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  • Leonard Maltin
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    book and dvd reviews: It's A Noir, Noir, Noir, Noir World

    The term “film noir” didn’t exist in the 1940s and early 1950s. The late Larry Gelbart, who wrote the noir-inspired stage musical City of Angels, once told me that back then “film” was something you got if you didn’t brush your teeth. People went to “the movies.” But ever since the term was taken up by American film buffs and scholars in the 1970s it has created a special allure for those dark, hard-boiled melodramas that studios ground out so effortlessly in the post-War era. What’s more, since today’s audiences have no trouble digesting cynicism, these films seem positively modern as opposed to the apple-pie wholesomeness of other Hollywood product from the period.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Memory Lame: Christopher Nolan's "INCEPTION!"

    In an interview conducted in advance of the release of Inception, Christopher Nolan deflected the idea that his new film’s ellipticism was inspired by Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad. With the poised self-deprecation of a man whose last film made hundreds of millions of dollars, Nolan laughed that he hadn’t seen the film, and that he was merely “ripping off all the films that ripped it off.” Anyway, I certainly didn’t think of Resnais’ game-changer while watching Inception. The title that did spring immediately to mind was one that could not realistically have exerted any influence: Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, released to theaters earlier this year after the teaser for Inception had already set pulses racing among the crowd that thought The Dark Knight was a watershed in American cinema (which is to say: a lot of people).

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Old Stomping Ground: Nicolas Winding Refn's "Valhalla Rising"

    Not long into Nicolas Winding Refn’s new Viking film, Valhalla Rising, the main character, the mute and mutilated One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), beheads an opponent with the rope that tethers the cyclopean brute to a post in the ground. Shortly after that, he bashes in a skull with a rock, sending brain pulp the furthest afield it’s been since the fire-extinguisher scene in Irreversible. Much of Valhalla Rising plays out as so many Mortal Kombat fatalities; you can practically hear the cowriter-director’s off-screen shouts of “Finish him!” The rest is pure mood—a preposterously doomy blast of nonsense. The Middle Ages–set film is an ambitious but insufferably self-serious slo-mo death-knell, hypothetically ballasted by some ridiculous roots-of-American-duplicity material. Read Benjamin Mercer's review of Valhalla Rising.

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  • Spout
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    Dreams and Movies: Tracking Back from "Inception"

    A few weeks ago I was watching the recent sci-fi action flick "Surrogates," which is set in a future when everyone avoids the real world by plugging their minds into physical, robotic avatars that go out as better-looking representations of their lazy and apparently too self-conscious counterparts in even the most mundane of circumstances. During one of the movie's chase sequences I realized an extra benefit to the concept: it allowed the filmmakers to have characters that don't conform to the physics real humans are bound by. The surrogates could leap like superheroes. How exactly, I'm not certain, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that the movie could open up to so much more than a normal action flick is capable of.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Whistle a Different Tune: Genevieve Yue on "The Sound of Music"

    It’s a minor detail, but if you watch The Sound of Music closely enough, you’ll notice that Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) keeps a whistle on him practically all the time. The whistle’s most striking use comes, of course, with the children’s thrilling entrance, the thunderous footsteps scrambling on the balcony, and then their march downstairs synchronized to their father’s command. But even when he’s returned from a sojourn in Vienna, presumably relaxed from a convertible mountain drive, he doesn’t waste a moment in reaching into his pocket to pull out his trusty boatswain’s whistle, shrilly reminding his children that tree-climbing and canoe-tipping are seriously prohibited. Of course, once the Captain hears and joins in the serene harmonies of his children singing the Alpine ode, “The Sound of Music,” the whistle no longer appears, replaced, it seems, by his own surprisingly soft and tender voice.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Harry Potter, Lord of the Mashup

    The new Harry Potter 7 Trailer seems vaguely reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. Granted, both are fantasy films, but the sweeping helicopter shots of magical warriors running across fields and mountains seem a little too similar. Well there's a reason! Harry Potter will be traveling to Middle Earth this fall. Just kidding, but check out the trailer for a fictional HP vs. LOTR after the jump:

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  • ReelPolitik
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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Lone Scherfig's One Day Starts Filming with Hathaway and Sturgess

    Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess have started filming One Day, which David Nicholls adapted from his bestselling novel. Lone Scherfig (An Education) is directing; the ensemble includes Romola Garai (Atonement), Jamie Sives (Get Him To The Greek), Rafe Spall Hot Fuzz, Ken Scott (Charlie Wilson's War) and Jodie Whittaker (Venus).

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  • Matt Dentler's Blog
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    The Social Network

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Women to Blog About: Orly Ravid, Founder, The Film Collaborative

    to bring attention to the lack of parity between women and men in our industry, I have been putting a ♀ next to women directors, business owners, company heads to bring awareness of what I am calling The Female Factor in the business. To step up upon my soapbox for a moment: I want to assist in bringing a conscious awareness to the fact that if 50% of the population in our target audience is not represented by any where near 50% in the creative input and commercial exploitation of cinema, then the the scales are very much out of balance and the resulting product is also askew. To create is to influence and to influence is to profit. To obtain the most value for the effort, the greatest return on the investments being made in the film business, the points of view of women need to be integrated totally into the fabric of the business (and the society). As a representative of 50% of our population, I'm taking advantage of this blog to serve occasionally as my soapbox and I will sometimes be blogging about the women who are moving our industry forward as team and community members, movers and shakers.

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