Have you read any good books, seen any good movies, eaten any good BBQ lately, or run into anything else that you would like to recommend to other Cranach readers?

Your verdict on Iron Man 2

Who has seen Iron Man 2?  Is it really what one critic calls it, “a virtual love letter to Ronald Reagan”?

via Pajamas Media » Iron Man 2: A Love Letter to Ronald Reagan?.

The ad man as one of the writers

We have commercials.  Then came product placement, in which commercials enter the storyline.  Now we have advertisers working with writers to make the product an intrinsic part of the plot.  From Harold Meyerson, <a href=””>Moviemaking becomes commercial art</a>:

<blockquote>As the cost of filmmaking continues to rise, “product placement” has become a serious source of production funding. The more a product is shown or used in a movie, the Times reports, “the more a brand pays for the appearance, offering fees ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million a film.”

But Yospe&apos;s niche — “brand integration,” as his law firm’s Web site nicely terms it — takes the concept further by starting the process earlier. Rather than have studio executives arbitrarily edit in a scene set, say, in an Exxon gas station as production is wrapping up, Yospe meets with filmmakers and writers while their pictures are still on the drawing boards to help the product placement become more integral to the narrative and thematic flow. And clinching deals for certain brands can affect the casting and other major aspects of a film.

The Times story begins with a script conference between Yospe and the writer of a thriller-to-be. Yospe suggests that at a certain point in the picture, the heroes might get hungry. “There’s no fast-food scene at all,” he points out, “but they have to eat.”

Golden Arches, here we come.</blockquote>

3-D, or not 3-D

That is the question in today’s film industry. “Avatar” was a huge hit, with ground-breaking technological innovations that brought 3-D filmmaking back to life.  But now scores of movie makers are rushing to convert movies already in the can to 3-D.  That’s what happened with “Alice in Wonderland” and now with “Clash of the Titans.”   “Avatar”-director and innovator James Cameron, along with other purists, are scorning these 3-D effects on the cheap, claiming they are inferior.  But many movie goers can’t tell the difference.  “Prince Caspian” and the upcoming Harry Potter movies are all converting to the 3-D illusions.

Can you tell the difference?  Does it matter?  Are people just going to otherwise bad movies just to see the 3-D spectacle?  How long before that gets old?

See Conversion of Movies to 3-D Draws Mixed Reactions –

When the movie is better than the book

This grew out of a conversation I had yesterday with a student over lunch. He was talking about why the books are nearly always better than the movies that are made based on them. I said that this is true, but there are some cases in which the movie is actually better than the book.

The example I gave was “Peter Pan.” The book, by J. M. Barrie, has all of the Victorian vices of sentimentalism and child-worshipping, and I find it unreadable. (As Chesterton said, Barrie’s central conceit of a boy who doesn’t want to grow up is the fantasy of an adult, not a child. Actual children can’t wait to grow up!)

Another: “The Wizard of Oz.”

I have another one in mind, but I’ll see if you can come up with it. What are some other movies that are better than the book?

Hollywood goes conservative?

Maybe not exactly, but the Academy Awards give Roger Simon reason to think that the ideological spectrum in Hollywood may be widening:

The 2010 Academy Awards may not have marked the end of “liberal Hollywood” as we know it, but they certainly put a solid dent in it. With the pro-military “The Hurt Locker” winning over the enviro-pabulum of “Avatar” and Sandra Bullock garnering the Best Actress Oscar for a Christian movie, the times are a-changin’ at least somewhat, maybe even a lot.

But one thing is now certain. It is time for conservative, center-right and libertarian filmmakers to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go out and just do it. Their “victocrat” days are over. No more excuses. “The Hurt Locker” and “The Blind Side” have proven that it can be done. Get out of the closet, guys and gals. If you want to make a film with themes you believe in, quit whining about Industry prejudice and start writing that script and trying to get it made. That’s not an easy thing, no matter what your politics.

Right siders can take inspiration too from Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies themselves. They weren’t defamed for a moment. Missing in action was the usual libo-babble, no extended hymns to the cause du jour or ritual Bush-bashing. And Barack Obama wasn’t even mentioned. Not once. But the troops were – several times by Kathryn Bigelow.

via Roger L. Simon » Did the 2010 Academy Awards Mark the End of “Liberal Hollywood”?.