Trailer time: “127 Hours”

Starting with the Black Knight scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and the “let’s make sure we don’t accidentally get a G-rating” cantina sequence in “Star Wars,” not to mention largely offscreen bits that were nevertheless highly emotionally intense in movies like the Brian DePalma/Oliver Stone “Scarface” and Ang Lee’s underrated 1999 “Ride With the Devil,” it’s been kind of a long time since a single amputated limb has been considered extreme cinema. Director Danny Boyle and writer Simon Beaufoy may force us to reconsider that with “127 Hours.”

According to /Film, word has it that “127 hours” contains a solid hour of screentime without dialogue. If Danny Boyle doe his job right, I’m guessing even the most gleeful gorehound, might be taken aback by the crucial sequences in this film. In case you haven’t guessed already, it’s based on the real-life experiences of mountain climber Aron Ralston, played here by James Franco, who faced the ultimate survival challenge and won — but at the cost of having to remove his own arm.

Audiences who have no problem seeing people torn apart by bullets at the movies regularly squirm when we see an onscreen blood test or an actor playing a junkie pretending to shoot up. How will they react to a closer to real-time self-amputation? How will Boyle — not a particularly squeamish director by any means — deal with it? And what about my squeamish self? The MPAA R rating is for “language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images” which sounds relatively restrained and about par for the course, but who knows? Will anybody want to see this? Assuming it’s well received, what about the Oscar people? I have no idea how people will react to this one.

  

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“Star Wars Uncut” — “The Escape”

Three horribly written, indifferently made prequels couldn’t kill it, nor widely disliked “special editions,” nor rampant over-commercialization. “Star Wars” mania appears to be stronger than ever in the hearts and minds of DIY filmmakers of all ages.

The stitched together, 15 second long efforts of people all over the country have now been combined into a feature length recreation of the George Lucas movie that, for better and for worse, changed the course of the movie business until this very day. In a funny way, at least this portion of the multi-media recreation brings back some of that seemingly long lost excitement and magic.

Star Wars Uncut “The Escape” from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

H/t Peter Sciretta. You can watch the whole dang blasted thing here.

  

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The end-of-week movie news dump vs. the world

It’s been somewhat surprising, even given my own innate skepticism about practically everything, that for the last week or so there’s been very little compelling movie news — really very little that I could bring myself to even mention here. To be honest, I kind of liked that way. Much less time consuming and more fun to just throw trailers and stuff at you guys. The last 24 hours or so, however, have been a very different story.

* I often wonder where George Lucas went wrong in a number of departments. Today he’s King Midas in reverse with actors — who else could actually make Samuel L. Jackson boring? — but he directed the very well acted “American Graffitti.” His first two “Star Wars” movies were imperfect but great, great fun — and he had the great good sense to bring in the best writers available, and a very strong director, for the second one. He insisted on doing the three prequels himself, however, and in my opinion and lots of other people’s, showed how borderline unwatchable a space opera could be.

What went wrong? I don’t know but one thing that did happen to Lucas was the departure of producer Gary Kurtz, he of the Abe Lincoln beard who I honestly haven’t thought about in decades.

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Why can’t all “Star Wars” prequels be this bad? (Note: by “bad” I mean “good”)

Boy, wading through a cinematic news landscape of non-news news is getting to me. Somebody is thinking about something. An unlikely rumor that was printed somewhere this morning is definitely not happening now; regurgitations of stuff we already knew or that really doesn’t matter to anyone but the filmmakers themselves (hey “Film X is playing in a festival someplace!”). So, it’s nice to see something new under the sun. Or, in this case, something old that’s new to us. Or, actually, something new pretending to be something old, but in a very amusing way.

Back in May I posted two videos featuring the very cool blaxspoitation historian David Walker of the lovely zine Bad Azz Mofo, which has just recently gone on line via Mr. Walker’s new blog, talking about a possible lost, Afrocentric, low-budget “Star Wars” sequel featuring an early version of Lando Calrissian. Since then a third documentary video has emerged (h/t Patrick Sauriol) Well, today, via the significantly less cool Jeffrey Welles, comes an actual lost trailer for this lost film which reportedly already screened at some nook or cranny (Hall H???) of Comic-Con.

Got all that? Good. Now get this: Watch out “Black Dynamite” here comes “Blackstar Warrior.”

Dy-n0-mite. I am now officially begging George Lucas not to shut this thing down.

  

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Midweek movie news, the Lamont Cranston and Kent Allard memorial edition

Comic-Con’s been over for a week and a half and the geek news is flying.

* Mike Fleming is claiming a Finke “Toldja!” for the news that Disney and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski are going ahead with a film version of the comic book, “Oblivion.” I’m not familiar with the book so, should I be more excited about this than I am? Of course, having recently rewatched the original “Tron” I’m even less excited about his other movie. I’m sorry, but it’s got to be one of the thinnest excuses for a piece of entertainment I’ve ever seen. A few interesting visuals aside, it’s easily one of the weakest efforts Disney has ever been associated with as far as I can see. It’s lingering appeal is a complete mystery to me.

* As rumors of the day go, I find this one even less believable than most. That idea is that Quentin Tarantino may be “attached” to what had previously been Sam Raimi’s new version of William Gibson’s influential pulp character, the Shadow — who became best known via a popular thirties radio show starring a very young Orson Welles.  I’m a fan of the character and of Tarantino, so I certainly wouldn’t mind this being true. It just feels significantly off from Mr. Tarantino’s many obsessions, though considering his delving into thirties and forties cinema for “Inglourious Basterds,” you never know.

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