And the winners of the Oscar’s Best Cinematography award are…

Thursday, 23 February, 2017

Not long until the Oscars now, this weekend in fact. Last week I posted a supercut of the winners of the Best Visual Effects award since 1927, and now here is one for all the Best Cinematography winners since 1927, again put together by Burger Fiction.

By the way, the nominees for this year’s Best Cinematography award are Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, and Silence.

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Last Train, a short documentary by Matt Knarr, and Will Snyder

Wednesday, 22 February, 2017

Last Train, in this case the last service of the day on a suburban line in the Canadian city of Toronto, is a short documentary directed by Matt Knarr, and filmed by Will Snyder.

Catching the last train of the day is a world removed from travelling during the day, or the morning and evening commuter peaks. The silence of the almost deserted platforms is eerie. The fluorescent lights of the trains and stations seem harsher, to the point they’re bleaching.

But there can also be a certain camaraderie amongst last train of the night travellers, an experience that’s elegantly captured here.

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If Stanley Kubrick liked the Futura typeface, how often did he use it?

Friday, 17 February, 2017

Late US film director Stanley Kubrick was said to be a fan of the Futura typeface. Christian Annyas, a web designer, decided to find out how often, if at all, that Kubrick used Futura, by analysing the typefaces he used in his films, trailers, and posters.

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Love Actually, is actually going to have a sequel. Of sorts

Friday, 17 February, 2017

Love it, or hate it, and don’t try to tell me that it’s the latter, a sequel, of sorts, is on the way for New Zealand born director Richard Curtis’ 2003 rom-com drama, Love Actually. It won’t be a full-blown feature though, rather a ten minute short film, that seeks to discover what those from the original are up to now.

The film is being produced to support Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day fundraiser next month. Previous Red Nose Day specials have seen spinoffs of Mr Bean, The Vicar of Dibley and Blackadder. Curtis told Deadline he thought it would be a “fun idea” to do a short sketch based on one of his previous films while raising money for an important cause.

Most of the original cast have agreed to reprise their roles for the spin-off that will be broadcast on the BBC on 25 March. I’m sure you’re counting the days. Don’t try to tell you’re not.

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A supercut of all Oscar best visual effects winners since 1927

Wednesday, 15 February, 2017

Rouge One, and Doctor Strange, are among nominees for the best visual effects Oscar this year. While we wait to hear who the winner is on Sunday 26 February, or the next day, Monday, as it will be in this part of the world, here is a supercut all previous winners of the award since 1927, put together by Burger Fiction.

Interestingly, the original three Star Wars movies all won the visual effects Oscar, but not the prequel films, nor Episode VII. On that basis, I’m tipping Rogue One for the win, since it is the Star Wars “follow up” film most closely linked to the originals. Chronologically anyway.

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Tropfest 2017, and the winners are…

Monday, 13 February, 2017

Australian short film festival Tropfest, which also marked its twentieth-fifth anniversary this year, took place in sweltering conditions – temperatures of 40° Celsius were recorded at one point during the day – last Saturday night, at Parramatta Park, in Sydney’s west.

The Mother Situation, by veteran Melbourne actor and filmmaker Matt Day, was named the winner. Meat and Potatoes, by Arielle Thomas and Ellenor Argyropoulos, and Wibble Wobble, said to be made in a single day, by Daphne Do, took out second and third places respectively.

Matt Day’s win ruffled feathers though, with some concerned that he isn’t exactly an industry newcomer, having been acting since 1988. Some feel Tropfest is about encouraging emerging talent, though it should be noted Day is seeking to transition from acting to directing roles.

Attendees where saying good things about Love, Steve by Alex Roberts, The Wall by Tristan Klein and Nick Baker, and Accomplice by Michael Noonan. I’m looking forward to the work of all finalists being made available, and will try and post a few of them here, when that happens.

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The Internet Movie Database forums are closing, where to now then?

Tuesday, 7 February, 2017

News that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is closing its discussion forum, as of 20 February, will doubtless come as a disappointment to movie buffs. According to the statement announcing the closure, members are now more often using one of the IMDb’s social media channels to discuss movies, rather than the forum:

Increasingly, IMDb customers have migrated to IMDb’s social media accounts as the primary place they choose to post comments and communicate with IMDb’s editors and one another. IMDb’s Facebook page and official Twitter account have an audience of more than 10 million engaged fans. IMDb also maintains official accounts on Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr.

IMDb also noted that the forum was “no longer providing a positive, useful experience” for the majority of its members. It’s a sentiment that will, unfortunately, resonant with anyone who has witnessed any of the less than cordial exchanges in some of the discussions there.

While discord on a discussion forum is by no means exclusive to IMDb, it was probably determined that the time and effort spent weeding out noxious comments could be put to better use elsewhere. And in this regard, IMDb is not alone in foregoing a forum, as Andrew Liptak, writing for The Verge, points out:

The decision appears to mark the latest website to question the value of forums and comments, which can require heavy moderation. Other major websites, such as National Public Radio and Popular Science, have closed their own commenting sections because patrolling them for toxic users became a costly and time-consuming chore.

The great thing though about the IMDb discussion boards, is the dedicated forum for every film, and the separate threads within each. This allows members to discuss whatever aspect of a title that they wish to. Want to ask different questions about, say, the school dance from Back to the Future, and Doc Brown’s 1950s residence?

Not a problem. Discussion of a particular movie remains in the one, easy to find, place. This is something that cannot really be replicated on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Even if separate pages, or accounts, were set up for each movie. Whether someone sees an opportunity here though, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, there are other places where you can go and talk about the films you’ve seen. The Digital Fix, Movie Forums, reddit, and of course Rotten Tomatoes, spring to mind. Again, you can’t quite discuss a movie as you can on IMDb, but you will among other fans of film.

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The intriguing stills of filmmaker Hayk Matevosyan

Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

Photo/film still by Hayk Matevosyan

Hayk Matevosyan is a filmmaker whose collection of stills intrigues me. This image is from a music video he recently directed for Los Angeles based producer and composer Bei Ru. See his film and video work here.

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Trailers, as the name suggests, used to screen at the end of a film

Monday, 30 January, 2017

Who knows how many film trailers I’ve posted here over the years, but never in that time have I given any thought as to why they’re called trailers. It’s all quite logical however, as once upon a time they used to follow, or be shown, at the conclusion of a feature, when they first appeared, a little over a century ago.

At first that seems like an absurd idea. Why try to a promote an upcoming release at the end of the show, when audience members are surely scrambling for the exits? As it happened though, the movie going experience of the early twentieth century was unlike that with which we’re accustomed to today:

You would pay your admission – usually just a couple of cents – and you could basically sit inside a movie house all day and watch whatever was playing, often a combination of feature-length movies, short films, and cartoons.

Doesn’t sound too bad at all. Especially on a rainy day, or the like. Pay a couple of cents, and stay all day. But I’m wondering how cinemas made money, if people stayed in their seats all day? Return custom was the answer. With trailers advertising upcoming new features, patrons were sure to come back.

I wonder if we could go back to the days of trailers being screened after a film, in return for being able to stay at the cinema all day?

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The finalists for Tropfest 2017 announced

Wednesday, 25 January, 2017

This year’s finalists in Tropfest, billed as the world’s largest short film festival, and the world’s first global film festival, have been announced.

Entries in each year’s event must feature, somehow, a signature item, and this time it is a pineapple. The 2017 show takes place at Parramatta Park, on Saturday 11 February.

It’s been a rough few years for Tropfest, but it’s good to see things getting to back to normal.

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