The new generation of game entertainment consoles is upon us, and suffice it to say Microsoft’s got an interesting idea of what consumers want. Even though they showed off new hardware and exclusive content offerings (see Sony’s PS4 non-announcement from February), their idea of “innovation” and “revolutionary” isn’t exactly matching up with everyone else’s.
I think I’ve enjoyed every feature Cuaron has made, from Great Expectations to Prisoner of Azkaban to Children of Men. After being delayed from its original release date in 2012 (likely due to the substantial amount of visual effects work), this trailer proves that Gravity might be his most ambitious yet.
Since Disney scooped up Lucasfilm late last year, it’s been impossible to ignore the prospect of more Star Wars films, but the new generation of filmmakers at the helm clearly seem to have a different idea of how to keep things fun. This amusing, self-deprecating jab what must be immense pressure to turn out something that won’t make millions of man-children weep themselves to sleep at night feels like some new level of meta-commentary that might just be more entertaining than, well, the prospect of more Star Wars films.
Since helping to usher in the indie film movement in the early ’90s with sex, lies and videotape, Steven Soderbergh has seen enough of how the movie business works to know that there’s more wrong than right in the industry these days. His keynote speech at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival lets it all hang out, including how big movie studios attempt to foster success by playing the odds instead of true talent:
If you give a certain kind of rodent the option of hitting two buttons, and one of the buttons, when you touch it, dispenses food 40% of the time, and one of the buttons when you touch it dispenses food 60% percent of the time, this certain kind of rodent very quickly figures out never to touch the 40% button ever again. So when a studio is attempting to determine on a project-by-project basis what will work, instead of backing a talented filmmaker over the long haul, they’re actually increasing their chances of choosing wrong.
Good for him. Soderbergh has made both smart and entertaining films in his career—including one of my all-time favorites, 1998′s Out of Sight—and although he’s already announced his eventual retirement, I’m glad to finally see there’s substantial reasoning behind it. It’s sad that such a talented filmmaker has become so discouraged by the business of it all (this all reminds me of fellow ’90s indie scene alum Kevin Smith’s recent change in direction over the last couple of years), but I like to think sentiments like Soderbergh’s will influence other dissatisfied filmmakers and artists to blaze their own trails.
Webcomic juggernaut Homestuck is beginning an extended hiatus while creator Andrew Hussie goes to work on the videogame, for which he not long ago ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign. The “Year 4 Megapause,” as he’s named the hiatus, might be bad for the comic’s literal millions of fans, but for people who’ve been putting off catching up with the the breakout hit, it represents a perfect opportunity. (We here at SPJ have been fans for a while. And by “we,” we mean “Paul.”)
If’ve you’ve been wondering who the scores of grey-faced, orange-horned cosplayers at every damn anime and SF con in the country are supposed to be, now’s your chance to find out.
Things get awkward and uncomfortable right off the top as we discuss David O. Russell’s 1996 comedy Flirting with Disaster, including its place in the ’90s indie comedy arena, Russell’s evolution as a filmmaker, the comedy of Ben Stiller, the uneasiness of Alan Alda and more. Afterwards, next episode’s supercharged Movie Club pick!
It hasn’t been mentioned much, but during a dicey nuclear summit showdown in last weekend’s box office champG.I. Joe: Retaliation, there are a surprising number of bold jabs at North Korea and its general incompetence/jackassery. Is it a coincidence that North Korea has thrown a tantrum on the world stage as of late? They know movies aren’t real, don’t they? Maybe, maybe not.