Question: Much has been made about Paul Greengrass' handheld-camera work in The Bourne Ultimatum, and the fact that both Supremacy and Ultimatum have been hits makes me certain that filmmakers will keep doing it. But I can't be the only person who gets nauseous watching these films. The incessant movement is difficult to watch. Rarely does the camera stop long enough for the viewer to process a shot... even the quietest moments can't be still. Matt Damon is great and I'd like to say I enjoyed the movies, but when I have to go home and take something for headache and nausea, that can't be good. Am I alone in this? - Daryl
Matt Damon in The Bourne Supremacy courtesy Universal Pictures
You're far from alone - some critics and a lot of moviegoers have complained about the restless, shaky handheld-camera work and superfast editing in
The Bourne Ultimatum
(2007) in particular and movies in general.
Filmmakers generally use restless, jittery camera work to establish a you-are-there atmosphere; sometimes it's meant to look as though there's an amateur behind the camera, other times it's just meant to look nervous and edgy. Combining this kind of camera work with rapid-fire editing is a natural for action sequences if you want audiences to feel as though they're in the thick of it, experiencing the same sensory overload as the characters rather than sitting back and watching things unfold at a distance. There's also a line of thinking that the combination of a nervous camera and rat-a-tat editing goes a long way in covering weak performances, lazy staging and inadequate production design; by the same token, it can be a real boon to filmmakers working on low budgets by turning what could be liabilities produced by not having the money to create a polished look into assets - look at
The Blair Witch Project
(2005). Among mainstream filmmakers,
is a repeat offender:
Man on Fire
(2006) are real eyeball rattlers and I actually turned off
(2005): I wouldn't say I felt nauseated, but it was giving me a headache. But I think the technique works really well in the Greengrass
films, as well as in his
The only time I ever remember feeling ill because of rapid camera movement was during
Husbands and Wives
(1992), and I think a lot of that was that I was forced to sit very close to a very wide screen. Being forced to whip my own head back and forth to follow the action is what did it, and that was actually less about the fact that the camera work was deliberately unsteady as it was Allen's choice to use swish pans in a domestic drama.
Readers: Weigh in, please.
Question: I was wondering if you could help me with this movie title: All I remember about the movie is that it was on TV a lot in the '80s when I was a kid and it had some sort of premise like the movie Rat Race. I remember these groups of people all searching for clues to money. The only parts I think I remember correctly involve a bag of money under a bridge in a fish tank and a clue or something underneath a bridge in a bird's nest. Any ideas? - Phillip
It could be the all-star flop
(1979), but I think the better bet is
(1980), which I know got heavy TV play in the 1980s and has a substantial fan club as a result. But I haven't seen it and it's not on DVD, so I can't swear to it.
Question: After seeing Hairspray I was wondering what other film musicals are based on older, nonmusical films that were remade into stage musicals. Little Shop of Horrors comes to mind, but I can't think of any others. - Eric
There aren't a lot.
Little Shop of Horrors
(1986) is indeed one: It started life as Roger Corman's microbudget horror-comedy
The Little Shop of Horrors
(1960), became the Off Broadway musical
Little Shoppe of Horrors
in 1982 and then went back to the screen with new tunes intact.
, of course: First came
' aggressively un-PC
, then the massively successful 2001 Broadway musical and finally the shockingly charmless
2005 musical film
's 1975 musical theater piece
is rooted in the nonmusical play by Maurine Watkins, which was filmed twice - as
- and then filmed
as a musical
These examples aren't quite the same, but they share musical/nonmusical and stage/screen connections:
was originally a long-running, nonmusical Broadway play (1936), then a 1939
and then a movie musical under the title
The Opposite Sex
The French/Italian nonmusical film
La Cage Aux Folles
(1978) became a Broadway musical in 1983, but was then filmed as the nonmusical
(1996). And the 1956 French stage musical
Irma La Douce
moved to Broadway - still a musical - in 1960, but became
was, ironically, then best known for her work in stage musicals like
The Pajama Game
A coworker reminded me of
Phantom of the Opera
, which was made several times as a straight horror film before finding new life as a 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. It was then made into a
in 2004. Thanks, Gerry!
Question: I have been hearing about a movie called Solstice, starring Elisabeth Harnois and Shawn Ashmore, for about a year now. Have you heard anything about this movie, and if so, do you know when it is supposed to be released? Also wanted to say how much I love the podcast!! - David H.
, a New Orleans-set remake of Danish director Carsten Myllerup's 2003
, wrapped in May 2006. It was directed by Daniel Myrick, who codirected
The Blair Witch Project
(1999) and subsequently shot
, which is in post-production.
is being released by Endgame Entertainment and I've seen references to an October 2007 release date, which certainly makes sense for a horror movie. The
has nothing on it except Myrick's blog, which hasn't been updated since August 2006. I have a call in to Endgame, and I'll keep you posted.
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