Morning Pour is your daily stop for quick links, news commentary and trend-spotting. Here are your five miscellaneous discussion topics for Tuesday, November 29, 2011:
1. Spirits, Gothams and NYFCC Awards
It’s a busy morning for film awards freaks. The Gotham Awards were given out last night, the New York Film Critics Circle is slowly tweeting its 2011 winners and the Spirit Awards nominations have rolled in as well. Here are some highlights for me:
Gothams: “Scenes of a Crime,” which I’ve long supported (see my review), is the first nonfiction title to win the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award. I’m also newly a big fan of “Beginners,” congrats to its tied Best Feature honor and Best Ensemble Performance award.
NYFCC: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” is named Best Documentary fittingly on the day it hits home video (including 3D Blu-ray). Can we also get a 3D theatrical rerelease now, too? Then again, I might need to just buy a 3D TV for Christmas and hope to just watch it over and over that way. Oh, and on the NYFCC tip, if you weren’t following the fake Armond White twitter this morning, go back and catch up. Hilarious.
Spirits: Some of my favorite docs this year are nominated. It’s great to see “The Interrupters” nominated here after being snubbed by the Oscars. Also happy to see “We Were Here” nominated in the same category, Best Documentary. As much as I love “Hell and Back Again,” I hope it and “Where Soldiers Come From” cancel each other out so “Bombay Beach” can take the Truer Than Fiction Award. Other interesting quick responses are that there’s a good amount of comedy represented, with “Win Win,” “Terri,” and “Cedar Rapids” nominated in screenplay and acting categories, and “Drive” is slightly making up for the liklihood of not getting much Academy Awards love by earning three nods.
2. What have movies taught you?
A hot Twitter hashtag meme today is #WhatMoviesTaughtMe. A lot of the responses are acknowledgments of cliches, particularly the horror film kind. But it can ghttp://blogs.indiewire.com/spout/scenes_of_a_crime_reviewo many different ways. Documentary fans, for instance, are taking it more seriously. @SnagFilms writes: is that meaningful change is possible! I’m not sure how I could play this without wasting me whole day. As much as it frustrates my wife, who says I’m like the movie version of “Dream On,” I use movies as a reference for nearly everything I know in life. I even learned how to learn everything from the movies from the movies.
3. A new “Star Wars” holiday special?
Not exactly, but this mash-up of “Star Wars” and the original Chuck Jones-directed film adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is pretty great anyway. What’s neat about “The Sith who Stole Christmas” is how much Thurl Ravenscroft, bass-voiced singer of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” sounds a bit like James Earl Jones/Darth Vader. Watch:
4. Why “John Carter” might fail
Although we’re waiting on the next trailer for Disney’s “John Carter,” the big budget sci-fi movie based of Edgar Rice Burrough’s “Barsoom” novels, a lot of bad buzz has continued to flow this week after some new production stills and a poster were released. Here are a few responses including two points addressing the main problem for the adaptation. Of course, we all though “Avatar” looked too derivative to do well, too.
Mark my words: The biggest box office bomb of 2012 will be JOHN CARTER.
it appears that the planet on which he finds himself is not unlike Tattooine. Though the airship does look a bit less advanced (are those sails?), the general landscape looks familiar, there’s a Jar Jar Binks sorta dude hanging around (though far more rugged, probably much less racist; he’s also played by Willem Dafoe) and some kind of six legged creature. Let’s just hope the next trailer sells this a bit better.
I’m in favor of adapting old stories that no one has given proper film treatment to, but the images and trailers released so far are not particularly encouraging. And it’s too easy to be snarky because the older the story, the longer other people have had to
steal borrow from it. So most of these images just look like cliched junk, because the original images have been so liberally sampled over the last century by other stories.
The first trailer wasn’t bad, but that and the still images that have been released do more to highlight the film’s superficial resemblance to other films such as Prince of Persia, and parts of the Star Wars prequels, than the movie’s differentiating qualities. (And let’s not have any of that about Edgar Rice Burroughs getting there first with A Princess of Mars, the novel that inspired this movie and plenty of other fantasy and sci-fi films. Those movies locked down some images in a way that people won’t be quickly able to let go.)
5. Buzz based on a Pez dispenser?
Speaking of bad buzz based on early promotional materials, can we all stop looking at toys for info on major blockbusters? And I shouldn’t even have to say the same thing about candy products based on superhero movies. Maybe it gives you a slight hint at what the Lizard will look like in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but in the end it’s just an ugly Pez dispenser. Supposedly the Lizard footage seen at Comic Con this year had the villain looking more “overtly monstrous.” Susana Polo of The Mary Sue says it best:
See, movie studios? This is what happens when you don’t feed starving fans the details they crave. They post pictures of PEZ dispensers all over the internet. Is this really what you want? Is this the kind of world you want to live in, movie studios?