Tuesday, December 29, 2015

microcomplaint links

---The Best of Cinema: 2015 Edition

---Final Cut: An Audiovisual Essay

---30 Camera Shots

---the best video essays of 2015

---"This summer, walking near my old apartment in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood just outside Boston, I spotted a wholesome-looking college dude in expensive glasses, spotless sneakers without socks, and a Ramones T-shirt tucked into a pair of pressed, front-pleated khaki slacks. Although the Ramones’ presidential eagle had long joined the Rolling Stones tongue and the Pink Floyd prism in the pantheon of meaningless, ubiquitous screen-print designs, something about seeing this particular prepped-up lickspittle in a Ramones T-shirt gave me pause." --Eugenia Williamson

---120 Years of the Cinematic Kiss

---Interview: Carol's Production Design Judy Becker

---Camera Evolution Explained in Just 11 Portraits

---"To me, Anomalisa is political. In a very small sense. It’s about being able to see other people, and I think so much of what is wrong right now in the world is that people don’t see each other. We literally do not see each other as human beings — as people with fear and desires and longings. And therefore, you’re able to treat other people as objects that you can use to get what you want. It’s a hard thing to do, to see people on a personal scale. It’s a very hard thing." --Charlie Kaufman

---trailers for Chimes At Midnight, Desierto, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, High-RiseEverybody Wants Someand Le Mepris 

---My Life in Monsters

---"The smartphone in particular has facilitated extemporaneous caviling. Irritations that the passage of time may have soothed can, in the moment, be immediately expressed to an audience. Often these complaints take the form of a narrative developing in real time: the talkative taxi driver, the hostile airline ticket clerk, the interminable security line, the malodorous seatmate and crying baby. Such threads frequently pick up steam as the audience validates or shares the narrator’s posts; the nuisances others must contend with can make for excellent vicarious entertainment, and accreting Likes tend to fuel the microcomplainer." --Teddy Wayne

---"The Best Photo Books of 2015" by Teju Cole

---the best movie books of 2015

---"Passing Time in Frances Ha" by James Zborowski

---"Still, right away I could tell what was firing up so many viewers, particularly online: in the world of Marvel Comics, a female antihero—a female anything—is a step forward. But a rape survivor, struggling with P.T.S.D., is a genuine leap." --Emily Nussbaum

---the screenplay for Mistress America

---Stay Safe

---Persona Swap

---The Best of GoPro 2015

---"The ‘meet cute’: 10 inventive movie moments when lovers first meet" by Tess Morris

---Tarantino's Visual References

---Two Takes on Johnny To's Election

---the best Vimeo videos of 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The droid is not for sale": the Film Doctor's one sentence review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens mostly left me brooding about Disney's carpet-bombing marketing techniques, the movie's depiction of fascism with the First Order emulating Hitler's Triumph of the Will under a blood-red flaming sky aptly reflecting the real-life sinister Mickey Mouse-faced brain-washing corporation synergizing its movie with other brands (Lego, Target, Subway) in the many ads that we were forced to watch oh so obediently, like so many mind-droned stormtroopers, in the AMC Showplace cineplex beforehand, but also there's the (spoiler alert) way the movie plays on the older audience's sense of nostalgia for the 1970s as Carrie Fisher and an oddly cheerful looking Harrison Ford (when was the last time we've seen him smile in a movie? 1990?) exchange soulful looks as if in a sci-fi-high school baby boomer reunion, not to mention Tarantino's gripes about monopolistic Disney distribution over-reach, the movie's poaching of both a catless Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver from Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), the latter of whom (as Kylo Ren) keeps impotently slashing up spaceship interiors with his cross-shaped lightsaber before he kneels (as we are meant to kneel, worshippers of the synergized Force of the mouse God) before a Darth Vader mask that someone accidentally left in the oven as the new more politically correct generation (scrappy Rey (who, ironically, will not sell the droid) and Fenn, going through the hero's motions) take their strategic positions for various target audiences as J.J. Abrams reshuffles, remixes, and rebakes most of the plot points of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope with enough swirling X-Wing Starfighters and TIE Fighter dogfight sequences to keep one's eyes occupied (in this universe, most everyone (except, perhaps, the Wookie) turns out to be secretly blood-related, and father/son issues are resolved on some platform over a great abyss), while Luke retains the most mystique and interest by just staying away like a guru on a mountain top who is ostensibly less burdened with product tie-ins, junket interviews, and promotional appearances during this crucial holiday season.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Star Wars Files

---The Star Wars main title and crawl

---"Star Wars in 1977: How the Saga Began With That ‘Old Desert Rat’ Obi-Wan Kenobi" by Tim Gray

---"10 Films that Influenced Star Wars" by Tim Robey

---The Star Wars Prequels Might Be Good

---“I don’t consider it cashing in, but I have invested in a toy company operation." --George Lucas

---Every Use of the Force Ever and Every On-Screen Death of the Original Star Wars Trilogy

---"Brian De Palma, the director of Carrie, helped to write the opening crawl ('Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire'). Christopher Walken was originally cast as Han Solo, and Solo was partly based on Francis Ford Coppola." --Joshua Rothman

---Star Wars Minus Star Wars--Between the Lines

---"Was Star Wars Influenced by a French Science Fiction Comic?" by Reed Beebe

---Star Wars bloopers

---"Apple and Star Wars together explain why much of the world around you looks the way it does" by Nicholas de Monchaux

---the original reviews of Star Wars

---"The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" Lucas said. "People don't actually realize it's actually a soap opera and it's all about family problems - it's not about spaceships. So they decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, 'fine.... I'll go my way and I let them go their way.'"

---Lucas discusses the origins of Star Wars

---Anna Kendrick in the Star Wars Battlefront trailer

---the film careers of the original cast of Star Wars

---"A more focused study, however, is needed to truly understand that the Star Wars films are actually the story of the radicalization of Luke Skywalker. From introducing him to us in A New Hope (as a simple farm boy gazing into the Tatooine sunset), to his eventual transformation into the radicalized insurgent of Return of the Jedi (as one who sets his own father’s corpse on fire and celebrates the successful bombing of the Death Star), each film in the original trilogy is another step in Luke’s descent into terrorism. By carefully looking for the same signs governments and scholars use to detect radicalization, we can witness Luke’s dark journey into religious fundamentalism and extremism happen before our very eyes."

---the despecialized edition of Star Wars

---the outer rim characters of Star Wars

---Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy

---"The picture that the Lucasfilm faithful relentlessly call A New Hope but everyone else calls Star Wars came out in 1977. It and its sequels (and TV movies and cartoons and toys and bedsheets) burrowed deep into popular culture. And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise." --Adam Rogers

---behind the scenes of the Star Wars Cantina bar set

---"Star Wars, Elvis, and Me" by A. O. Scott

---Siskel and Ebert defend Star Wars

---Star Wars drunk driving PSA

---Hardware Wars

---The Top 5 Most Shameless Star Wars Rip-Offs

---"5 Reasons Why Star Wars Spaceships Make No Sense" --Kyle Mizokami

---60 Minutes considers Star Wars: The Force Awakens

---Rare Star Wars photos from movie set

---the Star Wars fonts

---Star Wars: The Force Awakens supercut trailer

---"5 Things Star Wars Fans Don't Understand About Star Wars" by David Wong

---Star Wars: 15 Books About the Films That Created a Galaxy and Changed the World"

---"What's Behind the Star Wars Phenomenon"

---"The Real Science Inspired by Star Wars" --Michael Greshko

---Star Wars: The Force Awakens critical reactions

---6 Star Wars movies in just 3 minutes

---"Droids and The Force: How the Science in Star Wars Is Actually Real" --P.W. Singer and August Cole

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Movie Link Mashup

---What is "Lynchian"?

--"When you stand on your feet at the back of a movie house and watch the same movie over and over, you begin to understand process," she says. "You see the way films tell stories, you see the effect they have on the audience, you see where they work and where they don't. It's the best way to learn — on the firing line — but in my day, it was literally the only way to learn. There were no film schools." --Jeanine Basinger

---simulacra

---Prince's cover of "Creep"

---The 25 Best Film of 2015: A Video Countdown

---behind the scenes of Lost in Translation and Tangerine

---filmmaking tips from Sean Baker

---Best Cinematography of 2015

---“Persistently, I have the vision of a house in the country with the blond wife whom I love, with the children whom I adore, on the land and with the trees I adore. I know this will never be, yet will be partially that tantalizing measure (of a man) leads me on. My God and my beloved, it can never be! And yet I love, in flesh and bone and clothes in love, as all mankind.”  --Patricia Highsmith

---"The 10 Best Comedy Sketches of 2015"

---"It’s only a movie. Don’t worry about it, just do your best, and let the public decide." --Alfred Hitchcock

---"The Mysterious Chords of Youth" by Dennis Cozzalio

---"Young Employee’s concern—what can we possibly do about Instagram, basically—was an expression of a worry that’s creeping up behind almost everyone in the business of distributing media for a living. Loss of power resulting in a loss of access resulting in further loss of power. It’s a disruptive new take on the media death spiral! And it’s one of the reasons that, lately, you might have noticed your media behaving a little strangely."  --John Herrman

---Richard Brody considers Orson Welles' The Trial

---trailers for The Nice Guys, Batman V Superman, I Saw the Light, Independence Day: Resurgence, X-Men: Apocalypse, Anesthesia, Captain America: Civil War, The Big ShortThe Legend of Tarzan, and Knight of Cups

---"I am sincere in my preference for my men's clothes – I do not wear them to be sensational. I think I am much more alluring in these clothes" --Marlene Dietrich

---2015 Movie Trailer Mashup

---"Poor fugees—after escaping the worst atrocities and finally making it to England, our government hunts them down like cockroaches," says Jasper, Michael Caine's character in the dystopian masterwork Children of Men

---"Borders" by M.I.A.

---"These are the cities of tomorrow," said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. "The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation."

---“The way you start to break down systemic racism is to start building individual relationships with people who are not like you.” --Killer Mike

---The Best News Bloopers of 2015

---A Thanksgiving Miracle

---"A Strong Case for Deleting Your Facebook Account" by Meredith Lepore

---“The endpoint makes you reflect,” Mr. Hochmuth said. “Do I want to keep browsing and clicking and being obsessed? Or do I want to do something else?”

---an Anomalisa featurette

---“You’re going to have to walk over dead people,” the LA police officer, who asked not be named because he had not been cleared to speak to the media, said. “You’re going to have people clutching at you and begging for help. But you have to keep going. There’s no medicine in a gunfight.”  --Andrew Gumbel

---Bunuel and Surrealism: Revolt into Love

---"I'd love to play Hamlet." --Kate Winslet

Saturday, December 5, 2015

8 existential questions about Sofia Coppola's A Very Murray Christmas

1) When Jason Schwartzman incidentally appears to incidentally play drums and sing a duet in A Very Murray Christmas, were we meant to wonder what would have happened if Sofia Coppola had directed Rushmore (1998)?

2) Given that Paul Schaffer accompanies Bill Murray for much of the show on the piano, where was David Letterman?

3) Given that Bill Murray moodily looks out over the New York night skyline, romps around in a fancy hotel, and conveys a strong sense of being alone and sad in the indifferent city, how much is A Very Murray Christmas a continuation of Lost in Translation (2003)? As Sofia Coppola admits, "Him [Murray] singing in a tux was my motivation."

4) Given all of the previously mentioned parallels, where was Scarlett Johansson?

5) Isn't Sofia Coppola too cool to overly rely upon empty celebrity glamour, thereby placing both George Clooney and Miley Cyrus in a dream sequence (with Clooney fixing himself and Bill martinis on Schaffer's piano)? Or is the show inevitably all about celebrity glamour, but tastefully executed with enough existential Christmas blues and failure to make it palatable?

6) How much is A Very Murray Christmas an extended Saturday Night Live skit with Murray revamping his ironic "Nick the Lounge Singer" crooner shtick from the 1970s? Does the show succeed in part because Murray can't sing all that well?

7) Is that bartender really David Johansen of the legendary pre-punk New York Dolls? What has he been up to recently?  Is he intentionally cultivating a resemblance to Tom Waits?

8) Who would have thought that Miley Cyrus could sing a compelling version of Silent Night? It is refreshing to see her not have to work so hard (as she usually does) to hold the audience's attention. How much do Sofia Coppola's movies succeed in part because she does not appear to be trying too hard? Is that kind of naturalism in a director becoming increasingly rare?