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Morning Pour: Branded Movies, More British Biopics, 3D Better Than “Avatar”, Naked Men in Film

Morning Pour: Links 11/7/11

Morning Pour is your daily stop for quick links, news commentary and trend-spotting. Here are your ten topics for November 7, 2011:

1. Is Branding the Future for Indie Film and Documentary?

Two weeks ago, Indiewire blogger Ted Hope posted a conversation between himself and Campfire’s Steve Wax regarding the potential for indie productions to collaborate with like-minded brands for things like subtle product placement and cross-marketing-based sponsorships. In the transcribed discussion (which Tribeca Film’s Future of Film blog reposted over the weekend), Hope notes some common themes among specific films and products, such as “Juno” and Nike, “Bellflower” and Coke and “The Kids Are All Right” and McDonalds. Always a difficult concept to get around.

But could it work any easier for documentaries? Last week, Morgan Spurlock, Thom Powers/DOC NYC and Claudia Strauss/Grey New York announced the Launch PAD initiative, which will partner up brands with completed nonfiction films looking for money for prints, advertising and distribution. I tackled the pros and cons of such a program over at Movies.com: “So much of documentary is meant to provoke debate, if not full-on controversy, and many others are also concentrated on difficult topics like politics, war, poverty and genocide. Imagine brands being affixed to films like “Inside Job,” “Restrepo” or any Holocaust doc.”

2. Did Tchaikovsky compose a better score for “Inception” than Hans Zimmer?

To quote my wife, “people are still making “Inception” videos? Apparently, and some are still worth looking at. In this non-embeddable video, the “final kick” sequence is re-set to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” So triumphantly. [via BuzzFeed]

3. Relating “The Dark Knight” to Tim Burton’s “Batman” and the ‘60s TV series

People are still talking about “The Dark Knight” too? Well, it is on everyone’s minds while “The Dark Knight Rises” is currently filming and being photographed daily by spoiler-friendly paparazzi. Plus, like “Inception,” it will remain a favorite of the movie geeks for at least a few more years. So, over at What Culture! Alex McKay pits Christopher Nolan’s second Caped Crusader film against Tim Burton’s first, 1989’s “Batman” (which apparently almost starred Ray Liotta), comparing each significant element common to both. Interestingly, ‘89 Batman is favored while the preferred Bruce Wayne is Christian Bale’s. If only the two sides of the character was played by separate actors, like TV’s “The Hulk.” Now, what if “The Dark Knight” was more like the campy old TV series starring Adam West? Animator David A. Rose shows us what this would look like:

[via BuzzFeed]
Bonus: What if Batman took over Chris Hanson’s job?

4. Are Kevin Smith’s fans too loyal?

I couldn’t care less about Smith’s personality or hatred of critics or anything else that’s inconsequential to the isolated enjoyment of specific movies. I love some of his work, hate some of his work, and really surprisingly like “Red State” a whole bunch. If he follows my idea for a “Christmas Clerks” film, I’ll respect him even more. But I won’t consider myself one of the legions of fans who Slate’s Sam Adams claims is propping up the filmmaker’s career: “He’s become the suburban stoner equivalent of Charles Foster Kane, his faculties dulled by the nattering of yes-men and the uncritical embrace of eager acolytes.” [via Scott Weinberg]

5. British biopics reign supreme

Just as we’re about to get one biopic of a prominent British leader, the next entry into the ongoing trend has been announced to keep the lineage rolling. The Margaret Thatcher drama “The Iron Lady,” which stars blonde actress Meryl Streep as the redheaded former UK Prime Minister, has been given a barely Oscar-qualifying release date of December 30. Meanwhile, redhead actress Jessica Chastain continues her rise by being cast as the blonde Princess Diana in “Caught in Flight,” a fairy tale drama about a “love story between a princess locked in a tower and an ordinary man,” which will be directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”). Hopefully the filmmaker can do for Diana what he did for Hitler, by which I mean create an always-hilarious meme by way of a brilliantly iconic performance.

6. “Hugo” 3D is the real game-changer, until holograms come along.

James Cameron thinks Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” is the best use of 3D ever, even better than “Avatar,” according to Deadline’s Pete Hammond. “I just kept pushing it to see how far we could go with the technology,” said Scorsese at a different Q&A over the weekend (this one moderated by an equally enthusiastic Paul Thomas Anderson). “We’re basically headed toward moving holograms.” There’s your chance to regain your throne as king of enhanced cinema, Cameron!

7. “Prometheus” flows into “Alien” in its final 8 minutes?

I can’t stand prequels for the most part, but last month’s “The Thing” really brought me to new levels of annoyance. I did, however, kind of appreciate the direct linking between that new film and John Carpenter’s original via an epilogue carried out over the end credits. A similar thing is set for Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” according to comments made to the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. The franchise-revisiting filmmaker (who has confirmed a “Blade Runner” sequel as his next project) says in the last 8 minutes the story of “Prometheus” will become “a pretty good DNA of the ‘Alien’ one.”

8. Are we ready to finally say goodbye to “At the Movies”?

“Unless we find an angel, our television program will go off the air at the end of its current season. There. I’ve said it. Usually in television, people use evasive language. Not me. We’ll be gone. I want to be honest about why this is. We can’t afford to finance it any longer.” – Roger Ebert at his blog. We’ve been through this before, though, right? The thumbs will probably be back in some other form, good or bad, soon enough.

9. Joyce McKinney Sues Errol Morris over “Tabloid”

I’ve written so many places about my torn feelings about the ethical dilemma of Errol Morris’s “Tabloid,” and I’m still not sure how I feel about its somewhat mocking approach to Joyce McKinney or her obvious attention-seeking encouragement. Anyway, she’s now suing the filmmaker, and I’m just as conflicted about whether I think she’s justified or not.

10. “History of Naked Men in Film”

GQ’s supercut of naked men in movies seems completely pointless if the magazine is going to blur out all the naughty bits:

[via Pajiba]

Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter: @thefilmcynic
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