Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trek Film 101

Leonard Nimoy is on board to reprise the role of Mr. Spock in the upcoming Star Trek XI and it looks like director J.J. Abrams is intent on bringing back William Shatner as Captain Kirk, if he can find a way to do so meaningfully. Given this optimistic bit of news about the franchise, I thought I would post all six movie trailers from Youtube, and also pose six questions about Star Trek film franchise history (in honor of the six Star Trek films featuring the original cast). I'd like to read your responses in the comments and see if we longtime Trek-perts are on the same page (or close to the same page...) about Trek filmdom. Based on your answers, maybe we can together intuit what we'd like to see in terms of tone, story etc. for Star Trek XI.

1. What is the best Star Trek film?
2. What is your favorite Star Trek film?
3. Which is the most underrated Star Trek film?
4. Which is the most cinematic Star Trek film?
5. Which Star Trek film best captures the aura or feeling of the series?
6. Which Star Trek film do you watch the least (even if you don't consider it the worst)?

My answers (but don't let it prejudice you...).
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
3. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Based on my answers, I guess I'd like to see an "adventure" film with a great villain like The Wrath of Khan, featuring the intelligence, intrigue and political commentary of The Undiscovered Country. Cinematically, I'd like the film to have the scope and grandeur of The Motion Picture, with some of the jaunty, esprit de corps and character emotionality of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Finally - though I appreciate humor - in the long run I prefer my Star Treks to be serious business, set in space or on other worlds (not Earth, past or present), and boasting situationally-appropriate humor but not prevalent humor. There - that's my perfect recipe for a Star Trek movie. What's yours?

And now, the movie trailers...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Antonioni too...Dead at 94

The bad news just keeps coming for film lovers. From the Boston Globe:

"Michelangelo Antonioni, cinema’s poet of postwar alienation, died yesterday at his home in Rome. He was 94. Mr. Antonioni had been in declining health since suffering a stroke in 1985.

...The Italian films that made him an international figure — “Il Grido” (“The Outcry,” 1958), “L’Avventura” (1960), “La Notte” (1961), “L’Eclisse” (“The Eclipse,” 1964) and “Red Desert” (1965) — became synonymous with emotional alienation, people left empty by material success, irredeemably isolated. Increasingly, Mr. Antonioni’s films became glacial in their detachment, self-consuming in their evocations of entropy."

So while you're at Netflix this week adding Bermgan's Persona to your queue, also add another great film: Blow Up (1966).

Monday, July 30, 2007

The House Between: The Vincenzo Diaries

A little update: The House Between: Year Two is in post-production right now.

I've cut together a preliminary teaser trailer (which I can't show yet - hah!), and completed some spfx experimentation for a battle royale that occurs in Episode 4. I'll be meeting with my DP, Rick Coulter, on August 10th, to go over his footage from the shoot. After I meet my next book deadline (September 1), I begin editing the episodes at full speed.

But, as work continues, I thought I might draw everyone's attention to The House Between discussion board, and - in particular - several new entries from Professor Vincenzo (Theresa's mentor...). These are excerpts from the book, Twenty Years on the Frontier of Death: The Death Experience and Shifting Death Iconography, and these entries fit into the overall "puzzle" of The House Between. They are rife with clues about many of the series' deeper mysteries, if you take the time to sift through them.

There are three chapter excerpts available at present. Please log-in and join us there. Happy reading.

Ingmar Bergman, Dead at 89

From the AP:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, an iconoclastic filmmaker widely regarded as one of the great masters of modern cinema, died Monday, the president of his foundation said. He was 89.

"It's an unbelievable loss for Sweden, but even more so internationally," Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, which administers the directors' archives, told The Associated Press.

...Through more than 50 films, Bergman's vision encompassed all the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, the gentle merriment of glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.

Bergman, who approached difficult subjects such as plague and madness with inventive technique and carefully honed writing, became one of the towering figures of serious filmmaking.

He was "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera," Woody Allen said in a 70th birthday tribute in 1988...

As with any cinema artist, the best way to remember Bergman is to watch his films. If you get the chance, check out two of my personal favorites: The Virgin Spring (1958) - which was unofficially re-made as Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (1972), and Persona (1966).