Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For your consideration — "If there were no Internet, Hedy Lamarr would have to invent it" edition

Photo by Art Streiber
Fast Company: The Vision Thing — How Marty Scorsese risked it all and lived to risk again in Hollywood.

Slate: The Return of Silent CinemaThe Artist isn't the only movie harkening back to the time before talkies.

Slate: The Real Movies Behind the Magical Hugo

The Film Stage: 10 Classic Films You Must Watch Before Seeing Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo'

The Daily Beast: Good Actors, Bad Movies, and the Oscars — In this year's unpredictable Academy Awards race, one trend has emerged: excellent performances in so-so films. Richard Rushfield has had enough:
Ultimately, great performances are not about acting as a self-involved exercise unto itself, but about creating great, rich, unforgettable characters. And if a film has a great, rich, unforgettable character at its heart, audiences will forgive it a galaxy of sins. But if the film is forgettable, how unforgettable can the performance be? In recent years, Oscar has bestowed its favors for various reasons—some political, some artistic—on performances in a collection of films that were almost erased from the public imagination while they were still on the screen: The Reader, La Vie en Rose, Walk the Line, Crazy Heart, and Capote, to name a few. Despite the alleged brilliance at their hearts, the films have managed to be forgotten. Perhaps that is a judgment Oscar should consider the next time it rewards good work in a failed project.

Indiewire: The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Spirit Award Nominations

Indiewire: Images From Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' Comic-Con Footage Leak — Hints that Scott's hush-hush project, set for a June 2012 release, will look sensational whether or not it really is an Alien prequel. Update: /Film — High-Res Images From Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

NPR: 'Most Beautiful Woman' By Day, Inventor By Night — A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes sets out to rewrite America's memory of Lamarr. Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, chronicles her life and the inventive side that is not often mentioned.

Also: I enjoyed the new two-part PBS American Masters entry, Robert Weide's Woody Allen: A Documentary. I disagree with calling it "definitive" — it has conspicuous gaps and the depth of penetration of a drink coaster — but it's still a well-made introduction to a course in Woody Allen 101 and I was pleased to see Allen onscreen as our docent. It's available for free viewing online. (It may be rights-restricted to in the United States.)

The Guardian: Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood — Fans were shocked when Batman writer Frank Miller furiously attacked the Occupy movement. They shouldn't have been, says Rick Moody – he was just voicing Hollywood's unspoken values.

In a related piece, here's David Brin's Roll over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans

Slate: The Guide to the Making of Movies — Five notable magazine stories about the film industry, from loony directors to phenomenal flops.

TPM: Right-Wing Freak-Out: Children's Movies Pushing Liberal Agenda — It's simple, really. Happy Feet has the word "happy" right there in the title, and there are few things right-wingers find more threatening than others' happiness.

How to be a Retronaut: New York, 1940s, by Stanley Kubrick — "Kubrick's striking black and white images of 1940s New York City — which were often shot on the sly, his camera concealed in a paper bag with a hole in it — hint at the dark beauty and psychological drama of his later creative output."

The Daily Beast: Confronting The Apocalypse — Andrew Sullivan rounds up some thoughtful responses to Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, which I too think of as half of a double-feature with Malick's Tree of Life. "...It’s what Malick was getting at in Life: Every human—like every dinosaur millions of years ago—is here for a brief time and then gone, terminated by a rogue asteroid, a wartime bullet, a freak accident or a wayward planet called Melancholia."

The Atlantic: The Johnny Depp 'Thin Man' Reboot Is on Its Third Writer. For a little background, here's a "green light" announcement from The Guardian last May. My question: Who could possibly play Nora without leaving us pining for Myrna Loy? Don't screw this up or I'll personally shoot you five times in tabloids.

Well, the new John Carter trailer sure looks sensational. The screenplay is by Andrew Stanton, who also wrote Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and Toy Story 3. I'm not crazy about what I see here of the character of John Carter. He seems too much the Hollywood-standard bronze brute, which isn't at all like Edgar Rice Burroughs' original Southern gentleman. However, Stanton says he is a big fan of the novel and that the movie "feels like the book." Here's hoping.

Making a movie? Need medical and scientific antique props and set decor? Who ya gonna call? These guys.

'Manos' in HD: Why I’m Saving 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' — Earlier this year Ben Solovey found the original 16mm workprint of Manos: The Hands of Fate, one of the most famous culty bad horror movies this side of Plan 9 from Outer Space. This site documents his quest to rescue and preserve the film from the bottomless dumpster of obscurity. Why? I'm not certain. But I salute his diligence.

Tor: Your New Baby Needs This Star Trek Book — If you're wondering the best way to reinforce the concept of opposites to the toddler in your life, the Star Trek Book of Opposites is here to help.

The Onion: Next Tarantino Movie An Homage To Beloved Tarantino Movies Of Director's Youth

Bouncing off my recent teeth-gnashing at Anonymous: Who wrote Shakespeare? As usual, Monty Python's Eric Idle has the last word.

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