Friday, July 31, 2009

Black + White Friday Saturday: King Kong (1976) & King Kong (2005)

I wanted to take a look at these two remakes of the black and white classic monster movie King Kong. I thought it would be interesting to see if either of them lend themselves to the classical style of filmmaking that black and white photography lent itself too.

I actually had to outsource the caps used in this installment. I don't actually own either of these movies on DVD, so all images are from DVD Beaver.

Oh Jessica Lange! I can't take her seriously at all in this movie. Can you? There's something there that just turns me off majorly.

I much preferred Peter Jackson's remake, but even that had major problems and really wasn't that good. I'm not entirely convinced that Naomi Watts portrayed the character 1920s enough, but she was far better than Lange. I do hate those bloody hats though!

I just think this is a bit gorgeous.

I remember really liking this scene as I felt it actually tried to be like an old movie (unlike so many other sequences in this remake). On one hand I guess it's a good thing that Watts didn't do the same style of performance as Fay Wray did in the original, but on the other hand I sort of miss it.

Apart from the very "of the time" top that Jessica Lange is wearing here, this could conceivably be seen as a shot from an old movie. I think it's the moustache.

This image is actually quite wonderful. I thought the scene was "a bit much" in the film, but it did look gorgeous. In black and white though this actually looks more like a sketch drawing using charcoal.

She's not exactly Fay Wray, is she?

I just think this is a bit gorgeous.

I do find it interesting though that in black and white this moment looks far more ominous than it does in the colour version. All those dark clouds look far more scarier than the overly orange hues that they were before.

This is ridiculous. How is it that a remake made some 60 years after the original can have effects that are barely improved? In fact, I'd go so far to say that they're worse in this 1976 remake than the original since, at least, the 1933 version was made in 1933. This image particularly looks quite silly don't you think? What would I know though, the film won an Oscar for its visual effects so there ya go.

By far the best scene in either of these remakes was this quite touching moment on the ice rink in New York City. It looked like 100% CGI, which was one of the big disappointments of Jackson's film in general, but even that couldn't stop this moment being lovely.

Uma, What Have You Done?


Silly Internet Stories #4904349

I don't like Once. I sorta-but-not-really liked it back in 2007, but I was being polite because, back then, I wasn't as steadfast in sticking to my negative opinions of movies that everybody else loved (see also: An Inconvenient Truth. A D- film in retrospect that I gave a Csomething grade to to be uncontroversial).

Nevermind that though, I got an email today from somebody doing marketing for The Swell Season. O...kay? If these people were somehow smart enough to find this blog and to get my email and to type a letter then surely they were smart enough to find out that I didn't like Once and that I thought the female singer - whatever her name is, I don't care - was a daft twit. SOME PEOPLE!

Also: I wonder if anybody out there from the Inconvenient Truth brigade is feeling foolish about that today. "OMGWE'REALLGONNADIE!" Hardly. That PowerPoint presentation probably burnt up more toxic greenhouse emissions than me leaving a lamp on by accident. I wish Al Gore would just go away, please.

It Is Fantastic

I am mildly obsessed with this newly releases trailer for Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr Fox. I hadn't been anticipating the movie much at all - Anderson doing claymation adaptation of Roald Dahl? - and the pictures I had seen weren't filling me with confidence, but seeing it in motion has made all the difference. Truly looks amazing.

It is amazing how well Anderson's self-contained world has been worked in animation (at least in the trailer - whether an entire movie of it will work is to be decided at a later date) and there really are some great visuals in there. Plus the voice work seems good, too, especially Bill Murray. "Demolitions expert!" Teehee. Claymation for the win!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Album Covers of Madonna

With the upcoming release of Madonna's Celebration, an all-career encompassing career greatest hits package, on the horizon I thought it was time to give Madonna the treatment I have given Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Grace Jones before. I would also like to direct you to Adem with an E, a fabulous site in its own right, but which is reviewing each of Madge's albums in anticipation for the Celebration release. It has totally gotten me into a Madonna splurge lately.

I have included single releases in here too. In fact, the majority of images are singles since Madonna doesn't have as many albums as Dolly or Diana and they generally have uninspiring album art (with a few key exceptions).

"Everybody" (1982)

"Burning Up/Physical Attraction" (1983)

Madonna (1983)

"Holiday" (1983)

"Lucky Star" (1984)

"Like a Virgin" (1984)

Like a Virgin (1984)

"Material Girl" (1985)

"Crazy For You" (1985)

"Angel" (1985)

"Into the Groove" (1985)

"Dress You Up" (1985)

"Live to Tell" (1986)

"Papa Don't Preach" (1986)

True Blue (1986)

"True Blue" (1986)

"Open Your Heart" (1986)

"La Isla Bonita" (1987)

"Who's That Girl?" (1987)

"Causing a Commotion" (1987)

"The Look of Love" (1987)

"Spotlight" (1988)

"Like a Prayer" (1989)

"Express Yourself" (1989)

"Dear Jessie" (1989)

"Keep it Together" (1990)

"Vogue" (1990)

I'm Breathless: Music from and inspired by the film "Dick Tracy" (1990)

"Hanky Panky" (1990)

"Justify My Love" (1990)

The Immaculate Collection (1990)

"Rescue Me" (1991)

"This Used to be My Playground" (1992)

"Erotica" (1992)

Erotica (1992)

"Bad Girl" (1993)

"Rain" (1993)

"I'll Remember" (1994)

"Secret" (1994)

Bedtime Stories (1994)

"Take a Bow" (1994)

"Human Nature" (1995)

"Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (1996)

"You Must Love Me" (1996)

"Ray of Light" (1998)

Ray of Light (1998)

"Don't Tell Me" (2000)

"What it Feels Like for a Girl" (2001)

"Die Another Day" (2002)

"American Life" (2003)

American Life (2003)

"Hung Up" (2005)

Confessions on a Dancefloor (2005)

"Sorry" (2006)

Celebration (2009)

As you can tell, I didn't think much of the Hard Candy artwork. But just look at all of those images up there. So many iconic - btw, I prefered the original Iconography title of Madonna's new greatest hits package - images and photographs in there. And there are plenty I don't care for that many probably love (the Like a Prayer artwork for one).

In terms of albums I think the American Life work is by far the best. So many things going on with it - and the music from it - that went so far over people's heads it's astonishing! My favourite single artwork world have to be between her two first singles, "Everybody" and "Burning Up/Physical Attraction". Those are from the time when Warner were not trying to let people in on the fact that Madonna was white (crazy, I know!) and so they either didn't put her on or mearly disguised her. I do find it interesting that so many of the single covers have nothing to do with the videos that accompanied the songs. "Express Yourself" being the biggest example. The video is dripping with references to Fritz Lang's Metropolis and yet the cover of the single is an oddly placed image of a Madonna dancing surrounded by dots with cutesy writing. Hmmm...

Love her, love all of these.