Thursday, August 12, 2010

30 Years of "The Empire Strikes Back"

On Sunday, August 15th, Sounds of Cinema will commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back with a special episode entirely dedicated to the film. Throughout the hour I will play selections from John Williams' score as well as excerpts from the DVD commentary track featuring Empire producer George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, actress Carrie Fisher, and sound designer Ben Burtt.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Articles on 3-D

Based on these three articles, things may not be looking good for the 3-D format.

Chris Hewitt has written this piece for the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the disorienting effects of 3-D films.

This piece by Gloria Goodale from the Christian Science Monitor tries to account for the lack of box office on this summer's 3-D films.

And this piece by Michael Cieply of the New York Times tells of a growing backlash against 3-D from audiences and filmmakers.

I'm not sure if this is a sign of an actual shift or just a series of articles jumping on a critical bandwagon. I suspect that if the upcoming films continue to do poorly, or at least do not make enough to justify the extra expense of shooting or converting into 3-D, the format could be restrained to only major releases.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Oliver Stone Actually Said . . .

There has been some controversy over Oliver Stone's recent interview with the U.K. Sunday Times. While being interviewed about his upcoming documentaries South of the Border and The Secret History of America, Stone made comments that critics have claimed were anti-Semetic. Here is the excerpt from the interview, including what Stone actually said:
[Stone] constantly researches, thinks, reads: at one point he even asks me if I can do him a favour and help with the "Israelis and the bomb", after a recent conversation he had with Ken Livingstone in which the former London mayor suggested that the British knew that Israel had the bomb "as early as the 1950s". "Could you go into the archive at The Sunday Times and see if you can find anything about the British being involved with a shipment of heavy water ..." he says, dropping his voice. Sure, I say.

His next task, the leviathan Secret History of America, tackles received versions of events in the last century, an extension, perhaps, of what he did in 1991's JFK, when he suggested that the president's assassination was in fact a highlevel conspiracy. The 10-part documentary will address Stalin and Hitler "in context", he says. "Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."

He also seeks to put his atrocities in proportion: "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m."

Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? "The Jewish domination of the media," he says. "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."
Stone has since apologized (twice) for the remark, saying, "In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret."

But after reading the actual content from the Times, compare it to these second-hand summaries of his remarks:

From The Huffington Post:
Oliver Stone urges us to see the positive side of Hitler and Ahmadinejad, while imitating his two heroes by railing against Jewish control of the media.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Stone promised that his new series would put "in context" and "show empathy" for people many Americans hate, like Hitler and Stalin. In an interview with London's Daily Telegraph, Mr. Stone said that Jewish deaths during World War II had to be viewed "in proportion," since "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people."
From Hollywood
Stone was reportedly explaining his choice to focus on the Holocaust with his latest project when he stated it was because of “the Jewish domination of the media.” He then continued to comment, “They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington,” a statement which has gotten him into trouble with the Anti-Defamation League, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
From E! Online:
Controversial conspiracy theorist extraordinaire (and sometime director) Oliver Stone briefly waded into Mel Gibson territory this week when he claimed Jews controlled the media and that Hitler, in retrospect, maybe wasn't such a bad guy after all. But he has one thing Mel doesn't—a public sense of remorse for his "clumsy" words. Well, either that or a really good publicist.
From Worst Previews:
Director Oliver Stone (Wall Street) has been stating that Hitler is neither good or bad and that since Jews control the media, they have been able to vilify him and make it seem that it was only the Jews who died during the Holocaust.
The same cannot be said, however, for Oliver Stone who just last weekend launched into his own anti-Semitic rant. Coverage of Stone's outrageous comments, arguably as bad as Gibson's, has been met with a virtual shrug from the Old Media, especially the TV newsers.
Although Stone's comments were certainly clumsy, some of these press reactions are effective examples of news and social media actually making things worse with sloppy summaries.