Saturday, October 28, 2017

Meet the film distributor A24, master of eclectic independent film

The little film distributor A24, in NYC, is indeed getting some attention for distributing eclectic independent films, as particularly explored in this GQ article that interviews some moguls (they do include Harvey Weinstein prior to his fall). 
The company, founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, has specialized in releasing eclectic films that may not always be politically correct or share everyone’s social norms.

Some of the most important are “Moonlight” (2016 Best Picture), “The Lobster” (2016), “Room” (2016), “Amy” (2016), “Ex Machina” (2015), “Locke” (2014), and “Enemy” (2014).

The company is willing to invest in character-driven films centered around people with unusual, even eclectic challenges and motivations.

It announces itself with a simple logo and no music.  Maybe simplicity is part of the message (I do enjoy the music signatures of 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal, Paramount, and Lionsgate, when I get to hear them.) 

Here’s a good article on A24 by Eric McInnis from Arcadia University, here

Friday, October 27, 2017

Some Real Men Won't Survive Halloween

Today’s short film will be about not surviving Halloween, so I didn’t put the name of the short in the blog post title.  When I say "real men", I mean "cis men".  I'm not totally convinced Milo Yiannopoulos would make the cut on his own list. 

Something is about to happen at the beginning of this video, although it definitely seems consensual. Actors go through a lot (most of all Jake Gyllenhaal, the master of fungibility).

Karma RV weighs in on this topic from Britain here.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Titan: Saturn's Largest Moon -- An Alternative Earth?": visit the volcanoes, lakes, and sand dunes

Titan: Saturn’s Largest Moon – An Alternative Earth?”, from Space and Astronomy, 13 minutes.


The film gives more spectacular footage from Huygens, as well as realistic artist renditions of landscapes on Titan, with plateaus of ice cut by rivers of hydrocarbon, which soaks into the ice;  volcanoes of water-ammonia ice, big lakes, and sand dunes near the Equator, or organic particles from the Sky.

By NASA/JSC - uppper photo; NASA/JPL - lower photo - File:Titan dunes.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Friday, October 20, 2017

"Why We Built a Cat House"

“Why We Built a Cat House”, by Ministeading.

A young man, apparently in Minnesota, explains how his family captures and neuters cats and releases them.  They defend the territory and reduce the population of wild cats.

But the family built them a house for shelter and gives them about have their needed calories, and lets them hunt for the rest.  The cats tend to bond to them and remember them and return. 
  Why We 

But in South Africa, even larger cats (servals, cheetahs and even sometimes leopards) will behave this way. 

By David Shankbone - David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Weinstein scandal, bad for indie films

The Harvey Weinstein scandal certainly has rocked the movie world, as for how far back it goes, how many women were allegedly abused.

Does the scandal undermine the continued future of TWC, The Weinstein Company, which succeeded Miramax (the remains of the day, so to speak, went to Disney). 

In the long run, this not a good development for independent film.

 Some younger women are saying that he was an "older, unattractive man" only interested in youth. Like a straight Oscar Wilde. There are also reports that he could undermine the careers of women who complained. 
Here is the New Yorker story from October 10, 2017 by Ronan Farrow. 

Oliver Stone reportedly said let's be patient in judging Weinstein, MSN story

Oct. 14: Update:  Harvey has been expelled from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, link here

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Black Holes: The Arks of the Universe": Can you live inside one, where no one can ever find you?

Life Under a Black Sun” narrated by Jack Daniel of Strange Mysteries, examines the idea (proposed in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”, Nov. 2014), that a planet could revolve around a black hole and derive life from the energy difference between the cold black hoke and the ambient cosmic radiation.

In a supplementary video (3 min) for Patreon subscribers, "Black Holes: The Arks of the Universe",  Daniels explores the idea that solar systems could exist inside a black hole, shielded from normal existence, revolving around the singularity at he center.  he video also shows what a Dyson Sphere around a black hole might look like.

The universe will be kaput in a few hundred trillion years.

If you look inside a black hole, you might fall in.  Be careful.  
By Tetra quark - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Sunday, October 08, 2017

"Brokeback Mountain": a brief retrospect

I wanted to recognize here one of the most important LGBT films of all time, that was the 2005 nominee for best picture, “Brokeback Mountain”, directed by Ang Lee. (Focus Features)  it's based on a novella by Annie Proulx. 
In 1963, two young men go to work in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming as sheep herders, complete with horse and bedrolls.  The get to know each other pretty quickly, and twenty minutes into the movie, passions erupt.

Later, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character will utter the famous line, “I wish I could quit you” – a monument to upward affiliation (not, as a reviewer said about my own book, a “monument to convolution”). With t  Heath’s character is married with a kid, and eventually the wife (Michelle Williams) observes them together back in Texas, and he winds up a single dad.

With the stunning scenery, I wondered why Lee stuck with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
I saw this at Landmark’s Bethesda Row on a Sunday night, and shows were indeed selling out. 
By Montanabw - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Saturday, October 07, 2017

"The Bachelor" warns people who inherit wealth about "the dead hand"

This is a good time to recall the 1999 satire of family values, “The Bachelor”, by Gary Sinyor, from New Line Cinema, based on a play by Roy Megrue Cooper in turn based in a 1925 play “Seven Chances” by Jean Havez.

Chris O’Donnell, looking less than a real man in the bod realm, finds himself, as he approaches 30, compelled to get married, procreate, and stay married and stay home for ten years to get an inheritance.  Talk about “the dead hand”.  There is even a moral lecture about sacrificing the self for future generations.

It used to be more common for recipients of inheritances to be required to get married and produce kids than it is now;  in fact we rarely hear about this today. But the film is a warning that inherited wealth can come with real strings attached. 

It's more common that unmarried or childless people have to raise grandchildren or siblings' children ("Raising Helen"). 
This has nothing to do with the 2002 indie film of the same name by Mike Fleiss, about serial dating, which I have not seen.

See an earlier very brief summary on Sept. 19, 2007. 
I have read a screenplay set in Minnesota called “I Hate Speed-Dating.”  Wonder if it will get made.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

"Will Sirius B Supernova Destroy Earth"? (Patreon)

Anton Petrov in “What a Math” for Patreon asks “Will Sirius B Supernova Destroy Earth?”

Sirius B is a White Dwarf rotating around Sirius A, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the sky, 8.3 light years away.  If Sirius A got large enough, Sirius B might acquire enough mass to blow up as a supernova.

On Earth the sky would brighten, but the atmosphere of Earth would be fried away by radiation in about 70 years.  Think of it as a really super solar storm.

But Sirius A really won’t enlarge enough to make Sirius B gain mass any time soon. We’ll die of the usual things first. 
By NASA/SAO/CXC - CHANDRA X-ray Observatory CXC Operated for NASA by SAO, url=, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, October 01, 2017

"Chicken Little": Disney animated film has surprising warning about online reputation pre-Facebook

I thought I would re-visit my old review of the animated Disney 3-D film, “Chicken Little”, written and directed by Mark Dindal in 2005.  I remember seeing it at the old National Entertainment complex in Merrifield before it was torn down to build the Angelica Mosaic complex (centered around the new Target, with huge apartment complexes).

In the film, Chicken Little (voice of Zach Braff) gets hit by an acorn falling from a tree. When he posts that the sky is falling on the Internet, it goes viral (from Google, in the pre-Facebook days) and his online reputation suffers, as does his family’s.  Chicken little redeems himself in a baseball game by hitting a pop fly that goes for an inside the park home run when the opposing team falls asleep out of lack of respect for him.

What a lesson in how (not) to draw attention to yourself with passive marketing.

In the Army, at Fort Eustis, they called me “Chicken Man.”