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Interview: Neill Blomkamp Reveals 'Rakka' + Truth Behind Oats Studios

Neill Blomkamp

It's time to start experimenting with sci-fi again. South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp is launching a new experimental filmmaking collective called Oats Studios. We've been posting previews over the last few months, but now it's time to give fans a small taste of what's to come. Blomkamp has launched the first project, titled Rakka, online in the form of a 20-minute short film that plays more like an extended proof-of-concept pitch reel. You can find it on Steam or watch the full thing below for free. So what exactly is Oats Studios? I talked with Neill on the phone for 30 minutes earlier this week to dive deep into the concept and figure out exactly what it is they're trying to do. Oats is an "incubator of ideas that come from me or come from other people," then they "put out those ideas to the audience, see how the audience feels about them."

 Posted June 14 in Feat, Interview, SciFi | Comments

'Power to the People' Video Examines the Books in 'Captain Fantastic'

Captain Fantastic Video - Books

One of my favorite films of 2016 was Matt Ross' Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen. It's the kind of film I can put on any day and it makes me happy, I adore it, and I was so happy to see Viggo get an Oscar nomination for his performance. Not only is a great film, but it has so much to teach us about raising kids, keeping an open mind, learning more about the way we interact in this world, and fighting against a capitalistic society. Fellow cinephile H Nelson Tracey, who writes for the site Cinemacy, has created a video essay breaking down and examining all of the books shown and literature referenced in the film. There's quite a few books referenced in this film, and if you're looking for some extra summer reading, this is a very good place to start. As I'm a very big fan of this film, I couldn't help sharing this video. Check it out.

 Posted May 31 in Feat, Featurette, To Watch | Comments

Interview: Japanese Director Takashi Miike on Filmmaking & Violence

Takashi Miike Interview

"I don't choose the projects. I think the projects choose me." At the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, legendary Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike premiered his 100th film. At least, that's what the marketing folks were telling us. When I asked him specifically about this, he gave me a different answer. Nonetheless, Miike is indeed a "legendary" filmmaker. Even at the age of 56, he still keeps making movies non-stop, sometimes two or three in a year. His latest film is titled Blade of the Immortal (or Mugen no jûnin in Japanese), an adaptation of a manga series about a samurai cursed with immortality who takes on a job of protecting a girl. He's known for ultra-violent horror, epic samurai films, and the occasional drama. It was an honor to speak with him for what is the only interview he did with a website from America while at Cannes this year.

 Posted May 31 in Cannes 17, Feat, Interview | Comments

On Twitter: What Are Your Favorite Theatrical Moviegoing Experiences?

Theatrical Moviegoing Experience

This is what movies are all about. This is why movie theaters will be around forever. There is nothing that can compare to the theatrical experience, especially when everyone is in sync and completely caught up in the movie on the screen. With all the discussion about the death of movie theaters, and the decline of film, it's refreshing to have a very nice discussion about the truly memorable, exhilarating times we've spent in cinemas. Over the past weekend, a Twitter user named Antoine Linguine asked about everyone's favorite theater-going movie experience, and he has been getting answers non-stop ever since. We've collected a few of the best responses below, in hopes of reminding everyone that there can be positive experiences at the movies, and these are some of the most unforgettable moments. So what is your favorite movie experience?

 Posted May 29 in Discuss, Feat | Comments

Get Ready For Summer Movies with This 'Blockbuster Montage' Video

Summer 2017 Blockbuster Montage

Get ready for the summer movie season! Kicking off today, on May 5th with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the 2017 summer movie seasons runs through August and features plenty of big blockbusters and franchise sequels to enjoy. As a preview of what's to come to the big screen this summer, film critic Amon Warmann has put together this video called the "Summer 2017 Blockbuster Montage", or "AMONtage". Featuring footage from over 15 big summer blockbusters, this plays the perfect sizzle reel to put dollar signs in the eyes of studio executives everywhere. Guardians already opens today, with Alien: Covenant, King Arthur, plus Baywatch coming up in a few weeks. Some of our most anticipated movies open in July, including War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk and Valerian. There's plenty to look forward to over these next few months.

 Posted May 5 in Feat, Hype, To Watch | Comments

Watch: Cinematography Video Essay About 'The Art of the Focus Pull'

The Art of the Focus Pull

"One of the great artists of the film is the focus puller." Time for a lesson in filmmaking. As the introduction for this video explains, "moviegoers see focus racks all the time" but "they probably don’t even notice most of them." This video essay, created by Philip Brubaker for Fandor, titled simply The Art of the Focus Pull examines the cinematography technique of "focus pulling" - or changing the focus in the middle of a shot. There's different ways to achieve this, and the video covers a few of them, and shows plenty of examples. It also counts down three of the best focus pull shots in films, and each one of them is most certainly striking.

 Posted May 1 in Feat, To Watch | Comments

Watch: 'In Praise of 16mm' Video Essay Discusses the Grainy Format

In Praise of 16mm Video Essay

Time for some film education and film appreciation in the form of a video essay from "The Royal Ocean Film Society". The video essay is titled "In Praise of 16mm" and it is exactly that - filmmaker/cinephile Andrew Saladino examines the use of 16mm film (as opposed to the standard 35mm or larger 65mm) for making movies. For those wondering how often 16mm gets used, some filmmakers do still use it every so often. Here are some recent films that were shot on 16mm: Carol, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, The Squid and the Whale, The Hurt Locker, Moonrise Kingdom, Black Swan, Happy Christmas, Primer, Listen Up Philip, and others. Watch below to learn more about the aesthetic and what makes 16mm "so darn cool."

 Posted April 12 in Feat, To Watch | Comments

The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2016 - Find & Watch These

19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2016

The best of the best - that you didn't see last year. We have returned with another set of worth watching, underseen films from 2016. Back again is our annual list of the 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2016 (find all the past lists here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007). Featured below is a hand-picked, double-checked line-up of the best independent and/or mainstream films that were either quietly dumped, ignored by audiences, or not marketed well enough. There's a mix of documentaries and features, all of them criminally underseen. So to give them some extra attention in the spotlight, and to support some of the finest filmmakers out there, here's our best you didn't see in 2016 recap. Full list below!

 Posted March 8 in Feat, Indies, Lists | Comments

Interview: 'Logan' Director James Mangold on Making Unique Movies

James Mangold

"Why not allow different directors to put on the same opera and see how the directors do it differently?" There's nothing like talking with filmmakers about their films. The best interviews are when the discussion starts naturally and flows in different directions. We could keep talking for hours, if only the publicist didn't come in and cut us off. I interviewed Hugh Jackman a few years ago for the release of The Wolverine, but this time I wanted to talk to the director - James Mangold. I was lucky to get time with James after the premiere of his new Wolverine film, Logan, at the Berlin Film Festival. We talked about making this movie something unique, as well as his dislike for movie "universes", the freedom of the R-rating, and much more.

 Posted March 3 in Feat, Interview | Comments

2017 Academy Awards Winners - 'Moonlight' & Damien Chazelle Win

2017 Academy Awards Winners

The 89th Academy Awards are upon us and it's time to watch the show and discover the winners of the most prestigious award in Hollywood. The Oscar ceremony is being broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with the esteemed Jimmy Kimmel as our host of the show this year. There are nine fantastic Best Picture nominees, and I'm looking forward to finally knowing who wins. It has been a very exciting, but also a challenging year in 2016. The big battle seems to be between La La Land and Moonlight. It's finally time to find out who is taking home all the Oscars, and who isn't, at the Academy Awards. The full list of nominees below will be updated with winners marked once announced live tonight - refresh for all updates.

PICTURE:
Moonlight
Moonlight
DIRECTOR:
Damien Chazelle
Damien Chazelle for
La La Land
ACTOR:
Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck for
Manchester by the Sea
ACTRESS:
Emma Stone
Emma Stone for
La La Land

Read on for a complete list of #Oscars2017 nominees & winners. Let us know what you think of the results!

This will be updated throughout the night to reflect the winners as revealed. Additionally, I might be adding a small bit of editorial commentary beneath each category. Winners are highlighted in BOLD below.

 Posted February 26 in Awards, Discuss, Feat, Movie News | Comments

Berlinale 2017: Recap of My Favorite Films & Performances of the Fest

Berlinale 2017

The lesson I've learned covering film festivals is that sometimes the best films aren't always the one you loved at first sight, sometimes they're the ones that you remember. There's something about them. It could be the performance, it could be the story, it could be something else about it that gets into your mind and still lingers there. Something about it that you keep thinking back to, even if it isn't a perfect film, there's something you can't shake. That is usually the sign of a great film, and film festivals (which are exhausting to cover) help us figure out which ones leave a lasting impression because there's so many to see in so little time. To wrap up my 4th year attending the Berlin Film Festival (aka Berlinale), I want to recap a few of my favorite films and favorite performances of the 2017 festival. I hope all these films end up on your radar.

 Posted February 26 in Berlinale, Feat, Indies | Comments

Berlinale 2017: Exploring Berlin's Many Movie Palaces Around the City

Berlinale 2017

I love movie theaters. Every time I walk into one, I get the feeling I'm at home again. They are my places of worship, they are my cathedrals, they are my palaces. Every last city in the world has their own unique set of movie theaters, usually with an extensive and interesting history behind each one. Over the last 10 days of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival (aka "Berlinale") I was able to explore a number of different venues for screenings all over the city. I really love Berlin, and it's now my home where I live, but I'm still exploring and still going to places I've never been before. Looking back over this year's festival, I wanted to highlight a few of the gorgeous movie palaces I visited and share some photos of these places, since they're all so lovely.

 Posted February 20 in Berlinale, Editorial, Feat | Comments

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Alex's Top 10 - 2016
1. La La Land
2. Paterson
3. Arrival
4. Captain Fantastic
5. 20th Cent. Women
6. Pete's Dragon
7. Jackie
8. Kubo & Two Strings
9. Everybody Wants
10. Wilderpeople
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Jeremy's Top 10 - 2016
1. Moonlight
2. The Handmaiden
3. High-Rise
4. Elle
5. Arrival
6. Kubo & Two Strings
7. 13th
8. Jackie
9. Toni Erdmann
10. The Witch
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