I lied. One more. This game will probably terrify me (seriously, I can only play Gone Home in like 5-minute bursts with all the lights on, and I know nothing can happen to me in that game), but ALFRED HITCHCOCK and GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM are listed among the influences. No way I’m not at least intrigued.
I promise not to post a bunch of E3 stuff, even though I’m watching coverage almost 24/7 this week. But this little indie showcased as part of the ID@Xbox sizzle reel is totally a classic film-type thing, too. It’s like the flowers from Disney’s Flowers and Trees short are coming to life and attacking you! In other words, awesome. No idea when this is coming out for Xbox One and Steam (more specifically than 2014), but I’m pretty much guaranteed to get it.
For more ID@Xbox game trailers, Destructoid has a good initial roundup.
My top flips into my Flipboard magazines this week, whether the articles are new or old. Read more of my magazines at my Flipboard profile.
You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem? by Luke Epplin at The Atlantic
I find the fact that so many kids movies have a super-obvious and condescending message irritating in the first place, but that so many have the same message with no counterpoint is really getting old. It’s one thing to encourage kids to dream, but another to set unrealistic expectations without helping them learn contentment.
In addition to disparaging routine labor, these films discount the hard work that enables individuals to reach the top of their professions. Turbo and Dusty don’t need to hone their craft for years in minor-league circuits like their racing peers presumably did. It’s enough for them simply to show up with no experience at the world’s most competitive races, dig deep within themselves, and out-believe their opponents. They are, in many ways, the perfect role models for a generation weaned on instant gratification.
Why Kick-Ass 2 Creator Mark Millar’s Rape Comments Have So Many People Angry by Kristy Puchko at Cinemablend
Response to the Mark Millar story I included in last week’s roundup.
Secondly, rape and decapitation are not the same. Both are horrible acts of violence, sure. But the latter is not one that causes people to ask, “Well, what was she wearing when she got decapitated?” There’s no victim blaming inherent in decapitation, but more to the point decapitation is not a thing that people fear in their day-to-day life the way that many women fear rape.
At long last and much frantic feedreading in an attempt to get something near caught up, I’m going to attempt to bring back The Roundup of favorite posts and articles. I’m doing it a bit differently, though – this post won’t be quite as comprehensive as it used to be, because I’m now using Flipboard to curate my favorite links throughout the week. What’s Flipboard? I’m glad you asked. It’s a lovely magazine-style newsreader, originally for iPad but now multiplatform, that also allows users to create and curate their own magazines on any topic they want. So I’ve created magazines about current film, classic film, television, gaming, etc., which can all be read through the app or via a browser at my Flipboard profile. What I post here each week will be my favorite flips of the past week, but if you like my taste in reading, you can find many more good reads by flipping through the full magazines.
Since it’s been a while and I literally just caught up on about a month of posts over the past several days, not all of these will be from the past week, and there are more of them than there likely will be in the future. People kept writing more good stuff while I was working on this post.
Stop Blaming Jaws! by Heather Havrilesky of the New York Times
Couldn’t agree more with this – Jaws has great characters and pacing that lets you breathe and build up dread, rather than simply escalating action to the point of exhaustion. See following article with Lindelof interview for comparison.
“As a business model, Jaws may well have upended the movie industry. Creatively, though, it’s increasingly strange to blame Jaws for spawning the modern blockbuster, given how little Steven Spielberg’s esoteric, character-driven story has in common with today’s action extravaganzas. Compared with movies like Pacific Rim, World War Z and White House Down, Jaws is an art-house film. And a very good one: the film built suspense by focusing on what you couldn’t see more than on what you could. The young swimmer, up to her shoulders in murky water. A boy’s dangling legs, viewed from under the water. A swaying fishing boat, creaking eerily in the darkness.”
Damon Lindelof on Blockbuster Screenwriting by Scott Brown of Vulture Magazine
It’s somewhat disingenuous coming from Lindelof, since he’s the crafter of many of Hollywood’s current blockbusters (including Star Trek: Into Darkness, which falls prey to the very escalation he mentions in the paragraph before the one I pulled), but it’s an interesting insight into the Hollywood mindset.
But Hollywood’s gigantism, Lindelof points out, is practically algorithmic—and the effect tendrils all the way down to the storytelling level. When ever-larger sums are spent to make and market ever-fewer, ever-bigger movies, and those movies are aimed at Imax screens, then world-shattering comic-book I.P. and gigantic special effects are expected, with larger-than-life characters wielding those effects. No one necessarily asks for it; it just kind of happens. It’s what Lindelof calls Story Gravity, and dealing with it—whether that means resisting it or simply surfing it skillfully—is the great challenge of writing this new breed of tentpole blockbuster. The question used to be: How do we top ourselves? The new one seems to be: How do we stop ourselves?
I haven’t been keeping up very well the past couple of months at mentioning what I’m posting over on Row Three (aside from the crossposting of the DVD Triage and Film on TV posts, which are always posts here and there at the same time), so there’s a good chunk of them here, some of them a wee bit out of date. Sorry about that. But just in case you missed any of these posts over there, here’s some of what I’m been yapping about.
This is a film I saw at Cinefamily back in August almost by accident – it was a Wednesday night so I was volunteering, but they were showing this as part of a Cinespia-co-sponsored series of trippy films instead of their usual Wednesday night silents (in fact, I think the Wednesday night silents may be pretty much dead at this point, except for the monthly Silent Treatment series). I was a bit put out by there not being a silent, and I was planning to leave as soon as the movie started and my volunteering duties were over, but I found out it was directed by Milos Forman, and I’ve liked his other films, so I decided to check it out. So very glad I did, because I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I’ve been meaning to post this particular scene, of a young hippie showing a bunch of parents how to smoke marijuana.
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim since I finished playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion back in, like, 2007. In other words, several years before Skyrim was even announced, I was dying to play this game. And so far, it’s pretty much everything I’d hoped it would be – almost exactly like Oblivion but with a few refinements (many of them pulled from Bethesda’s other major current-gen game, Fallout 3). I’ve been too busy with life to get much further in the game than I when I wrote this, but I’m no less eager to get home every night and try to spend a few hours in Skyrim.
Near the end of October, Cinefamily had a live band called Nilbog (presumably after the town in Troll 2) come in and perform their covers of classic horror scores, from John Carpenter to Bernard Herrmann to John Williams to Goblin, and after hearing them perform the music from Suspiria, I couldn’t get it out of my head and had to write this post about it. Mostly just an intro to the clip, though, which contains the first several minutes of Suspiria and already indicates just how important the Goblin score is to the feel of the film, and to the sound design of it in general.
I read this novel on Kurt’s suggestion, in a chat thread on Row Three about sci-fi novels. I had mentioned really enjoying Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and explained a bit about the plot, which involves a monastic order based on science rather than religion, but still incorporating a lot of elements from church history that I recognized and found fascinating. Kurt said I had to read A Canticle for Liebowitz stat, and he was totally right – this 1959 novel postulates a post-apocalyptic world in which a monastic order is the only thing saving the scientific writings of the twentieth century, and following it through the next several hundred years as the world rebuilds. Fascinating stuff for both sci-fi and history fans.
It’s easy to rail against remakes and despair that Hollywood never has any new ideas, but remakes have been around as long as movies have, and not all of them are bad! Here’s fifteen that are, in fact, not bad at all. They may not all be better than the originals, but I think they all deserve to be seen on their own terms, and they come from throughout Hollywood (and indeed, world cinema) history.
Rewatching Jaws recently reminded me how much I enjoy the quiet moments, the character-driven parts in between the shark attacks. Spielberg is so great on timing in his movies, but also at giving us something to care about and chew on besides the thrills and scares themselves. This scene with the three disparate shark-hunters in the boat drawn together (and to some degree, separated) by their scars is a perfect example of the vibe that Spielberg, Benchley, and the actors create so perfectly, making Jaws far more memorable than most creature features.
This evocative short played at Cinefamily before a Silent Treatment feature several weeks ago, and I was transfixed by it. It’s a very unique kind of animation that uses a box of thousands of pins that you can push in and out to create shapes when a light is shone on it from the side. I can’t imagine how difficult and time consuming creating this must’ve been, but it’s bizarre and gorgeous and creepy.
I told you some of these were really old – obviously we’re back at the beginning of October now, with a list of classic horror films that are light on gore, but heavy on atmospheric creepiness. I love horror films like this, and even though October is done for this year, it’s never too early to plan for next year!