I’m old. When I wanted to see a movie I used to visit a store to rent movies on a cassette tape. It sounds like an old archaic system, but the experience was rather magical. And while the quality wasn’t even standard definition, far below the 4K High Definition resolutions of today, it didn’t seem to matter. Don’t get me wrong, you’d have to pry my AppleTV from my cold dead hands — I love the instant availability and quality that the digital age affords us — but there was something magical about that video store.
Tom Roston has written a new book titled “I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers’ Oral History of a Vanished Era” which is a compilation of interviews with filmmakers such as John Sayles, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell and others, who came of age during the reign of video rentals. The book “constructs a living, personal narrative of an era of cinema history which, though now gone, continues to shape film culture today.”
I haven’t read this book yet, but some of my favorite film books are compilations like this, filmmakers and screenwriters talking about either their favorite movies, their favorite lesser-known films, or the making of their first movie. After the jump you can watch a I Lost it at the Video Store trailer, and find more information about the book.
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On July 21st 2014, I was lucky to visit the New Orleans set of Jurassic World. (You can read a list of over 50 things I learned on the Jurassic World set here.) While on set, we got the chance to have an extensive sit-down interview with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, which was conducted during the crew lunch break on a recreation of the famous visitors center from Jurassic Park. (A location which, in the film’s story, is now abandoned.) Producer Frank Marshall joined us late in the conversation.
Our conversation spanned a variety of topics, including the use of performance capture to create the dinosaurs in the new film, the idea of Weird Al having a song in the new film, bringing an independent style to the shoot, and the evolution of the Jurassic Park 4 script over the last ten years. We went into the reasons for the infamous production delay, input from Steven Spielberg, and what to expect from the new dino species.
There were fun details, too, like how a conversation with his son about Star Wars resulted in major change to the script, allegories to Black Fish and Sea World, the dinosaur stand-ins on set, and how Brad Bird not directing Star Wars resulted in Steven Spielberg finding Colin.
As I said before, the interview is extensive and so you’ll want to carve out some time to read this. Trust me, its good.
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The 2009 film Great Directors from doc filmmaker Angela Ismailos is a great introduction to the work, creative philosophies and personalities of ten directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles. The film presents conversations and clips from the work of those filmmakers, and is just the sort of thing to turn new audiences on to films from each of those filmmakers, or, if you’re already a fan of that crew, to bolster your knowledge of each. Watch the full Great Directors documentary below. Read More »
Universal released the Jurassic World trailer yesterday (click here if you havent seen it yet) and while I enjoyed it it seems like some people were up in arms over the storyline reveal that the park owners had created a bigger, badder, and genetically-modified dinosaur. In May we exclusively talked to Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow about the genetically modified dinosaur and he explained himself quite nicely. I will include that after the jump.
But for those of you who still think the genetically modified dinosaur plot is stupid sight-unseen, it could have been much worse. A very early version of the script featured a storyline with dinosaur DNA genetically modified with human DNA to create Human-Dinosaur mutant creatures. Now that sounds horrible. See the original concept art of the Jurassic World Dinosaur-Human Hybrids, after the jump.
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There aren’t many directors like John Sayles. The man may have begun his career working for Roger Corman, and he has made a living doing studio rewrite gigs (many uncredited) over the years. But he has also carved out a unique career as a director of films that aren’t quite like those made by anyone else.
He had a great run of films from the mid-’80s to the late ’90s (Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star and Men With Guns) and has made several films with the great actor Chris Cooper. Their latest is Amigo, set during the Philippine-American war. The film premiered to mixed reception at TIFF last year, and now you can see the latest trailer below. Read More »
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Oscar® and Emmy® Nominated Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D) is set to premiere a new one-hour documentary special titled “Committed: The Toronto International Film Festival” by on AMC this Tuesday October 12th at 11pm eastern.
Narrated by AMC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff and commissioned by AMC, the show highlights the personal journeys of four filmmakers at the world renowned Toronto International Film Festival this past September. Committed follows four filmmakers who spent 12 days at this prestigious event presenting their works to the most discerning critics, buyers and audiences from across the globe. Each filmmaker hopes that his/her film will be the next big thing. From first time filmmakers to an Oscar® nominated auteur to an indie director trying to make the leap to commercial success, this eye opening documentary brings you front and center in the middle of the excitement, the anxiety and the joys of being committed to getting your film seen, sold and accepted. Committed takes you through their ride of a lifetime from their first day at the festival to their last, through the negotiations that may lead to selling their film, as well as the potential devastations and unpredictable glory that may or may not come their way.
The filmmakers featured in the special include: first time documentary filmmaker Sarah McCarthy (The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical); newbie fiction director Shawn Ku (Beautiful Boy); Academy-nominated directed John Sayles (Amigo); and indie veteran George Hickenlooper (Casino Jack). I’ve always found the concept of film festivals interesting, and have had aa simular idea to this revolving around the Sundance Film Festival, in my mind for years. I’ do find it strange that we haven’t heard anything about this project until days before it airs, and the fact that no trailer or television commercial is available online. Read the full press release after the jump.
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Avatar might be the only movie in the history of this site where nearly every bonus feature on its Special Edition release has been deserving of its own separate article, but I suppose that’s just the sort of movie that Avatar is. The two big items so far have been the 16 minutes of new footage and the film’s restored earthbound opening, and now we’ve learned that the Special Edition will include two minutes of test footage from one of James Cameron‘s aborted film projects. Read More »
Last night we got a brief preview of some of the films that will appear in the always-entertaining Midnight Madness lineup at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Now we’ve got the full nine, which in addition to the three announced last night (Super, Bunraku and The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman) include John Carpenter‘s The Ward, Brad Anderson‘s Vanishing on 7th Street and Insidious, by James Wan.
But TIFF isn’t stopping there: a whole host of other high-profile films were announced for the fest today. They include Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter, Casey Affleck‘s I’m Still Here, Matt Reeves‘ Let Me In, Dustin Lance Black‘s directorial debut What’s Wrong With Virginia? and the Will Ferrell dramedy Everything Must Go, along with confirmation of Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours, for which there’s a new photo. (Above.) This year’s TIFF looks like a good one: check info about all the films after the break. Read More »
We at /Film haven’t mentioned Alexandre Aja‘s 2009 remake of Piranha until now, but something about this project feels incredibly spot-on to me. As Mickey Knox would say with a deranged grin and a smack of his chewing gum: “It’s fate.” STYD has received word that the film will now be shown theatrically in 3D. Are we really going to be privy to reaching out and swatting away thousands of fresh water Jaws imitators chewing viciously at the knees of nubile, arrogant life guards? Even if you think the yo-yo scene in Friday the 13th Part III was a complete jip, and passed on Beowulf, how can you not want to see this?
Here’s a list of reasons to persuade you: 1) Aja’s High Tension had several beautifully intense, stylish, macabre and original scenes for a modern horror film, but he lost control of the film’s more serious tone. Piranhas are tone-deaf. 2) The release is July 24th, 2009, which is perfect. Summer camps, rope swings over the water, night swims et al. Tis the season of Jaws, tis the times of less adventurous, more localized family summering. And in these movie months of overcompensating comic book movies et al, Piranha already has a built-in old school charm we’ve long missed. More $200 million robot drama? Another movie based on toys? I want to watch a 3D movie where huge audiences continually scream and laugh at killer fish. 3) It’s a remake and while the 1978 Joe Danta/John Sayles original has its champions (and it’s worth a watch), c’mon, this is not sacrilege. This movie needs to be remade. This movie was made to be remade. 5) The log line: “In Lake Havasu, Arizona, a tremor causes the lake’s floor to open, setting free scores of prehistoric piranhas.” 6) Piranha-vision 7) Sharks finally get a vacation. 8) What a ticket-stub.