Featured

Paul Schrader on the Theatrical Experience, Web Series and the Death of the Three Act Drama

Schrader, Scorsese, De Niro Schrader, Scorsese, De Niro

Last night at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Paul Schrader had a conversation with Marc Schiller, as part of the latter’s Future State of Entertainment Speaker Series. Perhaps more than any other director of his generation, Schrader seems to have embraced the democratic technologies available to today’s filmmakers, between crowdsourcing on The Canyons and his recent intent to make a web series. Indeed, if the protest surrounding his latest film is any indication, he may be done with studios for the foreseeable future. Throughout the two hours, Schrader and Schiller covered a variety of topics, from new technologies to the phasing out of cinemas. A few highlights can be found below. Criticism still counts, but like filmmaking, it’s changed. Schrader began his career as…  Read more

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Watch: Sofia Coppola’s Christmas-Themed Gap Ads

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It’s Halloween and you know what that means: less than two shopping months before Christmas! On the heels of summer’s David Fincher-helmed ads encouraging you to “dress normal,” we now have four Sofia Coppola-directed spots tied to the holiday season. The theme is that you don’t have to “get” your family, girlfriend or other significant players in your life to get them Gap. The shots and vibe are recognizably Coppola’s, the musical selections predictably eclectic. My pick of the litter — the only minute-long spot, the others being 30 seconds long — is embedded above, but it’s a playlist, so afterwards you can watch all four.

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“I Don’t Feel Like I Gave Birth to Jesus”: Wes Craven on A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street A Nightmare on Elm Street

On November 9, 1984, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street opened in American theaters and changed the movie industry forever. Serving as a bridge between the primal ferocity of Craven’s earlier work (Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes) and the visually expressive professionalism of his later films (The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, Red Eye), Elm Street also introduced one of the most iconic horror movie villains of all time and put New Line Cinema on the map. A make-or-break production for New Line and its founder, Bob Shaye, A Nightmare on Elm Street established a new franchise for the company and enabled an expansion that would lead to decades of important…  Read more

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Wroc and Roll: 5th American Film Festival, Poland

Bronx Obama Bronx Obama

Recently announced as a European Capital of Culture for 2016, the picturesque western Polish city of Wroclaw (actually pronounced Vrotz-wav, thus rendering the title pun sadly unworkable) welcomed an extremely distinguished guest for its fifth annual American Film Festival: none other than flying POTUS Barack Obama. Well, it seemed so for a moment, but appearances can be deceptive. A closer look revealed the man to be Louis Ortiz, top Barack-alike and star of Ryan Murdock’s enjoyable Bronx Obama, which screened as part of the festival’s documentary slate. The personable Ortiz’s social ubiquity made for a pleasingly incongruous addition to a festival which, to many, might sound precisely that. “Why is there an American Film Festival in Poland?” I was asked…  Read more

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They Shouldn’t Have Killed his Dog: John Wick

Keanu Reeves and canine friend in John Wick Keanu Reeves and canine friend in John Wick

John Wick‘s primary premise is lots of well-crafted action delivered by veteran stuntpeople-turned-directors finally given free rein to make sure their work is optimally served. Co-directors David Leith and Chad Stahelski deliver on this front: it doesn’t take much time before retired hitman Wick (Keanu Reeves) is sufficiently angered to leave his New Jersey pad, head into NYC (more inferred than seen) and unleash mayhem in a hotel, club and church. No one is going to confuse 50-year-old Keanu Reeves for prime Jet Li, but he’s more than credible in walking through each point of contact and delivering body blows. The camera and editing maintain spatial coherence at all time, with no juddery shaky-cam to obscure motion. My praise stops…  Read more

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Watch: Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th on The Arsenio Hall Show

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“The term ‘deranged sociopath’ gets thrown around a lot by the media these days,” Arsenio Hall said in 1989 when introducing Jason Voorhees on his show, “but it really applies to my next guest.” This was the year of Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, and a peak-of-his-popularity Jason came out to a nice round of applause. Then he sat down and sat behind his expressionless mask barely moving while Arsenio fired off a barrage of questions to the silent hulk. “I see all your movies man, and you know what I’ve noticed?” No response. “You’re angry.” It’s good TV for lighter Halloween fare.

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Watch: Visualizing Character Choice in Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer Snowpiercer

“How do you show character choice,” wonders Tony Zhou in this abridged version of his popular “Every Frame a Painting” essay series. Void of melodramatic “there’s no turning back” declarations, Zhou points towards Snowpiercer as a film that is constantly conveying its protagonists’ decision making process through right and left camera looks. Just as effective, if not a touch more subtle than its vocalized counterpart. Be forewarned: massive spoilers ahead.

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Filmmaking

Reed Morano Reed Morano

Cinematographer Reed Morano on the Fight Against TV’s “Smooth Motion” Setting

“Stop motion interpolation!” is the call on a Change.org petition urging TV manufacturers to disable the default “smooth motion” setting on new televisions. As the petition explains, “Motion Interpolation was an effect that was created to reduce motion blur on HDTVs but a very unfortunate…  Read more

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Oct 28, 2014

Festivals & Events

Boyhood Boyhood

Boyhood, Birdman, CITIZENFOUR, and More Receive 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards

Nominees were announced this morning for the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP, with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood receiving the most nominations, including Best Picture. Birdman received two awards, including Best Director (for Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and Best Actor (Michael Keaton). The Best Picture…  Read more

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on Oct 23, 2014

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