The Jennifer Lopez vehicle "The Boy Next Door" opened this past weekend and earned a paltry 12% on the Tomatometer. There's nothing terribly unique about this number deep in the cinematic dumping ground that is January, but people are quickly taking notice on how absolutely bonkers the film really is. This starts with the trailer and then moves on to the film itself, which is that rare beast in this era of boring SyFy Channel schlock: A bad movie that never stops being fun. If you need further convincing, witness one moment from the film that was recently singled out by Slate. It's a thing of beauty.
Like beer and pop music, it was easy to make do with what’s cheap and available, only to look back on a life of Dave Matthews and Bud Light and wonder why I’d gotten by on “good enough.” Because I am aging, and because I have the memory of the original Tamagotchi, I am profoundly grateful to have these clear, high-resolution photos of the people I loved and love. [more inside]
‘The Wolfpack’ Tells of One New York Apartment With Seven Children Locked Inside (NYT). Crystal Moselle's documentary "The Wolfpack," premieres this Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival. A video interview with Crystal Moselle. [more inside]
Ten o’clock on a grey, wintry morning and Mr David Niven marched up a deserted Champs-Elysées, some of the insolence of his erect Sandhurst carriage slightly curbed by a blinding hangover. 23 January 1965: David Niven on the golden days of Hollywood
From guilty pleasure to Emmy Awards: The delightfully weird history of Lifetime movies
Den of Geek: "If Warner Bros. were smart, they'd mine the King Universe for that much-needed franchise. Apart from fun little easter eggs here and there, the films have never been acknowledged as part of a larger universe. Yet this universe has one of the most coherent backbones ever known in fiction. World-building wouldn't be difficult at all. Just look at how all of this stuff connects..." Previously: "That wasn't any act of God. That was an act of pure human fuckery." [spoiler alert for both links]
Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
"As Maggie Gyllenhaal put it in accepting an award for her performance in 'The Honorable Woman': 'What I see, actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.'" The 'strong female character' is dead. All hail the complicated woman., by Alyssa Rosenberg for The Washington Post. [more inside]
Steven Soderbergh decided to re-cut 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now it's only 110 minutes.
Parkour vs zombies short film to promote a forthcoming video game Dying Light (slightly NSFW)
Projections in the Forest is a micro-scale projection video ("making of" short) that imitates a bioluminescent forest (project site), with projections to look like foxfire and such bioluminescent mushrooms, plus some animals and elements that usually don't generally glow in the dark. If you like such projection techno-magic, 3hund have a few other projection projects on their Vimeo account.
Master Technician Service Conference Films - Chrysler's Training for Mechanics. These materials were sent to each MoPar (Chrysler Products) dealer's repair department every month from 1948 through at least the late 1970's. They covered a different topic each month, and they were written to educate the simplest of minds. Now they are an invaluable resource for people wanting to maintain their classic Chrysler car. [more inside]
HAL, Mother, and Father Watching the sixties and seventies through 2001 and Alien.
Endtrip - We enter the mind of a drug overdosed girl and go on a journey through her subconsciousness (SLVimeo) (Possible NSFW surreal imagery)
It may have taken him over ten years to do it, but Tommy Wiseau has finally followed up on his cult hit "The Room" (previously). "The Neighbors" originally existed as some rarely seen footage Wiseau shot in 2004 (only the wacky trailer was ever released to the public). Cut to ten years later when a newly shot pilot for a "Neighbors" TV series (Official website and trailer) has been making the rounds in big cities across the country to give Wiseau fans the follow up they have been craving. Both the Gothamist and the AV Club weigh in on the show (with a bonus AV Club interview with Wiseau).
Who Is Agent Carter? A brief history of the starring character of Marvel's latest TV show - and now also a comic.
It really looks like something straight out of a nightmare what the guys at Film Shortage picked this time. Venetian masks are haunting.
"What was striking about the recent film The Imitation Game wasn't just the incredible story of Alan Turing, the man who helped the Allies win the Second World War by cracking Germany's Enigma code, only to find himself chemically castrated for being gay. It was the epilogue that informed us that the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, criminalising homosexual activity, led to 49,000 gay men being convicted of gross indecency in the UK. If you subtract Turing and Oscar Wilde from that total, that’s 48,998 stories that still haven't been told." Why is television still ignoring gay lives? – Matt Cain for The Independent. [more inside]
Michael Caine on Acting in Film is 58 minutes from a 1987 BBC documentary in which Michael Caine teaches some actors about how to adjust their performance for the movie camera instead of the stage. Worth watching if you're interested in acting or movies, or if you just like seeing someone who's very good at his job explaining how he does it. [more inside]
Matte Shot (previously) presents: Magicians of the Miniature, an overview and image gallery of miniature effects work.
Nerdist talks to Sam Raimi about fruit, his career in retail sales, how he got started making movies, the links between comedy and horror, the Evil Dead TV show and of course why Spider-Man 3 was "awful".
Porters, Bouncers, and Bartenders, third installment of the amazing Terminal Bar film series. For ten years, Sheldon Nadelman took thousands of black and white photographs while bartending at the Terminal Bar, Times Square's most notorious watering hole of the 1970s. Murray Goldman, the bar's owner since 1957 was Sheldon's father-in-law as well as the filmmaker's grandfather. The Terminal Bar was featured in Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver. [more inside]
Tony and Emmy winning actor Edward Herrmann, who is perhaps best known for his role as Lorelai's father in "Gilmore Girls", has passed away from brain cancer at the age of 71. His recent role as the voice of Franklin Roosevelt in Ken Burns' documentary "The Roosevelts" ironically brought him full circle to his breakout portrayal of FDR in the miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin" nearly forty years ago.
They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles. I would tell them, and they’d say “Oh that’s interesting.” And that would be the end of it. --Elmore Leonard, in 2000, on the extent of his input for Hollywood's adaptation of his novels For authorial input on film adaptation, try My Book The Movie, by Marshall Zeringue, also of The Campaign for the American Reader, the page 69 test (previously), and the page 99 test. [more inside]
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg turned 50 this year. The movie in full. Or here: Part 1 Part 2. (These are not tears. There's a draft in the room making my eyes water.) Reviews: Songs in the Key of Everyday Life/Jonathan Rosenbaum/Chicago Reader, Slant, Ebert. [more inside]
Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
It's a white industry, writes Chris Rock on show biz, from the lowliest focus-group testing gig to being a film executive. [more inside]
Xmas or Bust: The Untold Story of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The modern holiday classic and third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation series turns 25 this year! Join hapless patriarch Clark Griswold as he struggles to maintain his sanity in a Christmas season full of eccentric relatives, mounting workplace stress, and increasingly outlandish domestic disasters. Full video - Scenes: Eat My Rubber - The Griswold Family Christmas Tree - Bend Over and I'll Show You - Gift-shopping - Decorating - Christmas Lights - Cousin Eddie - Let 'Er Rip, Hang Ten! - MERRY CHRISTMAS, SHITTER WAS FULL - Home Movies - Aunt Bethany - Turkey Dinner - The Cat - Clark Breaks Down - SQUIRREL - Hostages - The National Anthem - More: Quotes from IMDb - PDF Transcript - What's the Damage?
"Over the course of eight episodes, Fukunaga essentially rewrote the visual language of a televised cop show. Gone were the traditional establishing exterior shot of a police department, leading to an establishing shot of an office, a two-shot of the players, and a series of reaction shots between them as a conversation takes place. Here we had a director who seemed to take every frame, every movement, every bit of shadow, and every movement of the camera as seriously as the story."
The Never-Ending Film. Heaven's Gate, Cleopatra, Apocalypse Now. They all have one thing in common: Runaway film productions. Never-ending shoots, directors cracking under pressure. But none of them hold a candle to Dau.
Die Hard has been previously established as the most Christmasy film ever (shut up, Buzzfeed), now you can join in the festive fun with this specially recorded War Rocket Ajax Die Hard commentary track featuring Matt Fraction, Matt D Wilson and Chris Sims. Cue up the Vintage VHS tape (or modern alternative, scheisse dem fenster, and enjoy!
... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.
Although he has already created several notable soundtracks for his films John Carpenter has just released his debut album Lost Themes. Interview.
Meet Ulf. He lives north of the Arctic Circle and makes boat. He swims daily (brief male buttock shot), does household chores, and relaxes. Ulf is content. [10 minutes, Vimeo]
The 2014 Black List Has been announced - the top unproduced scripts of the year, according to Hollywood insiders. Excited film buffs will be scouring the list for overlooked gems and masterpieces that might have been, but why not go a different route? The Ten Worst Sounding Black List Scripts.
Ridley Scott's new film Exodus: Gods and Kings recasts the myth of Moses in typically grimdark swords-and-sandals fashion. It... ain't so good. Want something more artful? Look no further than The Prince of Egypt [alt], an underrated masterpiece of DreamWorks' traditional animation era. Directed by Brenda Chapman (a first for women in animation), scored to spectacular effect by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, and voiced by, among others, Voldemort, Batman, and Professor X, the ambitious film features gorgeous, striking visuals and tastefully integrated CGI in nearly every scene. It also manages the improbable feat of maturing beyond cartoon clichés while humanizing the prophet's journey from carefree scion to noble (and remorseful) liberator without offending half the planet -- while still being quite a fun ride. Already seen it? Catch the making-of documentary, or click inside for more. [more inside]
Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
"Today, most American adults can call up some memory of sex ed in their school, whether it was watching corny menstruation movies or seeing their school nurse demonstrate putting a condom on a banana. The movies, in particular, tend to stick in our minds. Screening films at school to teach kids how babies are made has always been a touchy issue, particularly for people who fear such knowledge will steer their children toward sexual behavior. But sex education actually has its roots in moralizing: American sex-ed films emerged from concerns that social morals and the family structure were breaking down." — Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies
It's one of the great literary tragedies of our age that Lord of the Rings, not its sprightlier prequel, served as the blueprint for modern fantasy. Returning to The Hobbit is like visiting a lost world, one which 20th century fantasy left behind. It’s almost surprising in how much fun it is compared to the exhausting trudges that followed. So with the third and final Hobbit film now upon us, it’s worth asking: why was it Lord of the Rings, not this sprightlier prequel, which served as the blueprint for modern high fantasy?
Ever Say Never Again: On the History and Future of James Bond, by Brian Philiips [previously]
One Year Lease is an 11 minute film that was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival documenting almost entirely through voice mail messages, One Year Lease documents the travails of Brian, Thomas, and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita, the cat-loving landlady. "