In 1980, Menahem Golan showed us a harrowing vision of the power of rock...in 1994 The Apple is a futuristic, dystopian disco rock musical that also manages to be a druggy, sexy biblical allegory. [more inside]
Cinesift: A movie database site that combines Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, Letterboxd and Metacritic scores, with Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD availability, to quickly help users find what to watch.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
Actor, director, producer, financier, and all-around dynamo of talent Nate Parker spent years working to bring Nat Turner's story to the big screen -- and just shattered Sundance records by selling his well-reviewed and rapturously received debut film The Birth of a Nation for $17.5 million, the largest sum in the festival's history. [more inside]
Key and Peele may have said their goodbyes to television, but they will soon return to the big screen in their first feature film "Keanu", whose red band NSFW trailer dropped today.
Jared Leto taking on the mantle of The Joker for the upcoming
Suicide Squad Badguy Patrol movie met with a great deal of conversation when it was announced in 2014. Recent leaks from the set indicate that Leto is falling wholeheartedly into the role, taking a method acting approach to getting into the insanely dark and twisted inner life of the character. Twitter reports.
What to do when you're not the hero any more by Laurie Penny [NewStatesman] From Star Wars to Mad Max, a new, more diverse kind of storytelling went mainstream this year - and the backlash shows how much it matters. [more inside]
A campaign called "Frame Her Right" have put out a short video compilation of violence against women in Bollywood films. What they want is for the Indian Censor Board to include a warning in films that contain violence against women and to reflect such violence in the film's age rating. The argument links to the broader debate about the extent to which Bollywood movies reinforce misogyny in India. (The BBC quotes Aamir Khan criticising how Bollywood movies sometimes glorify stalking and harassment, which shows how times have changed). However, the 80s and 90s seem to be something of a low point for sexualised violence in Bollywood, and there are better portrayals of women in more recent films.
‘We had to put Charles Dickens in the movie. Who’s the least likely character to be Charles Dickens? Gonzo!’ How we made: The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Luttrell Psalter is a mid-14th century English illuminated manuscript containing a large number of illustrations of everyday life in medieval England. In 2008 the Psalter was adapted into a 20 minute short film for The Collection Museum in Lincoln, drawing on 35 scenes from the manuscript. There is also a blog describing the making of the film. [more inside]
Star Wars minus Star Wars is a video collage that tells the story of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in twenty minutes, without using any sounds or images from Star Wars itself.
As part of our mission to advance our understanding of the human condition, we gave each subscriber the chance to answer some extremely invasive and ethically dubious survey questions. Our hope was to find a Malcolm Gladwell-esque correlation between two seemingly unrelated things. At first we didn’t find anything like that in the data. But then we p-hacked our way to statistical significance, and we couldn’t believe our eyes when we found...
Mystery Science Theater 3000 lives! Joel Hodgson has successfully raised close to $6 million on Kickstarter to reboot MST3K. Hodgson projects that the money raised will fund 12 episodes of the series' new incarnation. The reboot will star Jonah Ray as its new host/experimental subject; Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as the new voices of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo; Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester; and Patton Oswalt as TV's Son of TV's Frank. Many more guest stars have signed on for cameo appearances, and guest writers will include Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, and Avenue Q's Robert Lopez. [more inside]
Adele's "Hello," by the movies. Edited by Matthijs Vlot.
Jury Duty, by Anonymous. (SL Medium): There is one other person in the room who doesn’t quite fit in, the Latino man who is the only other male juror of color. He sits and stares out the window. He doesn’t join in on small talk. “I haven’t been sleeping,” he says, when asked why he is so silent. “A man’s life is at stake.” I think of him as Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men. We will share this role.
The cast and crew of Tarantino's The Hateful Eight discuss the upcoming old-fashioned roadshow screenings of the first film to be projected in Ultra Panavision 70 in nearly fifty years. [more inside]
Ian McKellen gives an hour long presentation featuring some of the amazing women he's worked with over his 50 year acting career.
Two years ago, I was thrilled that three of the six women on our roundtable were black: Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o and Octavia Spencer. I thought, perhaps naively, that this represented a sea-change in the film business, and hoped it was catching up with the tectonic shifts that industries all across America have had to make to reflect this country’s diversity. But I was wrong. Stephen Galloway, in The Hollywood Reporter: Why Every Actress on The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Cover Is White
“You have lost your mind,” telegraphed Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount Pictures. “Stop filming and return to Los Angeles at once.” DeMille refused. “I cannot and will not make pictures with a yardstick,” he wired back to the studio. “What do they want me to do?” he was rumored to have said, according to Higashi. “Stop now and release it as The Five Commandments?” Excavating the "City of the Pharoah," the biggest set ever built for a Hollywood film in the 1920s. [more inside]
"In order to recover a bit from a recent feeling of exhaustion, I spent a significant amount of this past weekend diligently sitting on my ass, in front of the television. On Saturday night, I popped in my copy of Woody Allen’s 'Manhattan,' which, among other things, is as stunningly designed a movie as I’ve ever seen. This is largely thanks to the work of Gordon Willis, a master cinematographer who, apart from his incredible work on this film, was also responsible for photographing an alarmingly high share of my favorite movies of all time: 'The Godfather,' 'The Godfather Part II,' 'All the President’s Men,' and 'The Parallax View,' among others." [more inside]
Over 150 recipes from the early run of TBS' Dinner and a Movie, including "Peter Pancakes with Lost Boys-enberry Syrup" (originally paired with a presentation of Hook), "Two Hot Peppers on the Lamb" (Thelma and Louise), and "Jane S'mores" (Somewhere in Time).
ESPN uses the "30 for 30" series to tackle the most important sporting event of the Cold War. [more inside]
Holy Cow, Home Alone Is 25! Remember Winnetka’s most famous big-screen family, the McCallisters—especially the resourceful son who got left behind? An oral history of one of the most beloved Christmas comedies ever made.
Spotlight, the movie: A personal view Lessons learned from survivors of sexual abuse, the strange intoxication of Hollywood & the power of investigative journalism. By Matt Carrol.
Visitors are invited to join Shia LaBeouf in person as he watches all his movies consecutively in reverse chronological order over the next three days, 24 hours a day.
The greatest trick the prop ever pulled was convincing the world it didn't exist. A look at the hidden power of film props and how filmmakers use the everyday (and not so everyday) objects in their scenes to enhance cinematic storytelling. [slVimeo]
Atlas Obscura (?!) presents an inventory of cinematic worms by size, smallest to largest (SLYT)
"Ask horror-movie buffs to name their favorite decade for the genre, and you’ll likely receive a variety of answers. The ’30s had several of Universal’s classic roster of monsters. The ’40s had Val Lewton. The ’70s had zombies, and giant sharks, and Texas chain saw massacres. (The ’70s is a good choice.) But at the risk of speculating wildly, it seems safe to assume that not too many hypothetical fans would single out the current or previous decade as horror’s finest. Classics take time to solidify, reputations take a minute to build, and hindsight is 20/20. Plus, you know, Uwe Boll." [more inside]
Some ways we can read Elsa: "Cold and Hungry: Discourses of Anorexic Feminity in Frozen," "Disney's Frozen and Autism," "Reading Frozen as a Feminist," and "Disney's Frozen: Gay or Schizophrenic?"
One year ago, the Saturday Night Live family lost one of its greatest talents when Jan Hooks passed away at the age of 57. Though there are many SNL players that fade into obscurity once their term at Rockefeller Center is up, most people are surprised that, aside from a recurring role on 30 Rock, Jan Hooks had pretty much disappeared since the turn of the 21st century. Grantland provides a bittersweet look back into her history and into what happened during those years.
Many of those who went to see Furious 7 earlier this year went because it was, by all accounts, a raucous good time. And there were also a number of us who were extremely curious about how they were able to finish the film after the tragic death of star Paul Walker. Variety currently has an article up on the methods used to replicate Walker for certain scenes and, most intriguingly, an imgur gallery has been posted of all the shots that were completed after Walker died.
More subtly, offscreen sound is used to withhold the "Prestige," or the payoff, of each man's greatest trick. (Originally, the word prestige meant "illusion," especially one that dazzles the eyes.) Alfred's first, minimal version of the Transported Man is shown only in part. We see the setup with Robert watching avidly and Cutter elsewhere in the audience, skeptical. But we don't see the Prestige phase of the trick. Nolan keeps the camera on Cutter while we hear the second door open and the bouncing ball being caught by the duplicate Alfred. Nolan thereby makes the trick itself vague, to be revealed in full later. Conveying the illusion through offscreen sound also emphasizes the contrasting reactions of Cutter, who is unimpressed, and Robert, who considers it "the greatest magic trick I’ve ever seen." [more inside]
Be Suspicious Of Online Movie Ratings, Especially Fandango's — FiveThirtyEight.com notices a consistent pattern in Fandango movie ratings, and warns against the perils of relying on ratings provided by companies trying to sell you the product being rated. [more inside]
...if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.”Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence on the wage gap between male and female actors
The trailer for the Coen Brothers' "Hail Caesar!", a caper set in Golden Age Hollywood, has been released.
This Friday, people will be able to go to the theater and see yet another interpretation of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan". Such news does not necessarily excite Barrie fans, given the middling results of some past interpretations (and Pan isn't being received much better). But the AV Club's Ryan Vlastelica argues they can take heart that the best "Peter Pan" movie was already made... in 2003.
"The Fall" is a 2006 adventure fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh. The opening title sequence is the "perfect example of a director’s absolute control over his vision." Ebert described the movie as "a mad folly, an extravagant visual orgy, a free-fall from reality into uncharted realms. Surely it is one of the wildest indulgences a director has ever granted himself. Tarsem... has made a movie that you might want to see for no other reason than because it exists. There will never be another like it. " [more inside]
Filmmaker Pablo Fernandez Eyre recently made a discovery: Director Alfred Hitchcock and editor George Tomasini judged that a sequence which worked once would work twice, such as these two famous scenes from Psycho and The Birds. If you liked that, Eyre is fond of the side-by-side comparisons, such as these similar videos of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and the Star Wars saga.
For the first time in forever, Halloween will be filled with scary movies.* And while you're here... [more inside]
"There Aren't Enough Bricks in the World to Throw at Roland Emmerich’s Appalling Stonewall" - The first reviews of Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots are in. They are not favorable.
Three weeks ago, The AV Club quietly launched Film Club, a conversational weekly review show hosted by film editor A.A. Dowd and critic / former At the Movies host Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (previously, previously). New releases covered so far include The Visit, Transporter: Refueled, and Black Mass and Sicario. [more inside]
Pre-Code.com is an incredibly detailed exploration of the Hollywood cinema that fell between the advent of sound motion pictures in 1927 and the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Which wasn't enforced until 1934. Huh? Here's a timeline). This includes a number of familiar titles such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Dracula, Duck Soup, It Happened One Night and The Public Enemy. But we also get a peek at the more obscure and daring titles such as Baby Face, I’m no Angel, Smarty, Safe in Hell and Night Nurse.