Sunday, 6 February 2011

New Super 8 trailer online now and plot details revealed!

"Do not speak of this. If you do, it will find you..."

The wall of silence surrounding JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg's summer sci-fi movie Super 8 is finally beginning to fall with the unveiling of a 30-second Super Bowl ad AND a revealing new interview with the writer-director.

Up until now, all we had to go on was a teaser trailer that gave tantalizing clues about the alien-on-the-loose plot but ultimately gave nothing away. We know it's about small town kids and some kind of escaped alien, plus that it is a bit of a throwback to Spielberg's 1980s Amblin output, but that's about it.

Now the TV spot fills in a few blanks.

Starting with your typical shots of a small American town - the sun setting next to a pylon, Main Street USA - it cuts to the train crash we saw in the first teaser.

We then get shots of the kids escaping the train wreckage amid spectacular explosions, flying metal and spinning train carriages. The shot from the teaser of the container being battered from the inside comes next before we get shots of the military with flame throwers - presumably decontaminating the town.

The trailer ends with a flurry of money shots and the ominous voiceover: "Do not speak of this. If you do, it will find you..." - lights flickering, residents fleeing, the kids (one in zombie make-up) creating their Super 8 movie, Kyle Chandler in his deputy sheriff's uniform, a house exploding, the kids running away from something, Chandler hugging his son, shop fronts exploding around soldiers (who appear to be transfixed - or taken over? - but something), a shop worker being dragged through the aisles of a store by some unseen force, a bus overturning and finally more shots of the town being bombarded by a rain of fire.

The spot ends with a flash of images, none of which I could figure out, but probably mean a lot to fans of the viral marketing campaign that has been on the go for months now.

All in all, pretty spectacular, but see for yourselves.

Pretty cool huh? You can watch it in glorious HD here

If that wasn't enough Super 8 news, the LA Times has published a surprisingly long interview with Abrams where he opens up a bit about the movie:

Abrams says: “To me, all people need to know is that it’s an adventure about a small town and it’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s scary and there’s a mystery: What is this thing that has escaped? What are the ramifications of its presence? And what is the effect on people? But I know that’s not enough. Look, I feel we need a little bit of a coming-out party because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don’t know what ‘Super 8′ means. We’re a complete anomaly in a summer of huge films … and we don’t want to be so silent or coy that people don’t care or don’t hear about it.”

But what about the plot? The LA Times' Geoff Boucher was given a glimpse of the first 30 minutes and described it the storyline:

Super 8 takes its name from the Eastman Kodak film format that became a sensation with amateur movie-makers in the late 1960s and represented a rite of passage for several generations of aspiring directors, among them Spielberg and Abrams. The Paramount Pictures release is set in Ohio in 1979 and introduces a troupe of six youngsters who are using a Super 8 camera to make their own zombie movie. One fateful night, their project takes them to a lonely stretch of rural railroad tracks and, as the camera rolls, calamity strikes — a truck collides with an oncoming locomotive and a hellacious derailment fills the night with screaming metal and raining fire. Then something emerges from the wreckage, something decidedly inhuman.

Okay, so the plot revelations aren't a million miles away from what has already been hinted at, but the most interesting thing about the article is the little details, including the fact that Abrams didn't just consult with Spielberg about getting the right vibe for his coming-of-age film - he also spoke with Rob Reiner, director of what I consider to be THE best rites of passage film of the 80s, Stand By Me.

There's no quotes from Spielberg in the article, but he is mentioned.

The hybrid approach immediately won the affections of Spielberg. He told Abrams that for years he had tried to find a film that spoke to the specific heartbreak of divorce and then finally found it by making the unlikely decision to meld it with a sci-fi story. The result was “E.T.,” which had spaceships but was just as much a tale of a single-parent family and the loss of connection and home, for human and alien alike. “Super 8″ has a similar backbeat approach to heartache. The film begins with a small-town factory death that is very much of the real world.

“This is a movie about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice,” Abrams said. “A boy whose lost his mother and the man whose lost his wife. There’s this father who, because of the era, never really had to be the parent. He’s a good man, he works hard, he’s a deputy in the town, but he’s never stepped up as father.”

Read the full article here

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Brilliant Spielberg biography gets a second edition

I must have read over a dozen books on Steven Spielberg and most of them are pretty poor.

Many of them are seem to have been culled from inaccurate press clippings and unreliable witness and rushed into print. And of course it's only after you've bought the book and started to devour it that you realise that it's a stinker.

That cannot be said for Joseph McBride's peerless biography that was first published in 1997.

A proper biography in every sense of the word (McBride actually interviewed dozens if not hundreds of people in order to get the facts right) this, for me at least, is the last word on Spielberg's life. (Or it will be until the great man writes his own autobiography...)

Most impressive are the many chapters McBride devotes to Spielberg's childhood. Thanks to the co-operation of Spielberg's father Arnold as well as friends and classmates, we get a very revealing portrait of his sometimes painful early years in Arizona.

So why am I raving on about this more-than-a-decade old book now?

Well Joseph McBride has just added four chapters to it, taking the story of Spielberg from 1997 up to present.

From the product decription on Amazon:
This new edition adds four chapters to Spielberg's life story, chronicling his extraordinarily active and creative period from 1997 to the present, a period in which he has balanced his executive duties as one of the partners in the film studio DreamWorks SKG with a remarkable string of films as a director. Spielberg's ambitious recent work--including Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, A. I. Artifucial Intelligence, Minority Report, The Terminal and Munich--has continually expanded his range both stylistically and in terms of adventurous, often controversial, subject matter.

As I say - brilliant BRILLIANT biography that any Spielberg fan should own a copy of. And these four extra chapters are definitely worth buying it for a second time.
Buy the book here or read more about it at Joseph McBride's website

Spielberg's Broadway musical pilot

Steven Spielberg has always talked about directing a musical, but he's never done it. But now, with a pitch to NBC, he could be dipping his toe into the water.

NBC has agreed to make the pilot musical drama - which is being called Smash - and. although details are sketchy, it will reportedly revolve around the creation of a Broadway show.

According to EW, the script was written and executive produced by playwright Theresa Rebeck. Executive producers will include Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Hairspray fame. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will provide original songs for the series.

So there's a strong team being it which has got to give NBC some confidence - the only question is will audiences have tired of the Glee formula by the time it hits our screens (assuming the pilot goes to series) next year?