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Helen Mirren on Hollywood

Unsung. Helen Mirren honestly appraises Hollywood at a rewards show earlier this month, but no one told you about it.
posted by parmanparman on Dec 26, 2010 - 92 comments

Retro gaming, the Big Lebowski, Yoshi, and Twitter.

"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.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 22, 2010 - 7 comments

The Black List was published today...

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 harder now.
posted by dobbs on Dec 13, 2010 - 42 comments

Magnificent Obsession

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]
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2010 - 25 comments

"The brutal reality is Netflix’s bargain days for streaming movies and television is coming to an end."

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]
posted by mediareport on Dec 9, 2010 - 126 comments

No film is complete without the sound of breaking glass

Defenestration: The Movie
posted by bwg on Nov 21, 2010 - 58 comments

Christian Bale Q+A

"You know the reason I picked this place? 'Cause it has nothing to do with my life. I never come here, ever. It's as far removed from any place that I would ever go to. And that's exactly why I chose it. 'Cause it has nothing to do with me." ESQUIRE versus CHRISTIAN BALE
posted by philip-random on Nov 18, 2010 - 78 comments

Laugh your tuches off

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).
posted by yiftach on Nov 12, 2010 - 34 comments

"A smile God designed to melt mortal men's hearts"

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.
posted by CunningLinguist on Nov 2, 2010 - 55 comments

Starlet Showcase

Starlet Showcase
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 30, 2010 - 18 comments

Some like a defiant one.

Tony Curtis, Hollywood Legend, Navy Man, star of The Defiant Ones, Some Like It Hot and The Great Race, has passed away. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Sep 30, 2010 - 76 comments

Oh Canada!

FlowTV (an academic media studies web journal) revisits the Canadian Conspiracy. [more inside]
posted by k8t on Sep 24, 2010 - 16 comments

“The purple glow in the sky — that was so eerie”

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]
posted by zarq on Sep 14, 2010 - 6 comments

A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies!

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.
posted by spitefulcrow on Sep 12, 2010 - 79 comments

The Phoenix Who Ate Himself

Joaquin Phoenix is the man who ate himself [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 10, 2010 - 74 comments

Ballyhoo

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]
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis on Aug 20, 2010 - 6 comments

"She can't be all bad. No one is." "Well, she comes the closest."

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 on dozens of lesser-known gems. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Aug 19, 2010 - 62 comments

Why Movies Suck - Part 42

Hollywood ate my childhood [or] Why film remakes are desecrating our most precious memories. Hint: it's the money. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Jul 23, 2010 - 276 comments

Actor James Gammon Dies

Gravelly-voiced character actor James Gammon has passed away of cancer at the age of 70. His career 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]
posted by zarq on Jul 18, 2010 - 23 comments

LSD and psychotherapy in 1958

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]
posted by homunculus on Jul 9, 2010 - 12 comments

An example of Hollywood accounting

This is how a Harry Potter film has actually "lost" $167 million by Hollywood accounting, despite bringing in almost a billion dollars worldwide.
posted by new brand day on Jul 9, 2010 - 53 comments

INT. HOMELESS SHELTER - WRITERS ROOM - NIGHT

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]
posted by VikingSword on Jul 2, 2010 - 244 comments

Water, Air, Fire, Suck

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 Tomatometer, is whitewashed, and offers an experience that's a headache-inducing, joyless, soulless, 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]
posted by PBR on Jun 30, 2010 - 267 comments

The lovers, the dreamers, and Bruce.

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)
posted by Faint of Butt on Jun 30, 2010 - 16 comments

Surely you can't be serious?

“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.”

Airplane! (known in Australia as Flying High!) turns 30 [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Jun 28, 2010 - 186 comments

Quality is the best business plan

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 with Up), 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]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 18, 2010 - 227 comments

You're a disgrace. To the race.

DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Liveblogging The Karate Kid Remake. Also, the Disgrasian Dictionary.
posted by crossoverman on Jun 17, 2010 - 13 comments

Mickey Rourke: Genghis Khan?

In the grand tradition of John Wayne1, Mickey Rourke is in talks to play Genghis Khan in an upcoming biopic. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Apr 26, 2010 - 85 comments

3D conversion, artistic integrity and Michael Bay

Will post-conversion done badly 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".
posted by Artw on Apr 11, 2010 - 79 comments

the countries of old men drift like the waters

A Tale of Two Films. Bertrand Tavernier's In The Electric Mist nee Dans la brume électrique [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 9, 2010 - 6 comments

Destination Subconscious: Cary Grant and LSD

Cary Grant was the first mainstream celebrity to espouse the virtues of psychedelic drugs. (previously)
posted by gman on Mar 23, 2010 - 49 comments

The teal and orange age of Hollywood

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.
posted by acb on Mar 19, 2010 - 125 comments

The Botox Method

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.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 12, 2010 - 72 comments

Inspiring final lines of a speech that douchebags will quote in their Facebook profiles!

A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever (single link cracked.com video)
posted by crossoverman on Mar 6, 2010 - 53 comments

Sartre in Hollywood

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]
posted by Paragon on Mar 1, 2010 - 27 comments

Eighty-six the Excelsior

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 20, 2010 - 14 comments

Hiro, Protagonist?

Racism and Sexism in Heroes and Hollywood [more inside]
posted by jtron on Feb 9, 2010 - 69 comments

Wow, I didn't know he was in Beastmaster. . .

78 year-old American actor Rip Torn got drunk and tried to rob a bank last night. [more inside]
posted by bardic on Jan 31, 2010 - 107 comments

Avatar is actually pretty good

The most expensive movie ever made, is getting its first reviews ... and so far the thumbs are mostly up. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Dec 12, 2009 - 357 comments

FADE IN: INT. THE BLUE -- DAY

PDF screenplays of most of the scripts that will probably pick up Oscar nods this year. And the Public Enemies and Funny People scripts, too.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Dec 11, 2009 - 3 comments

"Just stick this in your crazy hole and we'll unlock the sanity!"

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.
posted by ShawnStruck on Dec 4, 2009 - 100 comments

The Big Apple

Hollywood vs New York
posted by flatluigi on Nov 30, 2009 - 13 comments

Telling lies about Poliwood

As I write this, I realize I am about to do something that, for the most part, is never done. I am going to criticize a critic. Filmmakers are never supposed to respond to a critic about their work. It's an unspoken rule of engagement. But in this case, I feel compelled. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Nov 10, 2009 - 54 comments

Angelyne: as essential a part of the Hollywood landscape as the garish minimall

She's a public mystery, craving attention but shying away from private interviews. She is a human being Andy Warhol would have created, a painter (of) herself. She ran for Hollywood City Council in 2002, joined the much-parodied 2003 California gubernatorial recall election (previously), and most recently tried to become Mayor of Hollywood (archive of her Mayoral site). She is still loved by snark-mongers. She is Angelyne. She is ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 5, 2009 - 44 comments

The greatest teen exploitation flick ever, 30 years later

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]
posted by mediareport on Sep 23, 2009 - 36 comments

K-E-Y! Y? Because We Will Bury You

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)
posted by wendell on Sep 19, 2009 - 32 comments

An unfunny thing happened

Larry Gelbart, one of the great stage, screen and television writers has died.
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Sep 11, 2009 - 35 comments

Ozmapolitan

Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

The MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz turned 70 this week. It wasn't the first time it was a movie, nor the last time it was a movie or a movie musical. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Aug 28, 2009 - 53 comments

ScriptShadow

ScriptShadow reviews the latest screenplays from Hollywood, usually with links to the screenplays themselves.
posted by alby on Jul 7, 2009 - 13 comments

Bloop Bleep Bloop Bleep Bloop Bleep Bloop wee wee wee wee CRSSHHH!.... ok that's a wrap.

Asteroids... the movie?
posted by geos on Jul 2, 2009 - 91 comments

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