Fascinating overview of the history of the movie trailer, e.g. the uniform style of older trailers was because they were generally prepared by the monopoly National Screen Service.
Fascinating to see the use of greenscreens even for commonplace scenes. The Ugly Betty example is amazing: easier/cheaper to film street and add an actor to it later than actually film them on location! Also interesting that the 2012 reel has fewer screens. Background replacement must be getting easier.
Maximus is returned to life by the gods to bring down Hephaestus, ends as immortal warrior-figure:
We intercut the following with shots of the dying stag from earlier in the film:
- Middle Eastern Battlefield: Maximus stands surrounded by hundreds of Crusaders as they battle a Muslim army. Everyone dies around him, only Maximus remains untouched.
- Europe: Maximus battles tanks in World War 2.
- Vietnam: Maximus battles Vietcong with a flamethrower.
- The Pentagon, Present Day: Maximus washing his hands in a men’s room sink. He stars at himself in the mirror…reflecting. Mordecai stands behind him…whispers: “Until eternity itself has said it’s prayers.” Maximus exits; proceeds into a large war room containing a dozen men in suits.
Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows.
If you only knew how strange it is to be there. It is a world without sound, without colour. Every thing there—the earth, the trees, the people, the water and the air—is dipped in monotonous grey. Grey rays of the sun across the grey sky, grey eyes in grey faces, and the leaves of the trees are ashen grey. It is not life but its shadow, It is not motion but its soundless spectre.
In a 1984 interview with Charles Tesson in Les Cahiers du Cinéma, Hu made a pretty surprising statement when discussing Come Drink With Me:"I didn't want to use real martial arts what we call real kung-fu. I had seen it in tournaments, I didn't find it very beautiful and I didn't understand a thing about it; as a matter of fact, I still don't." The question practically asks itself: how could a man with no interest in martial arts revolutionize martial arts cinema? The fact of the matter is, Hu never saw the martial arts in his films solely as "action"; for him, to have "action" occur on the screen was not enough to make a film an action movie. The kung-fu in Come Drink With Me (and in his later Wuxia films like Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch Of Zen) was never conceived as actual confrontation, but as dance, performance. In fact, the action in the film(s) is choreographed to the performing style of Beijing Opera and the rhythm and beat of its orchestral score (a score mainly performed by traditional instruments from Opera, the wailing flute and the Chinese tempo-drums).
Measurements like average shot length can be surprisingly illuminating.
Not that a free-as-in-beer license is really of much interest in this age of mass infringement, but still.
Studios gamble on blockbusters for the advantage of other corporate divisions, while lower-budget films still do spectacularly well and get better critical response to boot; old business models are dying or dead, but the luxury cinema and distribution for portable screening are on the rise. Le Cinéma est mort, vive le cinéma!