These movies offer not just a twist, but a twist atop a twist, and a joke atop the joke: the “superjoke,” as Billy Wilder called it. Those themes repeat: the lively, often-painful love triangle, the sexual and romantic jealousy, the thrill of sex, and in this case, the carnal kicks co-mingling with the art of stealing, an act more erotic than gold-digging. (Gold-fleecing is much more penetrating.) And then—important during one of the worst economic times in America’s history—there’s Lily and Gaston’s hard, artful work, something to respect.
Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions
Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions
Robert Khoo, the business whiz who took a chance on the web comic Penny Arcade and turned it into a media empire for its creators, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, has now extended his reach to Hollywood. Paramount has announced that its next animated film is in the works and will be based on Penny Arcade's single-page concept comic, "The New Kid."
"He might have read the document when he was tired, at the end of a long day of being tied to a whale."
"They're not out to make a quick buck, they're looking to protect the integrity of the franchise and its mythology." 1998's Star Trek Insurrection went through a number of different plots before becoming the film we ultimately saw. Starting out as Star Trek: Stardust, the first take on the idea involved Captain Picard going all Heart of Darkness on a former friend from his Starfleet Academy days in a bid to find the Fountain of Youth. That treatment evolved into a remarkably Avatarish story called simply Star Trek IX in which Picard must go upriver to kill a malfunctioning Data as part of a Federation/Romulan alliance to displace strange alien natives from a planet teeming with a valuable and rare ore (spoiler: Picard actually kills Data in this treatment, and Tom Hanks was supposed to have a major role somewhere). Let the late Michael Piller guide you through the writing of Insurrection in his unpublished book Fade In: The Making of Star Trek: Insurrection (his "last great gift to the fans and to aspiring writers everywhere") in which he presents his original story treatments, story notes from his bosses at Paramount, surprisingly reasonable Trekker-type reactions from actors Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, and much more. First made freely available by TrekCore.com, Piller's family has since asked that it be removed, but you'll still find the file roaming the Internet if you boldly go looking for it. [more inside]
Last year, Spotify made news as a revelation in music availability, by providing ad-supported free access or paid subscriptions to more than 6 million streaming songs. This year, Sweden is the home to another streaming media landmark, with Voddler. Currently limited to Sweden but with goals of reaching the world, the streaming video-on-demand provider was well-received, but initial movie selection did not impress all. That should change, as Voddler recently expanded the potential list of movies when they signed The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Paramount Pictures, netting access to the Disney assets and the Paramount library. A deal with Sony may be forthcoming. [more inside]
Affordability for first-time home buyers in the UK has fallen by 351% over the last 10 years. Never fear; through a deal with the Hyde housing association, Paramount Homes and Scandinavian partner Skanska, Ikea has introduced the BoKlok into the British housing market. These prefab homes will start at just £70,000 (including a voucher for some free furniture) and will probably be built on the fringes of London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. Previously
...In 1924 New York Recording Laboratory decided to expand its reach into that market by purchasing the Black Swan label. Founded in 1920 or 1921 by black entrepreneur Harry H. Pace, the pioneering company recorded everything from ragtime to grand opera, as long as it was sung by African-Americans... Paramount's biggest star was Ma Rainey, a blues moaner who influenced the legendary singer Bessie Smith... Paramount did not neglect male blues singers, who tended to be folk artists in the sense that their music was made initially for the entertainment of isolated rural communities. These included the singers and guitarists Charlie Patton... Blind Lemon Jefferson...Compliments of the Season from ParamountsHome--where, among many other things, one can find an online copy of David Evans's biography Charley Patton in Parts 1, 2 and 3 or look at a picture of Skip James in 1932, not to mention a view of Paramount's promotion of Patton as the Masked Marvel. And that is not, as they say, all...
"I actually felt sick, just sick, about wasting so much studio money and being such a stinky, stinky junket whore." Freelance writer Eric D. Snider took up an offer to attend Paramount Studios' World Trade Center press junket, "being a whore just once to see what it was like." After he spoke unkindly of the practice—taking issue with how studios trade luxurious treatment for positive media coverage—the studio had him blacklisted from all further Paramount screenings, and those of a few other studios.
Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
dead sleeping, Jim. With UPN's cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise (nee just Enterprise), the Trek franchise is, for the first time in 18 years, without a weekly broadcast show. While many might agree that Star Trek needs a rest, others continue to hope, while producer/right hand of Satan (depending on which Trekkie you talk to) Rick Berman says the series (which is a billion dollar baby for Paramount/Viacom) is going to be off the airwaves for at least three years. Here's to hoping the rest is what's needed for a phenomenon that's fueled a lot of geeks for a lot of years.