September 20, 2004

Raiders Of The Lost Ark & The Raiders Adaptation

raidersA once-in-a-lifetime double-feature: Raiders Of The Lost Ark, followed by the Raiders Adaptation, the ultimate fan tribute! Three kids in Mississippi, with nothing to do, recreated Raiders shot by shot, armed with nothing more than a camcorder and a obsessive ambition. With a little help from their friends, they cobbled together the entire film, with scrawny teenagers playing all the parts, with a loving eye for detail. Every line is delivered straight, with no snickering or looking at the camera. The full house at Coolidge Corner cheered every step of the way, admiring how these kids loved every detail of the movie we ourselves loved. Here's more on the making of the movie from Peter and Emily:

Eric Zala (who played Belloq) having a plaster cast of his face made for the final "exploding Nazi head" sequence. They used the wrong kind of plaster, the kind with a heating agent mixed in, so his face was burning, and then they couldn't get it off because his eyebrows and eyelashes (!) were caught in the plaster! They tried a hacksaw and a hammer and chisel (!!!!) before finally calling 911 and going to the hospital -- oh, and letting Mom know what was up. Unreal! This same kid also played the Ratty Nepalese, the guy whose back is on fire in the Nepal pub scene, and he got singed in that, and the production nearly got shut down completely due to lack of fire safety! Also, Nat asked about how they got all the dialogue so correct, and get this -- when they started out there was no VHS or laserdisc available, so they wrote it all out from memory! In the car on the way home, we were most amazed at how these kids stuck with this project for so long, and with such (relatively) high-quality results...everybody might have played "Indiana Jones" back then in the yard, but only for a day or two, not 7 years!

The submarine, by the way, was used by the kids after Chris (Indiana Jones) spent 3 years talking to the guy who owned a WWII submarine moored in Mobile Bay in Alabama and convinced him to allow them to shoot there, much to the bemusement of the local tourists.

September 18, 2004

Hero

heroThe theme of the film is 'Why We Fight'. One story is told three times, each time told with the same actions but different motivations: Love, Revenge, Honor, and so on. There are some beautiful moments and some Crouching Tiger-quality action sequences. Jet Li's character is a bit of a 2-dimensional enigma, however. The upper-middle-class, middle-aged, higher-education audience at the West Newton Cinema talked in spots throughout the film. The super-entitled crowd had to be shushed several times by your e'er vigilant moviegoer. Do these people think they are at home on the sofa, or do they think the whole world revolves around them?

September 8, 2004

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

I first saw Donnie Darko on DVD maybe a year ago. This Director's Cut re-integrates the Deleted Scenes I saw on the DVD Special Features, so there were no surprises, just a more fleshed-out film. I still find Donnie's sleepwalking encounters with Frank very scary, but the whole movie felt more pretentious this time around.
It's funny- Donnie Darko was not a success in theaters, but has gained a cult following on DVD. That means more people have seen the DVD (and have had the opportunity to see the Deleted Scenes) than only saw the original theatrical run. Usually people who watch a Director's Cut are seeing some footage for the first time, but I'm guessing the majority of viewers at the Brattle had already seen the extra scenes on the DVD. Way back in the early nineties, when Blade Runner was released as a Director's Cut, it had been released on laserdisc but I don't think the Director's Cut was released on VHS? I'm not sure.

September 4, 2004

98: The First iTunes Mix

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. Songs I bought on iTunes are in Bold:
  1. The Bar-Kays - Soul Finger (as heard in the 1980s comedy Spies Like Us)
  2. The Pointer Sisters - Automatic
  3. Philip Bailey & Phil Collins - Easy Lover (I always loved singing along with the harmonies in this song, but it only appeared on Philip Bailey's solo LP, and I wasn't about to buy a whole album for this one track. Long-story-short: this song is what 99c downloads were meant for!
  4. Hall & Oates - Private Eyes
  5. The Doobie Brothers - What a Fool Believes
  6. Prince - When You Were Mine (later covered by Cyndi Lauper)
  7. Wilco - I'm A Wheel
  8. The Rolling Stones - Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Used to great effect in the movie Goodfellas.)
  9. Jet - Get What You Need (obviously owes a debt to #8 above)
  10. The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart of Mine (used to great effect in an episode of Moonlighting.)
  11. R.E.M. - Harborcoat
  12. Guster - Amsterdam (Live in Portland, ME December 2002)
  13. Paul McCartney & Wings - Call me Back Again
  14. Ray Charles - Half As Much
  15. Trey Anastasio - Alive Again
  16. Los Lobos - I Got Loaded (used in Bull Durham, when they turn on the field sprinklers and go on a drunken escapade.)
  17. Tommy McCook & The Skatalites - GOldfinger (a ska song about the movie)
  18. Crystal Waters - Come On Down (A dance track whose chorus is based on the closing credits theme to The Price Is Right TV show.)
  19. Laura Branigan - Gloria (a big hit single right around the time I started listening to music.)