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Barbie Legacy Preservation Effort Scores Success: Amy Schumer Exits ‘Barbie’ Movie 

Barbie Fans Breathe Sigh of Relief

Justin Kroll reports:Amy Schumer has parted ways with Sony’s live-action “Barbie” over a scheduling conflict, Varietyhas learned.

“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” the actress said in a statement to Variety. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

The big screen adaptation of Mattel’s iconic toy line was expected to start production this summer on June 23, but Schumer’s busy schedule includes a lengthy promotional tour for her new Fox comedy “Snatched,” which opens in May, as well as an upcoming shoot for Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me” opposite Steve Carell.

[Read the exclusive story here, at Variety]

Sony needed to stick to its June 29, 2018 release date since Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion–shifting the production to accommodate Schumer would have put on a strain on other partners on the film, according to insiders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bat-Maybe Man and Super-Ambivalent Man

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‘Batman v Superman’ Reviews: Uh Oh

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is facing a rocky start ahead of its Friday release. It holds a bleak Rotten Tomatoes percentage.

Maria Cavassuto writes: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is facing a rocky start ahead of its Friday release. The tentpole has met with lukewarm reviews and holds a bleak Rotten Tomatoes percentage (which continues to change as more reviews roll in). The last installments fared far better for these caped crusaders, with “Man of ben-affleck-batmanSteel” holding a 56% Fresh rating and “The Dark Knight Rises” holding a Fresh 87%.

“I am gobsmacked by just how dull this movie turned out to be.”

— Mike Ryan of Uproxx

Although there are a few positive reviews for Zack Snyder’s film, most are calling out the film for its messy, less-than-spectacular promised clash of comic-book titans.

Variety‘s Andrew Barker says this epic standoff never develops fully, and instead “the life-or-death battle between the two icons ultimately comes down to a series of misunderstandings.” Barker also believes Henry Cavill’s Superman pales in comparison to “the winningly cranky, charismatic presence even when out of costume” of Ben Affleck’s Batman. Visually, the film is a win. For Variety’s full review, click here.

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Eric Kohn of Indiewire echoes some of Barker’s points by calling this messy and “cacophonous” showdown “basically one long teaser for the next installment.” Kohn also pointed out that while the film “doesn’t lack for inspired visuals” because “it’s filled with motion-heavy sequences rich in light and color,” a good deal of the story “reeks of the usual routine.”

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone thought this was a step up from “Man of Steel” but nowhere near Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” franchise. However, even though “Batman v Superman” is probably a dream for most comic-book fans, the “kick-ass revelation” is the “wowza of a Wonder Woman,” played by Gal Gadot.

But Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter believes the writers threw in the towel on how to integrate Wonder Woman. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ [HD] Comic-Con Trailer

Zack Snyder‘s BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is in theaters March 25, 2016.
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[VIDEO] Bill Maher Calls Real-Life American Sniper ‘Psychopathic Patriot’

Real Time With Bill Maher

TIME

The political-themed Oscar firestorm season—or is it Oscar-themed political firestorm season?—has reached its height of late, with Clint Eastwood’s war flick American Sniper overtaking Ava DuVernay’s Selma as the preeminent flashpoint for all the grousing. (The film is up for Best Picture and Best Actor, among other awards.)

Thanks to their tweets, Michael Moore and Seth Rogen both spent the week on the receiving end of criticism from the pro-Sniper crowd, most notably Kid Rock. On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the reliably cantankerous Maher suggested that Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL played in the film by Bradley Cooper, is a “psychopathic patriot.” Maher also read excerpts from Kyle’s 2013 autobiography, the book on which the film is based, in which he called Iraqis “savages.”

But his critique may not have had much of an impact at the box office: Deadline reports the film…

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Point of View and ‘Intrarealism’ in Hitchcock

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In 1980, in Wide AngleDaniel Sallitt writes:

Hitchcock’s work has always provided much of the source material for discussions of the nature of point of view and identification in the cinema. The most readily identifiable and frequently used sequence in Hitchcock has the characteristic form of alternation between closeups of a person looking at something and shots from the person’s point of view of what the person is seeing; this kind of sequence, embodying as it does a very pure notion of viewpoint, has always seemed the central instance of subjective cinema. Add to this the undeniable power of Hitchcock’s films to involve the spectator in the narrative in some way which has always seemed more direct than that of other films, and one has the makings of a rudimentary model of identification, with manipulation of visual point of view creating a sense of subjective involvement by proxy in the film universe. The purpose of this paper is to examine and question this model, which seems to me a simplification, albeit a very understandable one, of what is actually going on in the films.

[Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]]

The fact that Hitchcock’s point-of-view sequences often appear at moments of greatest narrative tension and viewer absorption may be part of the reason that we tend to assume a simple cause and effect relationship; it is, however, worth noting and examining the many examples of point-of-view or subjective sequences which don’t operate in the expected way. The particular point which I would dispute most strongly is that Hitchcock’s films are in some way dedicated to a notion of psychological subjectivity, that the films examine reality from an individual’s psychological viewpoint which we are compelled to share. It is necessary to ask exactly how Hitchcock employs subjective techniques, and exactly what their effect is, before deciding on what level subjectivity is operating in the films. In addition, I wish to identify more general aesthetic strategies operating in Hitchcock of which point of view is a specific manifestation.

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The first thing to consider on the subject of point of view and subjectivity is the frequency with which Hitchcock switches the visual point of view from character to character within a sequence. A few examples, chosen at random from among many: the switch to the crofter’s point of view as he spies on Donat and Peggy Ashcroft from outside the house in The Thirty-Nine Steps; in the church sequence in the second Man Who Knew Too Much, the pastor’s point-of-view shots of his wife informing him of Stewart and Day’s presence, in a sequence which otherwise works from Stewart and Day’s point of view; the transition from Grant and Bergman’s point of view in the wine cellar in Notorious to Rains’ point of view as he sees them kissing; the seamless alternation between the point of view of Bruno and Miriam in the fairground murder sequence in Strangers on a Train. There is no shortage of such examples; Hitchcock constantly exercises his option of moving from one point of view to another. What is most interesting about these alternations is that they jolt the spectator so little.

[See more –  in our Hitchcock archives at punditfromanotherplanet]

There is no more sense of dislocation or of a violation of rules than there is with any shift of emphasis from one aspect of a situation to another. On the basis of this observation, one should question the extent to which the use of a character as the focal point of a point-of-view sequence necessitates an adoption of that character’s psychological perspective on the event. If this were the case, one would expect to be jolted at each switch of point of view, as one were forced to adopt a different psychological orientation. Indeed, if we know anything about a character’s psychology during a point-of-view shot, it consists of stored knowledge from previous scenes or shots rather than information obtained from the shot itself; any inferences we make about the psychological state of our “stand-in” are just that, intellectualized inferences; whereas the direct impact of the shot comes instead from our perception of what one would see from this point in the film universe. Our eyes substitute for the character’s eyes, but we have no force acting on us at that moment to even make us aware of the character’s thoughts, much less to make us share them.

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As confirmation of this, note the large number of point-of-view shots in which there is no importance attached to the character’s psychology, or even in which there is no particular character corresponding to the point of view (for instance, when a shot previously established as a character’s point of view is repeated after the character has gone). A few examples: the early shot in Notorious in which we get the point of view of a newsman looking into the courtroom; in the scene in Foreign Correspondent in which the two fake policemen are trapped by an accumulation of hotel workers, the point-of-view shots of McCrea and Day escaping down the corridor as seen by the pseudo-cops; Raymond Burr’s point-of-view shots of the blindness inflicted by Stewart’s flashbulbs in Rear Window; the point-of-view shots through the windows of the stalled dining car in The Lady Vanishes, many of which have no observer of whom to be the point of view. Here there is little or no possibility of the point-of-view shots being intimately bound up with character psychology and still the shots work perfectly well, giving us no sense of being daring or unusual devices.

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The effect is very much as if we were simply borrowing a character’s eyes for a moment so that we could use their viewpoint. One concludes that, far from being a device to inflict the character’s psychology on us, the point-of-view shot is somehow rather impersonal and remote from the character whose point of view is being used, as if our direct experience of a viewpoint would always outweigh our intellectualized inference of what the shot would make the character feel. The point-of-view shot seems to be an accurate evocation of a character’s psychological state only when that psychological state resembles the one that the point-of-view shot naturally inflicts on us, the sense of suddenly having visual access to a new, different universe—as in, for example, the scenes of Vera Miles exploring the Bates house in Psycho, or of Fonda being jailed in The Wrong Man. Which is to say that the point-of-view shot is a means of putting the spectator in some relation, not to the character, but to the film universe. Read the rest of this entry »


Ben Affleck and David Fincher Reteam for ‘Strangers on a Train’ Reboot

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[VIDEO] Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

In the debut of Reality Check, Ben Shapiro takes on Ben Affleck and the myth that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical.


Best and Worst Costumes at Comic-Con


Rise of the Uncool: 2016

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Maybe I’m perverse, but this made me laugh out loud. It’s so true. Over at The CornerJim Geraghty, observing that the time has never been better for a limited-government candidate, writes:

“…This is not to say electing a Republican candidate, pledging to limit and reduce the size, scope, cost, and reach of government is going to be easy, of course. For starters, no matter who the 2016 Republican candidate is, that person is going to face some variation of this:

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All of the celebrities of Hollywood and the music industry will come out to rally and endorse the Democratic candidate — Ms. Perry and her latex dresses, Bruce Springsteen, Eva Longoria, the Black Eyed Peas, Ben Affleck, and all the other usual suspects. This reflects their reflexive insistence that the Democratic president candidate is the “cool” one. Most of these figures insisted John Kerry was the cool one in 2004 and that Al Gore was the cool choice in 2000. Ahem.

The 2004 experience ought to reassure us that Democrat-friendly celebrities cannot, by themselves, convince the public that the Democratic nominee is cooler and thus a better choice for president.

The 2016 Republican nominee is also certain to face some variation of this:

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In some senses relating to the campaign, it does not matter whether Republicans nominate Jeb Bush, or Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, or Bobby Jindal, or Chris Christie, or Scott Walker, or Rick Perry, or any other GOP rising star. The 2016 Republican nominee will be attacked for being insufficiently “cool” and attacked for being “not one of us.” Read the rest of this entry »


Batman v Superman: Ben Affleck’s Batman to control army of drones from cave in Zack Snyder film?

A Warner Bros exec has teased the plot for Batman v Superman (Picture: Warner Bros/Reuters)

A Warner Bros exec has teased the plot for Batman v Superman (Picture: Warner Bros/Reuters)

Batman will be semi-retired and ‘controlling drones from the Batcave’ in the new Man of Steel sequel, it has been revealed.

Warner Bros film executive Daniel Alter teased the plot on his Twitter page giving fans a glimpse of what to expect from Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Films Based on Real Life Are Flooding the Oscar Race

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VARIETY‘s Tim Gray reports: So it’s little surprise that there are twice as many reality-based films currently vying for awards attention as last year, when one of those, “Argo,” took home the best picture Oscar.

Even though such movies are tough to pull off, filmmakers agree that the jump in numbers (from 8 to 17) is due to several factors, including audience tastes, studio responsiveness, filmmakers’ determination and the social-media world we now inhabit.

“The boundary between public and private is starting to merge,” says Bill Condon, who directed “The Fifth Estate,” about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks.

Condon suggests that thanks to public platforms like YouTube and Twitter, “People are starring in the movies of their own lives and sharing those things with everybody else.”

Read the rest of this entry »