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"Captivated" on HBO

'"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.)
posted by BibiRose on Aug 19, 2014 - 36 comments

RIP Robin Williams

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.
posted by Carillon on Aug 11, 2014 - 856 comments

R.I.P. James Garner

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 20, 2014 - 149 comments

"All Good Things..." 20 Years Later

Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga discuss writing the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale. [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on May 23, 2014 - 43 comments

White Dwarf

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.
posted by Iridic on Apr 10, 2014 - 34 comments

R.I.P. Lorenzo Semple Jr.

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 28, 2014 - 19 comments

"You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!" ~ Spielberg

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]
posted by zarq on Mar 27, 2014 - 8 comments

What am I, Who am I, What will I be?

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.
posted by jca on Mar 9, 2014 - 82 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

Happy Life Day!

In defense of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special'
posted by Artw on Dec 25, 2013 - 92 comments

"Are these the shadows of the things that will be?"

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!
posted by Iridic on Dec 2, 2013 - 12 comments

RIP Ed Lauter

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 17, 2013 - 23 comments

The New Canon

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]
posted by mbrubeck on Oct 7, 2013 - 173 comments

Give it a good bash!

Percussive Maintenance (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 25, 2013 - 40 comments

All the princesses know kung-fu now

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.
posted by Artw on Aug 15, 2013 - 115 comments

I really wanna lose three pounds.

Mad Men + Mean Girls = Mean Mad Men.
posted by shakespeherian on Mar 22, 2013 - 13 comments

Detailed Floor Plan Drawings of Popular TV and Film Homes

For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
posted by reenum on Mar 3, 2013 - 40 comments

"Governments should be afraid of their people."

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]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Dec 22, 2012 - 53 comments

"You can't get un-famous. You can get infamous, but you can't get un-famous."

James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 17, 2012 - 48 comments

Point of View, Depth of Focus

Scott Eric Kaufman examines the visual rhetoric of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Mad Men, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and more.
posted by Iridic on Nov 29, 2012 - 15 comments

Medicine Wheel / Wagon Wheel

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]
posted by zarq on Sep 20, 2012 - 12 comments

"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."
posted by mek on Sep 5, 2012 - 21 comments

The Daddy

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]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 30, 2012 - 18 comments

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.

Grant Morrison's Guide to Batman on the Big Screen
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 3, 2012 - 113 comments

writer/director/actor

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]
posted by kliuless on Jul 6, 2012 - 40 comments

"Villains used to always die in the end. Now the nightmare guy comes back."

Bad Guys: The GQ Villains Portfolio (Movies + TV) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 1, 2012 - 26 comments

Network Awesome

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]
posted by mrgrimm on Apr 27, 2012 - 4 comments

That's no Lunar Transporter!

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.
posted by Artw on Mar 17, 2012 - 33 comments

Fight and Flight. And Cars, too.

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]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2012 - 2 comments

COMPUTERS ... IN ... SPACE ... (and in films, and on TV. Oh, and in other works of fiction, too)

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)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 24, 2012 - 22 comments

"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.
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2011 - 15 comments

EXTERMINATE

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.
posted by gerryblog on Nov 14, 2011 - 150 comments

Syd Dale, Legend of Library

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]
posted by Trurl on Oct 8, 2011 - 10 comments

March of Time

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 seeingforeign 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]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

The Siskel & Ebert Vault

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]
posted by alexoscar on Aug 5, 2011 - 21 comments

Orange you glad you got your Nickelodeon?

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]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 25, 2011 - 116 comments

Soundworks

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]
posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2011 - 8 comments

"monroe ficus" +raped +"too close for comfort" -"cosmic cow"

A Very Special Episode: On July 20, 1985, ABC aired a "Too Close For Comfort" episode titled: "For Every Man, There's Two Women" in which Monroe Ficus (played by "unabashed gay icon" Jim J. Bullock) is kidnapped and raped by two bikers (possibly in a bathtub of jello). In recent years, stories have surfaced of individuals traumatized by the repressed memories of this mysterious episode. This is one of those stories. A film by Ethan Duff. (via The Retroist) [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm on Mar 16, 2011 - 294 comments

We’re Tearing the Heart Out of Saturday Night!

"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]
posted by zarq on Feb 3, 2011 - 31 comments

Writemare at 20,000 feet

Richard Matheson—Storyteller - To mark the publication of a book of tribute stories writer and editor Richard Bradley has been blogging about the author's 60 year writing career- covering I Am Legend, Duel, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, not to mention Somewhere in Time (full index here). Of course Matheson is probably most famous for his contributions to the Twilight Zone, being one of it's three major writers and scripting Nightmare at 20,000 feet. Twice.
posted by Artw on Jan 4, 2011 - 25 comments

"Serge Daney was the end of criticism as I understood it."

Serge Daney (1944 - 1992) is often cited as one of the greatest film critics. After joining the legendary film magazine Cahiers du cinéma (which he would eventually edit) at age 20, Daney wrote extensively on the changing place of movies in culture, on directors new and old and on television, war and even sports. He founded the film magazine Trafic before dying of AIDS in 1992.

Though some of his essays have been officially translated and a small book of his writings has been published in English, the vast majority of his work remains untranslated into English. That hasn't stopped a devoted group of cinephiles from taking matters into their own hands. [more inside]
posted by alexoscar on Dec 13, 2010 - 12 comments

Henry Mancini

His melodies are more familiar than those of any other soundtrack composer except perhaps John Williams. He won 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other pop musician in history, and 4 Academy Awards. He scored what some consider the greatest opening shot in cinema history. His versatility encompassed situation comedy as well as science fiction horror. He is commemorated on a 37-cent stamp. He is Henry Mancini. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 6, 2010 - 32 comments

Actor James Gammon Dies

Gravelly-voiced character actor James Gammon has passed away of cancer at the age of 70. His career spanned more than 50 years in television, (with roles from "Gunsmoke" to "Grays Anatomy",) film and theater, but most will probably remember him as either the cantankerous manager of the Cleveland Indians in the 1989 comedy "Major League" or as Don Johnson's crotchety, retired longshoreman father on the television show Nash Bridges. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 18, 2010 - 23 comments

1991 BBC Omnibus documentary on Peter Greenaway

Some kind soul recently uploaded, in five parts, a 1991 BBC Omnibus television documentary about Peter Greenaway, who never ceases to inspire me in his dedication to push film into new, richly interesting places, to liberate it from its addiction to stale 19th-century psychological narrative and to open it up to accept and incorporate all manner of artistic information it's usually denied. Cleverly titled Anatomy of a Filmmaker — Greenaway is an enthusiast of the nude human figure, which he sees as the single constant of art — it covers the filmmaker's career from his earliest shorts up through Prospero's Books. There are bits about the time he spent honing his skills cutting together British propaganda, his experience with painting and his longtime collaboration with Sacha Vierny. It also presents subsections on Greenaway's own inspirational creators, including John Cage and the increasingly-intriguing-to-me R.B. Kitaj.
posted by colinmarshall on Jun 14, 2010 - 16 comments

"It is 146 minutes long...This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls."

I Watched 146 Minutes of Sex and the City 2 and All I Got Was This Religious Fundamentalism - The legacy of the TV show destroyed forever.
posted by Artw on May 26, 2010 - 222 comments

'Spoiler police, up yours.'

Death to the spoiler police! Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams takes a stand against people who insist on spoiler alerts: "[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it. ... But for the love of God, if you really don't want to know about a book/movie/television show, do the rest of the world a favor and stop hanging out in the online discussion groups about it." Via Roger Ebert.
posted by mcwetboy on May 20, 2010 - 151 comments

They have cameras. And lions. And penguins. And sharks. And...

Wild Film History is a guide to over 100 years of wildlife filmmaking, highlighting landmark films (1959's Serengeti Darf Nicht Sterben, aka Serengeti Shall Not Die - Clip 1, Clip 2) as well as historical relics (1910's The Birth of a Flower - Clip). Check out the links on the Key Events page for an overview of how the genre developed. The site also features biographies and oral history interviews with pioneers (mostly U.K.-based) in the industry. A project of Wildscreen.
posted by amyms on May 1, 2010 - 6 comments

Veteran character actor Robert Culp has passed away

"Those of us who are the firstborn always dream of that imaginary brother or sister who will be their protector, the buffer, the one to take the blows. I'm a firstborn, and Bob was the answer to my dreams. He was the big brother that all of us wish for." ~ Bill Cosby on his I-Spy co-star Robert Culp (79), who died of a heart attack yesterday after a fall outside his Hollywood Hills home [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 25, 2010 - 39 comments

You know, that thing where...

The secret origin of TV Tropes (Previously)
posted by Artw on Feb 24, 2010 - 48 comments

Hey! It's a bunch of lists we can all agree on!

The A.V. Club's Best of the Decade: Films. Performances. Scenes. Bad Movies. Books. Short Story Collections. Comics. Video Games Music. Metal. Electronic Music. Comedy Albums. Television Series. Television Episodes. Reality Series/Competitions. Made-For-TV Movies/Miniseries. Late-Night Comedy/Talk Shows. One-Season Wonders. And the orphans.
posted by Navelgazer on Dec 3, 2009 - 68 comments

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