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Len Lye: stuff that moves and makes noises

Len Lye: New Zealander Len Lye was a restless maverick - a pioneer of films without cameras (drawing directly onto the celluloid) and kinetic art (CD available through Atoll, sound samples here and here), and he was also quite handy with poems and inks. More about his Windwand and recently installed Waterwhirler on Flickr. Coralised open directory of short Waterwhirler movies here.
posted by nylon on May 30, 2006 - 7 comments

«The silent queen of all that is snowy and pure» (.pdf)

«The silent queen of all that is snowy and pure» (.pdf) I will never forget the first time I saw Giovanni Pastrone’s extraordinary Cabiria... I wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer scope and beauty of this film. And I was completely unprepared for having my sense of film history re-aligned. There are so many elements that we took for granted as American inventions – the long-form historical epic, the moving camera, diffused light. Suddenly, here they were in a picture made two years before Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. -- Martin Scorsese
It was the first film to be over three hours long, the first to use a moving camera, the first to cost 20 times the average cost of a motion picture; Pastrone took several elephants and hundreds of extras to the Alps, in the dead of winter, to film scenes that only lasted a couple of minutes onscreen. He hired an ex-dockworker and turned him into one of the first action movie heroes, Maciste. And, he also created the first international marketing campaign of the history of cinema. The Americans were so impressed that Cabiria became the first film to be ever shown on White House grounds. Last week, at the Cannes Film Festival, a beautiful, painstakingly restored version of this forgotten masterpiece has just been shown to the public.
posted by matteo on May 29, 2006 - 13 comments

Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns.

Veteran actor Paul Gleason, who played Principal Richard "Dick" Vernon of The Breakfast Club and who acted in over 120 films television shows, died Saturday of lung cancer at age 67.
posted by QuestionableSwami on May 29, 2006 - 46 comments

Face to Face

The Ingmar Bergman site is now available in English. I find the 'Universe' section (examining repeated themes) is particularly interesting.
posted by tellurian on May 22, 2006 - 6 comments

A film on homeless veterans

When I Came Home: Iraq War veteran Herold Noel suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and lives out of his car in Brooklyn. Using Noel's story as a fulcrum, this doc examines the wider issue of homeless U.S. military veterans-from Vietnam to Iraq-who have to fight tooth-and-nail to receive the benefits promised to them by their government.
posted by riley370 on May 21, 2006 - 45 comments

"A Scanner Darkly" Remix contest

The top entry* (turn up the volume) in the Scanner Darkly remix contest is already better than the (turn it back down) official trailer.
posted by Tlogmer on May 21, 2006 - 47 comments

A Romance in Lower Mathematics.

The Dot and the Line. (by Norman Juster) Read the book. Watch the movie.
posted by jrb223 on May 20, 2006 - 20 comments

Yes yes yes yes yes!

Zanta: The Movie. If you live or work in downtown Toronto, you've seen him. Shirtless, wearing a Santa hat, and most likely doing pushups, he's David "Zanta" Zancai, and one of the city's most enigmatic characters.
posted by Robot Johnny on May 19, 2006 - 38 comments

I don't know, I guess it makes me feel comfortable...

Deviation (embedded video); a Machinima film hits the mainstream festival circuit. (previous forays into Machinima)
posted by jrb223 on May 14, 2006 - 16 comments

A Swarm of Angels - A Wikifilm

A Swarm of Angels is about making a £1 million movie and giving it away to one million people in one year. By using the Internet to gather together 50,000 people willing to pay £25 to join an exclusive global online community – The Swarm – the project’s ambition is to make the world’s first Internet-funded, crewed and distributed feature film. (more inside)
posted by slimepuppy on May 12, 2006 - 31 comments

Forgotten silent film genius Larry Semon

Forgotten silent film comedian Larry Semon. Part II - Heyday. Part III - Trouble Brewing. In 1920, he was the world's 2nd-most-famous Hollywood star, with a contract and creative control rivaling Chaplin. In 1921, he made a popular series of films with Oliver Hardy as his main comic foil, six years before Laurel & Hardy became a household name. In 1925, he directed a truly bizarre silent version of The Wizard of Oz, just as wild overspending, erratic behavior and lawsuits ruined his career. The Larry Semon Research site has an interesting picture gallery.
posted by mediareport on May 1, 2006 - 15 comments

The Epistemologist of Despair

Drama is impossible today. I don't know of any. Drama used to be the belief in guilt, and in a higher order. This absolutely cruel didactic is impossible, unacceptable for us moderns. But melodrama has kept it. You are caged. In melodrama you have human, earthly prisons rather than godly creations. Every Greek tragedy ends with the chorus — "those are strange happenings. Those are the ways of the gods". And so it always is in melodrama.
His career as a film director lasted more than 40 years, but Douglas Sirk (1900-1987) is remembered for the melodramas he made for Universal in Hollywood between 1954 and 1959, his "divine wallow": Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), The Tarnished Angels (1958, William Faulkner considered it the best screen adaptation of one of his novels), Imitation of Life (1959) -- all considered for decades little more than a camp oddity. Now audiences are beginning to look deeper at the films of Douglas Sirk, at how, in megafan Todd Haynes' words, they are "almost spookily accurate about the emotional truths". Now, lucky Chicagoans can enjoy "Douglas Sirk at Universal", matinees at the Music Box. More inside.
posted by matteo on Apr 29, 2006 - 14 comments

Dean Reed, the Red Elvis

Born in 1938 and raised on a chicken farm on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado... Dean Reed became the Red Elvis, a huge music and film star in the Eastern Bloc, truly an unlikely icon.. "For a lot of people like Michail Gorbashev he is the first rockstar they see in their life." There are great pictures at this site.
posted by OmieWise on Apr 28, 2006 - 24 comments

聖獣学園

A guide to Japanese female exploitation films of the 70’s on DVD
posted by PenguinBukkake on Apr 11, 2006 - 21 comments

Paper Hearts - from the makers of Fear of Girls

Another great Google video. Before "Fear of Girls," the guys from Sleepy Eye, MN made a short film for a 48 hour film project called "Paper Hearts."
posted by a47danger on Apr 11, 2006 - 17 comments

(some) books are for girls

Gender differences in literary taste - The Guardian (inter alia) has been reporting two English professors' studies of reading habits and feelings about books by gender. Others (newest to oldest): most revelatory books by reader gender (for men), (for women), author gender by reader gender. The methodology may not be unassailable but the findings are interesting and plausible. [viaduct vianochicken]
Sidenote: I did a little research following a comment on MR and reached a non-obvious conclusion: women hate Akira Kurosawa (check out those charts; for comparison). Theories welcome.
posted by grobstein on Apr 10, 2006 - 36 comments

Just shoot and shake!

The Polaroid Photography Collective has a number of links to some great galleries. The multi-shot panoramas are especially nice. {some images may be nsfw}
posted by dobbs on Apr 6, 2006 - 9 comments

short films goodness

Never ever borrow a friend's mobile, trust hitch hikers or strangers in furry costumes, never get distracted, worry about the first time or about your young son not being manly enough, and most of all never, ever forget stuff. Also, remember to always be nice to your enemies, your granny and policemen, but don't be too nice to your neighbours, and don't forget to get the car washed. Lots more brilliant short films viewable online from UK's Channel 4 Film (Real/WM streams).
posted by funambulist on Mar 31, 2006 - 4 comments

How Starbucks Saved My Life

Tom Hanks to star in some movie about Starbucks
posted by rottytooth on Mar 29, 2006 - 50 comments

The History of Almost Everything

"The Movie Timeline is the history of everything, taken from one simple premise - that everything you see in the movies is true..." For example, "November 6, 2012: The United States elects a female president (Back To The Future Part II)" [via]
posted by feelinglistless on Mar 26, 2006 - 18 comments

Small screen vs. big screen

It's still about the means of production, you see — but in the overdeveloped world, at least, it's not about the production of goods and services anymore. Today's virtual revolutionary is happy to leave all that to capitalists. The virtual revolutionary wants to control the production of meaning — representations of herself and her world as she wants them to seem. Or be. Or whatever. That's all she asks.
Or, rather, takes.
Thomas de Zengotita welcomes the big world of the small screen. Peter Bogdanovich, instead, still mourns that last picture show.
posted by matteo on Mar 26, 2006 - 22 comments

Ontology=Zen, Material Reality=Nothingness, Jurgen Reble=Film Alchemist

“It was only natural that one day I should decide to toss my film into a dank corner of my garden. After a hot, humid summer, I came to gather up the film(Embedded Quicktime), which over the course of the summer I'd entirely forgotten. The colors remained very pure and intense, but had departed from their previous form. Indeed, they were laying themselves down upon the old action film to form veritable mosaics of color, remarkably like the stained glass of church windows. This was a really pleasurable experience.” – Jurgen Reble, on his art
posted by jrb223 on Mar 22, 2006 - 7 comments

"I genuflect before Jack Smith..." - John Waters

The Tribeca Film Festival announced its 2006 lineup last week. Among the films in competition is the documentary Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Filmmaker Jack Smith (a major influence on later filmmakers, from Warhol to Waters(NSFW)) is perhaps best known for his 1963 film Flaming Creatures, was shot on expired army surplus film, and banned soon after its release (with some help from Strom Thurmond). New controversies surround his work. See also Smith’s Scotch Tape (YouTube), from the same year.
posted by jrb223 on Mar 21, 2006 - 8 comments

Good Stuff

A trailer. (link to vid) Some Music. (hit the mp3s-not the photos) A body of work. (embedded .mov) All from you very own MefiProjects! (M.I.)
posted by snsranch on Mar 20, 2006 - 10 comments

earthquake and fire!

The first clip (QuickTime movie, 15 MB) from The Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry's new film, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg (set photos), out later this year and hailed by reviewers at Sundance as a "a glorious mess", "loaded with gags and gimmicks and spectacularly beautiful and memorable images", a "wild visual phantasmagoria... and a lot of fun".
posted by funambulist on Mar 16, 2006 - 33 comments

Welcome Back, Kotter

The inevitable deal for a Welcome Back, Kotter movie has been struck. It will be scripted (and DIRECTED) by Tom Brady, responsible for not one, but two Rob Schneider vehicles. And in the lead role as Kotter we have ... Ice Cube???
posted by rottytooth on Mar 14, 2006 - 35 comments

Love The New World or Die!

"It is nothing less than a generation-defining event.... It is this era’s 2001: A Space Odyssey." Even as the second, shorter cut of Terrence Malick's Pocahontas epic is slinking out of theaters, The New World is dividing and confounding critics, audiences, and bloggers: "The New World is my new religion." - "The New World separates the wheat from chaff." - "The first necessary film of this young year." The Village Voice's J. Hoberman observes the growing cult, Dave Kehr of the New York Times weighs in and gets testy. Matt Zoller Seitz responds. In the meantime, Malick is reportedly preparing a third, longer cut for the DVD.
posted by muckster on Mar 14, 2006 - 55 comments

Jerry Lewis at 80

Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
posted by matteo on Mar 13, 2006 - 46 comments

Video artists can be such divas...

DIVA 2006The Digital & Video Art Fair just opened in New York (nytimes) some highlights if you don’t live in the New York area, or have a better way to spend $10: Martin Sastre’s BOLIVIA 3: Confederation Next (Barney represents Matthew Barney, see here he is slaying Sastre with a lightsaber) part of his Iberoamerican Trilogy; Vincent Goudreau’s Sub-Paradise – about sugarcane farming in Hawaii (excerpted .mov here); My Favorite – ‘Panoscopic’ images by Luc Courchesne. more inside.
posted by jrb223 on Mar 10, 2006 - 11 comments

The Road to Guantanamo

The Road to Guantanamo, the latest film by prolific UK director Michael Winterbottom, details the experiences of the Tipton Three (previously discussed here), a trio of British Muslims who stumbled into US custody in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and ended up spending two years in Gitmo. The film tells a powerful if somewhat one-sided story of naivety, incompetence and rank injustice.

Last night the film was shown on Britain's Channel 4 to an estimated 1.6 million viewers, and it was the talk of the Berlin Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. In a bizarre twist, on their return from attending the premiere of the film in Berlin, the Tipton Three and the actors who played them were arrested and interrogated about terrorism links. Luckily for them, this time their captivity was measured in hours, not years.
posted by LondonYank on Mar 10, 2006 - 23 comments

Remember the UHB?

What became of Whit Stillman.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 6, 2006 - 23 comments

His most notable eartly role was as a contestant in the "ugly man competition" (which he loses to Charles Laughton) in the RKO production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

There was a time when his scowling, oversized visage, his battered black fedora, and his long black coat, were as familiar to horror fans as such characters as Frankenstein and Dracula. This character, who appeared in three films, was called "The Brute Man" or "The Creeper."

Only that terrifying face wasn't a mask or a creation of makeup. It was an actual face, a product of a condition called agromegaly. And The Creeper never planned to be an actor at all, he was simply decorated war veteran-turned-Tampa reporter who had shown up one day to cover a film. The movie's director noticed him and recommended he move to Hollywood and pursue a career as a character actor.

He was Rondo Hatton.
posted by Astro Zombie on Mar 5, 2006 - 18 comments

Through All the Lousy Luck

I first read "Ask the Dust" in 1971 when I was doing research for "Chinatown". I was concerned about the way people really sounded when they talked, and I was dissatisfied with everything else I had read that was written during the '30s. I wanted the real thing, as Henry James would say. When I picked up Fante's "Ask the Dust," I just knew that was the way those kids talked to each other—the rhythms, cadences, racism.
Robert Towne on adapting John Fante's novel for the big screen. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 4, 2006 - 17 comments

Oscars moments

The Oscars don't only breed argument about who should have won--but also about the speeches? Were they good? Did they suck? What are the classics? What's Memorable? What's Misquoted? How would your speech go? Would you thank your "makeup man"? Oprah? Complain? Or just go crazy? And here are some more top ones (1,2,3) and another bottom. And Oscar Night bingo in case it all gets to be too much, too boring or too damn long.
posted by FeldBum on Mar 2, 2006 - 17 comments

"And therefore I forbid my tears"

Hamlet on the Ramparts is a public website designed and maintained by the MIT Shakespeare Project in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library and other institutions. It aims to provide free access to an evolving collection of texts, images, and film relevant to Hamlet’s first encounter with the Ghost. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 28, 2006 - 11 comments

Have advances in digital photography now made film obsolete

Oranges & Apples Digital photography is amazing and impressive in many ways, but if you choose it over film, expect to make sacrifices. I've assembled articles here exposing these sacrifices. I do this not to make a case for film, but to temper the popular view that advances in digital photography have now made film obsolete.
posted by Lanark on Feb 26, 2006 - 78 comments

Toy Story / Requiem for a Dream mashup

(Use the torrent.)
Toy Story 2: Requiem
posted by Tlogmer on Feb 25, 2006 - 17 comments

First cellphone feature film

The World’s First Cell Phone Feature Film. Sony Ericsson sponsored the film by providing W900i cell phones. The cheap medium allowed for a very loose shooting style, with multiple cameras constantly rolling, freeing the actors to experiment and improvise.. the footage looked "fabulous" when blown up to 35mm.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 25, 2006 - 12 comments

Piero Scaruffi is a normal person.

Piero Scaruffi is a normal person. Like so many others, he ponders knowledge, language, and art from time to time. When he travels, he takes pictures. Just like everyone else. Sure, he has his thoughts about politics and world affairs, who doesn't? And when he's done with all of this he just wants to rock. Exactly like you. See?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 23, 2006 - 12 comments

Lon Chaney's power to terrify

"He was someone who acted out our psyches ... He somehow got into the shadows inside our bodies; he was able to nail down some of our secret fears and put them on-screen... the history of Lon Chaney is the history of unrequited loves. He brings that part of you out into the open, because you fear that you are not loved, you fear that you never will be loved, you fear there is some part of you that's grotesque, that the world will turn away from."
A Valentine for Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces. (BugMeNot for the first link; more inside)
posted by matteo on Feb 18, 2006 - 14 comments

The Forgotten War?

"The Korean Saving Private Ryan," or Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004). Reviews. Plot synopsis (spoilers). Box Office: Over 20% of South Korea saw this film.
posted by bardic on Feb 16, 2006 - 34 comments

Robots Battle on Broadway and Big Screen

Performing Artists and The Robot Uprising: Writers, Actors, and Directors bring us one step closer to the robot apocalypse, or provide us the necessary training to win the battle.
posted by jrb223 on Feb 14, 2006 - 4 comments

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed
posted by Tlogmer on Feb 13, 2006 - 157 comments

Polish movie poster gallery

The always great (and frequently linked) RetroCrush currently has an exhibit on Polish movie posters for western films; seemingly devoid of the original branding & identity art, it's fun to try and guess what movie the images could even be trying to promote. Some are beautiful, some are amateurish, all are intriguing.
posted by jonson on Feb 12, 2006 - 20 comments

Brownlow's and Mollo's Nazi Britain

"The German invasion of Britain took place in July 1940, after the British retreat from Dunkirk". We see, documentary-style, members of the Wehrmacht trooping past Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral, lounging in the parks, having their jackboots shined by old cockneys, and appreciatively visiting the shrine of that good German, Prince Albert, in Kensington Gardens. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's film "It Happened Here", with its cast of hundreds (.pdf), imagines what a Nazi occupation might have been like — complete with underground resistance, civilian massacres, civil strife, torch-lit rallies, Jewish ghettos, and organized euthanasia. Shot on weekends, eight years in production, made for about $20,000 with nonactors and borrowed equipment and Stanley Kubrick's help, "It Happened Here" was originally envisioned by Brownlow as a sort of Hammer horror flick about a Nazi Britain. Thanks in part to Mollo's fanatical concern with historical accuracy, however, it became something else. The most remarkable thing about this account of everyday fascism is that it has no period footage. Brownlow's 1968 book about the film's production, "How It Happened Here", has recently been republished. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 12, 2006 - 16 comments

"My farts are incensed with genius"

The strange story of Billy Yeager aka Jimmy Story the lost son of Jimi Hendrix aka independent film-maker extraordinaire.
I was wearing wigs and disguising myself as different kinds of people or sons of dead rock stars since 7th grade. I ran away at 13 years old. I lived in a tree house. I lost my virginity to a big fat girl who raped me on a hit of acid when I was 14 while her parents were in the living room watching All in the Family.

He's casting for a new film - albeit in a strange manner [swearing, violence, threats - maybe NSFW].
posted by strawberryviagra on Feb 11, 2006 - 16 comments

Werner Herzog shot at during interview

Werner Herzog shot at during interview Film critic Mark Kermode was chatting to the director of new film 'Grizzly Man' a few weeks ago for the BBC's Culture Show when someone with an air rifle took a few shots at them. If you think its a hoax you can hear Kermode talking about what happened, during this radio broadcast from a few days later. [sorry everyone but this requires Real but you could try an alternative] [via]
posted by feelinglistless on Feb 10, 2006 - 67 comments

The Steam Tank

The Steam Tank is a brief visual effects reel by Chris Paul, from the Vancouver Film School. It begins with a somewhat mundane steam powered tank attacking a mounted gun in a downtown building, but then replays the event shot by shot, showing the original filmed plate, and adding on each cgi component, to give a good idea of how cg & reality interface in an effects piece. warning: link goes to direct download of 56MB QuickTime mov
posted by jonson on Feb 7, 2006 - 13 comments

Jean-Luc Godard's 'Histoire(s) du Cinéma'

The Man With The Magnétoscope.
"How marvelous to be able to look at what you cannot see... cinema, like Christianity, is not founded on historical truth. It supplies us with a story and says: Believe — believe come what may."
Jean Luc Godard's 'Histoire(s) du Cinéma' at UCLA.
posted by matteo on Feb 7, 2006 - 8 comments

Turkey Gets Tough

Turkey gets tough in Valley of the Wolves Iraq. Previously, Turkey has reenvisioned Star Wars and the Wizard of Oz to the delight of many. Now, Turkish movie-goers are clamoring for this Rambo rip-off in which a Turkish intelligence officer seeks out a rogue unit of U.S. troops led by Billy Zane! The film, which also features Gary Busey, begins with a scene based on the U.S. raid of a Turkish special forces office.
posted by lunalaguna on Feb 7, 2006 - 34 comments

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