Sunday, March 2, 2014

10 Oscars-Day Video Notes (plus Todd and Gerard on YouTube!)

1. As a warm-up for the Oscars, check out video of me and Gerard Perry talking a few weeks ago about a then-upcoming film that probably won’t be nominated for Best Picture: the remake of RoboCop (and related sci-fi geekery). 

One of the countless bad people I’ve met working in TV told me not long ago that she’d “never” put me on television if it were up to her because I’m “not funny,” but I dare say I’d be OK. 

2. So, do you think Hollywood’ll ever get around to making a movie about this psychopathic nature tale (h/t Judith Weiss), in which Obama’s Interior Secretary denies impoverished Native Americans a tiny access road to their local airport for emergencies?

3. Despite the comics-inspired cartoonishness of 300: Rise of an Empire, which I’ll see this week, I for one think it’s cool that a movie based on the real Battle of Thermopylae gets followed up with a sequel based on the real (simultaneous) Battle of Salamis -- and who can resist real-life she-admiral Artemisia as a character?

4. But then, my theatre- and comics-influenced tastes make me so indifferent to realism, I could probably enjoy a whole movie full of effects that look like the clay animation moonshot in this 1991 video by Dinosaur Jr. – and I would contend that the song, “Wagon,” is also a reminder that hipness was already greatly advanced back in my college days, no matter what the kids tell you.

5. One of my hip fellow Brown Film Society members from back in those days, Laura Braunstein, is now making her first foray into New Hampshire politics and barring the unexpected will be on her local library board.  Since she’s not part of the Free State Project, the odds of her abolishing and/or defecating in the libraries are small. 

6. With luck, she and our fellow Film Society/Film Bulletin veteran Scott Nybakken and I will see a fittingly geeky and cinephilic documentary this month, Jodorowsky’s Dune, out on the 21st (at least in a couple NYC theatres).  Prior to David Lynch, Jodorowsky very nearly got a mid-70s production of Dune off the ground that would have been even more surreal than Lynch’s (though Lynch’s still bore the stamp of some of Jodorowsky’s elements, such as a Salvador Dali influence).  Per Wikipedia:

In the role of Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, Jodorowsky planned to cast the surrealist artist Salvador DalĂ­, who requested a fee of $100,000 per hour. He also planned to cast Orson Welles as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen; Welles only agreed when Jodorowsky offered to get his favourite gourmet chef to prepare his meals for him throughout the filming…The music would be composed by Pink Floyd [and others.  Pre-production designers included H.R. Giger and Mobius.] Frank Herbert travelled to Europe in 1976 to find that $2 million of the $9.5 million budget had already been spent in pre-production, and that Jodorowsky's script would result in a 14-hour movie ("It was the size of a phonebook", Herbert later recalled). Jodorowsky took creative liberties with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an amicable relationship. The production for the film collapsed, and the rights for filming were sold once more, this time to Dino de Laurentiis, who employed the American filmmaker David Lynch to direct, creating the film Dune in 1984.

7. And Jodorowsky instead made almost stereotypically “foreign”-looking films like the upcoming one for which this is the trailer.

8. A week after the aforementioned documentary, outer-space surrealism hits a bit closer to home with the online release on the 27th of Mirage Men, an acclaimed documentary alleging that the government has deliberately encouraged people to believe in UFOs and space aliens, to distract us from real military projects (such as black triangular spy-blimps, perhaps?).  There’ll also be an expanded DVD release in June.

9. But what goes on in the classroom while we’re busy gorging on entertainment, you ask?  To see, watch a teaching-development professional, of the sort routinely flown in from other states and even from the UK, lead public school teachers (ones meant to lead SAT-level prep classes) through orientation, in this one-minute clip -- in this case, in Chicago (h/t Jerry Mayer).

10. And if you think that's bad, take heart from the fact De Blasio’s sociopathic attack on kids and charter schools (on behalf of teachers unions) is attracting national, not just local, attention, as this one-minute clip of an angry Greta Van Susteren suggests.  There isn’t a level of Hell low enough for the ignorant NYC voters who put that vile buffoon in office.  But film will keep me entertained while we decline. 

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