Welcome to The Morning Read.
Friday and Saturday blended into one hellaciously long day for me. I worked on Friday, did some stuff with the family, and then Friday night spent about five or six hours working with my co-screenwriter Scott Swan for a while on a new project. Once we wrapped up work, he drove me to the Van Nuys FlyAway so I could catch a ride to LAX, where I took a one-hour flight north to San Francisco. I spent the morning doing interviews with the “Kick-Ass” cast and spent a few hours preparing for a panel on the film that I moderated at Wondercon. As soon as that was done, I handed off my videotapes to Greg Ellwood, caught a cab to the airport, and flew home so I could hang out with the boys while my wife and her sister went out for some birthday celebrations. I played Easter Bunny and hid eggs all over the house and the backyard, and then finally crashed, after being awake for about 40 straight hours.
So, yeah, unsurprisingly, I’m sick now. Whoo-hoo!
Still, well worth the trip, and it was heaps of fun, all things considered. I’ve got a ton of work to do this week, including the release of my very first HitFix podcast, and I figure the best way to get the week off on the right foot is to put together a Morning Read, especially considering what a strange grab-bag of links I’ve got cluttering my bookmark menu. There have been hundreds of thousands of words already written about the iPad in just the last few days, and for those of you who went out and bought one, you should learn some tips on how to play with your new toy. I’m probably still quite a while from owning one. I’m still just starting to enjoy my iTouch. But once they’ve perfected the thing and gotten a few generations into it, I’m looking forward to satisfying my own gadget nerd itch.
The ultimate gadget nerd, of course, is Tony Stark, and there’s a brand-new “Iron Man 2” clip up on iTunes that shows us a longer version of what we’ve seen in the trailers as Iron Man makes his intro at the Stark Expo. It’s just a fun glimpse into the world of the first celebrity superhero onstage in front of his adoring fans, although it does raise one question… in the trailer, it looks like Pepper Potts throws his helmet out and he has to run grab it, but in this clip, he’s clearing wearing it when he runs and dives out of the plane. Odd, but not a big deal. Check out the clip here.
April 14 – 19 of this month, I’m going to be in Ashville, North Carolina. Wanna know why?
Oh, hell, yes.
So it looks like Peter Sollett is going to direct “The Runaways,” based on the Bryan K. Vaughan Marvel series about a group of young people who learn that their parents are all supervillains. It’s a tremendously fun series, and I’ve got the first five or six trade paperback collections here at the house. Smart, well-written, with a ton of great roles to cast, it’s going to be great source material for a film. I was quite taken with “Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” which is familiar ground done well, and I hope Sollett brings that touch with young actors to this film. With Vaughan supposedly onboard as the writer of the film, I have all confidence that the script will work, so it’s all about how they pull it off.
The Hollywood Reporter gets in on the debate that’s been heating up over the last week over the absolutely miserable job done converting “Clash Of The Titans” to 3D at the last moment, and I think it’s a conversation worth having. As I said in my review of “Clash,” the process they used on that film was so bad it was distracting. I’ve never felt compelled to take off my 3D glasses for a big chunk of a film’s running time, but I had no choice in “Clash.” It was physically painful, and I was worn out by it. It was just plain ugly. If I had paid $17.50 for a ticket (or more, depending on what theater you’re going to), I would have been outraged. And, look, I’m a guy who agrees that 3D is worth defending. But it’s all about how it’s used and by who.
For example, this is the right way to use 3D:
My friend Jeff Mahler is freaking out over that trailer, and he may think I’m kidding when I say I understand, but I’m not. I get the appeal of a movie like that. The dancers are insanely talented, and the dance battles are just these massive choreographed displays of “holy shit!” If you make the decision to take these amazing dance scenes and shoot them in 3D, with the numbers designed as if you were in the middle of them, it’s going to be a remarkable showcase for what 3D is and how engrossing the dancing can be. I’m seeing that thing opening weekend with a whole bunch of friends, and I don’t feel remotely guilty about saying so. Save me a seat, Jeff.
This is an excellent article on the way product placement is integrated into the process in modern filmmaking, and it absolutely makes my blood run cold.
My buddy Aaron knows I’m a Moleskine freak, and he sent me a great link last night. One of the things I have been called eccentric for is that I still do a good 75% of all of my writing by hand in notebooks, including reviews and articles and screenplays and everything else. I think better when I write longhand. Always have. And in the last three or four years, I’ve finally started buying only materials that I enjoy using, after years and years of whatever cheap-ass Mead college ruled notebooks I could find a deal on. I love Moleskine, and I always carry at least one with me. I’ve never hacked one, but I’m tempted to start.
Did I mention I’m going to ActionFest?
Because I am. And it’s going to rule.
Kevin Lee has finished his project, and the celebratin’ is already underway.
I look at this countdown, and I can actually hear my arteries closing. God bless the USA.
I don’t know if you’re aware of HitRECord, the collaborative art project that was founded by Joseph Gordon Levitt, but it’s basically a user-created site where people can upload and interact with all sorts of short films and video, and it’s fascinating even when the films aren’t great. There’s a real hunger out there for a hands-on participation in art, and I think it’s sort of awesome of Gordon-Levitt to take his fame and turn it into a way for other people to get their voices heard. Some of what he posts is sort of great, and this stop-motion video from this weekend is a perfect example:
Also, I’m wondering if there’s something out there I might post about ActionFest. Hmm….
Oh, well, there we go.
Mr. Beaks, aka Jeremy Smith, is one of the guys who makes Ain’t It Cool still such a wonderful place to spend time, and last week, he moderated the Q&A for the New Beverly screening of “Buckaroo Banzai.” Just screening that film makes the New Bev cooler than cool, but the Q&A turned a great screening into something legendary. I wish I’d been there, but listening to the recording of the event, I almost feel like I was. Someone give Peter Weller a guest shot on “30 Rock” and get the long overdue comeback underway, please.
This guy is my hero. These people are filth. Taken as a comparison, they pretty much sum up the broad spectrum of how self-involved we are as a species. I do think we’re at a moment when we are starting to realize just how powerfully compelling games can be, and how that can translate into real addiction. This piece describes it from a personal point of view, and this piece looks at the techniques behind it. I know that when I start playing a game, I have to finish it. It’s one of those itches that my OCD brain has to scratch, no matter what. And the satisfaction I get is almost instantly replaced by a desire to find a new game to beat.
“Freaks” is one of those films that seems to actually seem more transgressive the further we get from it, a rare case indeed, and Mike D’angelo takes a great look back at the film in a recent column.
I want to see this. Very, very badly.
And, finally, to wrap things up this morning, enjoy some of the most amazing eye candy I’ve seen in a while. This is truly a remarkable age we live in.
I’ll have more reviews and articles for you this afternoon, so keep checking back.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn’t.
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