27/07/2005

Narnia Q & A

We've got an exciting opportunity this month for kamera readers to come up with their own set of questions for Andrew Adamson, director of the forthcoming film of Narnia (and also the man behind Shrek & Shrek 2). It's a rare opportunity to put your questions straight to a major Hollywood director, so if you've always had a burning desire to find out what goes on behind the scenes of a multi-million dollar film, now's your chance.

In partnership with our friends at BVI and Digital Outlook, kamera has been invited to join in a unique collaborative interview with Andrew. We're asking our readers to submit original and thought-provoking questions for the interview, and the top 20 will be forwarded to the director. The interview will be published on the site to coincide with the film's release on 8th December.

You can submit your questions to the editor at editor@kamera.co.uk.

20/07/2005

Literary adaptations

With Charlie & The Chocolate Factory about to hit our screens, and countless film adaptations of classic books everywhere you look (from Lord of the Rings to Sin City), how does everyone feel about the age-old problem of transferring a story from page to screen? What are the pitfalls and dangers? What works (and what doesn't)? Any thoughts about books that have been made better by cinematic translation?

For what it's worth, I'm not holding out much hope for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. It should be fabulous - Burton's visual flair married to Dahl's twisted imagination - but having seen snippets of Johnny Depp's bizarre Anne-Robinson/Peewee Herman characterisation, I have to say I think it's going to be disappointing. As so often with Burton recently, the idea is great, but the execution looks fundamentally flawed.

14/07/2005

3-Iron

Hi everyone, this is my first collaboration to the blog and I'll start with a recommendation. This Friday (15 July) sees one of the best releases in ages: 3-Iron. I have posted a full review on my own blog, The Filter. Made in Korea and directed by the upcoming director Kim Ki-duk's, this is a fabulously confected tale of love and magic with very few dialogues. A treat.

03/07/2005

Criterion DVDs

Would be interesting to hear some thoughts about the Criterion range of DVDs.

Many of kamera's favourite films are available in special Criterion editions, usually at a vastly inflated cost. The Criterion seal of quality is certainly a major draw for people buying them - superior transfers, exclusive interviews and commentaries, directorial seals of approval etc - but are the Criterion versions really that much better to justify their £30+ pricetag?

For context, I'm writing as a Criterion devotee - I've got lots on my shelves, so I certainly have something of a vested interest. But should kamera be recommedning the Criterion DVDs as the definitive editions?

Best Criterions on my shelves:
Rushmore & The Royal Tenenbaums
The Adventures of Antoine Doinel (5 DVD boxset)
Brazil (3 DVD boxset)
L'Avventura
Last Tempatation of Christ (with exclusive Scorsese commentary!)

Any nominations for the best Criterion DVD edition?

01/07/2005

10 Greatest sets in cinema

Just another opportunity for me to wax lyrical about the fantastically expressive qualities of cinema set design. I've actually just given a paper at a great conference about this, so it's pretty appropriate.

In no particular order -

10. Le Jour se leve (1939) - isolated apartment perfect metaphor for Jean Gabin's descent into to suicidal despair.

9. Batman Returns (1992) - Gothic meets kitsch meets camp

8. Top Hat (1935) - art deco glitziness becomes perfect arena for Fred n' Ginger's shuffling.

7. The Shining (1980) - THAT red men's room.

6. The Cabinet of Caligari (1920) - cinema's first realisation that skewed angles and dark shadows could be used to complement the narrative and frighten the bejesus out of us.

5. The Apartment (1960) - Jack Lemmon trapped in the office from hell.

4. Playtime (1967) - Jacques Tati's ascerbic swipe at the soulessness of modern architecture.

3. The Terminal (2004) - not the real JFK but a mythic JFK filtered through Spielberg's masterful feel for places and spaces not usually explored in the cinema.

2. Blade Runner (1982) - still THE defining image of what we expect out future cities to look like.

1. Rear Window (1954) - perhaps the greatest of them all? Voyeurism, comedy, tragedy and pervsersion played against the backdrop of Hitchcock's ode to cinema, city living and what happeds when we have too much time on our hands.

Any others to add?