54 posts tagged with Film by filthy light thief.
Displaying 1 through 50 of 54.
More Than Just Parks is "a project started in an effort to effect a greater awareness of the treasures that reside within America's National Parks." So far, there are four short videos: Olympic 4K (info) // Smoky Mountains (info) // Joshua Tree (info) // Redwood (info) // the tumblr blog
[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]."
Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”Franz Kafka's Before the Law, animated as a pinscreen prologue to Orson Welles' film adaptation of Kafka's The Trial (Pop Matters review), and a stand-alone "free interpretation" short titled The Guardian by N9ve Studios. [more inside]
"There are several ideas of what happened here this evening. It could have been a fantastic promotion stunt, or a demonstration against the film establishment, but a lot of people think it was actually a motion picture being produced here at the film festival. The only thing sure is that the 13th annual San Francisco Film Festival got off to a smashing start." That's a bit of reporter humor, which accurately captures the diverse goals and ideas behind Pie Fight '69, a most memorable yet virtually forgotten piece of San Francisco's cinema history. The film from a half dozen cameras, run by members of Grand Central Station independent film collective, was lost until 1999. The rediscovered film was cut into a short documentary, which you can see on Archive.org, YouTube, and Vimeo.
When Martin Scorsese introduced his Film Foundation’s newly restored version of The Colour of Pomegranates at the Toronto film festival in September he told the expectant audience they were going to witness images and visions “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history”.For a taste of what has been restored, you can watch the entire unremastered film in two parts on YouTube, and the whole film in lower quality on Archive.org. For another novel experience, you can view a much higher quality of the film with a new score by Nicolas Jaar, and see a lower quality version with the new score by Ben Watkins AKA Juno Reactor, as commissioned by the Bialystok Film Festival in Poland last year. Juno Reactor had previously used visuals from Pomegranates for the video of "God is God." [more inside]
The 1969 Armenian film, voted 84th best of all-time in the most recent Sight & Sound magazine greatest movies poll, only gained a belated official release in western cinemas in 1982, but even the cinephiles and critics who have lauded the film with such extravagant praise since should now prepare to see Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece afresh.
Animated stories that parents tell their children: How milkshakes are made (really bouncy grass) and why you have to be quiet on trains (beware of bears, they're unstoppable). But if you're grown up now and want to really know if your parents were full of ... molasses, let Ken Jennings share the truth behind 17 things parents tell their kids, and five more excerpts from his collection of such because-I-said-so-isms.
Projections in the Forest is a micro-scale projection video ("making of" short) that imitates a bioluminescent forest (project site), with projections to look like foxfire and such bioluminescent mushrooms, plus some animals and elements that usually don't generally glow in the dark. If you like such projection techno-magic, 3hund have a few other projection projects on their Vimeo account.
... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Over a hundred years ago, a most impressive collection of early motion pictures was collected by the Swiss Jesuit abbot, Josef-Alexis Joye, who collected a trove of films as a way of educating children and adults. In total, he collected around 2,500 titles between 1902 or 1904 and 1915. The abbot's collection was not forgotten or lost after his death in 1919 -- it was stored and cataloged, though in danger of deteriorating by the 1940s. A few decades later, Italian film historian Davide Turconi, fearing that the films would be entirely through deterioration, decided to clip a few frames from each print and save something of the collection. Luckily, his fears were unfounded, and many the films were preserved in the 1970s by David Francis of the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute, where approximately 1,200 of the nitrate prints still exist. [more inside]
Lilo & Stitch is an odd movie to come from Disney for a number of reasons: a rare work based on an original story, set in a realistic version of the "island paradise" of Hawaii, focusing on strong female characters who have a realistic/varied bodyshapes. For more insight into the making of the "affordable" Disney film, here's Lilo & Stitch revisited, Part I, interviewing the creators Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, and Part II, featuring master animator Andreas Deja. For a taste of the animation, here are four teaser clips of Stitch invading other Disney films, the official full version of the Lion King interrupted trailer, and making of Lilo & Stitch short docu-clip.
I Still Shoot Film is a photography site with beginners guides to film photography, photography help and how to's, and even more resources. Oh, and an enjoyable/ inspirational archive of photos captured on film, some part of spotlights on photographers.
"The rise in popularity of television is credited with inciting the move to the widescreen systems that flourished throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is only partially true. In the early 1950s, studios did begin to compose their movies so that the top and bottom of the picture could be chopped off and a wider screen would show the center of the old 1.37:1 frame. The aspect ratio used by the various studios varied from about 1.5:1 up to the common 1.85:1. But the real reason for the birth of a multitude of widescreen and large format systems was the 1952 opening of a movie made in a process that had its roots in a World War II aerial gunnery trainer. This Is Cinerama (modern YouTube trailer; Wikipedia) shook the industry to the core. The public and reviewers loved it. Its giant screen filled with three oversized 35mm images and an incredible new sound system called Stereophonic were a marvel to behold, and the studios immediately rushed to find something that could do what Cinerama did (Google books preview of the August 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics)." [more inside]
"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
DEFCON is one of the world's largest hacker conventions, and for its 20th year, MeFite and technology documentarian jscott was asked to capture the event as best as he could. Almost 300 hours of footage was cut down to a two hour documentary, which has been recently released online in HD (YouTube, Vimeo, Archive.org, and an official torrent from DEFCON). More details on IMDb. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Three young filmmakers from Melbourne, Australia were set to make a short film on the serenity of fly fishing, focusing on a man named Phipps who lived on a lake in central Tasmania. Once they met Phipps, however, that all changed. Here is a glimpse into Phipps' beautiful, quiet world. [more inside]
The various Star Wars movies have been translated into at least 39 languages (as also seen here in a set of 16 international logos for Attack of the Clones), but the Navajo Nation is set to be the first Native American tribe to officially dub the original Star Wars film. [more inside]
The Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood started humbly about 20 years ago. Nollywood movies were shot as cheaply and as quickly as possible, then released straight to VHS. The majority of Nollywood films are still sold offline, in outdoor markets from wheelbarrows or by the roadside from street vendors. In the early 2000s, Nollywood distribution shifted from VHS to discs — and now, the movies are also beginning to stream online. iROKO, one of the first companies to take Nigerian films online, is carefully tracking the viewing patterns of its growing audience. While Nigerian internet access is often subpar, streaming services are catering to the international diaspora. iROKOtv is a hub for streaming movies, with plenty of free movies alongside movies available as part of monthly membership. Their website grew out of their YouTube channel, which had over 400 movies online in 2011, though recently they are mainly posting trailers. If you're not sure which movies to see, Nollywood Forever has plenty of reviews, and Nollywood.com has a ton of African movie trailers.
New York Biotopes deals with abstract plants and creatures, which change their forms because of insufficient living space and adapt themselves to the surroundings of the metropolis New York City. Set to the music of Man Mantis. More videos from Lena Steinkühler on her Vimeo channel.
"You may find my actions extreme, but for a crew of sufficient numbers, if a suitable destination could be found, no return destination would be needed. Therefore, I have had to improvise, with our ship, with our crew." The goal was to make a short sci-fi film, but without CGI, greenscreens, or other digital trickery, instead relying on camera tricks, miniature photography, and stop-animation. And now it is done: C 299,792 km/s [more inside]
In 1990, Isaac Asimov was working on a TV series to bridge science fiction and science fact, "synthesizing his visionary ideas about where humanity is going." He passed away in 1992, and the series never progressed beyond the pilot, which was re-worked and released as the documentary Visions of the Future (YouTube playlist, via Brainpickings, which calls the video "essentially, the antithesis to the Future Shock [documentary] narrated by Orson Welles"). [more inside]
Georgian-born Armenian, Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) was a controversial director in the Soviet era. At first he followed the state mandated style of Socialist Realism, but in 1964 he broke out into his own style with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (YT), a dream-like film that combines expressionistic camera techniques, ethnography, and the logic of folktales. The film won almost every, award in sight on the 1964 film festival circuit, but it was also of the restrictive Soviet approach to the arts. The film was banned by authorities, but Parajanov did not return to realism, and instead paid tribute to the Armenian troubadour Sayat-Nova ("King of Songs" in Persian). The Color of Pomegranates (1968) is a film that sought to portray Sayat-Nova through images inspired by his life and poetry. [more inside]
Jan Svankmajer: "Succumb totally to your obsessions; Keep interchanging dream for reality and vice versa"
"Jan Švankmajer is a major figure of contemporary East European animation whose surrealistic, often macabre work owes more to the nightmarish visions of Kafka and Buñuel than to the sunny daydreams of Walt Disney and his creative progeny. Noted for investing otherwise ordinary objects with ominous overtones, Švankmajer reached his widest audience to date with a feature-length adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" (1988) which blended animated and live-action footage--a technique he had earlier used to hair-raising effect in "Down to the Cellar" (1983)." -- TMC. Often credited with influencing the Brothers Quay, they hadn't actually seen his work until relatively late in their careers, as they mentioned in an introduction to their documentary on Švankmajer (YT playlist). More of Švankmajer inside. [more inside]
Sci-Fi-London put on another 48 hour film challenge this year, challenging film teams to make a short based around a given title, a snippet of dialogue, a short list of props, and an optional "scientific" theme. After two days in April, over 380 shorts had been made, and the winners have now been announced and and their short films posted on Sci-Fi-London's Vimeo account. 17 more shorts below the break. [more inside]
Taiyo Matsumoto's original five volume manga Ping Pong was one of the most surprising and gripping experiences I've had this year. But a huge reason for that is the artwork: he packs more kinetic energy into a single drawing of a shoe skidding across a floor than any real shoe has ever had. So it was with some trepidation that I saw posters for this adaptation going up in stores around Japan. Fumihiko Masuri is a first time director (not that you'd know it), with a background in computer effects. He seems to have directed this mainly because he's a really big fan of the manga too. On the film's website, they've placed images from the manga next to photographs of the actors in the film, so you can see how obsessive compulsive they were in matching faces. Not only faces, but movements, playing styles, and shot composition is all straight from the book, as if they'd used the manga in lieu of storyboards. Even the occasional surreal touch; a boy growing butterfly wings, a dragonfly landing on the net, is right out of the page onto the screen. -- Midnight Eye review; subtitled movie in 12 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
The most immediately apparent characteristic of James Benning’s film is surely its form: thirteen ten-minute static takes, which (save the leader between shots) comprise the entire visual track of the picture. Far from cursory, this detail accounts for the totality of Benning’s æsthetic. Everything that Benning says in 13 Lakes, he says using this formal language – along with a soundtrack recorded on-site, thought not necessarily concurrently with the image. Moreover, Benning, as has been noted, repeats the same basic framing in each of the thirteen segments, presenting the horizon-line in centre of the frame, dividing lake and sky into approximately equivalent fields. James Benning’s Art of Landscape: Ontological, Pedagogical, Sacrilegious, by Michael J. Anderson for Senses of Cinema (via; see also: 13 Lakes Q&A at LA Film Forum) [more inside]
A two-foot piece of wood or plastic mounted on wheels, it yields to the skillful user the excitements of skiing or surfing. To the unskilled it gives the effect of having stepped on a banana peel while dashing down the back stairs. It is also a menace to live and even limb. Life magazine article on skateboarding in New York City, from the May 14, 1965 issue. Pictures from that article are now online in larger form (one-page view on another site). See also: The New York Skate Movie trailer on YouTube. [more inside]
Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry. (See also: computers in fiction)
"There are two ways to fish, with nets or without. But if I fish with violence, will my nets be full of blood?" Fishing Without Nets is a short film about Somali pirates from their point of view, which won the recent Sundance Jury Prize in short filmmaking. The film will tour film festivals, and may be worked into a feature-length film. Writer/ producer/ editor Cutter Hodierne told his story of filming in Kenya to Vice. [more inside]
Julius Neubronner, born in Germany in 1852, was the son of Wilhelm Neubronner. Wilhelm carried on the family-run pharmacy and had introduced rapid medicine delivery by way of carrier pigeon (Google books). Julius continued the family practice, including pigeon-delivery. As a young boy, Julius was interested in the then-newly invented cameras, and his hobby and his career merged when a once-punctual pigeon took was waylaid a month. Interested to find the source of the delay, Julius placed a miniature camera on the pigeon to see where it went. The effort was successful, and he improved upon the design, patenting a panoramic pigeon-carried camera that resulted in novel photos. Julius is also distinguished as an early German experimenter in amateur silent film. His recordings, including daily life, historic events, and film magic, were restored in 1996 (Google Quickview; original PDF).
Beyond Digital is a collaborative project between eight members who have come together to explore the culture and music of Morocco, which is often poorly represented online to the world at large, thus "beyond digital." The team put together a 9 minute "behind-the-scenes" look at their work, or you skip the preview and jump into their YouTube channel, articles on The Fader, and more on their website. Highlights: a collection of Moroccan percussion loops, a photo essay on Morocco's changing culture, and a collaboration between Moroccan musician Hassan Wargui (Imanaren) and Nettle, a "band project" by DJ/rupture. [more inside]
"You must always be appearing. If you are not appearing, you are disappearing" -- José Mojica Marins, "the murderer of Brazilian cinema"
In October 1963, the Brazilian movie writer, director, and actor José Mojica Marins was having trouble with a movie he was working on, and fell asleep at the dinner table. He dreamed of being dragged to a cemetery by a creature in black, who showed Marins his own tomb stone, with the dates of his birth and death (YT: 9 min). That dream lead to the creation of Zé do Caixão (anglicized as Coffin Joe), the main character in Brazil's first horror movie, and Marins' first big movie success: À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma (YT: 1hr 22min w/English subs) (At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul). This was one of the up-ticks in a life of some ups and lots of downs for the South American Roger Corman or Ed Wood (NYT), and the birth of a character who would become Marins public persona. [more inside]
Gauche the Cellist [Google video, 63 minutes] is based on a story [Japanese; English translation #1, #2] by Kenji Miyazawa, one of the most-loved poet/storytellers in Japan (Miyazaki and Takahata love his works, and have been influenced by him). The movie was made as an independent project by a Japanese animation studio, OH Production (wiki), and took 6 years to complete. It is rather difficult to make a Kenji story into a movie because there are many Japanese just waiting to rip you apart if you screw up, but Gauche has been highly acclaimed, and is considered one of the best Miyazawa movies (IMDb). The story is about a cellist, Gauche, who becomes a better cellist by interacting with animals who visit his home every night. *
Frédéric Back was born in 1924 in France, where he studied drawing and lithography. He was lured to Canada by Jack London's stories and Clarence Gagnon's paintings, as well as correspondence with a Canadian pen-pal. Back moved to Canada in 1948, married his pen-pal Ghylaine Paquin, and was hired by Radio Canada at the birth of their television network to create still images for display on and to promote moving pictures. The drawings lead to experiments with animations, which lead to a series of animated shorts, starting with the wordless short Abracadabra (9:23, YT) in 1970. You can read and see more about Frédéric Back on his extensive website, and see more animations inside. [more inside]
So you've come to terms with it: George Lucas doesn't give a shit about you. Maybe it was the minor edits to the re-releases, like Han shooting second, or one of the recent Blu-Ray additions with Darth Vader shouting Nooooo at the end of Return Of The Jedi, or maybe you liked the movies, except for silly characters like the Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks. However it happened, you are pining for the early version of Star Wars you remembered before all those changes, or maybe you're dreaming of a version without some of the schmaltzy stuff. Dream no more, the Fan Preservers and Fan Editors are making your wishes real. [more inside]
Simon is a deeply religious man in the 4th century, who wants to be nearer to God, so he climbs a column. The devil wants him to get down on earth an is trying to seduce him. But Simon recognizes him every time. So the devil takes him to a nightclub in New York of the 1960s (1965, 43 minutes, with English subtitles). [more inside]
Stephen Strange was an arrogant doctor, until a car accident damaged his hands, leading him try every cure possible. Eventually he made his way to the East, where the story progressed, and now he's Doctor Strange, master of magic! His thrilling tale is set to be the first Marvel superhero movie since Marvel was purchased by Disney. But there has been much history behind the latest movie, including a period when Guillermo del Toro was involved and wanted to include Neil Gaiman, a draft script by Alex Cox (1990, 5.1 mb PDF; review), and a draft script by Bob Gale (January 21, 1986, 3.5 mb PDF; review). Along with these incomplete attempts, there was the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie, which you can watch online (full movie with Portuguese subtitles, or YT playlist). If you'd like another take, head to 1992 for the direct-to-video movie Doctor Mordrid. Depending on who you ask, it's a more or less entertaining/accurate take (warning: spoilers) on Dr Strange. Modrid is also online.
British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults, and a live-to-viewers BBC production, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels and a radio drama-documentary, along with movie re-makes of the first three series by Hammer Films. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group. [more inside]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
Neon Genesis Evangelion was an anime series created by Hideaki Anno, a rather mysterious and reclusive director who has declined most interviews and has been likened to Alan Moore in his attempt to up-end a major genre. Where Moore doesn't want to work on anything Watchmen-related, Anno has returned to NGE in a very major way with Rebuild of Evangelion, a tetralogy of films to re-tell the original story and present a new ending (again). [more inside]
How to make summery Spain look like frozen Russia, and other peaks back on a century of movie set design
Hot wax, cold water and marble dust, bags of authentic newsroom trash, and left-over sets burned to the ground, all parts of the old movie magic. Designs on Film is a book that highlights the design behind films, from the ice palace in Doctor Zhivago, to the highly detailed recreation of the offices of The Washington Post on a soundstage in Burbank, CA (related: docu. in parts on YT: 1, 2, 3) for All the President's Men, and burning Atlanta scene in Gone with the Wind. The book also covers the styles and fashion made in movies and used from real locations, such as Cameron Diaz's Wallace Neff house that was featured in The Holiday. [more inside]
The Lord of the Rings wasn't the only movie featuring The Beatles that never happened. Very early in their career, the group signed a three-movie deal with United Artists as a way to get increased publicity, with A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965) being completed in short time. An early contender for their third film was a western comedy. Going quite a different direction was a "morbid and dull" work called Up Against It, seen by others as dated satire that read "like a rather mediocre early [Monty] Python movie." Continue on in for more ephemera from other rejected film projects by The Beatles. [more inside]
After the bombs have fallen, the plague has wiped out most of humanity, or the dead have risen and claimed the world as their own, we must go on. The tales of those survivors are told in fiction and film, in many ways with enough to overwhelm you. Enter the apocalypse fans. Post-Apocalypse.co.uk has just under 50 reviews, with a quick note on the rating of each film. Post Apocalyptic Movie Mania has reviews categorized by the way the world ends, along with other p-a related material. But the end of the world isn't always like an Italian Post Apocalyptic Movie (Google cache), sometimes it's quirky and off-beat, in a proto-Monty Python sort of way (rough approximation of Ebert's review of The Bed-Sitting Room) (videos inside) [more inside]
The long take, an uncut, uninterrupted shot in film, is seen by some as the counter to CGI, the last great field for cinematic art. The linked page features six clips from 1990 on, plus the opening shot from Orson Welles' 1958 film, Touch of Evil. Alfred Hitchcock's film from a decade earlier, Rope, took the long cut further, with the whole film shot in eight takes of up to 10 minutes each, a decision shaped by the limit of the physical recording media. With digital media, the long take could be pushed further, as with Russian Ark, from 2002. The movie was shot in one long take, with the narrative working through the history of Russia, set within The State Hermitage Museum, and captured in one day on the 4th take. If the long takes are a tad long for you, try the "short" long takes that are one-shot music videos [videos inside] [more inside]
Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
Fede Alvarez, a Uruguayan filmmaker, posted a short live action/CG video on YouTube back in early November (prev). The short, which features mysterious robots destroying Montevideo and cost approximately $300 to make, received interest from Hollywood days after being online. By the end of November, news spread that Alvarez signed a deal with Ghost House Pictures, reportedly worth $30 million. For now, Alvarez has a six-figure holding deal to wait while Ghost House hires a high-end scribe to turn the idea into a feature. The six-figure deal will be applied against a seven-figure fee if Ghost House makes the film, though Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are already set up to produce the film. (via) [more inside]
Last year, Spotify made news as a revelation in music availability, by providing ad-supported free access or paid subscriptions to more than 6 million streaming songs. This year, Sweden is the home to another streaming media landmark, with Voddler. Currently limited to Sweden but with goals of reaching the world, the streaming video-on-demand provider was well-received, but initial movie selection did not impress all. That should change, as Voddler recently expanded the potential list of movies when they signed The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Paramount Pictures, netting access to the Disney assets and the Paramount library. A deal with Sony may be forthcoming. [more inside]
What's 51 years old and made of silicone with red food dye? The Blob, best known for it's work in The Blob, an independent film released in 1958, with Steve McQueen's second movie role (following Never Love a Stranger, which was released earlier that same year). The movie has been considered the definitive '50s film about a town that won't listen to the kids until it's too late (as noted in a review for the Criterion laserdisc release), with a super-catchy theme song (extended single version and b-side Saturday Night in Tiajuana) that was Burt Bacharach's third US hit song. (See more: theatrical trailer, full film on Veoh, full film as YouTube playlist) Times change, and so do monsters, and things got a bit wacky in the 1970s, with Beware! The Blob (aka Son of Blob; wiki, trailer, full film). The sequel played more to the slapstick comedy than the sci-fi/horror spectrum of things. Thirty years after the original, The Blob was remade in 1988 (wiki, trailer, full film), and is supposedly being re-created by Rob Zombie, though his statement about reviving The Blob without "the big red blobby thing" has people asking, then why remake The Blob? (previous blobby goodness) [more inside]
While some might believe that Walt Disney had the first feature-length animated film with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937, the Disney film is the fourth animated feature-length film, and was two decades late for first place. The first two animated feature-length films were directed by an Italian in Argentia in 1917 and 1918, though all prints of those films are presumed lost or destroyed. The third animated full-length feature, Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed), came out the same year that the first two were lost to fire. This third animated film was a silhouette animation made by a German artist named Lotte Reiniger. The original negatives are considered lost, but a supposedly first-generation positive (from the camera negative) remains and the film has been restored from this stock (full film with limited subtitles, 5 minute preview with English subtitles and the full film viewable with Veoh plug-in). More information and videos inside. [more inside]
55 years ago, Brown v. Board of Education was decided, which lead to the controversial court-ordered school integrations in the South. Four years later, the prolific Charles Beaumont wrote his only solo novel, The Intruder, based on a true story but set in a fictitious small southern town of Caxton that is riled up by a mysterious man from out-of-town who wants to halt the school integration. The novel was turned into a movie by the same name in 1962, produced, directed and financed by Roger Corman, starring a charismatic William Shatner as the mysterious intruder, some 4 years before the start of his iconic role in Star Trek. Shot on location, using locals who were not fully aware of the plot of the movie, the whole film was made for $80-$90,000, and was Corman's only film to lose money at the box offices. The production was banned in some Missouri cities because the local people objected to the film's portrayal racism and segregation. The film finally saw a profit after its re-release on DVD in recent years. (Previously discussed as part of this 1970s Shatner post; video links inside) [more inside]
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