Is Apple 00Crazy!?

I just read in The Hollywood Reporter that Apple is reportedly vying for the rights to distribute James Bond (along with Amazon, Sony and Warner Bros) movies, which I am trying to get my head around.

Now keep in mind such a move would likely give Apple exclusive access to Bond’s entire back catalog (as well as future releases) though doesn’t Apple–via iTunes–already have this (on an unexclusive basis)?

It’s worthy repeating that Apple isn’t buying the right to produce Bond movies (that would be a serious coup) but the right to distribute them, though seeing that movie theaters will continue to be with us (though perhaps the window from theaters to digital would shorten) there would have to be a considerable effort to expand to other media; a risky effort because not only would you have to be not only concerned about the failure of a particular venture, but of diluting or damaging the franchise as well).

After all, do you remember a cartoon called James Bond Jr (Nor does anyone else; that’s not a bad thing if you’re able to digest the uber-cheesy theme song)?

I suspect part of what makes James Bond such an institution is it’s exclusivity, which seemingly would directly conflict with Apple’s (and Amazon’s long-term plans).

Besides, if Apple Apple really wanted content, they could relatively easily buy a film studio.

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Why William Friedkin Was Wrong About Wes Craven

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For my money William Friedkin is one of the most talented directors working today.  Not everything he does clicks (with the public or box office-wise, for that matter) but as far as I am concerned he’s made one of the best crime thrillers in recent memory with 1985’s To Live And Die In L.A.  Some might suggest that I am crazy, and bring up 1971’s The French Connection, but for my money To Live And Die In L.A., with its combination of a talented director, an outstanding cast and great music hit all the right notes.

Interestingly enough, Friedkin also directed one of the best horror movies, The Exorcist, ever put on celluloid.

And while the movies that Wes Craven created, particularly A Nightmare On Elm Street, managed to tap into The zeitgeist in a way few other films have done besides being visually interesting, though more often then not his movies were products of the time that they were made; which is another way of saying that they don’t age particularly well.

If in doubt check out Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes.  While the idea of cannibalistic mutants preying on hapless tourists is always potentially interesting, the movie has not aged well (though Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake…pretty good, almost brilliantly so).

Let’s contrast that with the The Exorcist.  It’s not only one of the scariest horror movies ever made–I think that Craven’s The Snake And The Rainbow was probably his most effective movie as far as terror goes though it doesn’t have the single-mindedness of Friedkin’s classic.

I also had the feeling that Craven was a horror director less because he actually wanted to do it, that it was a niche that he  happened to fall into (which isn’t an insult by any means.  John Carpenter did some groundbreaking horror films, though recognized, and at times seem embittered by the fact, that it limited his ability to move into other types of filmmaking).

So, while Craven was known as a maker of horror films, it never really felt to me that he committed to the genre to the degree that other directors, such as Carpenter (or even Friedkin himself) have demonstrated.

So Wes Craven will always be known for the horrors that he helped to bring to grisly life, though I am not at all sure that that’s what he would have wanted.

Steve Jobs – Official Trailer 1

Michael Fassbender appears to be an excellent Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs.  That being said, the trailer seems to spend a bit of time focusing on some of his more…unsavory behaviors, such has the way he was a dick toward his ex.  It comes off a bit unseemly, though I guess as long as it’s balanced by him not acting like a total ass–or being innovative–it’s all buena.

Besides, if you don’t include instances of his ego running rampant then the movie would play like a Hallmark card, which anyone at all familiar with the mercurial former head of Apple Computer would tell you isn’t quite true.

What I am certain about is that Danny Boyle is a great director, and the fact that he’s helming it should result on a pretty intense journey into the heart of the Apple.

Steve Jobs – Teaser Trailer

When the news came out that David Fincher was no longer directing the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, and that Danny Boyle was, people on various forums were complaining about what a terrible choice that was (especially compared to Fincher).

I wasn’t amongst them because I have always thought that Boyle was a very talented director.  Everything he’s done may not be perfect–then again, what director, acclaimed or otherwise, has ever reached such a lofty goal?–but most of it is undeniably interesting.

As is the casting of Michael Fassbender, in that he looks nothing like Jobs; though judging from what you can see here, his mannerisms and speech are very evocative of Apple’s famously mercurial leader.

It looks like it could be a winner; though I wonder if Aaron Sorkin’s script was authorized by Apple or the Jobs estate?  I haven’t heard any protests from either, so I assume so.

Meet Baymax!

As you can tell from the screenshots of the Tweets that I have included below, I have been having a few conversations with Baymax, of Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6.  He’s very literal, as is the way with most machines–and reminds me quite a bit of Apple Inc’s Siri.

Besides, how can you resist a mug like that?  And if you’re unfamiliar with who he–or should I say “what” Baymax is–I have included a trailer from the upcoming feature (which is based upon Marvel Comics’ Sunfire And Big Hero Six).

Sunfire isn’t joining the team this time around because he’s currently licensed to 20th Century Fox (and appeared in X-Men: Days Of Future Past).

Baymax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Den’ Review

The Den movie poster

“”The Den,” The Debut Film From Zachary Donahue, Is A Startlingly Effective Thriller”

When I first heard about Zachary Donahue‘s thriller, “The Den” I the first thing that popped into my mind was the place where an animal lives.

And in sense, I was right though on the face of it the movie revolves around Elizabeth Benton (Melanie Papalia), a doctoral student who’s doing her thesis about The Den, a website that enables people all over the world to communicate with each other, kind of like the lovechild of Facebook and Skype (or FaceTime, depending upon your platform of preference).

As part of the research for her thesis, she’s delving deeper into the world that exists within the site and meeting all sorts of people, some interesting, some funny.

And some dangerous, because Melanie doesn’t know it yet, but among all the fascinating people she’s met, one of them is a murderer with some time to kill.

This Is One Creepy-Looking Kid.

This is one creepy-looking kid.

I have to admit that initially I didn’t think this movie would be very good, especially since everything you see is from the perspective of Melanie’s computer screen, which feels a bit gimmicky.  That being said, it takes a bit of getting used to, but when you do the story is not only effective, but surprisingly immersive.

Things begin gradually, starting from seemingly innocent attempts to contact her, to invading Melanie’s privacy though logging into her Den account and activating her computer’s camera without her knowledge (which is possible, though perhaps not for the average layperson).

Melanie then begins searching for the killer (in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Michael Winner‘s “The Sentinel,” which is high praise) not aware that while she’s looking for him, he’s looking for her.

And he’s seen her Friends list.

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‘RoboCop’ Review

RoboCop

“RoboCop 2.0 is new, and not exactly improved, but it’s still worth the upgrade.”

I have an iPad 2, and I really liked iOS 6, and was perfectly content with it.  Soon enough, Apple came out with iOS 7, and when I upgraded I didn’t like it.  It was all shiny and colorful, but different than I was accustomed to.

That’s exactly the way felt about José Padlha’s “RoboCop” reboot:  Sure, you can do it, but why?  I like my old RoboCop just fine, thank you!

Like Apple, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer “upgraded” anyway.

Anyone who has read this blog before has probably noticed that I hate changes made just for the sake of change.

With iOS 7, once I got used to the changed appearance, I noticed that it offered certain benefits that iOS 6 didn’t.  The same thing applies to the new RoboCop.  It may not be the one that I remember, but for the most part it doesn’t feel like the changes were done just to change something (or as a cynical money grab, which is also popular with Hollywood).

You see, studio executives realize that if they reboot a popular franchise, name recognition is built-in, as is (they’d like to think) the audience.

But there’s a problem, especially when the film you’re rebooting a masterwork, which I honestly think the original film is.  It was a proudly R-rated stew of jingoism, bad taste and violence so extreme that the the original film was rated X before Paul Verhoeven cut it enough to warrant an R rating.

So when I learned of the reboot, directed by Brazilian director José Padilha (“Elite Squad”) was going to be rated PG-13, something stank.

The odor that aroused my attention must have been the laundry that’s sitting in the hamper next to my desk, because Padilha’s “RoboCop” differs from Verhoeven’s in ways that are mainly good, and the film was actually pretty enjoyable.

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