New Trailer for The Conjuring (2013) Brings On the Creepy with Just a Few Claps

This trailer for the upcoming movie The Conjuring may very well be one of the most effective trailers I’ve seen in a long time. Instead of leaving me with the feeling that I’ve already seen all that I need to of the movie, it does a great job, in my view, of drawing one in, and leaving the viewer with that “I want to see more of this” feeling. Plus, I’m definitely a sucker for a good ghost story/haunted house flick, and if the actual movie holds up to the promise of this trailer, then I’m definitely om board.

Seriously. Chills.

So what do you think? Does this one work for you? Lemme know below.

Just How Much of Today’s Movies Are “Real”, and Does It Matter? – Sin City: The All Green Version

Sin City (film)
One of the many posters for Sin City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start today with what, in some ways, may be one of the most interesting looks at how movies are being made today.

Of course, we all know that much of what we actually see in the final product that appears on the screen is not the product of movie makers venturing outside the studio, finding the perfect location, assembling all of the actors, crew, and others that are necessary for shooting, hoping that the lighting is right, taking into account the weather and whatever other variables may need to be accounted for, and then committing the results to film. Instead, much of the work is done inside a studio, shot with digital cameras, then later processed by people working on computers to provide backgrounds, the proper atmosphere, etc. That fact is something we all simply either take for granted, ignore, or are simply unaware of.

Of course, if you’ve been following any of the debate over digital movie making over shooting on film, you’ve likely seen various video outtakes showing how objects or locations may be changed or enhanced after shooting in order to fit into the directors vision. Sometimes, however, it’s surprising just how little of a movie is actually what most people would consider “real” – in other words. how little of it actually does involve interaction with actual locations or even objects that appear within the scene.

Marv walking through the rain in the The Hard ...
This is the kind of look the film makers were trying to realize on the screen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which brings us to a very interesting video put together by the co-director (along with original graphic novel writer/artist Frank Miller and “special guest director” Quentin Tarantino) of 2005’s Sin City, Mr. Robert Rodriguez.

Now, however you may feel about the final product, there can be no doubt that the creators of this movie set out to make something very visually stylized. Their objective was, almost literally, to bring the pages of the graphic novel to the screen. How well did they accomplish this? Well, I’ll let you judge that for yourself with a short clip from the movie:

(***SPOILER ALERT*** The clip does involve the fate of one of the movie’s main characters, so if you don’t want to know this, you might want to skip it. Also, it could very well be considered NSFW for the violence it contains.)

So, just exactly how did they get this particular look? Well, there’s obviously a lot of digital manipulation going on after the shooting was done. Color correction, cgi blood, etc. All the things we’ve pretty much come to expect when watching big blockbusters today. But what may surprise you is just how much of the movie was made in a computer. That’s where what Mr. Rodriguez’s is calling “The All Green Version” comes in.

What Rodriguez has done, as he explains in the introduction to this video, is to take the shooting footage of the entire film, compile it, and then compress it so that it runs less than ten minutes. That ten minutes, however, is extremely fascinating, especially for those who are interested in what goes om behind the scenes in movie making, and in the digital versus film debate. Here, go ahead and take a look:

I have to admit that upon first viewing this, the only reaction I had was a rather stunned “Wow.”. Now, of course, there are all kinds of debates that could be had stemming from this. Obviously, there is the whole digital versus film discussion. Some, of course, would argue that making a movie this way is “cheating”. But I wonder actually just how different this type of movie making is from it’s original studio-bound origins. Let’s not forget that from its earliest days, narrative film making (as opposed to documentaries, for example) has been all about creating illusions on the screen. When one gets right down to it, how different is the clip above from what we see in this trailer for the highly-acclaimed German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligary?

Obviously, Caligary, with its tilted camera angles and set-design where everything is at least slightly (and usually very-much) askew is going for a particular look that helps in evoking the tone and impact of the scenes it is presenting, but if one is honest, isn’t that exactly what Rodriguez and his cohorts were doing also? Really, in some ways, other than the fact that the sets for Robert Wiene’s film had to be built by hand before the film could be made, rather than in a computer afterwards, it could be argued that Sin City is actually a throw-back film to those earliest days of movie making where everything else was in service to telling the story, to realizing the look and feel – the vision, if you will – that the director was going for on the big screen.

And in the end, isn’t that what real visionary movie making is all about?

Poll Results

smokeSo the poll results are in, and… well, it turns out it was a tie. So, I threw the top vote getters into a hat, pulled one out, and the winner is: 1995’s Smoke. So, sometime next week, look for my thoughts on it.

And if you voted for something else, well, don’t worry, they’re all on the list, so I will get to them eventually.

So, a special thanks to everyone who voted, and look for another poll coming soon.

And, until next time, Happy Viewing.

Juliet Binoche To Fight Godzilla?

Okay, I usually don’t post this kind of thing. I really don’t want this to be one of those latest news/rumor type sites, but since this particular story is about the confluence of two things I absolutely love, I’m definitely willing to make an exception.

Sorry, big guy, but you may have just met your match (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to this article in Variety, one of my favorite actresses (and in my mind, one of the classiest and most stunning women in the world of film), Juliette Binoche is in negotiations to join the cast of Gareth Edwards’ upcoming Godzilla remake/reboot. Honestly, this Godzilla movie becomes more and more intriguing the more I hear about it. According to early word, the movie is going to be much closer in tone to the Japanese original than to the later sequels and certainly than the most recent American version. Thankfully. Also, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen reportedly also ready to join the cast, and Pacific Rim producer Mary Parent working behind the scenes, this new Godzilla may really be something to look out for.

(BTW, just om a side note, Pacific Rim is one of my most anticipated blockbusters for this summer. Again, at first I was skeptical, but it keeps looking better and better.)

Anyway, back to Binoche. For those who may not know her, here she is in a short clip from the first movie I ever saw her in, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Bleu, part of his Trois Couleurs trilogy:

She’s also starred in films such as Chocolat, The English Patient, Cache, and last year’s Cosmopolis which was directed by David Cronenberg and starred current “man of the hour” Robert Pattinson, but this would be her first turn in a real American blockbuster, and while I would hate to see her turn her lovely eyes completely toward Hollywood, if it helps to bring her to the awareness of an entirely new audience, then that is definitely a good thing.

More Film Preservation News – UCLA Festival of Preservation and the Library of Congress

Another couple of quick notes on preservation efforts that have crossed my desk today:

On the other end of the country from my previous post, the 2013 UCLA Festival of Preservation will be kicking off this Saturday, March 1, at the Billy Wilder Theater in Los Angeles.  As the director of the Festival puts it,

After last year’s herculean effort to put together the massive L.A. Rebellion program, now touring North America, the Archive has not rested on its laurels, but has put together a new UCLA Festival of Preservation for 2013. It is my great pleasure, as director of UCLA Film & Television Archive, to introduce the 2013 “FOP,” which again reflects the broad and deep efforts of UCLA Film & Television Archive to preserve and restore our national moving image heritage. Even in an era of tightening budgets and ever decreasing University-State funding, the Archive is committed to protecting and celebrating our film and television assets.

A full list of the films to be shown (which looks to be a pretty incredible line-up of films ranging from classic movies to independent cinema and cutting across a broad swath of genres) and more info on the festival can be found here.

Also, I thought I’d take just a moment to share with you this video from the CBS Evening News a few nights ago which talks about the preservation efforts that are being carried out by the Library of Congress not only on films but audio and other video recordings. Unfortunately it doesn’t appears to be embeddable, but you can watch it at this link:

Obviously, the efforts of the LOC and many others are extremely important in preserving the legacy of our shared cultural history, or as the CBS report puts it, to “re-record America’s cultural past and preserve it for our digital future”, and those efforts should be celebrated, praised, and supported.

Restored and Re-Released – Fritz Lang’s M (1931) To Get Theatrical Tour Thanks to Kino Lorber

Peter Lorre as Hans Beckert, gazing into a sho...
Peter Lorre stops running just long enough to try to figure out how he’s going to get to see the restored version of ‘M’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fritz Lang‘s 1931 masterpiece M is one of those movies that has long been on my “I really just need to sit down and watch that” list, and recently I had a chance to do just that, thanks to a friend loaning me the Criterion DVD version (thanks Justin!) and I’ll be doing a write-up on my impressions of the film soon, but today I got some very exciting news about a newly restored print that appears to soon be making the rounds.

According to this article from the Film Forum website, the film has undergone a complete restoration thanks to the combined efforts of TLEFilms Restoration & Preservation Services (Berlin), Archives Françaises du Film — CNC (Paris) and inPostFactory (Berlin). This is a full 2K restoration, including not only new subtitles, but a full 7 minutes of extra footage that has been missing from previous versions. This newly restored version is to begin touring at the Film Forum with screenings starting March 15th, and presumably will be making the arthouse rounds soon thereafter. Plus I’m sure the announcement of a new Kino Blu-Ray can’t be far behind.

For more info on this newly restored version and the film itself,  (and, if you’re lucky enough to live in New York, to but tickets to the Film Forun screenings) just click the link above or to watch the trailer for the criterion release of the film just click below.

Just a Quick Poll Reminder

Not a lot of time for writing today, unfortunately, but I did want to remind everyone that I’ll be closing the poll tomorrow evening, so if you’ve been putting off voting or haven’t yet for whatever reason, now is the time to do it! It’ll only take a second and the input would mean a lot to me. Just look in the sidebar to the right and cast your choice for one of the movies I’ll be watching and writing about next week.

Once again, your choices are:

Nuvola filesystems desktop poll

1) Compliance (2012)

2) Smoke (1995)

3) Tremors (1990)

4) The Thief of Bagdad (1924) or

5) Fear In the Night (1947).

For full details and trailers for each of the movies just see this post.

There haven’t been many votes, so the chances a good that your choice will win!

Thanks, and Happy Viewing!