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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 - 145 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

"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

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

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

Warner Bros. Logo Design Evolution

"All studios have their main logo that appears at the beginning of a film, but some occasionally use custom logos that reflect the theme of the movie. When I noticed that Warner Bros. does this a lot I wanted to find out how often this happened and what these logos looked like. I couldn’t find a good overview with all logos gathered in one place, so I started to collect them myself, in 2009. Now, five years later, I think I have enough to paint a picture of Warner Bros logo design evolution. "
posted by chavenet on Feb 27, 2014 - 22 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

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

Restaging classic films with black models

In 2013, the Onomo International hotel group asked photographers Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempé (nsfw) to create a series of photographs set in the group’s hotels as part of an advertising campaign. Fans of Hollywood, the pair created ONOMOllywood, an exhibition images from iconic films featuring African models in previously white roles. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion on Jan 30, 2014 - 13 comments

How They Got There

24 Short Films Of Famous Directors You Can Watch On Youtube
posted by mannequito on Jan 30, 2014 - 8 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

RIP Movies on celluloid 1895-2014

Paramount has ceased releasing films on 35mm film and will go forward distributing movies exclusively in digital formats. The LA Times' sources said that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was the last Paramount movie with a celluloid release, and Wolf of Wall Street was the first major motion picture to be distributed entirely digitally.
posted by Omon Ra on Jan 19, 2014 - 95 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

Good. Well, it's good that you're fine, and - and I'm fine.

In need of an entertaining cinematic podcast to meet your listening needs? Then tune into Fighting in the War Room! Previously known as Operation Kino, Fighting in the War Room features fascinating discussions between film critics Katey Rich (Vanity Fair), Matt Patches (Hollywood.com / Vulture.com), Da7e Gonzales, and David Ehrlich (Film.com), offering reviews of current films, as well general cinema related topics. [more inside]
posted by Atreides on Jan 6, 2014 - 5 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

"Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."

Slate visits the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland (Official museum website).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jan 2, 2014 - 17 comments

It all started in Washington Square...

The Coen Brothers latest film "Inside Llewyn Davis" is fictional, but it aims to portray the very specific time and place of the Greenwich Village Folk scene in the early 60's. Reviewers have already noted the similarities between the movies characters and some real life counterparts, starting with Llewyn Davis himself and legendary folk singer Dave Van Ronk. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Dec 29, 2013 - 42 comments

COLOR BY TECHNICOLOR

Of course matte art has for a long time played a major part in Hollywood's recreation of the old west, with effects shots ranging from simple top ups of mood enhancing skies right through to entire recreations of frontier settings to often wonderful effect. Todays blog will take a look at some of those marvellous visions - the product of the many often uncredited artists who worked tirelessly in the various studio matte departments.

Mattes Ride The Range: The art of the matte shot in Westerns
posted by timshel on Dec 18, 2013 - 8 comments

At least Roger Corman didn't have a preoccupation with ping pong balls.

In the mid-1960's, American International Pictures hired director Larry Buchanan to make eight films for television. Their instructions were blunt: "We want cheap color pictures, we want half-assed names in them, we want them eighty minutes long and we want them now." [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Dec 12, 2013 - 17 comments

"Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever"

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]
posted by bubukaba on Dec 4, 2013 - 39 comments

Bread and Circuses are HOT!

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 25, 2013 - 196 comments

Goodman, Goodman, Goodman... and some other guys.

The Howling Fat Men of the Coen Brothers (slyt & nsfw)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 12, 2013 - 19 comments

"Various Imitation of Natural Phenomena, represented by Moving Pictures"

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.
posted by Miko on Nov 11, 2013 - 4 comments

R.I.P. Blockbuster

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 8, 2013 - 79 comments

Katniss better watch her ass

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]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 28, 2013 - 29 comments

"Full speed ahead, Mr. Cohen!"

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]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 26, 2013 - 36 comments

His comments are no longer in his pocket

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.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 24, 2013 - 69 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

Katastichophobia

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.
posted by Artw on Oct 14, 2013 - 239 comments

The tornado did nothing to the sharks, sorry.

Twitter: @HardSciFiMovies imagines the plots of SF/F movies moving more in line with reality.... [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 13, 2013 - 201 comments

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