Trance, a.k.a. Better Version of Side Effects, is a psychological thriller directed by Danny Boyle and starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. It is also a noir story, an art heist story and a couple other things -- but you're better off going in cold to this one.
Surveying co-writer Joe Ahearne's IMDb listing, Trance (2013) appears to be based on a TV movie of the same name that he wrote in 2001. The other co-writer is frequent Danny Boyle collaborator John Hodge (Shallow Grave, A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting, The Beach). Trance shares the heightened reality of these other Boyle/Hodge collaborations, including but not limited to exploding genitals, talking half-heads and perhaps the first plot to hinge on the art history of pubic hair.
Lest you worry that Danny Boyle has gone into the uplifting Oscar hinterlands with Millions, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, his wacky and excessive Olympic opening ceremonies and this film will disabuse you of that concern. In fact Trance's principal photography was done as Boyle was also working on the Olympics, and then continued with additional photography post-Olympics.
Rosario Dawson, who spoke at a talkback after my screening, said you can tell the scenes where Vincent Cassel is noticeably tanner and more buff. It's hard to talk about Dawson's role in the film without giving too much away, so... spoilers ahead. (more...)
Via No Film School comes a set of videos showing off a new gyro-stabilizer called Movi. What's a gyro-stabilizer? It's puts your camera on a gimbal, similar to how a steadicam works:
Using this new device, DSLR guru Vincent Laforet and his team have come up with some clever ways to pull off some interesting shots. First, watch the demo short:
Now, watch the BTS video to see how they pulled off these shots. Hint, tricks may involve handoffs and rollerblades:
This system can also apparently be mounted on a quadcopter, as with these shots:
The company that makes this, Freefly Systems, looks like they specialize in helicopter rigs.
The Movi M10 rig will cost $15,000. Apparently, they are working on a lighter one that will cost $7,500. I could find no release dates online and an email to Freefly asking when they hope to have this available for purchase generated an auto-response saying they would release details during NAB 2013, which begins today.
Celebrate a laugh.
On the commentary track to the political satire Wag the Dog, director Barry Levinson talks about his approach to telling the story:
I always thought it needed to be very driven, that the dialogue would be the action in the sense that you had to move it, in a way. It had to be in motion all the time. You didn't want to just sit there and take a kind of slow kind of rhythm to it, so that it was constantly muscular and always in forward gear in a sense.
It's moving all the time so they're talking very very quickly. And my feeling is that you'll get the laughs that you get, and if you miss some, you miss some. And if you're in a theater and you lost a few of the laughs, you'll come back again. But there's nothing worse than celebrating a laugh.
Better that we enjoy it in its context rather than celebrating any given laugh along the way. So the piece waits for no one.
Wag the Dog fits into a grand tradition of dark comedies at the intersection of media and politics like A Face in the Crowd and Network. The script, by David Mamet and Hilary Henkin, based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart, is equally prescient. Shortly after the movie -- (more...)
Gale should know, his YouTube Channel boasts a whopping 33 million views, two thirds of them for the viral sensation "The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon".
Here it is, for the uninitiated:
At time of writing, this 10-minute fake movie trailer's 22M+ views put it well ahead of, say, last week's top network T.V. show, NCIS (which maxed out less than 20 million views Live+SD). Or, as Gale put it in his presentation: "10 mins. X 22 million views = 220,000,000 minutes or 418 Years people have spent watching 'The Horribly Slow Murderer'. To watch 'HSM' 22 million times, it would take one person, watching day and night without a break, from 1595 until 2013."
More important than statistics on raw views, Gale has developed a community of fans surrounding his work (70,000+ Likes on facebook, 93,000+ Subscribers on YouTube). These spoonistas create homage videos, artwork and get permanent tattoos celebrating the universe Gale and his collaborators have created. But what blew me away most in Gale's presentation is that imagery from his short film has become so recognized the world over that a hooded figure in fright makeup attacking things with spoons has become a political protest symbol in multiple countries:
So what's the Best Kept Secret to YouTube Success?
Famed British New Wave director Lindsay Anderson's breakout film, If.... (1969) examines British society in the 1960's through the lens of a stuffy boarding school. Starring Malcolm McDowell as a rebel schoolboy, it was hugely divisive among the film critics of the day. In the bonus features on the Criterion disc for the film, Anderson's producer Michael Medwin describes Anderson's brilliant strategy for putting both the critical cheers and jeers for If.... to good use:
It got mixed-- It got some rave reviews, and some ghastly reviews-- needless to say, from the establishment. And Lindsay produced a most wonderful poster, which was cut down the middle. --BBC's Cast and Crew, hosted by Kirsty Wark
The poster he came up with became a touchstone in movie marketing:
Performance artist Marina Abramovic does a piece called "The Artist is Present" where she stares at strangers for a minute at a time. During a recent performance, her old lover/collaborator Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) showed up, unbeknownst to her. They had not seen each other since 1988, when they walked from each end of the Great Wall of China, met in the middle, hugged, and separated. The video documents the 'performance' of their reunion...
If I ever make a movie about a performance artist, this will be the climax. The emotion on Abramovic and Ulay's faces is amazing. The filmmakers have a number of angles to show it. This is a great example of how much can be conveyed non-verbally.
[Via Zen Garage]
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All anyone could talk about this week was the big Veronica Mars movie kickstarter, which was the fastest to $1M (4 hours) and raised the most of any film project ($3.7M with 23 days still to go). But since Warner Bros. was probably going to make the movie anyway, was it a cynical marketing ploy?
As far as the marketing angle, I do agree with Variety's Marc Graser that some brand missed a chance to hijack the publicity and goodwill the campaign generated. Also in Variety, Josh Dickey sees this as opening the floodgates to more cult property theatrical reboots.
Esquire: Free at Last: The Robert Redford Story - Great long profile of Robert Redford's career in film, real estate and environmental issues.
Filmmaker Mag: Production Design on a Budget - Make a room 60's and 80's period with just $300?
Vimeo adds On Demand service - 90/10 split, but note that you'll have to pay $200/yr for Pro account.
Erik Davis: Read These Hilarious Studio Notes on Blade Runner - "This Movie Gets Worse Every Screening"
AllThingsD: Survey compares viewership of Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, iTunes across age groups - Strong positive trends for Netflix.
YOUR WEEKLY WISDOM:
Hollywood wants to make movies that are liked by many, independent filmmakers want to make movies that are loved by a few.
OLD POSTS UPDATED:
List of Streaming Movie Outlets - Added Vimeo, Hitbliss, Redbox Instant and more. Updated info throughout.
That's according to filmmaker Todd Phillips on the commentary track for Old School. I assume "two hundred bones" means $200,000. The song appears at the end of the classic scene where Will Ferrell's character shoots himself in the neck with a tranquilizer dart (the only version I could find of the scene online was the German one):
Classic hit songs are notoriously expensive, but that doesn't mean the same song would cost this much to use in an indie film. Usually the rights holders take into account how the song is used, how much is used and what the overall budget of the film is. It can also help to have a music supervisor who has relationships with musicians, and experience negotiating deals.
The Music Supervisor for Old School is Randall Poster, who is also responsible for the soundtracks for Skyfall, Zoolander and most of Wes Anderson's movies.
Writer/director Judd Apatow is famous for the insightful notes he gives to other comedians, such as Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, when they were writing Bridesmaids. In the behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Funny People (Judd's most under-rated film, in my opinion), I discovered that Apatow also gives notes to himself! (more...)
A new process called Eulerian Video Magnification allows doctors (or filmmakers) to see changes in motion or changes in color that are so small and subtle, they would normally be invisible to the eye. Some music video director is going to do something awesome with this, mark my words. I think this opens up a whole new set of possibilities for filmmakers, just as slow-motion or zoom lenses did.
More about it over at the New York Times, including a video with the MIT scientists who have developed the technique and made their source code available for noncommercial uses. They even tested it on a clip from The Dark Knight. Sorry, the times does not allow the video to be embedded, so you'll have to click over to watch the cool demos.