Kubrick/Kraftwerk t-shirt

Years ago, Philip Anderson, founder of the great Cinefile Video store in Los Angeles, and designer Bob Bianchini created a genius line of t-shirts that combined the names of auteur directors with the iconic logos of excellent bands: Herzog/Danzig, Bunuel/Bahaus, etc. Today I just noticed this fantastic Stanley Kubrick shirt that references Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album!

See them all at Cinemetal T-Shirts. Read the rest

These are the first words ever heard in a feature film

“Wait a minute... Wait a minute... you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

In 1927, Al Jolson spoke those words in The Jazz Singer, marking the end of the silent film age. (Of course, that film also featured Jolson in blackface which unfortunately was common at the time.) From The Guardian:

Just a year before (The Jazz Singer), Warners had made Don Juan, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor, which didn’t exactly set the Hudson river on fire, despite sound effects like the clash of swords or chairs being thrown – all to the accompaniment of the New York Philharmonic.

The reason Sam Warner, the technical genius of the brothers, thought that adding a human voice would make all the difference was a series of shorts brought in as a late addition to the Don Juan programme. Giovanni Martinelli, principal tenor at the Metropolitan Opera, sang Pagliacci. The leader of the Philharmonic played his violin and Al Jolson sang When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along).

They were a secret success. The New York press hardly noticed, but audiences did – and loved them. What would be known as “the talkies” were coming out of the fairground.

It was Sam Warner’s idea to team up with the Western Electric company to buy its Vitaphone synchronising system. He had the faith that few others possessed, but sadly died of a mastoid infection of the brain the day before the hugely successful premiere of The Jazz Singer.

(via r/TodayILearned) Read the rest

Terrific stop motion animation made from pancakes

Wriggles & Robins's "Max's Journey to the Moon" is a delightful stop motion animation created from 600 pancakes. They released it today in celebration of National Pancake Day, aka Shrove Tuesday. Read the rest

"How to Behave in a British Pub" -- 1943 film for U.S. soldiers

Burgess Meredith stars in this 1943 film produced by the United States Office of War Information to teach U.S. soldiers how to conform to the customs of British pubs. The film has an "Ugly American" type soldier doing all the wrong things while a uniformed Meredith shakes his head in shame.

[via Nag on the Lake] Read the rest

This dark and amazing animation about the end of humankind aired on Ed Sullivan in 1956

Joan and Peter Foldes directed this incredible animation, titled "A Short Vision," in 1956. The couple created the film -- based on a poem by Peter -- in their kitchen. It was funded by a grant from the British Film Institute's Experimental Film Fund. From Wikipedia:

Ed Sullivan saw A Short Vision in England, and promised an American showing. He said his motive was a "plea for peace" However, he may have shown it because of his relationship with George K. Arthur, A Short Vision's distributor. Ten days after he saw it, Sullivan showed A Short Vision on his popular Sunday night show The Ed Sullivan Show on 27 May 1956. Sullivan told the audience to tell their children in the room to not be alarmed, because of its animated nature. The film was very popular, and it was shown again on 10 June; Sullivan told parents to take children out of the room.

More on the film's history here: "A SHORT VISION: Ed Sullivan’s Atomic Show Stopper" (CONELRAD) Read the rest

Far-out Estonian animation from 1974

Esteemed Estonian animator Rein Raamat created this groovy short, "Värvilind," in 1974. The music is by composer Rein Rannap who was also the founder of Estonian prog rock band Ruja.

(via ObscureMedia)

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A lovely film of spinning tops by Charles and Ray Eames

In 1969, visionary designers Charles and Ray Eames directed this cinematic ballet of more than 100 spinning tops from around the world. The score is by famed Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Airplane!, etc.). From the Eames Office:

Tops had its genesis in an earlier film produced for the Stars of Jazz television program in 1957. The Eameses decided to make a longer, color version in 1966, which they worked on in spare moments between other projects.

The film is a celebration of the ancient art and craft of top-making and spinning. One hundred and twenty-three tops spin to the accompaniment of a score by Elmer Bernstein. Using close-up, live-action photography, the film shows tops, old and new, from various countries, including China, Japan, India, the United States, France, and England.

Charles’s fascination with spinning tops went back to his childhood; in this film he found a perfect vehicle for demonstrating their beauty in motion and for making visual points about the universality of tops, the physics of motion (MIT physics professor, Philip Morrison, often showed the film to students and colleagues), and the intimate relationship between toys and science.

(via Aeon) Read the rest

Documentary about the 1980s SoCal underground art happenings with Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc.

In the 1980s, Stuart Swezey was at the epicenter of Southern California's underground culture. The co-founder of Amok Books, Swezey was also known for organizing extreme industrial and avant-garde outdoor happenings in remote locations like the Mojave Desert that featured performances by Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Minutemen, and many other experimental and transgressive artists. Now, Swezey has made a documentary about those extreme experiences. Above is the trailer for Desolation Center.

Read the rest

"Meet David," an unintentionally weird educational film clip from 1959

Context is everything, especially when it's missing.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Beautiful book, augmented reality, and film about stunning rocket launches

In the realm of rocket geeks and space nerds, filmmakers MaryLiz Bender and Ryan Chylinski have dream jobs. The pair have the equivalent of "backstage passes" to SpaceX, NASA and ULA rocket launches where they capture and share breathtaking videos that convey the power, risk, and thrill of space exploration. The work of their studio, called Cosmic Perspective, is visceral, wondrous, and inspiring. Now Bender and Chylinski are creating a fascinating art book enhanced with augmented reality along with a companion short film "documenting humanity's grand adventure to space." Titled "Guidance Internal: Lessons from Astronauts," the book, film, and their touring Cosmic Perspective show lies at the intersection of science and art "to inspire hope, elevate empathy, and bring people together." They've launched a Kickstarter to support the project and it looks, well, stellar.

From Kickstarter:

The art and the pages in this book come to life immediately teleporting you to rocket launch pads, directly to our intimate interviews with astronauts and the people sending missions to space. We fuse art with science blending our love of high-dynamic range photography with compelling video to capture the emotion, excitement, and gravity of these events. We also give you a front-row seat to transformative performances by artists inspired by these experiences.

We place autonomous high-resolution and ultra-high speed video cameras at the launchpads of SpaceX, NASA, and ULA. These are cameras we place well ahead of the liftoff, design to survive the elements and, since no humans can be anywhere near the rockets, trigger without any human interaction.

Read the rest

Watch the new short film by Mike Mills and The National

"I Am Easy to Find" is a short film by esteemed experimental (and Hollywood) director Mike Mills in collaboration with The National. A two-way street, Mills took inspiration from The National's new album, also named "I Am Easy To Find," while the film, starring Alicia Vikander, fueled The National's songwriting. (I've heard the record, to be released on Friday, and it is truly magnificent.)

“The National gave me the stems for their songs, some were sketches some were finished and encouraged and allowed me to create my own versions of the songs to score the film,” Mills said in a statement. “The album then features different versions of these same 7 songs – and 9 new songs which sometimes refer to the themes, texts, ideas from the film – but are their own work, their own piece of art.”

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Watch Madonna, at age 16, star in a high-schooler's experimental film

In 1974, Wyn Cooper, one of Madonna's fellow students at Adams High School near Detroit, invited the 16-year-old pre-material girl to star in his experimental film. The Super 8 short is titled "The Egg." "We developed a friendship and hung out," Cooper, now a poet in Vermont, has said. "I had a Mercury Capri with an eight-track tape player. Madonna and I would hop in the car, drive around and listen to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars while enjoying a little marijuana." (via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

WATCH: 'Joker' trailer features Joaquin Phoenix as new Batman villain

This might be the best trailer I have ever seen in my life.

Is this teaser trailer for JOKER available as a vape? I want to inhale it nonstop until the movie comes out in October. Read the rest

Little Timo's Christmas Tree

A seasonal Russian animation from 1966. Directed by Vladimir Degtyarev, it's 10 minutes long and you won't need subtitles 'cause there ain't no dialogue. [via Metafilter] Read the rest

Douglas Rain, HAL 9000's voice in '2001: A Space Odyssey,' has died. He was 90.

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Douglas Rain, the actor who performed the voice of the computer Hal 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's film '2001: A Space Odyssey,' has died. He was 90 years old. Read the rest

Breaking Bad movie on the way but Bryan Cranston hasn't even seen the script

A Breaking Bad movie will start production this month in Duke City, New Mexico according to the New Mexico Film Office. The film, currently identified as "Greenbrier," "tracks the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom," according to the Albuquerque Journal:

This is the first project for Vince Gilligan – who created “Breaking Bad” and co-created the spinoff, “Better Call Saul” – after signing a three-year deal with Sony Pictures Television in July...

Details on which characters will be returning from the TV series to the film have not been released.

"Yes, there appears to be a movie version of 'Breaking Bad, but I honestly have not even read the script," Bryan Cranston said on The Dan Patrick Show. "I have not gotten the script, I have not read the script. So there's the question of whether or not we'll even see Walter White in this movie. Think about that one." Read the rest

Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" concert film will finally be released

In January 1972, Aretha Franklin performed at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. The LP of those performances is an absolutely breathtaking celebration of soul gospel. It won a Grammy, became the biggest selling live gospel record in history, and remains the highest selling record of Franklin's career. Filmmaker Sydney Pollack documented the performance and the plan was to release the concert movie as a double feature with Super Fly during the summer of 1972. The problem though is that Pollack hadn't used a clapper board during the filming that would enable him to sync the audio and footage from the five cameras. With no way to properly edit the film, the project was shelved until about ten years ago. And in a few months, the world will finally see it. From the New York Times:

(Alan) Elliott, who had been obsessed with the lost footage since working as a music executive in the mid-1980s, ultimately persuaded Warner to sell him the reels in 2007. (He mortgaged his house.) By 2010, digital technology had evolved to a point that syncing film and sound was finally possible....

As a planned release date approached in 2011, however, Ms. Franklin sued Mr. Elliott for using her likeness without her permission. That started years of legal wrangling, with Ms. Franklin and her lawyers blocking Mr. Elliott and the Telluride Film Festival from showing “Amazing Grace” in 2015 and 2016, even after deals for her compensation seemed to have been worked out.

Read the rest

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