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Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

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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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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Thumbnails 10/22/2013







1.

"A Brief History of Fake Blood." Terrific summing-up of blood's significance in cinema, as well as a marvelous explanatory piece on all the different varieties of screen blood, from Hershey's syrup to "samurai blood" to that newfangled, virtual CGI substitute. By Forrest Wickman, for Slate.

"But the man who revolutionized movie blood—and the rest of movie makeup—was Dick Smith. For groundbreaking and bloodletting movies like The Godfather(1972),The Exorcist(1973), and Taxi Driver(1976), Smith perfected the recipe for fake movie blood:

• 1 quart white corn syrup
• 1 level teaspoon methyl paraben
• 2 ounces Ehlers red food coloring
• 5 teaspoons Ehlers yellow food coloring
• 2 ounces Kodak Photo-Flo (Poisonous)
The corn syrup served as the base, the methyl paraben served as a preservative for longer shoots, the food coloring was adjusted for just the right hue, and the Photo-Flo made sure the red stuff flowed just right—it ran over skin and soaked into fabric just like real blood."

2.

"A Snapshot of Independent Film History." For Fandor, an amazingly thorough and delightfully designed flowchart-calendar-graph-illustration taking you through the highlights of non-Hollywood moviemaking. 

3.

"New Prize Created for the Advancement of Women and Girl Filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa." By Beth Hanna, for Thompson on Hollywood. 

"The Girls Impact the World Film Festival along with the Dubai International Film Festival have partnered to offer a new film prize, the DIFF Prize for Advancing Women and Girls. The prize will be awarded to an aspiring student filmmaker from the Middle East and North Africa region for a short (3–5 minute) original film on an issue related to the advancement of women and girls globally. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award. The contest offers an exciting new platform for young (under 25) filmmakers to share their stories and visions in the post-Arab Spring era. Participating films must address global women’s issues such as education for girls, maternal health, violence against women and girls, women’s political participation, and economic independence."

4.

"Fox News Reportedly Used Fake Commenter Accounts to Rebut Critical Blog Posts." According to a forthcoming book on Rupert Murdoch's media empire "Rupert's World," Fox News' public relations staffers "...used an elaborate series of dummy accounts to fill the comments sections of critical blog posts with pro-Fox arguments."

"On the blogs, the fight was particularly fierce. Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them. One former staffer recalled using twenty different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Another had one hundred. Several employees had to acquire a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that could not be traced back to a Fox News or News Corp account. Another used an AOL dial-up connection, even in the age of widespread broadband access, on the rationale it would be harder to pinpoint its origins. Old laptops were distributed for these cyber operations. Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked."

5.

Yeah, we keep linking to reviews of the James Wolcott compendium around here, but at the risk of overkill, this one by Tom Carson (for Bookforum) is a must-read because it's so funny and self-deprecating.

"At some other show before then—CBGB maybe?—I remember him dismissively mentioning that publishers were already sounding him out about collecting his pieces. I have no idea why he apparently thought that was ridiculous; the green river of envy coursing through me had already knocked down houses and drowned cows. He wasn’t even thirty yet! If you want a measure of how quickly (and deservedly) Wolcott went electric, all I can say is that, when I succeeded him as the Voice’s TV reviewer—neither the first nor last time I’ve had to vacuum his pixie dust out of my five-and-dime peruke—nobody battered down the door for an anthology of my nuggets."

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Twitter user @nycsouthpaw reads a piece about "American Psycho" and realizes that in the famous business card duel scene, there's a pretty embarrassing misspelling, and it's repeated on card after card after card. But wouldn't you know it: David Joseph Gall caught and corrected the typo last year while making "American Psycho"-inspired business cards. As you do. 

VIDEO OF THE DAY

"Introducing Screen X, Cinema in 270 Degrees." For more, see Kaleem Aftab's article in Filmmaker Magazine.


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