"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia
[vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
As the hype
builds for Michael Bay's latest
assault on the eyes and eardrums: Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
, let's take a walk down memory lane to happier times: Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination. [more inside]
Maybe you anticipated the explosion, the sound of shattering glass, and the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline. But did you ever anticipate all the dancing
? Here's a supercut of Christopher Walken's dance scenes, from 57 movies. [SLYT] [more inside]
Late in 2013, Guillermo del Toro released a voluminous book, entitled Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions. As he explains in the video, the 256-page hardcover is a selection from his notebooks, where the director developed many of the monstrosities we’ve seen on screen. The Guardian notes that there’s something of da Vinci’s notebooks in del Toro’s records: the small, neat script, mixed in with the wonderfully detailed sketches, combine to give the impression of del Toro doing his best to record the torrent of his imagination before the thoughts disappear. In this post, we include a number of these images. Previously [more inside]
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]
"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you..."
It's a long slow five minutes, and you don't even know it's happening, but it is. Slowly but surely, the inevitable march of aging happens before your very eyes. Don't skip ahead, just let it unfold.
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z
signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's
bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later
, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend.
From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London
(set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's
brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings"
) to the frenzied chaos of its climax
, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale
of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count
And while sequel 28 Weeks Later
with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions
failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences
in modern horror), and 28 Months
looks increasingly unlikely
, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
For the release of the Hobbit, Lindsay Ellis
of the Nostalgia Chick (previously
) has decided to look back at all the LOTR films in order to analyze how they changed genre film-making, expected movie length, extended cuts, the problems of adaptation, and why Eowyn and Merry are made for each other. (Fellowship Of The Ring
, Two Towers
, Return Of The King Part 1
, Part 2
) Still need more? Then why not watch Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais of Rooster Teeth (previously
) try to walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to the filming location of Mount Doom, Mount Ngauruhoe in A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
Kathryn Bigelow's striking bin Laden manhunt thriller Zero Dark Thirty
arrives in wide release tonight on the heels of a final artful trailer
-- one with oddly familiar musical accompaniment
The funereal hymn, a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (lyrics)
, deftly recasts the 90s power ballad as a haunting dirge of quiet grief, shattered ideals, and a singleminded focus on revenge, a perfect distillation of the film's profoundly grim thesis
But while the song may be fitting, it wasn't composed for the project -- it's just the latest success story from Belgian women's choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers
, whose mournful reinterpretations of classic and modern rock
-- catapulted by their rendition of "Creep" in The Social Network
-- have made them famous around the world
, with star turns in the likes of Homeland ("Every Breath You Take")
and Downton Abbey ("With or Without You")
. Cover comparison site WhoSampled offers a list of YouTube comparisons between the covers and the originals
; look inside for more of their work in movies and television. [more inside]
was an art movie/promotional stunt put out by Virgin Media in 1987 with famous directors providing a music-video take on various opera pieces. ( A full review by That Opera Chick
). Of particular note is Julien Temple
's (Of Earth Girls Are Easy
fame) adaptation of Verdi's Rigoletto as a zany, cartoonish, ecstasy-fueled and very 80s farce set at the infamous Madonna Inn. Watch the whole delirious sequence here.
is a free, downloadable
zombie film set entirely at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
. [more inside]
! (also available here
): Abe Forsythe made the movie Computer Boy
when he was just 18. It's a 50 min. spoof of The Matrix that was filmed in less than two weeks at actual Matrix shooting locations in Australia and cost just over $2000 to make.*
It became a cult hit when it was released online in 2000 & was one of the first internet films to hit 500,000 views.* (wikipedia, imdb) [more inside]
In May, YouTube announced they would be hosting
a lineup of original video channels, in a possible attempt to compete with network and cable television. Among the new offerings was WIGS
, the (NSFW
) brainchild of director/producer/writers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, of original, scripted dramatic series and short films exploring female characters. [more inside]
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep"
and the success of sophomore record The Bends
, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead
were under pressure to deliver once more.
So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor
and got to work.
What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity
-- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology
-- through a mosaic of challenging
, eerily beautiful
music unlike anything else at the time.
Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes
, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments
, the band finally settled on OK Computer
, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed
harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review
for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy
for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown
. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
The art house review/criticism series Brows Held High
decided to tackle Nicolas Roeg/David Bowie's 1976 The Man Who Fell To Earth
by reviewing it as a karaoke medley of Bowie's greatest hits.
The extended trailer
for David Cronenberg'
s adaptation of Don DeLillo
's Cosmopolis has hit the internet.
Hey remember Lindsay Ellis' The Nostalgia Chick
) and her reviews of all things nostalgic and girly? She's done a lot more since then - Cruel Intentions
- The Craft
- and the Ne Plus Ultra of wish fulfillment Meg Ryan movies Kate & Leopold.
Back in 09', Star Wars Uncut
) asked people to recreate 15 second chunks of Star Wars: A New Hope however they wanted, using live action, animation, text adventure screens, SCUMM interfaces, costumed pets, and more. Now they've been edited together to recreate the entire movie as a homemade, constantly shifting media experiment. (Vimeo link)
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt]
is remembered for a lot of things
: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography
(a pioneer of digital color grading
), its whimsical humor
, fluid vernacular
, and many subtle references
to Homer's Odyssey
. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music
Assembled by T-Bone Burnett
, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads
and angelic hymns
to wistful blues
and chain-gang anthems
. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel
that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South
Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued
, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker
's Down from the Mountain
, an extraordinary
concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch
, Emmylou Harris
, Chris Thomas King
, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley
) and wryly hosted by John Hartford
, an accomplished fiddler
, riverboat captain
, and raconteur
whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu
-- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list
's fascinating history. [more inside]
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet
might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music
but they've recently courted controversy
with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich
(NPR First Listen
). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass
, Terry Riley
, and Pēteris Vasks.
And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix
, Sigur Ros
, and Tom Waits
. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
Alexander Payne's 1999's movie Election
originally had a much more awkward and true to source material ending
that was shot and then discarded after testing poorly. It remained a rumor until someone found a VHS copy at a Farmer's Market in Wilmington, DE for $5
In the two decades starting in the 1980s, Laurent Boutonnat
produced a series of atmospheric pop videos for Mylène Farmer
, the chart-topping "French Madonna" who is little known outside the Europop circuit. [more inside]
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth
. The culmination of five years of field work
, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques
in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups
-- including many sights
rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular
, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries
, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta
, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score
from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes
for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough
. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
Why watch a movie when you can just watch the titles?
Browse title sequences by designer
and read interesting backstory
and discussion on the art of making a title sequence.
Brooklyn natives Atomic Tom
cover "Don't You Want Me" in a video filled with celeb cameos and '80's references: Vimeo
(from the Take Me Home Tonight
Drag Me To Hell As Remembered By Bunny and Coco
Armed with the actual props and actual locations and actual stand-ins, Mefi's own Max Sparber (Astro Zombie
) recreates Sam Raimi's spook-machine Drag Me To Hell
from memory. [via mefi projects
] [more inside]
A new movie, The King’s Speech,
) depicts King George VI
of England's struggle to overcome his problem with stuttering and find his voice, in time to deliver the historic radio speech
that prepared London for WWII. The film is being hailed
as a potential
Oscar-contender, for its unique, sensitive portrayal of stuttering -- a sharp contrast to the way movies traditionally present those who suffer from the disorder.
. Slate offers a slideshow of ten video clips: A History of Stuttering in the Movies [more inside]
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
Hanson's (catchy, if you ask me) video "Thinking 'Bout Something
" is an homage
to Ray Charles's great performance of "Shake a Tailfeather
" in The Blues Brothers
. As an added bonus, look closely at the tambourine player; it's our favorite, Weird Al
. [more inside]
(safe for work apart from that one bit) - an amusing language centric film trailer made to promote the Scandinavian JavaZone
He invented or popularized
a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."
Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects
. [more inside]
(link goes to video on Vimeo which contains a naughty word but is otherwise SFW.) A short mockumentary about extreme emoting through SFX by RocketSausage (Dir. Andrew Gaynord)
which has won the Virgin Media Shorts People's Choice Award
Movie Award Leftovers
(SLYT) from FatalFarm
works surprisingly well versus other web-based recommendations, partly because paid enthusiasts
are involved, and partly for its intuitive interface
. [more inside]
- Adam Buxton
of the Adam and Joe show
gives musical tribute to the epically long Baz Luhrmann movie. [more inside]
Sunday Morning Movie - A moving and fascinating documentary, Dark Days is on Google Video
. Marc Singer lived in the tunnel, and started filming with the help of his fellow tunnel dwellers. Trivia here
. Inevitable Wikipedia link here
. [more inside]