The Oscar Effect

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 01/26/2004 - 16:00

There's no doubting Oscar's effect on us.

The Oscars mean...

Studios hold back their best until the Academy Awards draw close. They want their films to be fresh in the notoriously short memories of the 6000-odd Academy members when they vote in January. For films to qualify they have to be released by Christmas. 

The Oscars mean...

Waiting even longer for that topical documentary to appear on television because of the Academy's rules forbidding television (or internet) broadcast during the competition period.

The Oscars mean...

Julia Roberts Sets Limits

Submitted by Paul Fischer on Sun, 01/25/2004 - 16:00

Los Angeles

Julia Roberts begins by excusing herself for having the flu.

"I keep on throwing up, which is quite disgusting, but don't worry, I'm not contagious," Roberts says laughingly. Never a big fan of press junkets, with a reputation for being difficult, the Oscar-winning actress was surprisingly good-humoured when promoting the Fifties-set Mona Lisa Smile last month.

Super Size Me and The Corporation attract controversy at Sundance

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 01/19/2004 - 16:00

There's nothing like controversy to get you in the public eye. Hacks gobble it up. We all gobble it up. Especially when it strikes close to home.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has been serving it up with relish in his documentary Super Size Me at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

For the Michael Moore-ish (it even sounds like Moore's book Downsize This) investigation into America's obsession with fast-food he ate McDonalds, accepting super sizes if offered, for a whole month to see what it would do to him.

Albert Finney: A Big Fish

Submitted by Paul Fischer on Sun, 01/18/2004 - 16:00

New York

He is one of the greatest British actors of his generation. Over four decades Albert Finney has created a gallery of remarkable characters, in landmark films such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Tom Jones, Two for the Road, Charlie Bubbles and Scrooge.

In Hollywood, he won further acclaim for Shoot the Moon, Annie, Miller's Crossing and Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich and Traffic. He has been nominated for 5 Oscars and, at 67, still shows no signs of slowing down.

He now plays the irascible Edward Bloom in the beguiling Big Fish.

Uma Thurman on Paycheck and Kill Bill

Submitted by Paul Fischer on Tue, 01/13/2004 - 16:00

Los Angeles Uma Thurman is reticent on her recent separation from husband Ethan Hawke.

"I think the best way to handle it (media gossip) is to wish everybody well. It's like I've gotten so much out of my career, and my life, who said there's going to be no cost? What's free?" she says philosophically. "It's given me so much, so sure sometimes it's difficult, but I feel that attitude helps me deal with it better than any other attitude."

Moulding the Documentary Story

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 01/12/2004 - 16:00

Anyone who has sat down to write a proposal for a documentary will know how impossible it can be to imagine the finished work. A documentary often starts as a hunch, a gut-feeling that you are onto a good story, is nursed through the preliminary research period into a treatment, but only begins to take shape once you are well into the thick of it and even then is constantly changing.

Book review: From Reel to Deal - Everything You Need to Create a Successful Independent Film

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 01/05/2004 - 16:00

Dov Simens opens his book with a warning. "After reading this book, there are no excuses! For everything, yes everything, needed to succeed as an independent filmmaker is in these pages."

This wildly extravagant statement is perfectly in keeping with the character of the author and the style of the book. If it inevitably falls short of this claim, it's only because the subject is larger than one paperback of 400 plus pages.

Edit Freely With Virtual Dub

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 12/29/2003 - 16:00

If recent reports are correct then one of the top purchases over the festive season has been digital cameras. While most people probably bought with the intention of simply taking digital photographs, even the budget cameras are now sophisticated enough to allow you to take short, low-res video clips.

Naturally, the video quality and features of a digital camera have nothing on a camcorder, but you are more likely to be carrying your digital camera when an opportunity presents itself.

Ben Affleck Feels Good About Paycheck (and Matt Damon)

Submitted by Paul Fischer on Sun, 12/28/2003 - 16:00

Los Angeles. In his latest film, Paycheck, Ben Affleck's character has a chance to change an unsettling future. In reality, Affleck enjoys a laugh at the suggestion of altering the crazy past year he has experienced. This was the year of box office bomb Gigli and feverish media interest in his romance with Jennifer Lopez.