Now you don't have to be a comedy writer to appreciate great comedic filmmaking, but "Saturday Night Live" veteran Bill Hader has an impressive list of 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See. Thankfully, this is also just a great list of comedies that any cinephile with a penchant for good comedy should check out. The list comes from Mike Sacks' book Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations With Today’s Top Comedy Writers, which sounds like a great read for anyone with more than a passing interest in the art of comedy. But we know you came here for the movie list, so keep reading for the goods. Read on!
Everyone is feeling pretty proud of themselves for making this ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a popular charitable trend, and it's hard to be cynical about something so silly doing so much good. Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt even partook in the challenge himself, but it's another heartwarming gesture of generosity that has a lump in our throats. Pratt was able to hook Marvel up with Children's Miracle Network Hospital to arrange a special screening of the sci-fi adventure for patients and their families at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles earlier this week. But that's not even the coolest part. More below!
Step aside Comic-Con, it's time for MondoCon! Coinciding with the Alamo Drafthouse's annual film festival FantasticFest this year is MondoCon, a brand new convention created by Mondo, the guys behind all those gorgeous artistic posters (and vinyl) we've been throwing our money at for the past few years. This Con will bring "together unique guests from a variety of areas to celebrate film, music, art, and toys with the world’s finest artists, designers, toy creators as well as filmmakers, composers and more." There are screenings, exclusive collectibles, panels with artists and lots to spend money on. Impressive line-up for their first year.
Over the weekend, an unsubstantiated rumor claimed that Disney had plans to release the original cuts of the Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray, without all the "Special Edition" alterations made to the films when they were re-released in theaters in 1997. With the exception of a limited DVD release, the unaltered, original cuts haven't been available in high-definition, so that would be awesome. However, Badass Digest smartly pointed out that Fox owns the rights to those films, so it's not really up to Disney whether or not that happens unless some serious negotiations are done (and that's not out of the question). In the meantime, a video from Geeks are Sexy (via SlashFilm) shows some big fans have taken matters into their own hands.
If you've been on the internet at all the past couple weeks, you've undoubtedly seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a charity trend sweeping the nation to raise money to fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Many people seem to think that Charlie Sheen delivered the best video of this challenge by dumping $10,000 in cash on his head, all of which he was donating to the cause. However, Dave Grohl and his band Foo Fighters have taken this fun, charitable trend to incredible new heights by creating an elaborate recreation of the infamous pig's blood scene at the prom in Stephen King's Carrie. It's awesome. Watch!
If you love movie theaters as much as we do, you're going to love this place even more than before. Tim League's Alamo Drafthouse cinemas is re-opening a flagship location in Austin, Texas, and after a year of renovation, the theater is ready to be shown off. The Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Google Maps) is re-opening to the public on Saturday, August 16th this weekend, and a batch of photos of the location has been revealed. Featuring three brand new, additional auditoriums for a total of nine screens, as well as the infamous Highball bar and karaoke lounge, this place is a movie lover's mecca and it looks brand new again.
We love going behind the scenes of our favorite movies whether it's with featurettes or pictures taken on set by the cast and crew for fans to enjoy on Twitter and Instagram. Well, way before those channels of social media rules the world, and high quality cameras on phones were a little less prominent, digital cameras were still all the rage. And one awesome picture was taken on the set of Shaun of the Dead, but this is the first time that we've seen the photo. You might be wondering what we could possible see from a film that was released ten years ago this year, but trust me, this new photo is amusingly cool and fun. Look below!
Recently we've featured brief ventures into the past with the history of the film industry, the history of movie trailers and even the history of computer generated characters. Now another brief lesson about the motion picture industry has made its way online, but this one focuses on sound. Anyone who has taken a film class will know that sound didn't always accompany films, and it wasn't until The Jazz Singer introduced a soundtrack into the theatrical experience that we began to see the kind of films with recorded music, sound effects and dialogue the way we know them today. But we'll let FilmmakerIQ explain the rest.
What is your favorite film? It's a common question discussed amongst cinephiles the world over, and one artist has taken it even further. German artist Jan-Hendrik Pelz has debuted a gallery at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland this week titled "Favorites", featuring over 30 oil paintings of one frame of a film. Here's the concept - Pelz asked his favorite artists/filmmakers to name their favorite movie "together with a random number of maximum 5 digits as a time stamp. Stopping the movies later at the corresponding times created unpredictable freeze frames, which in the next step Pelz transferred into oil paintings." This mesmerizing gallery is the result of a year of work producing these paintings - see the various frames below.
Over the last couple of years a number of extensive, impressive behind-the-scenes photos from almost all of Stanley Kubrick's films have surfaced online, ending up in complete galleries (see this one for 2001) showing the entirety of production. While we've all poured over these photos, a brand new set of shots are appearing online thanks to tweets from Kubrick's own daughter, Vivian Kubrick. Tweeting with the name @ViKu1111, she's been posting a series of B&W editing room shots, which she says came about because her father gave her a Nikkormat camera for a Christmas present in 1974 and she went photo crazy. Take a look.
We've featured plenty of visual effects breakdown videos for the likes of films such as Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World from Marvel Studios, Weta's work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the extensive work on Pacific Rim, and even less noticeable special effects work on The Wolf of Wall Street. And if you've loved seeing how they make the donuts behind the scenes, then you're going to have much more than a peek behind the curtain. There's a huge playlist on YouTube discovered by Larry Wright of Refocused Media (via The Film Stage) of over 150 visual effects breakdowns enjoy. Watch!
The work of artist Drew Struzan, responsible for some of the most iconic movie posters, has been commemorated with a collection of his artwork in books, along with a feature length documentary. Another artist who is well renowned for this kind of work is John Alvin, having designed posters for the likes of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Blade Runner, Batman, The Lion King and much more. But one of his better known works was the poster for Jurassic Park, featuring the iconic font and tyrannosaurs rex skeleton logo that we all know today. However, there were tons of designs that preceded it and never used.
If you're more than a casual fan of filmmaking, then you're probably familiar with the name Saul Bass for his work on opening credits sequences and posters for iconic films of the past from directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and more. Now we get a little insight into the creative process of figuring out how Saul Bass worked with filmmakers to craft just the right poster to get audiences interested in the film by way of some rejects designs for Kubrick's classic horror film The Shining. Some alternate designs have surfaced, complete with Kubrick's notes on what he didn't like about these pieces, and it's pretty fascinating.
"It showed a world drained of vitality and meaning." 1979 - the year of Ridley Scott's Alien, the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as well as the original The Muppet Movie, Escape from Alcatraz and of course James Bond's Moonraker. But aside from Alien, it was actually a great year for "scary" movies galore, from George Romero's Dawn of the Dead to the original The Amityville Horror with James Brolin, as well as David Cronenberg's creeper The Brood, John Frankenheimer's eco-horror Prophecy about a giant killer bear, Don Coscarelli's cult horror Phantasm, even Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre was released in 1979. Nelson Carvajal presents a new video essay about all the dark horror that summer. Enjoy.