Most of America's silent films are lost forever, according to the newly released Library of Congress report The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912–1929. (You can look up the ones that survive in this handy database). [more inside]
Why is Hollywood so afraid of oral sex? Why is oral sex hard for Hollywood? Evan Rachel Wood slams MPAA for censoring sex scene in her new film.
There are a lot of Christmas movie plots out there; hard to believe some of them haven’t been filmed. Yet. I can't list Brazil as a Christmas movie no matter how great a movie it is. Watch it in January. Some Christmas movies resonate differently for grownups. The Polar Express didn’t make my list because you should read the book aloud every year on Christmas Eve. Highest-grossing Christmas movies, for those so inclined. Inside, my countdown of Christmas movies, one a day from here to Christmas. [more inside]
The perfect thing for the pedant in your life, or for the person in your life who hates the pedant in their life.
Ill conceived ad campaigns seem to be par for the course these days (I personally threw up my hands twenty years ago when Janis Joplin was first used to sell Mercedes Benz), but you have to marvel at the thinking behind Covergirl's recent marketing tie-in with the film "Catching Fire" that assumes people would enjoy looking like the air-headed, blood-thirsty residents of the Capital. The Guardian weighs in.
The Howling Fat Men of the Coen Brothers (slyt & nsfw)
The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
r/FullMovieGifs is a sub-reddit maintained by user matt01ss which is dedicated to compressing feature length movies to .gif format. The Fifth Element, Up, The Rock and many more. Via The AV Club.
The last remnants of the old LLC are being swept away forever. Nathan Rabin over at The Dissolve offers his own personal requiem to the store. And because moving on is part of the healing process, movie fans should prepare themselves for some final liquidation sales.
BBC Radio 4's 'The Film Programme' talks to George A Romero. 'Forty five years after the release of genre-defining Night of the Living Dead, Francine Stock talks to the director George A Romero about inventing the undead zombie and where he might unearth horror in contemporary society. Plus why he doesn't rate Stanley Kubrick as a horror director.' [SL BBC Radio 4 episode] [more inside]
"The film is like trance music in movie form. It is liquid. Scenes flow in and out of each other. A scene will start and then the imagery will jump to another, sometimes from the past, other times from the future, while the audio from the initial scene continues to play through. Other times repetition is used as a narrative device, most prominently Alien’s southern, sizzurp-inflected drawl, rolling out in languid syllables, so that each is enjoyed to the fullest, reminiscent, although with his own depraved contemporary hip-hop spin, of Humbert Humbert’s delectation over the individuation of his young love’s name: Lo-li-ta,as it trips along the tongue, but for Alien, his long relaxed exhale of Sppprrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnngggggg Brrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaak again and again, emanates more from the back of the throat, you might say the deep throat, and just to the side, to give it it’s arch southern twang. " James Franco (previously) reviews Spring Breakers (previously) starring James Franco.
The Trouble with "Carrie": Strong Female Characters and Onscreen Violence.
Whether she's volunteering to take her sister's place in the arena or grooming her son to lead the resistance; gunning down the gangsters who sell drugs to the kids in her neighborhood or swinging swords to avenge her daughter, the "strong female character" is often stirred by a maternal concern, a quintessential desire to preserve her community, to protect the weak and vulnerable. Her bad-assery must be in the service of a greater good. Even when she's more ethically complex (like the Bride, who begrudgingly admits that all the people she killed to get to her daughter, "felt good"), she never takes a place at the table of Walter White's grand epiphany: "I did it for me."
Carrie does what Beatrix Kiddo and Ellen Ripley and Katniss Everdeen don't: She does it for herself. Her vengeance, her violence, is in service to no one, no noble good. She doesn't kill because her family and friends have been threatened. There are no friends, no fellow outcasts, to protect from the bullies. No little sister to shield from Mama's wrath. Only her. And she is enough. Carrie kills because she was wronged.
There's a number of things that make 1938's "The Adventures of Robin Hood" so awesome. There's the star power and charisma of Errol Flynn. There's Erich Wolfgang Korngold's great score. There's the glorious three-strip Technicolor process. And then, leaning in the corner there, is Howard Hill. [more inside]
Terry Gilliam fans are patiently waiting for the release of "The Zero Theorem", his first film in four years. In the meantime, let's go back thirty years ago to the moment that Gilliam really found his footing as a director in between the filming of "Time Bandits" and "Brazil". It all concerns a bunch of elderly accountants... [more inside]
Can't get enough of Marion Cotillard's death scene in The Dark Knight Rises? Enjoy People Dying Like Marion Cotillard.
It has been ten years since Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" (previously) hit theaters. And though the notoriety and fanbase of the film has grown in that time, information on the man behind it has not. Greg Sestero, who was perhaps the closest to Wiseau and the project, has just published "The Disaster Artist" on his work with the film. The Dissolve has a lengthy review/analysis for your enjoyment.
"I'm here because my family went through slavery" - Steve McQueen on 12 Years A Slave, the story of Solomon Northup. ‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin. Before Solomon Northup: Fighting Slave Catchers in New York. The final fate of Solpmon Northup remains unknown. (Previously)
Character actor Ed Lauter has died. In a career that spanned over forty years, he was a familiar face on both television and film (and active until the end with appearances in "Trouble With The Curve" and "The Artist"). And with the greatest respect and affection, he also costarred in one the greatest bad films of the eighties.
The Physics of Light and Rendering is a talk given at QuakeCon 2013 by John Carmack, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and many other games at id Software and beyond. It provides a detailed but surprisingly understandable history of 3D rendering techniques, their advantages and tradeoffs, and how they have been used in games and movies. (SLYT, 1:32:01, via)
For your October delight: Top 10 horror movies, as picked by Guardian critics, Ten Exceptionally Well-Written Horror Films, Top Ten Horror-Sci-Fi Films: A Primer And Pseudo-History, The 12 Weirdest Vampire Movies Ever Made, The Top Grossing Scary Movies Of All-Time, and, perhaps most importantly of all: The 25 best horror films on netflix instant.
Twitter: @HardSciFiMovies imagines the plots of SF/F movies moving more in line with reality.... [via mefi projects]
The character posters for Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" are , ahem, here (NSFW).
Bringing Up Nick is a show where Revision3's Adam Sessler tries to teach his younger and movie ignorant colleague Nick a thing or two about classic movies and their cultural impact. First up, James Cameron's Aliens.
“Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn,” Smith says, “because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.” Movie theaters were trying to appeal to a highbrow clientele, and didn’t want to deal with the distracting trash of concessions–or the distracting noise that snacking during a film would create. - So Why Do We Eat Popcorn At The Movies Anyway? (Smithsonian Mag)
MediAvengers: Earth's Mightiest Gossip is a blog of media parodies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn: For the last six decades or so, a copy [of "Combat Fatigue Irritability"] has been filed away, along with thousands of other films, at the National Library of Medicine. The only people it has been lost to are the public and Gene Kelly’s devoted and still numerous fans. But now the National Library of Medicine is featuring Combat Fatigue Irritability in Medical Movies on the Web, and the film will be given a well-deserved, though very belated, New York premiere, on October 5, 2013, at the New York Academy of Medicine. [more inside]
Dirty Dancing is A SUBVERSIVE MASTERPIECE and here are four reasons why. "While I loved it as a mushy romance starring a relatable heroine and a dreamy guy, a huge portion of the plot flew right over my tiny unworldly preteen head. But it was only as an adult that I realized how RADICALLY subversive and politically bananas this movie really is." [more inside]
Lois Weber was an important early American film-maker who pushed the boundaries of film-making so she could better tell the stories she wanted to tell. Several of her early silent films are on youtube: Suspense (1913; ~10 minutes) (she directs herself, experiments with the split-screen view and unusual and effective camera angles including shots from above and using the car's side mirror); Hypocrites (1915; ~4 minutes) (featuring dual roles, nudity, and a strong use of techniques like multiple exposures and complex editing - as well as a strong moral message); and Where Are My Children (1916, ~1 hour, 10 minutes) (a complex and controversial film even then about birth control (pro) and abortion (anti)). [more inside]
How, against all odds, Time Bandits got made. Somehow in the face of a universe that seems dead set against it Terry Gilliam continues making movies today, the latest being Zero Theorem.
Loved by some but often ignored, passed on by Spielberg, peppered with famous poker player cameos, the boldly painted, logorrheic portrait of real gambling life, California Split might be the quintessential Altman film. [more inside]
For the duration of the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF has posted the short films they're screening this year on Youtube. You can watch them all, but if you only watch one, check out Noah, which is not safe for work and which I thought was pretty great.
The Movie Math Quiz: Can you figure out which movies are being described by these mathematical equations?
The trailer to the "Robocop" remake was released yesterday, and as expected there was a lot of grumbling from fans. There is one significant change that the film shares with another recent remake of a brutal action film ("Total Recall"): The switch from an "R" rating to a "PG-13". Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the "PG-13" rating, so it's worth considering (especially for those of us whose memories go back that far) what the rating has wrought in cinema (previously).
The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a documentary in 15 parts which documents the evolution of the medium from first steps of silent film to the present day multi-national blockbuster (trailer). This amazing work is currently available on Netflix, but will also be playing on TCM starting this month (full schedule available at the bottom of this link).
“Something Terrible Has Happened Here”: The Crazy Story Of How “Clue” Went From Forgotten Flop To Cult Triumph. (previously)
“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.” - The last days of the rubber-suit monsters.
Fragments of a hologram rose: Re-seeing Blade Runner - Tears in rain Memories of missing words, stories and concepts; All-seeing eye Entering picture space with the Esper; The city and the city The architecture of Los Angeles, 2019; Painting the future Syd Mead’s production art; Spinner and gun Tools of the job
One of the 20th century's most prolific and well regarded authors of crime fiction, Elmore Leonard, has died at the age of 87, following a stroke two weeks ago. Leonard's novels and short stories were frequently adapted to movies and television, with particular acclaim in the cases of Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, and Justified.