Dune

Eraserhead

It’s been nearly ten years since David Lynch released a film, but the director seems to have etched himself into a permanent place in cinematic topicality. Even without the new releases of Twin Peaks and Eraserhead on Criterion, Lynch’s work is an eternal point of entry for cinephiles, a means of accessing an interchangeably abstract, confrontational, darkly funny, discomfiting and mesmerizing style of filmmaking that stands alone. Lynch’s work is deeply indebted to other strands of filmmaking – from its references to Classical Hollywood to the now common use of the word “Lynchian” in describing an array of work – but his films simply do something that other films and filmmakers don’t. That’s something is hard to explain in clear terms. And for Lynch that’s entirely the point. So here is a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the director who nominated Vladimir Putin for the ice bucket challenge.

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Dune Movie

Anyone who knows David Lynch’s work is familiar with his penchant for messing with the audience. One only has to look at how he ended his popular series Twin Peaks, or pretty much any part of the mind-bending Eraserhead, to realize this. Even though in the early 1980s, Lynch had been courted as a potential director for some major films (including Return of the Jedi… wouldn’t you have liked to see the Ewoks in that version?), he had his big studio break with the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. While it was a commercial and critical failure, Dune also represents Lynch’s subversive filmmaking nature, more than some people even realize. At the time, Hollywood was looking for the next Star Wars, much like how they are furiously searching for the next Hunger Games now with films like Divergent and The Maze Runner. Dune had been in development since the early 1970s, and it finally got off the ground with Lynch at the helm. Lynch was a bold choice for the film, considering he was handed a massive potential franchise when he was known for more intimate and often obscure and surreal personal films. Ultimately, Lynch made a film that ensured a sequel was impossible, and that was a brilliant though almost career-ending move.

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Jodorowsky Dune

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Jodoroskwy_as_El_Topo

Alejandro Jodorowsky is, perhaps more than any other living filmmaker that comes to mind, a visionary who stands entirely alone. His influences come from multiple sources – surrealism, the spaghetti western, theater, etc. – but he is loyal to no particular artistic movement or historical moment. He’s a brazenly original, playfully anarchistic, uncalculating provocateur and walking anachronism whose work speaks to and across various artistic traditions, belonging exclusively to none. Born to Jewish Ukranian parents in Tocopilla, Chile in 1929, Jodorowsky grew to acquire such a dedicated interest in arts and theater that he moved to France in the 1950s to study mime with Etienne Decroux before starting a career in cinema with his short La Cravate in 1957. Since then, Jodorowsky became the helmer of midnight classics like the acid western El Topo and his psychedelic John-and-Yoko-funded Brechtian epic The Holy Mountain (The IFC Center puts both these films on midnight rotation at least once a month). Jodorowsky also famously attempted an ambitious but never-realized adaptation of Dune and recently completed his seventh feature film, The Dance of Reality. Both The Dance of Reality and the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune premiered at this year’s Cannes film festival, so the esoteric filmmaking veteran (at age 84) is suddenly experiencing a peak in the spotlight. Here’s some free film school wisdom we can learn from the man who officiated Marilyn Manson’s most recent wedding.

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The Presidential Debate

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that isn’t so political. Unless you consider watching the Presidential Debate and imagining the candidates as Muppets to be political… We begin this evening with the nation’s top story — no, not Saturday Night Live — the Presidential Debate. That will undoubtedly be the reason why tonight’s column is coming in late. And because I love hyperbole, I’m not only watching the debate, but also reading Andrew Sullivan having an aneurism and watching CNN’s talking heads go crazy. Also, someone said Lincoln. That movie is out in November. But enough politics, lets do the movie news…

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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When a “loose” adaptation of Hasbro’s iconic board game Battleship was announced, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what type of film was in the making: big, loud, manic summer fun. The man to deliver on that promise was none other than Peter Berg, a director whose filmography ranges from Friday Night Lights to Hancock. After over three years of working on the film, Berg didn’t make a film that passes itself off as anything it’s not; he’s made Battleship. Battleship features the expected markings of all commercial tentpole films, something Berg did not want to shy away from. As the anti-film school director put it, he wanted to make a global event film, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. When your film’s based on a popular board game, how could you? Berg, along with his potential blockbuster, could not be more self-aware. Here is what Battleship director Peter Berg had to say about letting life inform storytelling, his organic and actor-friendly approach to filmmaking, and how to keep your sanity while crafting a $200m event film:

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Another adaptation of Dune has been kicking around for a little while now. The last we heard of it was Pierre Morel (Taken) quickly joining and then leaving the project, a project which Paramount soon after dropped. Four years ago a genuinely enticing filmmaker got attached to finally make it happen: Peter Berg. Berg, for those of you who don’t know, has his gigantic board game adaptation Battleship opening in theaters tomorrow. The Kingdom and Friday Night Lights director isn’t the first person to spring to mind when you think Dune, but Berg was certainly the most interesting director whose name was mentioned. The director can certainly do epic and big, but could he do fantasy? Either way, his plans fit nicely into his signature style: gritty and rough. When asked about what his plans for the film were, Berg told us, “My feeling was, I wanted to make a grittier, rougher film than the [David] Lynch movie. My experience with Dune was just a really great adventure story, and it was muscular, violent, and intense. Obviously there was a very cerebral, mystical, almost-supernatural component to it, and mind communication, and the Bene Gesserits were kind of a bunch of badass witches. At its core, I wanted to make something that felt more like Star Wars, where it just had more grit to it.”

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as OutofFoucault23 and RockRockRockRocknRollHS in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair digs deeper into a question plaguing all of mankind: can a studio interfering with the artistic process actually create positive results? What happens when a director’s cut is worse than the initial release? They put their heads together to come up with just about every single example (take “single” literally) of a movie saved by studio intervention.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column with a bunch of movie news in it. What, are you new here?

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There’s a lot of talk about so-called “geek properties” and their appeal. Depending on who you believe, anything the nerdy class is into has a pass directly through Hollywood. With that said, Dune is struggling to make it off the ground. Paramount loses the rights to the Frank Herbert classic in Spring of 2011, and they find themselves without a director at the moment. It was all set with Pierre Morel, but apparently the Taken director has taken his talent elsewhere. All in all, it’s starting to look more and more like development of the 1980s version. It just needs to swing through three or four more directors before settling down to a nightmarish shoot. Look for news of its definitive death or complete resurrection soon. This is only one victim of the tangled dance of rights holders and studios, and you owe it to yourself to grumble in frustration/sigh from relief about this situation, and then read the great piece over at Deadline on the subject.

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Because we’re all too broke to go to the theater or afford gold-plated rental services, FSR is offering free movies every Monday for the month of September. If this title doesn’t strike your fancy, head to Crackle.com to see what else they have for your viewing pleasure. The selection is great, and even better – the price is right. What do you need to get you excited about Krull? Cyborgs? Giant spaceships? Foretold, galaxy-ruling children? Liam Neeson playing a convict and inexplicably being in this movie at all? The answer should be an enthusiastic, “Why not! There’s nothing else to do.” Jokes aside, Krull is a ridiculous, fun, and ridiculously fun movie that almost needs to be seen to be believed. If you love it, you know you want to see it again. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to stop reading my ramblings and go watch it.

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From where I’m sitting, this internet meme of throwing together the same quote one hundred times in a single clip began with Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from Lost and his catch-phrase, “son of a bitch.” Now it’s branching out into cross-platform, cross-property clip mashing for phrases that permeate entire genres.

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Chase Palmer may have zero feature film writing credits under his belt (at least, none that have made it to the big screen yet), but he’s about to get a big one. According to THR, he has been hired by Paramount Pictures to work on the script for the upcoming film Dune.

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Pierre Morel has been tapped to make a new Dune for Paramount. Pressing questions and Max von Sydow references inside.

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DUNE

Since Peter Berg might possibly, maybe, could not be directing Dune, we’ve decided to throw a few hats into the ring. Who do you think could helm one of the hardest science fiction adaptations of all time?

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futuristic-movie-timeline-header

It’s possible that you’ve seen this around the web, as a number of our friends and neighbors in the movie blogosphere have also picked it up. But just in case you missed it, I would like to share with you something very cool.

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Dune Movie

Peter Berg finally admits what we already knew — he is directing a Dune remake.

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