Tag Archives | film

Nothing Happens Unless White Folks Say So

redhook summerJames Mcbride, co-writer of Spike Lee’s ‘Red Hook Summer,’ has penned a pull-no-punches open letter to Hollywood, detailing some serious issues on race and representation in cinema, and what it means to be a storyteller in an overtly commercial studio system. Via Colorlines.

The reviews for Spike Lee’s film “Red Hook Summer” that premiered at Sundance earlier this week have not been good. His comments made after the premiere about Hollywood studios knowing “nothing about black people” made more headlines than the actual film.

An open letter published yesterday by “Red Hook” co-writer, James McBride, is sure to make even more headlines because he takes the film community to task and says “nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens.”

Below is an excerpt from McBride’s open letter on the 40 Acres and a Mule website:

Three days ago, at the premiere of “Red Hook Summer” at The Sundance Film Festival, Spike, usually a cool and widely accepting soul whose professional life is as racially diverse as any American I know- lost his cool for 30 seconds.

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Dau: The Biggest, Most Insane Movie In Cinema History

movie-set-ate-itself-628From GQ, Michael Idov visits the cult-like set of the Ukrainian film Dau — an enclosed bubble where thousands of actors have been living the lives of their characters 24 hours a day, ever since production began in 2006, using Soviet passports and money, in a world that is exactly as things were in the 1950s, while their real lives recede into the past:

Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home.

The rumors started seeping out of Ukraine about three years ago: A young Russian film director has holed up on the outskirts of Kharkov, a town of 1.4 million in the country’s east, making…something.

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Samsung Claims That iPads Are Stolen From Kubrick

wholeIt’s fascinating to examine the point at which an element of science fiction actually comes true. Apple is in a legal struggle with Samsung to prevent it from selling tablet devices that resemble the iPad. Samsung’s defense: The iPad is in fact ripped off from a tablet design created by Stanley Kubrick for 1968′s 2001: A Space Odyssey. FOSS Patents writes:

Late last night, Samsung filed its opposition brief to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States.

One element of Samsung’s defense strategy is interesting enough that I wanted to report on it beforehand. Ever since Apple started to assert the design of the iPad against other manufacturers, many people have been wondering whether there’s actually prior art for the general design of the iPad in some futuristic devices shown in sci-fi movies and TV series. And indeed, Samsung’s lawyers make this claim now in their defense against Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

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Experimental Animation Pioneer Robert Breer Dies

BREER1-obit-articleLargeHis style was followed by everyone from Monty Python to MTV, but for sheer optical pleasure, Robert Breer’s short avant-garde animations can’t be beaten. The New York Times eulogizes:

Robert Breer, an animator whose use of novel techniques opened up a new language for film, died on Aug. 11 at his home in Tucson. He was 84. Mr. Breer, a painter by training, early on saw the potential for breaking with the narrative sequences and anthropomorphic forms that defined the medium [of animation].

Viewers were bombarded with wiggling lines, letters, abstract shapes and live-action images that jumped and flashed, zoomed and receded. “He was a seminal figure in the new American cinema and the American avant-garde beginning in the 1950s and continuing right up to the present,” said Andrew Lampert of the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.

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Duck And Cover: The Citizen Kane Of PSAs

duckandcoverFew films, let alone ones running under ten minutes, have been as frequently referenced, reproduced and satirized as Duck and Cover, yet it is never regarded seriously. Conelrad gives this key piece of cinematic history the treatment it deserves:

We have spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER’s production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away.

Just how did the term “Duck and Cover” become universal shorthand for the paranoid excesses of the Cold War and for every geo-political panic attack since? The film is, after all, the Citizen Kane of American civil defense motion pictures. Clips from this movie are used almost every time a news piece is produced on the 1950′s or the Cold War.

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The First Science Fiction Film

Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneDreamy and surreal, it lives up to its name:

A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a 1902 French black-and-white silent science fiction film. The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. It is based loosely on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells.

It is the first science fiction film and uses innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the moon’s eye.

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Sarah Palin’s Feature Length Film To Premiere In June

Photo: David Shankbone

Photo: David Shankbone

When is enough enough? Real Clear Politics reports:

Shortly after Republicans swept last November to a historic victory in which Sarah Palin was credited with playing a central role, the former Alaska governor pulled aside her close aide, Rebecca Mansour, to discuss a hush-hush assignment: Reach out to conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a request. Ask him if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her controversial decision to resign from office with a year-and-a-half left in her first term. It was this abdication, Palin knew, that had made her damaged goods in the eyes of some Republicans who once were eager to get behind her potential 2012 presidential campaign.

The response was more positive than Palin could have hoped for. He’d make a feature-length movie, Bannon told Mansour, and he insisted upon taking complete control and financing it himself — to the tune of $1 million.

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23,000 Defendants Sued In Biggest Illegal Downloading Case In History

stalloneMovie makers are suing thousands of individuals who downloaded and watched Sylvester Stallone’s latest film? Shouldn’t that read vice versa? Via Wired:

At least 23,000 file sharers soon will likely get notified they are being sued for downloading The Expendables in what has become the single largest illegal-BitTorrent-downloading case in U.S. history.

A federal judge in the case has agreed to allow the U.S. Copyright Group to subpoena internet service providers to find out the identity of everybody who had illegally downloaded the 2010 Sylvester Stallone flick — meaning the number of defendants is likely to dramatically increase as new purloiners are discovered.

All told, more than 140,000 BitTorrent downloaders are being targeted in dozens of lawsuits across the country, many of them for downloading B-rated movies and porn.

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How To Start Your Own Religion

One of the best films I saw at South By Southwest (SXSW) this year was Vikram Gandhi’s documentary Kumaré, in which New Jersey-born and raised Gandhi decides to pass himself off as an Indian guru (he is of Indian descent) to see if people will buy into his fake persona as a spiritually enlightened teacher. He succeeds all too well and faces a dilemma when it’s time to reveal the fraud.

Essentially Gandhi’s point is that spiritual gurus are frauds and anyone can be a guru if he can (so long as they are prepared to dress up, grow long beards, make up strange chants, etc.). With that in mind, I found a course on how to start your own religion, offered by 3rd Ward. I’m not sure if I’ll take it yet, but they do say the fastest way to make a million dollars is to become a millionaire…

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Is Competitive Laughter Becoming A New Craze?

LaughologyThe documentary Laughology is helping set off a new fad with the discovery that competitive laughter can be entertaining.

The film makes the case that laughter itself is the primary motivator of laughter, so jokes aren’t necessary for people to have a good time. After a laughing contest in Montreal where the audience was in stitches, a competition made headlines in Tokyo. This Saturday a laughter contest hits America in the form of the California Ultimate Laughing Championship. Linda Massarella reports for the Toronto Sun:

So there was this American state called California with one of the highest unemployment rates on the continent and citizens fretting about losing their homes to foreclosure … when in walks this Canadian guy.

Yes, it’s Toronto documentary filmmaker Albert Nerenberg to the rescue of the depressed and anxious around here [San Luis Obispo, CA] next Saturday when he brings his movie, Laughology, to a film festival just north of L.A.

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