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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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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 10/7/16

1.

"Nicholas Ray's Domestic Monster": Kenji Fujishima revisits 1956's "Bigger Than Life" at Paste Magazine.

“The cortisone Dr. Norton (Robert Simon) prescribes Ed is technically for polyarteritis nodosa, a rare arterial inflammation that could kill him within a year without treatment. But already, in the film’s opening stages, Ray and screenwriters Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum suggest that Ed’s ailment is as much metaphorical as physical. He’s overworked, for one thing: Because his teaching job doesn’t pay enough, he’s forced to make ends meet for his family by taking on a second job working the phones at a taxicab company—the latter being something he tries to hide from his wife, Lou (Barbara Rush), covering it under the guise of a lot of extra board meetings at school. Worse than the fatigue, though, is the sense of spiritual emptiness he feels in his current humdrum existence. ‘Let’s face it: We’re dull,’ Ed ruefully says to Lou after a dinner party—just before he collapses from his disease and is forced to go to a hospital. It’s an ennui that threatens to kill him. Ed’s life at the moment is certainly a far cry from—as is revealed in a brief exchange Ed has with his son, Richie (Christopher Olsen), just before he goes to the hospital—that one moment of glory he had in high school, when he subbed in for a quarterback in an important football game and scored a crucial winning touchdown. But with the cortisone comes rejuvenation…and terror.”

2.

"Combustion Cycle": A great essay from Sarah Cooke at The Indy.

“When a friend heard that I was working on a piece about Ben Affleck, she referenced his role in ‘Gone Girl’—David Fincher’s 2014 film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel—and I nodded like I knew what that meant. At the time, all I’d seen was a YouTube clip of Rosamund Pike delivering the Cool Girl monologue: ‘Men always use that as the defining compliment, right? She’s a cool girl,’ i.e. hot but not slutty-hot, smart but not too smart. (Like most narratives about masculinity, it also involves misogyny.) From Wikipedia, I learned that Nick Dunne does what some men do: use women to give their masculinity emotional depth. This is partially why Fincher cast Affleck. As Fincher told Vanity Fair in 2014, ‘I think he [Affleck] learned how to skate on charm.’ What makes Ben Affleck different from Nick Dunne is that he’s got nervous hands, and he’s had them for what seems like a while, or what counts as a while in Hollywood, a town with a short history and even shorter memory. The first Ben Affleck debuted in 1981 and culminated with him and Matt Damon winning an Oscar for their screenplay of ‘Good Will Hunting.’ Ben Affleck #2 emerged in 2004 after he broke up with J. Lo and fell into drugs and bad career choices, prompting Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times to observe: ‘Ben Affleck has had such a rough year (or so I’ve read) that it almost seems unfair to pick on either his newest film or latest nontabloid performance.’”

3.

"Inside the making of 'Luke Cage,' Marvel's first black superhero show": As reported by The Washington Post's David Betancourt.

“As production on Netflix’s ‘Luke Cage’ began, producer/writer Cheo Hodari Coker took the few spare moments he had to thinkof his grandfather, Bertram W. Wilson, who died in 2002 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. ‘My grandfather was a Tuskegee Airman. He flew with the 100th Fighter Squadron. One of the first black fighter pilots,’ Coker told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. ‘The thing that he always said was, you can’t think about the opportunity in terms of the fear, it being historic, all the things that come ahead of it. You just [have to] fly the plane. Everything else, as long as you fly the plane, will take care of itself.’ His grandfather’s words guided him as he began the process of producing Marvel’s first TV show centered on a black superhero, which begins streaming Friday on Netflix. Coker said he felt a bit of pressure to get ‘Luke Cage’ right. But he focused on getting the job done — not making history. ‘The added pressure comes from the fact that, if you f— up, people that look like you might not get the opportunity. You focus on the work. You focus on the opportunity to tell good stories first, before anything else,’ Coker said.”

4.

"Shooting Film Against the Digital Wave: DP Paul Cameron on 'Westworld'": In conversation with Filmmaker Magazine's Matt Mulcahey.  

“It would’ve been great to shoot widescreen for sure, but I guess too many people complain that there’s something wrong with their televisions [when shows are letterboxed]. (laughs) But it’s fabulous that HBO and specifically Jonathan were supportive about shooting film. It was one of our quickest conversations ever in a meeting. We determined we were going to shoot film in the first 30 seconds. There’s a lot of fabulous work being done with digital capture. I’m doing a film digitally right now that’s coming out quite well. But there’s been such a wave in the industry that digital is replacing film to the point that laboratories are shutting, and there’s less stock from Kodak, and Fuji doesn’t produce any film stocks at all. And [that wave] was partially started by myself (laughs) on ‘Collateral’ shooting with Sony F900’s and establishing the possibilities for digital capture in a major theatrical picture. But in ‘Collateral’ I didn’t do it thinking, ‘Now we’re going to change over to digital.’ The path was never, to me, meant to take away film as a creative choice. You’ve got directors like Jonathan and his brother Christopher (Nolan) and Scorsese and Tarantino who are still supportive of shooting film and there’s a reason for it — because it’s an absolutely fantastic medium.”

5.

"Want to Raise a Trailblazing Daughter? 'The Notorious RBG' Says Do These Seven Things": A terrific list from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, published by Bill Murphy Jr. at Inc.com.

“In retrospect, most things in life seem inevitable, but this would be a good time to consider just how unlikely Ginsburg's assent and career have been. She didn't grow up with money, and her family faced tragedy twice before she was 18—the death of not only her mother but also her 6-year-old sister. When Ginsburg decided to go to law school, only 3 percent of attorneys were women, and there was only one female appellate judge in America. Moreover, there were no laws prohibiting employers from simply firing women who became pregnant—heck, we were still 20 years away from laws ensuring that women could open credit cards in their own names. Ginsburg writes about some simple advice her father-in-law gave her at the time that inspired her: ‘Stop worrying, and find a way to manage.’ At the time, this meant that she and her husband both started law school while simultaneously caring for their infant daughter—an unusual circumstance at the time. (By the way, their daughter grew up to be an attorney as well, and is now on the faculty at Columbia Law School.)”

Image of the Day

The Videoblogs Commentary, a live commentary for Michael DiBiasio and Rebecca De Ornelas' indie drama, "The Videoblogs," will take place at 1:30pm CST on Sunday, October 9th. David Paterson, writer/director of "The Great Gilly Hopkins," will be among the guests, and over $500 in filmmaking prizes will be offered during the online event. For more information, click here.

Video of the Day

The Pheromones' "Dangerous Games" accompanies footage from Tamar van den Dop's excellent Dutch drama "Supernova," starring the mesmerizing Gaite Jansen, which is currently available via Vimeo On Demand.

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