Cinematic Japanese tourism ad draws on martial arts traditions

Diamond Route Japan went all in on this gorgeous series of tourism ads. Their living samurai spirit ad taps into the romantic view of Japan depicted in their renowned epic period films. Read the rest

Montage of every Best Cinematography Oscar-winning film

Race through some of the most iconic shots in film history with this lovely tribute to the art of cinematography. Read the rest

Here's your chance to play a dog in Wes Anderson's next film

Wes Anderson is raffling a chance to make dog sounds for his upcoming film Isle of Dogs, among other cool prizes. Proceeds benefit the non-profit Film Foundation, which has restored nearly 700 films. Read the rest

Compare the short film 'Whiplash' to the feature 'Whiplash', shot by shot

Jacob T. Swinney compares the short film "Whiplash" with the feature it became.

It's an interesting study in the shot-for-shot remake. With the exception of the location and the switch to Miles Teller as Andrew, nearly everything else is the same.

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NASA's forgotten 3mm gauge movie camera

Dino Everett of USC's Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive shows off a nifty little gadget: a working 3mm movie camera developed by Eric Berndt in 1960 for NASA's Mercury missions. Read the rest

Cinesift is a handy way to find great movies by platform

Whenever I think I've exhausted the possibilities of Netflix or Amazon Prime, I jump on Cinesift and use their handy filters for a deep dive into the vaults.

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Mysterious famous Japanese actress dies

Setsuko Hara. It’s unlikely you’ve heard her name or seen any of her numerous films, yet she was the muse of one of the world’s greatest filmmakers: Japan’s Yasujiro Ozu. And you may well not have heard of him, either, since none of his films were released in the United States during his lifetime; it was thought they were “too Japanese.” During the 1960s Akira Kurosawa was the director thought to be more accessible to western cultures. While little known to the average person, among cinephiles Ozu is one of the most highly-regarded directors in the history of film, and his movie Tokyo Story is ranked in the top tier of the greatest films ever made, along with Citizen Kane and Vertigo.

Welles, Hitchcock, and Ozu.

Like most of Ozu’s films, the plot for his 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story is deceptively simple: an elderly couple travel to Tokyo to visit their children, who have little time to spend with their parents. Only one, the widow of their son who died in the war, is genuinely happy to see them. She is played by Setsuko (pronounced Sets-ko) Hara with a restrained warmth that is unforgettable. The forward movement in Ozu’s films is almost entirely born of emotion, not action. The camera rarely moves.

Tokyo Story drapes a blanket of melancholy over its audience and was inspired by Leo McCarey’s 1937 film, Make Way for Tomorrow, which is even more bleak if such a thing is possible. Of McCarey’s film Orson Welles is reputed to said, “Oh my God that’s the saddest movie ever made … It would make a stone cry.”

But in Tokyo Story there is an enormous emotional restraint in the performances of the actors — a hallmark of Ozu’s work. Read the rest

See the shot similarities between all of the Indiana Jones films

"Indiana Jones 4 and the Echoes of the Past" Read the rest

Is bad CGI ruining movies? A nuanced critique

It's an age-old complaint about video games and films: bad graphics make them suck. But plenty of classic entertainment holds up even if the effects don't. RocketJump Film School examines the issue in a brisk overview. Read the rest

The vast, unplayable history of video games

We face a practical -- and cultural -- archiving crisis unprecedented in any other medium. It's time to change that.

Watch 23 of the best dolly zooms in cinematic history

Vashi Nedomansky compiled this terrific collection of famous dolly zoom shots. Cinematographer Irmin Roberts used it to great effect in Hitchcock's Vertigo, and it quickly entered the language of cinema to convey a moment of revelation, usually an unpleasant one. Read the rest

Ebert: film industry is losing money because they charge too much and deliver too little

Roger Ebert poo-poos the idea that piracy is at the root of dropping film revenues and ascribes the phenomenon instead to crappy movies and crappy theaters that charge too much.

2. Ticket prices are too high. People have always made that complaint, but historically the movies have been cheap compared to concerts, major league sports and restaurants. Not so much any longer. No matter what your opinion is about 3D, the charm of paying a hefty surcharge has worn off for the hypothetical family of four.

3. The theater experience. Moviegoers above 30 are weary of noisy fanboys and girls. The annoyance of talkers has been joined by the plague of cell-phone users, whose bright screens are a distraction. Worse, some texting addicts get mad when told they can't use their cell phones. A theater is reportedly opening which will allow and even bless cell phone usage, although that may be an apocryphal story.

4. Refreshment prices. It's an open secret that the actual cost of soft drinks and popcorn is very low. To justify their inflated prices, theaters serve portions that are grotesquely oversized, and no longer offer what used to be a "small popcorn." Today's bucket of popcorn would feed a thoroughbred.

I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping... Read the rest