Monday, January 31, 2011

Roundtable Roundup: Sundance On The Mend?

Peter Knegt, who writes the The Lost Boy blog over at indieWIRE, posted a series of videos from the awards ceremony at the Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped this weekend. A running commentary on the winners, as they were announced, can be found over here at the festival's own blog. The festival has attracted some criticism in recent years for losing sight of its independent roots, if not its original mission. According to Sundance, the festival was founded "by Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, Sundance Institute has always provided a space for independent artists to explore their stories free from commercial and political pressures."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Roundtable Roundup: Honest Abe Slays, The Oscars Aren't So Social, And Southern Poetry

Variety reports 20th Century Fox is gearing up to launch production of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." With the casting of Benjamin Walker as the stake-toting 16th president, Fox hopes this pic will slay at the box office next summer. Based on a novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" follows the president from his early years, when his father reveals the existence of vampires, to his assasination by the vampire John Wilkes Booth. The novel received tepid reviews when released, but Fox thinks it can draw blood at the box office on the heels of an apparently insatiable appetite for all things vampire. But, really, Honest Abe turning back a Southern plot by vampires to kindle war and enslave a nation?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Will 'The Other Side Of The Wind' Let In A Little Sex?

Orson Welles with Gary Graver and Oja Kodar on the set of "The Other Side of the Wind."
By Lars Trodson

I would guess that it was not until 1973's "F For Fake" that Orson Welles finally discovered sex. As a film director, you see.

And it seems, from the brief clips available on YouTube, that Welles was even more interested in exploring sexuality in what was to be his last feature film as director, "The Other Side Of the Wind."

So, one of the great questions that may be answered when -- hopefully when -- "The Other Side of the Wind" is finally released is how Welles would have depicted sex on the screen. It is probably the one great human theme never explored in any of his films. It could be the most interesting thing about the movie. Although I think it will be exciting to see those scenes that we know Welles edited himself or to his specifications.

The possibility that "Wind" could possibly be shown publicly was reported on Nikki Finke's "Deadline: Hollywood" site just a few days ago. The announcement was not, shall we say, overreported in the popular press. It should have been greeted as though someone had found an undiscovered poem by Edgar Allen Poe.

But back to the sex. Prior to "F For Fake", which is to say just about the entire expanse of his career as a film director, Welles's films were decidedly sexless. Even when he directed the gorgeous Rita Hayworth in "The Lady From Shanghai", Welles was excoriated for cutting off her famous flame-colored locks and he (fictionally) married her off to a guy (Everett Sloane) who was hobbled by some sort or ambulatory affliction and who looked like an ogre. Some kind of sexy, indeed!