Friday, January 25, 2008

Kubrick still alive and creating movie trailers

Maybe it is just because I have had Stanley Kubrick on my mind. Currently, on Moviepix on Demand, all of Kubrick's films are available to be watched at any time. In addition, there is the fascinating 2 and a half hour documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures.

On the good side, it features analysis of all his films, interviews with other directors such as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and actors who had worked with him such as Malcolm McDowell (who offers the most insightful info on Kubrick during the making of A Clockwork Orange) and Jack Nicholson.

On the bad side, the documentary is narrated by Tom Cruise. Which means lots of talk about Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut. It is a film that has been much maligned but years after its initial release, it is a film that does deserve a second look.

Anyway, with Kubrick in mind, I watched the trailer for a new film starring Tim Roth and Naomi Watts called Funny Games. It is a shot-for-shot remake of an Austrian film of the same name from 1997. Michael Haneke directed both. Anyway, watch the trailer and tell me this doesn't make it look and sound like a Kubrick film.

Top 5 Tim Roth films
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Reservoir Dogs
3. Rosencrantz and Guilderstein
4. Rob Roy
5. Hoodlum

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

If a strike happens on TV, does anyone notice?

So I have to admit, the current writer's strike is really beginning to effect me. The problem with TV is that there is truly nothing ever on. Bruce Springsteen was right when he sang "57 channels and nothing's on". Of course, it's more like I have 300 channels and nothing is on.

Top 5 Bruce Springsteen post-Born In The USA songs.
1. Girls In Their Summer Clothes
2. Better Days
3. O Mary Don't You Weep No More
4. The Rising
5. Tunnel Of Love

(List had to be done as one of my co-workers criticized Springsteen for being irrelevant and simply living off past glories a la The Rolling Stones)

Anyway, getting back to the probs with TV, I truly believe that any time of the day or night, there is a CSI playing somewhere on cable. As well, at 6 pm, I could choose between CSI on Spike, CSI: Miami on A & E or CSI: New York on the History Channel. If this strike goes on much longer, that situation may get even worse.

The effect of this strike effects everything on TV. New shows such as Life and The Big Bang Theory put those shows in limbo. Their ratings were decent but not enough to guarantee a renewal for next season. With less than half of their written episodes actually being produced, there is no way that their networks can say whether they are good enough to be back for a second season.

A really funny show that actually has been around for years is Scrubs. Almost no one watches it, despite the quality of its writing. It has been around for 7 years and NBC had told them at the beginning of this season that it would be their last. However, only 11 of the planned 18 episodes have been written. As the strike goes on, it is looking increasingly probably that there won't be a real series finale. Ideas such as having the show be renewed for one more season or a straight-t0-DVD movie that will end the show correctly have been floated but nothing official has been annouced.

In some ways, the show 24 has been hit the hardest due to the strike. 8 of the season's 24 episodes have been produced. However, they are not going to be shown until the entire season can be aired continuously. Which means even if the strike ended today, the episodes would not start until the remaining episodes were at least started to be shot. To keep you interested in the show, here is a link to the unaired original pilot from . Okay, yes this is a joke but it is a pretty funny short dealing with how the show could have been had it been produced with the technology available in 1994.

The talkshows have been the most interesting reflection of this writers strike. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report have all started producing new shows in the last month. All except Letterman are doing them without their original writers. Letterman broke ranks and negotiated its own contract with the WGA which allows them to air new shows with their regular writers. The secondary spin of that is that a lot of actors are refusing to cross picket lines. Since there will be no picket lines around Letterman's show, he should have better guests. Despite that, Leno continues to beat Letterman in the ratings which begs the question, does the average TV viewer care about the strike? Have they even noticed?

One final thing, actors from the Law & Order franchises, Oz and Homicide have created a short dealing with how important writers are for cop shows. Take a look, it is pretty funny.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

La Dee Da, indeed

So as many of you are probably not aware, there is a movie that is about to be released called Mad Money. It is a film about three women who work at the Kansas City Federal Reserve who decide to steal money that is set to be destroyed.

As with most films released in January and February, it is probably not all that well crafted and is designed to make a quick buck in one weekend than be relegated to video. The biggest story regarding the film is it is the first film starring Mrs. Tom Cruise (otherwise known as Katie Holmes) since her marriage to Cruise.

You would think that her bizarre appearance on Letterman would be the biggest piece of news regarding the promotion of this film but the veteran Diane Keaton stole her thunder by swearing during her interview by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.
I've always thought Keaton was kind of cool. She'd been in tons of good movies. But this appearance is strange because it is hard to tell if she is attempting to be funny, is on some sort of medication or (hopefully) just doesn't care anymore. Anyway, apparently the FCC is involved and Good Morning America may be facing some fines.

Top 5 Diane Keaton films
1. The Godfather
2. Annie Hall
3. The Godfather Pt. 2
4. Manhattan Murder Mystery
5. Father Of The Bride II

Back to Katie Holmes, as I said, her appearance on Letterman was bizarre. She was wearing more makeup on her face than any person I have ever seen on TV. Letterman only gave her softball questions talking about the new film and her work on Dawson's Creek (something he brings up everytime he interviews her).

Aside from all the Tom Cruise/Scientology stuff, there is an even bigger conspiracy going on with Katie. There are questions regarding whether she actually did run in last fall's NYC Marathon. Of all the questions I would have for Katie, this one would not be high on my priority list.

I am guessing throughout all of this, Queen Latifah would be best to keep her mouth shut. She is actually looking like the only normal one of this cast.