stars Quentin Tarantino, William Shatner, Pam Grier and Jack Nicholson; Alex Stapleton directs.
The Setup: If you love indie films, you owe a big thank-you to Roger Corman. The writer/director/producer has been called the king of the B flicks, and it's true that Corman made most of his 385+ films in less than a month and for very, very little money. Along the way, he also launched the careers of such notable actors and directors as Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Peter Bogdanovich and Martin Scorsese, founded New World Pictures studio and made a little film history.
The documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel by director Alex Stapleton brings together some of those now famous actors and filmmakers in a tribute to the man who perfected the formula for profitable splatter flicks.
The Execution: As with most tribute documentaries, the screen is filled with talking heads. But these talking heads are some of the biggest movers and shakers in Hollywood. Oh, and in the clips Stapleton shows from Corman's films, some of the heads explode.
"We feel that the monster should kill someone fairy early and then at regular intervals through the picture," says Corman in an onscreen interview. "The first kill should be quite shocking. The other kills can be a little bit less shocking as we build up. Then, of course, the climax, everything goes. Blood all over the screen."
Corman was known for making films quickly, sometimes in just days (as was the case with his 1960 Little Shop of Horrors, which starred Jack Nicholson). "We made them fast and cheap, and...taste was out of the question. There was no need for taste," says Scorsese of his days with Corman.
Peter Bogdanovich recalls his experience as director of Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women in 1968 for Corman, a mash-up of leftover footage. Scorsese discusses Boxcar Bertha, a Corman film he directed in 1972.
Stapleton discusses The Intruder, Corman's attempt at dealing with serious issues of the day. Intruder starred William Shatner in his first leading role. The film dealt with racism and integration, with Shatner as an outsider who comes to a little town to stir up trouble. There was trouble on the set, the participants recall, because of the film's topic. The cast and crew were forced to change locations because locals were opposed to Corman filming a "communist" story in their area. That resistance to filming proved Corman's point, that race was a heated issue which needed to be discussed.
The Extras: Bonus features on the DVD version include the film's trailer, extended interviews with the participants and special filmed messages to Corman.
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stars Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic; Angelina Jolie directs.
Also worth your notice this week is Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey. The film is Jolie's directorial debut. Set in the Bosnian war in the early 1990s, it deals with the relationship between a Muslim woman and a Bosnian Serb policeman. The two were friendly before the war, but after the shooting starts they find themselves on opposite sides. She ends up in a camp where he's a commander. Rape is a constant threat for the women in the camp, and to protect her, the commander takes her as his lover. This isn't always an easy film to watch, but Jolie's strong storytelling makes it worth the effort.
Casablanca (The 70th Anniversary Limited Collector's Edition) is released today. We really don't have to tell you the plot on this one, do we? Extras, all 12 hours of them, include You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story documentary.