Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: dreams, festivals, raids and teen idols.
“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore,” reads the opening sentence of this Smithsonian magazine article. No, the panic was not caused by the arrival of overly tanned, puffed-hair and muscular visitors, but instead by shark attacks in the waters off the shore. During that summer, a shark attacked five victims. In an interview with George Burgess, a shark-attack expert in charge of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History (sounds like a role for Nicolas Cage), he explains that when these attacks happened people thought a sea turtle was responsible before the press ultimately identified it as a great white.
Young boys, their pets, period clothing, speeding cars, explosions, battles, a million different settings and director Steven Spielberg – that’s what WAR HORSE and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN have in common. And they both come out around Christmas – two days apart. Coincidence? Probably not, but since TINTIN is animated Spielberg probably feels they’re different enough to release at the same time.
The season of grossout comedies and screechy animated romps is spewing to an end as we brace ourselves for the period when actual quality films might come out of the darkness. And these films know they’re quality.
In fact, the releases from now till December 31 have been aggressively devised to win Oscars and will be prestigiously rammed down our throats until someone votes for them!
The top choices:
* Ages ago, George Clooney went from TV star to Oscar bait, and his new one will hardly stop his pedigree parade from marching on. It’s The Ides of March, directed by Clooney (who costars with Ryan Gosling), and seeing as it examines dirty politics from the inside, it couldn’t be any more tawdrily topical. Opens October 7
* Leonardo DiCaprio gets a star role—and hopefully some nice gowns—as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. It doesn’t take an investigator to smell Oscar potential here. October 21
SUPER 8: All production value and no heart.
It’s been almost twenty years since Steven Spielberg directed E.T., probably about the same length of time that J.J. Abrams, who was sixteen at the time, has been a fan. Now, with a decade of directing experience under his belt beginning with “Felicity” in 1999 and including a few stabs at Spielberg-esqueness like MISSON IMPOSSIBLE III and STAR TREK, Abrams finally got his chance to make a direct Spielberg homage – with Spielberg’s blessing (and a producer credit), no less. Like E.T, SUPER 8 stars a young boy growing up in a small town who gets involved with an alien stuck on Earth against his will, trying desperately to get home. Unlike E.T., it lacks all the heart and tales of love, bonding and friendship at the core of Spielberg’s best work, no matter how Hollywood they may be.
Why, Steven? WHY?
Remember our post about IBM’s latest supercomputer, Watson, who (or is it which?) will be competing on Jeopardy? Not to be out done, Microsoft announced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo their latest achievement-to-be : Project Natal. Project Natal aims to be a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience,” hopefully making the XBox 360 and gaming overall more approachable.
While the prospect of a more immersive entertainment experience is highly appealing to many, this new chapter in technology is opening new doors for human interaction with artificial intelligence that were only possible in science fiction films such as Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Developed for years at Lionhead Studios under the pseudonym The Dimitri Project, Milo is a new brand of AI that totally blew every attendee at E3 away.
Learn more about Milo and Spielberg’s thoughts on Project Natal and how it relates to technological advancement…