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WHERE'S ITS SCROTUM?!

Though Llewyn appears stuck, he’s the nomad always ecstatic in his circumlocutions. He’s on a road to nowhere but at least trudging on a path to somewhere. The rest of the world marks time, gliding smoothly along the straight line of the future, arrested comfortably in the steady flow of the ever-present, and being naively present relieves one from the nightmare of history. Maybe the materialization of Dylan’s music in the final minutes, when it wasn’t there in the beginning, is another sign that Llewyn’s time has passed, and it’s time to, um, face the music. Like clockwork he goes into the alley to confront the shadowy figure, and takes his punch (this time not saying “I’m sorry?” before the fist collides with his face, however). Consigned again to this cesspool, he doesn't stay down but ascends through iron bar shadows and follows his bellicose aggressor, who gets into a cab and drives off. Llewyn looks on somewhat wistfully, not saying “farewell” in accord with Dylan but rather says “Au revoir”—indicating they’ll see each other again. At that quiet utterance the cab’s wheels screech and turn a sharp corner. The linear trajectory forward is thwarted and Fate's Emissary will inevitably come around again. The Orbital Noose: Inside Llewyn Davis
posted by timshel on Mar 26, 2014 - 25 comments

If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi Dench.

23. On screen, your hero can blow away 500 bad guys, but if he smokes one fucking cigarette, you’re in deep shit. Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors
posted by timshel on Mar 24, 2014 - 16 comments

How about a nice game of chess?

Chess has been played in a lot of movies. I mean, a lot. Some of the more notable matches include Ron Weasley kicking ass, HAL stealing from Schlage, a Bond villain stealing from Spassky, and Death just screwing with the audience. Then there is Thomas Crown, who might just have been named for a promising young British player who tragically died at the age of eighteen.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 23, 2014 - 29 comments

Beneath our feet

Tiny Worlds: a series of films about tiny machines in the city like a tiny bulldozer, a tiny logging truck, and a tiny submarine.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 21, 2014 - 8 comments

The refreshment stand is closed forever

Here are some compilations of old drive-in theater intermission shorts, obsolete advertising for vanished venues. Won't you please visit our celestial snack bar? The show starts in ∞ minutes. Hover over links for more detail.
1 (10m, corn dogs, Dairy Queen) - 2 (10m, Butch, Eskimo Pie) - 3 (7m, public displays of affection) - 4 (3m, cable TV)
5 (10m, PSAs) - 6 (10m, performing food!) - 7 (9.5m, racist indians, snack bar gnomes) - 8 (10m, Jay Ward-like cartoon roundup)
9 (4m, daylight savings time) - 10 (13m, shrimp rolls, local ads) - 11 (10.5m, Dr Pepper robbery, conformity, PSAs) - 12 (14m, Creepy the Clown and "Dutch Treete")
13 (10m, Optigan music spectacular!) - 14 (2m, EAT CANDY BARS) - 15 (9m, Swiss people are magical) - 16 (5m, assorted animation)
17 (17m, Snacks in Space) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 15, 2014 - 48 comments

This shot, and one more.

The legendary TV production manager and inspiration for the film set term "Abby Singer Shot" has passed away at 96. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Mar 13, 2014 - 21 comments

"In a world..."

Hal Douglas, who for many of us was THE voice of movie trailers in the 1990's, has passed away at age 89. The Guardian pays tribute with a half dozen of his best trailers. And then, of course, there's the legendary trailer for "Comedian".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 13, 2014 - 59 comments

"Oh, Danny Boy"

With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, it's a great opportunity to have a look at "Danny Boy". [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 12, 2014 - 50 comments

"I am Worf, Son of Mogh."

Just some old school ST:TNG for your Tuesday night: "The Worf of Starfleet" [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 4, 2014 - 47 comments

Cue blind fanboy rage in three... two... one...

Joel Silver: Terry Gilliam would have radically changed the ending to Watchmen. Zack Snyder: "I made (Watchmen) to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world."
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 3, 2014 - 129 comments

Digital obsolescence is more deadly than degrading film stock ever was.

Film preservation 2.0 Unless the unique challenges of digital preservation are met, we run the risk of a future in which a film from 1894 printed on card stock has a better chance of surviving than a digital film from 2014.
posted by mediareport on Mar 2, 2014 - 109 comments

Warner Bros. Logo Design Evolution

"All studios have their main logo that appears at the beginning of a film, but some occasionally use custom logos that reflect the theme of the movie. When I noticed that Warner Bros. does this a lot I wanted to find out how often this happened and what these logos looked like. I couldn’t find a good overview with all logos gathered in one place, so I started to collect them myself, in 2009. Now, five years later, I think I have enough to paint a picture of Warner Bros logo design evolution. "
posted by chavenet on Feb 27, 2014 - 22 comments

The 28 Rules of the Oscars Party

10. If you are throwing an Oscars party, you need to decide if it's going to be a cinema lover's party or an Oscars party. "At a cinema lover's party, people dress up and have thoughtful conversations about the nominees and the year in cinema. At an Oscars party, everyone sits in their sweatpants and trashes every single thing that happens for four hours." This was written by a WSJ sportswriter, who doesn't understand that you can do both at either type of party.
posted by Bella Donna on Feb 27, 2014 - 60 comments

CG Mockbusters

The Asylum gets all the attention (and the lucrative gig filling time for "SyFy") but they're far from the only company out there making "mockbusters," those ultra low budget, direct-to-DVD movies named similar to big Hollywood blockbusters, in the hopes that an inattentive purchaser will buy their movie in the hopes they're getting something better. But The Asylum's not the only ones making them, and a prominent mockbuster subgenre is that of companies making really poor CG movies that resemble Pixar and Dreamworks hits only to the extent that they can maintain plausible, legal deniability, their profit margins relying on clueless grandparents getting something nice for the little ones.

Two of these companies are Video Brinquedo (trailer for their Little & Big Monsters and some clips from its sequel) and Spark Plug Entertainment (trailer for An Ant's Life). Far more of their output, including whole movies, awaits you than you could ever hope to stomach.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 26, 2014 - 35 comments

"...can you get them to stop playing that fucking song on the radio?"

On June 8, 2014 it will have been 30 years since those paranormal janitors cleaned up the town in the most successful comedy of the 1980s doing over $291 million in gross box office sales. Who you going to call? Everyone in the cast (except Bill Murray, sadly): Ghostbusters: An Oral History. Some choice quotes below the fold. [more inside]
posted by nubs on Feb 25, 2014 - 158 comments

But who is the Best Boy?

Assembling a Film's Billing Block. The blurb at the bottom of a movie poster is called the "billing block." And while it might look like a bar code of haphazardly packed type, it is in fact the product of detailed legal agreements and intense contract negotiation. Below is the the billing block for a fictional film and an explanation of how it was constructed. (via kottke.org.)
posted by xingcat on Feb 24, 2014 - 28 comments

Nobody needs to see "Interiors" anyway....

How To Not Watch Woody Allen: Suitable replacements for every single one of his movies.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 22, 2014 - 109 comments

Delicious Delicious

"Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. " The Awl talks to the director of the film about his plans for a sequel.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 20, 2014 - 46 comments

From "Tarzoon" to "Monuments Men"

The broken-down grace of Bill Murray: The Dissolve takes a look at the career of Bill Murray and reviews his films. All of them.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Feb 17, 2014 - 39 comments

"Looks like we're... looks like we're shy one horse."

The movie itself is a classic, and that greatness is evident right off the bat with one of the best opening scenes in film history. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Feb 16, 2014 - 27 comments

I'd buy that for a dollar...

"If you want to predict the future, just think about how bad it could be and make a joke out of it, and there you go."
Ed Neumeier on the writing of the original RoboCop.
posted by mokin on Feb 14, 2014 - 73 comments

Death of a Playmate

Here is a 1981 Pulitzer Prize winning article about the death of Playboy Playmate and rising star Dorothy Stratten.
posted by reenum on Feb 8, 2014 - 22 comments

"Black Angel"

As a thank you gift for his work on "Star Wars", George Lucas gave art director Roger Christian 25,000 pounds in 1979 to make a short film. Christian used the money to shoot a 25 minute medieval fantasy titled "Black Angel". Lucas liked the film so much that he had it precede theatrical showings of "Empire Strikes Back" in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia. In the intervening years, the film was thought lost until a negative was discovered at Universal Studios in 2011. The film was restored and given a premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County last October. It will be shown again later this month at the Glasgow Film Festival and will eventually find its way to a streaming services like Netflix later this year. The BBC recently talked to Christian about the film and its rediscovery.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Feb 7, 2014 - 19 comments

Still trying to make fetch happen

10 years later, the director of 'Mean Girls' shares a few stories from the shoot
posted by The Whelk on Feb 7, 2014 - 70 comments

Can It Actually Be THAT Good?

Maybe the creators are benefitting from really low expectations. "The LEGO Movie" is getting some implausbly positive reviews . [more inside]
posted by Ipsifendus on Feb 7, 2014 - 213 comments

Ten Minutes of Transformers Transforming

Watching Ten Minutes of Transformers Transforming did make me a little dizzy. Three movies worth of transformations in 1080p.
posted by tarpin on Feb 4, 2014 - 68 comments

Spoiler: Basically Lucas, Jackson, Spielberg, Cameron all the way down

Clips from each of the visual effects winners at the Oscars since 1979. Worth comparing to this great feature from Empire where 15 leading special effects artists were each asked to pick a favorite effect (also with clips). It is probably not worth comparing to the 6 best special effects from Turkish knock-offs of American films.
posted by blahblahblah on Jan 30, 2014 - 22 comments

Sorry, Doctor, No Custard

So, you have a Creative Agency with the whimsical (or just silly) name "Fishfinger", and you've done work for notable clients like Nike, RedBull, Penguin Books and Hasbro, but you want your agency and your name to go viral. What do you do? You photoshop a bunch of classic movie posters to make 62 Amazing Fishy Films. Yes, The Codfather, Forrest Guppy and the James Bond movie with its namesake are there. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jan 30, 2014 - 29 comments

Restaging classic films with black models

In 2013, the Onomo International hotel group asked photographers Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempé (nsfw) to create a series of photographs set in the group’s hotels as part of an advertising campaign. Fans of Hollywood, the pair created ONOMOllywood, an exhibition images from iconic films featuring African models in previously white roles. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion on Jan 30, 2014 - 13 comments

How They Got There

24 Short Films Of Famous Directors You Can Watch On Youtube
posted by mannequito on Jan 30, 2014 - 8 comments

'Her' is the Scariest Movie of 2013

What feels to Theodore like love is in fact work, uncompensated and entirely on Element Software’s terms, and such work is not the stuff of science fiction. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 27, 2014 - 58 comments

The New York Filming Locations of The Godfather, Then and Now

Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look.
posted by timshel on Jan 27, 2014 - 27 comments

Celebrating the Year in Individual Film Images

Hitflix's 2012 top ten list and discussion of individual film images. [each year's top ten shots are broken into chunks of five, with one page for each five shot group]. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 25, 2014 - 6 comments

Radio, still playing.

The December 16, 1996 issue of Sports Illustrated featured Someone to Lean On, a longform article by Gary Smith [previously]: "We begin way over there, out on the margin. We begin with a dirty, disheveled 18-year-old boy roaring down a hill on a grocery cart, screaming like a banshee, holding a transistor radio to his ear. No one ever plays with him, for he can barely speak and never understands the rules. He can't read or write a word. He needs to be put away in some kind of institution, people keep telling his mother, because anything, anything at all, can happen out there on the margin," begins the article. It's the story of James Robert Kennedy, nicknamed Radio, popularized by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s portrayal in the 2003 movie of the same name. Want to know how Radio and Coach Harold Jones are doing these days? Check our their website for a brief update: Radio is 68 and still attending school and helping out with the athletic teams. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 24, 2014 - 3 comments

Uncle America

Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jan 23, 2014 - 7 comments

Mentally, physically, and spiritually

Director Steve McQueen interviews Kanye West
posted by Artw on Jan 20, 2014 - 17 comments

RIP Movies on celluloid 1895-2014

Paramount has ceased releasing films on 35mm film and will go forward distributing movies exclusively in digital formats. The LA Times' sources said that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was the last Paramount movie with a celluloid release, and Wolf of Wall Street was the first major motion picture to be distributed entirely digitally.
posted by Omon Ra on Jan 19, 2014 - 95 comments

“It's all kind of dull until you remember how sharp those wings are.”

Over the years, Hollywood has made films that have promoted the U.S. Military and films that have advertised specific products. But fifty years ago, those two tendencies intersected for a curious artifact of cinema and the military industrial complex. Say hello to “The Starfighters”. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jan 18, 2014 - 36 comments

Giving You Oral

Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 13, 2014 - 24 comments

Slight Future

Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report
posted by Artw on Jan 13, 2014 - 223 comments

The sweder must awaken!

We have puppetsign! David Lynch's Dune Sweded (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Strange Interlude on Jan 10, 2014 - 34 comments

Behind the scenes of Star Wars filming

Chewbacca has released a set of photos from his time on various sets.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 10, 2014 - 55 comments

Good. Well, it's good that you're fine, and - and I'm fine.

In need of an entertaining cinematic podcast to meet your listening needs? Then tune into Fighting in the War Room! Previously known as Operation Kino, Fighting in the War Room features fascinating discussions between film critics Katey Rich (Vanity Fair), Matt Patches (Hollywood.com / Vulture.com), Da7e Gonzales, and David Ehrlich (Film.com), offering reviews of current films, as well general cinema related topics. [more inside]
posted by Atreides on Jan 6, 2014 - 5 comments

Balls

How the Golden Globes definition of "musical or comedy" has been stretched to the limit and why that matters
posted by Artw on Jan 5, 2014 - 67 comments

The First Entirely New Experience in Entertainment Since Pictures Talked

"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]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 4, 2014 - 22 comments

Hitting does not solve everything

Cultural Lessons of 2013: Thor is the new Superman
posted by Artw on Jan 3, 2014 - 137 comments

The Elmore Leonard Paradox

If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good. No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 3, 2014 - 60 comments

"Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."

Slate visits the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland (Official museum website).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jan 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Violent Thrillers About Cats for Ages 8 to 10

If you use Netflix, you've probably wondered about the specific genres that it suggests to you. Some of them just seem so specific that it's absurd. Emotional Fight-the-System Documentaries? Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life? Foreign Satanic Stories from the 1980s? ... Through a combination of elbow grease and spam-level repetition, we discovered that Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 2, 2014 - 63 comments

"congress shrugged"

If it weren't for the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright on work would expire after 56 years - which would have meant that Kerouac's On The Road, the original 12 Angry Men, and Elvis's All Shook Up would be public domain by today.
posted by divabat on Dec 31, 2013 - 38 comments

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