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Behind-the-scenes photos of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’
02.11.2016
12:55 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Stanley Kubrick
A Clockwork Orange


 

“I’m going out with my droogs to the cinny to shove a pooshka into the grahzny bratchny.”

A roundup of some behind-the-scenes photos from the set of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, 1971. Like Cure videos and cute cat memes, there is a seemingly bottomless well of Kubrick memorabilia on the Internet. His films will still be discussed, debated—and still WATCHED—500 years from now.

“Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well.”


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Plain Janes’ need not apply: Women in movie screenplays are invariably described as ‘attractive’
02.11.2016
11:42 am

Topics:
Feminism
Movies

Tags:
feminism
screenwriters


Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) in ‘The World Is Not Enough’

By now, a great many movie fans are familiar with the Bechdel Test, a thought exercise developed by cartoonist Alison Bechdel and her friend Liz Wallace that appeared in Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. In its common form, a movie passes the Bechdel Test if two named characters converse about any topic other than a man. Depressingly, as we’ve all learned, many movies have a hard time meeting even that low bar.

Another common area of irritation for women in films is casting. It’s far harder for an older woman to succeed as an actor than it is for a man, because casting personnel will tend strongly to populate every female role with younger women. One of the reasons Hollywood casts younger women is that younger women are perceived as more attractive, which gets us to the topic of this post.

A producer named Ross Putman has started an amusing Twitter account designed to point some obvious inequities in the ways characters in movies are apportioned.

Putnam’s Twitter account the parts of certain screenplays in which a major female character is introduced, pointing up how lazily, reflexively, automatically such characters are described as attractive, smoking hot, pretty, etc., whether it makes sense in the role or not. Here’s Putnam’s description of the project:
 

These are intros for female leads in actual scripts I read. Names changed to JANE, otherwise verbatim. Update as I go. Apologies if I quote your work.

 

After reading several of these tweets, one begins to wonder what’s motivating the (presumably) men who write this stuff.

James Bond movies are famous for being populated with sexy women for Bond to fuck, but in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, one of four indistinguishable James Bond movies featuring Pierce Brosnan, they went over the line, creating a character called Dr. Christmas Jones, who is a nuclear physicist played by Denise Richards.

For the record, here’s how Christmas Jones is described in the screenplay
 

Moving fast, off comes the helmet to reveal a BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN GIRL. CHRISTMAS JONES is mid-twenties, shortish hair, hot right now.  In one movement she unzips and steps out of the suit, revealing a khaki sports bra, cut-off shorts, heavy duty boots.  A nasty-looking hunting knife strapped around her hips.  She has a deep tan and an incredible figure.

 
This character stretched credulity to the point that Canada’s National Post called her character one of the “ten worst moments in the history of James Bond on film.”

Anyway, here is a sample of some of Putnam’s JANE tweets:
 

 

 
More tweets about JANE and how attractive she is after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Unlimited Dream Company’: Essential video portrait for J.G. Ballard fans
02.09.2016
12:41 pm

Topics:
Books
Movies

Tags:
J.G. Ballard


 
In 1983 a director named Sam Scoggins made a 23-minute movie with the title The Unlimited Dream Company; the film gestured at being an adaptation of J.G. Ballard‘s 1979 novel of the same name but is actually something far more compelling, an experimental profile of Ballard himself with some of the most fascinating footage ever taken of the writer.

You couldn’t ask for a more thorough examination of Ballard’s themes, work, and bio in 23 minutes. The movie alternates between footage of Ballard himself speaking and strange clips accompanied by clinical extracts from The Atrocity Exhibition read by Julian Gartside. Sometimes Ballard’s comments also receive a filmic accompaniment. In his own comments, Ballard discusses his childhood in Shanghai and describes in some detail a car crash he experienced, an event that occurred, curiously, after Ballard had written Crash.
 

 
A lengthy treatment of The Unlimited Dream Company appeared in RE/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard, which you can read here. What follows is just a portion:
 

There are two main types of material intercut in the film:

1) A big close-up of Ballard’s face. He talks, looking straight at the camera,

2) Ballard’s alter ego wearing a ragged flying suit wanders through “Ballardian” landscapes and in each makes a portrait of Ballard from things around him.

The landscapes are:

a) The jungle (past). He makes a portrait from feathers.

b) Motorway/Scrapyard (present). He makes a portrait from crashed cars.

c) The Beach (future). He draws a huge spiral in the sand.

These sections were shot in black and white, then printed each in a different monochrome, i.e. a green, b) red, c) blue.

 
The enthralling core of the movie is unmistakably “(v)”, which is described thus: “A 6 min. duration very slow zoom in from a head and shoulders shot of Ballard to a very large close-up of his right eyeball. Off camera a voice asks the 90 questions from the Eyckman Personality Quotient, each of which Ballard answers Yes or No.”

This section in some quarters bears the title “Answers Given By Patient J.G.B. To The Eyckman Personality Quotient Test.” (A commenter points out, its actual name is the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.) It’s reminiscent of the Voigt-Kampff test from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted in 1982 by Ridley Scott as Blade Runner. It’s a six-minute shot in which the camera slowly zooms in on Ballard’s left eye (the above synopsis has the eye wrong) during which the writer gives candid answers to questions such as these:
 

Are you an irritable person? No
Have you ever blamed someone for doing something you knew was really your fault? No
Do you enjoy meeting new people? Yes
Do you believe insurance schemes are a good idea? Yes
Are your feelings easily hurt? No
Are all your habits good and desirable ones? No
Do you tend to keep in the background on social occasions? Yes

 
Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘A Fistful of Dollars’ vs. ‘Yojimbo’ is one BADASS Supercut!

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Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) was a western remake of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai classic Yojimbo from 1961. When the Italian director first saw Kurosawa’s tale of a rōnin (Toshiro Mifune) arriving in a small Japanese town where two rival gangs fight for supremacy sometime back in 1963, he was so impressed he thought it would translate into a good cowboy film. Unfortunately, Leone failed to secure the movie’s remake rights which led to his company being sued by Toho Productions. This delayed the American release of A Fistful of Dollars for three years. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum
 

 
But Yojimbo was not a truly original story, either. Kurosawa later admitted his movie had been loosely based on the film version of Dashiell Hammett’s crime novel The Glass Key from 1942. More recently, some film writers have pointed out Yojimbo bears an even greater similarity to another of Hammett’s books The Red Harvest—the story of his anonymous Continental Op. working in a town controlled by one kingpin who is battling many other smaller gangs.

Leone used many of Kurosawa’s plot devices in A Fistful of Dollars, with an unnamed anti hero (Clint Eastwood) arriving in a small desert town where two rival gangs fight for its control.

In Kurosawa’s film the town is split between two corrupt families vying for control—three brothers versus a husband and wife. Kurosawa also has other characters and background stories with the gangs hiring loutish mercenaries to do their bidding.

In A Fistful of Dollars the gangs are identified as two families—the Baxters who deal in guns and the Rojos who smuggle liquor. Apart form these two groups, the town appears to be almost deserted with few people other than an undertaker and a barman.

Kurosawa offered a comedy on social manners and the hierarchy of class in Yojimbo. This is not present in A Fistful of Dollars. Leone turned everything up to eleven making the film operatic in its style yet at the same time incredibly austere.

In Yojimbo the lead villain has a pistol. In A Fistful of Dollars he has a Winchester rifle—used to kill any enemies with a bullet to the heart. This leads to a key scene at the film’s denouement.
 
Continue reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
For $400 a night, you can rent this literal ‘Netflix & Chill’ room on Airbnb
02.08.2016
02:22 pm

Topics:
Movies
Science/Tech
Sex

Tags:
Netflix
Netflix & Chill


 
Someone clever on Airbnb is renting out what looks to be a pretty ordinary NYC apartment space in Manhattan’s West Village as a “Netflix and Chill” room. To quote their ad: “We bring the famous ‘Netflix & Chill meme’ to life and offer it as an IRL experience that people can rent for a night.” So they can binge watch. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The fundamentals for a night of movies and sex are all present, including a laptop, an HD projector, a bed with cute Netflix bedspread and pillows, a “fully stocked” mini-fridge containing champagne and various other types of alcohol, and so on. There’s also a nice shower.
 

 
Remarkably, there’s no mention of prophylactics in the ad, which would at least have been self-aware considering that some of the earliest invocations of the phrase “Netflix and chill” (going back a whopping two years now) used visuals of condoms in order to get the cheeky point across.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s first-ever movie performance, in the creepy ‘The Image’ from 1967
02.08.2016
08:07 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
In the February 26, 1966, edition of Melody Maker, David Bowie is quoted as saying, “I want to act. ... I’d like to do character parts. I think it takes a lot to become somebody else. It takes a lot of doing.” In hindsight we know that Bowie not only achieved his goal of acting in movies and on the stage, but ended up becoming one of the most distinctive presences you could include in a movie from the 1970s to the 2000s, from Just a Gigolo and Into the Night to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Prestige....

But it all had to start somewhere. Bowie’s ambitions started to be realized very quickly; already in 1967 he appeared in his first movie, a fourteen-minute short called The Image, written and directed by Michael Armstrong, who would later direct Mark of the Devil.

Michael Byrne, the other actor in the movie, apparently played Nazis all the time, most memorably in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but to me he’ll always be the actor who played young Peter Guillam in the 1980 BBC version of Smiley’s People, replacing Michael Jayston, who had embodied the role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

According to Cinebeats (now defunct), The Image ran into some censorship issues:
 

The Image was shot in just three days and completed in 1967, but it didn’t have its official screen debut until 1969. Due to the violent content of the film it became one of the first shorts to receive an ‘X’ certificate from Britain’s notoriously restrictive film rating’s board.

 
The artsiness is a bit dated to be sure, but otherwise the movie reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe by way of The Twilight Zone, which isn’t a bad place to be.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Beyond the Valley of the Lurid Exploitation Film Posters of the 50s, 60s & 70s
02.05.2016
04:16 pm

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Movies
Sex

Tags:
posters


Night Tide

A Lovecraftian poster for an odd 1960s mermaid thriller starring Dennis Hopper with a freaky cameo appearance by Marjorie Cameron, the bohemian witch of Los Angeles.

This is a sampling from a private collection of rare, massive 40” x 60” posters that were printed on cardstock for drive-In movie theaters.  More posters and related merchandise are online at hautecampe.com (“Archeaologists of the Strange”).  All are for sale at auction until February 8, when the bidding closes.

Haute Campe offers a collection of original rare, vintage film posters from the 1940s-1970s originating mostly from drive-ins and grindhouse theaters. Most of the posters went through a single distributor called National Screen Service, hence the “property of N.S.S.” at the bottom of 99% of the movie posters printed in the 20th century!  While many posters were destroyed by the elements and others were pulled off the wall by collectors, a great many returned to the distributor’s archives and piled up for many many years. 

We were fortunate enough to be able to acquire a large part of the archives and the treasures were fantastic, including rarely-seen posters that were for small run promotions and exceedingly impossible to find sizes like the gorgeous and massive 40” x 60” silkscreens created for drive-in movie theaters.

This is a selection from the latter part of the alphabet. You can see A to N at an earlier post here.
 

Ordered to Love

An American distributor purchased a historical film and repackaged it as a Nazisploitation thrill; the fact that the movie was years old at this point was sold to the audience as the film having been “censored until now!”
 

Please, Not Now!

A towel-clad Brigitte Bardot stuns in this incredible 1961 Pop Art poster.
 

Rasputin the Mad Monk/The Reptile

A giant poster advertising a 1966 Hammer double-feature where theatergoers would get their own Rasputin beard!
 

Runaway Daughters
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Young Ones, Ab Fab, Einstein and more, recreated with LEGO


The Young Ones
 
I’m not huge fan of LEGO, but every once in awhile I do come across some LEGO minifigures that make me smile. These The Young Ones minifigures by Etsy shop Glinda the Geek do the job quite nicely. They’re kind of adorable, right?

Not only is there The Young Ones, but there’s also Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, Jane and Blanche from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Charles Dickens.

There are more LEGO minifigures at Glinda the Geek‘s shop, I just picked the ones I liked best.


The Young Ones
 

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Irritated filmmaker forces censors to watch 10 hours of paint drying
02.03.2016
02:48 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
censorship


 
British filmmaker Charlie Lyne, maker of 2014’s Beyond Clueless, is irritated with the British Board of Film Classification, and he found a clever way to express it. He submitted a movie for review with the title Paint Drying that lasts 607 minutes—a little more than 10 hours—consisting of “a single, unbroken shot of paint drying on a brick wall.”

Ordinarily at DM if we’re writing about a movie we haven’t seen, that’s something we’re probably not going to state in the post, or at the very least we’re going to soft-pedal it.

In this case I’m willing to admit, flat-out, that I have not personally watched all 607 minutes of Paint Drying to attest to its contents. It might be better than the latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, but I have no idea. I haven’t seen that either.
 

 
Lyne’s beef with the BBFC, which has been in existence since 1912, isn’t limited to its tendency to censor—one might argue that classification doesn’t equal censorship per se, but in a capitalistic system, the difference between a PG-13 and an NC-17 rating is the difference between being a viable participant in the marketplace and not being one. Today there’s certain content that will never get included in a tentpole summer movie because an R rating by definition means that the audience permitted to see it would be smaller, and that has a self-censorship effect on filmmakers.

But that’s not all that Lyne is exercised about. The other thing that bugs him is that the BBFC charges filmmakers money to rate the movies, and that’s money a lot of independent filmmakers don’t have to spare. According to Lyne, the BBFC charges filmmakers nearly a thousand pounds to rate a 90-minute movie.
 

 
Late last year he started a Kickstarter to protest the BBFC. He raised £5,937, which permitted him to make his movie. As Lyne told the Independent, “People wouldn’t stand for it if the BBFC was censoring literature, music or any other art form, so why is film fair game? Paint Drying is my attempt to draw attention to that contradiction and I wanted to provoke a discussion about film censorship in the UK, which my project certainly has.”

Asked whether he has watched the film himself, Lyne blithely blurts, “Nah.”  

On January 26 the BBFC released its rating for Paint Drying: “(U) no material likely to offend or harm.”

That led to this exultant tweet from Lyne:
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The Enemy Within’: Morrissey on Thatcher and British state censorship
They’re only movies: Moral panic, censorship & ‘video nasties’

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Martin Scorsese Directs

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Martin Scorsese started making movies when he was a kid. He suffered from asthma which meant he spent time a lot of isolated at home in bed. He couldn’t play like the other kids. Instead he watched them from his bedroom window running free, playing baseball and getting in fights. His bedroom window was his first viewfinder. He watched the world outside and imagined stories about the people he saw. His imagination was inspired by the movies at the local cinema—films starring Victor Mature, or those made by Powell and Pressburger.

Scorsese was raised a Catholic. He was an altar boy and his parents thought one day he might become a priest. In church Scorsese saw the power and drama contained in the religious statues and paintings—the pieta with its crucified Christ draped across his mother’s lap. The martyred saints showing their wounds and pointing to unknowable heavens. Imagery was a visceral source of communication. At home in bed he created his own movies, spending hours painstakingly drawing storyboards, frame by frame, for the imaginary films he would one day direct.

In his teens he gave up on being a priest and went to the film school at NYU. He made the short films What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and The Big Shave (1967). Scorsese’s greatest films are the ones informed with his own personal experience and knowledge of the world. Catholic guilt (Who’s That Knocking at My Door?); machismo posturing and violence (Mean Streets); violence, redemption and isolation (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull).

Much of this is well covered in Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler’ profile of Scorsese. Made for the PBS series, American Masters  in 1990, this documentary follows the director during the making of Goodfellas.  It contains superb interviews (most delightfully Scorsese’s parents), choice cuts from his films and contributions from actors (Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Amy Robinson), producers and fellow directors—like Steven Spielberg who says the intense emotional turmoil of Scorsese’s work, “Sometimes you don’t know whether to scream or to laugh.”
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
 
Behind the Scenes of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’

Behind the Scenes of ‘Taxi Driver’

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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