Monday, November 30, 2009

Nominate, And Choose, J.J. Abrams' “Star Trek” for Best Picture

By Lars Trodson

The Academy Awards situation is rapidly and predictably reaching what we will call the “Dark Knight Dilemma.” The dilemma can be described this way: how does the Academy recognize the most popular films of the year even if the top movie critics in the country disagree mightily with the public.

“The Dark Knight”, of course, is the Batman sequel that broke box office records two years ago but was generally shut out at awards time (Heath Ledger notwithstanding). The low-grossing and utterly laughable “No Country For Old Men” won the big awards that year, a decision that history will no doubt regard in the same vein as rewarding “Forrest Gump”, “Chariots of Fire” and “Shakespeare In Love.” The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences knows that it has to start finding a way to recognize those films that make $300 million at the box office but are generally realized to be lacking in the artistic department.

Friday, November 27, 2009

'A Christmas Carol' Dubbed: Is It Still Jim Carrey?

Question No. 1: I was watching a French-language trailer for the new "A Christmas Carol" the other day, and while I can't be positive (someone may enlighten me), it didn't sound like Jim Carrey voicing the now French-speaking Scrooge. Yet as the credits rolled, in French, Jim Carrey was listed as the star.

If there is no actual Jim Carrey on film, and if the voice is not his in any of the dubbed versions of the film (say for the version in Greece), what actually is it that "stars" Jim Carrey? Some of the physical movements of the character? Maybe the way he flies through the sky while riding an outsized candle-snuffer?

It certainly made sense when you had a film with a real actor. I mean, if you went to see Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor" in France, it was still Jerry Lewis, no matter what the actor's name was that did the French dubbing. But this seems a little on the fringe. What do you think?

Question No. 2: Does the poster for the new Sandra Bullock film "The Blind Side" make her look like a Hobbitt?

 -- LT

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Dehumanization Of Movies: Scrooge Was Always Into Numbers, But Now He's Made Of Them

By Lars Trodson

Is it possible to adapt yet another version of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" without having read the book?

There are so many versions of this story -- starring everything from Barbie to animals to Muppets to Mr. Magoo -- yet all remain so faithful to the same template that it is not unreasonable to ask if filmmaker Robert Zemeckis even cracked open this modest ghost tale to make his digitized 3-D version of the story.

He may have read it, but his inspiration -- for the screenplay and not the look of the film -- appears to be other filmed versions of the story. Zemeckis even yanked, for no apparent reason, a reference from a lovely little 1935 English version of the story called "Scrooge" into his own. It's at the beginning of both films when a butcher throws out a chicken leg to some hungry kids.

In Zemeckis' version I think the butcher has the voice of Bob Hoskins (who also later voices old Fezziwig, alive again!). There's no specific reference to this butcher in the Dickens' text, but given that Zemeckis and his animators copied the shape of the window directly from the 1935 version (and also made it a basement window, as does the 1935 film) seems to indicate a preference for filmic sources rather than written ones.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Note of Thanks from Bill Gold

I always said that I was lucky to go to work everyday working in the movie business. I didn't make the movies, of course, but I was often responsible for the first impression of a film people were about to see. I was fortunate to be associated with so many famous films, to be sure, but I loved the movies and the filmmakers I worked with - the famous ones and the not so famous. I think that was one of the reasons I had such a long career. I admire people who make movies, and I'm a movie fan. I am grateful for the fact that so many creative people put their trust in me to connect the audience with their films.

I am also gratified by the reception my work has received over the years, and the recent attention given to it by the story on Roundtable Pictures (written so artfully by Lars Trodson). The comments I've received personally and on the website have meant a great deal to me. Thank you all to everyone who took the time to write.

For the next few months I'll be busy working on a book that will illustrate many of the posters I designed during my days at Warner Bros. and BG Charles and Bill Gold Advertising. There are more than 2,000 posters in a 63 year career, including versions people have never seen. The evolution of these designs is as fascinating as the making of the movies themselves. Each poster has an interesting story. I know these images are important to many of you, and they mean a great deal to me, so I think the story is worth telling. The book is scheduled to be published in late 2010.

Thank you again for taking the time to appreciate the work I've helped create.

All the best to everyone,

Bill Gold

Monday, November 9, 2009

Film New Hampshire announces upcoming screenings of our work

Click on the link below for the story on Roundtable Pictures screening its latest film, "Tuesday Morning," our Doritos ad, and our award-winning film "The Listeners" at the Red Door in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire-based Roundtable Pictures debuts new film and Doritos ad

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Check Out Our Doritos Ad

Mike Gillis and I had been talking about our next film -- one we hoped to start filming around Christmas -- when we also started to explore the idea of creating advertisements. There is, obviously, a real craft and art to making a great ad, and there is a kind of storytelling discipline to it that we find appealing.

One day, during these discussions, Mike sent me a link to a contest,, which was sponsored by Doritos and offered a million dollar prize. It seemed like the right thing to do, so I came up with a script, Mike started to talk to technicians and sound people, and we explored a few casting ideas. We immediately came up with a few names of guys we knew were funny, but not actors, and said let's just move right ahead. So we asked Scott Bourget, who is the CFO of the company I work for; Mark Dearborn, who is a graphic designer and who created the gorgeous Roundtable Pictures logo, and Chris Curtis, who is an actor and film programmer, and who also starred in our earlier short film, "A Bootful of Fish." They all said yes.

Mike talked to Jonathon Millman, who had shot our films "The Listeners" (2005) and "A Bootful of Fish" (2006), and Jonathon helped assemble guys like Sean Mitchell, who let us use his digital camera; Stan Barker, who did the sound, and Jason Santo, who brought his light kit, and Dave Langley and a whole crew of other people who filled up a beautiful house in Dover, NH for an entire day one Sunday.

The shoot was fun -- continuing the Roundtable ethos that you can try to create something worthwhile and also have a good time. We were supported by the fact that we had three great actors play the girlfriends, Angel Smith, Adrienne Montezonis and Dianna Larocque. They were all great.

Mike and I spent a couple of nights editing, and Mike picked out the music from the toolkit supplied by Doritos. He made sure the "Doritos crunch" was used properly, and he and I had a little celebration when we uploaded the video at his house one night.

Check out our ad by clicking the image below (click "skip intro" on the splash page to jump straight to the ad). If you want to look at others, visit To see what others have said about it, you can look it up under the title, "The Main Ingredient", or by director, which is Roundtablepictures. If you are sampling "all" videos, it's number 1496. Post a comment if you so choose.