film

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The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing

An excerpt from Rombes' forthcoming novel: on memories of a destroyed lost film.

"And with her Aimee — that was her name, not Rachel or Raquel — brought several pages of her grandmother’s notes for the film, notes suggesting that it was not nearly complete, and that its ending would involve an apocalypse the likes of which had never been rendered on screen before. Aimee turned out to be a real chatterbox, which surprised me, except when it came to the topic of Maya’s notes for the calamitous ending, which she talked about in hushed tones as if not to arouse the curiosity of some invisible butcher towering just behind her there in the cafeteria, in a sort of transparent region of space that loomed behind her and that I could almost make out. And she wouldn’t allow me to examine her grandmother’s notes in front of her, forbidding me to so much as look at them in her presence."

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Avenue B

A meeting of men interested in underground grindhouse and fetish films.

"Tanasco had introduced the group to GrindTube, a video sharing service created by unknown users that was similar to some of the cheap porn tube channels. Eddie had never heard of it before. Categorically, GrindTube allowed viewers to choose from a wide variety of links, from ‘slasher’ to ‘animal’ to ‘body fluid’ to ‘cadaver.’ Registered users could upload videos up to twenty-five minutes in length to the server. Unregistered users could watch videos freely, but one had to register in order to upload and share. Since many videos on GrindTube contained potentially offensive content, the splash page greeted users with a warning label that they should be at least 18 years old before entering. The video quality was average to good, but not high definition."

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Guardians

A space cowboy, an alien girl, a a quest; A Housleyian spin on Guardians of the Galaxy.

"They nodded at one another and closed ranks, each of them wobbly but still standing. Their foe was reduced to a pile of smoking robes. The thing they were fighting for – the thing they now knew could either save or destroy the universe – was steaming off-center among the scorched remains of their foe. They held their breath, all of them, while the Space Cowboy picked up the thing they had been fighting for, tossed it in the air, caught it in his other hand, and passed it to the Queen."

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They Came. They Sawed.

In Austin in 1973, politicos and hippies could get together and create violent, visionary horror films for $60,000. So they did. The story of how The Texas Chainsaw Massacre got made.

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The Unknown Soldier

An actor, fresh from prison, attempts to reconnect with his son in 1950s California.

"And he had believed it. Everyone had. Since the day he’d been cast as Lev, Alexi had been aware that he was getting away with something—though, he reasoned, he’d never explicitly lied about anything. He just never told the complete truth. He may have, when asked about his American accent, mentioned the pronunciation workbooks stacked on his family’s kitchen table, as if he, and not just his parents, had pored over them nightly. He may have once, a little drunk at a party, pretended to forget the English words for the pigs in a blanket being passed around. He may have, that night and possibly a few others, begun sentences with, In my country . . . He may have, when asked by the film’s very openly communist director one night over steaks at Musso’s what he thought about Truman, parroted back what he’d overheard at the writers’ table, that he was narrow-minded and ruthless, his doctrine a farce and an affront to civil liberties. He may have, at Stella and Jack’s invitation, attended a number of meetings in their Hancock Park living room, where there may have been some pretty detailed discussions about following their Soviet comrades down whatever path they took. He may have, on one of those evenings, filled out one of the Party membership forms being passed around, simply because everyone else was."

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2001: A Space Odyssey — Discerning Themes Through Score and Imagery

A 22,000-word breakdown of Kubrick’s “odyssey portraying the span of millennia.”

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A Sigh Is Just A Sigh

A series of shorts about a marriage and conversations with two old-time movie stars.

"Ingrid Bergman told me she'd sleep with any man who desired. And there had been plenty. She slept with the majority of her costars on every film, most of the directors, several costume designers, and once, for kicks, a sound-effects editor—"helps me get into the role," she argued. It didn't bother her at all. It was like taking a walk, 'like reading from a script,' she said."

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I Saw The Best Minds Of My Generation Destroyed By Vietnam Movies

A man muses on philosophical and personal issues while watching a war film.

"Fizzing rockets, stetsons, verdant tree canopies and earnest young patriots: none of these things help me locate my lighter, which is perhaps dug in a cleft in the sofa somewhere, or proudly beyond reach on the table top. The springs of my inherited sofa are too yielding, and my position too weak for me to prop myself up right now and undertake the reconnaissance required to find it."

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Woody Allen: Rabbit Running

A profile of an up-and-coming director:

Well, according to Woody, his ascent has been a series of painful falls. Success hasn't changed him, Allen insists: he's still a schlemiel. "I'm afraid of the dark and suspicious of the light," he says. "I have an intense desire to return to the womb—anybody's." Ineptitude, Woody goes on, is a family curse.

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Outside Man

A profile of Spike Lee.

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Blow-Up

An oral history of director Michael Bay.

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The Redeemer

A profile of filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar during the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival.

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Badlands: An Oral History

On the eve of the release of The Tree of Life, a look back at the turbulent making of Terence Malick’s debut.

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The Genius of Buster

A profile of silent film comedian Buster Keaton:

The story of his life seems in its twists and dives borrowed from his movies, survival demanding a pure lack of sentiment.

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"I Am So, Like, Sick of Movies and Shit"

After a final film, Kevin Smith is going to retire to a life of podcasting and speaking tours. Or so he says.

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On the Set of Apocalypse Now

It was the middle of the day in the steamy Philippine jungle and the sun was merciless. Director Francis Ford Coppola, dressed in rumpled white Mao pajamas, was slowly making his way upriver in a motor launch.
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The Voyeuristic Adventures of Errol Flynn

The swinging life and boozy death of the original ladies man, and the story of “the coroner that tampered with his cold, lifeless venereal warts.”

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Hollywood's Leading Geek

A profile of Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead, and the upcoming Superman series.

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Predilections

A profile of the filmmaker Errol Morris as he prepared to release The Thin Blue Line after a decade of limited distribution, semi-poverty, and a side career as a private detective.

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Show the Monster

A profile of director Guillermo del Toro.

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Interview: Francis Ford Coppola

“As we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money?”

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The Professor of Micropopularity

A profile of Focus Features CEO James Schamus.

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David Lynch Keeps His Head

A “fanatical Lynch fan from way back,” David Foster Wallace visits the set of Lost Highway, never actually talks to the director, and writes a profile.

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I Did Abominable Things

Tony Kaye was one of the biggest commercial directors of his time. Then he directed American History X and, by his own admission, completely lost his mind.

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Making It Up As You Go Along

An 1992 interview with Martin Scorsese. On Goodfellas, “I figured to do it as if it was one long trailer, where you just propel the action and you get an exhilaration, a rush of the lifestyle.”

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Getting Made The Scorsese Way

An oral history of Goodfellas.

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Inventing Facebook

The writer (Aaron Sorkin), director (David Fincher), and actors (Jesse Eisenberg & Justin Timberlake) of The Social Network on dramatizing the real story of a 20 year old into “the Citizen Kane of John Hughes movies.”

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Jukeboxes on the Moon

Slumdog Millionaire, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the arrival of "New India" in the American imagination.
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King of Comedy

The making of Caddyshack.

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That 70's Look

An interview with cinematographer Harris Savides on the enduring appeal of the visual style of films shot in the 1970s.

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Jerry Lewis Goes to Death Camp

The few who got to view Jerry Lewis’s notorious The Day the Clown the Cried, set at Auschwitz, piece together memories of their surreal personal screenings.

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The “Thriller” Diaries

The story of the most popular music video of all time, including memories of a then-25-year-old Michael Jackson on and off the set. Director John Landis: “I dealt with Michael as I would have a really gifted child.”

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Madness in Morocco

How Warren Beatty seduced the studios into making the comedy Ishtar, which set the modern bar for cinematic debacles. (An excerpt from Peter Biskind’s Star.)

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The Vietnam Oscars

The 1979 Oscars pitted Hal Ashby’s Coming Home against Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, wildly different films both on the the topic of the Vietnam War.

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The Easy Rider Road Trip

The Onion's Keith Phipps retraces the route Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda followed in Easy Rider.