Joel Schroeder, with the help of Kickstarter, has finally finished a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. It's scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, 2013.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
"But The Shining speaks to what makes Kubrick such an interesting and, for a lot of people, troublesome filmmaker, because he does not give you what you want. At all. He does not give you a Vietnam movie set in the jungle, and he does not give you a horror movie that is just like Stephen King’s The Shining. He doesn’t even give you scares for a long time, [just] ominous foreboding. And it takes people a while to figure out, “Oh, maybe I don’t know what I want. Maybe this is better.” - Mefi's Own Jon Hodgman talks about Full Metal Jacket with Scott Tobias for "The Last Great Movie I Saw."
Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why. Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on Cracked.com that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call “The Pixar Theory,” a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme.
The World Ends with a Handshake: Unraveling the Apocalypse of 'Southland Tales' A writer meets Richard Kelly, writer/director of Donnie Darko, and talks about his flop Southland Tales and its enduring cult of fans.
Music review site Pitchfork has branched out. Today marks the debut of The Dissolve, which will be dedicated to film. With talent acquired from Slate, NPR and the AV Club, the website is starting with a high pedigree.
“What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers . . . it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true.” - Guillermo del Toro on being a monster loving pacifist. Designer Wayne Barlowe talks about Pacific Rim's creatures. But has maneuvering at Legendary doomed the film before it has even opened?
Though it became an epic flop and forced Francis Ford Coppola to declare bankruptcy, the 1982 musical One From the Heart (previously) did produce one hell of a soundtrack featuring the unlikely collaboration between Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle. Here's the story of how it all came together. [more inside]
Let's think back to the 1960s, when more people were writing surreal, paranoid themes. Now place Jim Henson in that context, and you get Time Piece (YouTube, excerpt; behind the scenes clip, YT). Add in collaboration with writer (and puppeteer) Jerry Juhl and you have The Cube (YT, full film), as well as the setting for the hypnagogic story of a man pursued in the desert, called Tale of Sand. This was first written up as a screenplay and pitched as a movie in the late 1960s, then revised and re-pitched in 1974. But no one bit, so the screenplay was shelved, and then Jim gained fame for Sesame Street and The Muppets. Elements of Tale of Sand appeared in The Muppet Movie (YT, full movie) and other places since then, but the work was largely unseen and forgotten. Jump ahead three decades, and the Henson Company teams up with Archaia, first releasing Fraggle Rock and Dark Crystal comics, then digging in the Henson Company vault to bring Tale of Sand to light with cartoonist Ramón Pérez. You can see a preview of the graphic novel on Graphicly (including a nice dynamic display) and Amazon (static images, but more pages in the preview). [more inside]
The first official trailer of In Saturn's Rings (formerly Outside In) has been released to universal acclaim. The movie (to be completed in 2014) is made exclusively from real photos taken by spacecraft, mostly Cassini-Huygens.
The Problem with Wonder Woman - An iconic DC superhero on the level of Batman and Superman, her potential remains competitively untapped. Can Grant Morrison And Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Help? Or is Perez’ Wonder Woman the Gold standard?
With the TV premiere of Mary Harron's Anna Nicole Smith biopic fast approaching, The Hairpin wonders what other indie/art house filmmakers would do with the same subject.
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend. From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London (set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings") to the frenzied chaos of its climax, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count). And while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences in modern horror), and 28 Months looks increasingly unlikely, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
Rifftrax (previous and previously and previouslier) hilariously carries on the tradition of MST3k. And though the premise is much the same as before, the Rifftrax folks have added something new: MP3 Commentaries. Instead of confining themselves to public domain and titles whose rights are easy to procure, they do commentaries on hollywood blockbusters in audio form only. People then can sync them up to their own DVDs of these films and sit back to experience riffing on the likes of Nicholas Cage instead of John Agar. This is great for home viewing, but what about their live shows? Then someone came up with an idea. [more inside]
Though homosexual activities weren't a crime under Italy's fascist regime, there was persecution and blackmail of men of "dubious virility." The hidden threat of homosexual men was so strong that the attempt to criminalize homosexuality failed because to pass such a law would only "publicize" homosexuality (Google books preview). It was in that context that Benito Mussolini declared Italy too masculine for homosexuals to exist, rounded up around 45 men believed to be homosexuals, and sent them into "internal exile" on San Domino, in the Isole Tremiti archepeligo. [more inside]
Today saw the release of the first trailer for The LEGO Movie, and there are some interesting things to note about it. [more inside]
Old school Hip Hop photographer, Joe Conzo, captured the emerging art and culture of Hip Hop in the South Bronx during the late 70's and early 80's. Conzo's photo archive has made its home at the Cornell Hip Hop Collection, whose mission is "to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of Hip Hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations." Now Scream! is the Collection's first comprehensive exhibition. It runs from April 4, 2013 to February 4, 2014. Conzo's work is part of the exhibition as well. [more inside]
Last Action Hero was released twenty years ago today. Directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard -- previously), written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3 -- previously), and starring The Terminator Himself (um, previously), the movie was a send-up of action movie tropes and conceits. [more inside]
When it comes to unappealing couples that have been featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Arch Hall Jr. and Marilyn Manning are near the top of the heap. Their appearance in Eegah provided rich fodder for Joel and the bots. And yet, only one year after the release of Eegah, Hall and Manning would find themselves together again in radically different roles. [more inside]
There are just 2,795 miles of interstate and 31,000 highway cops between them and the all-time speed record for crossing the American continent on four wheels. Welcome to the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, later known as the US Express race: The Cannonball Run. [more inside]
Do you turn off Old Yeller before the end so you can pretend that he lived a long and happy life? Did a cute pet on a movie poster make you think it would be a fun comedy but it turned out to be a pet-with-a-terminal-illness tearjerker instead? Are you unable to enjoy the human body count in a horror movie because you're wondering whether the dog's going to kick the bucket? Have you ever Googled "Does the [dog/cat/horse/Klingon targ] die in [movie title]?" If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then welcome - DoestheDogDie.com is here for you! [more inside]
io9: "After making a mere $84 million at the U.S. box office, Star Trek Into Darkness is considered by some to be a disappointment. Perhaps the problem is that it was a touch confusing. To help our readers better understand it, we've compiled and answered these Frequently Asked Questions about the movie." (Maximum Possible Spoiler Warning)
Vinyl -- Alan Zweig feat. Harvey Pekar -- 2000 -- M VG+
"Yeah, the music is the most important thing. I wish it were the only thing. It's not. I'd be better off if it were the only thing."A documentary about the most noble mania.
Trailer for The World's End, the final film in Edgar Wright's "Cornetto Trilogy" (following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz).
"Now, my friend Adams was accused of a crime he didn't commit, so he escaped into the mountains, leaving behind the only life that he ever knew." In 1977, three years after the popular movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams introduced the story of John "Grizzly" Adams to the public, a TV show of the same name premiered. [more inside]
The British Film Institute's YouTube channels offer a staggering amount (previously) of content on historical cinema, shorts, and discussion. Some short selections from the early and silent period of note - The Sick Kitten (1903) - How Percy Won The Beauty Competition (1909) - Tilly The Tomboy Visits The Poor (1910) - Suffragette Riot In Trafalgar Square (1913) - The Fugitive Futurist, in which a man on the run shows a device that can see far into the future (1924) - Vaudevillian legend Billy Merson Singing 'Desdemona'. Widely considered Britain's first sound film - (1927) Charley In New Town - part of an animated series from the Central Office, this one explaining the need for "New Towns." (1948) - Growing Girls, a filmstrip guide to puberty for young women (1951).
w.s.m [Worlds smallest movie]
Panopticon is a documentary which details how our concept of privacy is altered by the modern surveillance state.
The various Star Wars movies have been translated into at least 39 languages (as also seen here in a set of 16 international logos for Attack of the Clones), but the Navajo Nation is set to be the first Native American tribe to officially dub the original Star Wars film. [more inside]
Mozart in Turkey is film made of three distinct, but related, elements. First, it is a look into Mozart at the time of his courting Constanze, a bit on his new patron, the "enlightened monarch" Joseph II, and other influences, including the Turkish music and culture, along with thoughts on Mozart's opera as a work created in the Age of Enlightenment, all through the running commentary by opera director Elijah Moshinsky, who also interviews Alev Lytle Croutier, the author of Harem: The World Behind the Veil. Then there is the production of an opera in Turkey, specifically set in and around the Topkapi Palace (virtual tour; Wikipedia). And the last piece is the performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, or The Abduction from the Seraglio. You can watch the entire film online on Vimeo, thanks to Directors Cut Films.
Beloved indy ethnographic documentarian Les Blank died yesterday. This interview gives a good overview of his background, and this post includes clips. Watch a couple of his public domain films here. Or do yourself a favor and find the complete version of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. [more inside]
Starchaser: The Legend Of Orin (trailer) is an animated SF film released in 1985. Presented here in 11 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. Or perhaps you prefer the original 3D, in 13 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13. [more inside]
Gorgeous Portraits of Movie Characters & Classic Shots by Massimo Carnevale [slimgur]
Ellen DeGeneres announces the making of a sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo. The movie, titled Finding Dory, is scheduled for release on Thanksgiving 2015.
The stewardess who retrieved a sleeping passenger's floating pen. The man in the ape suit who howled at the monolith. Arthur C. Clarke, recalling how he thought Stanley Kubrick was wrong, back in the day, about HAL being able to read lips, but later, aware that computers were developing such ability, admitting that he had been wrong. This and much more in The Making of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Meanwhile, from Douglas Trumbull, here's Creating Special Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. And here, full to bursting with interesting info, is the IMDb trivia page for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Why all this? Well, it's in honor of the 45th anniversary of the film's world premiere. Thank you for the masterpiece, Mr. Kubrick.
Den of Geek looks at the MPAA rule that a PG-13 movie can contain only one utterance of the word "fuck".
Ennio Morricone, the film composer behind the iconic scores to The Good The Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, The Thing, and many other films, has said he wouldn't like to work with Quentin Tarantino because he "places music in his films without coherence". He also said Django Unchained had 'too much blood'.
World Gone Wild is a 1988 post-apocalyptic film with English pop singer Adam Ant as the villain. The entire film can be watched on YouTube. Via Armagideon Time.
Funnyman Jon Stewart is taking a 12 week hiatus to direct a film adaptation of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari's book Then They Came For Me. John Oliver will take over hosting duties in his absence. Daily Show clip of Jason Jones interview before Bahari's arrest. Post - arrest Daily Show interviews. Previously
"The short of it is, Bradley bankrupted IndieVest, hijacked the film against his contractual rights, has hacked the film up and is now trying to sell on this castrated, lobotomised version." http://www.badassdom.com/ goes into great detail as to what happened to this movie.
For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
Burma Shave and Big Time, all there in their entirety, for your Waitsian viewing and listening pleasure.
"Oh, Anne! With your small head and pert nose and oversized, ready smile and glossy pixie cut and squeakily tuneful speaking voice, uttering lines like “It came true!” as you gaze at your newly won Oscar with moistened doe-eyes, wearing a powder-pink Prada gown adorned with diamonds and bows: Why are you so annoying?"
Makers: Women Who Make America is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.