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July 21, 2013

Spy movies are a fantasy of tourism

'Red 2,' spies and tourism - Grantland
In the same way that the detective movie is a fantasy about city life, the spy movie is a fantasy about tourism. No one is more beautifully adapted to the urban environment than the detective — he knows its secrets, speaks its language, moves freely between its penthouses and dives — and no one is better than the spy at being a tourist. If that sounds glib, think about how often the movie spy's intrigues revolve around sightseeing destinations: Roger Moore chasing Grace Jones through the Eiffel Tower in A View to a Kill, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint dangling from Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest, Sean Connery dodging bullets on the Jamaican beach in Dr. No, Matt Damon hurtling over the balconies of Tangier in The Bourne Ultimatum, Norman Lloyd plummeting off the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur, Michael Caine brawling outside the Royal Albert Hall in The Ipcress File, Robert Powell hanging off Big Ben's minute hand in The Thirty-Nine Steps, Daniel Craig gliding through the canals of Venice in Casino Royale.1 The spy movie wants to thrill you by convincing you that tremendous adventure is happening right there in public, and not just in public but in the most public places on earth. Why, even you could find it, if you could only afford the ticket — and if you could somehow see through the eyes of the spy. At its most basic, the spy movie2 reduces international conflict to the level of individual agency. It is decided not by armies or bureaucrats, but by the actions of one person, usually opposed by a tiny handful of enemies. So, if she's going to avert global catastrophe, of course the spy is going to have to travel. And if she's traveling anyway, why not have her swing past the Taj Mahal? Isn't it more fun for the audience to see inside the Monte Carlo Casino than some office block in Brussels? Even in spy movies that don't depict famous locations, screenwriters and directors go out of their way to concoct a romance of travel. For a large portion of the American/Western/advanced-industrial film audience, travel might be the activity in which geopolitics most noticeably intrudes on their lives — in the inconvenience of borders, passports, languages, currencies, customs. But none of that fazes the spy. He either circumvents restrictions entirely or he comes equipped with the tools he needs to pass through them. He doesn't wait in line unless he's in disguise. . . .

July 20, 2013

Save the Cat! is the reason so many movies feel exactly the same

When screenwriting books go bad. Hollywood and Blake Snyder’s screenwriting book, Save the Cat! - Slate Magazine
If you’ve gone to the movies recently, you may have felt a strangely familiar feeling: You’ve seen this movie before. Not this exact movie, but some of these exact story beats: the hero dressed down by his mentor in the first 15 minutes (Star Trek Into Darkness, Battleship); the villain who gets caught on purpose (The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Skyfall, Star Trek Into Darkness); the moment of hopelessness and disarray a half-hour before the movie ends (Olympus Has Fallen, Oblivion, 21 Jump Street, Fast & Furious 6). It’s not déjà vu. Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has discovered a secret process for making a perfect, or at least perfectly conventional, summer blockbuster. The formula didn’t come from a mad scientist. Instead it came from a screenplay guidebook, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In the book, author Blake Snyder, a successful spec screenwriter who became an influential screenplay guru, preaches a variant on the basic three-act structure that has dominated blockbuster filmmaking since the late 1970s. When Snyder published his book in 2005, it was as if an explosion ripped through Hollywood. The book offered something previous screenplay guru tomes didn’t. Instead of a broad overview of how a screen story fits together, his book broke down the three-act structure into a detailed “beat sheet”: 15 key story “beats”—pivotal events that have to happen—and then gave each of those beats a name and a screenplay page number. Given that each page of a screenplay is expected to equal a minute of film, this makes Snyder’s guide essentially a minute-to-minute movie formula. . . .

July 19, 2013

Trailer: Vin Diesel and Starbuck fight giant space scorpions

Pitch Black was a surprise joy. A tightly-plotted sci-fi actioner with a charismatic cast of b-list stars. And then the sequel did everything wrong that it possibly could. Here's hoping the third film taps into the vein of the first.

June 12, 2013

The D&D alignments of GAME OF THRONES, season 3

Mightygodking dot com -- ALIGNMENT CHART! Game of Thrones, Season Three

JK Rowling once told a superfan that if she beat anorexia she could audition for a role in the Harry Potter movies

She beat it and she won the role of Luna Lovegood. all shall love me and despair!

June 07, 2013

Photos of actors laughing between takes are great

Actors laughing between takes - Imgur