"Shutter Island" Secrets! See Films Scorsese Showed to Inspire Cast and Crew 


Being a true film buff himself, Martin Scorsese inspired cast and crew with a series of nighttime screenings of films that called forth the themes and styles used in "Shutter Island."

Some of the films are classics, some are obscure, but they're definitely worth a look to see what movies inspired the greatest living American director while making "Shutter Island" starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Here's the list of films according to the movie's production notes:

OTTO PREMINGER'S "LAURA" -- How love can be the most dangerous thing to ever happened to a woman.

JACQUES TOURNEUR'S "OUT OF THE PAST" -- the film's tagline says "A MAN - Trying to run away from his past... A WOMAN - Trying to escape her future!"

EDWARD DMYTRYK'S "CROSSFIRE" -- "Shutter Island's" paranoia theme involving DiCaprio's wartime hero mirrors this film's sentiments.

NICHOLAS RAY'S "ON DANGEROUS GROUND" -- this is a police drama about a cop sent to investigate the murder of a young girl.

KARL MALDEN'S "TIME LIMIT" -- Malden's intense directorial debut about a military investigation

ORSON WELLES' "THE TRIAL" -- Based on Franz Kafka's novel, "The Trial" or "Le procès" is a surreal film about a man being detained for an unknown crime.

JOHN HUSTON'S WARTIME DOCUMENTARIES "SAN PIETRO" AND "LET THERE BE LIGHT"

Scorsese is also a horror buff, and he showed the following influential scary films for inspiration:

ROBERT WISE'S "THE HAUNTING" -- proving the existence of ghosts can be a very tricky experience

JACK CLAYTON'S "THE INNOCENTS" -- Deborah Kerr plays a governess who believes that the house and grounds are haunted!

Scorsese also showed many horror films from producer Val Lewton including:

MARK ROBSON'S "THE SEVENTH VICTIM" -- Slave to SATAN! Yikes!

And perhaps, the most telling film that Scorsese showed to his cast and crew was FREDERICK WISEMAN'S "TITICUT FOLLIES," a controversial documentary that was banned in 1967. The film explores the treatment of inmates at a hospital for the criminally insane called Titicut Follies which is very similar to "Shutter Island's" Ashecliffe Hospital. This documentary showed the cast and crew the deplorable conditions suffered by asylum patients in the '50s and '60s.

This list of films shows that even when Scorsese goes "Hollywood" with a typical psychological thriller, the maestro still hearkens back to the good old days of Tinseltown.

That's why his films, even with a pedantic theme like "Shutter Island," still work! Now, run to your nearest video store or put these movies in your Netflix queue.

Check out my written review of "Shutter Island" right here.

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Own This 1966 Dodge Coronet From Best Picture Oscar Nominee "A Serious Man!" It's For a Good Cause! 


Starting Monday, February 22, film fans and car aficionados will have the chance to own a unique piece of movie memorabilia from one of the Best Picture Oscar nominees, the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man."

Variety -- The Children's Charity of Southern California will begin hosting the online auction of the 1966 Dodge Coronet used in the film. "A Serious Man" is nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Picture and Original Screenplay by Joel & Ethan Coen.

The auction will be live on Monday at www.eBay.com/varietyskids and end Thursday, March 4, 2010 – right before the Oscars. Proceeds from the auction will go to help inspire hope, enrich lives and build a better future for the children in need in Southern California.

The auction will give collectors the chance to bid on the vintage vehicle seen on-screen as the car owned and driven by lead character Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) in "A Serious Man."

Again, staring Monday, Feb. 22, log on to www.eBay.com/varietyskids to start bidding!

Take a look at this on-set video with the 1966 Dodge Coronet in action during one of the scenes for "A Serious Man."



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Smells Like Kurt Cobain Film Moving Forward 


Oren Moverman, the director who gave us the brilliant "The Messenger," is in serious negotiations to rework the screenplay and to direct Universal's still untitled Kurt Cobain biopic.

This project has been languishing for years (Check out our past Kurt Cobain stories right here), but now, it's getting a major boost with Moverman's involvment.

The Hollywood Reporter is saying that:

Material on the life, music and 1994 suicide of the Nirvana singer-songwriter will come at least partially from Charles R. Cross’ 2001 biography, “Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain.” Universal originally purchased the life rights of both Cobain and his widow, Courtney Love, who had already optioned the film rights to the Cross book.


Yay! Now, who should play Cobain and Love? At one point, James McAvoy was rumored to star as the tragic singer, and Love wanted Scarlett Johansson to play her.

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"Shutter Island" Movie Review 


Like any film buff, I worship at the altar of Martin Scorsese. He’s one of the few filmmakers whose rich body of work expounds on the evils of power. In “Shutter Island,” the greatest living American director investigates a different kind of power – the human mind.


Based on Dennis Lehane’s best-selling novel, “Shutter Island” is a psychological suspense thriller where the narrative unfolds on an island housing Ashecliffe Hospital, a sanatorium for the criminally insane. Read More...

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James Cameron Writing "Avatar" Prequel, But Wait, Don't Dust Off Your 3-D Glasses Yet! 


James Cameron is writing a prequel to his mega-hit "Avatar" BUT...it's going to be a novel. Jon Landau, the film's producer, told MTV News that "Jim wants to write a novel that is a big, epic story that fills in a lot of things."

This will mark Cameron's debut as a novelist.

For a while, there were out-of-this world rumors about prequels, sequels, comic books, novelizations, but as Landau put it, "[We] won't have time to do [these stories] in the movie, or maybe in sequels."

So a novel will serve as the building block of future "Avatar" incarnations.

This is actually intriguing because there were many back-stories I wished the film dealt with. And voila! The novel will explain everything! Landau continued, "It would be something that would lead up to telling the story of the movie, but it would go into much more depth about all the stories that we didn't have time to deal with — like the schoolhouse and Sigourney [Weaver's character] teaching at the schoolhouse; Jake on Earth and his backstory and how he came here; [the death of] Tommy, Jake's brother; and Colonel Quaritch, how he ended up there and all that."

So, if the prequel becomes a huge success, Cameron and Landau can open up the world of "Avatar" much like George Lucas' exploration of his "Star Wars" universe.

More secrets of Pandora will be revealed when the "Avatar" prequel novel is released at the end of the year.

To watch Landau's interview with MTV News, click here.

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