Hnetflix

Hnetflixby Shane “Shaky Cam” Hnetka

Harvey Weinstein is back at it. The notoriously difficult Weinstein, who runs Miramax films with his brother Bob, forced filmmaker Kar Wai Wong to cut 20 minutes from his latest masterpiece, The Grandmaster, for its U.S. release.

At least that movie — about martial arts legend and Bruce Lee’s teacher, Ip Man — made it to theatres in a reasonable amount of time. Joon-ho Bong’s Snowpiercer, an interesting-looking new science fiction movie about a post-apocalyptic, ice-covered world, was also cut by Weinstein — and there’s no word on a theatrical release.

There’s one film, though, that the Weinsteins’ let sit on a shelf for SEVEN years that’s finally coming to North America.

I was trying to figure out why All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) was suddenly on IMDb’s “coming soon” movie trailer page. The film was released all over the world (with the exception of North America) long ago. Why it’s getting released now is anybody’s guess. I’ll wager it’s because the film’s director, Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies), is now successful enough to have his first film released.

But who really knows what goes on in Harvey Weinstein’s mind.

BATFLECK

Wow! Internet nerds are a testy group. When Warner Bros. recently announced that Ben Affleck would play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, the complaints flew faster than a batarang. There have even been petitions. It’s not really anything new: when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman back in the 1980s, Warner Bros. received 50,000 letters asking them to dump the actor and hire someone with a chin. The new petition against Affleck (who has a nice chin) has passed 65,000 signatures. Despite winning an Academy Award for Best Director, Affleck still has the stigma of sucking as an actor. But come on, he isn’t that bad. (Though I’m not sure about him as Batman. I recently watched Dredd and I think Karl Urban would’ve been a way better choice. But that’s just me.)

Warner’s Man of Steel wasn’t exactly about plot, character development and acting anyway. You can put anybody in a costume and have them spend two hours fighting, and as long as it looks cool nobody’s going to notice the acting.

CHAOS CINEMA

There was a group of short video documentaries going around in 2011 discussing what was termed chaos cinema — specifically, the style of action-scene direction that has permeated movies over the last decade thanks to directors like Michael Bay and Paul Greengrass. I just discovered this stuff on YouTube. Looking over the videos and articles all over the Internet, it’s strange that I missed all the hubbub. Anyway. The documentaries were made by Matthias Stork and highlight the shaky cam, fast cutting, blurry and generally hard-to-follow action scenes so many filmmakers have embraced nowadays. Stork complains that these movies are so visually incoherent that the sound effects are the viewer’s only clue to what’s going on. For the most part he’s right — in fact, there are several films in the doc that I’ve complained copiously about in the movie listings over the years. That said, the style does work in some flicks.

Personally I still prefer the clear, classic fights in Hong Kong films (thanks, Ip Man!), but there will always be people who confuse lazy filmmaking with style.

2013-09-05

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