JSDC
Entry: Artability
Official= Official Comment

From Jan
Talking about movies? Hmmm, I'm not sure if I like "Perfume. The story of a Murderer". I know the ening is in the book, but I didn't like it. And I didn't like the extensive use of voice overs for things we actually seee!

Other than that: I've recently read Malcolm Gladwell's article "The Formula" in the New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/061016fa_fact6

I know this "Epagogix" is complete nonesense but I liked the article about it - and what I've found interesting in the end was what may result if people had no creative agenda and would only try to replicate past successes: films like The Bodyguard... *shudders*
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Official Comment From Jessica
"what may result if people had no creative agenda and would only try to replicate past successes"

Dude, that's exactly what is already happening.

Case in point:

This just in, from Variety,

Then there's "Bionic Woman," a new take on the 1970s franchise from Eick ("Battlestar Galactica") and Laeta Kalogridis ("The Dive"), both of whom are writing and exec producing (Daily Variety, Oct. 10). Drama, from NBC Universal TV Studio, was given a cast-contingent order.

Eick (whose shingle is based at NBC Universal) told Daily Variety in October that he'd been combing through the U library to find another title to revive a la "Battlestar." After choosing "Bionic," he pursued Kalogridis.


http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117956560.html?c=14

Cringe.

Also, remember this?

Alsox2, see the Awesom-O episode of South Park.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AWESOM-O

From Nathanael
Website: http://ignorantcritics.wordpress.com
I thought "Children of Men" was one of the best experiences I had at the theaters in a long time. You're right about the characters being a bit static; virtually none save Clive Owen's character experienced any sort of growth in the movie. But I didn't mind, since the focus was so intensely on his person (did you notice how even the camera angles all started from Owen's POV?)

I also thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but after much talk with my friends I think Cuaron was making a point. The ambiguity of the final scenes leaves us wondering what happens afterwards; we don't know if it's good, bad or horrifying. What we do know is that the MacGuffin drives the story. "Children of Men" is about the journey of these characters, and I found it exceptionally moving.

I saw both "The Departed" and "Apocalypto", as well. "The Departed" is much like "Children of Men" in its observations on human nature. "Apocalypto" was less entertaining than the former, but as a movie experience I think it worked well. And don't believe the hype about the gore; I found the other two films far more disturbing in their portrayal of violence. I think "Apocalypto" is just a bit too slickly produced to have the same visceral impact, even if the actual bloodletting is greater.

And on that morbid note, I shall end. smile
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Official Comment From Jessica
"The ambiguity of the final scenes leaves us wondering what happens afterwards; we don't know if it's good, bad or horrifying."

That was fine by me. What bothered me was that we were suddenly at the last scene (the water scenes: Trying not to spoiler).

This is the sort of movie that definitely leaves room for debate. I am surprised that I didn't like it more than I did. Truly, I wish I had screened it before the trailer gave away that she was pregnant. That would have changed the whole first act for me in that I wouldn't have been ahead of the movie and the lead.

I felt that the lead's arc could have been better. It wasn't non-existent, but there was room for strength.

I dug the way they shot his POV when they flee the farm. There are a few sequences in this flick that are nicely done.

Taking the rest of your comment under advisement in regards to what I haven't yet seen.

PS: One could make an argument that a true MacGuffin does not drive this film.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macguffin

PPS: Once the discussion in this posting ends, I am officially banning the word "MacGuffin" from JSDC on grounds that it is a smug, film school word.

PPPS: I forgot to comment before that when I first saw the trailer for Perfume I wanted to throw my coffee at whoever greenlit that film. Looks terrible. More so, however, it's knowing that better films could have been made in its place that gets to me. (A budget of 50 million euros!!) And how the hell did that film do so well in Europe/abroad? I haven't seen their foreign marketing campaign or what it was up against overseas (nothing?), but still; wtf.

From Sean Stubblefield
My brother likes Requiem and encouraged me to watch, but it didn't work for me: depraved and with characters I didn't care about.
Pan's Labyrinth is finally in Houston this weekend, so I'll be seeing that, along with Children of Men (it increasingly feels like something I should see, and to witness what you're talking about).
I am curious about Little Children and Not Yet Rated.

Re-imagining old concepts, like Galactica, doesn't bother me... IF there is an artistic vision behind it and not just making a movie for the sake of making a movie. But in a disturbing majority of cases, there IS no "creative agenda".
I hear another Pirates of the Carribean is underway. A part of me cries... and throws up a little in its mouth. As faulty as Children of Men might be, at least they made an effort at something new and meaningful.

That Awesom-O episode was pretty funny.

I like the term "MacGuffin", and the utility of the concept. Sure, the word implies connotative associations, as some people like using such words to seem more intelligent or superior... as when people discussing politics use the word "ilk" or "apropos". Yes, it annoys me, and in a way taints these words... but words are only tools, and blameless.
Should we let these fools ruin words for us and control their power, application or meaning?
MacGuffin is what it is and it still works.
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From Sean Stubblefield
Speaking of Re-imaginings:
M. Night Shyamalan will write, direct and produce the live-action big-screen adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Shyamalan, Paramount Pictures MTV Films and Nick Movies all plan to make this a three picture series with Shyamalan staying involved throughout.
This will be the first time Shyamalan will direct a film based on material he didn't create.
(I love the animated series, and usually like M. Night's work, so I'm interested)

And according to the AP, George Lucas confirmed that Indiana Jones 4 will begin filming this year for release in 2008.
Harrison Ford is signed on to star and the new script has received approval from Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Lucas kept mum about the plot, but said that the latest action flick will be a "character piece" that will include "very interesting mysteries", and reflects the passage of years.
(love the Indie movies, looking forward to another)
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From Jan
I don't know too much about the marketing campaign, but at least for Germany I don't think they had to do too much, as the novel by Patrick Süßkind is considered one of the greatest books of modern literature and one of the most sucessful. Here's the German trailer http://community.movie-infos.net/downloads/Parfuem_Trailer2_deutsch.mov . I don't know if it is any different than the international trailer, but I know we had a absultely gorgeous poster http://www.movie-infos.de/data/media/285/DasParfumPoster01.jpg

Add Tykwer and Eichinger and you have a blockbuster without any need for advertising. But hey, Eichinger was able to ruin another great book before by turning it into a horrible movie: The Neverending Story ...
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From Curtis M Sawyer
Website: http://ussexcalibur.blogspot.com
From the SciFi wire - New Line chief Robert Shaye previews the much-anticipated The Golden Compass, a fantasy thriller based on the first of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels.

In the article he says, "I think Lord of the Rings is very sui generis, but I have hopes that [Compass is] going to be a movie that the world will embrace"?

Um...um...eh...hadn't the entire world pretty much heard of LotR? All ages? All nations? Whereas I had never heard of The Golden Compass or the His Dark Materials novels until I read the movie announcement.

I hear it is more of a children's book, which make his comment even more crazy.
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From Nathanael
Website: http://ignorantcritics.wordpress.com
I'm going to cheerfully protest the ban on the M-word, Jessica. Like Sean said, it's a pretty useful word, and I think it's popularized enough in our culture that we don't come across as too pretentious if we use it. smile

You're right about the M-word in children of men, though. I just couldn't think of a better way to describe the point of the movie. In a way, I think the ending is irrelevant to the film. It could have gone in many different directions, and all of them might have made at least a little bit of sense. And yes, it felt a bit rushed; I was surprised at the actual length of the running time (109 minutes); I actually wanted to see more of a movie, for once.

Better too short than too long, I suppose.
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From Nathanael
Website: http://ignorantcritics.wordpress.com
Next time I'm going to proofread before I submit. Two semicolons in one sentence? I shudder.
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From westsidekef
Website: http://www.westsidekef.blogspot.com
Quick response to Curt:
The Pullman books have been getting a lot of play in the last couple of years and are quite popular with teens but are sophisticated enough for adults. But, in my humble opinion, they are not good books. There are very wide grey lines between good and evil that sometimes leave you wondering who the villian is, which rather than being different or breaking the mold, just comes across as confused story telling. Plus, the books have a decidedly anti-Christian feel that left me feeling uncomfortable, (as I am a Christian,) and will probably detract from the world embrace.
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From D-Dub
Website: http://www.wiebeworld.com
I so badly want to take partial credit for J-Sto falling in love with BattleStar Galactica. Partial Credit?

Have yet to see the Fountain but loved Requiem for a Dream! Loved it.

In terms of good stories being found have you seen "Dark City" by Alex Proyas. An undiscovered gem that made many best of lists when it came out but very few people saw it.

The fact that M. Night is doing a filmed adaptation of mildly popular Nickelodeon movie (and signed for 2 more) is evidence that the disaster that was "Lady in Water" has affected him more than anyone thought. How can he go from "I tell my stories the way I want to and no studio (who happens to be footing the bill) is going to give me even one note is going to tell me any different TO this is mind-boggling. I hear that Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are waiting for him to sign on to direct a Direct-to-Video sequel to Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. fingers crossed
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Official Comment From Jessica
I so badly want to take partial credit for J-Sto falling in love with BattleStar Galactica. Partial Credit?

Actually, yes. You were one of two people who told me repeatedly that BSG was so my style and that I was totally missing out.

I have seen Dark City once, but it's been a long time since. I do believe we've discussed some of the images that stick with the viewer, no?

PS: I am hella amazed that you broke Shade and posted a comment.

PPS: Dudes, MacGuffin is SO banned after this entry. Maybe you guys can stomach the term because you don't have to sit in meetings with decision makers who commence with comparing your movie to other movies so that they may, in talking about movies, demonstrate that they are able to identify the most obvious MacGuffins in the most obvious of MacGuffin-type films. After doing so, they sit back smug, smirking, smiling; as though they've just proved their absolute, God-like knowledge of film and cured cancer all in two minutes wherein they dropped the term MacGuffin fifty times as if I should be impressed even though at least one of their examples was technically incorrect or at least debatable and what does this have to do with our meeting, anyway?

This is not an exaggeration.

From Dave Grant
Website: http://www.divergingroad.blogspot.com/
Okay Jess....but can I still say McMuffin, because I love those breakfast sandwiches like McAdams loves Gosling.
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From Curtis M Sawyer
Website: http://ussexcalibur.blogspot.com
Dark City was a very pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed it and it was one of the first movies I put on my Amazon.com wish list.

Unfortunately, no-one has purchased it for me yet...
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From Sean Stubblefield
Yeah, given the circumstance, I don't blame you. The word Mchmhm shall not be mentioned here.

Gods, I SO hate Dark City. Hurts just thinking about it. SO much badness.

But Children of Men was totally just as you said. Based on your description, I figured out where the movie was going to end, because it DID feel like it stopped at the second act. But damn, that was some intense action. Jess, I also agree with your comments on Pan's. I wanted them to spend less time on the psuedo-Nazis and more time on the fairy tale. And nothing against subtitles, but it was distracting.
I liked both of these movies, but I couldn't quite love them. These were so closed to being awesome, and it's a shame they missed.
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