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Masterminds

A heist film populated almost entirely by dunderheads; very funny.

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Do Not Resist

A furious and often terrifying documentary about the militarization of US police.

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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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Thumbnails 10/24/14

1.

"The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed": A fantastic report from Wired's Adrian Chen.

“Companies like Facebook and Twitter rely on an army of workers employed to soak up the worst of humanity in order to protect the rest of us. And there are legions of them—a vast, invisible pool of human labor. Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer of MySpace who now runs online safety consultancy SSP Blue, estimates that the number of content moderators scrubbing the world’s social media sites, mobile apps, and cloud storage services runs to ‘well over 100,000’—that is, about twice the total head count of Google and nearly 14 times that of Facebook. This work is increasingly done in the Philippines. A former US colony, the Philippines has maintained close cultural ties to the United States, which content moderation companies say helps Filipinos determine what Americans find offensive. And moderators in the Philippines can be hired for a fraction of American wages. Ryan Cardeno, a former contractor for Microsoft in the Philippines, told me that he made $500 per month by the end of his three-and-a-half-year tenure with outsourcing firm Sykes. Last year, Cardeno was offered $312 per month by another firm to moderate content for Facebook, paltry even by industry standards.”

2.

"Why 'Mulholland Drive' is a Great Horror Film": Vulture's Bilge Ebiri pens a sublime love letter to David Lynch's crowning achievement, one of the greatest films ever made. 

“One could argue that without that extra element of bitterness, of real-life disillusionment to mirror the film’s fictional despair, ‘Mulholland Drive’ would never have truly come into its own. When I asked Lynch about it earlier this year, he told me, in his usual aw-shucks tone, ‘It was never destined to be a pilot. Whether it started out that way or not, all the things that happened just pointed it more and more toward being a feature.’ And amazingly, it seemed that he didn’t have a grand design for the story when it got canceled. ‘I always say I love the idea of an open-ended story,’ he said, ‘but I’d never gotten to that point where I was seeing scenarios. I liked the idea of the mystery of it. So it became a feature. And it was supposed to become a feature.’ So, where does that leave the genre issue? For the most part, it doesn’t matter. ‘Mulholland Drive’ is Lynchian — the creation of an artist so unique that his work can in no way be pigeonholed. And Lynch himself would probably not consider it a horror film either; he considers it more of a ‘love story.’ But my own nightmares suggest otherwise; no other film manages to give me bad dreams as consistently as this film does. That’s because, along with its genuinely impressive scares and its expertly mounting sense of dread, ‘Mulholland Drive,’ like the best horror films, gets at the most unsettling of existential fears — that the world we imagine ourselves living in is an illusion, and that we have no control over our fates.”

3.

"The Only Thing I Have to Say About GamerGate": Felicia Day offers her take on the controversy. 

“I have been through a lot in my years on the internet. I have encountered a small fraction of the attacks from people like the ones who currently represent the worst of this “movement”. In the past, I worked through it alone because I felt shining a light on their words gave them exactly what they wanted: Attention and credibility. To say that their attacks and contempt didn’t set me back creatively would be a lie, but overall I got through the twists and turns, emotionally battered, but alright. My philosophy has always been, ‘Exist and represent yourself the way you want to exist as a woman who loves games, not as a reflection of what other people think or want of you. You will change minds by BEING. Show, don’t tell.’ The attacks I experienced over the years were NOTHING compared to people who are the victims of these attacks now, but I still thought early on during the Gamer Gate phenomenon, ‘These trolls will dissipate into the night like they always do, it will be fine.’ But they have not dissipated. And because of the frightening emotions and actions attached to what has happened over the last month, the events are sure to have a long-lasting affect on gaming as a culture. The fact that it has affected me, to the point where I decided to cross the street last weekend away from those gamers, was heartbreaking. Because I realized my silence on the issue was not motivated by some grand strategy, but out of fear that the issue has created about speaking out.”

4.

"Holy Smokes! Possible $5m fine for Batman extra who leaked female Robin": The Guardian's Ben Child reveals the penalty for spoiling the top-secret role supposedly played by Jena Malone in Zack Snyder's upcoming blockbuster, "Batman v. Superman." 

“Studio Warner Bros has not yet made any public comment on the rumour. However, several US sites are reporting that the extra in question now faces a possible $5m fine for breaking a non-disclosure agreement. ‘Batman v Superman,’ the followup to Zack Snyder’s 2013 superhero epic Man of Steel, will feature Affleck taking on Henry Cavill’s Superman. The film already looks set to be a crowded affair, with a debut for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and potential bows for Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Snyder is said to be riffing heavily on ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’which sees an older, jaded Batman coming into conflict with Superman after the latter is called in to take down an increasingly out-of-control dark knight.”

5.

"Samuel Fuller's Life Was as Explosive as His Movies": LA Magazine's Lincoln Flynn interviews Samantha Fuller about the "unconventional documentary" she has made about her iconic father. 

“If you were to program a slate of movies to accompany your documentary, which of your father’s films would you pick? [Fuller:] I would select ‘Park Row,’ which is his ode to journalism. He really wanted to write his own newspaper. That was his dream. He just wound up in Hollywood. The second one would be ‘Shock Corridor.’ It may not come across as an autobiographical film, but if you look into it, the main character, Johnny Barrett, is actually my father. He commits himself to an insane asylum to cover a crime story and he doesn’t come out of it. I can relate that to my father enlisting himself in World War II to cover the biggest crime story of the century. He never came out of it the same man. [He] suffered from years of PTSD; it wasn’t known as PTSD at the time, but he definitely had it. The third would be ‘The Big Red One,’ since it’s about his experience in World War II.”

Image of the Day

David Edelstein and Bilge Ebiri rank The 25 Best Horror Movies Since 'The Shining' for Vulture, including Tobe Hooper's 1982 "Poltergeist."

Video of the Day

Vox's Todd VanDerWerff provides an essential list of "13 classic scenes that explain how horror movies work," illustrating such techniques as the "use of long takes in first-person horror."

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