Helen Mirren honestly appraises Hollywood at a rewards show earlier this month, but no one told you about it.
"Designed by Giant Robot head guru Eric Nakamura and his friend Len Higa, the car was stripped down and operated on extensively, with a simple goal in mind: transform this Scion car into one giant Nintendo Entertainment System.
" The Scion Gallery and Giant Robot team up to curate "Pixel Pushers" a show about the 8-bit aesthetic. The Scion gallery's tour of the show.
Zombie Baby, Fucking Jane Austen, The Last Witch Hunter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, American Bullshit, Better Living Through Chemistry... just some of the titles that made this year's Black List
, a list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year as voted on by industry insiders. LA Times
and Deadline Hollywood
have pieces on it and here's an October audio interview with Franklin Leonard
, creator of the Black List. In past years, aspiring screenwriters could find PDFs of the scripts online. It's gonna be a lot
The Magnificent Ambersons
, Orson Welles' second film, has inspired a legend around the lost footage excised by the studio to make it more appealing to audiences. The film's making is a cautionary tale in letting the studio have creative control, and the finished product pained Welles to his dying day. The mythical status of the lost footage has inspired a few to try and track it down
. [more inside]
Is Netflix Streaming Its Way Towards Disaster?
In the wake of last month's price hike
, Edward Epstein (author of The Big Picture
and The Hollywood Economist
) explores a few issues with Netflix's turn toward streaming video. The licensing deals Netflix cobbled together before studios fully grokked the value of streaming
are expiring in the next year or two, outlets like Amazon
and HBO are starting their own streaming services, and the right of first sale, which allows Netflix to buy DVDs and then rent them over and over, doesn't apply to streamed content. Via this post from Slashfilm
, which adds more links
and info. [more inside]
Judd Apatow made a public service announcement for the American Jewish World Service
that won't be shown on TV, and not just because it's five minutes long. AJWS
is a quiet but powerful force for good in the world. The organization was among the first on the ground and continues to help rebuild in Haiti
, post-tsunami India
, and many other places around the world
This is its 25th year of philanthropy and humanitarian aid (and its president's 70th birthday
Stunning Audrey Hepburn photos
: now you too can leaf through this marvelous Taschen limited edition
by famed Hollywood photog Bob Willoughby
, which sold out
in hours despite its hefty price tag.
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific.
Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
Behind the opening scenes of Blade Runner.
“Doug and his Entertainment Effects Group team created thousands of acid-etched brass miniatures lit from below with hundreds of bundles of fiber-optic lights, shot in forced-perspective through layers of smoke to create layers of light refraction, creating depth.” The first of a three-part series on the making of Blade Runner
’s unforgettable opening sequence.
A lot of old advertising, like the copy here, reads like literate AOL kids. They spell and capitalize and punctuate, but they're still hype machines stuck on exclamation marks and shouting and… boldface and underlines. Today, the fashion is for much shorter ad copy. If sound came along today, we'd come up with a catchphrase and call it a day. "Hear the difference." In 1929, if you didn’t have at least five catchphrases, some capitalized buzzwords, and several exclamation marks, you just weren't with it. [more inside]
Over the course of four months earlier this year, Dave at Goodfella's Movie Blog posted 100 (!) sharply written analyses
of a wide range of classic Noir films. The top position
was a bit of a surprise amid the obvious standards
, but the real meat is in his informative takes
of lesser-known gems
. [more inside]
Gravelly-voiced character actor
James Gammon has passed away
of cancer at the age of 70.
spanned more than 50 years in television, (with roles from "Gunsmoke" to "Grays Anatomy",) film and theater, but most will probably remember him as either the cantankerous manager of the Cleveland Indians
in the 1989 comedy "Major League" or as Don Johnson's crotchety, retired longshoreman father on the television show Nash Bridges
. [more inside]
Cary in the Sky with Diamonds.
"Before Timothy Leary and the Beatles, LSD was largely unknown and unregulated. But in the 1950s, as many as 100 Hollywood luminaries—Cary Grant and Esther Williams among them—began taking the drug as part of psychotherapy. With LSD research beginning a comeback, the authors recount how two Beverly Hills doctors promoted a new 'wonder drug,' at $100 a session, profoundly altering the lives of their glamorous patients." [Via]
Screenwriters find work is dwindling.
While screen writers conferences are still enthusiastically marketed
all over the country, and eagerly reported
on, the working reality for screenwriters these days, is that work is growing ever more scarce. 'This week the Writers Guild of America, West reported that while earnings for screenwriters have bounced back to pre-strike levels' (2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike
), 'there is a lot less work going around: employment has fallen 11% in the last three years, with 226 fewer screenwriters working in 2009 than 2006, the year before the 100-day walkout and the lowest level in at least six years.' '"Except for current A-list writers, the picture is as bleak as I've ever seen it," said former Writers Guild President Dan Petrie Jr.' [more inside]
First, there was colossal miscalculation
. Something so bad it could make parable a four-letter word
. Didn't faze him. His next was "bizarrely compelling... Slower than watching a train wreck,"
but yet invoking, "that same level of disbelief."
It was also like swallowing spiky clusters of manure
. Maybe he had lost his mind
? But yet he rose again... Or should we say he blew? No really, it was the wind this time . A feeble gust of an environmental horror story. "You feel like you're not watching the end of the world but the end of a career."
Alas, like the undead, you cannot stop him. His latest, sitting at a paltry 0%* on the
, is whitewashed
, and offers an experience that's a headache-inducing
, husk that Roger Ebert called "agonizing... in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented."
It enchantingly makes, "Jake Lloyd’s performance in The Phantom Menace look studied."
And, "the Golden Compass... look like a four-star classic."
With $150 million spent on production, and $130 million on marketing alone
, has this "auteur"
finally created his masterpiece
? Or will it be the Last Straw® (in 3d
!)? [more inside]
In 1978, "Bruce Wayne" (probably not his real name) worked as a set dresser on The Muppet Movie
. Here are some photos he took on the set. (via Muppet Central)
“There is one line in ‘Zero Hour!’ where a stewardess says, completely seriously, ‘The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner,’ ” Mr. Abrahams said. “That was the essence of the movie. We just repeated the line. We didn’t have to change a thing.”
(known in Australia as Flying High!
) turns 30 [more inside]
Toy Story 3
hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim
as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D
and a "real-time"
perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst
of a generation that grew up with the series.
It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2
the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story
(itself the first CGI feature in history).
And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes
that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards
(including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation
), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history
But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality
(of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar
), two of their upcoming projects are sequels
, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2
in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2
in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave
, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously]
, fellow newcomer Newt
has been canceled
. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3
guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation
of John Carter of Mars
and with forays into live-action
already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar?
Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
kill 3D movies? Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks thinks it might
. Or as Michael Bay puts it "You can’t just shit out a 3D movie"
Those who have watched a lot of Hollywood movies over the past few years may have noticed a trend: many of these films sport a uniform palette of teal and orange
, a result of the availability of digital colour-grading. Originally derived from applying complementary colour theory to human skin tones to make them stand out more, the teal-and-orange rule has spread, and is now being lazily applied across the board, whether appropriate or not.
If you can’t move your face, can you still act with it?
How plastic surgery and Botox is leading to change in acting style.
M. Sartre goes to Hollywood.
In 1958, John Huston asked Jean-Paul Sartre to write a biopic of Sigmund Freud. "The Huston-Sartre collaboration
fell apart in 1959, when Sartre travelled to Huston's home in Ireland to work on the script. The two didn't work well together. 'There was no such thing as a conversation with him,' Huston later recalled. 'He talked incessantly, and there was no interrupting him. You'd wait for him to catch his breath, but he wouldn't.' Meanwhile Sartre, in his letters to Simone de Beauvoir, described Huston as 'perfectly vacant, literally incapable of speaking to those whom he has invited.'"
[via Bookslut] [more inside]
Feel like having some Uncanny X-Pasta
(PDF) or an Incredible Hulk Burger
for dinner tonight? Sadly, you'll have to time-travel
back to 1998 to visit Marvel Mania
, the short-lived Marvel Comics theme restaurant
(PDFs) that briefly graced Universal Studios
78 year-old American actor Rip Torn got drunk
and tried to rob
a bank last night. [more inside]
of most of the scripts that will probably pick up Oscar nods this year. And the Public Enemies and Funny People scripts, too.
6 Mental Illness Myths Hollywood Wants You to Believe
. A smart, funny take on some of the most common Hollywood movie tropes about mental illness.
OVER THE EDGE: An Oral History of the Greatest Teen Rebellion Movie of All Time
Vice Magazine gets Matt Dillon (it was his first movie) and a bunch of other cast and crew together for a detailed oral history of Kurt Cobain's favorite flick and "the Apocalypse Now of teen films.
" Buried by Orion
on its original 1979 release, in part because of violence in theaters which had just shown The Warriors
, it found a big cult following among kids with HBO in the early 80s. Co-writer Tim Hunter would later go on to direct River's Edge. [more inside]
Exactly 50 years ago today, Soviet Premier and Cold War Villain Nikita Khrushchev was denied a visit to Disneyland
. He was in Southern California as part of a cross-country tour of the U.S.A.*
(Can you imagine an enemy of the US doing that today?). The reasons for the denial? Security Logistics and Time Limitations
(you have to devote a whole day for The Magic Kingdom). Instead, he visited a sound stage at 20th Century Fox (shooting "Can Can")
and a housing development in a San Fernando Valley suburb
. The next day, he got a warmer, but semi-stunned, reception in San Luis Obispo, CA
. Not the only place that welcomed him. Farmers in Coon Rapids, Iowa were happy to show off American agriculture
in an event recently commemorated.
*Look Inside book at Amazon link for more content. Also lots more coverage in the L.A. Times' Nostalgia Blog)
reviews the latest screenplays from Hollywood, usually with links to the screenplays themselves.