Monday, August 27, 2007

Hollywood stories for Monday, 27 August 2007

By Steve Lee

Hi everyone... here are today's Hollywood story picks from the internet...

The Rialto Theater in Pasadena, seen in films such as "The Player" and "Kentucky Fried Movie" (pictured above), may have to close soon.

Young Frankenstein, the Musical, is opening in Seattle. Here's Variety's review.

Jim Carrey has signed to a deal that has many in Hollywood scratching their head. There HAS to be more to this story that hasn't surfaced yet.

I obviously talk a lot about the work of sound effects editors... but here's a piece on music editors, including Chris Ledesma, who has been taking care of the music library of "The Simpsons." The show has, from day one, numbered each recorded take of music consecutively - and recently slated "take 23,000."

Toho, the Japanese studio that brought us the likes of Akira Kurosawa and Godzilla, has a formidable catalog of motion pictures that continues to influence our film makers. They also have their own theater chain.

If you're hiking in the hills of Hollywood, keep in mind that there's an extreme fire danger right now.

Anyone using the infamous line from "Dirty Dancing" "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" on any merchandise without permission had better watch out.

I stay for a movie's credits as often as I'm able, but most people don't. Now more and more film makers are creating ways to reward those who do stay.

This last Thursday, sixty-four years ago, actress Olivia de Havilland filed a lawsuit that resulted in Labor Code Section 2855, or, as it's more commonly known, the "seven-year rule" that continues to protect talent and their contracts.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hollywood stories for Monday, 20 August 2007

By Steve Lee

Hi everyone... here are today's Hollywood story picks from the internet...

What do real French chefs think of "Ratatouille"?

If you tried to get on the 105 freeway between Sepulveda and La Cienega late at night on Saturday, you probably got stuck. That section will be closed part of this coming weekend too, thanks to Will Smith. Here's why. Watch out for explosions.

A Ferrari once owned by Steve McQueen has sold for $2.31 million.

There was a huge turnout for Merv Griffin's funeral Friday, as Hollywood says goodbye to the entertainment giant.

Mel Shavelson, writer-director of "The Seven Little Foys" and "Houseboat" (among many others) has died.

Hollywood comes to Liverpool today, as the Black Pearl pirate ship from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy (built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty") visits England.

Are Hollywood musicals coming back?

Speaking of music, here's a good piece on cartoon music, including the legendary Carl Stalling.

Hollywood is holding its breath - will there be a writer's strike? Negotiations are now on hold for at least a month.

Remember audio cassettes? My first sound effects library depended on them. Here are some fun things people are doing with cassettes now.

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

JOURNEYing anew

By Rick Mitchell

Many of you visiting this website are of an age for which JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (1959) is more than a guilty pleasure; I know of one party who's seen it at least 62 times, so you'll will be happy to learn that the three day old print shown at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on Aug. 10 was gorgeous, a perfect recreation of the high quality of work De Luxe labs could do for its then parent company in times past. And it was in stereo, the Dolby SR track perfectly reflecting Bernard Herrmann's exploitation of the dynamic range possibilities of magnetic recording in his score. As far as the discreteness of the dialog and effects, I've only heard the film in stereo once, the magnetic British print from the Eighties with the British dub, and that was about ten years ago, so I'm not certain the degree to which this version reflects the original dub. Though Dolby SR is better than straight "Dolby Stereo", the nature of the process results in a narrower dynamic range than possible with magnetic or digital, and is not quite capable of the dialog and effects channel steering that was standard with magnetic stereo films, especially in the Fifties. In the new JOURNEY print, off centered dialog is subtly in the proper channel, though off camera dialog is centered, rather than from the off-screen source side. Effects seemed to be all centered or in all front channels. I got no sense of surrounds, but their use was always a source of controversy, even in the Fifties. However, as the stereo dubs for IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and LORD JIM as heard at the Egyptian reflect, three channel stereo without surrounds can be very effective when properly done. Unfortunately, I haven't heard any original 4 track mags from the late Fifties recently, so I have no frame of reference as to how this track reflects the original dub. (I've not found video versions or earlier matrixing compatible redubs to be accurate reflections of original stereo dubs and refuse to accept them as definitive references.)

The consistent quality of the print suggests to me that it was from an internegative made off separations, which means there's a chance the film can be made available for repertory circulation, so it's possible that those of you living outside LA may be able to see it properly if there's a big wide screen near you.

Pat Boone did a Q and A after the screening. He stated he hadn't wanted to do a science-fiction film and agreed only after they agreed to give him a piece of it, hence the credit for "Cooga Mooga Productions", which has turned out to be quite lucrative. He had fond memories of making it, in spite of a few terrifying moments, including at least one life threatening one.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hollywood stories for Monday, 13 August 2007

By Steve Lee

Happy Monday, all... here's today's collection of Hollywood headlines from the internet...

"Jonny Quest," the classic Hanna-Barbera adventure series, may become a Warner Bros. feature film. Dan Mazeau has been hired to write a script, to be produced by Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter.

Some of you may have noticed that there are stars missing from the Hollywood Walk of fame. They'll be gone until 2009, actually. Here's why.

A fire at Rome's Cinecitta Film Studios nearly destroyed movie artifacts from "Ben-Hur" and "Cleopatra."

Disney-MGM Studios is dropping all ties to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and will soon become, simply, Disney's Hollywood Studios.

New York's Moondance diner, as seen in "Spider-Man," "Friends" and "Sex and the City," is moving to Wyoming. And when I say "moving," I mean the entire building.

Animator Gary Goldman ("Pete's Dragon," "The Secret of NIMH," "Anastasia," "Titan A.E.") is joining the teaching staff of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

...And the National Archives is teaming with CreateSpace (an subsidiary) to digitize the motion pictures in its collection - including documentaries, instructional films, combat footage, and much more. Up first for the program is the collection of Universal Newsreels.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hollywood stories for Monday, 6 August 2007

By Steve Lee

Happy Monday to all. Here are a few of the stories floating about in Hollywood's cyberspace...

Hans Zimmer reveals in an online chat that he turned down "The Simpsons Movie" a few times before taking the job... and that the "Spider Pig" chorus was originally just recorded as a crew joke.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced they're working with the Library of Congress to preserve digital content - including movies - for future generations.

If you've been waiting to build your time machine because you can't find a DeLorean, you're in luck.

Jack Black has signed to appear in "The Lost Adventures of Stone Perlmutter Jr.," a faux documentary about an Indiana Jones-like adventurer.

Film making is on the rise in Connecticut due largely to a 30 percent tax credit the state created to encourage shooting here. So... I say again... why doesn't California do that...?

"Home Movie Day" is August 11th. To celebrate, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present some home movies from celebrities, including Alfred Hitchcock, Esther Williams and Steve McQueen.

Have a good week...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mysterious movie websites

By Steve Lee

Websites for films have become a vital part of every movie's marketing. Many websites featuring fictional aspects from upcoming films have appeared. Ever since "The Blair Witch Project" showed how the internet could turn a low budget project into a phenomenon, studios have been looking for more inventive ways to capture the public's curiosity using websites.

Because of the mystery surrounding it, "Blair Witch" had the added bonus of being able to convince fans that its backstory was true. But even when there's no question that it's only a movie, mysterious websites that gradually reveal clues about a film's plot keep attracting eager fans right up to its release date.

A few websites that are running with this concept have caught my eye recently...

Buy-N-Large is supposedly the company that manufactures the title robot in Pixar's next feature, "Wall-E." There's lot to explore in the fanciful Flash site, and you can find some clues about the film's backstory (as well as a LOT of hidden references to previous Pixar movies). The site includes the promise of a Store that's "Coming Soon." (Editor's note: This site was down at the time of this post, but it is expected to return.)

Don't be fooled by a website called "Rent-A-Clown." It's not really a showcase for up-and-coming clowns, but really it's displaying pictures of fans made-up as Heath Ledger's "Joker" character in the next film in the "Batman" franchise, due out in July of next year from Warner Bros.

Probably the biggest buzz out there on the internet right now is about a yet untitled film from producer J.J. Abrams code named "Cloverfield." A teaser trailer attached to "Transformers" earlier this summer began to spark interest. A website addressed by the film's release date - 1-18-08 - started revealing single images (at the rate of about one a week) that we assume came from one of the film's characters. And fans have discovered a mysterious site for what seems to be a Japanese dessert called SLUSHO. Astute observers have noticed the same product pop up on television in the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost" - both created by Abrams. Some have also pointed out that a character in the trailer for this film can be spotted wearing a SLUSHO T-Shirt... if you don't blink.

By the way... you can get SLUSHO T-Shirts from their website.

Let's hear it for brilliant Internet marketing campaigns.