Tag Archives | Cinema

“The Thing” – Storyboard to Film Comparison

If you haven’t figured it out through previous posts of mine, I’m fascinated by the ingenuity and brilliance of film directors and the people they work with. I’m biased, but I do think that film is by far the most challenging and rewarding of the arts. It’s one of the only art forms that can easily transcend societal barriers. The only other art I’d consider to have such an effect is music, but what’s unique about cinema is that it’s inclusive of all art forms. You will find that the fine arts, music, photography, and writing all play an integral role in the creation of a quality film.

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Still from the The Thing (1982)

Take for example, The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982). Artist Michael Ploog crafted two of the most visually stunning scenes via beautifully drawn storyboards. In the video below (thanks to Vashi Visuals), you can see the comparison between Ploog’s highly impressive drawings and the brilliant special effects and cinematography of the actual film.… Read the rest

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Kung Fu Movie Genre Inventor Run Run Shaw Dies At 106

run run shawVia the New York Times, pretty much all you could ask for in an eccentric billionaire movie mogul:

Run Run Shaw, the colorful Hong Kong media mogul whose name was synonymous with low-budget Chinese action and horror films — and especially with the wildly successful kung fu genre, which he is largely credited with inventing — died on Tuesday at his home in Hong Kong. He was 106.

Born in China, Mr. Shaw and his older brother, Run Me, were movie pioneers in Asia. In 1924 Run Run and Run Me turned a play called “Man From Shensi” into their first film. In Hong Kong, Run Run Shaw created Shaw Movietown, a complex of studios and residential towers where his actors worked and lived.

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle.

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Swedish Movie Theaters To Display Films’ Gender Equality Rating

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This is probably more helpful than the current MPAA rating system in use here. Via the Washington Post:

Four Swedish movie theaters touched off a heated debate across Stockholm last month — and in the English-language media this morning — with the announcement that they plan to begin publicly labeling films that pass the so-called “Bechdel test.” The metric gauges whether a film meets a bare minimum standard for developed female characters.

Promoters are encouraging theaters to stamp its “A” logo on the movie posters and pre-roll screens of any film that (1) has at least two female characters who (2) talk to each other (3) about something other than men. A surprisingly high proportion of films fail this test.

In the weeks since, it has been covered in a dozen newspaper columns and earning the endorsements of Equalisters, Women in Television and Film and a popular cable movie channel and, controversially, the blessing of Anna Serner, who presides over Sweden’s state-funded film institute.

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Tiny Terror: Roman Polanski

Roman PolanskiOne of my favorite movie-going experiences of 2012 was spending four Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film: A 15-hour history of cinema that A.O. Scott of The New York Times called  “a semester-long film studies survey course compressed into 15 brisk, sometimes contentious hours…stands as an invigorated compendium of conventional wisdom.”

Before taking on such an ambitious project, Cousins had established his reputation as a film critic as well as the host of the BBC show Scene by Scene. The program found Cousins in coversation with some of the world’s best film directors, discussing their most iconic images and sounds.

This episode of Scene by Scene features Cousins in a bristly interview with Roman Polanski. Besides Polanski’s personal horrors, the gifted director has made important contributions to the horror/thriller/supernatural genres including: Knife in the Water, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Tenant, The 9th Gate and the classic, Rosemary’s Baby.… Read the rest

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The Explosive Pop Art Cinema Of Pramod Pati

Avant-garde filmmaker Pramod Pati created luscious, poetic, beautifully-scored short films on behalf of the Indian government (sometimes with social-educational purposes such as promoting family planning). Highlights include Abid, below, and 1968's symbolism-rich Explorer. The Seventh Art provides some background:
Pramod Pati, who died an untimely death at the age of 42, worked for the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, which commissioned feature-length and short documentaries as well as short animation films for the purposes of cultural archiving and nationwide information dissemination. The documentaries generally consisted of profiles of artistes practicing traditional forms, educational films for adults, and simple moral tales and basic literacy courses for children. Although there was an obvious restriction on the type of subjects filmmakers can choose, the Films Division, like the Kanun in Iran, was free from commercial concerns and thus presented a higher scope for formal experimentation for directors.
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Spanish Cult Horror Director Jesus ‘Jess’ Franco Dies At 82

Beginning in 1959, filmmaker Jess Franco walked the line between art and exploitation, dreaming up underground classics that combined shock, sex, perversion, the surreal, and groovy soundtracks in groundbreaking fashion. 1970's Vampyros Lesbos, below, established the cinematic trope of lesbian vampires. Via FEARnet:
Euro-cult great Jess Franco has passed away after producing nearly 200 films. A unique filmmaker, Franco’s work fits in a category all its own, combining art, the erotic, and the macabre into titles like Lorna the Exorcist, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Venus in Furs and of course, the eponymous Vampyros Lesbos. While Franco isn’t to everyone’s taste, he certainly stretched the definition of erotic horror cinema.
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Unclear Holocaust: The Ultimate 9/11 Movie

The art group Anti-Banality Union has created a feature-length movie which is impossible to stop watching. Fifty Hollywood blockbusters portraying the spectacular obliteration of New York City were cut up and interwoven (somehow fitting together seamlessly), revealing the meta-narrative running through them all -- the "death-drive on the part of capitalist culture":
Unclear Holocaust is a feature-length autopsy of Hollywood's New York-destruction fantasy, gleaned from over fifty major studio event-movies and detourned into one relentless orgy of representational genocide. It is the unrivaled assembly of the greatest amount of capital and private property heretofore captured in one frame, that, with unfathomable narrative efficacy, suicides itself in an annihilatory flux of fire, water, and aeronautics...We see the Cinema as it really is; an unequivocal annihilation, the auto-genocidal mass fantasy of a megalomaniacally depressed First World.  
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