7.February.2012: Star Wars got a couple of looks during the Super Bowl, with Darth Vader once again making a walk-on for a Volkswagen commercial and a proper trailer for the the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace coming out this Friday. Calum Marsh takes the enhanced Menace as an occasion to contemplate the Star Wars series technological “progress”: “The world of [The Phantom Menace], rendered cold and calculated by its overwhelming (and much-maligned) emphasis on digital effects, has almost nothing in common, visually, with the intensely tactile world of the original Star Wars trilogy, one defined more by its feel than any one look. That tactile quality, of course, was at least partly a byproduct of technological limitations, and though I personally prefer the look of physical locations or sets to environments heavily augmented or created from scratch by a computer, I think it’s safe to assume that the CGI backdrops leaned on throughout most of The Phantom Menace are in fact closer to the original creative vision of the Star Wars universe. The endless revisions afflicted on the originals suggest as much.”
Back to the big game, Steven Zeitchik reviews the movie-related commercials that played the Super Bowl for The Los Angeles Times. The Clint Eastwood spot for Chrysler continues to turn heads, with some pundits wondering whether Eastwood’s call (“it’s halftime in America and our second half’s about to begin”) might not be taken as an Obama endorsement. The Washington Post quotes a scandalized Karl Rove (“I was, frankly, offended by it”) and a bemused Dan Pfeiffer (the White House communications director tweeted, “Saving the American Auto Industry: Something Eminem and Clint Eastwood can agree on”) before finally landing on something Eastwood said in an interview last year: “We shouldn’t be bailing out the banks and car companies.”
At We Are Movie Geeks, Tom Stockman notes the death of Bill Hinzman, who played “The Graveyard Zombie” in Night of the Living Dead, the first zombie we see in what many still regard as the definitive zombie movie. Stockman appreciatively notes that “Hinzman was a staple on the horror movie convention circuit and would dress up in ratty clothes and zombie makeup to pose with his many films.”
Yesterday the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the full lineup of its seventeenth annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema running from March 1-11. Opening night will feature the Gallic smash The Intouchables, but over the following weeks FSLC will spotlight new work by notable auteurs (Benoit Jacquot, Lucas Belvaux, André Téchniné, Alain Cavalier) as well as films already garlanded on the festival circuit like Mathieu Amalric’s The Screen Illusion and Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval’s Low Life. A few nights before Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche’s Smuggler’s Song plays Rendez-Vous, it will show at the Harvard Film Archive as part of a retrospective coinciding with the filmmaker’s Geneviève McMillan Fellowship. Finally, the centerpiece screening of this year’s Rendez-Vous will be the restored version of Marcel Carné’s beloved Children of Paradise that premiered at Cannes last May.