Movies

Dear Ellen, Yesterday morning, I awoke to discover you spoke to me directly on your nationally syndicated, award-winning talk show. I was stunned and humbled because I believe you are such an incredibly gifted comedian with a God-given gift to entertain and make people feel genuinely valued. You also have a megawatt smile that simply makes people feel happy. You concluded your remarks to me and the audience by saying, "The only way I'm trying to influence people is to be more kind and compassionate with one another." That's one of my goals as well, and in that same spirit, can I appeal to you to consider some thoughts although we share different worldviews? Contrary to what many may think having heard some quotes from my article, I approach you not as an angry, mean-spirited "...
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Dear Hollywood Movie Machine, What happened to you? Once, when I was a young man, fresh and bright-eyed and just out of film school, I came to Los Angeles and bowed down at the altar of your creative genius. I did not know exactly what I wanted from you, but your city seduced me with its palm trees and constant sunshine. Such a nice change of pace from the brutal Boston winters of my undergraduate years! And you accepted me, to the extent that you accept thousands of hopefuls like me every year, with fire in our hearts and visions of wealth, fame, success, and obscenely huge homes purchased and remarked upon in the Sunday Real Estate section of the Los Angeles Times. But after six long years marketing and distributing movies for a major studio, I could no longer justify...
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Dear James McAvoy I read with interest your comments in The Scotsman at the weekend. It’s a fair point you make about there being no movies dealing with the Highland Clearances. Hard to believe isn’t it? It’s one of the most significant landmarks in Scottish history, with no shortage of heartbreak and drama, but no one has yet dramatised it for the big screen. How could that be? Don’t think this is an accident or an oversight because it’s not. I was brought up in the town of Thurso, less than thirty miles from the worst of the Strathnaver Clearances, but the subject was never mentioned at school. Yet there were kids in our school whose grandparents had listened to tales told by their older relatives who themselves were cleared off the land. This wasn’t ancient history to us....
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Dear Mr. Lee, When asked about the bankruptcy of Rhythm + Hues, the visual effects house largely responsible for making your film Life of Pi as incredible as it was, you said: “I would like it to be cheaper and not a tough business [for VFX vendors]. It’s easy for me to say, but it’s very tough. It’s very hard for them to make money. The research and development is so expensive; that is a big burden for every house. They all have good times and hard times, and in the tough times, some may not [survive].” I just want to point out that while, yes R...
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Dear Gwyneth, I really enjoyed your recent comments to E! about how easy an office job is for parents, compared to the grueling circumstances of being on a movie set. “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” you said. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.” As a mother of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more! “Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning...
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Dear Peter Jackson, I thought there would be trouble when I read that you ‘believed there was enough footage’ to shoot The Hobbit in three parts. Many people stated that there was barely enough story to get two good movies, but you found a way Mr Jackson. Still my friends and I excitedly booked our tickets for the return to Middle-earth and we put our faith in the reliable hands of the director who brought us the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We expected familiarity and that’s what we got, starting in Bag End with the assistance of Elijah Wood. However after coming out of the cinema after An Unexpected Journey it was hard to say how I felt, our immediate reactions were: ‘we were in there a long time’. Unfortunately there was more disappointment than joy as we spoke about the...
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I’m a big film fan and the greater my interest in films has grown over the years, the more curious the Oscars nomination process appears to be. Each year the Oscar nominations are released and there’s always the occasional surprise and blatant snub for a poor actor or director who deserved a nomination. Of course I am well aware not everyone can be shortlisted, otherwise it would be a longlist. But the Oscars have become well known for the unfair and ruthless campaigning by film studios to ensure their work receives an award. Making it near impossible for indie filmmakers to win ‘Best Picture’, take Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom for example. Recently the selection process has been criticised (and quite fairly) by Joaquin Pheonix and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins, who is never one to...
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Dear Mr Jackson I have followed your career with interest and admiration, from your early days of low-budget Kiwi zombie films to the triumph that was your interpretation of the Lord of the Rings. I am not here to revisit and praise your Ring trilogy. You know it was a triumph, as do movie-goers, Tolkien fans, and film industry critics. Why then turn from the pinnacle of Tolkien’s storytelling powers, and your triumphs in producing three films that remain (largely) faithful to the original and awe-inspiring, to a children’s book? I have now seen the film, and I do think you should have left it well alone. Why, Mr Jackson, did you decide to spin out a book of 200 or so pages, into a massive trilogy? On that basis Lord of the Rings should have been 10 films, not three! What was...
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Dear Mr Warner. Of all the gin joints in all the world, you had to try and walk into Rick Blaine’s Café Americain. You couldn’t have timed it any worse. It’s 70 years since the release of the original film, Casablanca, the famous romantic drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Usually in every film critic’s top ten films of all time. Timeless, flawless (well almost). And then some dipstick money-making bozo with no sense of pride in the past of the US film industry comes along with a second-hand (see below) third-rate bottom-of-class idea. A re-make of Casablanca. I have to say it’s difficult to stop words falling from my mouth as shit from ass (as Batiatus would say in Spartacus). With a vitriol enema. The rumour is that because of the outcry against a remake from outraged...
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London, 8th November 2012 While 3D movies have been around for a sometime, there seems to be a proliferation of them in the last few years. The technology is definitely much improved from early 3D films. I remember seeing Andy Warhol’s “Flesh for Frankenstein” in the 1970s, a colour, soft-core porn/schlock horror film, when large swathes of the audience besieged the box office half-way through because the 3D not only didn’t work, it was giving everyone who wore the 3D cardboard glasses a headache. However my beef with 3D movies falls into three scenes- a) It’s not really 3D, b) the 3D can make a good film worse, and rarely if ever makes a good film great, and c) do film producers really know that audiences like and/or want more 3D films? This is my personal view, although I have...
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