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Mark Hemingway: Why Liberals Have Such A Hard Time With Monstrous Men And Their Art

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While it’s not a universal truism, more often than not, bad morals make for bad art, and the unwillingness to say so produces even worse criticism.

Specifically, there’s no getting around Allen’s celebrated film “Manhattan.” Allen’s character in the film dates a 17 year-old Mariel Hemingway, as if an older man having a sexual relationship with a teenager is a perfectly normal thing to do. It certainly doesn’t seem so normal when you consider that Allen later started dating, and eventually married, the adopted teenage daughter of his then-wife Mia Farrow.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Dederer’s essay is worth reading for the thoughtful and self-aware things she has to say. Specifically, the downfall of others is always an invitation to look inward at our own flaws. “Even in the midst of my righteous indignation when I b-tch about Woody and Soon-Yi, I know that, on some level, I’m not an entirely upstanding citizen myself,” she writes. However, Dederer’s essay also unintentionally reveals a great many troubling blind spots about the explicitly political nature of the relationship that liberal America has with popular entertainment.

The False Choice of Bad Habits Justifying Good Art

By way of a discursive explanation, there’s this Bill Hicks bit — he can be a creative, even brilliant comedian, but I used to like Hicks a lot more when I was in high school and immature enough to think that being transgressive and angry passed for funny — about how if you had a problem with drug use you should probably just burn your record collection because drug use was so inspirational for so many musicians. The explicit point here was to force acceptance of the idea drug use is a good thing to some extent. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Focal Lengths and Lenses used by Great Directors 

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[VIDEO] Akira Kurosawa’s Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers

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Viaggio in Italia, 1954: Roberto Rossellini Cross-fades


Happy 79th Birthday to Jack Nicholson

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[VIDEO] The Hidden Trick in Almost Every Classic Hitchcock Scene

Bryan Menages writes: Hitchcock is the unquestioned master of suspense. But what is it about his scenes that makes them so gripping, and why do they stand up to repeated viewings, even when you know the twist?

To answer this, the Nerdwriter turned to blocking—how you position stuff and people in relation to each other—specifically, the blocking in an early interaction from Vertigo. In the lengthy scene, a retired detective (Jimmy Stewart) meets a shipping tycoon (Tom Helmore) in his office, where he’s about to be lied to quite a bit.

During the meeting, Hitchcock uses the chairs to suggest power, with the dominant party at any given time being physically higher than the seated party. Similarly, the back half of the room is slightly raised and blocked by partial walls, almost like a stage…(read more)

Source: sploid.gizmodo.com


400 Fourth Wall Breaking Films Supercut

 


Celebrating Alfred Hitchcock, Born Today, August 13, 1899: Classic Movie Posters


China Escalates Hollywood Partnerships, Aiming to Compete One Day

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With China adding an average of 15 cinema screens every day, the country’s box office brought in $4.8 billion last year, tripling in size since 2010

SHANGHAI —  writes: Tucked away in a quiet design studio in this fast-growing city, a team of young animators, illustrators and computer programmers is bringing an ancient Chinese village to digital life.

Using three-dimensional texture painting software, the team — mostly graduates of China’s leading arts schools — is adding intricate details to temples, palaces and pagodas. Team members are also helping animate the movements of the digital characters, including two pandas named Po and Mei Mei.

“Because of the importance of the Chinese market to Hollywood, no one wants to make movies that offend China. Some may see that as self-censorship.”

— T.J. Green, a former Warner Bros. executive who now runs Apex Entertainment, which builds cinemas in China

“This is what I really love to do,” says Fang Zheng, a 32-year-old animator who studied environmental arts in college. “I’ve always been interested in characters and cartoons and things like that.”

[Read the full text here, at New York Times]

The project, part of the next installment of the blockbuster Hollywood film franchise “Kung Fu Panda,” represents a shift in China’s moviemaking ambitions.

“We want to learn how to make movies that appeal to a global audience. Eventually, we need to go global.”

— Ren Zhonglun, president of the state-run Shanghai Film Group, which is also negotiating to form alliances in Hollywood

No longer content simply to build movie sets and provide extras in Hollywood films, Chinese studios are moving up the value chain, helping to develop, design and produce world-class films and animated features. They want a bigger role in the creative process, one that will allow them to reap more rewards, financially and artistically.

An animator in the Shanghai offices of Oriental DreamWorks, the Chinese partner of the American studio DreamWorks Animation. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An animator in the Shanghai offices of Oriental DreamWorks, the Chinese partner of the American studio DreamWorks Animation. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

Kung Fu Panda 3” is the first collaboration between Hollywood’s DreamWorks Animation and its Chinese partner, Oriental DreamWorks, which is partly owned by a government investment fund and a private equity firm, China Media Capital. DreamWorks Animation has taken the lead in the creative and design work for the animated feature, which is scheduled for release in early 2016. Oriental DreamWorks contributes by adding Chinese elements, creating storyboards and building parts of the 3-D digital sets.

“We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents,” says James Fong, the chief executive of Oriental DreamWorks.

It is part of a broader push by China Media Capital into the entertainment business. Over the last few years, the investment firm has made deals with Warner Bros. and the IMAX Corporation of Canada. It also helped develop a Chinese version of the hit TV show “The Voice.

An employee in Shanghai at Oriental DreamWorks, which is collaborating with DreamWorks Animation on “Kung Fu Panda 3,” such as by adding detail to traditional Chinese structures. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An employee in Shanghai at Oriental DreamWorks, which is collaborating with DreamWorks Animation on “Kung Fu Panda 3,” such as by adding detail to traditional Chinese structures. Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

For American companies, such collaborations offer access to new talent and the chance to understand better a culture that will increasingly be portrayed in its films. And coproduction deals provide greater access to China’s tightly regulated market, which in a few years is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s biggest film market.

“We want to leverage the best of the Hollywood creativity with the best Chinese characteristics.  We make it faster, do it cheaper, and in the end do something really innovative.”

— James Fong, the chief executive of Oriental DreamWorks

With China adding an average of 15 cinema screens every day, the country’s box office brought in $4.8 billion last year, tripling in size since 2010, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. And Chinese piracy is no longer such a significant threat to American studios; for example, “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” made more money in China than in the United States.

An employee at Oriental DreamWorks. The company's chief executive said, "We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents.” Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

An employee at Oriental DreamWorks. The company’s chief executive said, “We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents.” Credit Tim Franco for The New York Times

The rapidly growing market is reshaping the way Hollywood deals with China, from the scripts it accepts to the marketing strategies it adopts. Some of America’s biggest television and movie production houses, including HBO and Warner Bros., are already pushing into China with a raft of joint ventures, partnerships and cofinancing projects. Read the rest of this entry »


The Academy Flips America The Bird

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Birdman is an incredible movie. If you haven’t seen it, see it. The script, acting, storytelling style, cinematography, and directing, risky, exciting, innovative, ingenious stuff. I admire it, a lot, though it’s not the kind of movie that lends itself to repeated viewings. The extended, impossibly long single-camera takes (only 16 shots in the entire movie) is reason enough alone to not miss this film.

I was, however, disheartened that the members of the Academy chose to give its top award to a movie that can fairly be described as an “insider” movie. A theatrical confection. An elite industry celebrating itself, rewarding an inward-looking movie within a movie, about movies. One that will never reach a wide audience. Many viewers will understandably feel that the Academy passed over movies with more heart and soul.

The predictable self-congratulating sanctimony of the 2015 Academy awards made it almost unwatchable, though it did have some good moments.


Oculus Launches Story Studio to Promote Virtual Reality Filmmaking

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‘Shameless, Uncreative, Dreadful’ Chinese Movies Vie to Be the Worst in Competition

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China’s Answer to Hollywood’s ‘Razzies’

Lilian Lin reports: As China’s film industry has grown, so too has the number of lemons it’s produced.

According to the organizers of this year’s Golden Broom Awards – which asks the public to choose the country’s worst film – this year’s contest is taking place amid “the most shameless, uncreative, dreadful” time in China’s film history.

“Many film critics in this country are bribed by film producers and genuine voice is scarce. There should be an award to represent the audience’s voice.”

“Some online users are complaining to me that they can hardly choose the worst because all of the selected are terrible,” said Cheng Qingsong, who first launched the awards, China’s answer to Hollywood’s Razzies, six years ago. Online voting for the country’s worst movie of the year recently began, with the winner to be announced in the middle of next month.

Last year, the contest attracted more than a million votes, up from merely several thousand in 2009.

“The past few years have witnessed the largest number of lousy films in China’s history that care the least about originality.”

China’s film market has mushroomed, with box-office receipts rising 36% last year to a record 29.6 billion yuan ($4.77 billion), according to the country’s film regulator. Mr. Cheng, a screenwriter and editor-in-chief of an independent film magazine, said he hoped the awards could help spur better movies in the future. “Many film critics in this country are bribed by film producers and genuine voice is scarce,” he said. “There should be an award to represent the audience’s voice.”

“The past few years have witnessed the largest number of lousy films in China’s history that care the least about originality,” he said, criticizing the country’s films as shallow, frequently “uncreative remakes of Hong Kong films.” Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Movie Poster: Fredrico Fellini’s 8 1/2

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[PHOTO] Hitchock’s ‘The Birds’ 1963: Tippi Hedren with Fine Feathered Co-Star

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Read about Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birtds” at Internet Movie Database

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Greg Gutfeld Reviews Penn & Teller’s Documentary ‘Finishing School’

Greg Gutfeld  writes:  I never get around to seeing movies because I rarely get around to doing anything. This is an important point–as a man with no hobbies and a knack for leaving things unfinished–it’s a big deal for me to finally catch Penn & Teller‘s documentary, Tim’s Vermeer.

It’s an action film in which the only action is painting. And that action beats most other action films, as it’s actually designed to prove a point: to set out on an absurd experiment (in terms of workload) and see it to its ridiculous but satisfying completion. The movie is about a job.

“Jenison embarks on a decade-long experiment in which he tries to paint a Vermeer, using theories he believed Vermeer might have employed. Over these years, he builds an exact set replica of one of Vermeer’s more complicated paintings…”

But it is also really about Penn Jillette‘s old friend, Tim Jenison, an inventor out of Texas who’s congenially obsessed with solving one beguiling question: how did the guy who painted “Girl with a Pearl Earring” paint “Girl with a Pearl Earring?”

Johannes Vermeer was a 17th century Dutch artist who painted works of art so realistically that they’re about as close as you can get to photographs without demanding a nose-picking brat to “say cheese.”

Some in the art world believe Vermeer achieved his mesmerizing work with technology available at the time–a device called a camera obscura–and a mix of lenses and mirrors. In a sense he was photographing with paint.

Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Title Still of the Day: ‘Dark City’ (1950)

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[Dark City (1950) at Amazon]  More info at Internet Movie Database

Gamblers who “took” an out-of-town sucker in a crooked poker game feel shadowy vengeance closing in on them…

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