1. "Hunger Games" Trailer
Such a simple, straightforward book deserves such a literal-looking movie. The new full trailer for "Hunger Games" is bright, clean, and full of introductory exposition. Basically you're looking at the first act of the film and nothing else -- brief teases of what most of the supporting characters look like, plus an emotional, Oscar-nominee-turned-tentpole-star-worthy performance by Jennifer Lawrence right off the back. It's the "Harry Potter" of the future in more ways than one (at least until "Ender's Game" is produced). Very little action revealed so far, and also very little of the political/economical themes, which will surely bring about Occupy Wall Street talk (Occupy Capitol? Occupy District 1?). Of those who are underwhelmed, I assume they haven't read the book. This isn't adapting Shakespeare or Tolkien. [Hi-res image above via Movies.com.]
2. Brad Pitt retiring from acting in three years?
Does anyone actually believe this? How about Pitt retires from acting but picks up directing (something he's surprisingly never done) and Steven Soderbergh really retires from directing and focuses on acting (which he hasn't really done since his funny turn in his 1996 film "Schizopolis"), and they follow through on these reverse roles for another film together, maybe even "Ocean's Fourteen" (or "Ocean's Twelve Days of Christmas").
3. LEGO The Movie snaps together
Warner Bros. has greenlit its LEGO movie, which will combine live-action with 80% stop-motion animation of actual LEGO blocks. But don't worry because it's coming to you from the makers of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "Robot Chicken." Now the big question is whether or not there will be a LEGO video game version of the movie, or will the video game be ironically void of LEGOs instead? Especially with "Meatballs" guys Phil Lord and Christopher Miller involved, I can't shake the idea that the LEGO movie should/could look like "Pixels":
4. The Force Supercut
What happens when you edit together all utterances of "The Force" from the "Star Wars" movies? Well, successive readings from the original trilogy end up sounding like everyone is saying "divorce" over and over again. But those in the prequels end up sounding like everyone is saying "Le Fours," as in the villain from "Mallrats." It's like George Lucas paying tribute to Kevin Smith after all Smith's tribute to Lucas. Listen:
5. Which major film characters should have been killed off?
At Pajiba, Rob Payne lists 10 Movie Characters Who Should Have Died When They Had the Chance, in which Jar Jar Binks, Indiana Jones and the original characters from "Scream" are included, as is Harry Potter. Part of the reasoning:
while it would have made for an incredibly down ending to the books and the movies, Harry’s death would have carried weight with it forever. Harry Potter’s sacrifice would have been felt and celebrated for the selflessly heroic act that it was in both the fictional land of Hogwarts and in our own world for many, many years. Harry would have been like so many heroes before him, and Rowling even forces Harry to make this choice, and he does so, bravely before she undercuts him by putting a big magical bandaid on the whole thing.
6. Happy 60th birthday to Zhang Yimou
There are so many great films by Zhang, including "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Hero," and you should celebrate the Chinese master's birthday today by watching one of them. I see that "The Road Home" is available on Netflix Watch Instantly, if you need something easily accessible. Or, if you're very busy, here's his awesome short for "Lumiere and Company," which is less than a minute:
7. What movies were better as just trailers?
There has to be more than 8, but that's the number of Movies That Were Better as Trailers listed at the Hulu Blog. I definitely agree about "Comedian," while I think "Snakes on a Plane" was best as just a title. I have to totally disagree with "Bellflower," even with this complicated reasoning:
This movie was actually very good, but I watch this trailer instead of punching people sometimes. It is a valuable tool. After I watch the third play through this thing, I feel like I’ve just drank a Miller High Life and broken up with infamous and undeserving celebrity. It’s magic.—Ben Collins
But can't the entire movie also function this way? Perhaps Ben just had better access to the trailer while the film wasn't on DVD and Blu-ray. Fortunately, the movie goes on sale tomorrow in both formats. For now watch the thrilling and beautiful trailer on Hulu here.
8. 8 love affairs between humans and monsters
At Movies.com, Alonso Duralde looks at 8 Great Human-Monster Romances, in anticipation of the release of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1." It's a classics-filled list of beasts and beauties from films like "King Kong," "Edward Scissorhands" and the older vampire film "Love at First Bite." And here's the listing for an actual version of "Beauty and the Beast":
It's probably a given that you've seen the superb Disney animated feature, the first cartoon ever to snag a Best Picture nomination. If you've never seen Jean Cocteau's haunting screen adaptation of the classic fable, however, you're missing out on one of the movies' most stirring and visually imaginative love stories. Cocteau's boyfriend Jean Marais makes an unforgettable, hairy-faced Beast, part petulant housecat and part bloodthirsty creature when he has to protect his beloved (Josette Day). The cutlery doesn't sing in this one, but the cinematography and art direction are pitch-perfect.
9. Michael J. Fox plays "Johnny B. Goode"
No real commentary necessary, though I should set up this clip by saying the recent performance was for a charity event to support Parkinson's research. Okay, one comment. Next event I want Fox to follow-up with a reenactment of the hoverboard chase sequence. The statement will be that if we can finally invent hoverboards, we should be able to cure Parkinson's, too. Now for some good old "Back to the Future" relivin':
10. Will There Be a Definitive Occupy Wall Street Film?
Over at Indiewire's Reel Politik blog, Anthony Kaufman asks the above question. Let's wait for "The Hunger Games"? No, actually I'm going to use this opportunity to do a bit of self-promotion since Kaufman mentioned tomorrow night's panel and presentation for "99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" at Brooklyn's Union Docs. Following 40 minutes of footage shot for the in-the-works documentary, I will be moderating a discussion with some of the filmmakers involved. Come by and say hello, or send me a question to ask down below.
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