Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest
Jon Schwarz, a former Moore staffer, reviews Michael Moore's first movie in six years, "Where to Invade Next," which Schwarz calls Moore's "most subversive movie." Read the rest
The original Rollerball (1975) is a fantastic dystopian science fiction film in which corporations run the world and crowds go crazy for an ultraviolent sport called, you guessed it, Rollerball. (Watch the movie trailer below.) Just before shooting wrapped up, the movie teams played the game for real (apparently with less blood) for an audience of thousands at Munich's Olympic Basketball Stadium. Sports Illustrated covered the chaos for its April 21, 1975 issue:
(Director Norman Jewison... was delighted that the game devised for his film turned out to be one that can be played in earnest. "It can be played, if it's played with very strict rules..." he said on the set. "But it is still a very violent game, though maybe no more so than football. There is a gladiatorial aspect to rollerball that frightens me."
Don Cheadle directed and stars in Miles Ahead, the film portrait of the jazz legend that opens in theaters April 1. How did Cheadle get the role? Well, he never auditioned or even talked to anyone about it before he was cast. Rather, Miles's nephew Vince Wilburn declared that Cheadle would play his uncle. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Cheadle:
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The film jumps around, but the main thread of the plot is set around 1979. Why did you chose to focus on that time period? Just the fact that he wasn’t playing. The fact that he hadn’t played for five years, up to that point, and in a way, was either chomping at the bit to figure out what to say again, if to say again, or he was going down towards death very quickly. He was standing on that knife’s edge at that point, and I don’t think he even know which way it was gonna go. So for us, when we got to the period in all the research about how Miles didn’t play for five years, we were like, “What?” [Laughs] That was the part that was the most interesting from a human being standpoint to me. Musically and what he did with his art form was amazing to me all the time, for the most part. But for me, as a human and an artist and someone who’s a creative person, what happens when you just stop for five years? That’s why we picked that moment to sort of be the departure point: him on the verge of talking again, basically.
Ben Hansford writes about his Kickstarter campaign for a short film called "Uprising - A Post-Apocalyptic Robot Comedy,"On the surface it's a comedy - but at its heart it's a story about me (an idiot man-child) becoming a responsible father. It's also a one-man show, with me doing all of the development, production, post, and visual effects on a shoe-string budget. But most importantly, Uprising is my chance to do my film, my way, with my friends and family by my side." Read the rest
Nightflight has a great article about the weird and wonderful cult exploitation 70s movie, Pretty Maids All in a Row, with a screenplay by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry!
I also like the opening song by the Osmand Brothers, called "Chilly Winds." Read the rest
Pretty Maids would end up being Roddenberry’s first — and only — feature film writing credit during his impressive and long career. He transformed the problematic first draft of Pollini’s original story completely, deepening the dark comedy (it’s pretty black, actually) and softcore semi-misogynistic erotica of the original story — about a high school guidance counselor and football coach who sleeps with a lot of his foxy female students and then murders some of them (the ones who fall in love with him, and ask him to leave his wife, and daughter) — and turning the story into a whodunit that one writer later described as “an episode of ‘Kojak’ written by the staff of Penthouse Forum.“
To protest the UK's antiquated film censorship regime, Charlie Lyne crowdfunded a movie of paint drying. Having raised £5963, Charlie was able to submit a 607 minute film, which the censors now have to sit through. Charlie's just done an "ask me anything" interview at Reddit, with some illuminating answers.
About a year ago, I went to a filmmaker open day held by the BBFC at their offices in Soho. I'd expected to see quite a lot of conflict between the BBFC examiners and the visiting filmmakers whose work was at the mercy of the board, but there was nothing like that. Most of the filmmakers — even those who'd had trouble with the BBFC in the past — seemed totally resigned to the censorship imposed by the board, even supportive of it. I think that shocked me into action.
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This 1927 silent horror film was based on the short story “The Hypnotist” by Tod Browning who also happened to direct this film adaptation. The film is noted for starring Lon Chaney with the makeup used for his vampire character being done by himself. The film was a success upon its release by MGM, but all prints have been lost to time. The film is considered to be the most famous and sought after lost film of all time, with Turner Classic Movies airing a reconstructed version of the film using the original script as well as actual production stills.
With an estimated 100,000 homeless people living on the streets of Delhi, and 18,000 shelter beds, the city's nighttime sidewalks are the only bed for tens of thousands of workers. Read the rest
Okay, this may not in fact be ALL of the classic movie references in animated films from Pixar, but it's a whole lot of 'em.
JWZ of San Francisco's DNA Lounge writes, "First, I reverse engineered an old payphone and turned it into a Linux computer. This was a ridiculous thing to do and my build log is ridiculous. Second: The reason I did this was to use it as a prop at our next HACKERS party." Read the rest
This killer 1977 "Smokey and the Bandit" Pontiac Trans Am, customized by Universal Studios to promote the classic Burt Reynolds/Jackie Gleason film at car shows and other public events, will be sold at auction on January 30! Original Smokey and the Bandit trailer below. From the auction listing at Barrett-Jackson:
Burt Reynolds and McLaughlin Museum present the 1977 Universal Studios Promo Bandit Trans Am from the movie "Smokey and the Bandit." It has been frame-off restored and matching-numbers PHS-documented. Own a piece of history related to one of the most recognized movies of all time. We all loved watching Smokey chase the Bandit in that black Trans Am. Includes Universal Studios certificate listing the VIN of this car, a plaque from General Motors showing the car was used to promote the movie and Universal Studios maps showing scene locations. Title states Universal Studios Promo. Promoted and autographed by Burt Reynolds.
The new trailer for High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley's film based on the 1975 novel by one of my all-time favorite writers JG Ballard, looks absolutely fantastic. And dig the use of Tangerine Dream's track "Love on a Real Train" (famously first heard in Risky Business)! I can't wait to see this.