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Art Inspiring Cinema Examined in 'Film Meets Art' Compilation Videos

Film Meets Art Video

We've all heard the quote before. Jean-Luc Godard once said: "It's not where you take things from — it's where you take them to." Filmmakers are often inspired and influenced by other art, whether it be music or paintings or photography or other films. Sometimes it's easy to spot in films, other times the influence is deeper and more nuanced. There's a series of videos created by editor Vugar Efendi called "Film Meets Art" that highlight various examples of cinema borrowing exact shots or poses or color or composition or clothing (or all of the above) from paintings and other classic art. It is actually an impressive examination of creative influence and how it plays directly into cinema. I wanted to feature both of the videos, with Part II out this week, because there's so much to admire in each of them. I love the shot from There Will Be Blood.

 Posted September 20 in Feat, To Watch | Comments

Interview: Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett On Fear and 'Blair Witch'

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett Interview

The creative team behind the horror films You're Next and The Guest seem like the perfect choices to bring something as groundbreaking and phenomenal as The Blair Witch Project back to modern audiences. That team, director/producer Adam Wingard and writer/producer Simon Barrett, are no strangers to the world of indie horror and all that comes with it and this shows in everything the pair have delivered so far. Taking what they learned in creating the V/H/S series, the filmmakers once again take to the stage of scares for Blair Witch, a direct sequel to the 1999 film that shaped the horror genre that directly after. Their update is relentless in its intensity and loaded with surprises that fans of the original will eat up in droves.

 Posted September 16 in Feat, Horror, Interview | Comments

Watch: Badass Raw Footage from 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Without VFX

Mad Max: Fury Road Without VFX

This is SO badass. I'm pretty sure I've seen this before (perhaps one of the special features on iTunes), but there's nothing wrong with sharing it and watching it all over again. An awesome behind-the-scenes video from George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road is making its way around the internet, mostly because it's still amazing (more than a year after release) to see how they actually shot so much of this film realistically, with big rigs and crazy vehicles and huge explosions. This proves that George Miller is a helluva director and probably was the one who really deserved to win the Best Director Oscar for last year. Even though the final version of Fury Road includes tons of VFX work, this video shows that so much of it was done practically. Even the the guys swinging on the giant poles, even the big crashes, even the wacky guitar player. Have fun.

 Posted September 12 in Feat, Hype, To Watch | Comments

Watch This: ILM's Impressive VFX Breakdown for 'The Force Awakens'

The Force Awakens VFX Breakdown

Watching VFX breakdowns is always enchanting. ILM has released their full 4-minute video showing their work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "The history of ILM leads all the way back to 1975 and origins of Star Wars and The Force Awakens gave us the opportunity to once again push the boundaries of what is possible in character animation and visual effects while combining cutting edge practical effects and physical sets." It's always cool to get a glimpse of what it was like on set and how much they added in each scene to make it feel so real. The amount of objects and layers in some of the scenes is remarkable. ILM also work with their "partners Hybride, Base FX and Virtuos" on this project. All movie geeks need to watch this.

 Posted September 7 in Feat, Star Wars, To Watch | Comments

In Love with Films at Telluride 2016 - 'Where the Stars Go to See Stars'

Telluride 2016

The mountains are a truly magical place. For the past nine years in a row, I've made a pilgrimage up to the beautiful mountain town of Telluride in Colorado for the Telluride Film Festival. It only lasts for one weekend and it's over way too quickly, but it's still one of my favorite weekends every year. At the 2016 version of the film festival, I was able to catch 11 films and many of them were wonderful. A few of them are guaranteed to end up my Top 10 this year, and that's usually the case with Telluride. I come to this festival year after year to fall in love with films again, to see some of the best that cinema has to offer, and I'm rarely disappointed. Plus over the four days the festivals lasts, I get catch up with old friends and make new ones.

 Posted September 6 in Editorial, Feat, Telluride 16 | Comments

A Breath of Fresh Mountain Air - Returning to the Telluride Film Fest

Telluride Film Festival

It's nice to be back. Up in the mountains, ready to see more films and see what many talented filmmakers have in store for us. I have returned to the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado for my 9th year in a row, covering this festival with just as much enthusiasm as the first time I went (back in 2008). This film festival takes place an altitude of 8,750 ft (2,667 m), in a tiny little charming town nestled deep inside the San Juan mountains. It's such a beautiful location, the kind where you can see the stars, where everyone around you is always saying "isn't it so beautiful?", where it's easy to get a breath of fresh air, and where you must truly appreciate the place you at. I'm glad to be back, and I'm ready to start watching films. Let's begin the show.

 Posted September 1 in Editorial, Feat, Telluride 16 | Comments

Zombies, VHS Games, Heists & Thrills at Germany's Fantasy Filmfest

Germany's Fantasy Filmfest

Over the past week and a half I've been attending a few screenings of films as part of the Fantasy Filmfest in Berlin (where I now live). Inspired by and operated similar to Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX and Fantasia in Montreal, the Fantasy Filmfest is a horror/sci-fi/genre festival in Germany (taking place in multiple cities over these past few weeks). Their catchy tagline is "Fear Good Movies" and their line-up of films this year is impressive, including some of my favorites from other fests like: Swiss Army Man, Under the Shadow, Train to Busan, Yoga Hosers, and War on Everyone. I caught four films over the last few weeks, two of them worth recommending. Overall, I'm glad I heard about this fest (from a fellow movie lover in Germany) - I always enjoy seeing some of the latest genre films, especially since there's so many out there every year.

 Posted August 30 in Feat, Horror, Review | Comments

Looking Back: The Unseen Gems of the 2016 Summer Movie Season

Unseen Gems of the 2016 Summer Movie Season

With the 2016 summer movie season all but officially over, plenty of movie bloggers/journalists have been quick to say this past summer has been rather lackluster for film. I would argue otherwise – while some of the blockbusters have crashed and burned at the box office, this past weekend Suicide Squad and Sausage Party still performed strong at the box office. Marvel's Captain America: Civil War and Disney's Pete's Dragon were highlights of the summer as well. So why all the “doom & gloom”? That's likely because most audiences never really gave some of the best films of summer 2016 a chance. There were quite a few hidden gems out there waiting to be seen, if you were brave enough to give them your time (and money).

 Posted August 26 in Discuss, Editorial, Feat | Comments

Support Hand-Made Films - Go See Laika's 'Kubo and the Two Strings'

Kubo and the Two Strings

"Be bold. Be brave. Be epic." That's one of the taglines for this movie, but it could also easily be the motto of Laika, the animation studio that created this excellent animated adventure. Kubo and the Two Strings is now playing in theaters and it's a must see. Please, go see this movie in theaters while you can, and enjoy the heck out of it. Please go see it because stop-motion animation needs all the love and support it can get nowadays, especially in the form of tickets purchased to see this beautiful work of art in theaters. It's all hand-made, animated and painted and created by hand (in Portland, Oregon), and it's wonderful. I really can't recommend it enough and I'm very happy to go out of my way to write an entire post about seeing this.

 Posted August 19 in Animation, Discuss, Feat | Comments

Meet Cameron Thrower + See the Winning Jameson First Shot Shorts

Winning Jameson First Shot Shorts

Take a look at the three winning short films from this year's Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions. This is the fifth year of the Jameson First Shot contest, and three filmmakers were chosen from around the world to make short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street. A few weeks back we wrote about the winners and who they were, now we finally get to see the short films they made. These were first premiered at an event in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, now they can be seen online in full. In addition, we had the chance to ask one of them, Cameron Thrower, a few questions about breaking into the industry.

 Posted August 16 in Feat, Short Film, To Watch | Comments

Watch This: Thoughtful Video Essay on the Use of Silence in Cinema

Silence in Cinema - When Words Fail

There are many different techniques that filmmakers can use to enhance their storytelling, add or alter our emotions, or convey a message without dialogue. One of those techniques is the use of silence, or obstructed dialogue, or putting music or sound over talking to convey a feeling. Editor David Verdeure made an outstanding video essay for Fandor called "When Words Fail" looking at this technique, and providing a number of different examples. "The reasons for the use of this stylistic stratagem are diverse—they range from comedic to horrific, from wistful to suspenseful." The video tries to give some potential explanation for each scene, but it's also cool to see these moments and make whatever you want of them in your own mind.

 Posted August 15 in Feat, To Watch | Comments

Meet the 2016 Winners of the Jameson First Shot Filmmaking Contest

Jameson First Shot Winners Premieres

There are filmmaking contests, then there are real filmmaking contests. This is one of the best, a real chance to break into the industry and work with genuine talent. The top three winners of the fifth year of Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions, will be featured at an event this weekend in Los Angeles - called The Weekender. This year's three winners are: Cameron Thrower (from the US), Kat Wood (from the UK), and Jason Perini (from Australia). After submitting their original scripts, these three filmmakers were given a chance to actually produce and film their short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street.

 Posted July 29 in Contests, Feat, Movie News | Comments

Interview: Matt Ross on His Passion for Directing 'Captain Fantastic'

Matt Ross

"My goal was to create a movie that was intellectually stimulating and emotionally moving." One of my favorite films of the year is called Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen as the father of a family he is raising to be "philosopher kings" without the toxic influences of modern society. I first saw it at the Sundance Film Festival and flipped for it, calling it "profoundly intelligent" in my review and including it as one of my favorite films of that festival. The film later went on to play at the Cannes Film Festival, where I saw it again (I really, really love this film) and luckily had the chance to meet up with writer/director Matt Ross for an interview. Ross is most well known as an actor, appearing on "Silicon Valley" as Gavin Belson, but he's also a filmmaker - this is his second feature film (after 28 Hotel Rooms) and it's truly wonderful.

 Posted July 6 in Feat, Interview | Comments

Don't Miss It - The First 'Art House Theater Day' Will Be This September

Art House Theater Day

Three cheers for art house cinemas! Following in the footsteps of Record Store Day and Free Comic Book Day, an annual event will be taking place this September called "Art House Theater Day". This special celebration of art house / independent cinemas will take place on September 24th, and this will be the inaugural year. The event has its own official website with details and theater listings, but we're not exactly sure if it will involve free screenings of movies. Maybe, but it's up to every individual theater to figure out what they're doing for AHTD. We've always been big supporters of art house cinemas and movie theaters of all sizes, and it's great to see a nationwide coordinated event to celebrate them. Add it to your calendar now.

 Posted June 30 in Events, Feat, Movie News | Comments

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