Archive for the ‘Bookmarks’ Category

  • Sunday Bookmarks

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    • Errol Morris’s continuing series of Microdocs for the NYT: Eating Champion ‘El Wingador’
      “El Wingador is a man truly committed to a certain kind of excellence — or at least, a certain kind of excess. Sure, I could have picked a different eating champion, but I guess I have an affinity for chicken. It is evident that chicken is his favorite competition food — particularly chicken wings. I asked him, “Why not hot dogs?” The simple and compelling answer: “Hey, my name is ‘El Wingador,’ not ‘El Hotdogador.’ ” A New Jersey native, he is the five-time champion of the Wing Bowl and has come out of retirement to compete once again this year.”
    • Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi: Why Digital is Far Superior to Film

      Gamble on Celluloid vs. Digital in the projection booth: “Cinephiles cry out about the loss of film citing the lower picture quality and the dangerous precedent set on the levels of their oh so precious film grain, but frankly, after being in the film exhibition business (i.e. movie theatres, for those unencumbered by the burden of industry jargon) for over a decade, I see digital as a welcome upgrade. And in some instances, a god damn savior. Here’s why.”
    • Wolves in Sheep Clothing (Genre as Sartorial Satire): Robin Hardy talks the Legacy of The Wicker Man the Timing of The Wicker Tree, and 40 years of History
      While The Wicker Tree got only the tiniest of Theatrical releases from Anchor Bay last week, here is Kurt Halfyard and Michael Guillen in a lengthy (over an hour) conversation with director Robin Hardy, who is not shy with his opinions on the world and politics.
    • John Anderson sits down for a chat with the legendary Douglas Trumbull
      “When the special-effects whiz and director Douglas Trumbull receives a special Oscar on Saturday — the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for filmmakers “whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry” — it could be taken as a valedictory tribute, the cap on a career that began with Stanley Kubrick and “2001: A Space Odyssey” and includes a best-picture nominee this year, “The Tree of Life.” But Mr. Trumbull, 69, is hardly finished with his contributions.”
    • Josh Fox Arrested on Capitol Hill While Filming ‘Gasland’ Sequel
      “According to Politico, Fox was led out in handcuffs before the hearing began while shouting, “I’m within my First Amendment rights, and I’m being taken out.” Fox’s “Gasland” took on oil and gas companies for their policy of using hydraulic fracturing to obtain fuel from underneath layers of otherwise unpenetrable rock. The process has been accused of contaminating drinking water in rural mid-Atlantic towns, and Fox’s film is famous for showing residents set fire to the water coming out of their kitchen sinks. He was in the Capitol shooting a follow-up.”
    • Cafe de Flore comes out on DVD in a couple weeks, here is Joseph Belanger talking to Jean-Marc Vallée
      “While I flat out refuse to divulge what exactly the connection is between these vastly different plots, I will say that a simple song connects them on screen and that song also served as the filmmaker’s inspiration for the entire film. The name of that song? Why, “Café de flore”, of course. When he first heard the Doctor Rockit song, Vallée thought, “It’s so epic. I’m going to make a film with this track.” And so the movie is built around this song as well as a general appreciation for music itself. This aspect of the film is the director’s most autobiographical. “Music makes me feel so good, makes me feel alive, makes me dream, makes me want to make movies,” Vallée asserts right before he starts humming the catchy accordion hook from the film’s title track to me.”
    • The Hulk Persona writes (shouts) an open letter to NBC on the necessity for saving COMMUNITY
      “WE SOMETIMES FORGET THAT PART. BRANDS, NETWORKS, AND INDIVIDUAL SHOWS HAVE AN ETHEREAL, YET INESCAPABLY-PRESENT CACHET. AS MUCH AS SOME NETWORKS SEEM TO BE AT ODDS WITH THIS CONCEPT AT TIMES, THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TRYING TO CREATE AN IDENTITY. SO OF COURSE IT MATTERS. BUT WHY IS NETWORK IDENTITY SO NECESSARY? FOR LONG-TERM BUSINESS EFFECTS, OF COURSE. HECK, BRAND IDENTITY IS THE ONE THING THAT A NETWORK CAN RELY ON IN THE EVER-CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF TELEVISION.”
  • The Good Dr. Bordwell on the Nature of the SPOILER and our historic quasi-acceptance of it.

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    Everyone seems to have a different idea of what constitutes a *SPOILER* in terms of a book or o movie. There is a lot of nuance in what is enticing to watch a film, and what spoils the fun. Many people say, “I enjoyed that movie so much because I walked in totally blind to what it was!” On the flip side of things, the films of Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Federico Fellini, Michael Haneke, and many more become more enjoyable after multiple viewings.

    Impasse!

    David Bordwell (with Kristen Thompson) discusses Spoilers in Film and the old form of distribution makes this an even more complicated argument in light of cinema history. Well worth a read!

    Who doesn’t come to Casablanca knowing about “Here’s looking at you, kid,” or “Play it, Sam,” or “Round up the usual suspects”? You likely saw the ending of King Kong in compilation films before you saw the whole movie, yet you probably still watch it with enjoyment. I saw Potemkin’s Odessa Steps sequence many times, on an 8mm reel I bought as a kid, before I saw the whole movie. I still enjoy Potemkin, possibly more than many who see it for the first time. Yet people complain about trailers that tell too much, and critics who give plot twists away. Accordingly, it’s been a convention of fan and Net writing that if you’re going to give away major story information, you alert readers with the word “spoiler.”

    Surely people want to know something about a film’s story. Viewers clamored for the most basic information about Super 8. And evidently many moviegoers would feel less disgruntled about The Tree of Life if they had known in advance a little bit more about what they would encounter. It seems we want to know about the story’s basic situation, but not too much about how things develop. Say: bits from the first half-hour or so, up to the beginning of the Second Act (or what Kristin calls the Complicating Action). Beyond that, we want things kept quiet. Above all: Don’t tell the how things turn out in the end.

    Also, see Jim Emerson on the subject (linked within the above article and here as well)

  • Sunday Bookmarks: Terrence Malick Edition

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    Yes, these Bookmarks posts have been rather sparse for the past couple weeks, and yes, they will return to normal, soon. But for now, this series by Matt Zoller Seitz on the filmography of Terrence Malick, ALL THINGS SHINING. I’ve always enjoyed these pieces that Seitz puts together for the Museum of the Moving Image, but here he has outdone himself by an aesthetic that treats the editing and construction of the multiple essays in a similar vein as to Malick builds his films. Lots of insight and a gorgeous precis of imagery of the Malick’s filmography which are a (fully intentional) lead-in to the culmination of Malick’s career, Tree of Life (Kurt’s Review). Currently the series is up to the first half of The New World, with presumably one more episode for the directors Pocahontas tale and possibly a pair for Tree of Life (I’m not sure about this however, it takes a long while to properly process these films, and Tree of Life most of all.)

    All current episodes are tucked under the seat.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Sunday Bookmarks (April 25-May 1)

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    • LionsGate Will Run Scenic Tours to The Cabin in the Woods
      “When MGM’s financial standing temporarily went to the great balance sheet in the sky, the two biggest projects that were left standing like children in a Charles Dickens novel were the Red Dawn remake and The Cabin in the Woods, a reportedly smart horror film directed by Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon.”
    • Quentin Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western Script?
      “At this point we cannot confirm whether this has anything to do with recent rumors that this might be Quentin’s “southern” or if it is a “real” spaghetti western or anything else. ”
    • Will Ender’s Game make a good film franchise?
      “Summit Entertainment announced last week that they’ve obtained the rights to Ender’s Game with the intent to create another youth-driven series. The production company has recently been very successful with their youth-driven Twilight Saga, and is beginning work on The Hunger Games, which is based on a series of novels in the same vein as Twilight … There are a few problems with Summit’s plan. First is the quality of films that summit has been producing.”
    • The House Next Door Conversations: Wong Kar Wai
      “When did everything start to have an expiration date?” That’s a question posed by a lovelorn cop in Wong Kar-Wai’s 1994 film Chungking Express, and in a sense that line is a snapshot of what Wong’s films are all about. In the 20 years and change that Wong has been directing, he’s developed several signature flourishes that make his films instantly recognizable—from his striking use of deep, rich colors, to his affinity for repetitive musical sequences, to his judicious use of slow motion for emotional effect, and many more—but at the core of Wong’s filmography is an acute awareness of passing time and a palpable yearning for things just out of reach. “
    • ‘Every’ Werner Herzog Documentary Ranked from Worst to Best
      “The new film by legendary director Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, comes out this Friday. In tribute, we asked Jay Cheel, the Herzog-obsessed founder of The Documentary Blog, to rank Herzog’s twelve feature documentaries. Be sure to also check out Jay’s own new film, Beauty Day, a fascinating documentary look at a very Herzogian subject. Here are his picks for Herzog’s documentaries, from worst to best”

     
     

    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

     

  • Sunday Bookmarks (April 18-23)

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    • “Film Critic Elvis Mitchell axed from Movieline
      Nikki Finke, who works for Jay Penske, who publishes Deadline and Movieline and hired Mitchell, posted one explanation for why he was fired. For cause, apparently, for an error in his Source Code review. She infers that Mitchell may not have seen the movie, and slipped a reference to something from its screenplay into the review. Several people report seeing Mitchell at a Source Code screening. Sloppy is more Mitchell’s style. More than one of his editors complain about what a pain it was to edit him, especially at The New York Times. He was a much better fit at the LA Weekly.”
    • Ayn Rand’s New Religion for the Righteous
      “John Kenneth Galbraith famously said that “the modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” That exercise may have reached its limits with the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which has become the bible of conservative economic “wisdom” in our time. How did the work of a pro-abortion atheist become so popular with the culture warriors of the right? How do you get people who want to strip Darwin from the classroom to enforce Darwin on the unemployed? How does a book that inspired Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible wind up on the lips of evangelical Christians waiting in line at the box office?”
    • Blade Runner and Following The Rules
      Rule-following is an extremely powerful technique for manipulating things. Psychology is a form of science that identifies the rules in obedience to which human beings act. Those rules are identified by watching human beings and noting the constancy with which some effect follows some other cause. A human being who experiences something unpleasant will try to avoid it. That is a simple rule. These rules can be applied in reverse. An example is found in movies. An unpleasant or frightening situation can be created by forcing a human being to avoid something. This is why the image of a closed door is frightening in a horror movie. The door obstructs the human being’s view of what is beyond it, and this forced avoidance creates an unpleasant experience of anxiety. By exploiting a simple rule, the person making a film can create an experience in the human being who watches it.” (Thanks Matt Brown for the heads up on this one)
    • Is the video-on-demand business bad for Hollywood?
      “Make no mistake: History has shown that price points cannot be maintained in the home video window. What sells for $30-a-viewing today could be blown out for $9.99 within a few years. If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Some theaters will close. The competition for those screens that remain will become that much more intense, foreclosing all but the most commercial movies from theatrical release. Specialty films whose success depends on platform releases that slowly build in awareness would be severely threatened under this new model. Careers that are built on the risks that can be taken with lower budget films may never have the chance to blossom under this cut-throat new model. Further, releasing a pristine, digital copy of new movies early to the home will only increase the piracy problem—not solve it.”
    • Filmmaker Jim Mickle Offers a New Take on Vampires
      “Perhaps it is this unusual collection of sources that gives the film its unique flavor, but it’s no accident that “Stake Land” approaches traditional components of vampire and post-apocalyptic films in a new way. Mickle and Damici made a point to focus on humanity over the unhuman.”

     
     

    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

     

  • Sunday Bookmarks (Super Double Digest) – April 2-17

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    • Sidney Lumet: Urban Realist With a Humanist Streak
      “In the history of American movie realism, you might place Mr. Lumet between Elia Kazan and Martin Scorsese. To some extent, this is a matter of chronological happenstance: Kazan was born in 1909, Mr. Lumet in 1924 and Mr. Scorsese in 1942. Mr. Lumet’s career overlapped with both of theirs. Mr. Lumet and Mr. Scorsese in particular were professional contemporaries. They both seem to belong to, and to have defined, the 1970s — the era of “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network” and also of “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver.” But the differences between those studies in urban dysfunction and modern existential woe are not just temperamental or stylistic. They are generational as well. The city in Mr. Scorsese’s early films is one from which hope has largely fled, and in which heroism and nihilism are for the most part indistinguishable. Johnny Boy, the character played by Robert De Niro in “Mean Streets,” represents an anarchic, disruptive criminality unconstrained by the codes and customs of organized crime. The vigilantism of Mr. De Niro’s Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver,” is, if anything, even more pathological: his idea of justice is paranoid, apocalyptic and bloody, and it may be the only justice the city has to offer.”
    • Time To Put Away Childish Things: Is 2011 The Year Grown-Ups Started Buying Movie Tickets Again?
      “And yet there have been some minor box-office success stories, and they’ve all been in within the confines of the kind of film that’s supposedly not being made any more—those mid-budget, adult-aimed movies. “The Adjustment Bureau,” a tricky grown-up concoction of sci-fi and romance, marketed mostly on the back of star Matt Damon, who outside of the ‘Bourne’ movies rarely toplines blockbusters on his own, is now closing on $100 million worldwide, nearly doubling its production budget. “The Lincoln Lawyer” turned out, against expectations, to be a solid, old-fashioned programmer, and has shown real box office legs, dropping less than any other film in the top 10 for two consecutive weeks, while “Limitless” is doing even better, bringing in close to $60 million in three weeks, on a budget of slightly over $25 million. ”
    • 10 Movies That Remind Us There’s Potential in the Spoof
      A run-down of ten great movies that prove spoofs don’t have to be bottom-of-the-barrel “entertainment” like the endless series of Epic Movies and Date Movies and Disaster Movies suggest. Seems the common thread is a deep love and appreciation for the thing being spoofed. I’d also include Black Dynamite, most other Mel Brooks movies, the Christopher guest mockumentaries, and the rest of Edgar Wright’s oeuvre.
    • Why are Christian movies so awful?
      “I won’t even pretend that “Soul Surfer” is the worst film I’ll see this month, since it lacks the overarching, high-concept horribleness of something like “Your Highness.” But it’s a trite, sentimental puddle of sub-Hollywood mush, with mediocre photography, weak special effects and an utterly formulaic script that somehow required seven (!) credited writers. Believe me, I have learned, over and over again, that ordinary moviegoers, a lot of the time, want to see a story that’s positive, predictable and not all that challenging, but even measured on that yardstick this one is pretty awful. Even Arends of Christianity Today, who is eager to praise the film but too principled to be dishonest, admits that the writers offer up “some not-quite satisfying resolutions about God’s plans in the face of tragedy.” Robb and Quaid are OK, after the fashion of TV-drama acting, but Helen Hunt is severely miscast as Bethany’s worrywart mom and Carrie Underwood is embarrassingly weak. ”
    • No Comment from James Rocchi
      “Commenting is supposed to be the vital lifeblood of the web, the straw that stirs the drink of conversation, the lively salon of ideas in the public sphere. But, really, it isn’t, any more than prison is an exciting social milieu full of new occasions. One time out of a hundred, a comment is interesting — a civil contribution, a brilliant counter-argument, a salient fact, a pertinent point. The other 99 times?”
    • What movies get wrong about childbirth
      “Of all the medical myths perpetrated by TV and film, giving birth ranks near the top. Take this scene from “Knocked Up” (parental guidance seriously suggested), in which the delivery of a child looks more like an exorcism. Those of us who have been through a delivery, either as a parent or as a doctor, know scenes like these (or these) are gross caricatures. The goal of childbirth isn’t to scream at the top of your lungs. Rather, it’s to focus that energy down on the pelvis to push the baby out, instead of wasting it contorting your body and castigating your partner. Despite this, a quick scan of maternal message boards shows there is no shortage of women with questions about whether all that screaming, cursing and writhing is normal.”
    • X-Men First Class – Superlative Faux Title Sequence (VIDEO)
      A well executed title sequence for the upcoming X-Men prequel (Link goes to fan-made Video)
    • Anita Sarkeesian on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
      “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a term coined by Nathan Rabin to describe the female character whose written to help the usually white, and definitely straight male hero loosen up and enjoy life. Rabin writes, “That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a supporting character used to further the storyline of the male hero. She really has no life of her own, she has no family or interests or much of job that we ever see. She is as the AVclub describes, “On hand to lift a gloomy male protagonist out of the doldrums, not to pursue her own happiness.” ”
    • Hot Docs 2011 Preview, Part 1
      “Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival and it’s coming up on April 28th with a terrific lineup of close to 200 films. For 2011, Hot Docs has decided to expand and will be showing movies in new neighbourhoods, with venues like The Revue (Roncesvalles) and the Fox Theatre (The Beaches) in the mix. This year, programmers have booked us a profile of Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig’s career, a spotlight on Italian works, and a set called B-Sides of overlooked and underappreciated docs. Got your picks sorted out yet? A bunch of us here got an early peek at some of the docs screening in this year’s festival, and we’ll be rounding up our best bets in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at some of the docs we’ve seen so far. ”
    • Just Write it, George
      “George R.R. Martin’s inability to finish his own Series which is now an HBO mini is explored in detail: “In the six years since, some of Martin’s fans have grown exceedingly restless. The same blogging culture that allows a fantasy writer like Neil Gaiman to foster a sense of intimacy with his readers can also expose an author to relentless scrutiny when they become discontented. Fans desperate to find out what happened to Martin characters like Tyrion Lannister—a smart, cynical dwarf born into one of the most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms—found it irksome to check Martin’s Web site for updates about the series’ fifth book, “A Dance with Dragons,” and find instead postings about sports or politics. They began to complain in the comments section of Martin’s blog and on Westeros.org.”
    • 9 Breakthroughs in Cinematic Technology That Came and Went
      “At this year’s CinemaCon, the tech-centric director couldn’t shut up about 3D, faster frame rates and improved camera systems while everyone around him was salivating for a detail or two on his plans for the Avatar sequels. Forget that — there are shutter speeds to be discussed! We’re all about Peter Jackson hyping The Hobbit shooting 48 fps on RED digital 3D and legendary effects guru Douglas Trumbull heading back to directing with a tech-first approach, but at some point, isn’t the equipment standing in the way of great storytelling? We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to these three men, but whether any of their advancements are really “the future of movies,” won’t be known for a few years. Unfortunately, just because you’re brilliant and you say something is awesome…doesn’t mean it’s awesome. Here’s a look back at some of the other “game-changing” inventions that were supposed to change the way we watch movies, but never really picked up steam. ”

     
     

    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

     

  • Sunday Bookmarks – March 28 – April Fools Day

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    • C.H.U.D. goes to the The Criterion Collection (NOT)
      Criterion’s April Fools Day joke, may actually piss a few of the fans of that film off. I never looked to see if the website, Cinematic Happenings Under Development was miffed by this one, but either way, well played Criterion. Well played.
    • Pixar’s full length feature, Totoro (NOT)
      A well executed April Fools Day prank designed to get Ghibli fans and fanboys up in arms, especially on the heels of the bafflingly awful-looking Cars sequel that they actually went out and made. I may be the only one that would rather see Pixar take a stab at something like Totoro than churn out DTV-looking sequels.
    • Slash and Earn: The Blood-Soaked Rise of South Korean Cinema
      So why is it that such gory stories of vengeance have become – to western eyes at least – the dominant feature of Korean cinema? Kim himself contributed to the genre in 2005 with A Bittersweet Life, and there’s Park Chan-wook’s phenomenal revenge trilogy (Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Lady Vengeance and Oldboy); and, though they’re not driven at their cores by revenge, it would be foolish to disregard the baroque bloodletting of films like Lee Myung-se’s Nowhere to Hide and Na Hong-jin’s The Chaser.
    • The Toronto Star gives TIFF Lightbox its six month Check-up
      “That’s close to six months, so we should be on target for somewhere between 600,000 to 700,000 admissions for the full year because, obviously, during TIFF we’ll have a lot of people coming in over the 10 days. That figure will spike. It will only get stronger.” Besides TIFF, the Lightbox will also be home this year for the first time for the Sprockets and Hot Docs festivals.”
    • Capture the Flag (A Canadian’s take on Americanism in Film)
      The Mad Hatter continues his thoughts on Saving Private Ryan and extrapolates to odd moments of patriotism in American Cinema. And gets a lively and stimulating comments section to (a)boot. “The direct culprit that rekindled this position is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Remember? The film I love that I was praising just seven days ago? In that post I left one thing out, the detail of the film that has always bugged me: the core story of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN – one of heroism, sacrifice, duty, and honour – is a universal story. It speaks to all of us in the west who live with the freedoms that we do. However for Spielberg, the core story needed to be more direct…it had to be specifically American. Thus the film begins and ends with that faded shot of the flag, and we pause after the opening act to take the whole story back to the homefront.”

     
     

    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

     

  • Sunday Bookmarks: March 21-27

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    • Technicolor Commentary high-lights some of the better NON-spoiler teasers and trailers
      Over the course of doing my “Diagnosis:Film” posts, I’ve seen quite a few movies. And by that I just mean I’ve seen their fully-spoilerific trailers. It seems like these days a trailer needs to give you every beat from the upcoming film, and it needs to spoil almost anything that might have dragged your butt into your local multiplex. The first example that comes to mind is the Iron Man 2 trailer, which shows perhaps the only awesome scene in the movie in which Tony Stark pulls out a travel-sized Iron Man suit and uses it to kick Mickey Rourke’s (played by Mickey Rourke) ass. Wouldn’t that have been quite the pleasant surprise? You expect to get your standard Iron Man action, but this blindsides you out of nowhere.
    • Being BRUNT with Rutger Hauer on Hobo with A Shotgun
      What do you say when the iconic, now gravelly, voice of Roy Batty, John Ryder, and the host of quiet, menacing figures, comes on the other end of the line? Well, Rutger Hauer was gracious enough to give me a few moments of his time, being half-way across the world, post SXSW as Hobo With A Shotgun is about to land into Canadian cinemas, nationwide.
    • Another Day: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
      Subsequent viewings of SPR have helped allow perspective and context to seep in, and made me consider things I didn’t at first. Specifically, I have begun to look at much of what happens beyond those intense opening twenty-five minutes, and as such I might have even found the real core of the film…and it rests on two characters: Reiben and Upham
    • Top 10 Worst Blockbusters in Recent History
      While we try to remain positive here at RowThree, sometimes it’s too much fun to bash things over the proverbial head – especially some of the big guys. Any of these titles that you’d actually care to defend? I myself (Andrew) personally kind of like Twister. The rest of these… yeah, pretty bad.
    • Is this the world’s worst wedding video? Cameraman who filmed backs of heads, grass and people who weren’t even attending ordered to pay compensation
      When Martin and Heidi Shubrook sat down and watched their wedding video they were moved to tears. But instead of tears of joy they couple were left weeping in despair over the disastrous coverage of the big event. Footage of them cutting the cake and signing the register was replaced with video showing guests’ feet, grass and some people who had not even attended the wedding.
    • Certified Copy: How can you be in two spaces at once…?
      “What I like most about Abbas Kiarostami’s CERTIFIED COPY is its slipperiness. The Tuscan textures are ravishing (it takes place over the course of an afternoon in and around the village of Lucignano — or does it?), Juliette Binoche and William Shimell are easy on they eyes and ears (good thing, too, since the movie is practically one long conversation — or is it?), but for me the most enjoyable thing about it is the way the story and characters keep subtly (and not-so-subtly) shifting, refusing to be pinned down. [...] as Michael Sicinsky observes [...]: ‘CERTIFIED COPY operates almost in reverse of most thematically inclined works of art, which plunge us into a falsely desultory universe and gradually reveal their master interpretive passkey. Kiarostami’s film presents a concept, fully formed and cogent, and allows the rest of the film to set to work on that concept, breaking it into Heisenbergian particles, then bringing it back into solid shape, and on and on.’”
    • Homemade Palisades Muppet Theatre
      Check out this very enthusiastic Muppets fan an his hommade Set to showcase the Palisades Muppets figurines. It is insanely well crafted.

     
     

    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

     

  • Sunday Bookmarks: March 14-20

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    • Why see ‘Don’t Look Now’?
      Coming to BluRay and rep screenings in the UK: “In hindsight, ‘Don’t Look Now’ is the perfect mixture of Roeg’s abilities as a teller of mysterious stories and as one of the most accomplished cinematic stylists ever to peep through a viewfinder. The film smashes up chronology and pieces it back together in a deviously strange order, so we get constant hints and suggestions of dark events to come. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are utterly convincing as the central couple who flee to Venice to retain a focus on their messed-up lives.”
    • Notes on Charlie Sheen and the End of Empire
      “No, what this moment is about is Charlie Sheen solo. It’s about a well-earned mid-life crisis played out on Sheen’s Korner instead of in a life coach’s office somewhere in Burbank. The mid-life crisis is the moment in a man’s life when you realize you can’t (won’t) maintain the pose that you thought was required of you any longer—you’re older and you have a different view of life and this is when the bitterness and acceptance blooms. Tom Cruise had a similar meltdown at the same age in the summer of 2005, but his was more politely manufactured (and, of course, he was never known as an addict). Cruise had his breakdown while smiling and he couldn’t get loose, he couldn’t be natural about it. He’s always essentially been the good boy who can’t say “Fuck You” the way Sheen can.”
    • An Interview with Greta Gerwig at SxSW
      Greta Gerwig is no stranger to SXSW. Her new film, “The Dish & the Spoon,” marks the sixth time she has had a movie in the festival in an film career that has stretched the same number of years. This new film, directed by Alison Bagnall, about a woman and a young man (Olly Alexander) who bond during a tumultuous time in their lives. Ms. Gerwig’s acting style, which A.O. Scott lauded for its “apparent absence of any method,” is employed in this intimate, primarily two-character study.
    • Bernardo Bertolucci has a 3D Project
      “Cult Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci said in an interview for his 70th birthday on Wednesday that he will be making his first 3D film this year saying it was like riding on a “flying carpet” [...] “I want to use 3D in a different way from what we have seen in films like ‘Avatar’ or other films characterised by special effects,” he said.”
    • Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?
      With the production of David Fincher/Kevin Space HBO-styled TV DRAMA, It looks like a new strategy is here. In the great tradition of the network and cable game, make themselves a “must carry.” I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the bidding for hockey or trying to make a deal to stream Major League Baseball or something like that before long. If they are going this way, no one show “airing” 13 times a year is going to keep customers paying $8 or more a month. If Netflix becomes a thrift shop, with content here and there and everywhere, the churn will get worse [...] This choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.”
    • Zediva – A Clever End Run Around the Movie-Streaming Gremlins
      “It lets you listen to the director’s commentary, turn on subtitles and change languages. It lets you enjoy your movie for two weeks instead of 24 hours, starting and stopping at will. It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out. It sidesteps any meddling by the movie companies, HBO contracts and studio lawyers. And here’s the best news of all — are you sitting down on your favorite movie couch? The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy. Zediva’s secret is so outrageous, you may think it’s an early April Fool’s prank. But it’s no joke.”
    • Is Matthew McConaughey Really Shirtless in Every Movie?
      “Conventional wisdom likes to assume that Matthew McConaughey has taken his shirt off in every single one of his movies. True, McConaughey is not shy when it comes to going bare chested on-screen and in public, but is he really sans shirt in every one of his movies?” Yes, Movieline actually checks out each and every one of them to be sure.

     
     

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  • Sunday Bookmarks: March 7-13

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    • An Apology for Roger Ebert
      “Here’s what the late Pauline Kael wrote about the relationship between movies and art. Listen carefully. “There is so much talk now about the art of the film that we may be in danger of forgetting that most of the movies we enjoy are not works of art … Movies are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” So, here we have two of the world’s most highly-regarded film critics, sadly assuring us that most movies are not great art. Defining “great art” apparently isn’t enough. We also have to figure out how to distinguish great art from trash.”
    • The Digital Restoration of Taxi Driver
      Sony’s Grover Crisp understands the science and art of film restoration as well as anyone working in Hollywood today. As the Senior VP for Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering for Sony Pictures Entertainment, he’s personally supervised scores of great film restoration efforts for the studio – both physical and digital – including such classics as The Bridge on the River Kwai and Jason and the Argonauts. Most recently, Crisp and his team have completed an effort to restore and preserve director Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed 1976 drama Taxi Driver.
    • The Ashtray: The Ultimatum
      A Five Part Essay from Errol Morris details an autobiographical narrative on meaning, truth, intolerance and flying ashtrays. Essential Reading.
    • Quentin Tarantino sues neighbour over ‘blood-curdling’ noise of pet birds
      Although the defendants “know that their birds issue blood-curdling, prehistoric sounding screams, they do not maintain the macaws in their residence, but place them in an outdoor aviary,” the suit goes on. “Though one might assume that, as a fellow writer, Mr Ball would understand and respect a writer’s need for peace and quiet while he is working, that assumption would be wrong.” No word yet from either Mr Ball or his partner. The macaws, we imagine, have already had plenty to say.
    • Incendies edges Barney’s Version at Genie Awards – Captain Kirk presides over ‘Canadian Oscars’
      Incendies, a searing drama about a devastating family secret, won the top filmmaking prizes at the Genie Awards Thursday night, including Best Motion Picture, while Barney’s Version dominated the acting awards, although none of the trio of winning American stars showed up to claim their Canadian statuettes. Host William Shatner, tieless and casually dressed in a dark suit and open-necked shirt, strode through the audience to the stage at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and dryly announced: “I’m Canadian icon William Shatner.” He then kicked off his monologue with a slapshot to Oscar’s head for last month’s telecast bomb courtesy of hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. “I’m so thrilled to be here,” Shatner said. “In fact I’m lucky to be here because they wanted a host that appealed to a younger audience. Then they watched the Oscars.”

     
     

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  • Sunday Bookmarks (Double Digest: Feb. 21-Mar. 6)

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    • The Sitges Festival And Director Angel Sala Charged with EXHIBITION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY for Screening A SERBIAN FILM
      “A Serbian Film is shocking and extreme cinema and designed to be so. But child porn? That is absolutely ridiculous – the scene that tends to get people worked up occurring entirely offscreen with the violence implied and not actually depicted – and I can only hope that the courts recognize it as such and throw the case out.”
    • Process of Blockbuster Sale objected to by Disney, Universal, landlords, U.S. trustee and others
      Other studios that have said in court documents they are owed millions of dollars for products shipped since September include Universal, 20th Century Fox and Summit Entertainment. Several of the objecting parties, including the U.S. trustee, argued in court papers that instead of seeking a buyer, Blockbuster should be forced into Chapter 7, a liquidation of all its assets. That would mark a dramatic end to a company that less than a decade ago dominated the U.S. DVD and VHS rental market.
    • 52 Most Iconic Use of Pop Songs in Movies
      Who hasn’t heard a familiar pop song on the radio only to be transported back to the film that featured it? You probably never even paid a second thought, let alone liked that particular song before it became associated with that cinematic sequence. Yet, it was such a perfect complement to that one moment in the movie that you now know the lyrics by heart. In honor to that fleeting but powerful connection between music and film, we count down 52 of the most iconic pop songs in movies.
    • If There Were an Oscar for Film Titles
      Saul Bass on Film Titles: “My initial thoughts about what a title can do was to set mood and the prime underlying core of the film’s story, to express the story in some metaphorical way. I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would have an emotional resonance with it.”
    • A History of Choose Your Own Adventure
      From the start, the books were full of innovative page hacks. Readers would be trapped in the occasional time loop, forced to flip back and forth between two pages. Most memorable was Inside UFO 54-40, a book in which the most desired outcome, discovering the Planet Ultima, could only be achieved by readers who cheated and flipped through the book until they reached the page on their own. At that point, the book congratulated the reader for breaking the rules.
    • Playing With the Truth: Film in 2010
      AIf I were to ask you to imagine the sinking of the Titanic, what images come to your mind? What about Roman gladiator fighting in the Colosseum? What do you picture when you think of John Smith and Pocahontas, or the Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco, or the fate of United Flight 93, or the storming of Omaha Beach on D-Day? You see where I’m going with this: for many people, films based on true events serve as the primary influence on the subconscious in remembering or imagining those events.
    • The Best Picture Nominees And Their Video Games Counterparts
      Welcome to our very own version of the Academy Awards, where we’ve paired a recent game with the same dramatic aspirations, themes, or capital D drama as each of the ten best picture nominees. We’ve also picked an Oscar-worthy scene from each, proving once and for all that games belong on the red carpet as much as the next sighing starlet.

     
     

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  • Sunday Bookmarks (Feb. 14-20)

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    • True Grit Cinematographer Roger Deakins Talks About His “Shot of the Year”
      Deakins is a cinematographer’s cinematographer—the type who writes detailed responses on super fans’ discussion boards, sharing technical specs (“a 1K pup [without a lens] and two Tweenies coming through the window”), giving credit when it’s due (“Nancy Haig and I tested a number of blind samples”), and dishing personal advice (“Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”). He isn’t driven by praise—just the desire to tell a great story. “When I read a script, I think about the development of the characters—I don’t really think about the visuals. Generally, when you read a script that Joel and Ethan have written, it seems very obvious what it should look like,” says Deakins, which may make him the only person in Hollywood who finds the notoriously uncommunicative Coen brothers completely transparent.
    • The Art of the False Comparison; or, Why Freddy Got Fingered is Better Than Touch of Evil
      We all know how false comparisons work. Everybody has a number of movies they like that (most, or many) other people don’t. And everybody also has a number of movies they don’t like that (most, or many) other people do. So you just compare films from the first category to films from the second category (even if they have absolutely nothing to do with one another) and watch the outrage pour forth. You can maximize the outrage if you also make sure that the films from the second category are widely-acknowledged classics. (I realize that Armond White kind of does this with his annual “Better Than” list, though he confines it to new movies.)
    • Video Game Trailers are playing hardball
      In a bid to give movie trailers a run for their money, Techland, the creators of Zombie video-game Dead Island assemble something mighty impressive. Not quite the 28 Weeks Later Opening, but it certainly worth a look to see why all the game-geek and web buzz was so ubitquitous last week.
    • Editing out The Bible for a Wider Audience
      When you aim to please everyone, you probably will please no one. Producers, director and the studio trying to capture both the Blind Side / Passion of the Christ audience as well as secular families with Soul Surfing.
    • A Festival You DON’T want your film at
      This is the type of Film Festival logic and logistics that you never want to see as a filmmaker!

      See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf6f6cIKvCQ&hd=1

      The link goes to 14 minute VIDEO of the 2010 ‘mix-up’ by the Swansea Film Festival which outlines just how frustrating festivals can be to the filmmakers whose films are there to be celebrated; in fact this video could be an outtake or extra scene from the documentary on lower-tier film festival circuit, Official Rejection.

    • The real director of the Room? Not Tommy Wiseau
      Although Tommy Wiseau’s name is synonymous with The Room, having written, directed, produced, and starred in his cult tragicomedy like a latter-day Orson Welles with an ass fetish, filmmaker Sandy Schklair has now come forward demanding that he be the one recognized as directing one of the worst movies of all time. In an upcoming interview with Entertainment Weekly, Schklair reportedly says that he was initially hired as a script supervisor, but his responsibilities quickly expanded as it became clear that Wiseau was too busy acting and, presumably, lighting candles to answer questions regarding his dialogue or directions, so it fell to Schklair to step in and call the shots.

     
     

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