Two years ago, I was thrilled that three of the six women on our roundtable were black: Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o and Octavia Spencer. I thought, perhaps naively, that this represented a sea-change in the film business, and hoped it was catching up with the tectonic shifts that industries all across America have had to make to reflect this country’s diversity. But I was wrong. Stephen Galloway, in The Hollywood Reporter: Why Every Actress on The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Cover Is White
“You have lost your mind,” telegraphed Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount Pictures. “Stop filming and return to Los Angeles at once.” DeMille refused. “I cannot and will not make pictures with a yardstick,” he wired back to the studio. “What do they want me to do?” he was rumored to have said, according to Higashi. “Stop now and release it as The Five Commandments?” Excavating the "City of the Pharoah," the biggest set ever built for a Hollywood film in the 1920s. [more inside]
"In order to recover a bit from a recent feeling of exhaustion, I spent a significant amount of this past weekend diligently sitting on my ass, in front of the television. On Saturday night, I popped in my copy of Woody Allen’s 'Manhattan,' which, among other things, is as stunningly designed a movie as I’ve ever seen. This is largely thanks to the work of Gordon Willis, a master cinematographer who, apart from his incredible work on this film, was also responsible for photographing an alarmingly high share of my favorite movies of all time: 'The Godfather,' 'The Godfather Part II,' 'All the President’s Men,' and 'The Parallax View,' among others." [more inside]
Over 150 recipes from the early run of TBS' Dinner and a Movie, including "Peter Pancakes with Lost Boys-enberry Syrup" (originally paired with a presentation of Hook), "Two Hot Peppers on the Lamb" (Thelma and Louise), and "Jane S'mores" (Somewhere in Time).
ESPN uses the "30 for 30" series to tackle the most important sporting event of the Cold War. [more inside]
The Writers Guild of America has released their list of The 101 Funniest Screenplays.
Holy Cow, Home Alone Is 25! Remember Winnetka’s most famous big-screen family, the McCallisters—especially the resourceful son who got left behind? An oral history of one of the most beloved Christmas comedies ever made.
You know, a little known fact about the Greeks is that they invented The Sequel. So, in the finest tradition of their ancestors, the Portokalos family will be returning to the big screen in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, this coming March. [more inside]
Visitors are invited to join Shia LaBeouf in person as he watches all his movies consecutively in reverse chronological order over the next three days, 24 hours a day.
Even though I’ve sold out Madison Square Garden as a standup comedian and have appeared in several films and a TV series, when my phone rings, the roles I’m offered are often defined by ethnicity and often require accents. ~ Aziz Ansari on Acting, Race and Hollywood [SLNYT]
The greatest trick the prop ever pulled was convincing the world it didn't exist. A look at the hidden power of film props and how filmmakers use the everyday (and not so everyday) objects in their scenes to enhance cinematic storytelling. [slVimeo]
The girl in the closet. The doomed nurse. The cave creature. Just a few of the best jump cuts in horror movie history.
Forgotten Silver tells the story of pioneering filmmaker Colin McKenzie. This legendary New Zealander created the worlds first colour film and first talking film. He created the first tracking shot and captured footage of a pre-Wright brothers flight. This "documentary" made by Peter Jackson & Costa Botes caused a furore in New Zealand when it was released 20 years ago today. Watch the first 10 Minutes for free. Rent or buy here. [more inside]
Philip French iconic Film Reviewer for the Observer (Sunday Guardian) has died aged 82.
On his retirement after 50 years as a critic The Wrap asked him some questions and here is an interview and some of his work.
On his retirement after 50 years as a critic The Wrap asked him some questions and here is an interview and some of his work.
Atlas Obscura (?!) presents an inventory of cinematic worms by size, smallest to largest (SLYT)
That Thing: A True Story Based on The Exorcist (Adam Sturtevant, Electric Literature)
"On the shores of Payette Lake are crates full of beavers, part of a shipment to be dropped in the primitive area by parachute from an airplane." A clip from Fur for the Future, a recently rediscovered documentary from 1948 about Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the state's backcountry.
Some ways we can read Elsa: "Cold and Hungry: Discourses of Anorexic Feminity in Frozen," "Disney's Frozen and Autism," "Reading Frozen as a Feminist," and "Disney's Frozen: Gay or Schizophrenic?"
One year ago, the Saturday Night Live family lost one of its greatest talents when Jan Hooks passed away at the age of 57. Though there are many SNL players that fade into obscurity once their term at Rockefeller Center is up, most people are surprised that, aside from a recurring role on 30 Rock, Jan Hooks had pretty much disappeared since the turn of the 21st century. Grantland provides a bittersweet look back into her history and into what happened during those years.
Visual Literacy in the Age of Open Content by Allana Mayer [JSTOR]
We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts, a non-reversible alteration, a displacement from one’s old ways. Western society has seen plenty of moments like these, moments where a perceptive or critical threshold has been crossed.
Many of those who went to see Furious 7 earlier this year went because it was, by all accounts, a raucous good time. And there were also a number of us who were extremely curious about how they were able to finish the film after the tragic death of star Paul Walker. Variety currently has an article up on the methods used to replicate Walker for certain scenes and, most intriguingly, an imgur gallery has been posted of all the shots that were completed after Walker died.
More subtly, offscreen sound is used to withhold the "Prestige," or the payoff, of each man's greatest trick. (Originally, the word prestige meant "illusion," especially one that dazzles the eyes.) Alfred's first, minimal version of the Transported Man is shown only in part. We see the setup with Robert watching avidly and Cutter elsewhere in the audience, skeptical. But we don't see the Prestige phase of the trick. Nolan keeps the camera on Cutter while we hear the second door open and the bouncing ball being caught by the duplicate Alfred. Nolan thereby makes the trick itself vague, to be revealed in full later. Conveying the illusion through offscreen sound also emphasizes the contrasting reactions of Cutter, who is unimpressed, and Robert, who considers it "the greatest magic trick I’ve ever seen." [more inside]
Be Suspicious Of Online Movie Ratings, Especially Fandango's — FiveThirtyEight.com notices a consistent pattern in Fandango movie ratings, and warns against the perils of relying on ratings provided by companies trying to sell you the product being rated. [more inside]
A Hitchcock mashup where Kubrick is the villain. / Un mashup hitchcockien dont Kubrick est le méchant.
...if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.”Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence on the wage gap between male and female actors
The trailer for the Coen Brothers' "Hail Caesar!", a caper set in Golden Age Hollywood, has been released.
This Friday, people will be able to go to the theater and see yet another interpretation of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan". Such news does not necessarily excite Barrie fans, given the middling results of some past interpretations (and Pan isn't being received much better). But the AV Club's Ryan Vlastelica argues they can take heart that the best "Peter Pan" movie was already made... in 2003.
Room 8, a short film by James W. Griffiths.
Filmmaker Pablo Fernandez Eyre recently made a discovery: Director Alfred Hitchcock and editor George Tomasini judged that a sequence which worked once would work twice, such as these two famous scenes from Psycho and The Birds. If you liked that, Eyre is fond of the side-by-side comparisons, such as these similar videos of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and the Star Wars saga.
HUMAN is a film by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand (who is primarily known for his aerial photography, especially as collected in the book Earth From Above). The film combines interviews of people from all over the world (over 2,000 were collected as the film was made) with aerial views of humanity in many contexts. The interviews are loosely organized by subject, and the film (in three 90 minute parts) may be viewed for free on YouTube: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
"Clad in green robes, Mike Jittlov races at 500 m.p.h. through the Northern California hills, across an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and horizontally along the wall of a downtown Hollywood building. He moves so fast that when he slips on a banana peel, he flies into orbit." [more inside]
More Than Just Parks is "a project started in an effort to effect a greater awareness of the treasures that reside within America's National Parks." So far, there are four short videos: Olympic 4K (info) // Smoky Mountains (info) // Joshua Tree (info) // Redwood (info) // the tumblr blog
80 High-Resolution, Textless Movie Posters (SL Imgur)
"There Aren't Enough Bricks in the World to Throw at Roland Emmerich’s Appalling Stonewall" - The first reviews of Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots are in. They are not favorable.
Three weeks ago, The AV Club quietly launched Film Club, a conversational weekly review show hosted by film editor A.A. Dowd and critic / former At the Movies host Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (previously, previously). New releases covered so far include The Visit, Transporter: Refueled, and Black Mass and Sicario. [more inside]
"The Disgustings" (12:12 ) is a short film starring Drew Droege and written, directed and starring Jordan Firstman. It's about two gay men living in Los Angeles who just happen to be completely, utterly awful. The Disgustings return in "Save The Date." (5:45)
The Emotions Of Pixar (SLVimeo)
Pre-Code.com is an incredibly detailed exploration of the Hollywood cinema that fell between the advent of sound motion pictures in 1927 and the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Which wasn't enforced until 1934. Huh? Here's a timeline). This includes a number of familiar titles such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Dracula, Duck Soup, It Happened One Night and The Public Enemy. But we also get a peek at the more obscure and daring titles such as Baby Face, I’m no Angel, Smarty, Safe in Hell and Night Nurse.
Evan Puschak, aka The Nerdwriter, watches Children of Men and asks us to not ignore the background [more inside]
[Warning - flashing lights in some links] Bradley Eros & Tim Geraghty have collaborated on some interesting de/re/constructive film making, with the blockbuster buster TransTrans (TransformersTransformed) (11:58) - "a radical remix of the recent Transformers film, via synthetic collapse and critical revenge on its old & new fascist tropes," blending film imagery with text from the Futurist Cinema/Manifesto and soundtrack by Einstürzende Neubauten | Eros C'est Lamour, a wedding gift (7:57) - "The missing link between Rose Hobart and Maria Montez via Rrose Selavy's bride stripped bare by the song of the sarong" | FOOLS! (30:11) - "Remember, fortuna favet fatuis [fortune favors fools], but fortuna caeca est [fortune is blind]."
Heart of a Dog is musician and multimedia artist Laurie Anderson's first feature film in decades--a mix of live-action images and animation. The film is a personal reflection that grew out of a difficult period when Anderson lost her mother Mary Louise, her husband Lou Reed, and their beloved piano-playing dog Lolabelle within a short span of time. Although Heart of a Dog is a meditation on personal loss, grief, and acceptance, it also examines these themes on a larger scale when Anderson reflects on life in downtown New York in the period after 9/11. [more inside]
Our Racist Dogs by Kelly Mays McDonald [The Awl] Why do certain dogs attack certain people? Because they’re weaponized.
“Weaponized dogs are ever-present in humanity’s long legacy of colonialism and slavery. They have fought alongside many instances of human atrocity to perpetrate acts of physical and psychological violence that supersede the scope of a simple gunshot. European colonizers of the New World notably trained their dogs to “relish Indian flesh” by explicitly feeding them the bodies of the victims after a battle. Throughout America’s early history, slave masters and bounty hunters adopted bloodhounds as the primary means of tracking down runaway slaves by scent, which is widely depicted in popular media. What is left out of the popular narrative, however, is the fact that when they encountered people on the run, the dogs were often trained to bite and tear the flesh of slaves to hold them there until they could be shot, shackled and dragged back to their masters for public lynchings and beatings.”
Walt Disney - "An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers -- Walt Disney."