Sam Simon, writer, producer, philanthropist and co-creator of The Simpsons has passed away of colorectal cancer at the age of 59. Previously.
Character actor Daniel Von Bargen ("Seinfeld", "Lord of Illusions", "Super Troopers") has died at the age of 64. One tragic footnote is his 2012 suicide attempt that led to his long illness. Here are some facts about Diabetes and Depression and, as always, there is help for those who need it. (Post Title Quote here)
"We don't want them to see diversity as a burden or a moral obligation. We want them to see it as a business imperative."UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies has released its 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping The Script [PDF]. The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive story (with lots of sidebars.)
Put down the boom box: 28 romantic gestures from Film, Television and Music that are actually creepy (SingleLinkAVClub)
Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
"As Maggie Gyllenhaal put it in accepting an award for her performance in 'The Honorable Woman': 'What I see, actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.'" The 'strong female character' is dead. All hail the complicated woman., by Alyssa Rosenberg for The Washington Post. [more inside]
It may have taken him over ten years to do it, but Tommy Wiseau has finally followed up on his cult hit "The Room" (previously). "The Neighbors" originally existed as some rarely seen footage Wiseau shot in 2004 (only the wacky trailer was ever released to the public). Cut to ten years later when a newly shot pilot for a "Neighbors" TV series (Official website and trailer) has been making the rounds in big cities across the country to give Wiseau fans the follow up they have been craving. Both the Gothamist and the AV Club weigh in on the show (with a bonus AV Club interview with Wiseau).
Tony and Emmy winning actor Edward Herrmann, who is perhaps best known for his role as Lorelai's father in "Gilmore Girls", has passed away from brain cancer at the age of 71. His recent role as the voice of Franklin Roosevelt in Ken Burns' documentary "The Roosevelts" ironically brought him full circle to his breakout portrayal of FDR in the miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin" nearly forty years ago.
Film Crit Hulk is back with a long essay about more-than-gamergate. Building off his previous ethical criticism (especially his multipart James Bond series) Film Crit Hulk gives us his opinions on "THE VOID OF THIS PARTICULAR HOUR". [more inside]
It was called a number of things in its fifty years of existence, but the RKO Forty Acres (which actually measured just over twenty-eight) was above all a prolific movie and television studio located in Culver City, California. It started off as a film studio during the silent era that continued prominent use in sound films including Gone With The Wind, The Magnificent Ambersons and King Kong. Later, it was widely used for television shows like Bonanza, The Adventures of Superman and, most prominently, The Andy Griffith Show. It even got used in a number of classic Star Trek episodes (and be sure to visit this site for some nice screen caps revealing Enterprise crew members walking around Mayberry). The RetroWeb has a very thorough history of the studio, complete with prodigious pictures.
Figuring out some of the more obscure references in an episode of MST3k is a labor of love for some devoted fans. The folks over at The Annotated MST3k (previously) have been at it for eleven years now and have 113 episodes completely annotated. But for those who prefer their annotations in real time, you're in luck. The official YouTube channel for the show has posted two completely annotated episodes (Mitchell and Manos - The Hands of Fate) for your viewing pleasure.
In 2001, long before he helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut, Jon Favreau could reasonably be described as “that guy in Swingers”. But sometime between Swingers and Iron Man, Favreau used some of his clout to create and host a new show for the Independent Film Channel. It was called "Dinner for Five". [more inside]
On the fiftieth anniversary of its theatrical release, Slate is taking a look back at the Cold War thriller Fail Safe (trailer), which stars Henry Fonda as a U.S. President who has to deal with a computational accident that risks nuclear war. The film was preceded at the box office by Dr. Strangelove, a film very similar in plot but drastically different in tone. Fail Safe bombed as a result of the comparison with Kubrick's masterpiece, but the story itself would have a second chance at reaching audiences come the year 2000. [more inside]
'"The good news is we solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you're under arrest.' Everyone's a noir hero!" A new HBO documentary explores what happens when the media are mixed up in a crime from the very beginning-- with fiction and film added in for good measure. A local news writer is incensed with HBO for bringing it all up again. (She will not be watching the documentary.)
Robin Wiliams famous for his impressions, role as Genie in Aladdin, standup comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire and many other comedy roles has died at the age of 63.
James Garner, star of two classic television shows ("Maverick" and "The Rockford Files") and a wide slate of films including "The Great Escape", "The Americanization of Emily" and "Victor/Victoria", has died at the age of 86.
Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga discuss writing the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale. [more inside]
Before Firefly, there was the television movie White Dwarf, a far-future pseudo-western scripted by Bruce "Wild Palms" Wagner. The story is essentially Kurosawa's Red Beard relocated to the tidally-locked planet of Rusta, a frontier world split between a Victorian dayside culture and a medieval nightside kingdom. Neal McDonough stars as an arrogant young Earth doctor dispatched to a Light Side clinic to complete an internship under the unorthodox Paul Winfield.
It would be hard to find two more disparate and distinctive genres than the playful TV adventure shows of the 1960's and the paranoid conspiracy thrillers of the 1970's. Yet they both owe a great deal to the same man: Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., who not only had a hand in the "Batman" TV show but also penned "The Parallax View" and "Three Days of the Condor", died today at the age of 91.
Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
After the success of releasing the television pilot for Battlestar Galactica in movie theaters (in Sensurround) in 1978, Universal Pictures decided on a theatrical release for it's other science fiction TV series: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The film version of the pilot was essentially the same as what later appeared on NBC... except with a very different style of opening credits and theme song.
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.
Sponsored by Xerox and the United Nations, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, scripted by Rod Serling, scored by Henry Mancini, starring Sterling Hayden, Eva Marie Saint, and Robert Shaw, and featuring Peter Sellers as a post-apocalyptic pseudo-Randian cult leader in a spangly hat—it's A Carol for Another Christmas, the rare 1964 television special in which three ghosts teach a melancholy industrialist a Christmas lesson about the virtues of multilateral peacekeeping!
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.
Media Studies professor Anne Helen Petersen writes about the dominant role of Netflix in her students’ film and television consumption, and its effect on the lasting influence of works that are — or are not — available there:
Through this reliance on Netflix, I’ve seen a new television pantheon begin to take form: there’s what’s streaming on Netflix, and then there’s everything else…[more inside]
Percussive Maintenance (SLYT)
Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong. - I hate Strong Female Characters.
Mad Men + Mean Girls = Mean Mad Men.
For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
Scott Eric Kaufman examines the visual rhetoric of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Mad Men, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and more.
In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
"I want to encourage mainstream journalists to speak up when they discover their companies are misleading the people, doing PR for corporations and governments and disguising it as journalism."
Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."
Alan Clarke was a British television and film director who produced some of those most hard hitting and controversial work of the 70s and 80s including Scum, Made In Britain and Elephant. [more inside]
He's an outlaw. He’s an inventor. He’s a detective. He’s got better gadgets than James Bond and he looks like Dracula. He's got everything.
Louis C.K. on eating pressure and providing an alternative to The Man - "I ask him to think about what he really needs; when he tells me, I give him a little more. It buys me goodwill with this person; I feel good about what I'm paying them. I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give." [more inside]
Network Awesome mines the resources of YouTube to bring you treasures vast and plentiful, packaged and gift-wrapped in an easier-to-watch format. Since it launched in January 2011, it's expanded a bit with a corollary animated GIF site and an online magazine. (previously; 2) [more inside]
Spaceships that became other spaceships: The Millennium Falcon, The Colonial Viper, The Eagle Transporter - from the blog of Gavin Rothery, visual effects designer on Moon. Previously.
AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry. (See also: computers in fiction)
"Bob Shuter, suburban vigilante. Driven by rage to wage a one-man war on the underworld of Kent, Bob Shuter is... The Reprisalizer."
"You're going nowhere, son. Just you, me ad the walls. So wipe that bloody grin off before it's shot off, and don't slouch. You toe rag. You bin. Pay attention when I break you. And break you I will, boy. You're in my manor, now." Buck up! It's Terry Finch's THE REPRISALIZER! Follow Bob Shuter, whose mission of reprisal against his brother's killers, their families, associates, progeny and property takes him across the desolate wasteland of 70s Britain, primarily Kent AKA FINCHLAND. Finch, writer of The Reprisalizer and DRAW!, the cowboy whose name means death, is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture from Matthew Holness, creator of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch. Variety reports Harry Potter director David Yates wants to reboot Doctor Who. Topless Robot reacts.
There is no questioning Syd Dale's [mid-60s UK NSFW] place amongst the legends of library music. ... his lavish big band inspired compositions were quickly brought to the public's attention through their use in countless t.v. shows and advertisements. Much of his work could be as classed as easy listening however Dale was also adept at incorporating elements of funk and spy jazz.
* [The music of the 1967 Spider-Man animated TV series - to which he so memorably contributed - has been discussed previously.] [more inside]
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing — foreign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
Starting tonight, Ebert Presents At the Movies will begin airing full episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s original PBS show, Sneak Previews. Taking a break from reviewing movies, co-hosts Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky will introduce and discuss the episodes. Hungry for more classic Siskel & Ebert? Try the invaluable, Ebert-approved SiskelandEbert.org, a growing archive of home-taped episodes of Sneak Previews and At the Movies. [more inside]
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]