Chris Spicer

Chris Spicer (152)

Remember that time when they were making Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and George Lucas convinced Steven Spielberg that they didn’t need to really go on location this time, that they could just create an entire jungle set digitally and it would be perfectly fine?  The result was a jungle way less than convincing (further confounded by a bizarre army of horrifying CG monkeys and poor Shia LaBeouf swinging on vines like Tarzan), and it added to that droopy vibe that permeated Crystal Skull.

Most people probably haven’t considered this, but when you think about it, the Rocky films and the Star Wars films have quite a lot in common, despite being wildly different in terms of scale and subject matter.  For instance, both original films in these series came out at approximately the same time, the first Rocky in December of 1976 and Star Wars five months later in 1977.  Both films spawned five other movies in the series, all with varying degrees of quality.  Despite two of the six films in both series being directed by someone else, both Star Wars and Rocky are pretty much the creative vision of one artist, George Lucas and Sylvester Stallone.  Both were '70s movies that embraced a more old-fashioned cinematic style in a time when that style wasn’t particularly fashionable.  Both original films were nominated for multiple Academy Awards (11 for Rocky and ten for Star Wars), each with multiple wins.  Both produced some of the most famous movie music of all time from John Williams and Bill Conti.  Both are now beloved genre classics and are still massively influential on films that came after them.

*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.

Oh, fandom.  You make me so weary sometimes.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that after decades of foot-dragging on the project, Bill Murray had agreed to do a cameo in Paul Feig’s new, female-centric Ghostbusters that’s coming out next summer.  Dan Aykroyd is also said to have shot a small role for the film as well, and I would imagine Harold Ramis would have if he hadn't passed.  It’s kind of a big deal for Murray to be involved, as it does a lot to legitimize the project in the eyes of the fans.  Or at least you’d think that.

I’ve always been fascinated by behind-the-scenes stuff as it relates to the movie business, but, so often, nobody’s ever really willing to dish the dirt about what really happened. Sometimes, we wind up with a good tell-all book like The Devil’s Candy, which chronicled the disastrous film adaptation of Tom Wolf’s '80s bestseller, The Bonfire of the Vanities. More often than not, people circle the wagons and nobody really wants to step on anybody’s toes.

Oh, intellectual property rights.  You are a cruel mistress. 

You have a fickle tendency to expire, which makes people choose to do some strange things to retain or to appease you.  For instance, faced with the possibility of losing the film rights to Spider-Man if they didn’t produce a new film in a certain time frame and with no creatively viable option in development, Sony chose to reboot the franchise, sending Peter Parker back to high school again and casting an actor way too old to be a believable high school student.  The films were such creative and commercial disappointments that Sony’s going to be teaming with Marvel on Spider-Man going forward.

Reporting from The Los Angeles Film Festival Produced by Film Independent

Okay, first of all, the title is amazing.  With the exception of probably my mother, who doesn’t want to see a movie called French Dirty?  It’s provocative in the best, most fun possible way.  That the film is pretty good is a nice bonus.

Reporting from The Los Angeles Film Festival Produced by Film Independent

Body image has done a remarkable thing over the centuries. Our ideals have shifted with the times. Nowadays, the perfect body, at least as our media would suggest it, is one of a wildly competitive athlete, fit to a nearly ludicrous degree. Turn back the hands of time and a plumper version of the human form was more desired. What changed? Well, back in the day, a person who carried more girth around was able to do that because they had enough money to eat well. Being fat was a status symbol, because you had to be rich to be that way.

Reporting from the Los Angeles Film Festival Produced by Film Independent

I’m a Beatles fan. Most people are, at least to some degree. I mean, who doesn’t have a few Beatles songs that they love? Their body of work was so good and so diverse, ranging from Buck Owens covers to George Harrison’s sitar infatuations, that it would really difficult for the average person to not find at least a few of their songs really vital.

Reporting from The Los Angeles Film Festival produced by Film Independent.

They’re back. And, in a big, big way.

It’s been almost two years since last we heard from the artists at Pixar Animation Studios. Their last film was Monsters University back in the summer of 2013. The gap in releases was caused by their decision to retool a movie called The Good Dinosaur. It wasn’t working, so they decided to rip up the script and push back its release by 18 months. In the modern movie business, where release dates are more valuable than screenplays, it’s nearly unheard of for a major release to stop mid-production, switch directors, and make major changes. Pixar did it famously by doing a major overhaul of Ratatouille several years ago. They’ve been known to scrap entire projects that simply weren’t coming together. Who else does that? The Good Dinosaur finally arrives in November.

There’s a moment early on in the long-gestating third sequel to Jurassic Park, where characters discuss the need to keep making dinosaurs that are bigger and scarier. It seems that the public is no longer impressed by animals that have made quite an impressive comeback from extinction; they now look at a dinosaur like they would look at an elephant in a zoo. Living dinosaurs have become the status quo, so the DNA of new species has been discovered and Mother Nature has been fooled once again.

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