One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads, including David Byrne and Tina Weymouth. Later, Byrne passed Tobolowsky on his bike and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head. The song was heard by Thom Yorke and became the name of his band. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence. [more inside]
Weekend At Kermie's: The Muppets' Strange Life After Death. Elizabeth Stevens asks:
What if, in 1990, instead of recasting Kermit—something that had been done to Mickey and Bugs Bunny before him—the Muppets had continued on Kermit-less, as "The Simpsons" did after Phil Hartman died. Recall Susan’s words on "Seasame Street" about Mr. Hooper in 1982: “Big Bird, when people die, they don’t come back.” Let’s say Robin showed up saying his uncle Kermit had passed away? Or, if that was too dark for Disney, what if Kermit had left show business to go off to start a family with Piggy? Someone else could lead the gang of weirdoes..
It would’ve made more artistic sense than what happened
Monster Shack is a b-movie review site that also contains an extensive collection of classic movie posters, old news reel reviews and an Atari shrine.
SI has written an oral history about the making of the movie "Major League". Charlie Sheen was also interviewed for this piece.
The Soundworks Collection gives a behind-the-scenes look into the work of talented sound teams working on feature films, soundtrack scoring, and video games with a compilation of exclusive interviews, awards shows / event panel coverage and sound stage / studio room videos. Vimeo Channel. YouTube Channel. [more inside]
The B-Master Cabal is a site that aggregates some of the best bad movie review sites on the web and puts together for themed movie roundtables. Most of the sites focus not only on mocking bad films but also praising obscure horror, fantasy, action and science-fiction. B-Masters Roll-Call! Teleport City covers everything from Turkish spy movies to kung-fu rarities to Japanese whiskey. 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting has in-depth, critical reviews of classic horror and genre films. And You Call Yourself A Scientist! examines who movies handle from the perspective of a female scientist. Badmovies.org features a Marine dissecting crap film with copious quotes and clips. Jabootu.net posts excruciatingly long reviews of excruciating films, and is one of the few sites to cover contemporary trash like Gigli. The Unknown Movies Page unearths films too obscure even for the rest of the cabal. Cold Fusion Video, Stomp Tokyo, and Brain Eater round out the group
The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
Cinema chain posts audio of anonymous angry voicemail from customer who was kicked out for breaking one of their two golden rules. No talking. No using mobile phones. [via /film who also have an alternative embed of video] [more inside]
Robert Khoo, the business whiz who took a chance on the web comic Penny Arcade and turned it into a media empire for its creators, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, has now extended his reach to Hollywood. Paramount has announced that its next animated film is in the works and will be based on Penny Arcade's single-page concept comic, "The New Kid."
For Roger Ebert, it's a prayer that made him "more alert to the awe of existence." For Rober Koehler, it's a kitschy New Age con. For Richard Brody, it perfectly captures the essence of a generation by depicting a character thinking "back to the musings and fantasies of childhood, which are the product of a wondrous and fantastic view of science formed by popular-science books for children and by the commercial artists whose illustrations adorned them." For Stephanie Zacharek, it's "a gargantuan work of pretension." For Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, it's "a creation myth in the guise of a crypto-autobiography" that invents a universe of its own only to destroy it. For J. Hoberman, it's lifeless and dull, "essentially a religious work and, as such, may please the director's devotees, cultists, and apologists." It spent thirty years in development, three in editing and, yes, it contains dinosaurs. The Tree of Life, written and directed by famously reclusive Zoolander fan and "JD Salinger of American movies" Terrence Malick , won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Tomorrow, it comes out in the United States. [more inside]
He told me his gorilla suit had been taken by his landlady in Pensacola, Florida because he could not pay his back rent. She kept his trunk with all his possessions as well. So his movie days were over...A brief, thoughtful recollection of the last days of the elusive Emil Van Horn, who, with pioneers like Charles Gemora, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Steve Calvert, George Barrows, Janos Prohaska, and Bob Burns, established the golden age of Hollywood gorilla men.
"the oompa loompas did not have their blueberry driver's licenses... they were shorter than I was wide"
The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Most quotes are from the "making of" documentary from 2001, now on YouTube in four pieces: 1, 2, 3, 4 (also see featurette). The cast reunited on Today show earlier this week. [via]
I don't know what you're referring to, but maybe if certain older, wiser people hadn't acted like such little babies, and gotten so mushy, then everything would be ok..
Alexander Payne's 1999's movie Election originally had a much more awkward and true to source material ending that was shot and then discarded after testing poorly. It remained a rumor until someone found a VHS copy at a Farmer's Market in Wilmington, DE for $5
Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a documentary about Filipino exploitation films of the 70s and 80s. It features interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, Eddie Romero and is directed by Mark Hartley, who also directed the Ozploitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood. The film was started by Andrew Leavold and grew out of his as-yet-unfinished 'Search For Weng Weng', about the midget James Bond of the Philippines who starred in For Your Height Only and Impossible Kid (and inspired the Weng Weng Rap). You can follow Andrew's adventures through the world of Filipino filmmaking on his blog, Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys. Several Filipino genre films are available online, including TNT Jackson (NSFW).
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]
Have you ever gotten lost in the Myst-inspired architecture of Anthology Film Archives’ website, or struggled awkwardly with the Chinese puzzle box-construction of BAMcinematek’s calendars? Have you ever circled the block at Lincoln Plaza in search of the secret entrance to the fabled Walter Reade Theater? (Hint: look behind the waterfall.) Have you found yourself asking time and again, “What the fuck is Union Docs?”The brainchild of critic Paul Brunick, Alt Screen is a new site billed as "a comprehensive digital resource covering film exhibitions and related special events in the New York City area." The contributing editors include blogger Jim Emerson, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [previously] and Nathan Lee (apparently coming out of retirement).
Atlas Shrugged and so did I. PJ O'Rourke has seen Atlas Shrugged (the movie - part 1) and ... [more inside]
"Most actors will go their entire careers without doing a movie like Stand By Me, or working with a director like Rob Reiner. I got to do both when I was 12. For a long, long time, I felt like I needed to top or equal that, and it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s that I accepted that it’s unlikely to happen -- movies like Stand By Me come along once in a generation."The cast of Stand By Me(link has autoplaying sound,) recently recorded some interviews to promote the re-release of the movie on Blu-Ray. Wil Wheaton has blogged about reuniting with the cast and missing River Phoenix. (Via)
"My name is Blinky, and I just want to be your friend!" A well-crafted short film by Ruairi Robinson (slightly gory CGI ending may be NSFW).
Top Secret! is a 1984 film from the makers of Airplane!, parodying WWII spy movies and Elvis movies amongst other subjects. One of its more famous scenes took place in a Swedish bookstore (proprietor played by Peter "Grand Moff Tarkin" Cushing). The eerie nature of the scene comes from having been created to be watched backwards. Here is that scene, now reversed, as in played forward, and acted backward.
Inception remade as a 60-second Victorian woodcut animation via boingboing (via suckerpunch).
In the two decades starting in the 1980s, Laurent Boutonnat produced a series of atmospheric pop videos for Mylène Farmer, the chart-topping "French Madonna" who is little known outside the Europop circuit. [more inside]
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
The benshi of Japan were live narrators of silent films. "To many 'silent' cinema fans in Japan, benshi were a major attraction. It was usually the film that drew people to the theater, but it was often the benshi which determined which theater a person would attend. Benshi were huge cultural stars of the time, with benshi earning as much, if not more, than many actors." [more inside]
Canadian horror flick Pontypool (trailer) is a modern zombie tale quite unlike any other. Loosely based on a dense, complicated novel by Tony Burgess and inspired by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, it tells the story of Grant Mazzy, a grumbling yet likable radio host (played by veteran character actor Stephen McHattie) whose penchant for philosophical ramblings gets him booted from Toronto to the sleepy winter pastures of Pontypool, Ontario. One bleak morning, as the outspoken Mazzy chafes against no-nonsense producer Sydney Briar, disturbing news begins rolling in of a series of bizarre and violent incidents sweeping the town. Trapped in their church basement broadcasting booth, Mazzy, Briar, and intern Laurel-Ann Drummond struggle to understand the odd nature of the crisis and warn the wider world before it's too late. But this is no ordinary virus, and they find their efforts may be causing far more harm than good. You can watch the film on YouTube horror channel Dead By Dawn (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), but if you're pressed for time you can also experience it in its more logical form: as a one-hour BBC radio drama voiced by the original cast. And after the credits, make sure not to miss the film's playful non-sequitur coda.
(Metafilter's own) science fiction author John Scalzi potentially has a movie coming out. It's to be based on his work Old Man's War. Wolfgang Petersen is apparently set to direct. [more inside]
Why watch a movie when you can just watch the titles? Browse title sequences by designer and read interesting backstory and discussion on the art of making a title sequence.
Brooklyn natives Atomic Tom cover "Don't You Want Me" in a video filled with celeb cameos and '80's references: Vimeo / Youtube (from the Take Me Home Tonight soundtrack.)
"An optimistic history professor and a Jewish organic farmer form a punk rock band in a UN refugee camp." -- "Three starry-eyed karaoke performers and a gay warlord start a girl's school in a Baltic village." -- "A starry-eyed high school journalism teacher and a mustachioed HAM radio operator follow their dreams on a leaky cabin cruiser." All this and more at the FALSE/FALSE FILM FEST. [more inside]
Dogtooth is an Oscar nominated Greek film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Reviews have noted its uncomfortable blend of family, insanity, sex, and power. In interviews, the director touches on his thoughts behind the film and its creation. (1, 2, 3)
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]
Drag Me To Hell As Remembered By Bunny and Coco Armed with the actual props and actual locations and actual stand-ins, Mefi's own Max Sparber (Astro Zombie) recreates Sam Raimi's spook-machine Drag Me To Hell from memory. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
How it Should Have Ended: Terminator / Star Trek / Aliens / The Empire Strikes Back and more.... Links contain spoilers
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]
"Let's do those drive-in totals. We have: Nineteen dead bodies (plus fragments). Ten breasts (shame on you, TNT censors). Two zombie breasts. One-hundred twenty-five zombies. Mummy dogs. One-half zombie dog. Ten gallons blood. Brain-eating. Gratuitous embalming. Zombie fu. Nekkid punk-rocker fondue. Gratuitous midget zombie. Torso S&M. One motor vehicle chase (totalled by zombies). Pool cue fu. No aardvarking. Heads roll. Brains roll. Arms roll. Hands roll. Joe Bob says, Check It Out." Only on MonsterVision. [more inside]
Awesome !!! Nearly 10 minutes of the robot warfare. SLYT
It was not easy to get Terence Malick to direct again, as this article about the making of "The Thin Red Line" from Vanity Fair shows.
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]
RUBBER (Not THAT one) is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. [more inside]
In 1982, three 12-year-old friends began work on Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. The shot-for-shot recreation was finished in 1989, and received its world premiere in 2003 (prev.). Watch the first ten minutes. More scenes via the BBC review and the Today Show. [more inside]
Richard Amsel was a Philadelphian artist who created original and iconic illustrations and paintings found on posters for several popular 1970s and 80s American movies, including Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, The Dark Crystal, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Sting. He also created unique artwork for TV Guide covers, as well as album cover art for Bette Midler and others. His Time cover featuring Lily Tomlin was added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.