (or they at least persist in YouTube’s cache before being cleared), allowing Delutube a chance of retrieving them. The site also allows for the easy downloading of clips.

This is the kind of site that must give Viacom’s lawyers a headache.

> Deletube
> More on the story at Ars Technica


Robocop revisited

Anthony Burch at Double Viking has written an informative and amusing piece on the merits of Robocop, the 1987 sci-fi action film from director Paul Verhoeven.

A lot of the satire in it about American TV seemed over the top in the late 80s, but now appears to have become all too real.

As Burch notes:

In addition to its criticisms of corporate greed and societal decline, Robocop also has time to pick on television. In the future, it seems, everybody watches one of two shows: the news, which is more or less identical to FOX News in both style and subject, and some weirdass comedy show starring a middle-aged pervert. The unnamed character, mustachioed and bespectacled, laughs frequently and hysterically as he is surrounded by unrealistically attractive women. His catchphrase?  “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

Although the inferior sequels tarnished it a somewhat the original still remains a suprisingly entertaining and smart look at the future. (Link via Digg)

> Check out the full article over at Double Viking
> Robocop at the IMDb
> The impressviely detail entry for Robocop at Wikipedia


Interesting News

Slate on Bruno

Kim Masters at Slate has an interesting piece on Sacha Baron Cohen and the deal his agents (Endeavor) struck with Universal for Bruno, his next film project.

She reports:

When Fox let slip the opportunity to make Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat, some thought the studio let one of the hottest stars in the firmament get away. Others said the deal, which cost more than $40 million, was too rich—especially since it’s an open question whether Cohen can pull off another movie based on people not recognizing him (this time as a gay Austrian fashion maven).

The Bruno deal raises another good question: Has Endeavor, the agency that represents Cohen, invented the perfect crime? Or did it simply come up with a clever way of striking a very favorable deal that infuriates the studios?

It explores the way the deal may have been structured and whether or not it makes sense for Universal.

To read the rest of it just click here.

> Original article at Slate
> Find out more about the Bruno character at Wikipedia
> IMDb entry for Sacha Baron Cohen


Spin on Google Video

Spin is a 1995 documentary directed by Brian Springer. It was compiled from raw satellite feeds during the 1992 US presidential primaries and subsequent election.

It is a fascinating look at politicians (such as George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and Pat Robertson), talk show hosts (like Larry King) and aides as they helped shape the news agenda that year.

I remember seeing it on Channel 4 back in the mid 90s but it has never been available on DVD. Fortunately it is now been uploaded on to Google Video.

Watch it here:


> IMDb entry for Spin
> The All Movie Guide on Spin
> BBC News article on the “curse of the open mic” which mentions Spin


Zach Synder on 300

A couple of weeks ago I went to a screening of 300 in London (hosted for bloggers no less) and director Zack Snyder gave a Q&A session after the film.

Here is an edited version of it:


> Check out how secens from the graphic novel compare to the film over at Solace in Cinema
> Official UK site for the film



The Worst of the Worst at Rotten Tomatoes

When it comes to sites that aggregate reviews I usually prefer Metacritic to Rotten Tomatoes but the latter site has a new feature that I couldn’t resist linking to.

They have decided to create a list of the “worst of the worst” – a ghoulish but strangely captivating compilation of bad films that stunk up your local multiplex.

Jeff Giles of RT explains:

With the trusty Tomatometer as our guide, we’ve plowed through 100 of the rankest, foulest, most misbegotten movies to hit the multiplex in recent memory. But bad films can often be their own reward; whether you’re looking for a howlingly bad time, or just looking for a list of what not to watch, ever, we’re here to help.

We’ve got the worst of some of Hollywood’s best (Robert DeNiro, Forest Whitaker, Halle Berry, and Diane Keaton all make appearances). We’ve got movies that were considered so toxic by studios that they weren’t screened for critics (“Stay Alive,” “Epic Movie”). We’ve got two “Baby Geniuses” and three Uwe Boll flicks. Heck, you know these movies must be bad if “Catwoman” ranks a lofty number 100.

The list starts here.

> More detail on the Rotten Tomatoes list
> The all time low scores at Metacritic

Interesting Trailers

Spider-Man 3 Preview Footage

Here is the Spider-Man 3 preview footage that aired on NBC last night.


Before you check it out, you should note that it is over 7 minutes long and appears to contain one of the key action sequences in the film. So, if you think this may be a spoiler then try and resist the urge to hit play.

Part of me is a little surprised that the filmmakers and studio have released so much footage all in one go, but I guess they want to build anticipation with only 2 months to go before the release date on May 4th.

> Empire dissect the footage
> Cinematical with a lengthy breakdown of the footage (spoiler alert)

Interesting News

Spider-Man 3 HD footage on NBC

NBC have some exclusive footage of Spider-Man 3 in HD on their website. But get in their quick as it goes offline tonight at 9pm (PT).

That is until someone posts it on YouTube presumably…

> IMDb entry for Spider-Man 3
> Check put the trailer for Spider-Man 3 at Apple trailers

Interesting Thoughts

The Times on Wikipedia

There are many good journalists working for The Times (that’s the London Times to US readers) and overall it is a solid and highly respectable newspaper.

However, an interesting piece by Jenny Kleeman on Wikipedia in Friday’s edition was spoiled by a rather stupid comment from Richard Dixon, the “Chief Revise Editor” for the newspaper.

He is quoted as saying:

“My default position is that every article on Wikipedia is rubbish.”

I don’t think he is joking. But if he reads his own paper he might find that rubbish is closer to home. Flicking through yesterday’s Times supplement called The Knowledge (oh, the irony) I noticed a mistake in an interview with Eva Mendes.

It featured a photo of her in Once Upon a Time In Mexico with Johnny Depp (see the image below):

Times Mistake

You’ll see that they wrongly identify the picture as being from The Mexican. That 2001 film didn’t star Eva Mendes or Johnny Depp but was actually a comedy with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.

But things get even weirder. If you look at the online version of the interview it doesn’t have the above picture but does appear to contain another mistake as it is dated “February 3rd 2007”. Surely they mean March 3rd?

Wikipedia isn’t perfect but there are numerous articles on there of great value. For people interested in film and TV, the entries for Blade Runner, Casablanca, Lost and Jaws are all excellent introductions to those films.

Whilst vandalism is an ongoing issue for the site, it amazes me that corrections can be made so quickly and overall I’m glad it exists. I don’t believe everything on it is true and I’m not a slavish devotee but on balance it is very useful indeed, especially as a platform for finding out more about a particular subject.

So, before Richard Dixon wants to berate every article on Wikipedia as “rubbish” I think he should check out the mistakes in his own paper. Confusing the films of Eva Mendes with those of Julia Roberts is one thing, but getting the date wrong (by a month) is another.

Perhaps worse is the lack of any clear corrections policy on the front page of their website. Wikipedia has an inbuilt system for correcting inaccuracies but what exactly is the policy of The Times?

> The Times article discussing the merits of Wikipedia
> The entry for Eva Mendes on Wikipedia (you’ll see there is no mention of The Mexican)
> A more intelligent article on Wikipedia by Robbie Hudson in The Sunday Times last year

Interesting News

David Denby on film narrative

David Denby has written an interesting piece on film narrative for the New Yorker.

He examines the non-linear structures of recent films like Babel, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Syriana as well others like Pulp Fiction and Memento.

> Denby’s article at The New Yorker
> A lengthy analysis of Memento at by Andy Klein

Interesting News

A sequel to The Departed?

Steve Gorman of Reuters reports that there could be a sequel to The Departed:

It’s hard to imagine a sequel to a movie like Oscar-nominated crime drama “The Departed,” which ends in such a spasm of violence that hardly any of the lead characters are left alive.

But almost anything is possible in Hollywood when enough money is at stake. So it should come as no surprise that a follow-up to Martin Scorsese’s cops-and-gangsters thriller, the biggest box-office hit of his career, is already in the works.

A person close to the situation said on Wednesday that the screenwriter behind “The Departed,” William Monahan, was outlining a film script that would bring back a surviving character played by Mark Wahlberg and introduce a new role envisioned for Robert De Niro.

The article goes on to say:

According to sources cited by The Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese would need to approve any plans for a new film before it could move forward.

Scorsese has never directed a sequel to any of his films, though his 1986 pool hall drama “The Color of Money” was a follow-up to 1961’s “The Hustler” directed by Robert Rossen.

The original “Infernal Affairs” was followed by a “prequel,” involving events leading up to the first movie, and a third film that combined elements of the first two. According to The Reporter, the idea of a prequel for “The Departed” has not been ruled out.

If Scorcese wins the Oscar (which is looking highly likely) then I certainly wouldn’t rule this out completely.

> Find out more about Infernal Affairs at Wikipedia
> All Movie Guide entry for The Departed

Interesting Technology Useful Links


It looks like Amazon have created their own Wikipedia clone. It is called Amapedia and although it is still in beta, the idea is a very good one.

A wiki for Amazon products not only gives us more information about the huge amount of books, DVDs and products they have but also allows Amazon to better to gauge customer responses.

It will be interesting to see how this develops

> Amapedia (link via Read Write/Web)