10 items from 2014
Depending on how you define them, Easter Eggs have been around for a long time. George Lucas was getting in on the act as early as 1977 with references to his film Thx-1138 slipped into Star Wars, and once video games with executable code turned up, the developers were filling them with hidden surprises for the players to find. They finally hit mainstream popularity with the rise of DVD as a format, and the distributors being able to slip hidden bonus features into new releases.
But in terms of film and television, they seem to have increased in popularity in recent years; thanks largely to genres with a significant history such as superhero films gaining a more widespread audience, and the proliferation of viral marketing and social media. In the modern age, an Easter Egg is far more likely to be noticed. And the bigger an entertainment franchise is, there »
- James T. Cornish
Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel will be honored at the annual Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography in Bydgoszcz, Poland, with the fest’s lifetime achievement award, which recognizes “exceptional filmmakers… who changed the way movies are made with their creativity, visual skills and passion for their craft.”
The event, now in its 22nd year, will be held on November 15 – 22.
Deschanel has been nominated for five Academy Awards over a career during which he helped shape the look of such films as Philip Kaufman’s “The Right Stuff,: Barry Levinson’s “The Natural,” Carroll Ballard’s “Fly Away Home,” Roland Emmerich’s “The Patriot,” Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and Timur Bekmambetov’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
In 2010, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the American Society of Cinematographers.
In a statement, Camerimage praised Deschanel for his pioneering work with the Steadicam, »
- Peter Caranicas
‘Narrative art’ is defined as something ‘that tells a story, either as a moment in an ongoing story or as a sequence of events unfolding over time’
George Lucas has retired apparently. Having sold his empire to Disney making him wealthier than a barely developed principality with minimal infrastructure, we are now being treated to phase two in the Lucas mid-life crisis.
When I first heard that Norman Rockwell, foremost painter of post war Americana was being placed alongside original Star Wars miniatures and props it made no sense. Rockwell was known for capturing perfect moments in life which told a story or narrative beyond the confines of the frame. How could Lucas have the temerity to place his work alongside that of a real artist?
Informally known as ‘The Lucas Museum of »
- Gary Collinson
The Austin Film Series is wrapping up its "Rebel Rebel" series this weekend with a 35mm print of Female Trouble, the raunchy 1974 comedy from enfant terrible John Waters. It screens tonight and Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. That's also the place to be on Thursday night as a new Essential Cinema series launches featuring some of the best collaborations of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman. The first film of the series is 1966's Persona, screening in a 35mm print. Look for an article about the series on Monday by programmer Chale Nafus.
The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has another eclectic week ahead of specialty screenings. On Saturday afternoon, you can view the late-era Marx Bros. classic, 1946's A Night In Casablanca. Also this week, there's a Bill & Ted double feature on Sunday that will include two new Mondo posters available for purchase, Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Before "Star Wars," before Indiana Jones and before "American Graffiti," George Lucas was just another film school kid trying to eke out a career. But it wouldn't take him long, with his student film kicking open the door that would lead to becoming one of the most influential blockbuster storytellers of all time. And now you can see where it all began. Though you might have seen it before, Open Culture freshly points us in the direction of "Electronic Labyrinth Thx 1138 4Eb," the short film Lucas made as a student, which showed his affinity for sci-fi tales centering on underdogs taking on oppressive authority. Lucas would expand the story to make "Thx 1138," his first feature film, but you can see the intriguing roots of his cinematic feature in this fifteen-minute take. And hey, with the director now planning to open the Lucas Museum Of Narrative Arts in Chicago »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Before George Lucas’ 1971 dystopian classic Thx 1138 hit theaters — about a future in which an android police force controls the populace and mandatory drugs quell emotions and personal desires — there was Lucas’ student film the story was based on. Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb was created in 1967 while the director was still wet behind the ears, attending the University of Southern California's film school. Running 15 minutes long, Lucas cast his student short with members of the real-life Navy — as several military members were also attending USC for their studies. Most of the filming took place at night in locations the Navy granted him special access to. After 12 weeks of shooting in the USC computer center, a parking lot at...
- Alison Nastasi
After all the psychic energy expended fretting about how Damon Lindelof’s last series, “Lost,” would end (a finish many found lacking), it’s perhaps understandable why he’d be drawn to “The Leftovers,” Tom Perrotta’s provocative book, where the big mystery involves the abrupt disappearance of 2% of the world’s population, and the fallout from that cataclysmic event. Those shock waves certainly provide fertile dramatic material, but the show somewhat unevenly mixes its universal theme — probing how people cope with grief and loss — with the particulars of its characters. What’s left is undoubtedly interesting; whether it’s worthy of rapturous praise is another matter.
The author of the books-turned-movies “Election” and “Little Children,” Perrotta’s concept here is constructed in an extremely clever way: The percentage of those who vanished (“the Sudden Departure,” it’s called) is enough to have touched virtually every life, without so devastating »
- Brian Lowry
Directors who've made maybe one interesting, successful small film soon get snapped up by the system. But at what cost to the industry?
Director Marc Webb put together the guts of (500) Days Of Summer, his debut feature, in his house. He worked on it behind closed doors, and by the time he got to the point where he was filming it, he knew what he wanted, he'd made key decisions, and could get on with it. Interference was in short supply, and the result felt like a breath of fresh air in a very crowded genre.
Then there's Gareth Edwards. When he came to make his first film, Monsters, he sat in his bedroom and did the visual effects work on his own computer. He didn't have much budget to play with, but he had his brain, and nobody looking over his shoulder offering 'creative input'. We suspect his computer wasn't a bad one, »
Feature James Clayton 14 Mar 2014 - 06:37
In The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz plays Qohen Leth - a hairless and reclusive computer programmer who lives in his pyjamas in a cavernous ancient cathedral in a dystopian future. This sounds a bit like a midlife crisis. In fact it is a whole life crisis and, for Qohen, that existential despair isn't just a pastime - it's his job. The main protagonists search for the meaning of life forms the narrative core of Terry Gilliam's new film.
Anyone who's ever searched for the meaning of life will be able to tell you that it's a terrible, soul-destroying business unless it's turned into a Monty Python movie. It's therefore a huge relief to know that Gilliam is handling this headspinning sci-fi feature. The quest for »
The 1970s were a weird time. I'm glad I didn't have to live through any of it... but thanks to the internet, I can marvel (and mock) at the wonders of the 1970s.
Lalo Schifrin is best known as a composer who has scored hundreds of films, everything from The Amityville Horror to Dirty Harry to Thx 1138. He also put out a number of albums, mostly jazz instrumentals. In the late 1970s, he did a disco cover of John Williams' classic Jaws score. The BBC music show Top of the Pops decided to choreograph a strange dance to the song, complete with waggling legs, a swimming cut-out shark, and scared looks on the dancers' faces. The icing on this disco cake is that the dance troupe was called Legs & Co.
Sit back and enjoy the weirdness.
- Alyse Wax
10 items from 2014
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