“Alien 3 was flawed from its inception
and it was certainly flawed—actually, pretty fucked up—well before we started shooting. So there you go. Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.” — David Fincher [previously
The exhaustively researched Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This
) presents a two part episode focusing on Madonna's use of classic Hollywood imagery and references as a form of conceptual art and her early attempts to trade pop idol success for movie stardom within the context of two high-profile relationships with Sean Penn and Warren Beatty. Episode One
. Episode Two
Meanwhile, Todd In The Shadows creates video reviews for every movie Madonna was ever in. So far he's done Desperately Seeking Susan
, Shanghai Surprise
, A Certain Sacrifice
, and Who's That Girl
pulls back the partition on Hollywood, Health, and Society
, a CDC-funded clearinghouse for popular media to better understand modern medicine - and modern medical legislation like the Affordable Care Act.
"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind
to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids
was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat
, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle
) [more inside]
Director, writer, and producer Mick Garris releases videos
of his interviews with people in the horror and sci-fi entertainment industry at his new website, Mick Garris Interviews
. There is also a YouTube channel
. An introduction can be found at the about page
. According to The Nerdist
, interviews will be released at the rate of one per week. Interviews already uploaded: a four-parter with Director John Carpenter (here's Part 1
YT), and one segment with John Badham
, director of Dracula
(1979) and, incidentally, Saturday Night Fever
"DISCLAIMER TIME! 50 is a very small number. I make no claims to any of these lists being either comprehensive or some sort of objective analysis of the 'best' films directed by women. I make selections based on on what I've seen, what I like, and the position of the stars. One film per director. Ready? Let's go
." [more inside]
Jason Blum—producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, The Bay, and Oculus—participated in an interesting interview at SXSW Film 2014
about his model of producing high-quality low-budget horror films
for wide release. The video is almost an hour long, but worth watching if you're interested in contemporary mainstream horror.
Bill and Coo
Plot: The feathered residents of Chirpendale are terrorized by an evil black crow by the name of "The Black Menace". But to the citizen's rescue comes a brave young taxi puller named Bill! [more inside]
Film preservation 2.0 Unless the unique challenges of digital preservation are met, we run the risk of a future in which a film from 1894 printed on card stock has a better chance of surviving than a digital film from 2014.
Assembling a Film's Billing Block.
The blurb at the bottom of a movie poster is called the "billing block." And while it might look like a bar code of haphazardly packed type, it is in fact the product of detailed legal agreements and intense contract negotiation. Below is the the billing block for a fictional film and an explanation of how it was constructed. (via kottke.org
The 2013 Black List has been released. For those unfamiliar, the “Black List” is a list of the most liked unproduced screenplays circulating around Hollywood, as voted on by over 250 film executives, and past Black List scripts include The Social Network, Saving Mr. Banks, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire.
In the early eighties, Orson Welles was a fixture at L.A.’s Ma Maison, where Wolfgang Puck was the chef before he moved on to Spago. Nearing 70, and 40-plus years removed from Citizen Kane, which he made when he was just 25, Welles was fat and famously difficult, no longer a viable star but still a sort of Hollywood royalty—a very certain sort. The younger director Henry Jaglom was one of many aspiring auteurs who admired him but possibly the only one who taped their conversations. These took place in 1983 over lunch at the restaurant.
The same kind of numbers analysis that has reshaped areas like politics and online marketing is increasingly being used by the entertainment industry.
"A chain-smoking former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese – "the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood", in the words of one studio customer – has started to aggressively pitch a service he calls "script new evaluation". For as much as $US20,000 per script, Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success."
His research has lead to conclusions like
"If it's a targeting demon, you are likely to have much higher opening-weekend sales than if it's summoned. So get rid of that ouija board scene."
and "Bowling scenes tend to pop up in films that fizzle"
The problem is that cinema, as I define it and as something that inspired me, is under assault by the studios and, from what I can tell, with the full support of the audience. The reasons for this, in my opinion, are more economic than philosophical, but when you add an ample amount of fear and lack of vision and a lack of leadership you’ve got a trajectory that is pretty difficult to reverse.
- "Retired" director Steven Soderbergh
speaks to the San Francisco International Film Festival about the state of cinema
, full audio at bottom of page 2
Having mixed feelings about the new movie prequel to The Wizard of Oz? [previously
Well how about new prequels to other film classics such as Gone with the Wind
and Dr. Strangelove
? Or, try to imagine Casablanca: The College Years
. [more inside]
"The members of TVTV (Top Value Television), the 1970s guerrilla video group I cofounded, were among the first to exploit the then brand-new portable video camera. We took them to big events and turned the cameras away from the spectacle and on to the people; almost no one had seen one before, and there were no rules about how to use them, or act in front of them..."
Behind the Scenes With Jack Nicholson, Lily Tomlin and Michael Douglas at the 1976 Academy Awards.
Without visual effects the average blockbuster movie would look like this
. However as Hollywood comes under financial pressure
they are putting the squeeze on the VFX industry
that they rely on, who are in turn passing the pressure onto workers. Now VFX workers are organizing a protest
in time for the Oscars, which will be celebrating visual effects as the companies responsible for them close down
. [more inside]
The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith
is an irregularly released podcast where Mr. Goldsmith interviews, at length (each episode runs an hour or more), working Hollywood and foreign screenwriters. The most recent episode is a panel conversation with the year's Oscar-nominated screenwriters. You can listen to the podcasts on his site or subscribe in iTunes or on Android.
Goldsmith is also the publisher of the terrific screenwriting magazine Backstory
--currently only available for the iPad but coming (eventually) to the web and Android. You can download the first issue (which is wonderful, and contains full length scripts along with the interviews and stories) for free.
Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie.
The movie in question is The Canyons
, the Kickstarter-funded
erotic thriller written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader. There's no release date yet, but the film does have several retro-themed trailers
New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship
. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake
, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]
After 65 Years The Hollywood Reporter addresses its role
in the hollywood blacklist
, including an apology
from W.R. Wilkerson III, son of THR founder Billy Wilkerson whose "A Vote For Joe Stalin" editorial named writers such as Dalton Trumbo
, Lester Cole
, Howard Koch
and John Howard Lawson
as communist sympathisers.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code
from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness
(1935), Reefer Madness
(1936) and The Cocaine Fiends
(1938). [more inside]
The Flick Chick - 11 Days of Garbo
: "I recently bought the Greta Garbo Signature Collection
...I've been enjoying the collection so much that I've decided to dedicate the next 11 days to looking at the 11 films included in the collection: three silents, the pre-code films which helped establish her as a star who could continue into the sound age, the films made towards the end of her film career for which she is perhaps best known, and a documentary feature produced by Turner Classic Movies." [more inside]
The wonderful, and fairly rare, 13-part documentary series from 1980 - Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film
- is narrated by James Mason for Thames Television. Episode One - The Pioneers
- [52 mins] [the rest are linked inside]
"the evolution of film from penny arcade curiosity to art form, from what was considered the first plot driven film, The Great Train Robbery, through to The Birth of a Nation, films showing the power of the medium. Early Technicolor footage, along with other color technologies, are also featured. Interviews include Lillian Gish, Jackie Coogan and King Vidor.*" [more inside]
Brad Pitt's Zombie Nightmare: Inside the Troubled 'World War Z' Production The Hollywood Reporter
sorts through the problems causing the release of the film version
of Max Brooks' post-apocalyptic UN report
to be delayed until next June. Via the A.V. Club
, which adds links to previous stories about the filming.
A very long interview with screenwriter Lem Dobbs
. Single link to text on a page but it's a wonderful interview and those who love film, culture, the arts... will dig it I think.
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored.
This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact,
Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
Classic Hollywood Guide on how to react when you screw up a scene. Movie bloopers with Bogie, Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Kay Francis, Edward G. Robinson, Jane Wyman, George Brent, Merle Oberon, Patricia Neal, Mickey Rooney and more.
"Most of the filmmakers surveyed...were not aware of the perishable nature of digital content or how short its unmanaged lifespan is."
After the Motion Picture Academy's release last month of "The Digital Dilemma 2
," a warning aimed at independent filmmakers and nonprofit archives, cinematographer John Bailey talks with one of the report's authors about the perils of data migration ("It’s not unreasonable to say that the term "digital preservation" is an oxymoron") and the need to educate filmmakers who are so "enamored with the perceived benefits of digital image capture and workflow" that they fail to realize preservation concerns start to appear almost immediately after their work is completed. Film professor David Bordwell covers the report in a detailed post about preserving "born-digital" films
, sixth in his "Pandora's Digital Box
" series about the worldwide conversion to digital projection, with lots of good links at the bottom.
The Seventh Art
is an independently produced video magazine about cinema with three sections: a profile on an interesting group/company/organization in the industry, a video essay and a long-form interview with a filmmaker.
Le Blues De Memphis
— behind the scenes at STAX & FAME Recording Studios (1969) and Hollywood Blues
, a 1969 Hollywood Recording Session. Just a sample of the vintage 50s, 60s & 70s music, movies, microcode and high-speed pizza delivery at Bedazzled.tv
. [sacré bleu]
Yet by 1944 the IRS named Barbara Stanwyck the highest-paid woman in America. From 1930-57, she did a minimum of two pictures a year, sometimes even four or five. Yet it wasn't workaholism, according to the actress: "I was afraid they'd get somebody better, frankly. I never really thought I had any clout. For a lot of years I was free-lancing, by choice, but I think discipline stays with you. It's this fear that maybe somebody can come in and take over. Maybe a Redford or a Streep can take the luxury of a year off, but I never thought I could. Of course, we were more workable in those days. And they make more money now. Anyway, I never had self-assurance about leaving."
, and raconteur
, Peter Bogdanovich has a blog where he talks movies -- and you better believe it's called BLOGDANOVICH. [more inside]