The True Story of the 'Free State of Jones': A new Hollywood movie looks at the tale of the Mississippi farmer who led a revolt against the Confederacy (Smithsonian Mag). Newton Knight has always been a controversial figure. "This controversy was fueled in part by Knight's postwar marriage to a formerly enslaved black woman, which effectively established a small mixed-race community in southeastern Mississippi."(Jones County, Mississippi) [more inside]
Cats, the popular musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber (based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot), will be adapted as a movie, to be directed by Tom Hooper. Noted for its longevity, Cats ran continuously on Broadway for 18 years, and on London's West End for 21 years. The show will return to Broadway in August, after a 16-year hiatus. Mee wow!
Bioshock creative director Ken Levine is teaming up with Interlude, creators of the Bob Dylan "Like A Rolling Stone" interactive video, to make a Twilight Zone interactive movie.
Between 1975 and 1977, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry planned to make a Star Trek movie, but it turned out to be anything but easy. What would it be about? Plot ideas included time travel, snake people, God, black holes and the titans of ancient Greek mythology. Writer after writer took a turn at coming up with a story, leaving behind a string of rejected screenplays. In March 1978, Paramount president Michael Eisner announced a film spin-off. The race to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. (Via) [more inside]
Sausage Party, the first R-rated CG animated movie (SLYT, NSFW)
From Television To '10 Cloverfield Lane', A Composer Plays With Surprise - "When a film starts, 'you have anywhere from two to 10 seconds to get the audience's attention', score writer Bear McCreary says. He gained this and other advice from his mentor [Elmer Bernstein: 1,2 (previously)], whom he met by chance." (previously: 1,2)
The scene that helped The Revenant earn an oscar nomination for VFX is hard to watch. It's also disturbingly realistic, even though a stunt man substituted for an actual bear. How'd they do that? By consulting bear experts and studying videos of actual attacks. [Warning: last link is brutal]
How Video Games Are Changing The Action Movie - "It’s evidence in the case that videogames have started showing a strong influence on cinematography beyond goofier incarnations such as CGI, tie-ins, or critically derided adaptations. Instead, the movies leading this charge across mediums are rooted in physicality and often adored by cineastes."
Funny or Die Made a Trump Biopic, Starring Johnny Depp [NYT]. The 50-minute comedy is streaming now at Funny or Die. (Head's up: NYT link has spoilers!)
Classic Era Warner Bros outakes, 1936-46. The breakdowns of 1941 part 1, part 2 The breakdowns of 1946. 1944
Late Night's Seth Meyers (previously) has released the trailer for Boston Accent, the most Boston movie of all time. [SLYT]
For two days in 1975, rock band KISS took over the town of Cadillac, Michigan, and played at the Cadillac High School Homecoming. [SLYT] What started as a football coach looking for a way to inspire his players ended up bringing the entire town together in the name of rock and roll. [via]
"It was Asian enough for my immigrant parents and American enough for my sister and me." In the PBS feature documentary, Off The Menu, filmmaker Grace Lee traverses the US into the kitchens, factories, temples and farm of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving communities. Food Republic spoke with Jonathan Wu and Wilson Tang, whose NYC restaurant, Fung Tu, is featured in the film.
The Luttrell Psalter is a mid-14th century English illuminated manuscript containing a large number of illustrations of everyday life in medieval England. In 2008 the Psalter was adapted into a 20 minute short film for The Collection Museum in Lincoln, drawing on 35 scenes from the manuscript. There is also a blog describing the making of the film. [more inside]
Indie auteur Richard Linklater pleasantly surprised audiences with his charming 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which a struggling musician (High Fidelity co-star and Tenacious D frontman Jack Black) hijacks a 4th grade prep school class and inspires them to become a killer rock band. Buoyed by likeable characters, a great soundtrack, remarkably talented kid musicians, and Black's lengthy, irrepressible, almost improvisational classroom scenes, the film earned rave reviews and inspired scads of copycat programs around the world (as featured in the '05 documentary and reality series Rock School). But while the cast kicked ass at their ten-year reunion concert in 2013, plans for a sequel fell through. Everyone loves an encore, though. And so this weekend saw the Broadway debut of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical starring Alex Brightman, with a TV adaptation to air on Nickelodeon next year. Because there's no way you can stop... the School of Rock. [more inside]
“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]
The Writers Guild of America has released their list of The 101 Funniest Screenplays.
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]
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]
That Thing: A True Story Based on The Exorcist (Adam Sturtevant, Electric Literature)
Room 8, a short film by James W. Griffiths.
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.
Perhaps you're familiar with Amazing Grace, the biggest selling gospel album of all time and most certainly the biggest selling album of Aretha Franklin's career. What you may not know is that Sidney Pollack filmed a documentary during the recording of that album. It was never completed due to analog technical issues, but 43 years later, in our modern digital age, those have been overcome and it's about to hit the festival circuit. But hold on! Literally moments before it was due to make its world premiere at Telluride, Franklin got an unprecedented court injunction to stop the movie from being shown. And the film has also been pulled from Toronto's film festival. Franklin filed an amended lawsuit yesterday to prevent any screenings, specifically citing any seeking to find a distributor.
Herschell Gordon Lewis is best known for being a legend of gory schlock horror, but his resume also included two children's films. Of the two, the 'best worst' is the earlier by one year: Jimmy the Boy Wonder, featuring a low-budget Land-of-Oz-with-the-numbers-filed-off, a bizarre villain named Mr. Fig and a lengthy sequence of poorly-dubbed possibly-European animation. The other, The Magic Land of Mother Goose (aka Santa Visits the Magic Land of Mother Goose - guess who never appears in the film?), was the result of Lewis being hired to shoot a vehicle for a magician entirely on a high school stage. Both films are available for purchase from Something Weird Video (parts of site NSFW) as downloads and DVD-Rs.
There exists a film whose trailer tantalizes the brain; a film whose English dub, believed to have been created by the notorious K. Gordon Murray (his previous lies - he is described as a "flim-flammer" who ran a "kiddie circuit"), has eluded even the most fervent afficionados of strange cinema. Thanks to the people of Sweden and a translator known only as Doctor Death (and fixes from uploader Justin Sane - you can see the translation by turning on captions), you can enter the world of The Secret of Magic Island: the live-action children's film starring an all-animal cast.
Halloween Meets Gasoline: The 24 Hours Of LeMons is a short film by Marcus Ubungen about the race of the same name.
How did they get those dogs to do that? "Hundreds of dogs rise up against their oppressors in this visually stunning, one-metaphor-fits-all Hungarian drama... a film featuring 274 dogs, no CGI, and a pair of canine protagonists who consistently out-emote their human co-stars."
In 1991, a documentary, intended to be the first of a series on celebrity businessmen, was completed. It was screened twice, but its subject prevented its release and it was clear that continuing the series wasn't worth the trouble. So why has that film been released almost a quarter of a century later? Because that same businessman is now running for president. Trump: What's the Deal? (trailer, direct Vimeo link to full film, unofficial YouTube mirror)
Radioactive Trailers! Metafilter's own MST3K Club on Fanfare collects trailers for the zero budget, obscure, cult and bonkers movies you love, from Manos The Hands Of Fate to the Prince Of Space. [via mefi projects]
A Zoomorphic Performance: Joaquin Phoenix in P.T. Anderson’s The Master, Daniel Fairfax [more inside]
First Day of Camp: the full trailer for Netflix's 8-episode prequel to the 2001 cult classic Wet Hot American Summer. Here's the promo released last week. Happy summer! [more inside]
Hackers was a financial flop, but its hilariously over-the-top early CGI visuals, oddly prescient view on technology, and glam-cyberpunk aesthetic rendered it a cult classic. To honor its 20th anniversary—at a time dogged by newfound fears about what the future of technology holds—we thought it would be fitting to bring together a group of actual hackers to screen and discuss the film. - Hackers watch "Hackers"
‘I shot against Daddy, all men, small men, tall men, big men, fat men, men, my brother, society, the church, the convent, school, my family, my mother, all men, daddy, myself, men. I shot because it was fun and made me feel great. I shot because I was fascinated watching the painting bleed and die…’— Niki de Saint Phalle. [more inside]
Initially panned by critics and a failure at the box office, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead has found a second life as a cult favorite.
Klaus, a new film in development by Sergio Pablos Animation Studios, uses traditional hand-drawn animation and secret compositing techniques to bring its world to breathtaking, painterly life.
If you love kung fu and hate Nazis, then today is your lucky day. Kung Fury has been released on Youtube. (Previously, Previously)
Comic-Book Writer Nick Spencer talks about writing the print version of Ant-Man as Marvel releases a second trailer for the movie and Vulture looks at the film's long production history.
"Let’s have a look at 50 movie posters and how they’ve been designed for movies that have been remade"— a four part series.
70-pound costumes. A major studio pulling out at the last moment. Rejection from every corner. Most of the industry asking its producers, "Are you guys out of your minds?" 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles': The Untold Story of the Movie "Every Studio in Hollywood" Rejected.
A few years ago, I had lunch with the head of a major motion picture studio, who declared that his central problem was not finding good people—it was finding good ideas. Since then, when giving talks, I’ve asked audiences whether they agree with him. Almost always there’s a 50/50 split, which has astounded me because I couldn’t disagree more with the studio executive. Pixar President Ed Catmull on the culture that generates Pixar's artistic and commercial success.
Join Mr. Piggy on an adventure through time and space in the short, animated film Mr. Piggy Dies in 25 Dimensions. [SLV NSFW]