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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick by R. Crumb

This feature about Philip Dick's "Valis" experience was published in Weirdo comic #17 from summer, 1986.

It is an interesting graphic interpretation of a series of events which happened to Dick in March of 1974. He spent the remaining years of his life trying to figure out what happened in those fateful months.

You will find all 8 pages of this story here. The file sizes are rather large (120-140K each) so that the text was readable and the detail visible.

Enjoy The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick. In typical Dick fashion, you will find that it raises more questions than it answers.

Brought to you by R. Crumb, Weirdo magazine and your friends at

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Creatively Speaking: Monty Hall


Most people know Monty Hall from his brilliant game show, Let’s Make a Deal. Others know him because of the famous math puzzle/paradox known as The Monty Hall Problem (definitely worth a click over and reading about if you’re a math geek). But you might also know Monty as the emcee of shows like Beat the Clock and Split Second. Trivia buffs might know him as one of only two game show hosts with stars on both Hollywood and Canada’s respective Walks of Fame. (Can you name the other?) Or you may know Monty as the father of Broadway star/actress Joanna Gleason, who won a Tony for Into the Woods (I also loved her in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors). You may also know Monty from his guest appearance on shows such as Love Boat, The Odd Couple, The Wonder Years, Hollywood Squares, That 70s Show, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

However you know Monty Hall, I’m sure you never had the experience of getting this up close and personal with him. So click on through for my in-depth interview with him about his life and Let’s Make a Deal, as well as some more fun Let’s Make a Deal clips.

DI: First let me say that Let’s Make a Deal was one of my favorite game shows when I was growing up and I still love watching it today on GSN. I frequently lament the lack of good humor and fun in today’s programming, as I’m sure many of us do. And while I want to ask you a pantload of questions about Let’s Make a Deal, let’s go back a little first. Certainly you had a life before the show. Tell us a little about your upbringing, where you’re from, where you went to school, what you majored in, etcetera.

MH: I was born in Winnipeg and got my Bachelors of Science from the University of Manitoba, where I studied chemistry and zoology. I couldn’t get into medical school after completing my undergraduate degree. But I’d always starred in the school musicals and plays, so I went into radio broadcasting. I hosted some shows and wrote others. In Toronto I had a successful show on where listeners had to guess a mystery person by writing in through the mail. Each night I’d give another clue until someone got it. We got a lot of mail for that show. I also created shows for Colgate Palmolive. When TV came along, I thought I’d get in on the ground floor and be a big star in Canada but I couldn’t find work. So in 1955 I moved to New York City to try my luck there.

DI: Eventually you made your way out to Hollywood and sold your first television game show, Your First Impression. How did that one work?

MH: There were 3 panelists and five celebrity photos. One of the celebrities was in a booth, revealed to audience, but not to the panelists. Their job was to figure out which celebrity was on the show by playing a free association game. They’d say things like, ‘It bothers me when________’ or ‘I never forget the first time I _____________.’ Eventually a pattern would start to evolve and they’d figure it out. Then they’d have to show their logic, how they figured it out. ‘So-and-so would never say something like that,’ and so forth.

DI: The second show you sold was Let’s Make a Deal, which you emceed, of course. Your producing partner was Steve Hatos. How did you two come up with the idea for the show?

MH: We were kicking around ideas. I told Steve about a show I’d done in Canada where I’d walk into the audience and ask them for crazy things, which was a big hit. I’d say, ‘If you have a hard boiled egg on you, I’ll give you $100,’ and so forth. It was the last 7 minutes of my show in Canada. Steve liked the idea and he said he wanted to do a show about the Lady and a Tiger. You have your choice of two tents, if you pick the right tent, you get the lady; pick the wrong tent, you get the tiger. So that became the basis for the three doors. And then we started talking about buying and selling and trading. So we brought a rubber chicken for the zonk, a few envelopes for the curtains or doors and started playing the game around town whenever we could. And everywhere we went and played it, it was a hit. People loved to trade for the unknown. We did it for a senator; we did it for a Latter-day Saints quilting bee for 9 ladies at 8 o’clock in the morning in the West Valley; we did it at a supermarket — and everywhere it was a smash.

DI: So you pitched it to which network first?

MH: First we went to ABC and invited an audience to come in. And a few hundred people showed up. When the show was over, we got a standing ovation. I’m feeling like a million bucks and walk in the back room where my partner is waiting and my agent and the studio execs and they’ve all got glum faces. I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ My partner said, ‘The studio doesn’t like the show.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding?! They’re still standing out there.’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, but they don’t know what we’re going to do on the second day.’ I said, ‘You do the same thing with variations! What kind of question is that?! What do all shows do the second day!’ I was so upset, we went across to the Carriage House and I had two martinis… and I don’t drink.

DI: Hilarious. So then you took it to NBC?

MH: Exactly. We did the same thing again a few weeks later and got the same reaction. Another standing ovation. And again the execs said, ‘What do you do the second day?’ We were in shock. Two different audiences, same reaction, and nothing.

DI: But you had a savior this time in Bob Aaron, one of the NBC executives, right?

That’s right. He went back to New York and pushed and pushed and pushed. So we finally shot the pilot in April 1963. And again, no one would pick it up. No one would touch it. Then, months passed, and in October or so they decided to replace a show that wasn’t doing well with our show and asked us to get it ready by Jan 1st. When we finally got our chance, we were an immediate hit

DI: I guess you figured out what to do for the second episode.

For 4,700 episodes.

DI: So let’s talk about the show. Who came up with the fantastic idea that the contestants would dress up?

The contestants themselves. You see, in the beginning, people came dressed in suits and dresses just like on any other show. But when they realized I was picking people in the audience at random, one woman came with a sign that said, ‘Roses are red violets are blue, I came here to deal with you.’ And I picked her. Well, the next week, everyone had a sign. Then they started wearing costumes and NBC said, ‘What are you going to do about this mob scene outside? It looks like Halloween out there.’ I thought it was very pictorial. I said, ‘We’re on television and that makes a good picture. It’s a different kind of an audience out there! It’s colorful. It’s new. It’s fun. Why not? Let them do what they want!’ Would you believe we had to fight off NBC’s protests?

DI: After learning that you had to pay for the cars you gave away, sure, I’d believe anything. That seemed like such easy, free advertising for the car companies. Tell our readers how it worked.

MH: Every new car we gave away we bought at wholesale. They didn’t give them to us for advertising. If a car was $5,000, they’d take 500 off the price every time we mentioned it on the show. If it was a nighttime show, they’d take $2,000 off the price of the car. But it was never free.

DI: What were some of the challenges you faced doing the show?

MH: There was no script. You’re running up and down the aisle thinking about the deal, the ramifications, the permutations, what if he says no, what if he says yes, what if he goes for this door or that. All that is going through your mind while you’re conversing with the contestant. You have to know where the prizes are. You have to know what the deal is. You know what you’re going to do, depending on what they chose, you improvise from there. It’s a murderous show for an emcee to do. Sometimes a door or curtain would accidentally open before it was supposed to, while I was making a deal. And we’d have to pay for those mistakes.

DI: On and off, you were with Let’s Make a Deal for 27 years. Ever get hurt?

MH: I sure did. I had to learn to hold the mic in a certain way to fend them off. They used to jump at me. They wanted to kiss me. People jumped on me wearing a box and the corner would hit me under the nose. Some had football helmets on that would hit me in the head. It was dangerous. One time I got pushed down the stairs into the seats.

DI: After all those episodes, you must have perfected the art of figuring out what motivated people to trade in what they had.

MH: It was something we talked about all the time. We eve had a research team from the psychology dept at Yale that tried to figure out what motivated a person to make the trade. It’s not greed. At the end of the show when I get two people to go for the big deal, if a contestant had already won a TV set during the show, they’ll give it up to go for the big deal if they already have a new TV set at home. Others have a philosophy like: this is my chance to make a killing. Where else are they going to get a chance to do that? I’m going for it. One time, a woman came on show from out of town. She won herself $200 and I was ready to get her to the next part of the deal but she quit. That was it for her. After the show, I asked her why. She said, ‘My husband is sick. I took a bus to town. I took another bus to the studio to get to the show. I stood in line. They picked me for the floor. I got called. I made $200, which to me is precious; I’m not going to give it up. I want to go home with my $200.’ To her $200 was everything; to another $1,400 is nothing. He wants to go for broke.

DI: You must have enjoyed meeting all those people over the years.

MH: For me, the best part was the contestants reactions when the door opened to reveal a) a great prize or b) a zonk. That was the basis for the entire show: Would you give up what you have and go for the unknown. That was it. And I enjoyed every minute of it. The audience and contestants were always new and I loved their reactions.

Original here

Montel Williams Completely PWNS Fox News

After we posted the video of comedian Lee Camp tearing into Fox News, a lot of Faux News videos have been surfacing.

In this clip, Montel Williams speaks out about the lack of press coverage for the dying soldiers in Iraq in contrast to the press coverage on the death of Heath Ledger.

Within a week after Montel expressed his opinion on the "fair and balanced" network, his show was dropped from several Fox owned stations.

Interesting coincidence.

Original here

Top 10 Cult Classic Mid-80s Fantasy Adventure Flicks

Cult Classic Mid-80s Fantasy Adventure Flicks NavigatorAs any nostalgic 25 - 30 year old will tell you the mid-80s were a truly magical cinematic time for any kid to grow up in. In the wake of George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, we were bombarded with a cluster of imaginative, mystical live-action fantasy adventure films, which eagerly promoted a genuine sense of mischievous fun and adventure.

Tales of typically normal excitable youngsters going on epic adventures that lifted the heart stirred the soul and haunted our dreams. But it was the palpable sense of adventure that really convinced, giving us youngsters an achievable sense of daydream adventure - long before the internet or Xbox-claimed adolescent imagination.

Why the mid-80s? Give us another span of time where there was an equally audacious flux of films that dared to lift the lid on Pandora’s Box to capture our imagination and fiendishly tape into our most primal kiddie fears? So forget the CGI-bloated likes of Harry Potter, Golden Compass and the new Narnia adventures and let us divulge to you hecklerspray’s definitive Top 10 Cult Classic Fantasy Adventure Flicks from the Mid-80s…

1. The Goonies (1985)

How could you possibly compile an ultimate mid 80s film tribute list without including this cult classic from Superman helmer Richard Donner? It’s the tale of a group of young suburbanites going on a (frankly ludicrous) adventure to thwart the council from demolishing their family homes by seeking hidden pirate treasure in booby-trapped underground lairs. But what makes it more believable is its incredibly gifted and likable young cast. Move over Harry Potter, these kids have charisma! With the likes of Mikey, Chunk, Mouth and Data on your team you won’t need magical powers to accomplish a distinguishing characteristic. And yes that’s No Country For Old Men’s Josh Brolin playing Mikey’s teenage brother! And who could forget The Fratellis? The archetypal kiddie movie bad guys, headed by super-bad ass (but sweet as pie in real life - if you believe the cast commentary) old trouper Anne Ramsey. And it’s got Spielberg on executive producing duties and a great cheesy but catchy Cyndi Lauper music video to go with it – what more could your young hearts ask for?

2. Return To Oz (1985)

We weren’t really fans of the original Wizard of Oz movie but when Fairuza Balk came waltzing along with her talking chicken Billina and C3PO-type robot companion Tik-Tok we were overwhelmed by the results. And it was fucking scary too! What with those sinister, sub-Starlight Express Wheelers skirting around, those crumbling and gruesome claymation monsters and that hideous witch Mombi, with her eerie glass cabinet selection of limitless heads. No annoying musical numbers, no cowardly lion or clumsy scarecrow, (well not until later on anyway), just a gothic nightmarish adventure with startling baroque imagery in a mysterious, distant land where you will find ham sandwiches hanging on trees and an old man modelling red slippers.

3. Labyrinth (1986)

In our opinion Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly was never better than when she played the feisty 15-year-old babysitter Sarah in Jim Henson’s spellbinding adventure. David Bowie camps it up as the glamorous Goblin King, along with a slew of Henson’s imaginative puppeteer creations – and we don’t mind those catchy dance numbers either.

4. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Anyone remember the haunting chanting of the Egyptian Rametep? The hallucinogenic stained-glass window knight that suddenly broke away from its frame to demonstrate the impressive power of early CGI? Or the opening shocker where a turkey dinner comes alive to attack its consumer? Well that’s all from this cult special effects Oscar-nominated Sherlock Holmes prequel adventure – which was subtitled (Indiana Jones style): The Pyramid of Fear. Dreamt up by early Harry Potter helmer Chris Columbus, (with Spielberg once again on producing duties), this was a notable highlight for the young cast of unknowns involved and proved a chilling sweeping and deadly adventure, a world away from the archetypal cosy Peter Cushing/Basil Rathbone movie outings.

5. Explorers (1985)

Explorers was the warmhearted tale of a trio of kiddie science geeks who – masterminded by computer whiz-kid River Phoenix, (debuting alongside a painfully young Ethan Hawke) - convert a junkyard carousel car into a floating capsule capable of travelling into outer space. Although looking more like a glorified wheelie bin than anything NASA would conceive the capsule is their gateway to adolescent freedom and they use it like any other teenage kids would use it: to travel the world, explore the universe and of course peep on girlies getting undressed.

6. The Lost Boys (1987)

“Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire” went the encouraging tagline to this impressionable coming-of-age puberty flick (masking as a vampire movie). The Lost Boys is about two teenage brothers who rub shoulders with a leather-clad clan of blood thirsty vampires following their relocation to a new town in sunny California. A sequel is currently in the works, (welcome back Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog), but the original still holds up today as an irreplaceable nostalgic horror fantasy adventure… and Kiefer Sutherland is still the cool kid you wanna be when your strange.

7. Dark Crystal (1983)

Set in a dark and vast mystical world this is the penultimate moment when muppet maestros Jim Henson and Frank Oz ventured into the limitless realm of the feature film. It’s a testament to the sheer power of suspension of disbelief that we willingly surrender our soles to a land populated entirely by puppet creations, ranging from the grotesque eagle-like entities of the feared Skekses to the almost sickly sweet Gelfings. It’s not exactly ‘live-action’ but we like it.

8. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

This is the film that embraces the journey of a 12-year-old whizzkid who goes on a bombastic time-travelling adventure when he’s abducted by an alien space-capsule, piloted by a robot that looks bizarrely like your dentist’s examination lamp. But it’s a heck of a lot of fun even 20 years on! Hell, it’s even got a young Sarah Jessica Parker in it as an annoyingly friendly (when hasn’t she been annoying?) laboratory assistant.

9. Highlander (1986)

If you don’t get too distracted by Christopher Lambert’s dodgy Scottish vocals, or the ridiculously complex plot, then Highlander is still a thrilling adventure yarn to rival Flash Gordon. And just like that said sci-fi film it’s got a truly marvellous signature score by Queen. Fuck the sequels, reassert yourself with the masterly original.

10. Repo Man (1984)

Alex Cox’s superb science fiction film stars a young Emilio Estevez as Otto: a punk rocker who becomes the ultimate car repossession professional after helping to steal a wanted vehicle. The twist in the tale is that there’s some strange glowing object inside the boot of the car that’s got the attention of government agents and UFO enthusiasts alike. With classy support from veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton this was the film that put the ‘punk’ into punk rocker.

Original here

Batman’s Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death

A DREARY office plaza at Wabash Street and the river, late afternoon. A mist blows in from Lake Michigan. Producers and idle actors huddle under a flimsy canopy; grips hastily unfold another over their high-priced gear. A few stories overhead, a stunt double in a familiar black-caped costume swings from a hoist, slamming into a window in a Mies van der Rohe tower that we shall imagine is Gotham City Hall. A noose is around his neck, a knife plunged into his heart.

The meaning is clear: Batman, or at least his döppelganger, is dead.

Christopher Nolan, the director of “The Dark Knight” — the follow-up to his 2005 franchise reboot, “Batman Begins” — is unperturbed by the rain, but a tiny detail irks him. “Hey, buster!” he shouts to the stuntman, craning his neck skyward and raising his voice for the first time all day (politely, as ever, but enough so he can be heard). “Could you turn yourself a little more to the left?”

In so many ways this isn’t what you’d expect of a $180 million Hollywood comic-book movie sequel with a zillion moving parts, a cast of thousands and sets from here to Hong Kong. Anyone else would shoot indoors, use digital effects or wait for clear skies; Mr. Nolan rolls with the weather’s punches, believing that the messiness of reality can’t be faked. Another filmmaker would leave a shot like this in the hands of a second-unit director, but Mr. Nolan doesn’t use one; if it’s on the screen, he directed it, and his longtime cinematographer, Wally Pfister, worked the camera. Stars on any other movie would have fled to their trailers to wait in comfort until needed again. Here, Gary Oldman is watching and shivering along with everybody else, cracking jokes to keep warm.

Yet Mr. Nolan, 37, has barely changed his approach to filmmaking since his 2000 indie-smash “Memento,” the film noir in reverse starring Guy Pearce that Mr. Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, dreamed up, and Christopher Nolan made for $5 million. “A movie is a movie,” he says. So he’s still scribbling new dialogue on the set, improvising camera moves as he goes, letting his actors decide when it’s time to move on and otherwise racing through each day as if his money might run out. It’s just that his jazz combo of a crew has mushroomed into a philharmonic — with whole new sections of prosthetics artists, special-effects wizards and so on. “But we’re still all riffing off of him,” Mr. Pfister says.

That kind of maestro is just what Warner Brothers wanted five years ago when it hired Mr. Nolan to restore a jewel of a property that had become a laughingstock with Joel Schumacher’s 1997 reviled “Batman and Robin,” best remembered for George Clooney’s nipple suit.

But any risks inherent in giving over such a huge franchise, with so much history and potential, to an auteur untested at making blockbusters were outweighed by the need to re-establish credibility with Batman’s alienated fan base. “If the people who make the film aren’t taking it seriously,” Mr. Nolan said, summarizing fans’ view of the 1997 movie, “why should we?”

Now the question is whether Mr. Nolan’s vision of Batman can not only maintain its hold on the imaginations of comic fans and critics, but expand its reach to a wider summer moviegoing audience, even as the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” has added unanticipated morbidity to the film’s deliberate darkness.

But if Mr. Nolan was feeling any stress on the set in Chicago last year, his easygoing reserve concealed it. Dressed, as always, in his own somewhat formal uniform — dark blazer, waistcoat, French cuffs; a thermos of tea in hand; a wireless video monitor around his neck — he also seemed a bit of a throwback. While many filmmakers watch in seclusion on television screens, he stood next to the camera, always on his feet unless he was kneeling to whisper in someone’s ear. “Acting is such a vulnerable thing, you don’t want to be told in front of others that you’ve made a mistake, or ‘Try this,’ ” said Aaron Eckhart, who plays Harvey Dent, a district attorney. “Chris understands that.”

But then, it hasn’t been so long since Mr. Nolan bootstrapped himself into the film business, cobbling together bits of 16-millimeter film stock with $6,000 to make his first feature, “Following” (1998), over a year’s worth of weekends. “Memento,” which came next, was a critical smash, and with Steven Soderbergh’s endorsement, he landed his first studio assignment: directing Al Pacino and Hilary Swank in “Insomnia” (2002) on a $50 million budget.

That fall, after slaving over a screenplay about Howard Hughes only to have Martin Scorsese beat him to the punch, Mr. Nolan put together a passionate 45-minute pitch for rewinding the Batman saga to its beginning. Alan Horn, Warner’s president, approved it on the spot. “Besides his excitement about the story he wanted to tell, he just brings a certain weight and credibility,” said Jeff Robinov, the studio’s No. 2 executive, who had first tried to interest Mr. Nolan in “Troy.”

Three times the cost of “Insomnia” and far greater in scope, “Batman Begins” catapulted Mr. Nolan into the top tier of mainstream filmmakers. Critics mostly loved it, though some seemed to resent him for leaving the indie world behind. While not an overpowering blockbuster, with $205 million in domestic box office, it expanded the audience for Batman well beyond comic fans. And it gave Warner Brothers a superhero who could hold his head up next to Sony’s Spider-Man and Fox’s X-Men.

His Caped Crusader, Christian Bale (who also starred in Mr. Nolan’s entr’acte between the Batman films, “The Prestige”), recalls how “people would kind of laugh” when they heard that he and Mr. Nolan were taking Batman seriously. But when they finally saw the film, the same people “would say, ‘What a surprise,’ “ Mr. Bale said. “I believe that even the most popcornlike movie can be done incredibly well, and can have something that you really have to work at. That was what attracted me to doing it the first time, because I felt I’d never seen that done, and I didn’t understand why.”

It’s enough to make a marketing executive cringe, that the word “dense” pops up in conversations with Mr. Nolan and his actors. But it’s true: “The Dark Knight,” which will be released on July 18, is jammed with characters, plot and action. It picks up where “Batman Begins” left off, with Mr. Oldman’s police lieutenant, Jim Gordon, warning about the perils of escalation: that Batman’s extreme measures could invite a like response from the criminal element. And sure enough, a deadly new villain, the Joker, emerges to wreak havoc.

In a political context this would politely be called an “unintended consequence.” (Gotham as Baghdad, anyone?) Mr. Nolan doesn’t deny the overtones. “As we looked through the comics, there was this fascinating idea that Batman’s presence in Gotham actually attracts criminals to Gotham, attracts lunacy,” he said. “When you’re dealing with questionable notions like people taking the law into their own hands, you have to really ask, where does that lead? That’s what makes the character so dark, because he expresses a vengeful desire.”

In Mr. Bale’s view “The Dark Knight” is an even lonelier outing for his character, who once naïvely thought his crime fighting could be a finite endeavor. “This escalation has now meant that he feels more of a duty to continue,” he said. “And now you have not just a young man in pain attempting to find some kind of an answer, you have somebody who actually has power, who is burdened by that power, and is having to recognize the difference between attaining that power and holding on to it.”

It may not be too much of a stretch to see another analogy here for Mr. Nolan: Rebooting the Batman franchise may be behind him, but he still has to improve upon it. Sequels are always trickier. And now he must also navigate the aftermath of the Jan. 22 death of Mr. Ledger.

It came well into editing, and only after the studio had introduced Mr. Ledger’s Joker through posters, trailers and a six-minute Imax short. But it automatically raised the stakes: the acclaimed actor’s final role would be ... a comic-book grotesque? Worse, though Mr. Ledger had finished work on “The Dark Knight” in October and was already halfway through another film, news that the prescription drugs that killed him included sleep aids — along with narcotics — prompted Internet chatter about whether his intense performance as the Joker, styled after Malcolm McDowell’s in “A Clockwork Orange,” had been a factor in his demise.

Mr. Ledger, however, also called it “the most fun I’ve ever had, or probably ever will have, playing a character.” But his fatigue was obvious, said Michael Caine, who briefly overlapped with him. “He was exhausted, I mean he was really tired. I remember saying to him, ‘I’m too old to have the bloody energy to play that part.’ And I thought to myself, I didn’t have the energy when I was his age.”

Mr. Pfister, the cinematographer, said Mr. Ledger seemed “like he was busting blood vessels in his head,” he was so intense. “It was like a séance, where the medium takes on another person and then is so completely drained.”

Will Mr. Ledger’s death cast a pall over “The Dark Knight,” whose tragic plot turns already make it much darker than “Batman Begins”? “We’ll see,” said Mr. Robinov, of Warner Brothers. Mr. Nolan, for his part, said he felt a “massive sense of responsibility” to do right by Mr. Ledger’s “terrifying, amazing” performance.

“It’s stunning, it’s iconic,” he said. “It’s going to just blow people away.”

All the talk of darkness obscures what may come as an aesthetic surprise in “The Dark Knight”: the creepy shadows and gothic Wayne Manor are gone, replaced by sleek towers, shiny surfaces, bright lighting and the vistas of a city with shoulders bigger than Batman’s. “I’ve tried to unclutter the Gotham we created on the last film,” said Nathan Crowley, Mr. Nolan’s production designer. “Gotham is in chaos. We keep blowing up stuff. So we can keep our images clean,” setting a solitary hero against the vastness of Chicago.

Mr. Nolan said he tried to make “Batman Begins” realistic by taking Wayne out of Gotham for portions of the story. For “The Dark Knight” he wanted Gotham to seem straight out of the news. “We just let everyone know up front: this is a location movie,” he said.

Mr. Nolan does his planning in his own tricked-out lair: a converted garage behind his home near the Hollywood hills (and just down the street from the Batcave entrance in the campy 1960s television series). There he and his producer-wife, Emma Thomas — who gave birth to their fourth child last September — gathered with Mr. Crowley, Mr. Pfister, the costume designer Lindy Hemming and other department heads to brainstorm. It’s where Mr. Crowley designed the tanklike Batmobile known as “the Tumbler,” where Ms. Hemming came up with a uniform that finally let Mr. Bale turn his head at the neck and where she first pitched the idea of the Joker as Johnny Rotten.

If he barely uses storyboards, let alone the computer-animated “previsualization” wizardry common to effects-heavy films, Mr. Nolan is on the cutting edge with one technology. He used the unwieldy Imax cameras to shoot about 30 minutes of “The Dark Knight,” including the entire opening.

“We’ve been trying to talk filmmakers into doing this for nearly 40 years,” said David Keighley, an old Imax hand. And even after a Steadicam collapsed under the weight of an Imax camera, Mr. Nolan held firm. “If David Lean could carry a 65-millimeter camera through the desert,” he said, “why shouldn’t we be able to do this?”

“It scares people a bit,” Mr. Nolan says of what could be called his planned-out impulsiveness. “We just go and shoot the stuff, and see what looks the best and what works. But on a big movie, you actually have more freedom. You can say, ‘O.K., it’s 3 in the morning — can we get the police to close down that street?’ ”

Original here

Dual International Speed Racer Trailers Launch!

International Speed Racer Trailers

Apparently there is a brand new Speed Racer trailer playing in front of 10,000 B.C., but unfortunately I haven't seen it yet because I'm in Austin, TX for SXSW. While that trailer is still awaiting its online debut, Warner Brothers has launched two new international trailers for the summer movie. You need to see these - I am excited as HELL for this. I know I may be alone and I know this may create controversy, but it's designed to look like a video game and I think it's going to kick some serious ass. The Wachowski's are back and they're going to blow your mind again with Speed Racer, I guarantee.

I'd love to talk A LOT more about this, but I'll save my subjective statements until we have the official domestic trailer released. Stay tuned for more on that this week when that trailer hits.

Watch the FIRST new international trailer for Speed Racer:

Watch the SECOND new international trailer for Speed Racer:

I think people are completely missing the point with this movie - it's supposed to look like a video game, or more specifically, an animated movie. It's a visual style that The Wachowski's are inventing. Did anyone think bullet time was a real visual style for movies before The Matrix? I think not, and when you think that this is The Wachowski's, then you might realize that this will be as awesome as I'm expecting.

Original here

New Indiana Jones 4 Movie Poster - What Do You Think?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The (possibly) final theatrical movie poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan has been unleashed. The poster features the first official close-up look at the alien-like Crystal Skull and a snake crawling out from the foliage around the Mayan ruins (”Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”). Very cool, but I still like the initial Struzan design more because it was less busy.
Original here

Must Watch: First Righteous Kill Trailer

Righteous Kill Trailer

A trailer for one of the most anticipated films of 2008 - or the decade, really - has finally been unveiled. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will finally share the screen together in Righteous Kill. Honestly, I had to watch this a number of times, as initially I paid no attention to the plot, being so distracted by the simple visage of these two greats interacting with one another - almost tantamount to a Batman-Superman movie. But I fear that's where the appeal will end.

The story seems no more interesting, really, than a Law and Order episode. De Niro and Pacino are weathered cops after a vigilante killer, who appears to be targeting their previous collars. It's hard to garner much more from this eye-candy of a trailer, so perhaps screenwriter Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man) has some twists in store. The two 60-somethings at least play around with some big guns (metal, not muscle).

Most might remember the two had top billing in 1995 classic Heat. Despite the clever marketing, De Niro and Pacino had just a fleeting moment of interplay at the end of the film. Not exactly a satisfying display, which is why Kill is so anticipated.

Watch the trailer for Righteous Kill:

You can also watch the new Righteous Kill trailer in High Definition on Yahoo

Joining the two is a fairly forgettable supporting cast: Donnie Wahlberg, Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo and Brian Dennehy. Included in this group is also the very polarizing Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. Err… that's an odd choice. While the other folks can fade into the background more or less, 50 Cent draws a bit more attention by virtue of his persona and lack of acting ability. Thankfully, they've left him out of the one-sheet, despite promotional pics to the contrary.

Original here