April 23, 2008
At a time when most rep houses seem to be in hot water, Los Angeles’ New Beverly packed ’em in last night for the finale of “Dante’s Inferno,” two weeks of forgotten classics guest programmed by Joe Dante. While many of the director's picks were obscure, none could compete with The Movie Orgy, a marathon 4½-hour clip show Dante first assembled in 1968 with Jon Davison, then put on ice for nearly four decades.
Understand, The Movie Orgy isn’t a proper movie but an exercise in extreme film geekdom, as Dante and Davison spliced 16mm trailers, clips, newsreel footage, bloopers and old TV shows together to form a semi-linear commentary on/reaction against the time. Over the years, the project has earned a borderline apocryphal reputation, called by some the “Rosetta Stone” of Dante’s career — a glimpse deep into the filmmaker’s id — and it’s a testament to the city’s cult film scene that so many stayed for the entire show. (Full report after the jump.)
April 19, 2006
My review, as it appeared in Variety:
"No motion picture has ever offered more entertainment!" In the early days of movie advertising, trailers announced virtually every upcoming feature with shameless hyperbole. Now (to co-opt the most overused word in trailer-speak), one docu exposes the artistry behind the advertising: Michael J. Shapiro's "Coming Attractions: The History of the Movie Trailer" packages a talking-heads overview with dozens of the most original and exciting trailers ever made. Unresolved legal clearances may limit pic to educational uses (pic preemed last week at UCLA), but popular demand could warrant further exposure.
April 03, 2006
Trailers like this never work on the internet. They start by prentending to be teasers for other hotly anticipated summer blockbusters, but because you already know what you're getting when you click, the joke's over before it begins. But since I'm personally more excited about The Simpsons Movie than Superman Returns, let's just imagine we're sitting in the dark before Ice Age: The Meltdown (for $70 million worth of ticket buyers out there, you won't have to pretend)...
February 14, 2006
Stop me if you've heard this one before: A bunch of Central Park Zoo animals (a lion, a giraffe and so on) break out of captivity and wreak havoc in the big city. No, it's not a Madagascar sequel. It's the latest offering from Disney's animation department, The Wild, and if it sounds suspiciously familiar, this isn't the first time that's happened between the folks at Disney and DreamWorks: Think A Bug's Life vs. Antz or Finding Nemo vs. Shark Tale.
February 04, 2006
I've had more than a year to get used to it (since the first glimpses of Pixar's next feature started popping up on the web), and I'm still skeptical. Could Cars be Pixar's first misstep? Toys, bugs, monsters -- kids love 'em. But anthropomorphic hot wheels? I dunno. Boys, maybe. But even then, these wheels don't even look that hot. Then again, I remember having similar apprehensions about fish, and Pixar proved me wrong with their most endearing film yet.