Tag Archives: The People vs George Lucas

Edinburgh International Film Festival Begins! Daily Roundup (pt 2)

*First there were The People vs George Lucas

*But then the jedis met the zombies in Evil in the Time of Heroes

*Only to be snuffed out by the silly Red Hill

*Don’t worry though: magic tricks from The Illusionist made it all better

other news

The Edinburgh International Film Festival officially kicked off last night with the premiere of Sylvia Chomet’s love letter to Edinburgh and 1959, The Illusionist. I watched this period film at the Festival Theatre, an old, warm venue with huge red curtains and wooden seats with antique number fonts. I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting location for this film.

Chomet and the EIFF’s director Hannah McGill introduced the film, with Chomet playing the silly French character, stealing the mic from Hannah and chatting away about people dying on the very stage they stood upon.

I’m having a great time spending most of the day in the dark screening rooms around Edinburgh.  If I’m having this much fun covering the festival for free, I can’t imagine the silly-kid grin I’d be wearing all day if I was getting paid.  I hope all the employed reviewers have the same sense of joy.

Also, I need to give a shout out to my wife Bethany, who has been like a pit crew to me over the last two days.  Unlike sitcom nagging wives out to destroy a man’s dreams, she’s been totally behind me on this project: editing my posts while I’m seeing more films and providing encouraging words when I’m feeling tired of my own writing style.  I’m very lucky to have a good partner, especially while covering the fest.

reviews to come

22 Bullets, Blank City

“The People vs George Lucas” is not just for the lightsaber licensed

It’s difficult to find someone who just hates the original Star Wars films.  Either you like it or you just haven’t seen it yet. The People vs George Lucas airs the  long-labored arguments that Star Wars nerds have been making since Lucas made Greedo shoot first–but the film is accessible, and still hilarious, to the wider community.

The film looks at the love/hate relationship between George Lucas and the original fanbase he gained back in 1977 with the release of Star Wars.  The film takes the traditional documentary route, with talking heads, archive interview footage of Lucas, and film clips.  However, it also includes fan submitted videos explaining how they feel about George Lucas.

The way the story is fleshed out is the true hook.  Lucas’ work before Star Wars is presented to showcase his power as a filmmaker (THX 1138, American Graffiti), and to then contextualize the ensuing years that would be solely dedicated to Star Wars.

As the chronology moves closer to the present, the nerd rage get a chance to shine: contributors rail against Lucas’ decisions to digitally change scenes (now Han Solo doesn’t shoot first, so as to make him less of a “dark” character), to add items to scenes, and his refusal to allow fans to have a theatrical cut of the film. Then of course the prequels are brought up, and you have a complete platform of complaints that fans across the world hope Lucas will hear.

The most entertaining touch is the plethora of Star Wars fan films that help tell the story.  The variety of filmmaking formats and techniques the amateur fans utilize is truly awe-inspiring and entertaining.  Some clips you wish you could just follow those down the rabbit hole…

The film is at its most thought provoking when dealing with the issue of the competing wishes of filmmaker and consumer; the documentary also points out that George Lucas himself argued against the colorization of black and white films on the same “cultural significance” grounds that his fans state as the justification of releasing a theatrical cut.

Though the film deals with Lucas’ conversion to the Dark Side, it is quite fair in its treatment of the man.  This could have been a vitriolic piece of hate-mail bubble wrapped with nerd rage, but instead treats the Lucas like a human being.  Or better put, a drunk uncle everyone loves because he’s family, but really hates for the grief he’s caused.  Either way, it’s classy in a way you never thought fanboys could accomplish.

Though there were too many commentors, that were then cut too brief, the film is funny, intelligent, and a delight to watch, particularly due to the fan films.  Now to see if it can get a response from Lucas.

Edinburgh International Film Festival Schedule Released

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has just released their schedule for the 12 day long festival, which starts June 16 and ends June 27.  Tickets for the festival go on sale tomorrow at noon.

You can read through the digital brochure here or go to the film fest’s website here to look through their calendar.

Due to your readership, dear Film Fan, I have secured a Press Pass for the festival. This makes almost all of the screenings free. Without your readership, I would be spending over a 100 pounds trying to cover a fraction of the festival’s events. So thank you.

To honor your support, please look through the festival’s brochure and tell me what films you want reviewed  – or simply if I’ve overlooked a great film at the fest. I cannot promise I will be able to deliver all reviews given time restraints, but I will do my best.

There are an insane number of films being shown, so the following are the main titles I’m looking forward to seeing.

22 Bullets


“Jean Reno gets shot 22 times…and he’s not happy about it.”  Produced by Luc Besson (Unleashed, The Fifth Element) and starring our favorite hit man, this is high on my list.

BAFTA Scotland Interview: Sir Patrick Stewart

Who would pass up a chance to see Captain Picard?


Cigarette Girl


A dystopia in which smokers are separated from the rest of the city, it looks like a fun B-movie.

Get Low

Robert Duvall plays Felix Bush, an old timer who wants to have a funeral party – while he’s still alive.  Throw Bill Murray into this 1930′s period piece and I’m there.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror

This will be a “audio horror movie,” using the cinema’s sound system to tell Lovecraft’s tale.

Lucky


Documentary from Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, Rocket Science) detailing the lives of lottery winners.  Given the greatness of Rocket Race and an NPR piece I heard discussing the making of the film, it should deliver the goods.

Monsters


After contact with alien life has gone awry, the Mexican/U.S. border becomes “infected” territory.  Monsters received buzz at SXSW and has been compared to District 9.  Probably the film I’m most anticipating at the festival.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, that’s enough to watch.  Adding Michael Shannon (a little known actor who was phenomenal in Shotgun Stories), Michael Pena (Crash, The Shield), Chloe Sevigny, and Willem Dafoe is just icing to the cake.

Outcast

Looking forward to this based solely on the reviews, tagging it as a UK horror that throws out the rules.

R


Described by the EIFF as a prison story that makes A Prophet “look like porridge.”

Red Hill


“This Western-style outback thriller is action cinema at its very best.”

Restropo


“The Afghanistan war film that renders all others unnecessary.”  After being embedded for 15 months, the film is supposed to be an unflinching analysis of modern warfare, featuring civilian and military casualties.

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride


It’s 1910 and a young woman is hellbent on returning the body of outlaw Ransom Pride to Texas for a proper burial.  Described as a “dark, violent western” reminiscent of Tarantino, Pekinpah, and Sergio Leone, with cameos from Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Preistly, and a shotgun wielding Peter Dinklage, it sounds like a good ride.

The People vs. George Lucas


I posted a blog piece about this that you can read here.  Super pumped for this one.

Toy Story 3


UK premiere of Pixar’s latest.

World’s Greatest Dad


Starring Robin Williams in a dark comedy/drama directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, it’s sure to be interesting given Williams abilities showcased in One Hour Photo and Death to Smoochy.

Other film of interest include: Act of Dishonour, And Everything is Going Fine, Au Revoir Taipei, Blank City, Boy, Caterpillar, Chase the Slut, Cherry Tree Lane, Crime Fighters, Evil in the Time of Heroes, Fog, Gravity, Henry of Navarre, HIGH School, Hotel Atlantico, Jackboots on Whitehall, Lucky Luke, Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World, Perastroika, Police Adjective, Postales, Privelege, Putty Hill, Skeletons, Snowman’s Land, Son of Babylon, Soul Boy, The Dry Land, The Hunter, The Oath, The Red Machine, The Robber, The Sentimental Engine Slayer, Third Star, Two Eyes Staring, Vacation, and Went the Day Well?

There are still some costs to covering the film festival, so if you like the blog and can afford to support my work, donate below.  If you donate $10 or more, I will send you a DVD of my short films. One finds more value in their work when people are willing to pay for it.

Thanks!

The People vs. George Lucas: A Documentary

The current problem of George Lucas, summed up with one image.

Over at io9.com they’ve posted an interesting interview with the makers of The People vs. George Lucas, which talks to fans of Star Wars around the world and asks them how they feel about George Lucas.

The fans’ biggest gripe, of course, is Lucas’ failure to live up to the original Star Wars films with the subsequent green-screened prequels. They also object to his refusal to release Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in their original, unaltered/non-CGI’d versions (even though Lucas argued against colorizing classic films before Congress).  The director of the film also mentions an interview in 1971 in which Lucas said,  “I like to think of myself as a toy maker who makes films,” which of course sounds like a precursor to the Ewoks in Return and the merchandising craze surround the franchise.

While I was chair of the University of Louisville’s Film Committee (we ran the campus cinema) I learned of  Lucas’ cutthroat business practices: refusing special screenings of any of the films to keep video sales up and forcing cinemas to hand over 90% of the first week’s grosses (compared with the industry standard of 70% to 80%. Every week a film is out, the cinema gradually receives more of the ticket sales, which is why opening weekend matter so much to studios and why your popcorn is so expensive).  It sounds like the filmmakers have delved into some of these issues and it will be interesting to see them reach a wider public.

Finally, discussing to whom films belong (especially when they’re culturally significant) is thought provoking, makes the interview a good read, and gives me optimism for the film.

Interview: http://io9.com/5500510/the-one-thing-george-lucas-could-do-to-sway-the-people-in-his-favor