I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in cinema:

Amazon Web Services Announces Cloud GPU Processing

RedShark News:

[T]his week, Amazon announced that it is going to include access to Physical GPU processing from within its virtual machines. Which means that from now, it will be possible not just to store video in the cloud, but to do heavy-duty processing on it as well.

It’s not too crazy, maybe, to imagine a not-very-distant future in which I can make a quick tweak to a cut or a color correction on a feature film from an airplane on my phone. That’s just nutballs.

HT Alonso Mejía.

German Doofs Conclude That Popcorn-Munching Nullifies Advertising

Philip Oltermann for The Guardian:

Eating popcorn in the cinema may be irritating not just for fellow movie goers, but for advertisers: a group of researchers from Cologne University has concluded that chewing makes us immune to film advertising.

The reason why adverts manage to imprint brand names on our brains is that our lips and the tongue automatically simulate the pronunciation of a new name when we first hear it. Every time we re-encounter the name, our mouth subconsciously practises its pronunciation.

I enjoy the conclusion, but I find the premise behind it to be highly risible. I don’t believe for a second that thousands of people are subconsciously mouthing “Pepsi” right now—and even if they were, I think it’s pretty bleedingly obvious that advertising succeeds or fails on the strength of its rhetoric.

Turn Your Damned Gadgets Off and Watch the Movie

Hunter Walk has a really dumb / dicky idea he’d like to share with us:

In my 20s I went to a lot of movies. Now, not so much. Over the past two years becoming a parent has been the main cause but really my lack of interest in the theater experience started way before that. Some people dislike going to the movies because of price or crowds, but for me it was more of a lifestyle decision. Increasingly I wanted my media experiences plugged in and with the ability to multitask. Look up the cast list online, tweet out a comment, talk to others while watching or just work on something else while Superman played in the background. Of course these activities are discouraged and/or impossible in a movie theater.

Those activities are "discouraged and/or impossible" because: only giant, solipsistic, rude sacks of douche would wish to engage in them. If you can’t focus on a movie for 90 minutes, don’t ruin it for everyone else. Stay at home. Please.

Enough With The Unsimulated Sex in Movies Already

Nick Schager, The Village Voice:

Porn re-inserts itself into the arthouse with this week’s The Canyons, co-starring adult industry stud James Deen, and next week’s Lovelace, a biopic of the Deep Throat star–two highly publicized releases that reconfirm the hopelessness of going hardcore in mainstream movies. Whether it’s works that inject un-simulated sex into their fictionalized tales, those that cast actual porn stars in a misbegotten bid for extreme-sex credibility (The Canyons), or those that are specifically about adult entertainment (Lovelace), porn pretenses are the surest means of making a feature film un-sexy, if not downright desperate and more than a little laughable.

Nothing is less sexy than a lame gimmick designed to make people spend their limited Great Recession dollars on an unredeemably shitty movie.

Bob Rafelson Q&A at Lincoln Center

Here’s Bob Rafelson introducing The King of Marvin Gardens, and then answering questions about the film and matters more general, at a recent screening at Lincoln Center in New York. There are a lot of really fascinating details and anecdotes here—lots of which were new to me. It’s well worth checking this out if you’re at all interested in that period between 1967 and 1975 when American films were actually pretty good.

Paramount Pictures Map of California Shows Geographic Facsimiles

This map, from 1927, was used internally at Paramount Pictures to find locations in California which could stand in for distant locales. California’s geographic diversity is one of the major reasons[1] why Los Angeles became the global nexus of film production.

Paramount Studio map of California's geographical facsimiles, fron The Motion Picture Industry as a Basis for Bond Financing, 1927

HT: Kottke

  1. Another reason was the sunny weather. Early film stocks were far less sensitive than what we have today, and the sun was the only light powerful enough to register an image. Indoor sets would be built without roofs for this reason.  ↩

Who Knew It Was This Hard To Give a Film a Title?

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Gregg Kilday details the terms of a petty title dispute between the Weinstein Company and the MPAA. Apparently, TWC would run afoul of MPAA rules if they entitled their film simply The Butler. Check out the Byzantine insanity which guides the approved new title, Lee Daniels’ The Butler:

[A]ll letters of all words in the title must be in the same size and prominence as the size and prominence of the word ‘butler,’ except that if the name ‘Lee Daniels’ is used in the title, then ‘Lee Daniels’ must be of a size of at least 75% and of equal prominence of the word ‘butler’.

I expect nothing less that utter inanity in anything involving the MPAA, but this is beyond laughably ridiculous.

Cassavetes, Falk, and Gazzara on Cavett

The three stars of Husbands appeared on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970, ostensibly to promote the film. In actuality, they showed up simply to goof off. Just imagine seeing something this amazing and anarchic on television today.

THE LONE RANGER Must Really Suck; Gee, Who Saw That Coming?

If you enjoy reading a withering excoriation of a really shitty film–and really, who doesn’t?–check out Laremy Legel’s review of The Lone Ranger:

There have been so many examples where a creative genius took an idea, and against all odds delivered a piece of art that changed the world. This is not one of them. This is the other thing, where a bunch of really smart people took a really dumb idea and just absolutely went for it, consequences be damned, and ended up with a festering blob in the form of a movie.

UPDATE, July 7, 2013 3:13 PM:

The Hollywood Reporter:

[B]ox office experts and rival studio insiders tell The Hollywood Reporter that the loss could approach or even surpass $150 million based on final opening numbers…

The Schadenfreude will never end.

Spielberg Prepares To Mock A Classic

Quoting Entertainment Weekly‘s blog:

Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks are in early discussions to acquire the rights to John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novel, The Grapes of Wrath. A representative for Spielberg confirmed a Deadline report that the Oscar-winning director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan is interested in the project […]

What is this ridiculous compulsion in Hollywood to regurgitate every cultural artifact, from books to TV shows to board games? Can no one write a god damned new script anymore?