Charles Austin Miller

14th Sep 2017

Croc (2007)

New this week Continuity mistake: When Andy Konsong discovers his brother's mutilated body in the bloody swimming pool, he vomits, then tries calling for help on his cellphone. As he makes his call, the gigantic crocodile lunges out of the pool and bites off Andy's arm, cellphone and all, above the elbow. Andy screams, staggers and lands on his back, but his only injury thus far is his severed right arm. His mouth is not bloody at all, nor should it be. The camera cuts to another angle as the crocodile lunges a second time; but, before it even enters the frame and bites into his legs, Andy's mouth is suddenly full of blood, his teeth are bloody, and blood is streaming down his chin, even though he has suffered no abdominal injuries.

6th Sep 2017

Colossal (2016)

New this month Continuity mistake: At the end, when Gloria hurls Oscar completely out of sight beyond the horizon, a huge crowd of South Koreans rush up directly behind Gloria, cheering and applauding, only a few feet away from her. The camera cuts to a frontal shot of Gloria, and now the crowd is 25 yards or more in the distance behind her.

New this month Factual error: After the raven attacks the journalist Joan Hart, pecking her eyes out, she blindly staggers into the highway and is run down by a Mack tractor-trailer. As the truck locks up its brakes and strikes her, we see Joan Hart levitate straight up into the air, arc completely over the massive front-end of the truck (even over the cab of the truck), and finally impact the top of the freight trailer, which is about 13 feet in height. More than merely absurd-looking, this sequence utterly defies Newtonian physics. From her position at ground level, Joan Hart should have been instantly pulverized on impact and launched many meters down the road in the same direction the truck is traveling.

6th Sep 2017

I.Q. (1994)

New this month Factual error: Following his lecture on cold fusion, Ed Walters attends a reception, mingling with the academic crowd. At one point, millionaire Louis Bamberger approaches Walters and excitedly presents him with a Bic 4-Color Ballpoint Pen, suggesting that the pen was new on the market in the early-to-mid 1950s. Problem is, the Bic 4-Color Ballpoint Pen wasn't invented and marketed until 1974, some 20 years after the setting of this film.

6th Sep 2017

Excalibur (1981)

New this month Trivia: Producer/screenwriter/director John Boorman deliberately chose renowned stage actors Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren to play the sorcerer Merlin and the sorceress Morgana, knowing very well that Williamson and Mirren hated each other in real life (because of a disastrous stage production of Macbeth they worked in years earlier). Boorman anticipated real friction, tension and anger between the two actors, which was the effect he wanted onscreen. On the contrary, the experience of working together in "Excalibur" completely changed Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren into the best of friends.

New this month Factual error: The Kiss of the Dragon acupuncture point, known as "Point 15," is in a delicate area of the spinal column, a little below the second cervical vertebra. It's a definite knock-out target in fighting, and it can even be a lethal target. But Jet Li's explanation that it somehow prevents blood from flowing away from the brain is pure nonsense.

Question: Sean Connery took dancing lessons for 11 years in his youth, and he surely knew how to dance when he made this film in his 50s. So, why is his choreographed tango with Kim Basinger in this film so painfully, embarrassingly awkward and heavily edited? Is this perhaps due to the fact that Kim Basinger had virtually no dancing skills?

New this month Answer: Neither is a professional dancer. Having studied dancing some thirty years before does not mean someone has retained the same level of skills. As you mentioned, Connery was in his 50s by that time.

raywest

6th Sep 2017

Sin City (2005)

Question: While re-watching "Sin City" on HBO recently, I realised that the closed captioning for this film has been noticeably censored. While the audio track seems intact, every instance of the word "fag" results in that entire line of dialogue being omitted from closed captioning. Is this strangely selective closed captioning censorship featured on the original "Sin City" DVD, or is this HBO's own particular brand of censorship?

New this month Answer: The word "fag" is only used once in the entire movie, spoken by Becky who refers to a club called the Amigo as a "fag joint." The omission in the subtitles might just be an oversight. HBO is known for having original content that pushes the envelope of what people consider to be tasteful (such as "Game of Thrones" and "The Sopranos") so it's highly unlikely that they would be resorting to censorship.

Serious B

New this month Factual error: Scarlett and George use the Rose Key to translate the inscription on the back of Flamel's ancient tombstone, and it translates into a rhyming English lyric puzzle. Problem is, they are translating this lyric puzzle from Aramaic (an ancient and virtually dead Middle Eastern language) to modern English. Aramaic would not and could not translate into rhyming modern English.

6th Sep 2017

Auto Focus (2002)

New this month Trivia: When "Auto Focus" debuted, Bob Crane's son, Scotty Crane, complained loudly that the film was completely inaccurate and misleading. Scotty said that his father had been a lifelong sex-addict who recorded and photographed sex acts as far back as 1956, that he was not a church-goer, that he never tried S&M as depicted in the film, and that he only started socializing with John Henry Carpenter in 1975, long after the Hogan's Heroes TV series ended, and just 3 years before the unsolved murder that took Bob Crane's life. The film jumbles all of these events out of chronological order, omitting factual events while fabricating pure fantasy events for no other reason than to sensationalize Crane's troubled life and death.

6th Sep 2017

Auto Focus (2002)

New this month Deliberate mistake: Although much of Auto Focus revolves around the 1960s hit television series "Hogan's Heroes," the producers of this independent film could not work out a licensing agreement with CBS regarding the famous "Hogan's Heroes" theme music. The familiar "Hogan's Heroes" theme is entirely absent from Auto Focus, replaced with contrived theme music that isn't even remotely similar to the original.

New this month Continuity mistake: When Shelly is possessed, she and Scotty fight and she amputates her own right hand before she goes down. Moments later, she comes back to life and Scotty starts dismembering her with an axe, starting with her left hand. We plainly see the axe come down full-force on her left wrist. but in two subsequent shots, we see her intact left arm and hand in the foreground, reaching for Scotty as he continues chopping.

6th Sep 2017

Solaris (2002)

New this month Trivia: The original 1961 story by Polish sci-fi writer Stanisław Lem was about the utter futility of attempted communications between humans and intelligent extraterrestrial species, because humans and aliens would have no common physical or psychological frame of reference for any attempted communication. For example, in the book, human scientists study the ocean planet Solaris for many decades without ever deciphering what they think are intelligent, changing patterns on the planet's fluid surface. They attempt to provoke a response from Solaris by firing X-rays at the planet, and the planet responds by reaching into the minds of the scientists and creating physical manifestations of their most guilty and painful memories. This has a traumatic effect on the baffled scientists, of course, and they have no idea what kind of communication they have established. Ultimately, the human scientists realise that the intelligence of Solaris is so vastly different from human intelligence, no meaningful interspecies communication is possible. This is a common theme in other works by Stanislaw Lem.

22nd Aug 2017

M*A*S*H (1972)

New this month Trivia: Throughout its long run on American television, M*A*S*H employed "canned laughter" (recorded audience laughter used to punctuate humorous lines of dialogue and comedic antics). However, the producers deliberately omitted the canned laughter in every surgery scene, even when the jokes were still flying thick and fast.

22nd Aug 2017

M*A*S*H (1972)

New this month Trivia: Jamie Farr (who played the cross-dressing Corporal and later Sergeant Maxwell Klinger) really did serve in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea for two years, starting in 1955. When he joined the M*A*S*H television series in the 1970s, Jamie Farr wore his actual U.S. Army dog-tags in every appearance.

New this month Trivia: Both the rocket pistol and the cigarette rocket featured in the movie were real-life weapons. The arms manufacturer that created these gadgets paid for their product placement in the film with the intention of later marketing the weapons to the military and intelligence communities. Unfortunately, the rocket pistol and cigarette rocket proved too expensive, too clumsy, and too unreliable for field use, and the manufacturer ceased production two years later.

12th Aug 2017

The Box (2009)

Trivia: "The Box" was based on a short horror story entitled "Button Button" by prolific and legendary sci-fi author Richard Matheson. Matheson's original story was first published in a 1970 issue of Playboy Magazine. He adapted his own story for the screen in a 1985 episode of the new "Twilight Zone" TV series, but it was significantly rewritten after he submitted it. Matheson was so angered by the Twilight Zone rewrite that he refused to allow his real name in the episode credits and instead used his pseudonym, "Logan Swanson."

Trivia: Ever since "Planet Terror," a common misconception among some fans is that lead actor Freddy Rodriguez is related to film maker Robert Rodriguez (probably due to the fact that Robert is known for casting family members in his films). However, Robert and Freddy aren't related at all. Robert Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1968, of Mexican descent. Freddy was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1975, of Puerto Rican descent.

Revealing mistake: During the high-speed chase with the tractor trailer, Vince fires one grappling wire through the truck's passenger windscreen to pull the glass out. He fires a second grappling wire through the now-open windscreen and grapples the passenger seat, then attaches the grappling wire to his harness and leaps to the front of the truck. So, his only tether to the truck is the horizontal grappling wire attached inside the truck cab. But, when the truck driver slams on the brakes, Vince is catapulted around the truck's front-end to the side door, his full weight suspended from a visible, vertical line that is attached to something several feet above the truck cab. The taut line from above even crushes the truck's side-view mirror under Vince's weight. This is the stuntman's safety cable, attached to an overhead boom mounted out-of-frame on top of the truck rig.

12th Aug 2017

Auto Focus (2002)

Character mistake: Although great care was taken to duplicate Bob Crane's distinctive hairstyle for Greg Kinnear, Bob Crane's hair was actually parted on the left. The makeup department for this film parted Greg Kinnear's hair on the right, producing a mirror-image of Bob Crane's hairstyle.