Monday, December 21, 2009

Cameron talks about AVATAR: says two sequels are possible, it's not anti-human, it's about aspiring to be better than we are

CAMERONThe film is definitely not anti-American. It’s not anti-human either. My perception of the film is that the N’avi represent that sort of aspirational part of ourselves that wants to be better, that wants to respect nature. And the humans in the movie represent the more venal versions of ourselves, the banality of evil that comes with corporate decisions that are made out of remove of the consequences.

SHOOT: Looking forward to more.
Zoë Saldana as Neytiri and Sam Worthington as Jake in “Avatar.”

In the New York Times article that John Anderson wrote on “Avatar,” you joked about doing a sequel based on the positive feelings you had about an early December screening. If you did make a sequel, where would you want to take this story?

I’m not going to give out any story scoops now. I have a story mapped out that actually spans two films. Not in the sense that you’d do a film that ends in the middle, like the typical second-act trilogy problem, but I have enough story arc to cover two more films. And if we do make some money and I talk to Fox and they want to move ahead with a sequel, then I’ll sit down and write something. And you and I can talk again!

When you wrote the film in 1995 and decided that technology wasn’t at a place where you could make it, what specifically did you feel like you couldn’t do at that time?

The big issue was the scale of it.
From left, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Moore, James Cameron and Sam Worthington on the set of Mr. Cameron's “Avatar.”
Zoe Saldana plays the warrior Neytiri in “Avatar.”
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barry Ronge's Review of AVATAR: It is one of the most beautifully imagined and created movies we have seen in years.

SHOOT: Funny when we emerged out of the press screening I said to Barry, 'Do you think the release of this movie was timed to coincide with the climate conference in Copenhagen?' He seemed doubtful, since, he said, they started the movie 3-4 years prior. But he made the same comment in his review.
“Avatar” is a thundering, adjective-defying, marvel of a film, so visually rich and acutely topical that you really have to see it twice. The 3D imagery is so natural and so seamlessly woven into the story, that you hardly notice it, which shows you just how well this special effect has been integrated into the narrative. The story is based on a shrewd and provocative inversion of a traditional science-fiction template - the “alien invasion”. It has been a staple of science-fiction movies for the last sixty years but in “Avatar”, Cameron turns that idea on its head.
That is not only an interesting inversion of a classic sci-fi format, it is also highly topical. It’s no accident that this film was released at the same time as the 2008 Copenhagen Climate Change conference was still in session. The themes of “Avatar” resonate powerfully and specifically with the goals and aspirations of those environmentalists, who are trying to set a new ecological time-table for planet Earth.
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Snow denies AVATAR record grosses, for now

Although “Avatar” made its debut in 3,452 theaters in North America, movies of similar scope have historically opened in even more theaters, and that smaller number may have held back ticket sales. There is also evidence that a shortage of 3-D theaters depressed opening results. Fox had hoped to have hundreds of additional 3-D locations available, but the credit crunch and industry squabbling has delayed technology upgrades.

Audiences seem to have swallowed Fox’s message that this is a film that should be seen in 3-D. Imax theaters — 179 in North America and 58 overseas — broke sales records, with every theater selling out. One signal of how “Avatar” could perform going forward: One Imax theater in London has already sold $1 million worth of tickets, $800,000 of which is for the weeks ahead.

SHOOT: I'll be watching AVATAR for the 3rd time this week. That puts it on a par or better than Dark Knight.
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The movie will need to demonstrate supernatural hold on audiences in the coming weeks to avoid becoming a financial calamity for Fox and its financing partners, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners. “Avatar” ended up costing around $310 million to produce (although tax credits will shave about $30 million off that bill) and an estimated $150 million to market.

Overseas “Avatar” opened in 106 countries, selling an additional $159.2 million in tickets for a worldwide gross of $232.2 million, Mr. Aronson said.

Tom Rothman, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, said in an interview, “We believe, especially given that women worldwide responded so strongly, that this is just the start.”

Given the cost, glowing critical reviews and Mr. Cameron’s “Titanic” résumé — not to mention that the 60 percent of the theaters playing the film were charging an additional $3 to $5 for 3-D presentation — analysts expected “Avatar” to sail past previous December behemoths.

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AVATAR: Interesting 'White Guilt' Interpretation

SHOOT: As I say, I find this interpretation [see below] interesting. But I think if you're seeing racist overtones in AVATAR you must be a very sad person, because the far greater message is one of resurrecting our humanity, of re-connecting with each other, and the environment.
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Avatar is a classic scenario you’ve seen in Hollywood epics from Dances With Wolves, Dune, District 9 and The Last Samurai, where a white guy manages to get himself accepted into a closed society of people of color and eventually becomes its most awesome member.

A white man who was one of the oppressors switches sides at the last minute, assimilating into the alien culture and becoming its savior.
These are movies about white guilt. Our main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color – their cultures, their habitats, and their populations.

The whites realize this when they begin to assimilate into the “alien” cultures and see things from a new perspective. To purge their overwhelming sense of guilt, they switch sides, become “race traitors,” and fight against their old comrades. But then they go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mandela in INVICTUS provides an example of the leadership needed in Copenhagen

Mandela and Pienaar could have so easily lost. However the nations who dare to transform their fossil fuel based economies into sustainable renewable energy economies first will almost certainly gain a lot.

Mandela would have known the right answer. We should hope that the world leaders that will be coming together in Copenhagen later this week will find some of his inspiration for their talks and meetings.

Fear of revolutionary change is the motivating factor behind widespread resistance to renewable energy.

SHOOT: Great article, very true.
It is a beautiful film with Morgan Freeman (Mandela) and Matt Damon (François Pienaar). And it's a lesson in statesmanship. As Freeman says in the film to his angry black supporters who don't understand why he wants to keep the Springboks (and Mandela might have well said the same): "You elected me to lead you. Now let me lead you". Mandela withstood vested interests and built a new nation.
That's exactly what government leaders around the world now need to do as well in response to the challenge posed by global warming: withstand vested interests and build new clean energy economies. It is hard to expect the oil industry with all its related political interests to easily and happily join in the transformation of the economy.
However politicians representing the interests of the people at large should, like Mandela, point the way and make the shift to clean energy happen. Their "gamble" is hardly as risky as Mandela's was.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

'Avatar' star Sigourney Weaver as queen of sci-fi: 'Outer space has been good to me' [UPDATED]

She will be sitting down in the weeks to come to watch all of “Alien” films as part of the process of recording commentary for the upcoming Blu-ray release of the four-film franchise.

“I’ve never done that, watched all of them in a row,” Weaver said. “I just recently made my [19-year-old] daughter watch them. She had never seen them before, believe it or not. I think she just prefers to think of me as good ol’ mom, you know, not some person running around a spaceship with a flamethrower.”

SHOOT: I recently watched all the 'Alien' movies in a row. Awesome franchise.
Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver, with a chuckle, says she will never grow tired of space travel. “I’m always up for going to another planet,” the three-time Oscar nominee said. “Outer space has been good to me.”

This is the 30th anniversary of Weaver’s career breakthrough with her role as Ellen Ripley in the first “Alien” film. But far from resting on her laurels, the 60-year-old actress is again on extraterrestrial active duty with “Avatar,” the James Cameron sci-fi epic that opens Dec. 18.

Weaver plays botanist Grace Augustine, who is mentoring a brash young marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in the beautiful but treacherous jungles of Pandora, an inhabited moon that humans hope to conquer for its natural resources. Weaver is the biggest name in the cast and was thrilled to reunite with Cameron, who directed her in “Aliens,” her 1986 reprise of the Ripley role.

“It’s absolutely my favorite fan base,” Weaver said. “I love those guys.”

Galaxy Quest
Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3
"Avatar": Like "Matrix," it opens doorways
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sigourney Weaver Interview: "Just relax and let your mind go blank," she tells him, then adds with withering nonchalance: "It shouldn't be hard for you."

This is the Weaver they know and love: spikey, brittle, intelligent, the Weaver who could take on the universe's most dangerous alien and live to make the sequel.

SHOOT: She's an original with a lot of rebellious, but sensible energy. The world could do with a lot more Sigourneys.
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Sigourney Weaver

One of the first things that people think about when the name Sigourney Weaver pops into conversation, along with her braininess and patrician elegance, is her height. You only have to think of the scene in Infamous when she dances with Toby Jones playing Truman Capote, in which his head reaches somewhere around her navel.

Then there's the story about how she acquired her name. She was christened Susan, but when she was 14 she decided it didn't suit a person like her who was 6ft tall in her shoes. So she seized on the name Sigourney, having spotted it in The Great Gatsby. Sigourney seemed to her to be long and curvy: much more appropriate for someone her size.

She smiles in affirmation. "And I haven't got parts in conventional love stories because of my height."

The upside of such blatant discrimination is that the directors she has worked with, she says, have all been what she describes as "wild men. And I'm very grateful for that."

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Rumpelstiltskin and the ogre return for the last: 'Shrek Forever After'

SHOOT: This ought to be good.
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Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) in Shrek Forever After. Rumpelstiltskin returns for the final film after making brief pop-ups in Shrek 2 and 3.

The premise is the Brothers Grimm meetIt's a Wonderful Life: After rescuing a princess, getting hitched and fathering triplets, Shrek is feeling over-domesticated. "He has lost his roar," says director Mike Mitchell (Sky High, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo). "It used to send villagers running away in terror. Now they run to him and ask him to sign their pitchforks and torches."

To regain his ogre mojo, he strikes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, the wee troublemaker who popped up briefly in Shrek 2 and 3.

Shrek must confront what life would be like in Far Far Away if he had never existed. That translates into Donkey being forced into cart-pulling duty, fat and lazy Puss in Boots trading his sword for a pink bow and the underhanded Rumpelstiltskin ruling the kingdom.

So does Shrek Forever After wrap up with everyone living happily ever after? "I hate to give away the ending," Mitchell says, "but yes."

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Monday, November 23, 2009

"New Moon" opened to $274.9 million, the sixth-highest worldwide debut of all time

SHOOT: I think it's opening weekend, or opening night, was the biggest in history. Sorry but I'd prefer The Dark Knight to remain #1.
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Summit Entertainment underestimated the film's worldwide ticket sales by $16.1 million. The latest opening-weekend total is $274.9 million, but overseas box office figures are still trickling in.

Summit Entertainment's estimates of how many filmgoers outside North America saw "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" was low. Way low.
Its new opening weekend overseas total, $132.1 million, is $14 million, or 12%, higher than its estimate Sunday morning of $118.1 million. Combined with the newly updated domestic total of $142.8 million, which is $2.1 million higher than Summit's Sunday morning estimate, it turns out that "New Moon" opened to $274.9 million, the sixth-highest worldwide debut of all time.
Foreign countries where the movie opened big include Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Italy, Mexico, Russia and Spain.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon Review: "Jacob has secrets of his own that soon emerge, first in the form of some massive biceps. My, what big muscles you have, Bella tells him, nicely exposing her inner wolf"

SHOOT: Thought you might be interested in this NYT review.

Edward saves Bella, but soon decides to split town. Dead or alive, men can be brutes (authors too): he also tells her that she’s not good for him, leaving her bereft. This act of cruelty throws her into a long depression that the director Chris Weitz (“The Golden Compass,” “About a Boy”), having taken the filmmaking reins from the sloppier if more energetic Catherine Hardwicke, tries to translate into cinematic terms, mostly by circling Bella with the camera as the months melt away. Ms. Stewart’s darkly brooding looks are convincing, but her lonely-girl blues soon grow wearisome, as does the spinning camera.
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The Twilight Saga:  New Moon

The big tease turns into the long goodbye in “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” the juiceless, near bloodless sequel about a teenage girl and the sparkly vampire she, like, totally loves. When last we saw Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her pretty dead guy, Edward (Robert Pattinson), in “Twilight” — the series hadn’t been saga-fied yet — the two had pledged their troth, a chaste commitment solidified during moody walks in the woods, some exhilarating treetop scrambling and a knockdown fight with a pack of vamping vampires.

The problem, already evident in the first movie, is that a vampire who doesn’t ravish young virgins or at least scarily nuzzle their flesh isn’t much of a vampire or much of an interesting character, which initially makes Edward’s abrupt and extended disappearance from the second film seem like a good idea. “New Moon” opens with a seemingly content Bella turning 18, a happy occasion that takes a frightening turn during a party at Edward’s house.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Movie Meat Reviews: Twilight New Moon

Bee stung lips, Bare chests and Broken promises – by Nick van der Leek

And blood from paper cuts of course. Brace yourself because the next installment of the 'Twilight' Saga is the same animal as the first, just deeper, darker, fiercer, and more grown-up. The attention to detail and faithfulness to the spirit of Stephenie Meyer’s stories was preserved - you'll be happy to hear - through the entire production process. And it's because you really do sense Meyer's quintessential depth-of-detail that fans will love ‘New Moon’. Compared to ‘Twilight’ there’s more action – lots more – more anguished depression and, phew, more excitement in ‘New Moon’, if that makes sense.

If it doesn’t, not to worry, there are plenty of bare naked male torsos onscreen for the girls. For the guys, well, two words: Kirsten Stewart. Sean Penn, who directed her in ‘Into The Wild’ says, “She is a real force with terrific instincts.” The kicker is we know now exactly what he means. In ‘New Moon’ she’s as soulful as ever, and that innocent but not too innocent sensuality is there for the taking, or so it seems. Bella’s booty is behind, once again, what the vampiric fussing and fighting is all about.

Females with a crush on Edward [Robert Pattinson] get teased in the beginning, but will be disappointed to hear that for vast chunks of this flick they have to go without Mr. Pale-and-Sensitive. The ladies are in for a treat though, because while Pattinson is on leave, a pack of wolves is running around. Personally I found the amount of screen time devoted to abs, biceps and bare chests quite amusing. More on that in a moment.

The Saga is a success, and so is this episode, because everyone involved understands how powerful and important subtlety is when mixed with vapid melodrama. It’s in the delicate details, the nuanced acting, the colors and hues, that ‘Twilight’ transforms into something special beyond what would otherwise be an insipid and almost nonsensical plot. Think about it: ordinary high school girl falls in love with a sensitive vegetarian vampire. In ‘New Moon’ we visit the more advanced complications in Bella’s plight with the Cullen vampires.

Director Chris Weitz [‘The Golden Compass’] delivers on every level: his color palette is immaculate, his werewolves credibly incredible [I loved the close-up fairy-tale quality of Bella shining in the wolf’s eye.] Even the music is both haunting and soothing. Rolling Stone describes the music on ‘New Moon’ as “living up to the story because it captures the day-to-day bleakness, along with the sexual obsessions seething under the surface.”

Director Weitz soars most of all by tapping into that most subtle of virtues, the essence of these sagas, which the balancing of that melodrama. There’s just enough melodrama to almost satisfy deep-seated teenage angst, just too little to keep bloodthirsty teenagers hungry for more. And if you’re older, prepare to have forgotten memories surface. If you’re one of those people who has seen the first installment over and over again, you’ll be pleased to hear that ‘New Moon’ also has those simple but exquisite touches mixed into deeply layered and darkly impenetrable plots. What are they thinking? Why do they make the decisions they make? Why must they resist? But then what could be simpler than a girl turning eighteen and saying this to her boyfriend:

Bella Swan: It's my birthday, can I ask for something? Kiss me.

‘New Moon’ is riveting because the cast are skilled and watchable. For the guys, besides Kirsten, there’s Edward’s sister Alice [the darkly delicious Ashley Greene] while ladies get to salivate over Jacob [hunky Taylor Lautner] who spends most of the film in a state of undress. Lautner has described the amount of passion surrounding Twilight as “not normal.” Of course, ‘New Moon’ offers plenty of new characters to feast hungry eyes upon.

While the vampires have gifts ranging from mind reading to reading the future, in ‘New Moon’ the focus falls on an entirely different place: a pack of hounds with a different set of gifts. They excel at brute force, at speed, and loyalty, and savagery, but they falter in that they are less sophisticated, less capable of reigning in their own passions. Love can be blind when you’re not trying to hold back on your desires. Even so, there is something puppy-like and grounded about the wolf pack – they’re warmer and easier to affiliate with than their cold and prudish, but elegant counterparts.

While vampires are chosen by design [their own one would imagine], the werewolves are chosen by fate. The werewolves are more children of nature, children of the forest than the lunar-skinned vampires, who somehow seem more terrifying, more abominable, despite their civilized exterior. So where do the werewolves come into it?

A gene is activated by the presence of vampires straying onto the ancient territories of a tribe known as the Quileute. These ancient people evolved as protection against vampires. The gene manifests in a particular group of young men [all Native Americans] when vampires begin to stray onto their lands, in violation of a treaty.

The gene has the rather nasty side-effect of creating an insatiable desire to have long locks cut off, but this is offset by being unable to resist tearing shirts off. The wolves in ‘New Moon’ are a combination of Native American peoples, including Sioux and Cree. Their presence, it must be said, adds an authentic animus quality to the series, a dimension that both deepens and broadens the mythology in a meaningful way.

The Battle on Facebook

On Facebook, two opposing groups have started, a Team Edward group, and a Team Jacob group. Author Stephenie Meyer says, “The whole Team Jacob/Team Edward thing is based on the type of boy that an individual is interested in. If I were for a team,” Meyer enthuses, “I’d probably be for Team Jacob. That’s more my style. If you believe you can develop a deep friendship and then all of a sudden fall in love later on, then you should be in Team Jacob.” What about Team Edward? “If you believe in love at first sight and seeing the mysterious man in the corner, then all right, join Team Edward.”

The overcast weather, stormy seas and dark forest settings feel consistently damp… and something else. The outdoors feels very real. The sea is a rough, heaving backdrop, so is the bruised, unsettled sky. Then there is Bella’s red truck, school, snaking wet roads, modern timber and glass houses, inner sanctums [also known as bedrooms], even the soil always feels rich and moist, like wet cake. None of that unreal, commercialized, postcard sunnyness lives here.

I believe the power in this saga is wrapped up in the many metaphors, both visual and contextual, that remain sensibly coherent, and as such, ring true. It’s compelling because it’s these symbols that stir something up inside most of us. Memories and longing, but mostly longing.

Bella Swan: The absence of him is everywhere I look. It is like a big hole has been punched through my chest.

The longing remains sharp, painful and dangerous throughout, and it is this perhaps more than anything else that resonates. Because in ‘New Moon’ the longing is haunting and especially beautiful.

Beyond the ordinary

People who only catch glimpses of this flick might wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, isn’t the ‘Twilight Saga’ interchangeable with any other series out there? Isn’t it just Smallville-goes-ghoulish or the rural teenage version of Desperate Housewives? ‘Twilight’, like many other dramas out there, accentuates the ordinary. But let’s face it, teenagers lives, even when they’re ordinary, don’t feel that way.

Think of the experience of teenage love and infatuation, the secret keeping, the awkward alliances, the unspoken loyalties, the addictions [blood in this case rather than heroin] the sometimes deadly experiments, the silliness, the shifts in status quo that are sometimes impossible to fathom even though their realness is never in dispute. We can all identify with the potency of those first feelings, which is why ‘Twilight’ is such a triumph. Teenage angst trumps what we’ll feel for the remainder of our lives.

Bella [Kristen Stewart in fine form] epitomizes in ‘New Moon’ an idealized teenage existence, even the longing is idealized. The ever-distant and inward-looking Edward appears to her in ‘New Moon’ as a protective ghost. He’s there even when he is absent. Bella’s vampire-lover admits, helplessly, that his very existence is because of her.

Edward Cullen: [to Bella] You're my only reason to stay... alive. If that's what I am.

A gay reviewer sitting a few seats from me crossed and uncrossed his legs each time male flesh appeared, so much so that eventually his seat in the cinema might have become a bicycle he was pedaling. Put it this way: I think I understand what girls must feel like watching movies filled with mostly naked women, where breasts are the fulcrum of attention. In ‘New Moon’, there are no boobs in sight, but plenty of knuckled abs shining in the rain. Do I hear cheering?

In the real world these guys would be suffering from hypothermia, and Edward would be arrested for being too cheesy, or at a minimum, labeled a laughable stalker, a lovesick loser, a pathetic poepol, because when you grow up you realize that anyone who thinks you are their entire universe really does have some growing up to do. You know this because once upon a time your entire universe laughed at you for being so naive and lost in your emotions.

But then Edward isn’t your average teenager in the ‘Twilight’ mythos. He’s allowed to be cheesy because he’s not helpless or weak, or even juvenile, but quite the opposite. He’d very old, and dangerously strong. Bella loves the combination of his incredible vulnerability towards her coupled with his strength. Bella’s great hold over him, and all the other vampires, is her mystery. They can’t read her mind, but despite the threat posed by their uncertainty of her thoughts, her mortal love for them,and Edward in particular, is obvious.

Edward Cullen: Happy birthday
Bella Swan: Don't annoy me.
Edward Cullen: Bella your birthday is definitely something to celebrate.
Bella Swan: But my age is not.

Many adult reviewers may finger ‘New Moon’s’ narcissism, but then it’s not a movie directed at adults. In the same way ‘Harry Potter’ has a specific audience in mind, and ‘Star Wars’ is meant to be a fairy tale, so too is the mythos of ‘New Moon’ meant to inspire not real love but idealized love.

Loving the Shakespeare way

Why else do we see an opening scene of Bella with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on her pillow? These idealizations remind us of the furious flame of passion and the intense icicles of hurt that are part and parcel of first experiences at intimacy. The vampire mythos does nothing to detract from the reality of those feelings. The more exotic settings, the forests, the wolves, the damsel, the castle, the kings on their thrones, the jousting; all these agents powerfully collaborate on a symbolic level to extract the very potions and poison that heat and chill our blood.

‘New Moon’ is perfectly paced, and wonderfully poised; it brushes large swathes of credible emotion interspersed with iris tickling fantasy scenes. Director Weitz’ inclusion of special effects is appropriately elegant; they seamlessly flow through the film tapestry like stars in moonbeams.

What I found strangely enjoyable was how, towards the final third of the flick, the audience, especially the ladies [who obviously appreciated the generous displays of abs] began to giggle and chortle. The sweeping promises begin to wear thin towards the end, as we must know they will. How can we promise to love someone forever when – as a teenager –tomorrow the world may be a completely different place?

I think it’s difficult not to appreciate that if you’re Bella, having entire clans warring over you, having search parties patrolling the forests at your service, well, all this has got to be quite flattering. It’s every little girls dream. And what’s wrong with retreating into your inner child once in a while? Well, mark these words, ‘New Moon’s’ ending is likely to remedy such childish notions.

Score: 8.5/10 [For teens and Twi-hards a solid 9]

Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to shoot nudity and keep it sexy

SHOOT: Natalie Portman is a beautiful actress, and respected. How doyou shoot her in a nude scene and keep it both sexy and respectable. Watch the video [click on the link below] and you'll see how it's done. You have to have a mixture of tension and keeping your audience guessing. This technique allows your imagination to fill in the missing pieces.
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We reported earlier this month that Natalie Portman [photosNatalie Portman photos] appears nude in Wes Anderson's short film 'Hotel Chevalier'.
Well, the short film has finally been released to the public. It stars Jason Schartzman and Natalie Portman and was supposed to be shown as a prologue to 'The Darjeeling Limited' but Fox Searchlight didn't go ahead with the idea and it will likely only be shown at festival screenings, and be included on the DVD.
But in any case, the scene features Natalie Portman nude, with the actress baring her bottom in the much talked about scene, while strategically covering up the rest of her. It's been described as 'the sexiest thing that Wes Anderson has ever done' by UK publication 'Timeout London'.
Natalie Portman Nude Hotel Chevalier
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If (500) Days of Summer is not a date movie, then it is because of the risk of the date being dumped for the movie.

AO Scott: “(500) Days” finds just the right scale and tone, neither trivializing nor melodramatically overstating the delicate feelings it explores.

SHOOT: This look like a refreshingly worthwhile movie. I get to see a preview on Friday.
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(500) Days of Summer
The print advertisements qualify his words, describing this slight, charming and refreshingly candid little picture as “a story about love.” Which it is: a story about how love can be confusing, contingent and asymmetrical, and about how love can fail. Given all this, it’s somewhat remarkable that “(500) Days,” the feature directing debut of the music video auteur Marc Webb, is neither depressing nor French.
The governing commercial calculus these days seems to be that dudes want smut, ladies want weddings, and a picture (like “The Hangover,” say) that delivers both will make the audience happy and the studios rich.
Anatomy of a Scene: '(500) Days of Summer'
So a winsome, accessible movie about more-or-less recognizable young people navigating the murky waters of post-sexual-revolutionary, midrecessionary heterosexual attraction has a novelty and a measure of bravery working in its favor, whatever its shortcomings.
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