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So long, "Big X"

Known to one generation as Bartlett in The Great Escape and to another generation as John Hammond in Jurassic Park (plus many roles in between), actor Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 24, 2014 - 66 comments

Before IMDb, there was The Guide

For over 25 years, film critic Leonard Maltin (along with a team of contributors and editors) have produced what has been the Bible of movie geeks everywhere in his annual movie guide. The 2015 edition that will be released next month will be his last. The Dissolve has offered their own eulogy. (The folks at MST3k were also fans, as evidenced to three memorable moments that pay tribute to the man, the book and his not entirely accurate rating system.)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 19, 2014 - 31 comments

"I AM ____ LOCKED"

Tony Zhou (previously) has created another great video essay on filmmaking techniques: "A brief look at texting and the internet in film" (also previously).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 17, 2014 - 26 comments

R.I.P. Menahem Golan

Menahem Golan has died at the age of 85. The name may mean very little to you at first glance, but for those of us who lived through the 1980's, he was a very big part of it. Here's an interview with the late producer and a bit more about his legacy.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 9, 2014 - 39 comments

L'École des Facteurs

The School for Postmen is a 16 minute short film from 1947 by French director and physical comedian Jacques Tati. It's being shown on The Guardian's website and is introduced by their film critic Peter Bradshaw. The film is about a postman in rural southern France trying to finish his round on time.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 6, 2014 - 8 comments

50 Female-Directed Movies You Should Watch

"DISCLAIMER TIME! 50 is a very small number. I make no claims to any of these lists being either comprehensive or some sort of objective analysis of the 'best' films directed by women. I make selections based on on what I've seen, what I like, and the position of the stars. One film per director. Ready? Let's go." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 31, 2014 - 65 comments

Apparently Miller couldn't just walk away.

After over a decade in development hell, George Miller's return to the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, has emerged at San Diego Comic-Con with a teaser trailer. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 27, 2014 - 148 comments

Don't think 'What's Hot?'

Jason Blum—producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, The Bay, and Oculus—participated in an interesting interview at SXSW Film 2014 about his model of producing high-quality low-budget horror films for wide release. The video is almost an hour long, but worth watching if you're interested in contemporary mainstream horror.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jul 25, 2014 - 3 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

Single-body horror

Metafilter favorite David Cronenberg (previously, previously, previously) has lately been making short films for festival exhibition. Most are aggressively simple, with only a few actors and even fewer locations. But they're all unmistakably Cronenberg films. [more inside]
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard on Jul 15, 2014 - 7 comments

"The movies are like a machine that generates empathy."

Life Itself. The documentary based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, by Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James, premiered at Sundance in January and is now rolling out in theaters and on demand.
posted by scody on Jul 2, 2014 - 6 comments

"Iconography"

Back in March, the AV Club premiered a new feature called Iconography, which is an illustrated column by Nick Wanserski examining "pop culture's most fascinating objects". Though the updates have been very sporadic since then, here are the first three entries for your enjoyment: The golden idol from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", The spinning top from "Inception", and Link's floppy hat from "The Legend of Zelda".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 2, 2014 - 7 comments

Let's talk about "Starcrash".

We have previously discussed "Starcrash" (trailer) here on the Blue, but we have only scratched the surface. After all, we're talking about nothing less than Roger Corman's answer to "Star Wars", and even that description does not do the film justice. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 26, 2014 - 41 comments

It will not, however, read your lips and try to kill you.

In the spirit of movie geekery as well as "if you're gonna do something, do it right", may I present The HAL Project: A fiver year project (and counting!) to faithfully recreate the computer displays in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as a screensaver.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 24, 2014 - 22 comments

The Hands of Robert Bresson

'This elegantly beautiful supercut on “the tactile world of Robert Bresson” by Kogonada for Criterion shows the great French director’s notoriously precise skill is applied even at the slightest hand gesture. There are no faces in this video yet the drama of these scenes is palpable.'
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jun 19, 2014 - 11 comments

Marvel and Marvel and Marvel again

"Marvel: Ultimate Alliance"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 13, 2014 - 37 comments

"It will ache in my chest the rest of my life."

On May 13th, the film world was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who had won an Oscar just last year for the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". In the month that has passed since then, more details have emerged of the months and days that led up to his suicide. The Hollywood Reporter profiles the life and death of Bendjelloul and takes a look at how sudden success can bring about even more sudden depression.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 11, 2014 - 16 comments

Will it go round in Circles...

Den of Geek provides a brief survey of rotating sets in film as far back as Royal Wedding in 1951 all the way up to Inception in 2010. In the world of music video, Metallica did their own interesting... ahem, spin on it for "The Memory Remains". The television show "Glee" paid tribute to Royal Wedding with their own rotating room song and dance number. Finally, the Den of Geek article states that such effects require, "intense planning, expensive materials and an army of builders". Nonsense.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 9, 2014 - 10 comments

"C'mon! C'mon!"

Terminator 2 by way of Grand Theft Auto V (found via AV Club)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 5, 2014 - 3 comments

"The strange, preachy, profitable saga of Billy Jack"

"It’s most logical to conceive of Billy Jack as a dream-movie accidentally created by a spiritually confused, LSD-addled 19-year-old who fell asleep in the early 1970s while watching a weird, humorless movie about a half-Native American/half-Caucasian warrior who does not want to fight, because he’s too good—both in the sense of being a singularly skilled one-man killing machine, and in subscribing to a higher moral and ideological cause than his bloodthirsty brothers-in-arms And yet he’s pushed by circumstances into dramatically kicking ass, over and over." Nathan Rabin takes a long look at the bizarre pair of blockbusters Billy Jack and The Trial of Billy Jack. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on May 31, 2014 - 66 comments

R. W. Fassbinder, Romantic Anarchist

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is currently presenting the first part of a near-complete retrospective of the films of the great German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, featuring 17(!) films he made between 1969 and 1974. (Part 2, featuring the films made between 1975 and his death in 1982, will take place in November 2014.) Collected below are some recent writings on RWF and these early films, posted by the Film Society and elsewhere online. [more inside]
posted by Awkward Philip on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

This Is What Anti-Stratfordians Actually Believe

Kyle Kallgren finishes "Shakespeare Month" on his art house movie review series "Brows Held High" (previously) with a smashing take down of Roland Emmerich's 2011 Shakespeare-was-a-fraud conspiracy thriller "Anonymous". [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on May 26, 2014 - 25 comments

MATTES - Like you've never seen them before!

Huge collection of (and commentary on) matte art from classic films that has been rescanned for HD releases. Much more on the process of creating and filming this type of setup at last month's post. (previously)
posted by BlackLeotardFront on May 19, 2014 - 13 comments

Žižek battles the Green Goblin, narrated by David Attenborough

Feel as if you've watched everything on Netflix? You might find something new at Summary Bug, where a text-display glitch generates whimsical cinematic possibilities.
posted by oulipian on May 18, 2014 - 16 comments

WHAT KINDS OF MINDS CREATE A STORY LIKE THIS?

DESPITE ANY GOOD INTENTIONS, SOMETHING IS GOING HORRIFICALLY WRONG HERE. AND AS A RESULT, WE'RE DEALING WITH A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. A BRAND OF VILLAINY MASQUERADING AS HEROISM. The Film Crit Hulk on the problems with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and its approach to storytelling and character.
posted by dng on May 7, 2014 - 155 comments

You may refer to him as 'Archangel'

VOMICA is a short horror film about a British commando raid that finds an ancient evil in the crypts and tunnels of occupied France. It recently won Best Short Film prize at the 2014 H P Lovecraft film festival, and is available to watch on Vimeo—for today only—if you go here and use the password 'mayday'.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on May 4, 2014 - 34 comments

We can't all be Tommy Wiseau

"I've watched a lot of terrible films over the years... And even by these standards, Driscoll's output is atrocious. But whereas directors like [German] Uwe Boll will happily revel in a 'worst film director ever' title, Richard has absolutely no sense of humour about it. He genuinely thinks he’s creating art." --- This is the story of British actor/director Richard Driscoll, his 2012 film "Eldorado" and how it all landed him in jail.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Apr 8, 2014 - 39 comments

"Blue in the Face"

Back in 1995, Wayne Wang directed a film called "Smoke", which starred Harvey Keitel and William Hurt and whose story largely centered on a Brooklyn Cigar shop on the corner of 16th Street and Prospect Park West. The movie was very well received by critics and stands as one of the great films of the 1990's... but that's not the whole story. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Apr 3, 2014 - 34 comments

Katni$$ FTW

Do movies that pass the Bechdel Test make more money than movies that don't? Walt Hickey, writing for Nate Silver's new fivethirtyeight site, examines the data.
posted by Diablevert on Apr 2, 2014 - 162 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

Guilty of wanting to be a dry cleaner, sure. But not of murder.

Because the Coens have tried their hand at numerous genres, from noir to screwball to outright surrealism, it wasn’t immediately apparent that they were making the same basic movie over and over. After 30 years and 16 features, however, it’s now hard not to notice that prototypical Coen protagonists are hapless, well-meaning schlemiels upon whom life exacts a toll that’s much worse than they deserve. In the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, it’s a hard world for little things (and everyone else)
posted by timshel on Mar 28, 2014 - 74 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

"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

Double Vision

Stephen Soderbergh combines both versions of Psycho to create "Psychos" Director Stephen Soderbergh has just posted, via his blog a link to Psychos, his combining of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho and the slightly less well received Gus Van Sant "shot for shot remake".
posted by chris88 on Feb 25, 2014 - 30 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

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

An old view of the Old City

What did Palestine look like in 1896?
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 15, 2014 - 17 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

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

“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

Баллада о солдате

In 1959, MOSFILM released "Ballad of a Soldier," made during the Khrushchev Thaw . It chronicles a young soldier, Alyosha, and his six-day trip home from the front during World War II, which "sweeps you, with feeling, into the physical and psychological world of Russians at war."
And it is on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 18, 2014 - 2 comments

I could not find a DVD player to play it

Amazon Critics: a glimpse into a future without professional film criticism. [single link tumblr]
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jan 7, 2014 - 109 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

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

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