Sunday Film News Roundup -- February 19th, 2012

My biggest gripe of the week is that Disney hasn't released Studio Ghibli's latest film, The Secret World of Arrietty, with its original Japanese language track at all this time around. I know the widest roll out is always for the the English dub, which they put a lot money into, and I'm fine with that. But the last few, going back to at least Spirited Away to as recently as Howl's Moving Castle, have had the option of English or Japanese. Unless I'm reading Fandango wrong, it's not the case this time. I can't understand why, though. The Pixar guys who run Disney now all bow at the feet of Miyazaki (who wrote the adaptation for Arrietty) and Ghibli.

My other big gripe of the week is more self-hatred in that I actually spent money to see Star Wars: Episode I in 3D. How many times have I gone off about how much, Hugo aside, I hate 3D on these pages? I recall vaguely defending Episode I on the blog, and I still do (my argument being that it still makes me feel like an 8 year old watching, so I don't care that it was seemingly made for 8 year olds -- also that Greg Proops is like 500x more annoying than Jar Jar's most annoying lines), but I even said at some point when I was writing about Hugo that the trailer for Star Wars 3D looked like shit. But like the loyal-whipped slave/fanboy I am, there I was shelling out the cash for it.

The big problem with the process of post 3D is a simple one: realD jumps out from the screen, while fakeD recedes into the screen. FakeD also has a dullness factor to it. There is a sharpness to realD, and even though I find it terribly distracting and headache inducing, fakeD is based on blur basically by separating the "layers" of the background by degree: the farther apart the "layers", the "deeper" the "3D" looks. The only solace for me is that it's made $30m so far, so I'm not the only one who got suckered. Also I got a rad Anakin pen in my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Anyway, we're officially in the last stretch before the Oscars air next Sunday night. Stay tuned to the blog this week, as Justin and I will have our own Oscar picks in the 2012 edition of Osc-O-Rama, where I will attempt to defend the honor of Hugo to the exclusion of all other lines of thinking and Justin will dance a digital jig that the hex he had placed on Uggie, who will not be at the Oscars, worked so well.

-The Italian documentary about a group of inmates performing Shakespeare, Caesar Must Die, won the Golden Bear at Berlin this weekend in an upset. Obviously I haven't seen it yet, but it reminds me of an episode of This American Life, where one of their reporters visits a jail (in Ohio, iirc), where inmates are performing the final act of Hamlet. It's one of the better This American Life episodes. (IndieWire)

-Here is a great lament for the special effect. I completely agree with everything he says. Special effects aren't special any more because they're algorithms with a little human prodding instead of fully integrated, practically thought out shots with a pulse. Pixar are really the only ones doing anything great with CGI models right now. (MikeyMo)

-HitFlix got something pretty cool in the mail: Peter Parker's bookbag, including his notebook, sneaks, even his Metrocard and keys. Why don't WE ever get stuff like this in the mail, Sony? Huh? Why do you hate us so much? (HitFix)

-VF talks to Sofia Loren, who is still way hotter than most of today's actresses (though, admittedly, a lot of that is plastic surgery). (Vanity Fair)

-Michael Mann is in talks to direct a new cop drama, which is great news, but only if someone has an intervention with him to get him to stop using the Sony Cinealta because everything he's made since he found it on Collateral has looked like complete ass. That's why Drive was so successful. It was a Michael Mann film if Michael Mann films didn't look like shit anymore and wasn't directed by Michael Mann. (Deadline)

-David Kelly, the Irish actor probably best known for his role in Waking Ned Devine in this country, died on Monday. Horrible. (The Guardian)

-I would definitely pay to see a movie where Jack Black played Kim Dotcom. Wouldn't that just be the best revenge too? (Bloomberg)

-Billy Bob Thornton is writing a road movie about his relationship with Angelina Jolie. I will see this movie, for I am a slut for road movies. Except... (Variety)

-...Angelina Jolie probably called and threatened to rip his nuts off, so he is denying it. (The Guardian)

-One for the people who want a la carte television from BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen. Except most a la carte fans probably don't realize that the channels they like that aren't ESPN or Fox would probably disappear overnight, or will end up costing a ridiculous amount on the new "menu". (Gigaom)

-Having a non-fiction pop culture crush is just part of being human. Ellen Hickle, Gwen Stacy, Spoiler, every character Audrey Hepburn ever played, Princess Leia, Hana and Alice! Oy! (AV Club)

-The history of the WB logo. Pretty interesting. (My Film Views)

-Brad Pitt talks to NPR about Moneyball and Billy Beane. Beane, incidentally, pulled off a deal no one saw coming by signing the Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a four year deal when everyone expected the kid to head to Miami. Billy, you rascal. (NPR)

-Here is the first photo from After Earth, with Jaden Smith. That suit looks a little snug, son. (People)

-Lena Dunham would like you to know that she's trying very hard and that her first feature is available on DVD. (AV Club)

-Woody Harrelson talks about his dad and driving his friends crazy by taking his characters to heart. (The Guardian)

Trailers, posters, etc.

-Dave Grohl's documentary about L.A.'s Sound City Recording Studios, aptly titled Sound City. (NME)

-Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Cranky old man alert: I think this looks incredibly stupid. (YouTube)

-Here's a John Carter featurette. (Yahoo)

-Another Salmon Fishing in the Yemen trailer. (IMDb)

-The Oscar frontrunner for Best Documentary, The Undefeated, which looks interesting even to this guy who doesn't like football. Sort of like an inverse of Friday Night Lights, only a documentary. (Apple)

-Also, you can watch the first few minutes of Sound of My Voice, with Brit Marling. (Apple)


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