“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.
“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.
Here’s a clip from A.J. Edwards’ feature debut, The Better Angels, which opens November 7th. Edwards has been part of the Terrence Malick team since 2005, when he was an editorial intern on The New World and camera operator for the making of, and critics haven’t been slow to pick up on his mentor’s voice inflecting his feature debut. The Better Angels focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s childhood years, and in this clip you can see Malick’s influence in about five seconds: the Steadicam camera tracks relentlessly through the forest as young Abe arrives at his new log cabin home in the woods. (No voiceover though.)
The nice thing about Gregg Araki’s movies is that he genuinely believes that teen horniness is not a crime: not for him Larry Clark’s pseudo-alarmed prurience or a Lifetime movie’s worth of dire consequences trailing teen sexuality. White Bird in a Blizzard‘s narrator/not-quite-heroine Kat Connors (Shaleine Woodley) is in the midst of an inexplicably celibate stretch in a hormonally-drenched first sexual relationship with neighbor Phil (Shiloh Fernandez) when her mother Eve (Eva Green) mysteriously disappears. Kat’s sexuality contributes neither to unearned guilt or poor decisions, and her relationship with the older investigating detective Scieziesciez (Thomas Jane) is never a source of trouble; the coming-of-age and mystery plotlines coexist, seemingly without many reverberations between the two until the very end. Bluntly… Read more
“Lenses are extremely delicate and have to be handled carefully, just like they are alive,” a Fuji factory worker says in this video from the company that will walk you through the entire process of making XF series lenses. All the steps are briefly touched upon, from mold pressing to coating, lens barrel processing, surface finishing, assembling, measuring, engraving, and finally packaging and shipping. Process and gear junkies, this one’s for you.
“The best thing we can do as a film industry is make sure that investors earn risk appropriate returns on their money. We need to create a sustainable investor class,” explains Ted Hope in this video interview with Film Courage. In recent years, Hope has shied away from producing as a career, doing it purely out of love for the filmmaker while paying the bills as CEO of Fandor. In order to return to the trade full-time, he’d need for there to be guaranteed returns on investments, as it traditionally goes in the realm of startups and finance. The issue, of course, is that independent filmmaking has always been a risky business. There are next to no guarantees on the… Read more
According to the Institutional Theory of Art, a work becomes Art only after it has been validated by institutions and other taste maintainers (festivals, exhibitions, etc.). Given that Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest film, Winter Sleep, earned him the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, you could build a case that, officially anyway, his was the best of the 2014 harvest. Now MoMA is hosting a complete retrospective October 29-November 5 of his relatively small body of work (seven features, one short). Nuri Bilge Ceylan (pronounced “noo-ree beel-gyeh jay-lan”) will be present to introduce Winter Sleep and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the latter having won Cannes’ Grand Jury Prize (the second best film of 2011?), as had… Read more
“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
I am at Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice during my very first trip to Los Angeles, feeling appropriately like a Lost Angel. My close friend Marjon has fled New York, not for beachy weekends but for a career opportunity. With our trendy Intelligentsia coffees in… Read more
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
Gone Girl marks d.p. Jeff Cronenweth’s fourth feature film collaboration with David Fincher, a stretch that began with Fight Club in 1999 and has continued through The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (He also worked 2nd and 3rd unit on Se7en… Read more