Amusing Random

Citizen Steve

Citizen Steve 1987

For his 40th birthday Steven Spielberg‘s friends made him this short film based on Citizen Kane (1941) about his life and career up to that point.

With a March of Time segment voiced by Dan Ackroyd, John Candy plays the reporter who is assigned the task of uncovering the famed director.

Keep a look out for previous Spielberg collaborators such as Dennis Weaver (Duel), Allen Daviau (E.T.), Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (1941) and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (longtime producers).

You wonder how this stuff ends up online but I’m glad it did.

> Steven Spielberg at the IMDb
> More on Citizen Kane at Wikipedia


Paul Newman’s Philanthropy

Paul Newman was born on this day in 1925 and although he passed away in 2008, his remarkable philanthropic activities live on.

Think for just a minute about a major Hollywood actor who starts up a successful food business and then gives all the profits to a charitable foundation.

It is almost as unlikely as an actress inventing the technology later used for wi-fi.

But it actually happened.

To date, Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have donated more than $300 million to thousands of charities around the world.

This was in addition to being one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

Paul Newman at the IMDb
> More on Paul Newman’s life at Wikipedia
Newman’s Own Foundation
> The Hole in the Wall Gang (also on Twitter and YouTube)

Interesting Random

Jaws Vertigoed

Indiewire have recently been running a mash-up contest in light of the recent story about The Artist using music from Vertigo.

If you missed the story, Kim Novak recently took out an ad in Variety to complain about the use of some of Bernard Herrmann’s score in Michel Hazanavicius’s tribute to the silent era.

Press Play then decided to see how it sounded against other film sequences, so they staged a contest called ‘Vertigoed’ with the following rules:

  1. Take the same Herrmann cue — “Scene D’Amour,” used in this memorable moment from Vertigo — and match it with a clip from any film. (You can nick the three-minute section from one of Kevin’s mash-ups if it makes things easier.) Is there any clip, no matter how silly, nonsensical, goofy or foul, that the score to Vertigo can’t ennoble? Let’s find out!
  2. Although you can use any portion of “Scene D’Amour” as your soundtrack, the movie clip that you pair it with cannot have ANY edits; it must play straight through over the Herrmann music. This is an exercise in juxtaposition and timing. If you slice and dice the film clip to make things “work,” it’s cheating. MONTAGES WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
  3. Upload the result to YouTube, Vimeo, blipTV or wherever, email the link to [email protected] along with your name, and we’ll add your mash-up to this Index page.

Given that they have recently been running an excellent video series on Steven Spielberg, the sequence that immediately popped into my head was this one from Jaws (1975).

Mainly because of the use of the “zoom dolly” shot that Hitchcock made famous on Vertigo but also because there are some interesting connections between the two directors.

Both made significant films at Universal and Hitchcock was also a major shareholder of the studio as Jaws smashed box office records.

Its financial success would have made both men a lot of money, but the two were destined never to meet.

In fact, Spielberg was twice escorted off the set of Hitchcock movies on the Universal lot.

According to a book by John Baxter, as a young man he was thrown off the set of Torn Curtain (1966) and years later an assistant director asked him to leave whilst Hitch was shooting Family Plot (1976):

There’s probably a reason that ‘Scene d’Amour’ has been used so often as a temp track (i.e. a piece of temporary music used before the composer settles on a final score), which is that it lends a haunting beauty to almost any image.

With that in mind here is the scene from Jaws set to Herrmann’s music:

The music accentuates the tragedy of a mother losing her son, whilst with Williams’ score there was a sense of impending dread and brilliantly orchestrated horror.

Note also how the scene in the original version is free of music until the shark appears.

Take a look at the entries over on the Press Play site, which sets the track to various films including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceRockyThe Great Dictator and They Live.

> Buy Scene D’Amour by Bernard Herrmann from the Vertigo soundtrack
> Press Play Vertigoed Contest and their Video Series on Spielberg
Buy Jaws on DVD
Buy Vertigo on DVD


Vue West End …Then and Now

What was showing at cinemas in London’s West End back in 1976?

This year has already seen a record-breaking 27 sequels and a depressing number of remakes.

Last month I took a picture of the Vue West End in Leicester Square just to remind myself that we really did live in a time when the three main attractions at one of the capital’s most prestigious cinemas were The Inbetweeners Movie, The Smurfs and Final Destination 5.

I came across a photo on Flickr of the same cinema in 1976 which revealed that at one point it was showing The Outlaw Josey Wales, All The President’s Men, Barry Lyndon and St. Ives.

The first three are classics and …St Ives?

Well, three out of four isn’t bad.

[Photo: Flickr user Affendaddy]

> More on Vue at Wikipedia
> Flickr group of Cinema Architecture

Interesting Random

NASA Endeavor Split Screen Mashup

A NASA video of Space Shuttle Endeavor‘s last launch has been re-cut so we can see all four camera angles simultaneously.

The original video was shot on multiple cameras fixed to the solid rocket boosters, but a Vimeo user (Northern Lights) has re-arranged the footage so we can see it side-by-side.

Set to the music of Ulf Lohmann from the Because Before album, the end result is pretty spectacular.

(For the full effect, be sure expand the video to full screen)

> Original NASA video of Endeavor
> Northern Lights on Vimeo
> Space Shuttle Endeavor at Wikipedia

Random Trailers

One Day filmed at the Rio Cinema?

The latest trailer for One Day would suggest that one scene was shot outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston.

First, take a look at the new trailer:

Compare the shot at 0.41 with a photo of the East London cinema:

Through the magic of Photoshop, see how they seamlessly blend in to one another:

The upcoming film is adapted from the David Nicholls novel and revisits the lives of Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) over a twenty year period.

Directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education), it opens on August 19th in the US and a week later in the UK.

> Official site
> One Day at the IMDb
> Ric Cinema in Dalston


Old UK Cinemas

Flickr user dusashenka has created a rich photo archive of UK cinemas.

There are a bewildering number of images depicting cinemas over the course of several decades.

This gallery shows what the Odeon Leicester Square was like when it was screened The Prisoner of Zenda (1938), Aliens (1986) and Wall Street (1987).

You can also check out the evolution of the Phoenix in East Finchley, as it showed Don’t Look Now (1974) and The City of Lost Children (1995).

There is an incredible set of photos of regional cinemas including the ABC Horsham (1967), Odeon Scarborough (1936) and the Rex Berkhamstead (1988).

> Check out the full gallery here
> Cinemas in the UK


The Heart Specialist

How did a film over 5 years old eventually get a theatrical release back in January of this year?

And why do the IMDb list it under the title Ways of the Flesh?

The Heart Specialist is an independent comedy that was reportedly completed in 2006, about a group of young medical residents at a Florida hospital starring Wood Harris, Brian White and Zoe Saldana.

But a five year wait seems excessive and places this firmly in the realm of Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret (although that long-delayed film has more pedigree behind the camera).

It opened in the US in January and the verdict from the trades was pretty brutal.

Joe Leydon of Variety said:

“The Heart Specialist” is DOA. A ploddingly paced and tonally dissonant mix of broadly played sitcom-style humor and shameless heartstring-yanking, this long-shelved indie has been dropped into a limited theatrical run much like a terminally ill patient might be checked into a hospice. After its inevitable B.O. flatline, expect a quick transfer to Redbox kiosks.

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter was also less than enthusiastic:

Filmed in 2006 but only now receiving a limited theatrical release no doubt thanks to the presence of rising star Zoe Saldana (Avatar), the African-American, medical-themed The Heart Specialist plays like a poorly written episode of Gray’s Anatomy. This awkward, amateurish blend of comedy and melodrama will need life support stat to prevent it from immediately disappearing from theaters.

But this begs the question as to why it got a theatrical release at all. Did investors in the film have a legal clause demanding a theatrical release?

According to Box Office Mojo it has so far grossed $1,103,037.

> The Heart Specialist at the IMDb
> LA Times on the troubled production of Margaret


Charlie Sheen Web Show

Charlie Sheen has now launched his own show on the internet called Sheen’s Korner.

After a week of manic and erratic interviews which have seen the actor’s profile skyrocket, he has now taken to the web, racking up nearly two million Twitter followers in a week and launching his own web show called Sheen’s Korner.

It mainly consists of Sheen sitting around with his friends, looking into the wrong camera and rambling about things.

Live Broadcast by Ustream.TV

This whole episode is playing out like a modern day version of Howard Beale’s meltdown in Network (1976).

Just substitute ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’ with ‘winning’.

> Charlie Sheen at Wikipedia
> Network at the IMDb

Amusing Random

The Film School Thesis Statement Generator

The Film School Thesis Generator is a fairly accurate spoof of the academic jargon used to describe the art of cinema.

Created by designer and writer Mike Lacher, it is worth typing in a few films to try it out.

The new Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never?

“Through the use of subversive semiotics, Never Say Never echoes the rise of currency and the loss of utopia”

What about the dire Stallone cop movie Cobra (1986)?

“Through the collapsing of identity and whiteness, Cobra hybridizes the rise of currency and the loss of utopia”

The Michael Winner clunker Bullseye! (1990)

“Through the fluid identification of the viewer, Bullseye asks telling questions of Bergman-esque assertions of the nature of humanity”

All time box office champ Avatar (2009)?

“Through the deliberate suppression of colors meant to signify passion, Avatar dichotomizes the primacy of scholarship in the Abrahamic religions.”

What about Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010)?

“Through the conflicting duality of progress and humanity, Inception asks telling questions of established notions of the star system”

And Citizen Kane (1941)?:

“The strategic use of narrative ellipses in Citizen Kane calls into question pre-Oedipal anxieties”

For more fun just head over to the site by clicking here.

> IndieWire interview with creator Mike Lacher
> The Film School Thesis Generator

Random Thoughts

The Genius of Groundhog Day

February 2nd is Groundhog Day, a bizarre holiday made famous by a classic 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray.

The tradition has its roots in Christian and Roman times when early February became associated with weather prediction, possibly due to it being close to the pagan festival of Imbolc just a day earlier.

For some reason it was believed that hedgehogs were accurate forecasters of weather and when German immigrants to the United States settled in Pennsylvania, the lack of hedgehogs meant that they substituted them with the native groundhog.

‘Groundhog Day’ was born.

The largest celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, which became the setting for the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV reporter who covers the event, only to find he is living the same day, over and over again.

Directed by Harold Ramis, part of what makes the film special is that it remains unusually inventive for a mainstream studio comedy.

I uses a clever and accessible premise to make shrewd points about human nature, without resorting to cheap sentimentality.

The protagonist is self-centred and takes his colleagues for granted which means there is a satisfying sense of comedic justice when he finds himself trapped inside the endlessly repeating day of February 2nd, 1992.

Groundhog Day… Again
Groundhog Day at

It is when this cycle begins that the script, co-written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, really shows its stripes, finding ever more inventive ways to explore the deja vu nightmare of its central character.

The increasing torture for Phil, is hilarity for the audience, as the little details repeat and build on one another: the Sonny and Cher song, the annoying man in the street, the waitress and crucially his encounters with his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell).

There is also the central dramatic irony as only we and Phil know that he is experiencing the same day over and over again and literally living life like there is no tomorrow.

Most comedies have some kind of cheesy self-improvement theme built into them, but the reason Groundhog Day is different lies in the power of the central idea: the more we experience the same routine, the greater our insight into others and ultimately ourselves.

There is also something film-like in the way Murray’s character is essentially doing endless ‘re-takes’ of the same day.

It was well received by audiences and critics when it was initially released in February 1993, going on to become the 13th highest grossing film of that year.

French Poetry
Groundhog Day at

But it gradually became a firm favourite on home video: an appropriate fate for a film about repetition, which gets better through repeated viewings.

Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the film is that the title has itself become a phrase in the English language to denote a bad situation that repeats itself.

In the US military, the phrase soon caught on with troops in Somalia during September 1993 (events later depicted in Black Hawk Down), President Bill Clinton referenced the film in a January 1996 speech about military operations in Bosnia and during the recent Iraq conflict the phrase was even military slang for a single day spent serving in Iraq.

The parable-like qualities of the film have seen it embraced by religious viewers including Buddhists, who see the themes of selflessness and rebirth, and Catholics, who see February 2nd as representing Purgatory.

In 2005 Roger Ebert placed it his “Great Movies” series, upgrading his original three-star review by saying:

“Groundhog Day” is a film that finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is.

Certainly I underrated it in my original review; I enjoyed it so easily that I was seduced into cheerful moderation. But there are a few films, and this is one of them, that burrow into our memories and become reference points. When you find yourself needing the phrase ‘This is like Groundhog Day’ to explain how you feel, a movie has accomplished something”

Although it didn’t receive any serious awards recognition at the time, it has since appeared on many retrospective polls of great comedy films and the Writers Guild of America even ranked the screenplay as 27th on their list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written.

This year the movie channel Encore even showed the film on a loop for 24 hours, a fitting tribute for a film that gets better the more you see it.

> Groundhog Day at the IMDb
> Reviews of the film at Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic
> 12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Groundhog Day
> Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon UK


George W Bush meets Mark Zuckerberg

Back in November George W Bush went to the headquarters of Facebook to have a chat with Mark Zuckerberg.

If David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin team up again for a sequel to The Social Network, this has to be in it.

Watch live streaming video from facebookguests at

As for the bit where they discuss Wikileaks and Cablegate, could it get any more zeitgeisty?

The man responsible for two US-led wars, the guy who invented Facebook and one of the biggest news stories of recent times all collide at this point.

Some other things to note include:

  • After leaving office Bush became a Blackberry person and is now an iPad person (although he later admits not using it too much)
  • He uses ‘The Facebook’ (notice how he calls it by the original name) and even did this awkward video address on it.
  • He doesn’t use his iPod anymore because he likes ‘the sound of birds’.

> George W Bush and Mark Zuckerberg at Wikipedia
> The Social Network review

Interesting Random

Was Etoile an influence on Black Swan?

Was an early Jennifer Connelly film an influence on Black Swan?

Darren Aronofsky’s intense drama about a ballerina (Natalie Portman) isn’t the first film to use the story of Swan Lake as a backdrop.

Filmmaker Magazine have reminded readers that back in 1988, Jennifer Connelly starred in Etoile, a largely forgotten film about a ballerina in Italy, directed by Peter Del Monte.

It never got a release in the US, so remains something of an obscurity, but years later Connelly went on to star in Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000).

There only appears to be a Japanese trailer on YouTube:

And now have a look at the trailer for Black Swan:

You can check them out side-by-side at YouTube Doubler here.

Some of the posters from Etoile are also interesting to compare with the designs for Black Swan.

Was the earlier film any inspiration for Aronofsky?

His film recently passed $61m at the US box office, which is very impressive for a platform release filmed on a limited budget of $13m.

After strong festival buzz in the Autumn, it scored mostly favourable reviews and already looks like a multiple noiminee at the Oscars this year, with Portman already looking like the strong favourite for Best Actress.

Black Swan opens in the UK on Friday 21st Jan

[Via Filmmaker Magazine]

> Black Swan official site
> LFF review of Black Swan
> Reviews of Black Swan at Metacritic

Directors Images Interesting Random

Stanley Kubrick’s IBM XT

Back in January 1984 Alan Bowker helped Stanley Kubrick get set up with an IBM XT computer.

Bowker’s website has photos of the famous director at home in the UK, which includes images of his office, printer and two cats.

> Alan Bowker’s site
> Stanely Kubrick at Wikipedia and MUBi

Interesting Random

Location Map of Best Picture Winners

From Wings (1929) to Slumdog Millionaire (2008), the map below shows the location of each film that won Best Picture at the Oscars.

I’m not sure if it says anything concrete about what an Oscar winning movie is, but it can be interesting to note certain trends.

For example, note that lack of winners from California, the home of Hollywood, and the abundance of those set in New York and London.

[Click here or on the image for a full size version]

> Best Picture winners at Wikipedia
> Oscars Infographic

Random Viral Video

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

The famous line ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ from The Wizard of Oz has cropped up in a lot of films.

Uttered by Dorothy (Judy Garland) to her dog Toto when she first arrives in Oz, the phrase came 4th in the AFI’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.

But this video shows the extent to which it has firmly embedded itself in pop culture.

Here is the full list of films and TV shows in this video:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Sex and the City 2
  • Spring Break
  • South Beach Academy
  • Entourage
  • Talons of the Eagle
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Population 436
  • Inkheart
  • Highway to Hell
  • Crocodile
  • Passport to Paris
  • New York Minute
  • The Ben Stiller Show
  • Married…with Children
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Criminal Minds
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers
  • Sliders
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Ghosts of the Abyss
  • Brothers at War
  • Mysterious Skin
  • Swingers
  • Fat Actress
  • Spiders
  • The Man with the Screaming Brain
  • Blonde Ambition
  • Lifepod
  • Supernatural
  • Lois and Clark
  • Pretender
  • Supergator
  • Trancers 4
  • Camp Slaughter
  • Vamp
  • Alien Species
  • Sailor Moon
  • Swamp Thing
  • Iron Eagle II
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • The Matrix
  • Fanscape
  • Smallville
  • Jack of All Trades
  • Avatar
  • Volcano
  • CSI: Miami
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Happy Town
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Bones
  • Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster
  • Anamaniacs
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Ugly Betty
  • Shutter Island
  • Stargate SG-1

[Via Buzzfeed and Four Four]

> The Wizard of Oz at Wikipedia
> AFI 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes

Amusing Random

Monty Python and The British Censor

A 1974 letter from Python Pictures has surfaced online, detailing the cuts the British censor wanted to make to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In order to get an A rating (the 1970s equivalent of a PG) it was suggested that they:

“lose as many shits as possible”

“Take Jesus Christ out, if possible”

And my particular favourite:

“Lose I fart in your general direction”

The hilarious letter can be seen in full below:

[Via Laughing Squid / Original image from Jason Parmeter]

> Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the IMDb
> Find out more about the BBFC at Wikipedia


Bacon Kevin Bacon

A US company specialising in bacon products recently commissioned an artist to make a bust of actor Kevin Bacon …made out of bacon.

Artist Mike Lahue carved a styrofoam bust of the actor and then used bacon bits covered by glue and several coats of lacquer as soft, cooked bacon would rot too easily.

The final result is called ‘Bacon Kevin Bacon’ and is being auctioned on eBay in support a nonprofit organization which helps families cope with cancer.

At the moment the current bid is $353.00.

> Gizmodo and Wired UK with more details
> Kevin Bacon at Wikipedia
> Bid on the item at eBay

Interesting Random

Financial Apocalypse in Rollover

Rollover didn’t exactly make major waves upon its release, but its depiction of a global financial collapse now seems chilling.

A conspiracy thriller directed by Alan Pakula, it starred Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson and is about the chaos unleashed by an Arab firm which decides not to redeposit (or ‘rollover’) their huge investment in a US bank, which sends Wall Street and the global financial system into meltdown.

Although the poster made it look like some kind of dodgy erotic thriller, this clip is creepy in light of the ongoing financial crisis.

In truth the film itself is not particularly good and certainly nowhere near the quality of Pakula’s other films like All the President’s Men and The Parallax View.

But riots around the world triggered by financial chaos seems awfully familiar doesn’t it?

> Rollover at the IMDb
> Financial Crisis of 2007-2010 at Wikipedia

News Random

2001 Acid Trip

A screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in Los Angeles on Friday night was interrupted by someone apparently having an acid trip during the climax.

Although it could be some kind of stunt, this video shot inside the Egyptian Theater makes for interesting viewing:

IndieWire’s Todd McCarthy was at the same screening and he reports the following:

The Ultimate Trip turned into a bad trip Friday night at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard when one member of the audience at a screening of the Academy’s 70mm vault print of “2001: A Space Odyssey” tried to recreate the late ‘60s a little too aggressively.

Toward the end of the film, when Keir Dullea’s Dr. Dave Bowman finds himself in an ornate bedroom after the trippy Stargate sequence, a voice started booming from the near-front center part of the nearly full house.

The words were disjointed and mostly incoherent but included phrases like “It’s time to sleep!” and “Stanely Kubrick!,” “Wait!,” “It’s time!” and so on. With the film continuing to unspool, there was enough light to see that the ranter was a big burly guy who had now stood up, was waving his arms abruptly and lurching about unpredictably.

Hoping the man would shut up and sit back down, the audience didn’t do much at first, but it was soon clear the guy was tripping big time and was not going to respond to polite admonitions.

Someone who seemed to know him tried to settle him but now the guy seemed provoked and was acting even more crazily.

After a couple of minutes the film was turned off, the lights came up and someone presumably connected to the Cinematheque came down and told the guy he had five seconds to clear out.

McCarthy’s opening line is referring to one of the posters from the original release, which had the tagline: “The Ultimate Trip”

> 2001: A Space Odyssey at the IMDb
> Video of Stanley Kubrick at the opening of 2001

Interesting Random TV

John Ford BBC interview from 1968

By the late 1960s John Ford was firmly established as one of the great directors of his era, for films such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

The following BBC interview from 1968 is a fascinating snapshot of Ford in his later years (he would die in 1973).

Years of heavy drinking had clearly taken their toll and the opening question sets the tone:

Interviewer: What sort of childhood did you have? Where you interested in movies way back?

Ford: Not really. Not interested in them now, actually.

Also note the heavy smoking, Ford’s belligerent attitude, awkward zooms, random transitions to black and white and the obligatory posh English interviewer.

It is almost a short film itself.

> John Ford at the IMDb
> Essay on John Ford at Senses of Cinema

Interesting Random

Batman logos in early Christopher Nolan films

Christopher Nolan became an A-List Hollywood director with Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) but his early films contain intriguing images related to the caped crusader.

In his debut film Following (1998), there is a sequence in which two characters (played by Jeremy Theobold and Alex Haw) break into a flat which has a Batman logo on the front door.

When Nolan was shooting this film on a tiny budget of around $6,000 it would have been fanciful to imagine that just a few years later he would be the director entrusted by Warner Bros to reboot the Batman franchise with a budget of $150 million.

It was something noted recently by Theobold in a recent interview with Empire:

…the apartment of my character, ‘The Young Man’, was my flat in Iliffe Street, Walworth. Which is also where the bat was.

Keen-eyed viewers have spotted a Batman logo on the door of the flat. Some call it ironic (incorrectly), others say it’s prescient. Actually, I’d put it up in 1989 when I moved there; there was a film out called Batman that year…

And that was the way we made the film. None of the sets were designed, few were dressed. We made do — or rather, Chris chose places he thought were suitable and would take little arranging.

So far, so coincidental.

But it doesn’t stop there, as a screen grab Nolan’s next film Memento (2000) recently surfaced featuring …a Batman logo:

If you zoom in to the top right of the frame (timed at 0:47:58 on the DVD) you can see the logo for Batman alongside one for Superman.

Here is a close up of the image:

The other twist is that Warner Bros have also entrusted Nolan with producing a new Superman film.

Was it fate? Destiny? A cunning career plan?

It is almost as spooky as that Shining-style picture of ‘Simon Pegg’ at Bobby Kennedy’s funeral.

As someone on the Nolan Fans forum has pointed out:

If only we could find a bat symbol in Insomnia… ;)

Has anyone spotted one?

> Christopher Nolan at the IMDb
> Nolan Fans

[Memento photo via NolanFans]

Images Random

Is Inception About Inception?



Movie Titles Stills Collection

The opening titles of a film can be very revealing as to how a film turns out and some (especially those by Kubrick and Hitchcock) can be iconic in their own right.

Why is this?

Partly I think it’s a statement of intent on behalf of the filmmakers but there is also something magical about the anticipation of what you might soon be experiencing – is it going to be Citizen Kane or White Chicks?

You never really know until it starts to unfold but the opening titles often give a tantalising glimpse of what lies ahead, be it good or bad.

With that in mind, web designer Christian Annyas has posted an amazing selection of movie titles which are arranged by decade, from 1929 to 2009.

> New York Times Magazine article on opening titles
> The classic opening titles of North By Northwest

Directors Random

Kurosawa on Google

Google have put famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa on their front page today in honour of what would have been his 100th birthday.

Amusing Random

The Big Lebowski Alignment Chart

Someone has created an amusing chart of characters based on The Big Lebowski. (Click the image to enlarge)

[Via BuzzFeed]

Amusing Random

Lookalikes: Steve Jobs and Michael Haneke

The man on the left is the co-founder & CEO of Apple and Pixar, whilst the man on the right is the director of The White Ribbon.

Both are very talented and share a penchant for black turtle necks and mean beards.


Amusing Random Viral Video

The Crying Wife


I’m not sure if these videos of a man filming his wife crying at films are real, fake or part of some kind of internet spoof.

The deal is that the husband claims his wife:

‘cries after almost every movie we see with a happy or sad ending’.

It started when they watched all 6 episodes of Star Wars (one per day) and she started to lose it.

He then filmed it and uploaded it to YouTube (I hope with her permission).

He then filmed her after watching The Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, AI and Marley and Me (she really loses after this one).

I should add a dash of scepticism by saying that the husband claims to work for a company that “handles ninja affairs” but he’s probably joking of course.

Spoof or not, it does highlight that one of the primary reasons people watch films is for an emotional release.

Although one frequent complaint by mainstream audiences is that something is ‘too depressing’, some of the most successful films of all time like Love Story (1970), E.T. (1982) and Titanic (1997) were openly sad at their core.

One of the ideas Ancient Greeks had about drama was for it to provide catharsis and purge us of our negative emotions within a social situation.

Tragedies and their modern movie antecedents are a form of art based on human suffering, that paradoxically offers the audience pleasure.

Despite all the joking around in these videos, they actually hit upon this truth.

What films should this guy show his wife next? I’d go for Up, Stand By Me or The Shawshank Redemption.

Amusing Random

The Shatner Khan Meme

I have to confess that the whole internet meme based around William Shatner screaming the name of the villain in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan kind of passed me by until now.

But Shatner’s overacting and the ‘pleasured’ look on the face of Ricardo Montalban are hilarious.

> Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at Wikipedia
> YTMND Khan page


Merry New Year!

Amusing Random

The Real Life Russell from Up

The real life Russell from Up

Apparently this is the real life inspiration for the character of Russell – the young kid in Pixar’s Up.

(Another picture can be found here)


[Link via Buzzfeed]

Amusing Random

Worst British Accent in Movie History

Back in 2001 Josh Hartnett was in a film called Blow Dry, which was a comedy about Yorkshire hairdressers (I’m not making this up).

The above video demonstrates that he has the worst British accent. Ever.

Amusing Random

Casino: The F**k Version

When I first saw Casino I remember thinking that it contained more f-words than any movie I had seen and someone has done this f-only edit of the film.

Interestingly there is a Wikipedia entry for ‘films that most frequently use the word f**k’

The world record for most uses of the word is a 2005 documentary called (appropriately) Fuck with 824 uses of the word, which works out at 8.86 per minute.

When it comes to feature films, Summer of Sam (1999) follows with 435 and then Nil By Mouth (1997) with 428.

Casino comes in on 398 and then Alpha Dog (2007) with 367.

Amusing Random

Christopher Walken & Julian Schnabel Cooking Together

Christopher Walken and Julian Schnabel eating and cooking together in New York on the IFC show Split Screen back in 1999.

Amusing Animation Random

Wallace and Gromit Google logo

Wallace and Gromit Google logo

This Google logo to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit is rather clever.


William Shatner and the Halloween Mask

Shatner Myers Mask

The Michael Myers mask in the Halloween films is actually a reused one based on William Shatner.

A few years ago – back when Wikipedia and Google weren’t available on people’s mobile phones – I remember telling this to someone and they didn’t believe it.

However, aside from being on the IMDb and Wikipedia, Shatner himself has confirmed it in this video with his daughter. He even admits to once going out trick or treating in one.

Tommy Lee Wallace, the production designer and co-editor on Halloween, said that he was charged with finding a mask for Myers in the original film.

Aiming for a mask with a creepy ‘blank face’ he went shopping for one in Hollywood and found a Captain Kirk Halloween mask that seemed to fit the bill.

Wallace cut out larger eyeholes, removed the eyebrows and sideburns, and made the hair look weirder and painted it white.

Halloween mask on set

For most of the film Myers, or ‘The Shape’ as he’s referred to in the credits, is played by actor Nick Castle (above).

In the DVD extras on the Halloween DVD box set John Carpenter claimed that the mask didn’t really look like Shatner, but joked:

“I guess I owe the success of Halloween to William Shatner.”

The inspiration for the ‘faceless’ style was the creepy French film Eyes Without a Face, directed in 1960 by Georges Franju.

Amusing Random TV

George Clooney in Street Hawk

George Clooney in Street Hawk


George Clooney has three films showing at this year’s London film festival – Fantastic Mr Fox, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Up in the Air.

Fox got a big gala premiere last night, Goats screens tonight, Up in the Air shows on Sunday and even The Times wrote a gushing editorial declaring him ‘Fantastic Mr Clooney’. Which, to be fair, I’d mostly agree with – of all the major A-listers he is perhaps the most consistent in doing interesting work within the Hollywood system.

But before he became a big star in the 90s with ER, he paid his dues in TV such as Street Hawk. For those who never saw this 80s show, the premise was basically Knight Rider with a motorbike (i.e. former government agent becomes a crusader against crime with the aid of a hi-tech vehicle).

Clooney was in an episode called A Second Self and here is some of his appearance in two videos.

In this one he comes in around the 2.00 mark.

For some reason this one is dubbed in French:

News Random

Roger Ebert is now on Twitter

Ebert on Twitter

The Chicago Sun Times Pulitzer prize winning film critic is now on Twitter.

His username is @ebertchicago

[Link via Fimoculous]


2012 preview sequence

This sequence from Roland Emmerich‘s new disaster film 2012 was recently aired on US TV in anticipation of the worldwide release on November 13th.

Amusing Random

What the hell is Shirley Maclaine talking about?

What exactly is Shirley MacLaine talking about here?