Archive for Brad Bird

Euphoria #24: O, Superman!

Posted in Comics, FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2008 by dcairns


This climactic sequence from THE IRON GIANT is suggested for its euphoric, nay, CATHARTIC qualities, by comic book guy Mike Cavallaro. That Riding to the Rescue moment is something we haven’t seen that much of here at Cinema Euphoria, but it must be one of the earliest euphoric feelings we experience as kids-at-the-movies (since kids get exposed to adventure movies A LOT).

Sadly, my first cinema outing was less than joyous — I was taken to see DR. DOLITTLE as a tot (Sexy Rexy, not Eddie Murphy), and began to cry as soon as the lights dimmed. Nobody had told me it would get dark.

But soon enough I was thrilling to Richard Lester’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS and FOUR MUSKETEERS (I can still recall a boy behind me gasping “Cor, right through him!” as D’Artagnon impales his foe at the end), James Bond and Godzilla (how we cheered at those Saturday matinees, as perspiring Japanese extras slugged it out at 100fps across destructible Tokyo dioramas) and, treasured memory, the 1933 KING KONG, revived at Edinburgh’s late-lamented Odeon, Clerk Street.

got this poster as a kid

I like Brad Bird. His humans can be kind of bland sometimes, but each of his features has had surprising virtues (great use of props in RATATOUILLE), and they provide alternatives, at least to a degree, to the Disney tradition which has dominated and stagnated for too long. I especially like the fact that B.B. writes and directs solo, an almost unheard-of thing in animated feature films. Yet his movies are more dense with ideas and gags and plotlines than most of the other ‘toons whose writers and directors work in teams, “like piano movers”.

I also like, at a safe distance, the powerhouse ego working away in the man. Asked about T.I.G.’s box-office failure, Bird shrugged it off by observing that DUMBO had been a box-office disappointment too. That kind of self-confidence must be fun to have!


However — time to re-explain the mission statement here: little moments that make you happy. No more climaxes, big action sequences and cathartic triumphs (although there are some already suggested which may run). Let’s keep some mystery to it! All suggestions are welcome, however — let’s hear from some lurkers.

Film File-o’-Facts

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2007 by dcairns

1] Herman Baldwin is the only actor to appear in both the 1922 and 1979 versions of NOSFERATU. He plays the minor role of “Third Rat” in the Murnau classic, but fifty-five years later he had graduated to feature-player status, portraying “Lead Rat” in the audacious Herzog re-imagining. Most recently, Baldwin worked on RATATOUILLE, where sophisticated motion-capture technology allowed animators to use his physical performance for the character “Skinner”. Baldwin is said to be “very disappointed” that Ian Holm’s voice was used instead of his own. Though now in his late nineties, Baldwin still hopes to escape from being typecast in rat roles, and would love to try his hand at a more romantic part.

2] Which movie actor and singing star is actually a conjoined twin?

*See bottom of page for answer.

3] Legend has it that if you play the first side of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching THE WIZARD OF OZ, the effect is not really complimentary to either film or album.

4] The longest film ever made may be Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s BACH: A BIG FILM FROM LEIPZIG. But an exact running time is not available: critics attending the first screening in March 1987 have still not emerged.

5] Joseph “Buster” Keaton and Larry “Buster” Crabbe were actually brothers. Their son is eighties singing sensation Buster Bloodvessel.

Great Stone Face.Stiff Upper Lip.

6] Silent movie director Fritz Lang was actually silent in real life. Lang suffered from hysterical mutism after his experiences in World War One. He would communicate on set using his own personalized sign language, consisting mainly of punching and kicking. A punch in the stomach meant “less,” a kick in the shins, “more.”

After going to France to make LILIOM, Lang discovered he was mute only in German. By an irony of fate he could communicate fluently in French, a language he did not speak.

Old Lang Syne.

7] If you watch the first 40 mins of Oliver Stone’s THE DOORS while listening to “Give ’em Enough Rope” by The Clash, the film is massively improved. It’s even better if you shut your eyes.

8] Besides Jerry Lewis’ famed concentration camp comedy THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, other unreleased movies waiting on the shelf include Kinji Fukasaku’s all-Japanese UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, and Merle Oberon’s directing debut, CHARLES MANSON: THE MUSICAL, starring Art Garfunkel and Twiggy.

9] The shortest film ever made is Michael Snow’s FRAME, which is just a single frame in duration. Since the film is too short to “spool up”, projectionists usually just drop it past the lens.

10] The most faithful film adaptation ever is Cantlin Ashrowan’s film of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The director simply filmed the book’s open pages, leaving plenty of time for the viewer to read. Ashrowan is now trying to interest Robert Zemeckis in filming the braille edition in 3D.

The Knowles Twins.

*Answer: Beyonce Knowles. Beyonce’s “Siamese twin” brother, Bernard (technically her half-brother) has to be digitally “air-brushed” out of photos and videos, although for live appearances he just puts a lampshade on his head.