The following conversation took place in 2005 in front of an audience at the Telluride film festival in Colorado, after a screening of Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Bob Dylan: No Direction Home.
The closest a film has ever come to adapting King’s internal-horror aesthetic is a film King himself has publicly lambasted: Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s the most artful, scary, and beautifully directed of the King adaptations, and even excludes some of the novel’s more overt (and potentially silly) visual elements, such as the hedge animals that come to life and stalk the family in the yard. Yet, the film never tackles the serious human horrors that infect Jack Torrance throughout the novel, specifically his alcoholism, along with the themes of cyclical abuse and mounting financial pressure. King’s criticism of the film is that Torrance, as played by Jack Nicholson, is portrayed as unhinged right from the start, whereas the novel slowly unravels the man’s sanity, the haunted house he occupies pushing him deeper into madness and violence. [more inside]
If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good. No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
Television Without Pity re-capper Jacob Clifton has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
The King's Speech is an extremely well-made film with a seductive human interest plot, very prettily calculated to appeal to the smarter filmgoer and the latent Anglophile. But it perpetrates a gross falsification of history. - Christopher Hitchens on the historical revisionism of The King's Speech. The LA times suggests that this, along with the History Channel digging up footage of King George VI not really stuttering all that badly at all, might be the beginning of a backlash against the film, which has been gaining Oscar momentum since it's SAG Award wins. With The Social Network, 127 Hours and The Fighter also having a basis in reality, is today's film making too hung up on the "true" story?
"Sex and the City 2: a science fiction flick replete with fictional cartographies, temporal recursion, and a wanton, metro-biological god-being that exists both within and without of time and space. Oh, and magic shoes."
Matt Helm is a fictional character created by author Donald Hamilton. He is a U.S. government counter-agent—a man whose primary job is to kill or nullify enemy agents—not a spy or secret agent in the ordinary sense of the term as used in spy thrillers. ... The character appeared in 27 books over a 33-year period beginning in 1960... A movie series was made in the mid-to-late 1960s starring Dean Martin... the series bore no resemblance at all to the character, atmosphere, or themes of Hamilton's original books, nor to the hard-edged action of Bond. One reason was the attitude of the filmmakers that the only way to compete with the Bond films was to parody them. - Wikipedia (links may be mildly NSFW) [more inside]
Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
Imagine a world without lightsabers—where, instead, every big Star Wars finale consists of a 10-minute slap fight. Thank the maker we’ll never have to witness such a spectacle, because magical and impossibly high-tech weapons are staples of nearly all of our favorite entertainments! ToyFare Magazine presents the 50 Greatest Fictional Weapons of All Time.
"...my most ambitious idea, 'The Bourne Arpeggio,' in which Bourne, now a violist, prevents the assassination of a Russian dissenter at the reopening of Alice Tully Hall."
With the Bourne Ultimatum released, that would appear to be it for the series. Not so for the books, even though original author Robert Ludlum has been dead for six years. This type of thing isn't exactly new, but do these ghost-written books do the originals justice, or are the authors' estates just cashing in?
FBI 101 -- "Essentials for Writers," an "exciting and informative" interactive workshop for writers being offered to members of my union -- the Writers Guild of America, East - by the FBI Office of Public Affairs and FBI New York. ... -- Very interesting account of a workshop the FBI puts on for writers in NY. What's in it for the FBI? ...The only question we have for you is 'Will it show us in a good light?'" ...
The Use of Computers in Movies. High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, will have easy to understand graphical interfaces. Those that don't, have incredibly powerful text-based command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English.
"It has always been as if I carry chaos with me the way others carry typhoid. My purpose in writing is to transcend my existence by illuminating it." Crime novelist Edward Bunker, who died last Tuesday at age 71 (LATimes obit), became at 17 the youngest inmate at San Quentin after he stabbed a prison guard at a youth detention facility. It was during his 18 years of incarceration for robbery, check forgery and other crimes that Bunker learned to write. In 1973, while still in prison, he made his literary debut with "No Beast So Fierce", a novel about a paroled thief James Ellroy called "quite simply one of the great crime novels of the past 30 years" and that was made into the movie "Straight Time" starring Dustin Hoffman. Also a screenwriter ("Runaway Train"), Bunker appeared as an actor in nearly two dozen roles, most notably as Mr. Blue in "Reservoir Dogs." (more inside)
The Rocklopedia Fakebandica is an exhaustive compendium of non-existent musical acts from television and film. Need to know the complete lineup of Evar Orbus and His Galactic Jizz-Wailers? It's here (via Grouse!).