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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

"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

"We are open even during air-raid drills"

Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 1
Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 2
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 1 Asakusa, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 2 Ginza/Yurakucho/Hibiya, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 3 Shinjuku/Shibuya/Kanda/Roppongi, Tokyo
posted by timshel on Dec 19, 2013 - 4 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

How would Lubitsch do it?

These movies offer not just a twist, but a twist atop a twist, and a joke atop the joke: the “superjoke,” as Billy Wilder called it. Those themes repeat: the lively, often-painful love triangle, the sexual and romantic jealousy, the thrill of sex, and in this case, the carnal kicks co-mingling with the art of stealing, an act more erotic than gold-digging. (Gold-fleecing is much more penetrating.) And then—important during one of the worst economic times in America’s history—there’s Lily and Gaston’s hard, artful work, something to respect.

Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions
posted by timshel on Nov 19, 2013 - 10 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

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

...unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle...perhaps...

"...What I have to say is very simple and very short: He's the greatest director I've had the good fortune, pleasure and honor to work with up to this point. It'd take too long to explain. He's wonderful. He knows more about cinema than anyone. He's the greatest director I know, the greatest cameraman, the best at framing and lighting, the best at everything. He's a living encyclopedia of cinema."
-Alain Delon

Le Samouraï: Jean-Pierre Melville's Work of Art

via the best film blog to ever exist, Cinephilia and Beyond
posted by timshel on Oct 24, 2013 - 9 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 effect doesn't work. Stanley doesn't mention it again.

2001: The aliens that almost were
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 17, 2013 - 29 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

Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki's 22 year collaboration continues to break new ground with the release of Gravity. Whether you enjoy Gravity or not, you may want to take a moment and consider the lengths to which Cuarón and Lubezki went to make Gravity a fully immersed cinematic experience. [more inside]
posted by silsurf on Oct 12, 2013 - 155 comments

Coming Soon

The character posters for Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" are , ahem, here (NSFW).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 10, 2013 - 86 comments

"There were some good looking chickens there, Jack."

"Midnight Run" celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so its prime time to take a look at what may be the pinnacle of the Action-Comedy genre. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Oct 8, 2013 - 34 comments

I have such sounds to show you

Monsters Rule OK: A British Horror Playlist. Fangoria presents a mixtape of British horror that includes musical selections from Blood on Satan's Claw, The Wicker Man, Chocky, Berberian Sound Studio, A Field in England, Children of the Stones, and Twisted Nerve—as well as dialogue excerpts from Don't Look Now, The Stone Tape, Hellraiser and others.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Oct 5, 2013 - 13 comments

I've got a bird, I've got several turtles, I have a couple of toads

Mia & Roman (1968) is a 23 minute-long behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Roman Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Sep 20, 2013 - 6 comments

FADE OUT

The Last Thing You See: A Final Shot Montage [contains flashing images]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 13, 2013 - 21 comments

Does Robocop STILL bleed?

The trailer to the "Robocop" remake was released yesterday, and as expected there was a lot of grumbling from fans. There is one significant change that the film shares with another recent remake of a brutal action film ("Total Recall"): The switch from an "R" rating to a "PG-13". Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the "PG-13" rating, so it's worth considering (especially for those of us whose memories go back that far) what the rating has wrought in cinema (previously).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Sep 6, 2013 - 199 comments

We Don't Joke About Such Things Here

The 1991 CBs made-for-TV movie adaptation of Shadow Of A Doubt and the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock version are based on the same source material and contain many of the same lines, beats, and scenes. So why is one considered a classic film noir and the other a flop? The Dissolve puts the two movies next to each other and tries to find out.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 29, 2013 - 15 comments

Miraculously, Ford seems genuinely amused at the end

"Harrison Ford Angrily Points At Stuff" Supercut, courtesy of Conan O'Brien.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 19, 2013 - 27 comments

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