Archive for the ‘Movie (theatre)’ category

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print: CHOOSE!

November 29, 2008

Over at Kung-Fu Monkey, Leverage co-creator/producer John Rogers posted: Streaming Mac to 360: Rivet.

It’s all about how on-demand streaming video via the Net is not the future — it’s right now.

This coincidentally dovetails nicely with my recent DVD epiphany.

And there’s one paragraph that I must quote:

The tone of voice when I talk about these things tend to be a disdainful “Well, sure but how are we supposed to monetize this?” Right question, wrong tone. We. Don’t. Have. A. Choice.

Emphasis added by me.

The music industry has been usurped by technology. Now television has been too. And movies.

The one remaining industry is book publishing.

Google has already stolen all of the historical backlist.

All that’s left is recent and not yet published.

It’s as if the book publishing industry was situated on a giant iceberg — which suddenly cracked apart, leaving publishers on a precarious floe.

Over there in a big rescue ship are eBook readers screaming, “We’ll save you! Just publish eBooks quickly and at reasonable prices!!!”

On the other side are the pirates on a self-built makeshift archipelago in international waters free from all law enforcement. They don’t care what book publishers do. They have worldwide distributed teams with scanners and free proofreaders ready to “set everything free.”

And on the horizon are writers themselves in small boats trying to figure out how to best survive on their own, liberated from the constraints of ink-and-paper publishing.

Book publishing — unlike music, unlike TV, unlike movies — Still. Has. A. Choice.

Will it allow eBook readers to rescue it?

More About Bond. James Bond.

November 28, 2008


A second viewing of Quantum of Solace — this one after seeing Casino Royale — made everything clearer. The first time I saw it, I didn’t know about the Vesper Lynd story.

I can see this is at least a trilogy of movies now.

Bond got information about Quantum from the Economic Hitman who was killed in the desert as well as Vesper Lynd’s phony boyfriend.

The next movie is Bond Goes Wild On Quantum’s Ass.

I did, of course, make up that title.

Writer Anthony Neil Smith isn’t fond of the new James Bond.

One point I agree with him about:


I call it abusive editing — because it makes me feel like I’m being slapped around!

Previously here:

James Bond Vs. James Bond
Reference: James Bond Timeline
The Name’s Grim. James Grim.

James Bond Vs. James Bond

November 24, 2008

I previously posted about the latest James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

It gnawed at me because I’d never read the Ian Fleming books and so my only exposure to the character of James Bond was via the movies.

Since that post, I’ve read two Ian Fleming books: Casino Royale and Dr. No.

I’ve also seen the newest Casino Royale and just finished watching Dr. No.

I’m still at a disadvantage because I’m sure the screenwriters of Dr. No — and the other Bond movies — read all the Ian Fleming books to compile the filmed mythos.

Still, I think I have enough information to point out a few things.

In the book Casino Royale, Bond is described by Vesper Lynd thusly:

He is very good-looking. He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless in his …

Let’s do some photo comparisons. This is Hoagy Carmichael:


Then the classic Bond and the rebooted Bond:



Well, Connery wins the face contest.

But based on the “something cold and ruthless” bit, reboot Bond wins:


— his expression after beating, strangling, and drowning a man! Now that is cold and ruthless!

Compared to the book, I couldn’t help thinking what an absolutely stupid movie Dr. No was. An island mined for bird shit was turned into one mined for uranium and featured a nuclear-powered(!) telemetry beacon to override NASA signals for a moon shot!

I hadn’t seen Dr. No in decades. Now I know where the Austin Powers joke came from.



No wonder so many things in Austin Powers were so funny. Even though I couldn’t place the exact references, the basic framework had been drilled into my head for decades, not just by the Bond movies, but spoofs such as In Like Flint.

I’m not going to re-watch all the Bond movies. I don’t know which one started the gadgetry kick. But that quickly got out hand! And I also don’t know which one started the wisecracks to release tension in the audience after a violent scene. That quickly got out of hand too.

The libertine appetite of Bond must have been daring for its time. These days, seeing it dramatized in Dr. No, it all looks rather ridiculous. In the two books, there’s no underlying explanation for Bond’s appetite. We’re left to think the guy is simply horny all the time. There’s no clear psychological exposition tying his need for sex to the violence he’s paid to commit.

One final thing. In the movie Casino Royale, I was really shocked by the line, “The bitch is dead.” That was just cold. I was looking to pin that line on Paul Haggis. As it turns out, it was in the book itself:

The bitch is dead now.

Which, in the book, is even colder — because it’s the final line. In the movie, M tries to explain Lynd’s actions as protective of Bond, which actually undercuts the line, making M seem like a Mommy to a childish, misunderstanding Bond.

Surprisingly, I have to say the two reboot Bond movies are closer in spirit to the Ian Fleming books than what I recall of the Connery series. (Roger Moore? Let’s not go there!) I do think they’ve made the violence in the reboot movies absolutely brutal and graphic. But I understand why. That is what real-life violence is like.

Compare these two images:



The first is James Bond after a beating in Dr. No. The second is Bond after a beating in Casino Royale. The reboot Bond often winds up washing blood off his face!

So, in summary, yes, the 20th-century movie James Bond is dead. Make way for the James Bond of the new century.

— thanks to filmmaker Philip R. Cable and Judie Lipsett who each provided reasons for me to read the Fleming books.

Another Reason To Hate Cellphones

November 17, 2008

Five Gadgets That Were Killed by the Cellphone

Yes, well.

What made an impression on me in the two “reboot” movies of James Bond is that the big gadget he carries and relies on is … a frikkin cellphone!

As an example, Casino Royale:



Really, it’s hard times when sociopathic government hitmen have to rely on off-the-shelf tech anyone can buy.

Fanboys Movie: I. Want. To. See. This.

November 17, 2008

New Fanboys Trailer

New Trailer for Fanboys.

February 6, 2009

Kristen Bell, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Christopher Marquette, Sam Huntington, Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob, William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Jaime King, Kyle Newman, Ernest Cline, Ray Park, Seth Rogen

OK, really, I’m kick-kick-kicking myself.

I should have gotten the frikkin message after I watched Free Enterprise years ago.

I mean, this trailer is brilliant and it’s just overflowing with knowing fannish stuff that, really, I would have laughed myself silly writing myself.

But have I ever thought about writing stuff like that? Noooo. Eejit me!

Sony eBook Store: Publishers Portal

November 15, 2008

Sony launched its redesigned eBook Store and wow — look at this:


The Sony eBook Store Publishers Portal

Sony is taking steps towards adding publishers and direct-publishing writers!

Scraping the text:

Find a new world of readers at the eBook Store from Sony

Whether you’re a tiny boutique operation or a mid-sized publisher already enjoying a wide readership, you can now sign up to have your books offered in the eBook Store from Sony.

Where to Begin?

If you would like to offer your titles in the eBook Store from Sony, please provide your company and catalogue information in the form to the right.* After you’ve signed up, we will send you an email when we launch our new self-publishing tools later this year.

Thank you in advance for giving us the opportunity to partner with you!

There’s an entire form at the left side for submission information.

What intrigues me is this:

Which file format(s) can you provide for your books?

# Microsoft Word
# Other

One interesting thing right off: What is BBeB doing in there? No one outside of Sony (and perhaps its service bureau) has the tools to create BBeB! We peons (hey, Sony, that’s how we’ve felt all these years!) have been limited to LRF.

What really really worries me is this:

* Submission of eBooks will require your company’s agreement to enter a commercial relationship with Sony Connect Inc. that will be governed by the terms of Sony Connect’s Distribution Agreement available for review and acceptance during the registration process once the Publisher Portal launches. Sony Connect reserves the right to not publish eBooks at its discretion.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, Sony! What the bloody hell is that?!!? Do you intend to be another Nanny State like Apple pulled with the App Store and comic books?!

I also object to the terminology there: Publish. Wait a minute! You’re supposed to be a Store. Are you going to slap “Sony Press” on submissions?! Or do you intend to be the Sony eBook Store for Goddammed Disney-like Rainbows and Unicorns eBooks? Have any of you ever heard of Derek Raymond? You not going to “publish” him?!

How can any part of Sony claim to be on any sort of moral artbiter high horse when the two recent James Bond movies from Sony were some of the most foul, brutal, degrading, and disgusting things I’ve yet seen committed to film?

Let me refresh your holier-than-thou memory:





Don’t get all moral with me, Sony! Not when you’ve “published” testicle torture as entertainment! And worse: Made it look like the “hero” actually enjoyed it! What kind of sick fuck shit is that?!

And now you’re going to set yourself up as a gatekeeper to words?! Going to judge what letter combinations of A-through-Z are “acceptable” for people to see?

Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lolita, and others sound familiar as precedent-setting “obscenity” cases?

In the 1960s, Sony, these Bond movies would have been slapped with X-ratings!

Where is your high ground?

Stop it.

You’re a store. Disclaim correctly and fulfill the store role. Don’t play Wal-Mart. That shit won’t fly. eBooks are too important for that.

As it is, Apple is looking at a restraint of trade suit a few years down the road. Don’t get in line behind them for that.

Remedial items for Sony Suits:

Grove Press
NPR: On the Media; Hot Off the Press

Previously here:

WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Three
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Two
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit!
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

The Name’s Grim. James Grim.

November 9, 2008


If you haven’t seen it, bail now.

Some spoilers after the break.

Show me more

Strings: A Puppet Movie

November 2, 2008

Strings is a gorgeous motion picture featuring nothing but marionettes — as marionettes.

In this alternate universe, marionettes are alive and their strings reach into the heavens and give them their life force. Cut their strings and they die.

At the time of this film’s release, I recall reading that the director was inspired by a vision of seeing ten thousand strings rising into the sky.

The puppetry in this movie is breathtaking, featuring some of the best marionette walking I’ve ever seen. Unlike Gerry Anderson‘s Supermarionation, no attempt is made to hide the strings or disguise the fact these are puppets. Also unlike Supermarionation, the mouths do not move. This facilitates dubbing into other languages. Even with static mouths, it’s not difficult to keep track of who’s speaking.

I own this on DVD. I highly recommend it — especially to writers who are interested in fantasy.

Here’s the trailer from YouTube. Due to fast-action sequences, it gets pixelated. A high-quality trailer is here.

STRINGS movie trailer (english)

I’m not sure if this movie was ever released theatrically in the U.S.. It did very well in Europe.

10/19/08 Reading

October 19, 2008

Photo taken with the Philips crapcam.

Double-size enlargement:

I do this photo (if it can be called that!) because it’ll be rare for you to come across this long out-of-print paperback by Neville Smith.

It’s his novelization of the screenplay he did for the delightful movie, Gumshoe (which I raved about in the old blog).

First, I must be self-indulgent and run this passage for an old friend:

I got up and made it to the door. He stopped me.

‘Wait. We don’t see you for a year. You must want something.’

I turned to look at him, ‘I got given something tonight and I’m just checking to see if anybody I know gave it to me.’

‘A present, was it?’ he sneered.

‘You could call it that.’

‘The day I give you a present, pigs will fly.’ That’s his idea of a snappy repartee.

‘Thanks for the flying pig.’ Us Ginleys should stay out of the repartee business. I walked out.

When I first saw this movie in the 1970s, it struck me, hard. It was so delightful! Full of scenes that you wished would happen in real life — and there they were, dramatized in the movie, bringing them to fake, yet real, life.

For ages, I wanted to see if there was a book. About two years ago, I came across the above paperback in a used bookstore. Finally, I’ve read it.

It’s just as delightful as the movie. Usually, books based on movies lose something, but this one — written by the screenwriter himself — is damned faithful to the movie and also fills out bits in the light-touch narrative about the Edward Ginley character not apparent on-screen (for example, he being an ex-Teddy boy).

It’s a double crime that this book is out of print and that the movie has been released on DVD —

only in the UK.

It’s U.S. release was limited to VHS —

— which is very hard to find these days.

What I learned just now is that the stunning blonde who was brilliant in a scene with Finney —

— was Wendy Richard, who went on to star in the classic Britcom, Are You Being Served?

The music score, by the way, was by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Ah, for a soundtrack CD! (There probably isn’t enough to fill a CD, so just sell the few tracks on the Internet already!)

This is what the cover of the UK paperback looked like:

Don’t tell me movie piracy is rampant on the Internet. Gumshoe has never been on the Net. I’ve looked. (For research purposes, you understand. I’m lucky enough to have scored it on VHS off ebay a few years ago.)

This is the kind of movie Criterion should be preserving on DVD. It’s a shame it hasn’t happened.

Here’s a review of the UK DVD. No word about extras, though.

Avert your eyes at this point, print-addicts. At some point I’ll have to razor-blade this rare paperback and turn it into an eBook copy for myself.

Sometimes, Once Is Enough

October 14, 2008

Fox, Loeb up for ‘Wall Street’ sequel

As Wall Street continues to capture headlines due to market volatility, 20th Century Fox is moving forward with a “Wall Street” sequel.

Allan Loeb (“21”) has been tapped to pen the screenplay, which is being fast-tracked by the studio as a Michael Douglas starrer, though the actor is not formally attached.

The modern-day story will again center on Gordon Gekko, who has recently been sprung from prison and re-emerges into a much more tumultuous financial world than the one he once lorded over. The Bud Fox character, played by Charlie Sheen in the original, will not appear in the latest incarnation.

My own sequel would be short.

Gekko leaves prison.

Is met by mob.

Mob lynches the bastard, douses his writhing body with gasoline, and sets him on fire.

Revenge is good!