Random Factoid #566

26 05 2011

With “The Hangover Part II” now in theaters, I thought it would be as good a time as ever to revisit some slightly old news from the series’ director, Todd Phillips.  In an interview with Elvis Mitchell of Movieline, he had this to say about the unrated edition of the original film:

“Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”

I certainly loved hearing someone in the biz back up my opinions as stated in Random Factoid #11:

“I hate watching unrated cuts of movies.  I always want to see the theatrical cut because after seeing ‘Bruno,’ I found out that anything can get an R-rating.  The director could include practically whatever he wanted, but there is a reason that he did not include it in the version that the masses go see.  So I figure that the rated version, while tamer, is probably what the director wanted you to see.”

And when I watched the unrated cut of “Date Night” last August, as reported in Random Factoid #386, I felt much of what Phillips described:

“I have a feeling that the word ‘3D’ is headed the way of the word ‘unrated.’  About a decade ago, ‘unrated’ was something fairly unique.  Now it has become a marketing gimmick to make a little extra profit off some unsuspecting consumers.  See the correlation?

Why did I decided to give this extended edition, basically a tamer way of saying unrated, a whirl?  The theatrical cut of ‘Date Night’ was so short that I wanted to see more.  And more I got.  Not sure if it was worth the 13 minutes of my sleep, but I still enjoyed some of the extra bits.”

His cameo in "The Hangover."

There’s a rhyme and reason for what directors do.  Pacing and timing is incredibly important, lessons I’ve learned from acting on stage, watching the play I wrote get directed, and from seeing plenty of movies where the two concepts are handled terribly wrong.  Especially in comedy, where timing is everything, the director has to establish the rhythm of the movie.

The material for unrated cuts belong in deleted scenes; if this were so, the viewer could still appreciate the humor without disrupting the structure of the film itself.  As much as a director may like something, it sometimes doesn’t work in the grand scheme of things.  I had to learn this lesson in the production of my play as several of my favorite dialogue snippets got axed.  But you do it because you care about how the work functions as a whole, not in one special moment, and Phillips seems to care about preserving the integrity of the whole.  Warner Bros. should respect the wishes of someone in the business who actually has such interests in mind.

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Random Factoid #451

22 10 2010

Dear Warner Bros.,

According to /Film, you are going to make a sequel to “Inception.”  That’s a poor decision.  If you ever want my business again, you will NOT make a sequel – especially not without Christopher Nolan, which you technically have the right to do.  This is not “The Land Before Time;” you cannot destroy it by making irrelevant sequels like that!

In fact, even if Christopher Nolan himself comes on board for the sequel, I’ll wonder to myself how much you paid him under the table.  This isn’t a movie that needs a sequel.  A new installment would just be shameless money-grubbing.  So be happy you got $300 million from a $175 million dollar production in the U.S. alone.  You’ve made enough money, now go find some other auteur and develop him to superstardom.  Leave Christopher Nolan alone!  There should be no reason for me to scream at you in veiled Chris Crocker references!

Sincerely,
Marshall





Random Factoid #439

10 10 2010

The score now stands at: moviegoers – 1, 3D – still too many conversions.

On Friday, Warner Bros. announced that they would abandon plans to release “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” in 3D because the conversion was not satisfactory.  All I can say is where was this logic when “Clash of the Titans” was being converted?  Here is the studio’s exact statement:

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality.  We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey.”

There aren’t very many times that a studio makes me feel like I, the moviegoer, matter that much.  But with this kind of news, I definitely feel important.  Along with many other dedicated fans, I have protested being ripped off by these hasty conversions for four unwarranted dollars.  However, by acknowledging that a bad conversion isn’t worth the alienation of fans, I certainly feel like I count for something.

All those complaining 3D factoids really weren’t for nothing then, I guess.

UPDATE 10/11: /Film has the whole story.  Check it out.





REVIEW: Clash of the Titans

3 04 2010

It’s a pretty rare feeling for me to walk out of a theater feeling scammed.  But as I pitched my 3D glasses in the eco-friendly disposal boxes outside my theater, that’s exactly how I felt.

After seeing the success of “Avatar” early this year, Warner Bros. decided to add an extra dimension to the release of “Clash of the Titans.”  Usually, 3D adds to the wow factor of a movie and enhances the experience.  This, as moviegoers are now beginning to learn, also enhances the ticket prices – and the more we go, the higher they climb.

But the only thing that 3D enhanced in my viewing of “Clash of the Titans” was my disappointment and indignation.  I like the technology, and I know that great filmmakers will utilize to create some truly incredible cinema.  But here, we see 3D at its worst.  When it is just arbitrarily added to any movie, then it truly becomes a boondoggle and a meaningless accessory.

It is now the responsibility of the American moviegoer to stop 3D from becoming an arbitrary embellishment, and it has to start here.  If studios and theater goers think that we are so smitten by 3D, then they will continue to take advantage of us.  Think a movie like “Clash of the Titans” being retooled for 3D is bad?  At this rate, we will have “Precious 2” playing in 3D in the coming years.  That idea doesn’t sound all that crazy to a studio executive with you $4 premium ticket price lining his pocket.

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