"[Director John] Moore is taking on what is, from a creative perspective, an awfully daunting task. What makes the Die Hard franchise practically tragic is that it's become so stupefyingly ordinary after bowing in 1988 as a remarkably taut, funny, exquisitely crafted action film that — but for the appearance of late-'80s computer and phone technology — has not aged a day. As explosively entertaining as it was the first time I saw it on the big screen 23 years ago, it was just as good two weeks ago..." MetaFilter's own Linda Holmes analyzes the original Die Hard movie, and the failure of a film franchise, on NPR's pop-culture and entertainment blog, Monkey See: Take THIS Under Advisement: Hey, 'Die Hard 5,' Don't Drag Down A Classic. [more inside]
The Never-Ending Film. Heaven's Gate, Cleopatra, Apocalypse Now. They all have one thing in common: Runaway film productions. Never-ending shoots, directors cracking under pressure. But none of them hold a candle to Dau.
Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
The Princess of Nebraska premiered on YouTube this weekend (unrated by MPAA, but 18A+ rating, but on YouTube, so maybe mild NSFW). Often focusing on Chinese immigrants in America and culture gaps (NPR interview; text and audio) between both their new country and across generations, director Wayne Wang has returned to his roots after several more traditional Hollywood movies (Wayne Wang Is Missing). (Known for "Chan Is Missing" and "The Joy Luck Club", he has made movies such as "Maid in Manhattan" recently.) "Princess" is intended as a double feature with traditionally released "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," "Princess" might "be the first feature feature film by a major director to premiere" only on the internet. Both are based on short stories by Yiyun Li.
The Room: The Movie. Triple-threat (actor/writer/director) Tommy Wiseau made his cinematic debut in 2003 with the The Room (see trailer and various scenes), "a blend between a softcore porn flick and a Tennessee Williams stageplay." Wiseau ("who's not just one of the most unusual looking and sounding-with an unidentifiable Eastern European accent-leading men ever to grace the screen, but a narcissist nonpareil whose movie makes Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" seem the apotheosis of cinematic self-restraint...may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back-before even 30 minutes have passed." - Variety), allegedly raised $6 million outside Hollywood to cover production and marketing costs of the self-described "black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies" (see various rough dress rehersals). Audience members, including comedian David Cross, have been "marveling at the bizarre editing, bad bluescreen, uncomfortably explicit sex scenes and, of course, the enigma of Wiseau himself" as the film played monthly for years in Los Angeles. Available on DVD, diehard "roomies" swear by the theatrical experience, shout out their own commentary, hurl spoons at the screen and singalong to the soundtrack. Some call it "The Rocky Horror of the New Millenium" and stage "Room" parties. If you look at the marketing campaign or survived a screening you might see The Room as "a seminar on how NOT to make a movie." [Inspired by Boing Boing]