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Hopefully you’ve got 90 minutes of free time in the next couple days, and assuming that you do, bookmark this long talk about the emotional effect of music when paired with image.

“Art Of The Score” was put together by the World Science Festival and the New York Philharmonic, and is hosted by Alec Baldwin. He’s joined by Ethan and Joel Coen, their frequent collaborator Carter Burwell, and neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel. The topic in general is music and film scores, and the ways in which they create an emotional response in the audience.

The talk begins with the example of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the fact that Alex North’s original score was shelved in favor of music that Kubrick had used as the temp track, including the well-known Richard Strauss composition ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra.’ But it goes a good bit deeper than that over the course of the hour-plus talk, from the neurological response to music, to the ways that musical influences can shape the direction or gestation of a film, and the ideas behind choosing music that conflicts with the image or scene, rather than directly complimenting it. Watch below. Read More »

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SNL Wes Anderson

Saturday Night Live doesn’t have a reputation for lampooning independent filmmakers too often, but they do love jumping onto a good meme and Wes Anderson parodies have definitely reached “meme” level. Leave it to the legendary sketch comedy show, though, to use their considerable resources to make the Wes Anderson parody to end all Wes Anderson parodies.

It’s called The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders and stars Edward Norton (himself a star of Moonrise Kingdom) as Owen Wilson (Anderson’s frequent co-star and co-writer) in a horror story that also “features” Anderson players like Adrien Brody, Alec Baldwin, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman and many others. Some even as themselves. Check it out below. Read More »

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Oscar nominee and multiple-Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Alec Baldwin recently revealed he was offered a villainous role in a Marvel movie. Appearing on The Howard Stern Show, the 30 Rock star said he was offered the role but had to turn it down because of scheduling issues. Below, read his quotes and speculate as to which character it was. Read More »

Briefly: Woody Allen continues to work at a pace that other directors can only dream of. He’s following To Rome With Love with a new film that stars Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard and now Michael Stuhlbarg. And now the movie has a title, Blue Jasmine, and a distribution deal with Allen’s regular partner Sony Pictures Classics.

Allen scripted (of course) and the film follows “the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife.” In form typical to the director, that’s just about all we know beyond the cast roster. We do know the film will shoot in the US, making it the director’s first film at home since the 2009 release Whatever Works. The fact that this will be Allen’s fourth movie since that picture came out is a testament to his wonderfully relentless work habit. [THR]

With the fall movie season well underway, we have new promos for two releases due out in November. The first is a 90-second spot for Flight, Robert Zemeckis‘ long-awaited return to live action. Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who’s lauded as a hero when miraculously saves a plane full of passengers with a deft crash-landing. But as an investigation digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the incident, the story and his life begins to unravel.

The other is an extended TV spot for Rise of the Guardians, a DreamWorks Animation tale about all the mythological figures of childhood imagination — Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. — banding together to save the world from an evil spirit called Pitch. Watch both videos after the jump.

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Ever wanted to see the Easter Bunny incarnated as an angry Australian rodent kangaroo bunny, voiced by Hugh Jackman? If so, Rise of the Guardians is going to be a treat. The film adapts William Joyce‘s book in which modern mythological figures such as Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Sandman (Tom Kenny), and the aforementioned bunny recruit Jack Frost (Chris Pine), to save the world.

We’ve seen a bit of footage in the past from this latest DreamWorks Animation offering, but a new trailer for Rise of the Guardians is the most substantial look at the film to date. As has been the case with other recent work from DreamWorks, the animation is very technically accomplished, and there’s a liveliness to some of the camerawork that I really like. Whether the story works will be a different matter, but there’s enough cute work from the voice actors that it might be worth a look for that alone. Read More »

“Nothin’ But a Good Time” promises the tagline of Rock of Ages, referencing one of the two dozen or so classic ’80s rock songs its cast energetically deflates into innocuously pleasing sing-a-longs. It’s an admirably honest proclamation of the film’s limited aspirations, one which it fulfills with all the grace of a monkey hurling its own feces at the screen.

Credit where credit is due, Rock of Ages stops just shy of having literal monkey shit flung at its audience; although monkey sight gags are in fact a primary source of the film’s humor, should we choose to accept that the innumerable moments in which a trained monkey behaves contrary to that of an untrained monkey qualify as humor. Said hilarity includes but is not limited to: monkey wearing a dictator outfit, monkey throwing stuff, monkey not throwing stuff, monkey grinning, monkey screeching loudly, monkey having a silly name, monkey serving drinks, monkey not serving drinks, monkey doing other things that resemble what humans do, and homosexuality. That last one has nothing to do with any monkey related shenanigans, but apparently it’s just as noteworthy, as was evident from the fits of hysterical laughter that surrounded me when two male characters share an out-of-nowhere romantic musical number together — complete with obligatory make-out session. (A gay guy directed the film, so it’s okay to laugh!)

If all that, and Tom Cruise in assless chaps, sounds like a promising night of fun and laughs to you, Rock of Ages should prove more than serviceable. Granted, of course, that you’re also an advocate of the recent surge of jukebox musicals, none of which lend themselves very well to things like “story” and “character development”, but all of which feature songs you already know and enjoy and can sing the lyrics to, so who gives a fuck, right? Read More »

Woody Allen‘s latest film will be his first to shoot in the US in almost a decade, but that might not be the big reason to pay attention to it. The film just added three cast members, and they’re quite a set. One of them is a great surprise: Louis C.K., a man we know is a fan of Allen’s work if only for the homage he paid Manhattan in the third season of Louie. Another is also a surprise, but a much more surreal one: Andrew Dice Clay, whose comic sensibility is everything a classic Allen character would claim to hate, but might secretly love. Then, to balance things out, we have Peter Sarsgaard.

A bit more info on the film follows. Read More »

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