“I got Escape! Calvin Klein Escape! Mix it up with Calvin Klein Be. Smell nice? I smell nice!” That’s a line from Aliens’ (James Franco) monologue in Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers, where he shows the girls all of his stuff (or shit). Who would have thought that the director of films which are mostly about white trash characters like Gummo (1997), Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) or Trash Humpers (2009) would go on to direct an ad for Christian Dior, one of the top French fashion houses? Certainly not me, but it works. Take a look!
Since it’s a bit early for a top ten of favorite films (still waiting for some possibly great films to be released), I thought I’d start the yearly retrospective with a list of favorite posters. I haven’t seen all the films on this list, so I don’t know if some of these are actually good. Also, that’s not really important. This is about film posters, so it’s about who created the coolest artwork to prompt their picture. Film posters are usually a big part of what gets me excited for a film. Since I try to stay away from trailers as much as possible, most of the times I prefer “static” marketing like stills and posters. Continue reading
When A24 first asked Academy Voters to consider James Franco‘s performance as Alien in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers many, myself included, viewed it as a marketing stunt. Since then however the studio has never stopped believing in the film and the iconic character it managed to create. Last week cult director John Waters singled out Spring Breakers as his favorite film of the year. The film holds a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and also got mostly favorable reviews on Meta Critic. Continue reading
If you’ve seen Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, whether you liked it or not, chances are you remember James Franco‘s crazy performance as Alien the rapper/gangster that bails the lovely ladies out of prison. The film itself also got a lot of praise and critical acclaim as one of Korine’s best films to date and so it is only natural for new distributor A24 to exploit all the good buzz and try to get even more attention by supporting James Franco’s Oscar campaign. In tune with the film’s humor (and language) the provocative, but memorable, slogan is going to be “Consider this shit”, evocative of Alien’s iconic line in the movie “Look at my shit!”.
Personally I think this is more of a marketing stunt than anything else. Their chances of actually getting nominated are slim considering the people they’re addressing (older white folks), but it certainly gets people talking about the movie. Even now that the film is out on home video, the social media marketing on Facebook is still going on, constantly reminding people of the film. I think this is a prime example of film marketing done right and I look forward to finding out how Franco’s campaign works out.
I fondly remember David Lynch campaigning for Laura Dern with a cow, back in 2007, for her stellar performance in Inland Empire. Even if these tentatives aren’t successful they’re fun and inspiring, because these people don’t take themselves (or the Academy) too seriously, but they do so in a loving way. The campaign poster for Franco, showing Alien holding not one, but two statues is pure gold. Stay tuned for more news on James Franco and his Oscar campaign!
Last week was a great week for movies at my house. I watched three Woody Allen films, re-watched one of last year’s favorites (Spring Breakers) and one of my all time favorite films: Lars von Trier’s Dogville. I also managed to squeeze in a short film by Lukas Moodysson called Talk (1997). All in all a very satisfying week for movie watching. How about you guys?
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Zelig (1983) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.7) – Comedy, Fantasy (USA)
A black and white faux documentary written, directed and starring Woody Allen as a human chameleon, literally. Charming film, funny, thoughtful and probably one of Woody’s best film. I also like Mia Farrow in this, she’s great as the psychologist trying to cure Woody Allen’s character from his strange disease. I guess Woody was trying to make some kind of social commentary and of course reprising his usual themes (love, art, death) and the film has much more going on under the surface than what it looks like. Good film, works for me, recommended.
Spring Breakers (2012) – 8.5 (IMDb 5.7) – Crime, Drama, Comedy (USA)
Alyce (2011) – 7.5 (IMDb 5.1) – Horror (USA)
Good horror movies aren’t easy to come by these days, Alyce is certainly one of the best American genre films in a while. Successfully mixing comedy and horror (which is never easy) Alyce tells the story of a young woman that accidentally kills her best friend and her subsequent descent into madness. The film works so beautifully thanks to Jade Dornfeld’s convincing performance and a witty script. While the story and the subjects discussed in Alyce are hardly new or original its execution is well above average genre fare. The only thing bothering me is the blatant social commentary, which I agree with ideologically, but is poorly presented and mostly out of place.
Scoop (2006) – 7.5 (IMDb 6.7) – Comedy, Mystery (USA)
Another great Woody Allen film from his British period this time. Scoop starring Woody Allen himself, as well as Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman is a funny comedy/mystery. Typical Woody Allen humor, an intriguing case and some great performance make this film worthwhile. The story revolves around a young journalist (Johansson’s character) that gets a scoop about a serial killer from a dead journalist. Helpless she turns to Woody Allen’s character, an illusionist, who assist her, if only because she is so incredibly good-looking. Hugh Jackman’s character is the suspect and does a fantastic job at playing this charming rich kid above suspicion.
Au Hazard Balthazar (1966) – 7 (IMDb 7.8) – Crime, Drama, Criterion (France)
This film is a classic and part of the criterion collection, so it was about time I checked it out. This is the first film by French auteur Robert Bresson that I’ve seen and I enjoyed it. It’s about a young girl and her (mis)adventures, all of which are tied together by this donkey that shows up in her life very early on. It’s a character piece I would say, an exploration of many themes part of the human experience, so it’s difficult to pin it down to just one, because it’s about a number of things. Strong performances, a well wrought screenplay and gorgeous black & white cinematography are what sticks out for me in Au Hazard Balthazar.
Dogville (2003) – 9 (IMDb 7.9) – Crime, Drama (Denmark)
Small Time Crooks (2000) – 7 (IMDb 6.5) – Comedy, Crime (USA)
Considered one of Woody Allen’s lesser films Small Time Crooks is actually an excellent exploration of what fame and fortune can do to people. It’s also features one of Allen’s most hopeful endings, this and Midnight in Paris are as close at it gets to a happy ending for him. I really dug the story of this normal Manhattan couple who suddenly makes a lot of money selling cookies. The wife wants to be part of high society, but the “real” rich people don’t care about her, because she’s ignorant and has bad taste. Her husband, a thief, doesn’t care, he seems to be missing their old life. He was content with what he had, even if it was mediocre.
The Purge (2013) – 6.5 (IMDb 5.6) – Horror, Thriller (USA)
Great concept doesn’t always equal great movie. The premise of The Purge is that in the future the US government will legalize crime for one night of the year, so that people “get it out of their system”. The film is about a family whose home is invaded and how they have to fight to survive. Besides plot holes and a cheesy script, I must say the atmosphere and tension mostly work. It’s the cast that sells it. The social commentary is so obvious I won’t discuss it, but it does make you think and it does bring up some interesting questions and issues. At the end of the day though this film is more interesting from a philosophical stand point than a filmmaking one.
That’s it for this week. I tried to keep the reviews really short: It saves time. See you next week!
Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are four young friends looking for something fun to do on spring break. Everyone seems to be out of town, while they’re still hanging around campus bored to death and with no money. While Faith is busy with her religious group’s meetings, her girlfriends decide to rob the local chicken shack to pony up some cash. After their successful coup they hurry on the next bus to Florida. After days of heavy drinking, casual drug use mixed with spiritual soul-searching, the police shows up and the party is over. With no cash to pay bail, it looks like the ladies are left to rot in prison (for two days), but luckily local gangster and rapper Alien (James Franco) gets an interest in their case. After freeing them from jail, they join him in his convertible, but Faith doesn’t feel very comfortable around thugs and former inmates. Alien is a gentlemen and lets her return home. Candy, Brit and Cotty stay with Alien, but things are about to get crazy as some old gang rivalries resurface. Continue reading
Except for the excellent towel poster the American billboard marketing for Spring Breakers was mostly underwhelming and characterized by poor layouts and lazy copy paste jobs, which means basically using unaltered screenshots from the film. Totally unaesthetic if you ask me.
Meanwhile the French marketing team was doing a bang-up job creating a variety of great one-sheets and clever designs. Here is a collection of colorful, neon-dripping, hot poster art. The first two might be fan-made, but the rest sure don’t look like it. Regardless, these look fantastic, and even when they do use images from the film: It’s still a more artful and thoughtful composition compared to the US one.
Spring Break forever!
Some people lamented the lack of marketing for The Bling Ring, especially in terms of social media. While A24 might look lazy or uninterested in marketing Sofia Coppola’s new film it’s probably just a matter of limited resources. In other words: It’s a new studio, they don’t have a lot of money.
As these kinds of things go, sometimes the lack of funds forces marketers to get ingenious and inventive. In this case, A24 decided to promote two of their films at once in what I like to call Crossover Marketing. ‘Crossover’ what? Crossover Marketing. What do you mean by that? Well, it’s basically cross-promotion, but I like the idea of having invented something new.
Here’s what I mean. For the release of Spring Breakers on home video, they posted this pretty picture on their Facebook page. Kind of genius, right?