15 items from 2014
The American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory has a new head: Jan Schuette, formerly the director of the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin since 2010. After nine years in the role, AFI's current dean, Robert Mandel, is stepping down to return to directing, as several media outlets reported in December. During his tenure, Mandel hired several prominent faculty members--including writer/director James L. Brooks, who is now the conservatory's artistic director--and is credited with expanding the institute's career building and alumni efforts. Mandel will remain on the AFI faculty as a directing instructor. In addition to Schuette's time at the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin, he has also taught at Harvard, Dartmouth and Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. As a director and producer, his work has premiered at festivals Cannes, Venice, Locarno, San Sebastian and Toronto and he has served on several festival juries in Cannes and Sundance."The AFI »
- Jacob Combs
Who says that movie-making talent cannot run within the same family? In the film industry when one reaches the pinnacle of success in achieving the ultimate reward in the motion picture business–winning an Academy Award–it is considered an individual milestone for any actor’s big screen career. However, when one’s gene pool produces the capacity to draw Oscar’s attention their way in keeping the golden statuette “in the family” it is living proof that the thespian’s apple does not fall from the street.
Whether through the relationship of blood relatives or marital unions “Relative”-ly Speaking: The Top 10 Oscar-winning Family Combinations looks at ten famous family member combos that won an Oscar through the methods of acting or directing. Let’s take a look at the top ten familial tandem that pulled off such an achievement in winning the coveted Oscar as it stands proudly on the family mantle. »
- Frank Ochieng
Composer Hans Zimmer — the first creative to raise Variety’s Billion-Dollar milestone 20-fold since the series was introduced in 1993 — likes to take chances.
Who else would have:
» Recorded a London brass section, electronically processed their sounds, then played them back through speakers placed in the studio’s stairwells for an even stranger soundscape in “Inception”?
» Solicited choral contributions from fans via the Internet to create a 100,000-voice chant that would eventually appear in “The Dark Knight Rises”?
» Traveled to Eastern Europe to record Roma gypsy violinists and accordionists to incorporate into his music for “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”?
» Defied comicbook, heroic-music tradition by creating “drum circles” of renowned percussionists creating grooves that he could then employ in his “Man of Steel” score?
- Jon Burlingame
Mumblecore is a terrible name for a film genre. It makes it sound like a movie about barely audible people muttering on a screen for a few hours. And if you’ve sat through Brokeback Mountain, you know that can get really boring, really quickly.
What mumblecore actually is, is a form of dramatic comedy, usually made by Americans in their 20s and 30s, who take a do-it-yourself approach to filmmaking. These are people who grew up loving and watching movies, but are tired of the Hollywood clichés. Most of the films are independent productions and usually are “slice of life” features. The characters are just average people – slackers in most cases – who are struggling with day-to-day obstacles like paying their bills and dealing with their friends, family and significant others.
Mumblecore has a few focuses; first is that they aim to tell small human stories about unique »
- Robert Grimminck
The question came up the very first time Matthew Weiner sat before journalists at the Television Critics Assn. tour to promote the July 2007 premiere of “Mad Men.” How will it end? More specifically — how long did he see the time frame of the show running? Would he take the characters through the tumultuous decade of the 1960s? Or would Don Draper and Co. stay in the skinny ties and bouffant hairdos of the show’s 1960 beginnings?
Weiner deflected the question with a pragmatic answer that he hoped would hide how much it had caught him off guard.
“I said I didn’t know if there was going to be a second season — at that time we were only shooting the second episode,” Weiner recalls. “But I realized at that point that there is an expectation that I have a plan for this thing all the way to the end.”
- Cynthia Littleton
David Posamentier and Geoff Moore have been writing together for about ten years. Each has an impressive resume of films they’ve been a part of in some way. Posamentier worked for writer/director Zach Braff on Garden State. Moore has worked on such films as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and I Love You Phillip Morris. Having worked so long writing and developing projects for others, it seemed inevitable that they would eventually decide to direct themselves. Which is precisely what they have done with the dark comedy Better Living Through Chemistry.
The film tells the story of small-town pharmacist Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell) who’s conventional and boring life is turned upside down when he meets the alluring Elizabeth Roberts (Olivia Wilde). As the pair begins a drug-fueled affair, Doug undergoes a transformation that may ultimately lead him down the path to a better life.
Posamentier and Moore »
- Mike Tyrkus
It’s no secret that Wes Anderson jam packs his films with Easter eggs that make watching his pics akin to embarking on a scavenger hunt. Just like you can discover something new with each viewing, there’s still much to learn about the enigmatic director and his bountiful film universes. With his eighth feature film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” opening nationwide on Friday, here are 12 fun facts about Anderson and his movies.
Although he ultimately received a hefty chunk of the profits, Murray was only paid his SAG day rate to star in the 1998 film. In fact, Murray theoretically put up money for the gig. When Disney didn’t want to rent a helicopter to shoot the scene in Jason Schwartzman’s character Max’s Vietnam War-themed play, Murray offered to foot the $25,000-bill. The chopper shot was cut, but »
- Maane Khatchatourian
As possibly the most iconic animated show of all the time, The Simpsons has had an impressive number of landmark moments over the course of its 26 year history.
From early shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show to the recent passing of long time voice talent Marcia Wallace, the programme has had many ups and downs. While after season 10, the show has not always been at its best – or close to it, even – The Simpsons has retained a devoted audience and has produced some of the most beloved characters and stories ever put on the small screen.
There are, however, moments throughout the series’ history that define periods of success, failure, heartache and joy. Deciphering which instances in a show over a quarter of a century old are the most significant is a difficult undertaking. Nonetheless, here are our top 10 most important Simpsons moments (thus far)…
10. The Shorts
Without The Tracey Ullman Show, »
What makes a brilliant script? Is it quotable lines? Is it nuanced dialogue? Or is it just the ability to move the story along and not get in the way? When looking back through the history of screenwriting, there are plenty of iconic films based on previous work; the Writer’s Guild of America voted Casablanca the greatest screenplay of all time, but it’s adapted. So, what is the most important piece of film writing ever written directly for the screen? This list will shift from American to international, conventional to unconventional. Most importantly, these are the scripts that demonstrate how “screenwriting from scratch” is done.
courtesy of amazon.com
50. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Written by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Empty salons. Corridors. Salons. Doors. Doors. Salons. Empty chairs, deep armchairs, thick carpets. Heavy hangings. Stairs, steps. Steps, one after the other. Glass objects, objects still intact, empty glasses. A glass that falls, »
- Joshua Gaul
If you grew up in the 1970s, chances are you remember watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Saturday nights, most likely with other female members of your family. You probably also remember the characters, the storylines and how the show made people talk about its blunt feminism. Mtm's producers, James Brooks and Allan Burns, managed to get the scripts right during a time of upheaval for women in American history by hiring female producers and really tackling the issues that hadn't yet made the small screen (like abortion and the pill). The show caused a mini-revolution and was the predecessor to complicated female characters we see today on shows like Girls and The Mindy Project. Curious about the Mtm phenomenon, we spent some time recently chatting with Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, the author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic. »
- Holly Rosen Fink
Those wondering how the newly reshuffled Focus Features will differentiate itself from its arty, Oscar-garlanded predecessor need look no further than “That Awkward Moment,” in which a couple of twentysomething dudes jacked up on Viagra school each other in the acrobatic art of urinating “horizontally.” “Brokeback Mountain” it’s not, though that is one of the better gags in tyro scribe-helmer Tom Gormican’s familiar tale of three commitment-phobic New Yorkers forced to re-examine their philosophy of “bros before hos” when Ms. Right walks into each of their lives. The pic falls well short of its efforts to combine the raucous vulgarity of the “Hangover” movies with Cameron Crowe-ish depth of feeling, but Gormican had the good fortune to cast one of the most interesting young actors in movies today, Miles Teller, and to surround him with an able-bodied cast that deserves better than most of what they’ve been given. »
- Scott Foundas
“A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?”
Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees at the 11th annual Tartikoff kudos, recognizing industry figures who have made an impact on the biz in the spirit of the late NBC master programmer.
Zalaznick, the youngest of the group, made a point of looking forward in her remarks, noting the “tremendous transformation of our industry” at this fraught moment when to many it feels as if “there’s a siege on our audience and a siege »
- Cynthia Littleton
We all have predisposed notions about the infamous “romantic comedy.” As with other genres, there’s a large subsection of offerings, giving it a bad name. But, for every tired, cliché-driven comedy, there is another impressive offering that redefines the genre, garners plenty of laughs, and tells an honest story about love and relationships, however warped they may be. In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at the fifty romantic comedy films that should be seen. These may not all be classic films, but they certainly put a stamp on the industry and the genre we affectionately call “rom-coms.”
#50. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Most of Wes Anderson’s films could be described as romantic comedies, but his 2012 effort stands out, as its central story focuses on young love and the need to find acceptance. In Anderson’s world, while quirks abound, true connections between characters are commonplace. With Moonrise Kingdom, »
- Joshua Gaul
Oscar statuette - Gordon E. Sawyer Award 2014 - for ‘Godzilla,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ visual effects artist Peter Anderson The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that visual effects supervisor and director of photography Peter W. Anderson will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Oscar statuette) "for technological contributions that have brought credit to the industry" at the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 15, 2014, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in, where else, Beverly Hills. Portions of the presentation will be included in the Oscar 2014 telecast to be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Listed on the IMDb as Peter Anderson, the next Gordon E. Sawyer Award recipient has been in the film business for nearly four decades. His earliest IMDb film credit is for the visual effects in Berry Gordy and Jack Wormser’s 1975 romantic drama Mahogany, starring Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, »
- Steve Montgomery
Judd Apatow is one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy voices, and he’s lending his to The Simpsons on Sunday (Fox, 8 p.m.) The writer-director-producer whose credits range from This is 40 to Anchorman to Bridesmaids to Girls plays himself in an episode in which Homer screens illegally downloaded movies in his backyard, only to wind up on trial for piracy. (Will Arnett, Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Channing Tatum and Rob Halford also pop up.) This won’t be Apatow’s only contribution to the animated comedy; the producers also plan to turn a script »
- Dan Snierson
15 items from 2014
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