Movie Fact #576 – July 21st, 2014:

The upcoming 2014 black-comedy drama “Birdman” is about actor Riggan Thomson (Played by Michael Keaton) who tries to revive his career with a Broadway play after being known for years for portraying an iconic superhero called Birdman. This is interesting to the real life of actor Michael Keaton who was famous for playing Batman in Tim Burtons two Batman film installments which were 1989’s “Batman” and the 1992 sequel “Batman Returns”.

Like his “Birdman” character Thomson who turns down doing a fourth Birdman film in the narrative of “Birdman”, Keaton turned down reprising the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 1995’s “Batman Forever”, being replaced by actor Val Kilmer. He’s not the only one.

Actor Edward Norton, who plays an unknown actor character in “Birdman”, was famous for being suddenly replaced by actor Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk in 2012’s “The Avengers” after initially playing the character in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”. Also actress Emma Stone, who plays Keaton’s daughter in “Birdman”, was recently killed off in 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ after playing the character Gwen Stacy in this installment and the previous installment ‘The Amazing Spider-Man” in 2012.

Is this a union of exiled superhero franchise actors or perhaps a deeper analysis of the brutal business in the film industry. Either way, 2014’s “Birdman” should be quite a thought-provoking film.

Published in: on July 31, 2014 at 11:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #576 – July 31st, 2014:

“I’m 100% serious about not being serious.”

– Miles Teller, “The Spectacular Now”

Published in: on July 31, 2014 at 11:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #575 – July 30th, 2014:

The 1954 film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, based off the novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” written by author Jules Verne, had some location filming sequences that were so complex that they required a technical crew of over 400 people.

Some sequences, made before a time of CGI, presented many challenges as well such as the famous giant squid attack sequence attack which had to be entirely re-shot. The sequence in question was originally filmed as taking place at dusk and in a calm sea, but it was filmed again, this time taking place at night and during a huge gale. These changes were made to both increase the drama and to better hide the cables and other mechanical workings of the animatronic squid.

Given that this was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Productions, as well as the only science fiction film personally produced by Walt Disney, I can see why they wanted to get it right…and get it right they did.

Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 11:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #575 – July 30th, 2014:

“The subconscious is motivated by emotion, not reason.”

– Leonardo DiCaprio, “Inception”

Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 11:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #574 – July 29th, 2014:

Director Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut was the 1974 film “The Sugarland Express” was an interesting film for the upbeat director. The film was one of the his few that ended on a downbeat note.

Still the film had a number of unique technological aspects such as how this film was chosen by California’s Panavision Corporation to launch its new Panaflex, a compact camera that enabled Spielberg to shoot complex shots inside a patrol car. Not to mention Spielberg met composer John Williams on this film who would, as of 2012, score every Spielberg-directed theatrical film except the 1983 anthology film “Twilight Zone: The Movie” and 1985’s “The Color Purple”.

So basically, this film launched the career of one of the most legendary directors ever, a legendary collaboration between a director and a composer, and a new way to shoot scenes in cars. Overall, great first film for Spielberg.

Published in: on July 29, 2014 at 10:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #574 – July 29th, 2014:

“I know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong.”

– Emile Hirsch, “Into the Wild”

Published in: on July 29, 2014 at 10:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #573 – July 28th, 2014:

There was a time when CGI was not available to create a spectacle. The 1975 classic “Jaws” probably is one of the greatest examples as its main villain couldn’t be created in a computer back then. In fact, three full-size pneumatically powered prop sharks we made for production, nicknamed “Bruce” by the film crew after director Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Raimer.

The three types of shark models made were a “sea-sled shark”, a full-body prop with its belly missing that was towed with a 300-foot line, and two “platform sharks”, one that moved from camera-left to camera-right with its hidden left side exposing an array of pneumatic hoses, and an opposite model with its right flank uncovered.

The sharks were designed by art director Joe Alves during the third quarter of 1973 while the sharks themselves were fabricated at Rolly Harper’s Motion Picture & Equipment Rental in Sun Valley, California between November 1973 and April 1974. Their construction of the sharks involved a team of as many as 40 effects technicians, supervised by renowned mechanical effects supervisor Bob Mattey who was best known for creating the giant squid in 1954’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.

After the sharks were completed, they were trucked to the shooting location although it wasn’t easy. In early July, the platform used to tow the two side-view sharks capsized as it was being lowered to the ocean floor, forcing a team of divers to retrieve it. 

The model required 14 operators to control all of the moving parts and it worked to create a truly spectacular, suspenseful tale that would go down as a classic that today still grabs you.

Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 11:41 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #573 – July 28th, 2014:

“Wake up and live.  It’s a fast world out there.”

– Richard Dreyfuss, “Lost in Yonkers”

Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 11:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #572 – July 27th, 2014:

I love irony in film production. Most of the filming for the 1970 film “Airport” was at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport. At the actual airport, a display in the terminal, with stills from the field and the film, says: “Minnesota’s legendary winters attracted Hollywood here in 1969, when portions of the film “Airport” were shot in the terminal and on the field.” The irony here is, while most films suffer from rough weather they don’t need, as the rest of the display reads, “The weather remained stubbornly clear, however, forcing the director to use plastic ‘snow’ to create the appropriate effect.” Who knew a director would kill for bad weather for a change?

Published in: on July 27, 2014 at 10:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #572 – July 27th, 2014:

“When you’re used to being lonely and somebody comes in and moves that around, it’s sort of scary I guess.”

– Jane Fonda, “Klute”

Published in: on July 27, 2014 at 10:49 PM  Leave a Comment