Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salon article on "The Killer Inside Me"

Check out this Salon article by Andrew O'Hehir on The Killer Inside Me, which recently screened at the Tribecca film festival. This film has created quite a stir at Sundance for the film's scenes of violence against women. You can find the NSWF trailer here.

The Salon article includes this quote from Casey Affleck, the lead actor of the film, as part of a defense of film:
Casey Affleck discussed the picture's aims admirably. "I hope there's room for discussion around this film, and room for people to tell us we're being irresponsible," he said. "But to me, irresponsible is when you have a movie where 300 people get killed by robots, and none of it matters, none of it registers. In this movie, we wanted the violence to seem real, and the victims of violence to seem real. I think we've been very responsible in how we approached the violence. I wouldn't have done the movie otherwise."
The Killer Inside Me will be released later this year from IFC Films.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Check out this article on films ghost-directed by people other than the person credited. A lot of this is rumor, although the article features links backing up its claims.

I would dispute the claims on Poltergeist, given that Steven Spielberg is known to be a hands-on producer, Tobe Hooper is a distinguished horror director (as opposed to the lesser known directors of other projects on the list) and in the eighteen years since the film's release Hooper still maintains that he directed it.

An interesting case is made for A Prairie Home Companion, which is credited to Robert Altman (as his last film) but may have actually been directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. From the article:

The influence that director Robert Altman had over Paul Thomas Anderson can be clearly seen when you put the likes of Nashville and Magnolia side by side. Altman was 80 years old and in a frail state when he tackled what would turn out to be his final film, A Prairie Home Companion, and apparently unable to undertake much of the physical side of directing a film.

Reports around the time of the film's production suggested that Anderson was ultimately brought on board to ghost direct the film. Thus, the suggestion was that Altman watched what was happening on monitors and gave out orders, but that Anderson was tackling the hands-on work, and dealing with the actors themselves.

Other reports argue that, as is quite common with directors of advanced age, Anderson was actually on stand-by to take over the film if Altman couldn't. As it stood, Altman got sole directing credit for the film, in line with DGA rules.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in Winona, MN

UPAC will be showing the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the Winona State University campus on Thursday April 29th at 9pm. The screening will be held outside the student union, so bring a blanket or a lawn chair.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Joe Johnston Hates Pre-Visualization

Joe Johnston, director of Jurassic Park 3, The Rocketeer, and the upcoming Captain America, has published an editorial on in which he describes his dislike for previsualization (or previz for short), which is usually a cheap animated version of story boarding of scenes to be shot later on set. The idea is to be able to give the cast, crew, and post-production workers an idea of what the finished sequence will look like. But as Johnston writes, the process also has a way of killing the creativity on set.

I hate previz. I’ve never used it, and I will never use it. I didn’t use it on The Wolfman, and I won’t use it on Captain America. Hate it. Previz tells the crew this is exactly what you want, and I think it’s much more of a crutch than anything else. It sends a message to the crew that you’ve worked out all of your problems, you’ve had your meetings and you’ve figured out exactly what you want to do, and here’s the movie, take a look. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a sequence that was created in a computer, and it has no relation to what it’s going to be when you’re really out there, on location, on a stage, with real actors who are hitting their marks and saying their lines. It’s completely useless. There are visual effects people who will say, “Gee, we’d better previz this so we know exactly what we’re doing,” and I tell them to go ahead and waste money on previz because you need it to understand the elements of the sequence — for instance, identifying at what point you’re going to duplicate the army or create set extensions — but don’t show it to anybody and say this is what the director wants. Never.
It's ironic to hear this from Johnston, since he is a protege of George Lucas, who has been a champion of previsualization and used it quite extensively on the Star Wars prequels. But Johnston's objections to the process do help to explain the flatness and lack of visual flair of many computer-generated action scenes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Salon: Unproduced Screenplays by Intellectuals

Salon features this article from Elif Batuman on unproduced screenplays by famous writers, politicians, and thinks such as Vladimir Nabokov, Winston Churchill, and Jean-Paul Sartre. I found this possible screenplay by Georges Bataille interesting:

In 1944, the French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille, the so-called "metaphysician of evil," decided to write a "commercial" film starring Fernandel, a singer-comedian particularly famous for his horselike teeth. In a departure from earlier roles, Fernandel was to play a bourgeois Marseilles soap manufacturer who, during his children’s holidays, assumes the costume and character of the Marquis de Sade. With the participation of some local prostitutes, he reenacts the practices described in "120 Days of Sodom," Sade’s novel about four scientific-minded libertines who lock themselves for months in a medieval castle, subjecting forty-six innocent young people to escalating sexual torture, culminating with murder. When the soapmaker’s experiments likewise result in the death of a prostitute, he commits suicide, effecting "the triumph of morality." After approaching one producer, who was not encouraging, Bataille abandoned the script, which has been lost to posterity.
This is a fundamental difference between literary or intellectual pursuits and film; cinema inherently limited in its ability to present complex ideas because it has to do them visually and aside from experimental or art house cinema, it is difficult to find audiences or even funding for high minded projects.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

89.7 KMSU Spring Pledge Drive

Starting today, 89.7 KMSU FM "The Maverick" will begin its spring pledge drive, in which listeners are encouraged to support the station with a financial donation. Please consider supporting KMSU. There are challenging economic times, especially for higher education, and your donations ensure the continuity of the station and prove to Minnesota State University that KMSU is a valued part of the community.

To make a pledge please call 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810 or go to the "Contact Us" page at

This Sunday, April 4th, Sounds of Cinema will feature a pledge drive show on 89.7 KMSU FM. Listeners on 89.5 KQAL FM will hear a repeat of the Quentin Tarantino show (#253).