"In order to recover a bit from a recent feeling of exhaustion, I spent a significant amount of this past weekend diligently sitting on my ass, in front of the television. On Saturday night, I popped in my copy of Woody Allen’s 'Manhattan,' which, among other things, is as stunningly designed a movie as I’ve ever seen. This is largely thanks to the work of Gordon Willis, a master cinematographer who, apart from his incredible work on this film, was also responsible for photographing an alarmingly high share of my favorite movies of all time: 'The Godfather,' 'The Godfather Part II,' 'All the President’s Men,' and 'The Parallax View,' among others." [more inside]
ESPN uses the "30 for 30" series to tackle the most important sporting event of the Cold War. [more inside]
Atlas Obscura (?!) presents an inventory of cinematic worms by size, smallest to largest (SLYT)
One year ago, the Saturday Night Live family lost one of its greatest talents when Jan Hooks passed away at the age of 57. Though there are many SNL players that fade into obscurity once their term at Rockefeller Center is up, most people are surprised that, aside from a recurring role on 30 Rock, Jan Hooks had pretty much disappeared since the turn of the 21st century. Grantland provides a bittersweet look back into her history and into what happened during those years.
Many of those who went to see Furious 7 earlier this year went because it was, by all accounts, a raucous good time. And there were also a number of us who were extremely curious about how they were able to finish the film after the tragic death of star Paul Walker. Variety currently has an article up on the methods used to replicate Walker for certain scenes and, most intriguingly, an imgur gallery has been posted of all the shots that were completed after Walker died.
A Hitchcock mashup where Kubrick is the villain. / Un mashup hitchcockien dont Kubrick est le méchant.
This Friday, people will be able to go to the theater and see yet another interpretation of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan". Such news does not necessarily excite Barrie fans, given the middling results of some past interpretations (and Pan isn't being received much better). But the AV Club's Ryan Vlastelica argues they can take heart that the best "Peter Pan" movie was already made... in 2003.
Chantal Akerman the director of Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles died yesterday evening. Le Monde says she commited suicide. Her last film No Home Movie was shown last summer at the Locarno International Film festival.
"The Fall" is a 2006 adventure fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh. The opening title sequence is the "perfect example of a director’s absolute control over his vision." Ebert described the movie as "a mad folly, an extravagant visual orgy, a free-fall from reality into uncharted realms. Surely it is one of the wildest indulgences a director has ever granted himself. Tarsem... has made a movie that you might want to see for no other reason than because it exists. There will never be another like it. " [more inside]
Filmmaker Pablo Fernandez Eyre recently made a discovery: Director Alfred Hitchcock and editor George Tomasini judged that a sequence which worked once would work twice, such as these two famous scenes from Psycho and The Birds. If you liked that, Eyre is fond of the side-by-side comparisons, such as these similar videos of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and the Star Wars saga.
Pre-Code.com is an incredibly detailed exploration of the Hollywood cinema that fell between the advent of sound motion pictures in 1927 and the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Which wasn't enforced until 1934. Huh? Here's a timeline). This includes a number of familiar titles such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Dracula, Duck Soup, It Happened One Night and The Public Enemy. But we also get a peek at the more obscure and daring titles such as Baby Face, I’m no Angel, Smarty, Safe in Hell and Night Nurse.
[Warning - flashing lights in some links] Bradley Eros & Tim Geraghty have collaborated on some interesting de/re/constructive film making, with the blockbuster buster TransTrans (TransformersTransformed) (11:58) - "a radical remix of the recent Transformers film, via synthetic collapse and critical revenge on its old & new fascist tropes," blending film imagery with text from the Futurist Cinema/Manifesto and soundtrack by Einstürzende Neubauten | Eros C'est Lamour, a wedding gift (7:57) - "The missing link between Rose Hobart and Maria Montez via Rrose Selavy's bride stripped bare by the song of the sarong" | FOOLS! (30:11) - "Remember, fortuna favet fatuis [fortune favors fools], but fortuna caeca est [fortune is blind]."
Tony Zhou is back with a love letter / lament for his cinematically ubiquitous hometown: "Vancouver Never Plays Itself".
History vs Hollywood fact-checks "based on a true story/inspired by true events" popular movies, and tries to match faces and events with their real-life counterparts.
Top Ten Best Lesbian Movies: 10 Queer Movies That Don’t Suck. | Top Ten Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck: Best Lesbian Movies Part #2 (Autostraddle). Previously: "I bind you, Hollywood, from doing harm", Maybe not the warmest color.
Hollywood's reboot-a-palooza continues with the recent release of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", based on the classic 1960's television series starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. However, this is far from the first time the property has been in theaters. [more inside]
After some recent intriguing revelations concerning Quentin Tarantino's "Hateful Eight" (such as it's wide 70mm release this Christmas and that it will feature the first Ennio Morricone Western score in over four decades), the full trailer has finally arrived.
How did they get those dogs to do that? "Hundreds of dogs rise up against their oppressors in this visually stunning, one-metaphor-fits-all Hungarian drama... a film featuring 274 dogs, no CGI, and a pair of canine protagonists who consistently out-emote their human co-stars."
It starts with one of cinema's most famous paintings (you may have seen it before), but it doesn't end there. Guardian contributor Alex Godfrey does a little investigating into a famous movie prop and discovers the life of its subject, John Weaving.
What was once a series content to celebrate simple boy-racer pleasures, the seventh Fast & Furious fell prey to a recent tentpole-film affliction: ridiculously over-complicated plotting. Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation writer Drew Pearce draws an analogy for this blockbuster bloat, responsible for routinely pushing run times over the two-hour mark: “Much as I love a prog-rock album, if it’s a pop song I like it to be short and sweet, and I think it has more impact that way. And summer blockbusters are very proggy right now.” Mission impenetrable: are Hollywood blockbusters losing the plot?
The recent reboot "Vacation" is packed with call backs to the original 1983 film, but one thing that is conspicuously missing is the name "National Lampoon" preceding the title. Vulture recently published a short history of the National Lampoon and how it has gone from it's peak in the 70's and 80's way down to the unfortunate straight-to-DVD output of the last fifteen years. Bonus: The trailer for the upcoming documentary: "Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon".
Shot between 1962 and 1986, Tarkovsky’s seven feature films often grapple with metaphysical and spiritual themes, using a distinctive cinematic style. Long takes, slow pacing and metaphorical imagery – they all figure into the archetypical Tarkovsky film (Note: free versions of these films have been here before, links have sadly died in the old posts). [more inside]
Adam Frost and Melanie Patrick of the British Film Institute take a look at film noir and what makes a film noir-ish.
The British Movietone archive of nearly fifty thousand newsreel films is now on YouTube. Movietone started making newsreels in 1929 and stopped fifty years later. You can find clips about nearly any subject, women's rights, space exploration, and sports. The archive has a number of playlists, including one where archivist Jenny Hammerton presents clips she finds interesting. But, I hear you say, do they have cute cat videos? Yes. Also, a parachuting dog and jokes about Hitler. Also now availabe, the Associated Press Archive of more than 170 thousand video clips. The Guardian has a list of interesting clips from both archives.
Comic book artist Joe Phillips recently presented "Silver Screen Heroes", which places stars from the golden age of Hollywood into modern superhero roles.
Prolific actor Alex Rocco, perhaps best known for his performance as Moe Greene in "The Godfather", has passed away at the age of 79.
Galaxy of Terror, Mutant (NSFW), Contamination and the joy of cheap alien knockoffs. Prefer the sequel? Here's Aliens remade under the name "Terminator 2". Sadly one take on the franchise that will not be seeing the light of day is Alien Identity, a fan film recently shut down by a cease and desist from Fox. Meanwhile the Neil Blomkamp Alien film continues to incubate.
If you're like me, you're still kinda recovering from the abrupt dissolution of The Dissolve earlier this week. This morning over at the AV Club, they posted a new entry in their series "Scenic Routes", which may be the best Movie-centric feature AV Club runs. And at this moment of recovery for dedicated movie geeks, it's a great opportunity to review some of their more memorable entries over the years. [more inside]
On the heels of their recent discussion of "Aliens" in their Movie of the Week series, the folks at the Dissolve have put together an impressive list inspired by the last survivor of the Nostromo: "The 50 Most Daring Film Roles For Women Since Ripley"
United Passions started out as a FIFA vanity project telling the story of the men who helped found the organization. Then one month before the film's release in theaters, Fourteen FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges (previously) and president Sepp Blatter announced he would step down from his post. Now, in the wake of incredibly dismal box office and rock bottom ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, Both director Frederic Auburtin and star Tim Roth (who portrays Blatter in the film) have publicly come out against the film and apologized for their involvement.
Since April three of the biggest movies in history have opened: Furious 7 (with a worldwide gross of 1.5 billion dollars), Age of Ultron (with a worldwide gross of 1.3 billion dollars) and Jurassic World (with a worldwide gross of half a billion after just one weekend, and heading towards a likely record). With Star Wars down the pike in December, we're looking at a record setting year for the box office, largely on the backs of franchise action/adventure films. Mark Harris writes about the new franchise film economy in Park Effects, and relatedly, Alex Pappademas considers the efforts to create a farm league of indie directors for these new billion dollar movies in Mr. DNA.
‘I shot against Daddy, all men, small men, tall men, big men, fat men, men, my brother, society, the church, the convent, school, my family, my mother, all men, daddy, myself, men. I shot because it was fun and made me feel great. I shot because I was fascinated watching the painting bleed and die…’— Niki de Saint Phalle. [more inside]
Video Essayist Jacob T. Swinney edited 3 dozen supercuts, many of which went viral on Slate and indieWire: Each tackling a single motif from recent movies: The Jonathan Demme Close-Up, Hearing Tarantino (or Paul Thomas Anderson), A Rorschach Test from The Master, Movies’ First and Last Shots, Etc. All 36 videos are on his Vimeo page. Among them is his own 2014 demo reel.
Initially panned by critics and a failure at the box office, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead has found a second life as a cult favorite.
Lumière and Company was a project realised in 1995 to mark the centenary of the Lumière brothers’ first movies. Forty directors were given the use of a restored Lumière Cinematograph and asked to make a film under 1895-style constraints: (1) the films could be no longer than 52 seconds; (2) no synchronized sound was permitted; (3) no more than three takes were allowed. Any editing had to be done in-camera. Nearly all of the completed shorts have been compiled into a YouTube playlist. Please note that some of the clips contain nudity: treat this post as NSFW. Les Frères Lumière previously: 1, 2. [more inside]
Every Alfred Hitchcock cameo ever in his own films.
hey girl: you can use my shoulder as a rifle stand, as you’re the better shot of the two of us. (feminist mad max tumblr)
Frank Norris and the Invention of Film Editing: "At the heart of American author Frank Norris’ gritty turn-of-the-century fiction lies an essential engagement with the everyday shock and violence of modernity. Henry Giardina explores how this focus, combined with his unique approach to storytelling, helped to pave the way for a truly filmic style."
Just how many Sci-Fi / Action movie references are in Taylor Swift's new video "Bad Blood"? IO9 attempts to make a tally of them all.
So you gotta go for it. Just do me a favor and FUCK SOME SHIT UP. Surprise yourself, wake up your actors, get wild with your performances, try shit, put in that funky dialogue you’re embarrassed of, in fact, rub your fucked-up-ness all over your scripts, add some shame and embarrassment and glee, and then dare yourself to shoot it, SERIOUSLY, go big or go home -- be a creature unlike any other.Transparent creator Jill Soloway gave an amazing speech full of advice for women in filmmaking a few days ago.
Regina Pessoa is a Portuguese animator. «I lived in the countryside in a small village near Coimbra until I was 17 years old. My entire universe was rural. We didn’t have television, which was very boring… but in retrospect, thinking things over, maybe it saved me. We read and listened to our elders telling stories. My uncle used to draw on the walls and on the doors of my grandmother’s home, with pieces of coal. Seeing my uncle drawing on the walls gave us a sense of freedom because we didn’t have paper and pencils but we always had walls and doors – maybe this stayed with me unconsciously because now, much later, it’s already the second film that I’m making in engraving technique…» [more inside]