Slandering Others Anonymously

All things movies – news, reviews, and podcasts

Monthly Archives: June 2010

Some thoughts on Shyamalan

Deadline reports M. Night Shyamalan’s next directorial project might be a Taken-esque story, but with some supernatural powers thrown into the mix.

Some thought it might be a sequel to Unbreakable, after the casting of Bruce Willis was announced, but that rumour can be put to bed for now. At this point, the movie is rumoured to star Bradley Cooper as a father whose son is kidnapped. Gwyneth Paltrow is also reportedly involved.

I’m mildly intrigued by this, which is more than I can say about any recent Shyamalan project. Many are keen to see what he does with The Last Airbender, but I can honestly say that story holds no interest for me. I was never a fan of the television show. I’m mostly just interested to see if Airbender can actually turn a profit, given its $280 million price tag.

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Another update about the site

Just a little while ago, I threw out a list of ideas about things I might do with the site, and after a little thought, I’ll be implementing the last of those ideas (discussion of film news) on a limited basis.

In a way, it’s the easiest thing to do. I forgot that you only get a limited number of WordPress themes unless you pay – so that’s out. And hosting the site on its own dot com is more expensive than I realized (though dot info domains can be had for a song). And the podcast thing requires organizational skills and probably more investment of money, plus finding people who’d actually be interested in doing it.

So there you have it, editorial decision-making via laziness/poverty.

Stay tuned for the site’s first bit of movie news, which will be posted shortly.

(Edit: Decided to also incorporate a bunch of movie news blog posts I wrote throughout the last year for my now-defunct news blog. To take a look at any of the old news blog posts I wrote, you can click on the “Movie news” or “TV news” categories in the right-hand navbar.)

50 Cent’s weight loss not worth the effort

As reported in The Star, The Twittersphere (or is it Twitterverse?) was recently abuzz when rapper-turned-actor (the second one is debatable) 50 Cent posted pictures of himself looking decidedly skeletal. He starved himself down to 160 pounds for a role as a football player afflicted by cancer.

He says he drew inspiration for the weight loss from acting greats like Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, and Tom Hanks, who have all lost weight for movie roles at various times. Let’s be clear here: 50 Cent is no Robert De Niro. He’s not Ice-T, he’s not Ice-Cube. He’s not even “Marky Mark” Wahlberg. As rappers-turned-actors go, he’s pretty low on the totem pole. See, usually when an actor loses weight for a role, they’re a good actor, and the weight loss improves their performance. Usually when a rapper turns to acting, their natural charisma and emotion helps them succeed.

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The Quietest Sound

James Vculek’s The Quietest Sound is a breath of fresh air for anyone sick of Hollywood’s unquenchable thirst for big-budget blockbusters filled with sloppily-filmed action sequences and lots of CGI explosions.

The film, which came out in 2006, stars Catherine Johnson as a mother whose daughter has gone missing. She’s being interviewed by two detectives, played by Chris Carlson and Michael Tezla. The film is shot as a single take, which lasts 75 minutes.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The story is the detectives are recording the interview, and they have to keep the tape rolling for evidence purposes. So there are no cuts, no camera moves and no score during the full running time of the film. The screenshot above should give you a pretty good clue of  what to expect in terms of visuals – the mother onscreen while two mostly unseen detectives question her in exhaustive detail about events leading up to her daughter’s disappearance.
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Hitchcock’s classic turns 50

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho turned 50 years old yesterday. To celebrate the anniversary, many news publications took a look back. In a write up for Time magazine, Nate Jones wrote up an article titled Five Ways Psycho Changed Cinema.

Some of the ways listed are pretty huge. Killing off the main character in his film was a move nobody saw coming. It’s a move lots of films have employed since then. Look no further than (SPOILER ALERT!) this year’s Academy Award winner for best picture, The Hurt Locker. Obviously the gimmick still works, because I was pretty surprised when Guy Ritchie bit the dust not more than 10 minutes into that film.

The empathy with a murderer thing is also pretty common these days. Current hit TV series Dexter is based entirely around the audience rooting for a serial killer.

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Summer movie doldrums

This is really more of an editorial than anything else, but a look at the movie listings for our local theatre has kind of compelled me to comment.

Why in the world are we getting Marmaduke, and not Splice? One of them is a braindead “comedy” that’s been almost universally panned by critics. The other is an edgy sci-fi film that’s gotten tons of positive buzz.

So what gives? Unfortunately, one look at the box office figures tells the story. Both films opened on June 4th. Marmaduke has pulled in $22 million, while Splice has just over half that, $13 million. The reason is pretty plain. Splice is an R rated film (and a pretty hard R, if what few details I’ve gathered from reading about it are correct). Marmaduke is PG. This means parents can take their kids to Marmaduke. Bigger audience equals more money for theatres, and obviously for the larger chain theatres, money is the be-all end-all.

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Telling it like it is

Alberta’s culture minister recently found himself in hot water after he made some harsh comments about the state of Canadian television.

“Why do I fund so much crap?” asked Minister Lindsay Blackett, presumably speaking rhetorically.

Sadly, the guy’s got a point. I can’t even tell you the last time I watched a Canadian television series. Corner Gas seemed to be the last big deal we had, and that show was tolerable for about five minutes.

That’s not to say that US TV is necessarily better. There’s just more of it. Throw enough crap at the wall, and some of it’s bound to stick eventually. But you’d think Canadian channels would produce something decent once in awhile. American networks have great shows like Mad Men, House, Dexter, plus about a million sitcoms (some of which, like the Big Bang Theory are actually funny). Canadian television is just a vast sea of nothing.

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La Donation

Director Bernard Émond’s film La Donation isn’t for everyone. It’s weighty with religious themes, and the flat tone adopted by many of the characters may leave some viewers glancing at their watches far more often than they’d like. But those willing to hang tough may find some rays of light in the midst of the gloom.

Jacques Godin’s performance as Dr. Yves Rainville is pitch-perfect. He’s exactly the sort of steadfast but kindly person I picture every small town doctor to be like.

I wasn’t as big a fan of Elise Guilbault, who plays Dr. Jeanne Dion in the film. She’s a good actress, but she doesn’t have the same screen presence as Godin. To be fair to her though, her character doesn’t feel as fleshed out. This film is actually the third part of a trilogy, and the Dion character apparently featured more heavily in the first part, La Neuvaine (The Novena). So those more familiar with that film may have an easier time understanding the character.

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