December 2006

Movie mash ups

Its the festive season, so this will be my last post for the year. So to keep you both amused until 2007, I thought it might be worth experimenting with an open thread.

We have seen a bucketload of sequels and remakes over the last year or so, some of which I have become more than a little irritated over (and I will avoid ranting about The Wicker Man at this point). But the thing is, I dont have a problem with remakes in themselves - there are cases where someone can take a well known (or not so well known) story, and bring something new and original to it while retaining the essential themes of the original (King Kong and The Fly spring to mind here).

So, what film would you like to see remade, who would direct it, who would star in it and how would it differ from the original?

Enjoy the festive season and have a great 2007.

A Swarm of Angels

A Swarm of Angels is a groundbreaking project to create a £1 million film and give it away to over 1 million people using the Internet and a global community of members.

This is more than just a novel attempt to find funding - which is commendable in itself - but also an innovative participatory experiment.

Our vision is to bring filmmaker and fan together into entertainment communities making distinctive films based on artistic choices not marketing ones. This is not about making a couple of bucks, but about making cinematic history.

A Swarm of Angels is a third way between the top-down approach of traditional filmmaking and the bottom-up nature of user-generated content. A way for anyone to influence the creation of a professional £1 million+ ($1.8M+) feature film.

We are gathering 50,000 people in a giant new media experiment to be part of an exclusive community which funds and helps make this film. We want people to freely download, share and remix the feature film and all original media made for this project and have embraced the flexible digital-age copyright of Creative Commons toward this end.

Open source cinema, perhaps? And for an outlay of £25, you can become part of the project.

Scary Mary

There are some very good trailer remixes - reimagining classic or popular films into different genres - out there. Take this one, for example, for a horror film starring Julie Andrews.

Pan’s Labrynth

Ive just made it home after having seen Pan’s Labrynth. Its a truly incredible film - powerful, and very moving indeed.

It is quite a brutal film, and there are a number of scenes that are very difficult to watch. But this is wholly appropriate for a story about a young girl trapped in Fascist Spain in 1944. The girl who plays Ophelia deserves a special mention here as she does a great job of bringing across the frustrations and fears of the character and really does bring you into her world.

Visually, the film is stunning. I will be rushing out to buy the DVD of this as soon as its released just so I can experience it again but Pan’s Labrynth really is a film that needs to be seen on the big screen.

Viva Zapatero!

In November 2003 Italian satirist, Sabina Guzzanti directed and was featured in the first and only installment of Raiot, a late-night TV political satire show broadcast on RAI-3. After lampooning Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, Guzzanti was sued by Silvio Berlusconis Mediaset lawyers for lies and insinuation and the show was pulled amid controversy.

In Viva Zapatero! she presents her side of the story. The film was the sleeper hit of the 2005 Venice Film Festival where it received a 15-minute standing ovation.

And now the film is available on Amazon, in English and Italian with subtitles where necessary.

Christmas in January

Back in 2005, Luc Besson quietly shot a romantic comedy - in black and white, in Paris - in which a beautiful woman helps an inept scam artist (Jamel Debbouze) get his game together.

Angel A was released in December 2005. But for those of us that dont speak French, the English subtitled DVD is released on 29th January.

(Thanks to Twitch for the heads up)

Jesus Camp clips online

Poster for Jesus Camp Jesus Camp is a documentary that follows a group of young children to Pastor Beck Fischer’s “Kids on Fire Summer Camp”, where kids are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God’s army and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into the intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America’s political future.

Its a film Im very interested in seeing, but also one that I dont expect to be screened at my local (small) cinema. I will, however, be rushing out to rent - if not buy - the DVD as soon as its released.

Until then, heres some clips on YouTube courtesy of The Documentary Blog.

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven.

Almodóvar and Cruz to reunite?

Pedro Almodóvars next film is set to be La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In), a revenge drama that centres on a plastic surgeon who exacts revenge on the men who have raped her daughter. And hes considering Penélope Cruz for a starring role.

According to Variety, Almodóvar was talking enthusiastically about the project at the European Film Awards in Warsaw at the weekend. However, the screenplay has yet to be finalised and so it is unclear when filming will begin.

Back in August, during a Guardian NFT interview with himself and Cruz, Almodóvar said of the actress: I am sure we will be working together again For the moment she is absolutely in my imagination and when Im writing, Im thinking of her.

If the project goes ahead, La Piel Que Habito will mark a departure for Spains most famous director, who is more known for intimate dramas than for thrillers. Almodóvar reportedly told Spanish media that the film is immensely tough and complicated, targeted at select audiences, the kind of film thats discomfiting and doesnt tend to win many awards.

This sounds like such a good idea on so many levels. To see what Almodóvar can do with a thriller would be interesting in itself and any collaboration between him and Cruz is always worth seeing.

Ray Harryhausen monster montage

Poster for One Million Years BC Before CGI there was stop motion. And the unsurpassed master of stop motion animation was Ray Harryhausen, who almost single-handedly kept the technique alive for three decades and and gave us a stack of classic fantasy films including Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C., the Sinbad films and Clash of the Titans.

So thanks to Filmstalker for pointing me in the direction of this five minute montage of some of his most famous monsters.

Blood and Chocolate

I have to admit that Blood and Chocolate has pretty much flown under my radar up to now, but Ive just seen the poster for the film and the synopsis sounds quite intriguing.

Directed by Katja Von Garnier (Bandits), produced by Ehren Kruger (The Ring) and starring Agnes Bruckner (Blue Car, Haven) and Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted), this darkly romantic thriller explores the world of a teenage werewolf. Her secret is threatened when she falls in love with a human, and she must choose between love and the honor of her family.

Okay, the blurb does sound a bit weak, but Ehren Kruger does have a rather impressive set of writing credits, including The Brothers Grimm, The Skeleton Key and New World Disorder (well, I enjoyed it). He also has a credit for the upcoming John Carter of Mars, so although Im nut jumping up and down with excitement at this point, I do think that this is a film worth keeping an eye on.