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‘End of the Road’ is Just the Beginning

10 hours ago

Short of the DayAn animated fable.

The best stories are elliptical, their ends are new beginnings. This is certainly true of today’s Short selection, End of the Road, an animated film from Bri Meyer in which a motorist traveling through the desert picks up another at the side of the road at the scene of a very bad car accident. The traveler doesn’t seem hurt, but as he won’t speak, it’s tough to tell. Until it isn’t.

Meyer facilitated every single aspect of this film himself, from the writing to the animation to the editing, and as such it’s a very aesthetically cohesive short with every element informing the others. It’s a simple story with a heady conclusion and in its brevity there’s a chilling elegance that make End of the Road far more resonant than its runtime might suggest.

https://medium.com »

- H. Perry Horton

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How ‘Rogue One’ Should Have Ended

13 hours ago

Not satisfied with the theatrical conclusion? Here’s an alternative.

This is going to be a brief post, and a first for me, as the video I’m about to share with you I haven’t actually seen, but it was recommended to me by my editor, so I have every faith it’s worth your while.

The reason I haven’t seen it is because this video deals with the hypothetical of how Rogue One should have ended. I haven’t seen Rogue One yet — I live in the Tundra, long story — but I am eagerly awaiting the home release and have somehow managed to hear nothing of the film’s actual end, despite my job and everyone I ever talk to, so I certainly don’t want to spoil it now with a hypothetical.

But you don’t have that problem, or likely you wouldn’t have clicked here, and »

- H. Perry Horton

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Getting a Grip on ‘Evil Dead II’

14 hours ago

Celebrating 30 years worth of fanaticism and community in the cult of Ashley ‘Ash’ Williams.

Thanks to our Star Trekian utopia of VOD insta-satisfaction (“Number One, slap The Greasy Strangler on the view screen!”), it’s becoming difficult to remember the ruthless savagery of that bygone VHS hunt. I spent far too many days roaming my hometown and neighboring cities chasing down lesser-known Kurosawas, the Critters sequels, and the seemingly always elusive pre-Mad Max apocalyptic mindfuck, A Boy and His Dog. Too often I had to settle for less, and rewatch Police Academy 4 instead of the highbrow hilarity of Zapped! cuz some other Scott Baio devotee had the local Power Video on stakeout. If your tastes in cinema aligned with the Blockbuster new release guarantee then you were golden, but us degenerates with a predilection for Roger Corman, and movies made before our births were doomed to the endless quest. Which, of »

- Brad Gullickson

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20 Things We Learned from Ben Affleck’s ‘Live By Night’ Commentary

15 hours ago

“I wanted somebody to plausibly just beat the shit out of me.”Live By Night (2016)

Commentator: Ben Affleck (director, writer, actor), Robert Richardson (cinematographer), Jess Gonchor (production designer)

1. “Hey this is Ben Affleck,” he says, and he sounds exhausted.

2. The opening title sequence was meant to establish Joe Coughlin’s (Affleck) backstory “so we could get going with the film right from the jump.”

3. He wanted the opening robbery to be done in one shot “without feeling like it was one shot so that it wasn’t self-conscious and we weren’t pointing to the fact.”

4. The eternally great Titus Welliver appears briefly as the man in the barbershop chair shot in the back of the head. “I cut out his other scene.”

5. The woman who stabs a guy at the 5:25 mark is a stunt performer who doubles as Black Widow in the Marvel movies. He stumbles a bit saying the word “Marvel.”

6. “Sienna »

- Rob Hunter

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Spring Break to Continue Forever On Mysterious Streaming Platform

15 hours ago

What does a French billionaire want with James Franco?

The sun sets over these last and barren weeks of madness we call March. What remains of snowfall turns into slosh as students blink slowly into sobriety. “Spring Break, Spring Break, Spring Break forever,” an icy voice chants. But good news: that creepy voice just might have its demands met. A mysterious streaming platform called Blackpills has, per Deadline, now committed to distributing a scripted micro-episodic series based on Harmony Korine’s 2012 hyper-stylized meditation of life, love and spring break that starred James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.

The production company behind Spring Breakers, Fernando Sulichin and Chris Hanley’s Muse Productions (Buffalo ’66, Virgin Suicides), are more than thrilled. Hanley excitedly tells Deadline that the proposed micro-episode format is “the future of digital media.” Korine, on the other hand, has asserted his lack of interest in the project: busy, as he is, in »

- Andrew Karpan

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The Perfect Shots of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

16 hours ago

A companion piece to the Shot by Shot podcast.

For the inaugural episode of our Shot by Shot podcast, Geoff Todd — One Perfect Shot founder — and myself decided to swing for the fences by tackling what we both consider to be a film that has some of the absolute best cinematography ever captured on film: 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick and shot by both Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott.


In many ways, 2001 is the film that attracted popular attention to cinematography, so we thought it was the perfect place to start this new podcast, which each week will be looking at the perfect shots of a different film. Below you’ll find a link to the podcast and the six shots Geoff and I selected for discussion. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or »

- H. Perry Horton

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Colin Farrell Re-Teams with Yorgos Lanthimos for a New Amazon Series

16 hours ago

Why the Greek director’s tragicomic sensibility is perfect for the subject matter.

Not to be outdone by Netflix’s upcoming string of auteur dramas, Amazon Studios just announced that director Yorgos Lanthimos will be reteaming with The Lobster star Colin Farrell for an upcoming original series. The topic? The Iran-Contra Affair. For those of you (like me) who are too young to remember, the so-called Iran-Contra Affair was a scandal that occurred during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, in which administration officials conspired to sell weapons to Iran (against whom there was an arms embargo) in order to funnel the profits to a right-wing Nicaraguan army known as the Contras (to whom Congress had forbidden funding). The initial plan was to use said profits to negotiate the release of several hostages held by Hezbollah, but then Colonel Oliver North got involved and devised a plan to use the money to also fund the Contras. Farrell »

- Jake Orthwein

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7 Filmmaking Tips from Bill Condon

17 hours ago

How to make movies that win awards and break box office records.

Forget Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. Bill Condon’s career really began with Gods and Monsters, for which he won the adapted screenplay Oscar. He would go on to receive another writing nomination, for Chicago, and over the past 15 years he’s directed award-worthy performances, some of them surprises, he’s drawn non-Twilight fans into that franchise, and he just released what’s looking to be the most successful musical of all time.

Obviously, after the massive opening weekend Condon had with Beauty and the Beast, he’s a filmmaker worth looking up to. He hasn’t always delivered hits or Academy favorites, but the director of such movies as Dreamgirls, Mr. Holmes, Kinsey, The Fifth Estate, and both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn is a distinct talent in Hollywood, one who regularly makes a kind of pop prestige picture, or »

- Christopher Campbell

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The Future of the ‘Ghostbusters’ Franchise

18 hours ago

Plus: News roundup, our best articles, and five perfect shots.

Though it wasn’t a deafening defeat, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters wasn’t a resounding success, either. All sexist nonsense aside, the film performed only average at the box office, casting doubt upon the future of the new franchise it was supposed to kick off. And while it seems unlikely we’ll be seeing the women of last summer’s movie suit up again anytime soon, we do know that the show will go on, in a sense.

In an interview with io9, the original film’s director and new franchise producer Ivan Reitman admitted that while the future is still a little up in the air, he’s got a plan to get it going forward.

We jumped into an animated film [after the last movie] and we are developing [a] live-action film. I want to bring all these stories together as a universe that makes sense within itself. Part »

- H. Perry Horton

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When Should You Punt on a Television Show?

21 hours ago

We look to the best and brightest of television criticism and see what they have to say.

A few weeks ago, I realized that I hadn’t been living my best possible Netflix life. With a one-hour train ride to work each day — roughly two hours door-to-door — my daily commute provided me the perfect opportunity to try out a few television shows on my backlist. My freelance writing tends to focus on film criticism and film history; that means I tend to feel bad when I waste valuable movie-watching time on episodes of television shows. Put another way: two episodes of any hour-long show is time better spent moving one more classic or foreign film from my ‘to-watch’ list to my ‘watched’ list.

But while I have a hard-and-fast rule about watching movies on my phone, I have no such restrictions on consuming modern television in a handheld format. That’s where Netflix comes in handy. I »

- Matthew Monagle

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‘Dark Clouds’ is a Gorgeous, Visually-Stunning Environmental Snippet

21 March 2017 5:02 PM, PDT

Short of the DayFrom a member of the ‘Avatar’ VFX team.

Today’s short film comes from Peter Szewczyk, who some of you might know for his work in the field of visual effects: Szewczyk has worked on such groundbreaking films as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2012, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Thor: The Dark World, and oh yeah, Avatar.

The following film, Dark Clouds, was made back in 2009 in Szewczyk’s spare time between the productions of 2012 and Avatar, and marks his first time in the director’s chair. It’s dialogue- and actor-free, environmentally-minded, and — as you’d expect given the director’s day job — visually dynamic and stunning. It’s also brief, just 1:45 seconds, but in that time it manages to pack a powerful punch and relay a vital message.

For more of Szewczyk’s directorial efforts, jump over to his Vimeo page to see the rest of his »

- H. Perry Horton

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The Sweet Symphony of Violence

21 March 2017 2:52 PM, PDT

The best cinematic action of 2017 in three parts from the movies of SXSW.

It was heavier than I had anticipated. At the age of 16, if my memory serves me correctly, it was the first time I’d ever held a real gun. In the midwest, surrounded by a family full of avid hunters, this was a right of passage. At some point an uncle or two would want to show you the awesome power of a real firearm, both as appreciation for the weapon’s power and as a lesson in the seriousness of its deadly potential. The weight of the revolver in my hand brought both of these concepts to life with immediacy. It’s hard to hold a real gun and not be in awe and at least a little terrified. It’s a feeling I’ll never shake, perhaps one of those moments in which a teenager’s journey toward adulthood was accelerated a »

- Neil Miller

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The Whip-Smart Whip-Pans of ‘Whiplash’ Director Damien Chazelle

21 March 2017 2:02 PM, PDT

Say that five times fast.

Though you might not be familiar with the term “whip pan,” I promise you’re familiar with the effect, especially if you’re a fan of the films of director Damien Chazelle. A whip pan is, as the name indicates, a type of pan shot, but one that moves so quickly from one focal point to another that the imagery between them becomes blurred. Primarily it has two functions: to indicate either a brief passage of time, or to emphasize a frenetic sense of action or motion.

I mentioned the name of Chazelle because in all three of his feature films to-date — 2009’s Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, 2014’s Whiplash, and of course last year’s La La Land — he’s made copious and effective use of the whip pan to a variety of effects, as evidenced in the following montage from editor Alejandro Torriggino that collects every pan from »

- H. Perry Horton

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Take a Number and Wait: Bureaucracy in the On-Screen Afterlife

21 March 2017 12:52 PM, PDT

According to the movies, death looks a whole lot like the Dmv.Beetlejuice (1988)

Applying to grad school can feel a lot like limbo. Like being stuck in a waiting room, clutching a call number with wingdings on it, praying you dotted all your i’s correctly. You’d be forgiven for thinking your curriculum vitae was being weighed on a scale against the feather of Ma’at, Egyptian deity of minimum Gpa requirements. It feels just about as esoteric.

Divine judgement, like academia, has a bureaucratic bent to it; an adherence to policy and procedure at odds with any human tendency towards sense-making. That’s a particularly humorous metaphor: that complex administrative systems are as inscrutable and baffling as divine ones, that something so nefariously human could be otherworldly. It’s a relatable, “so taxes are like, literally hell, huh?” The joke’s longevity extends at least as far back as Virgil’s Aeneid, where »

- Meg Shields

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They Don’t Make T&A Thrillers Like This Anymore

21 March 2017 12:17 PM, PDT

This Week in Home Video‘They’re Playing With Fire’ Blends Bloody Violence and T&A Thrills to Surprising EffectPlus 13 more new releases to watch at home this week on Blu-ray/DVD.

Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support Fsr in the process!

Pick of the WeekThey’re Playing With Fire [Kl Studio Classics]

What is it? A sexy college professor seduces her student, and then people start dying horrible deaths.

Why see it? I’ve been a Sybil Danning fan for more years than I care to recall, but somehow this one slipped past me before now. I’m not sure what teen me would have thought, but as an adult I’m in awe of just how off the rails it gets from its very clear T&A origin. From the cover to the copy the film sells itself as just another sex flick, but »

- Rob Hunter

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Good Neighbors: Comparing Fences on Screen and Stage

21 March 2017 11:02 AM, PDT

A new video sets the interpretations side-by-side.

In directing Fences, Denzel Washington took on a daunting challenge: explode a family drama conceived for the intimacy of the stage into the light-of-day, wide world of cinema. This might not sound like such a huge challenge, and to some it might even sound easier than rendering a story from a novel or other non-dramatic source, but the theater and the movie house are different places, and the stories told inside each of them benefit and suffer in ways because of these distinctions. For example, theater thrives off the immediacy of the performance and the presence of a live audience, as such making it more dramatic with large, bold performances, while cinema, removed from the audience and one-shot scenes, can focus more on the intricacies of character and narrative.

In the case of Fences, Washington managed to coax the best out of both worlds: the bombastic nature of the stage »

- H. Perry Horton

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‘The Circus’ Shouldn’t Have Needed a Second Season, But: Trump; There It Is

21 March 2017 10:12 AM, PDT

The show can’t help but go on.

If there is one show from last year I didn’t expect to see renewed for a second season, it’s The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. Unlike neatly wrapped programs like Stranger Things and Fleabag, Showtime’s documentary series seemed to have a guaranteed stopping point. The Circus began with the intent to follow the 2016 presidential race, through the analytical coverage of John Heilemann, Mark Halperin, and Mark McKinnon, from the road to the Iowa caucus to Election Day.

Even while everything about the content of the show was insanely unpredictable, one thing was certain: the series finale would be the November 13th episode responding to the results of which candidate won the White House. The Circus was categorically a limited series, and as such was even nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. It also spawned a nicely condensed and conclusive feature documentary that premiered »

- Christopher Campbell

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Robert Downey Jr. is the New Dr. Doolittle

21 March 2017 9:05 AM, PDT

Plus: A news roundup, the best Fsr articles, and five perfect shots.

It might be difficult to remember, but Robert Downey Jr. is not just Tony Stark. For the last decade the actor’s filmography has been dominated by the role, with a little Sherlock Holmes thrown in for good measure, but other than that there have been very few gigs the actor has taken outside the franchise world.

But now there comes word, via THR, that Downey has booked his first major non-Marvel role in a little bit, and it’s quite the departure: Doctor Doolittle.

You know the good Doctor, he who can communicate with the animals and uses this power to, I don’t know, doctor them? Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) first brought the character to life on the silver screen back in 1967, and of course there’s the Eddie Murphy franchise complete with a couple spinoffs that started in 1998, but if the »

- H. Perry Horton

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It’s Not Whatever: ‘Edge of Seventeen’ and Teen Depression

21 March 2017 7:52 AM, PDT

How ‘Edge of Seventeen’ spots the differences between teen angst and teen depression.

Edge of Seventeen’s Nadine is a character at war with herself. In one scene, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), nauseous from a night of binge drinking, leans over a toilet bowl. She mumbles, “I had the worst thought, I’ve got to spend the rest of my life with myself.” Usually, in teen dramas, people Nadine’s age drink at stylized house parties. Instead, writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig depicts Nadine and her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) content to be together. However, Nadine will soon be at war with herself and with Krista. Following the evening of teenage drinking, Krista begins a relationship with Nadine’s older perfect brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). In response, Nadine flirts with self-destruction as well as classmate Erwin Kim (Hayden Szeto). Edge of Seventeen has the kind of plot that can push a film into either of two categories: »

- Francesca Fau

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A Handy Guide to Amazon’s Trash Pilots

21 March 2017 6:52 AM, PDT

Are these new pilots from Amazon trash? Of course they are! Here’s a guide.Just Robb Stark over here, wearin’ shades in outer space

Crowds may not be able to fund things, but they can give opinions. Or, at the very least, that’s been the idea behind Amazon’s occasional Pilot Season, generating enthusiasm for their programming by giving ordinary folk like yourself the opportunity to watch pilots and say, gee, this blows and vote them a big n’ meaningful thumbs down. Last year, they took everything, so it might just be a load of promotional nonsense. But it might not.

So, what’s hip in this line of potential programing? Once canceled TV-hands like Steve Dildarian and Amy Sherman-Palladino return with their latest attempts to enthuse audience with binge-worthy hours of spectacle and movie men like James Ponsoldt and Kevin Macdonald try to get into this golden age of TV they’ve been hearing »

- Andrew Karpan

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