"The rise in popularity of television is credited with inciting the move to the widescreen systems that flourished throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is only partially true. In the early 1950s, studios did begin to compose their movies so that the top and bottom of the picture could be chopped off and a wider screen would show the center of the old 1.37:1 frame. The aspect ratio used by the various studios varied from about 1.5:1 up to the common 1.85:1. But the real reason for the birth of a multitude of widescreen and large format systems was the 1952 opening of a movie made in a process that had its roots in a World War II aerial gunnery trainer. This Is Cinerama
(modern YouTube trailer; Wikipedia
) shook the industry to the core. The public and reviewers loved it. Its giant screen filled with three oversized 35mm images and an incredible new sound system called Stereophonic were a marvel to behold, and the studios immediately rushed to find something that could do what Cinerama did
(Google books preview of the August 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics
)." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jan 4, 2014 -
If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good.
No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce
, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jan 3, 2014 -
If you use Netflix, you've probably wondered about the specific genres that it suggests to you. Some of them just seem so specific that it's absurd. Emotional Fight-the-System Documentaries? Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life? Foreign Satanic Stories from the 1980s? ... Through a combination of elbow grease and spam-level repetition, we discovered that Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Jan 2, 2014 -
Of course matte art has for a long time played a major part in Hollywood's recreation of the old west, with effects shots ranging from simple top ups of mood enhancing skies right through to entire recreations of frontier settings to often wonderful effect. Todays blog will take a look at some of those marvellous visions - the product of the many often uncredited artists who worked tirelessly in the various studio matte departments.
Mattes Ride The Range: The art of the matte shot in Westerns
posted by timshel
on Dec 18, 2013 -
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.
posted by Artw
on Dec 16, 2013 -
In the mid-1960's, American International Pictures hired director Larry Buchanan
to make eight films
for television. Their instructions were blunt: "We want cheap color pictures, we want half-assed names in them, we want them eighty minutes long and we want them now." [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI
on Dec 12, 2013 -
"The film is like trance music in movie form
. It is liquid. Scenes flow in and out of each other. A scene will start and then the imagery will jump to another, sometimes from the past, other times from the future, while the audio from the initial scene continues to play through. Other times repetition is used as a narrative device, most prominently Alien’s southern, sizzurp-inflected drawl, rolling out in languid syllables, so that each is enjoyed to the fullest, reminiscent, although with his own depraved contemporary hip-hop spin, of Humbert Humbert’s delectation over the individuation of his young love’s name: Lo-li-ta,as it trips along the tongue, but for Alien, his long relaxed exhale of Sppprrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnngggggg Brrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaak again and again, emanates more from the back of the throat, you might say the deep throat, and just to the side, to give it it’s arch southern twang. " James Franco (previously
) reviews Spring Breakers (previously
) starring James Franco.
posted by codacorolla
on Nov 2, 2013 -
The Trouble with "Carrie": Strong Female Characters and Onscreen Violence.
Whether she's volunteering to take her sister's place in the arena or grooming her son to lead the resistance; gunning down the gangsters who sell drugs to the kids in her neighborhood or swinging swords to avenge her daughter, the "strong female character" is often stirred by a maternal concern, a quintessential desire to preserve her community, to protect the weak and vulnerable. Her bad-assery must be in the service of a greater good. Even when she's more ethically complex (like the Bride, who begrudgingly admits that all the people she killed to get to her daughter, "felt good"), she never takes a place at the table of Walter White's grand epiphany: "I did it for me."
posted by Lexica
on Oct 30, 2013 -
Carrie does what Beatrix Kiddo and Ellen Ripley and Katniss Everdeen don't: She does it for herself. Her vengeance, her violence, is in service to no one, no noble good. She doesn't kill because her family and friends have been threatened. There are no friends, no fellow outcasts, to protect from the bullies. No little sister to shield from Mama's wrath. Only her. And she is enough. Carrie kills because she was wronged.
Terry Gilliam fans are patiently waiting for the release of "The Zero Theorem"
, his first film in four years. In the meantime, let's go back thirty years ago to the moment that Gilliam really
found his footing as a director in between the filming of "Time Bandits" and "Brazil". It all concerns a bunch of elderly accountants... [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI
on Oct 26, 2013 -
Character actor Ed Lauter has died
. In a career
that spanned over forty years, he was a familiar face on both television and film (and active until the end with appearances in "Trouble With The Curve" and "The Artist"). And with the greatest respect and affection, he also costarred in one the greatest bad films
of the eighties.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI
on Oct 17, 2013 -
The Physics of Light and Rendering
is a talk given at QuakeCon 2013 by John Carmack, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and many other games at id Software and beyond. It provides a detailed but surprisingly understandable history of 3D rendering techniques, their advantages and tradeoffs, and how they have been used in games and movies. (SLYT, 1:32:01, via
posted by cthuljew
on Oct 17, 2013 -