Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Full Clip #4

Face front, true believers! It’s time for a fourth fulsome frolic through the fascinating fresh features lurking in my open browser tabs. Have at thee!

Michael Shannon is great. That isn't up for discussion. It’s an unassailable fact. He turns out totally committed and utterly compelling performances Every Single Time. He’s the kind of actor that gets called “intense” a lot. It might be the jawline. Or the eyes. Or maybe just a lack of imagination on the part of journalists. Take your pick. (He’s also the only reason I persisted with the turgid, unfocused Boardwalk Empire for as long as I did). Turns out that he’s a damn fine and very funny interviewee too. Here he is waxing deadpan on the promotional circuit for The Iceman, firstly talking to Kase Wickman at (in which he mentions the woefully-underseen and entirely wonderful Grand Theft Parsons, which You Absolutely Must See) and then with Andrew Goldman for the New York Times.

Sticking with the New York Times, next up is the awkwardly-titled Brook Barnes article "Solving Equation of a Hit Film Script, With Data", the depressing tale of Vinny Bruzzese, his company Worldwide Motion Picture Group and the script evaluation work they do in Hollywood - applying flaky statistical data and analysis to calculate the likelihood that a script can become a successful movie. If you want to know why so much Hollywood “product” is increasingly bland, you really need to read this. Here’s an Orwellian taster, as laughably absurd as it is ever-so-slightly chilling: "Bowling scenes tend to pop up in films that fizzle...Therefore it is statistically unwise to include one in your script."

2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of my beloved Doctor Who. To celebrate the good Doctor’s adventures in Time and Space, the BFI are holding a yearlong season of monthly events, commemorating a Doctor a month. In April, it was the turn of the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, an actor who didn't actually seem to play the Doctor. He just was the Doctor. The on-stage Q&A alongside Louise Jameson and Philip Hinchcliffe (following a screening of The Robots of Death), was just as rambling, odd, charming and witty as you would expect from both him and his Doctor. Click through for over half an hour of glorious video from the event.

Daffy Duck, Barney Rubble, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam. Mel Blanc's voice was a fundamental part of all of them. But one of them was a fundamental part of Mel Blanc more than any of the others - the wascally wabbit who always forgot to take that left turn at Albuquerque. Which is why, one day in 1961, Bugs Bunny saved Mel Blanc's life. And if you want to know how, you're going to have to click through to this article at Open Culture.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Full Clip #3

It’s that time again. Here we go with another whirlwind whisk through my browser history. Onwards!
Oh, Cineworld, what have you done? Thanks to Craig Skinner for bringing this to my attention via Twitter earlier today, and for posting a PDF of this fantastically ill-conceived questionnaire on his website. On one level, it’s difficult to take it too seriously, due to mangled grammar and rudimentary spelling mistakes. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the pernicious casual everyday sexism dripping off the questions from Question Six onwards. I can’t believe an adult wrote these questions. The questions sound more like the sweaty ravings of a hormonal, priapic teenage boy. I could just shake my head and laugh, but someone signed off on this atrocity and gave the all-clear to send out a laughable, inappropriate and skeevy selection of questions to a substantial user base. I’m now just counting the minutes until Cineworld apologise whilst blaming an unpaid intern who no longer works for the organisation. Seriously, Cineworld, you done fucked up Big Time.

Whilst I’m on the subject of professionalism or the lack thereof, there’s a great piece by Paul Tucker at The Quietus on the way that thoughtful, detailed articles are routinely cannibalised by lesser writers (or, if we’re being honest, “content monkeys”), who cynically strip them down to tweet-length soundbites in a brutally reductive way just so that they can chase click-throughs and page impressions. Killer line of the article for me: “journalism without a basic and objective curiosity is not journalism at all.”
That’s more than enough of me railing against bad writers. Let’s talk about a good writer instead. Tying in with the release of Iron Man Three, Kyle Buchanan at Vulture looks back at the scripts of Shane Black, in particular his unorthodox, inventive, playful scene-descriptions. “The most famous thing Black ever wrote isn't even a piece of dialogue ... instead, it's this description of a setting from Lethal Weapon, structured as a muscular meta boast that practically defined the swinging-dick attitude of mid-eighties action movies”

From Thailand, here’s an astonishing sweded Iron Man Three trailer:

I can’t really say too much about this next link without blowing any surprises if you don’t already know the story. But it’s good. Really good. Trust me. At The Daily Dot, Kevin Morris tells the strange tale of the mysterious Yuri Gadyukin and The Greatest Movie That Never Was.
At The Atlantic, Thomas Pierce’s beautiful short story The Critics, about a father, a daughter and a movie review website.

For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Howard Chaykin writes a terrific obituary for comics maestro Carmine Infantino.