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Chaos Cinema

By employing directors with backgrounds in drama, the studios hope action-heavy films will be infused with greater depth. The catch, however, is that drama directors are usually inexperienced at, and thus incapable of, properly handling [the] material that is the film's main selling point .... "The Wolverine" is the latest example of this burgeoning trend. To name just a few examples from the past couple of years, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (dir: Gavin Hood), "Quantum of Solace" (dir: Mark Forster), "Skyfall" (dir: Sam Mendes) ... were all brought to the screen by filmmakers whose careers were predicated on dramas or comedies, not action. That fad remains in full effect this summer .... While no studio exec would dare hand over an Oscar-hopeful drama to Michael Bay, the opposite model—Hey, Marc Forster directed "Finding Neverland," so he's obviously the ideal candidate for a Bond film!—now reigns supreme.
Nick Schager writes about action films helmed by a director who is not an action director.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 10, 2013 - 59 comments

DEFCON: The Documentary, a record of the 20th annual conference

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 10, 2013 - 27 comments

How tall was King Kong?

Matte Shot - A Tribute to Golden Era Special FX ...the inventiveness and ingenuity of the craft of the matte painter during Hollywood's Golden Era. Some of the shots will amaze in their grandeur and epic quality while others will surprise in their 'invisibility' to even the sophisticated viewer. I hope this collection will serve as an appreciation of the artform and both casual visitors and those with a specialist interest may benefit, enjoy and be amazed at skills largely unknown today.
posted by cenoxo on Aug 10, 2013 - 13 comments

The view from here

This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it. I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 9, 2013 - 3 comments

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn's Fake Accent

When Hollywood turned to talkies, it created a not-quite-British, not-quite-American style of speaking that has all but disappeared.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 8, 2013 - 93 comments

dada Richter dada Film dada Richter dadadadadadadadada

To create a vision of the harmony of the unequal, balance the infinite variety, the chaotic, the contradictions in a unity.
Hans Richter is renowned as the godfather of avant garde film.
Three excerpts from a new film about his work Everything Turns - Everything Revolves.
Richter taught at City College New York in the 40's and 50's after fleeing Europe.
To further explain the first show of his work in the USA since 1968 (which finishes shortly) LACMA has made this short: -
Hans Richter's Germany about where he lived between Art and Politics.
Some of his film has already featured in a couple of great posts on the blue Previously.
Richter at Senses of Cinema, Activism, Modernism and the Avant-garde (pdf) and in his own words. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Aug 8, 2013 - 5 comments

Hedwig? Hedy? Hedly?

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr - Science! Fascists! Orgasms! Libel! Escapes From Literal Castles! (SoCH previously and Anne Helen Petersen previously)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 8, 2013 - 18 comments

Way out west

Editors - Formaldehyde. First music video by British director Ben Wheatley [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 8, 2013 - 0 comments

Don’t Suspect A Friend—Report Him

The AV Club's diaspora, The Dissolve, has spent a week analyzing Terry Gilliam's dystopian masterpiece Brazil. The keynote essay. Brazil Forum: style, gallows humor, the past as future, and more. Duct to the future: The nightmare of Brazil never arrived, but it’s still resonant
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Aug 7, 2013 - 57 comments

A History of Disrespect?

As Harvey Weinstein decides American audiences aren't smart enough for Snowpiercer, Daily Grindhouse writer Ric Meyers takes a poke at The Weinstein Company's troubled history with Asian Cinema.
posted by Artw on Aug 7, 2013 - 40 comments

"I wish you could have seen TOO MUCH JOHNSON..."

A lost film by Orson Welles, originally produced to accompany a 1938 stage production of the 1894 William Gillette play "Too Much Johnson" (text) has been rediscovered in Italy, and is set for premiere at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival on October 9th. The American premiere will be at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, on October 16th. [more inside]
posted by orthicon halo on Aug 7, 2013 - 21 comments

This Time It's Personal

With the Discovery Channel facing criticism, disgust, and outrage over its choice to feature a fake "documentary" to kick off its popular "Shark Week" programming series, we should not forget another selachimorphic disaster from 26 years ago: Jaws 4: The Revenge, which has the dubious distinction of a perfect 0% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The troupe at the bad movie podcast "How Did This Get Made?" (previously) skewered the film in an episode last year, but this week they just may have found the answer to their show's titular question by locating and interviewing the now-retired director of the film, Joseph Sargent. "We all lost sight of the absurdity of the premise," recollects Mr. Sargent, "which is that the shark is getting even."
posted by majorsteel on Aug 7, 2013 - 101 comments

By These Button Eyes, I Swear to Protect You

This might be the only movie in history about a gothic lolita who fuses with her teddy bear to fight zombies. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Aug 7, 2013 - 12 comments

Myth is the facts of the mind made manifest in a fiction of matter.

Maya Deren has been called The High Priestess of Experimental Cinema.
Probably her greatest work was Meshes of the Afternoon a 13min. silent movie made in 1943.
Here is a review and some stills and clips from her work.
The music is by Teiji Ito who later became her third husband. (See also).
Maya Deren was one of the influences on David Lynch.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 6, 2013 - 13 comments

You guys watch Joe Don Baker movies?

A six-minute documentary snippet discusses Kubrick's camera modifications for special, low-light f/0.7 Zeiss lenses used to film candlelit scenes in Barry Lyndon, now available to rent by aspiring filmmakers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 5, 2013 - 34 comments

The Red Balloon

The Red Balloon, originally released in 1956, by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. A 34 minute short, filmed in the Ménilmontant neighborhood of Paris. The film received a 95% rating on RottenTomatoes. And, although it's been mentioned in comments once or twice here at MetaFilter, I don't believe it's ever been linked. Find your favorite 6 year old kid, make some popcorn, open a bottle of wine, champagne might be best, sit back, and enjoy. You'll find it a fantastic conversation starter with your little one.
posted by HuronBob on Aug 4, 2013 - 55 comments

To me, my X-Men!

The 50 greatest X-Men stories of all time, as picked by CBR readers. Direct links to the Top 10: 10-7, 6-4, 3-1. Fans of number 2 on the list may be excited to see what Trask Industries is up to. Bonus Link: Chris Claremont critiques The Wolverine.
posted by Artw on Aug 1, 2013 - 89 comments

The World of Froud

As much as Metafilter loves Jim Henson's Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, neither of those films would be half as powerful without the work of Brian and Wendy Froud. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 30, 2013 - 18 comments

The Western Lands

How the Western Was Lost (and Why it Matters)
posted by Artw on Jul 29, 2013 - 226 comments

Stanley Kubrick's Favorite Films

Some insight into what Stanley Kubrick liked of what he saw in the world of film over the years, with a master list at the end.
posted by indices on Jul 28, 2013 - 21 comments

Implied Contrapuntals

2001: A Space Odyssey - Discerning Themes through Score and Imagery: As Ligeti's music ends, the first image we see is a celestial alignment of the sun the earth and the moon as Richard Strauss' exhilarating Also Sprach Zarathustra begins. It's critical to note that Thus Spoke Zarathustra is also a novel by Friedrich Nietzsche. This musical choice thus signals that the film deals with the same central issues in this book. [via]
[more inside]
posted by troll on Jul 27, 2013 - 18 comments

"Eversmile, New Jersey"?

Every movie reference in "The Simpsons": Seasons 1-5
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 27, 2013 - 27 comments

I'm not ready for this!

The trailer for the new film, Fateful Findings (a Neil Breen film).
posted by dobbs on Jul 26, 2013 - 11 comments

"This one is SUPER lucky!"

At the dawn of the millennium, Japanese society has suffered a severe economic collapse, leading to widespread youth apathy and 800,000 students boycotting school. Adult society sought to reassert their authority by passing the Millennium Education Reform Act, otherwise known as the BR Act. - a look at Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale.
posted by Artw on Jul 23, 2013 - 64 comments

"You guys...you're all the same!"

While at Cal Arts, before blogs and websites freely shared content, as animation students we would watch short films in a dark cage like room called the Palace. Projected onto the wall we screened “rare” short films, on bulky ¾ inch video cassettes or on mystical DVDs that a teacher had brought in. Of all the shorts we watched in the dingy palace there was one that was etched in my brain as both brilliant and completely insane. It was called “The Big Story,” and it starred three stop motion versions of Kirk Douglas: one as the young up and coming hero, another as the star in his prime, and the third the wise but curmudgie old man. [more inside]
posted by timsneezed on Jul 19, 2013 - 11 comments

It's Better Up There

District 9 director Neil Blomkamp talks to WIRED about Elysium, District 10, Halo, his desire to buy a skyscraper and almost casting Eminem or Ninja from Die Antwood in Elysium's Matt Damon role.
posted by Artw on Jul 18, 2013 - 50 comments

Dear Mr. Watterson

Joel Schroeder, with the help of Kickstarter, has finally finished a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. It's scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, 2013.
posted by reenum on Jul 16, 2013 - 36 comments

Life in Five Seconds

Paring down history and films to their bare essentials (requires Flash). [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 16, 2013 - 2 comments

The Build

Explore the world of custom motorcycle making through the stories of three independent builders in Portland, Oregon [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 14, 2013 - 10 comments

The jury's in... and they can't deny that view, either.

A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 14, 2013 - 81 comments

Welcome to Fhloston Paradise (among other places)

In the mood for some ginormous LEGO dioramas from beloved films? Of course you are! Besides the usual suspects of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Batman, there are some equally impressive projects to be found based on Logan's Run, The Fifth Element, 300, Mothra, and even The Wizard of Oz.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 13, 2013 - 18 comments

John Hodgman On Full Metal Jacket

"But The Shining speaks to what makes Kubrick such an interesting and, for a lot of people, troublesome filmmaker, because he does not give you what you want. At all. He does not give you a Vietnam movie set in the jungle, and he does not give you a horror movie that is just like Stephen King’s The Shining. He doesn’t even give you scares for a long time, [just] ominous foreboding. And it takes people a while to figure out, “Oh, maybe I don’t know what I want. Maybe this is better.” - Mefi's Own Jon Hodgman talks about Full Metal Jacket with Scott Tobias for "The Last Great Movie I Saw."
posted by The Whelk on Jul 12, 2013 - 75 comments

“It's exactly what you think it is—a tornado full of sharks”

The rise of video-on-demand services like Netflix and dedicated cable-TV channels has created a new industry in low-budget B-movies; meet Asylum Films, an outfit in California following in the footsteps of historical B-movie auteurs like Roger Corman, Menahem Golan and Uwe Boll, with films with titles like Sharknado, Transmorphers, Sex Pot and Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. Asylum's new B-movies are made quickly and cheaply to ride the coattails of the big studios' fads, filling gaps in the market for more films about, say, adorable puppies, alien battleships or apocalypses. The films are made to a strict formula, are played entirely seriously, with no hint of irony or knowingness, and are designed primarily to pad out rental lists and appeal to recommendation engines, though the producers point out that often mainstream Hollywood fare is often no less hackneyed and formulaic. (Previously...)
posted by acb on Jul 12, 2013 - 118 comments

Visualizing the Bechdel test.

Visualizing the Bechdel test. Datawankery and female representation in film.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 10, 2013 - 82 comments

The Dissolve

Music review site Pitchfork has branched out. Today marks the debut of The Dissolve, which will be dedicated to film. With talent acquired from Slate, NPR and the AV Club, the website is starting with a high pedigree.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 10, 2013 - 77 comments

Gene Wilder at 80

Gene Wilder sat down with Robert Osborne at 92Y on June 12 for a rare public appearance. He spoke about the Willy Wonka remake, working with Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks, Gilda Radner, Young Frankenstein, and more. SLYT
posted by ColdChef on Jul 9, 2013 - 32 comments

Monster Smash

“What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers . . . it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true.” - Guillermo del Toro on being a monster loving pacifist. Designer Wayne Barlowe talks about Pacific Rim's creatures. But has maneuvering at Legendary doomed the film before it has even opened?
posted by Artw on Jul 8, 2013 - 387 comments

"And tell me, how long have you been combin' your hair with a wrench?"

Though it became an epic flop and forced Francis Ford Coppola to declare bankruptcy, the 1982 musical One From the Heart (previously) did produce one hell of a soundtrack featuring the unlikely collaboration between Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle. Here's the story of how it all came together. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 8, 2013 - 15 comments

A field of mystical mushrooms and buried treasure

Director Ben Wheatley's latest film A Field in England was released last friday to cinemas, TV, home video, and VOD platforms in the UK. Mark Kermode, with full flappy-handed fervor calls it "very powerful, very strange and very hard to describe." To coincide, distributor Film4 has published a digital masterclass (contains spoilers) describing the making of the film all the way from commissioning to scoring.
posted by dumbland on Jul 7, 2013 - 15 comments

Possibly the worst film ever

The Lone Ranger is now in movie theaters. Currently rated an amazingly low 23% at Rotten Tomatoes, this film is a train wreck. Even the horse is lousy. It could be worse.
posted by twoleftfeet on Jul 4, 2013 - 307 comments

In Saturn's Rings

The first official trailer of In Saturn's Rings (formerly Outside In) has been released to universal acclaim. The movie (to be completed in 2014) is made exclusively from real photos taken by spacecraft, mostly Cassini-Huygens.
posted by hat_eater on Jul 2, 2013 - 24 comments

Who was that masked man?

The utter failure of the Lone Ranger movie - the 1981 one, that is.
posted by Artw on Jul 2, 2013 - 44 comments

“Er…I’ve got this idea about a fish.”

An interview with architect-turned-filmmaker Kibwe Tavares about his new film, Jonah. "Something I noticed while I was travelling in East Africa was the segregation between tourists and local people. I felt strange. None of the locals expected me to be a tourist because I was black – but I was staying in these weird campsites which were really isolated – so I was in Africa but surrounded by white people. Somehow I was the only black guy in a very black place." (previously)
posted by spamandkimchi on Jul 1, 2013 - 3 comments

The Anna Nicole Smith Story as performed by muppets, maybe

With the TV premiere of Mary Harron's Anna Nicole Smith biopic fast approaching, The Hairpin wonders what other indie/art house filmmakers would do with the same subject.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 28, 2013 - 16 comments

THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH

It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend. From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London (set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings") to the frenzied chaos of its climax, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count). And while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences in modern horror), and 28 Months looks increasingly unlikely, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 28, 2013 - 90 comments

Come get a snack.

Craft Truck is a filmmaker website and home of the web series Through the Lens, a regular series of interviews with leading cinematographers. [more inside]
posted by hamandcheese on Jun 28, 2013 - 3 comments

Focusing on the process

Tiger in a Jar is a film production company run by husband and wife team Matt and Julie Walker, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their work is inspired by everyday life and the joy found in simple but meaningful activities.
[more inside]
posted by jammy on Jun 28, 2013 - 3 comments

[disposable]

"If I had to conduct an experiment that would give an insight into neorealism, I'd build a time machine and travel to Italy, circa 1952. I'd ask Vittorio De Sica to make a film using Hollywood actors like Montgomery Clift and Jennifer Jones. I'd then team De Sica up with a Hollywood producer, the kind that liked to impose his will and sensibility onto a film—someone like David O Selznick. In bringing these two worlds of cinema together, I'd hope for a clash of sensibilities so great that it would result in two cuts of the same film, one by De Sica and the other by Selznick. I would run these two films side by side and examine each cut, and in the difference I would find something to say about the essence of neorealism."
Sight & Sound magazine's excellent video essay 'What is neorealism?' compares Terminal Station to Indiscretion of an American Wife.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jun 25, 2013 - 4 comments

World War Z, types of zombies and the evolution of the genre

"I think a major change in zombie behavior in this was if something were to bite you, well, you're still fresh, you're still able to move quickly. But now you don't think about yourself. You only think about where's my next bite, where's my next takedown. And you will run as fast as you can because you're still healthy, and you'll lead with your teeth to take the next human down..." says Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor of World War Z, on the fast moving and swarming zombies in the movie. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 24, 2013 - 212 comments

Riffing on a whole other level

Rifftrax (previous and previously and previouslier) hilariously carries on the tradition of MST3k. And though the premise is much the same as before, the Rifftrax folks have added something new: MP3 Commentaries. Instead of confining themselves to public domain and titles whose rights are easy to procure, they do commentaries on hollywood blockbusters in audio form only. People then can sync them up to their own DVDs of these films and sit back to experience riffing on the likes of Nicholas Cage instead of John Agar. This is great for home viewing, but what about their live shows? Then someone came up with an idea. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 24, 2013 - 65 comments

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