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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Harry Benson: Shoot First

The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

#258 August 5, 2015

Sheila writes: Quentin Tarantino's films are often tributes to other films, to other genres, to actors who have made their marks in the past. He loves it all, he has enthusiasm for all. Here, in this really fun Press Play video, Tarantino's visual references to other films are made explicit, shot for shot.

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#162 April 3, 2013

Marie writes: The Ebert Club Newsletter is now three years old! And the occasion calls for some cake - but not just any old cake, as it's also now officially Spring! And that means flowers, butterflies and ladybugs too. Smile.

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#170 June 5, 2013

Marie writes: Behold a truly rare sight. London in 1924 in color. "The Open Road" was shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Friese-Greene and who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William (a noted cinematographer) had been experimenting with. The travelogues were taken between 1924 and 1926 on a motor journey between Land's End and John O'Groats. You can find more footage from The Open Road at The British Film Institute's YouTube channel for the film. You can also explore their Archives collection over here.

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#99 January 25, 2012

Marie writes: many simply know her as the girl with the black helmet. Mary Louise Brooks (1906 - 1985), aka Louise Brooks, an American dancer, model, showgirl and silent film actress famous for her bobbed haircut and sex appeal. To cinefiles, she's best remembered for her three starring roles in Pandora's Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) directed by G. W. Pabst, and Prix de Beauté (1930) by Augusto Genina. She starred in 17 silent films (many lost) and later authored a memoir, Lulu in Hollywood."She regards us from the screen as if the screen were not there; she casts away the artifice of film and invites us to play with her." - Roger, from his review of the silent classic Pandor's Box.

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# 73 July 27, 2011

"I love music so much and I had such ambition that I was willing to go way beyond what the hell they paid me for. I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music."  - Alex Steinweiss

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The dogs are loose! (Part 2)

My MSN Movies gallery feature article about Great Movie Underdogs (i.e., dogs whose proper names are not in the titles), is live. And, after the jump, the answers to last week's movie dog quiz -- and a couple of delicious bonus treats.

Regarding great movie doggerel doggies:

My dog Edith does not much like dog movies. At least I don't think she does. Whenever a canine appears on our 55-inch HDTV screen, or any of the surround speakers, she lunges, barking, growling, whining and emitting other noises that sound like a wounded vacuum or a gargling siren.

If Edith were a bit less excitable and territorial, if she were better able to maintain a critical distance, she would appreciate how many fine screen performances have been given by members of her species, if not of her particular mixed-breed-of-color. [...]

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The new-er-est "Blade Runner"

View image This shot has always been there.

Steven Boone over at The House Next Door has seen the latest -- er, "Final" -- cut of what may now, 25 years after its debut, be "Ridley Scott's" "Blade Runner," in the new version premiering at the New York Film Festival. Above all, Boone was wowed by the digital presentation: "The Final Cut" is remastered from original 35mm elements and transferred to High Definition digital video at 4K (4096 horizontal pixel) resolution. Projected in HD at 24 frames a second for this year's New York Film Festival, this "Blade Runner" has no visible grain, dirt or scratches, stuttering frames, reel-change "cigarette burns" or soft-focus moments when the film gets loose in the projector gate. Funny how I thought I'd miss all those things, their "organic" qualities, but this restoration gives us a pristine image without sacrificing warmth. The picture even fooled our editor, who at first thought he was looking at a 35mm projection. This "Blade Runner" removes every barrier to getting lost in Scott's fire-and-rain Los Angeles short of presenting it as interactive theater.I saw the original version first-run in 70 mm at Seattle's Cinerama Theater in 1982, and grain was evident, probably for a couple reasons: 1) many of the visual effects involved multiple, non-digital exposures; and 2) the film wasn't actually shot in 70 mm, but was blown up from 35 mm.

According to an extensive, multi-sourced Wikipedia article on the film, the 1990 version advertised as a "Director's Cut" and shown at the Nuart in LA and the Castro in San Francisco was actually a 70 mm workprint. (In the days before digital, effects were often done in 70 mm, even for 35 mm releases, for better optical quality.) Scott approved the 1992 Director's Cut, but wasn't entirely satisfied with it. Wikipedia offers comparisons of the various versions, citing the primary changes as: * The removal of Deckard's explanatory voice-over * The re-insertion of a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest * The removal of the studio-imposed "happy ending," including some associated visuals which had originally run under the film's end-credits.It was apparent from the beginning that the voiceover was a big problem -- and Harrison Ford (who didn't get on with Scott, much less the studio execs who were calling him in to read narration) has said he did it badly and begrudgingly, hoping they wouldn't even be able to use it. (It's that cringe-worthy at times.) Scott, however, says he wasn't taken off the picture, and that he completed the original release version after it tested badly with audiences.

But the movie was a theatrical flop anyway, producing rentals of only $14.8 million at roughly the same time "E.T." was on its way to zooming past $300 million. According to a definitive piece by Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times Magazine (September 13, 1992), the film may have died then and there. But the new home video market extended its commercial termination date: "Blade Runner's" availability on video kept it alive in the eyes of the always loyal science-fiction crowd, and gradually, over time, the film's visual qualities and the uncanniness with which it had seemed to see the future began to outweigh its narrative flaws. Scott says he saw the interest rise, "And I thought, 'My God, we must have misfired somewhere; a lot of people like this movie.' " And not just in this country. In Japan, where the film had always been successful, "I was treated like a king," art director [Snyder reports. "The fans would be too in awe to even look at you." The film's look began to show up in art direction and design: Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" and the stage design for the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels tour were influenced by "Blade Runner." And when laser discs appeared on the market, "Blade Runner" was one of the films that everyone just had to get. It became Voyager's top-selling disc immediately upon its release in 1989, never losing the No. 1 spot. (Are spoiler alerts now becoming unfashionable because we should just assume everybody's seen the movie or knows the ending? I don't care. This is one.)

In Sunday's New York Times ("A Cult Classic Restored, Again"), Scott says of Ford's character, Deckard: “Yes, he’s a replicant. He was always a replicant.”

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Sleeper from Chicago directors wakes up Toronto

TORONTO, Canada--Like scouts at a pre-season game, the North American movie industry is gathered here in Toronto, eyeing the developing autumn movie season. The Toronto Film Festival, now in its 21st year, is the major launching pad for many of the films that will be honored, applauded and damned during Oscar Season, which started, in case you missed it, on Labor Day.

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Gregory Nava: Living in el Norte

Why don't we ever see Latino families in the movies? All the other American ethnic groups have given us movies about their march through the generations, but Latinos, until now, have been represented mostly by crime movies and comedies, neither presenting their culture in an especially positive light. A Chicano I know went to see "American Me," a film by Edward James Olmos that is brave and powerful but unremitting in its portrait of a man destroyed by prison, and came out saying, "If I wasn't Chicano, this movie wouldn't have made me want to know any."

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'American Me' finds Olmos on a mission

If you remember Edward James Olmos as the high school math teacher in "Stand and Deliver," the 1988 movie that won him an Oscar nomination, you remember a gentle, stooped man with his hair plastered tightly across scalp--a man who looked so inoffensive and conciliatory that his strength was one of the surprises in the story. If that is the Olmos you remember, you would not recognize him on the street. The real man is much more alert, coiled, powerful.

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