10 items from 2014
For the second time in a year, the meteoric rise and ignominious demise of 1980s schlock juggernaut Cannon Films comes to the screen in feature-length documentary form. But where Cannon is concerned, a twice-told tale is no vexation for the weary cinephile’s ear. Faster, sleeker and more out-of-control (in a good way) than its Cannes-premiered predecessor (Israeli director Hila Medalia’s “The Go-Go Boys”), Mark Hartley’s “Electric Boogaloo” — actors, writers, directors, editors and studio execs who, if anything, seem emboldened by the lack of Golan and Globus’s official participation in the project. Sure to be a fest favorite, Hartley’s docu should also spur much Cannon revivalism on the repertory and cinematheque circuits.
Cannon is irresistible fodder for Hartley, whose previous cinephile docus “Not Quite Hollywood” (2008) and “Machete Maidens Unleashed!” (2010) showed he was drawn to exploitation movies like Charles Bronson to a pack of street thugs. Like those films, »
- Scott Foundas
Even though scripts play an incredibly important part of the movie making process, sometimes a little improvisation is just what a movie scene needs to take it from good to great. CineFix has put together a fantastic video that highlights the 10 greatest improvised scenes in film history. I think they did a great job putting this together, and I can't think of anything that I would add to it. Check it out! I've included the list of films mentioned in the video below.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Marlon Brando’s performance as Col Kurtz was largely made up on the spot. And while we don’t endorse actors not learning their lines, we can’t fault what came of it in this instance… »
- Joey Paur
Recently we've featured brief ventures into the past with the history of the film industry, the history of movie trailers and even the history of computer generated characters. Now another brief lesson about the motion picture industry has made its way online, but this one focuses on sound. Anyone who has taken a film class will know that sound didn't always accompany films, and it wasn't until The Jazz Singer introduced a soundtrack into the theatrical experience that we began to see the kind of films with recorded music, sound effects and dialogue the way we know them today. But we'll let FilmmakerIQ explain the rest. Here's FilmmakerIQ's The History of Sound at the Movies (found via SlashFilm): As the site notes about their video, "The inclusion of sound at the movies was one of the most dramatic changes in all of film history. Dive into the early experiments »
- Ethan Anderton
A large crowd queues impatiently outside the cinema and, when the doors open, rushes in. In an instant, every available seat is taken. Toward the back of the auditorium, a dispute breaks out between two passholders over who was there first. It’s a common enough sight at film festivals the world over: Sundance, Cannes, Telluride, Toronto. Only this time, we are in the serene college town of Bologna and the coveted premiere isn’t the latest work by a prize-winning auteur, but rather an early Hollywood sound film believed to have been unseen in nearly 70 years. The movie is called “Why Be Good?” (pictured above) and it was one of the hottest tickets you could come by at the 28th edition if Il Cinema Ritrovato (June 28-July 5), which screened the 1929 Vitaphone feature in a sterling new restoration.
One of the more than 100 feature films directed by the extremely industrious »
- Scott Foundas
The end is here – if someone asked you what the most important movie musical of all time was, it would come from this portion of the list. Obviously, it’s all subjective, but it’s difficult to make a case against the influence of these films on our culture and the industry as a whole. So, cue the orchestra and practice your dance moves, because the closing number is here.
courtesy of rowthree.com
10. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Directed by John Badham
Signature Song: “Stayin’ Alive” (http://youtu.be/Fa9n7GirhsI)
After making a name for himself with TV’s “Welcome Back Kotter,” John Travolta became a star with 1977′s cultural landmark Saturday Night Fever, a dance musical where Travolta plays Tony Manero, a young man who works a dead-end job, but spends his weekends as the king of the dance floor at a Brooklyn disco. The soundtrack, which was »
- Joshua Gaul
Review by Sam Moffitt
I love the silent era of movie making. I’ve written of this before and will again, many times I’m sure. Roger Ebert, on his website, made the observation (accurately I’d say) that silent films are not just movies without sound; they are a different medium altogether from the movies we are used to seeing now. Silent films are as different to sound films as radio is to television.
Hollywood Cavalcade was one of the first movies to look back at Hollywood history, and managed to involve several artists who were instrumental in making films that are still enjoyable today.
Hollywood Cavalcade tells the story of Mike Conners (Don Ameche) and his partner, ace cameraman Pete Tinney (Stu Erwin) and their trip to New York City to find a stage actress they can take back to Hollywood and make into a star of moving pictures. »
- Movie Geeks
Sound films were introduced in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, the first full length film with synchronized dialogue, and the movie industry never looked back (with the notable exception of the great Charlie Chaplin, who continued making silent films throughout the 1930s). Nowadays, it’s hard to get modern audiences interested in films that have no spoken dialogue and rely on a very dated, theatrical form of acting.
But with the surprise success of The Artist in 2012, which won five Academy Awards despite having only two lines of spoken dialogue, it became clear that a silent film could capture the attention of audiences today. If the writing is good, and the acting is good, it follows that the film should be good, whether it was made in 1922 or 2014. While there are many classic silent films, these are some of the very best. They stand the test of time, and are just »
- Audrey Fox
In a world...where movie trailers didn't exist... Hard to imagine, right? Love them or hate them, movie trailers are an integral part of the movie going experience -- but that wasn't always the case. The smart folks over at FilmmakerIQ.com have tracked the evolution of "coming attractions" from silent film splices through the Golden Age of Hollywood, to the wild and experimental 60s to the Blockbuster era. They've created an informative and entertaining video, "The History of the Movie Trailer" and have also posted a chronology (with photos and video clips) on their blog. Some highlights:1913 was considered "year zero" for movie trailers.Movie trailers were initially produced by movie theaters rather than movie studiosThe term trailer came from the fact that the coming attractions usually played at the end of the film (thus, the trailer)The first trailer for the first sound film was "The Jazz Singer »
- Paula Bernstein
When it comes to the motion picture business, progression is everything. Which is why, year after year, cinema has continued to grow, expand, change, transform and innovate what it means, exactly, to sit down and watch a movie. Nowadays, of course, the advancement of cinematic technique appears to be moving slower than it did in, say, the ’30s and ’40s, but it would be obtuse to suggest that the recent rise of digital filmmaking – and the death of celluloid – is not one of the most significant milestones to have occurred in the history of the medium, if ever.
But not all movie milestones are of the “technique variety” – some movies set other milestones that aren’t akin to the likes of “it was the first movie to feature sound!” or “it was the first full-length animated feature,” but more along the lines of “it was the first movie to feature a fart joke! »
The jazz singer that actor Gary Carr plays in “Downton Abbey” is not based on a single individual, the actor said during an Internet chat with fans Monday afternoon. “My character was built upon studies of many different jazz singers of the time,” said Carr, 27, who plays band leader Jack Ross, the first black cast member on the hit PBS show. He joined “Downton” in its fourth season, which began airing in the U.S. last month. “I'm a big »
- Kathy Shwiff
10 items from 2014
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