Summary of “The subversive messages hidden in The Wizard of Oz”

The pig-tailed Dorothy Gale is so wholesome, the Harburg and Arlen songs are so delightful, and the Technicolor adventures are so exciting that it’s still easy to mistake The Wizard of Oz for traditional family entertainment, 80 years on from its release in August 1939.
Another film might have contrasted this earthbound huckster with the genuine marvels performed by the wonderful Wizard of Oz, but in this one the wizard is played by the same actor as Professor Marvel, and he turns out to be much the same character: a fast-talking fairground showman who hides behind a curtain, waggling levers, and using mechanical trickery to keep his subjects loyal and afraid.
In a gloriously gonzo final flourish, he floats off into the sky with a cheerful cry of: “I can’t come back. I don’t know how it works!” There aren’t many films that show politicians being quite as brazenly incompetent as that.
True, we can’t take anything the “Humbug” Wizard says too seriously, but these are radical sentiments to hear in any Hollywood film, let alone a Hollywood film aimed at children.
Baum’s novel may have been published at the turn of the century, but the film directed by Victor Fleming is very much a product of the 1930s.
The film doesn’t send audiences over the rainbow to a mythical past, but to a garish parody of the noisy, industrialised present.
If The Wizard of Oz had come out in the patriotic 1940s or 1950s, it’s hard to imagine that this counter-cultural classic would have got away with making a flying monkey out of contemporary society.
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Summary of “The Sixth Sense 20th Anniversary: Oral History with M. Night Shyamalan – Variety”

“The Sixth Sense” was almost a serial killer film inspired by “The Silence of the Lambs.” In the original draft of the thriller by director and writer M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis’ character was a crime photographer with a son who experienced visions of the victims.
Ten drafts later, Shyamalan morphed the script into what we know today: a psychological drama with a monumental twist ending that would launch the career of a young director with comparisons to Spielberg and Hitchcock.
Haley Joel Osment, who plays the young boy who utters the words “I see dead people,” told Variety that the cast knew intuitively that the script was “Something really special,” and they were right: “The Sixth Sense” earned six Oscar nominations including best picture, best director, best supporting actress for Toni Collette and best supporting actor for then 10-year-old Osment.
M. Night Shyamalan, who is now 48, spent nearly a year on the script, not sure where the story should go or what it should be.
The film landed at Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures, with Shyamalan set to direct his own script.
When thinking back to the scariest scene in “The Sixth Sense,” most will recall Barton writhing under a bed, trying to get Osment to realize her mother killed her.
It’s of Cole in a freezing cold bed saying the line, “I see dead people.” Shyamalan decided not to use CGI to facilitate the image of his breath; instead, he put Osment in a a real-life ice box.
Shyamalan: “The Sixth Sense” was the movie that didn’t have the legacy to deal with.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Leonardo DiCaprio Became Hollywood’s Last Movie Star”

In an age of pre-branded franchises and social media currency, DiCaprio is a Hollywood unicorn, able to gross hundreds of millions of dollars without wearing a cape, wielding a lightsaber or even having an agent.
The film’s star, Leonardo DiCaprio, already enjoyed a budding global popularity thanks to the studio’s 1996 release Romeo + Juliet, which had earned $148 million worldwide – 69 percent of its haul coming from overseas.
Fast-forward 22 years, and DiCaprio remains a global movie star, one whose consistent bankability and acclaim set him apart from his peers.
Unlike waning megastars like Will Smith, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Downey Jr., DiCaprio sits alone atop the Hollywood pantheon without ever having made a comic book movie, family film or pre-branded franchise.
Sources say DiCaprio took a $15 million upfront payday – $5 million less than his usual $20 million – in order to get Once Upon a Time made, but he stands to make north of $45 million if the film meets expectations.
After the unprecedented success of Titanic – then the highest-grossing movie of all time – DiCaprio made a choice that would define his career over the next two decades: Instead of following up the blockbuster with a tried-and-true formula of tentpoles or high-concept thrillers, the Los Angeles native eschewed box office glory to work with the top directors in Hollywood.
While Smith is doing Netflix originals and a Disney remake, Lawrence is on a cold streak and Downey only makes money as Tony Stark, DiCaprio continues to choose films that would seem risky on paper – typically R-rated, longer than 2½ hours and with budgets topping $80 million – bets that have paid off and given him an unrivaled amount of power.
Regardless, the Red Granite debacle appears to have had little effect on DiCaprio’s standing in Hollywood – agents will say privately that there is no actor or actress that they would rather put their clients next to in a movie.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Toast to When Harry Met Sally, a Romantic Comedy for Grown-Ups”

My first memory of When Harry Met Sally is that I wasn’t allowed to watch it.
When Harry Met Sally’s unwholesome raciness-the faked orgasm, the f-bombs, the woman who meows in the throes of passion-featured prominently in the film’s marketing campaign.
I somehow saw The Killing Fields before I watched When Harry Met Sally; if you can’t guess from the title, The Killing Fields is a harrowing movie about genocide in Cambodia.
So what I first learned about When Harry Met Sally, besides its cast, was that Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the movie.
Someone had to explain the joke to me after an assembly in which a visiting lecturer made a joke about having a When Harry Met Sally moment to an auditorium full of middle schoolers.
When Harry Met Sally is a collection of finely hewn set pieces-nearly all of which pivot around nothing more than a conversation.
Writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner used When Harry Met Sally as a canvas to explore heterosexual partnership, infusing the leads played by Ryan and Billy Crystal with facets of their respective personalities.
Crystal was the recipient of Reiner’s projections, creating in Harry a brooding jokester who prefers sports to feelings.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Hollywood Doesn’t Make Movies Like ‘The Fugitive’ Anymore”

Watch as Kimble, about a quarter of the way into the movie, painfully deliberates on the lip of that dam as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard points his gun at him, waiting for Kimble to surrender because, Gerard posits, there’s no way this guy would do “a Peter Pan.” Right before that, their positions are reversed when Kimble grabs Gerard’s gun in the confusion of the dam’s water-logged tunnels.
Face to face with the marshal for the first time, the doctor points the pistol at his pursuer and proclaims, “I did not kill my wife!” Gerard, his hands up, half-kneeling in water, a look of bafflement on his face, responds: “I don’t care!” To this, Kimble issues a faint smile: Game on.
While Kimble speaks through his actions, the man chasing him has all the best lines.
As the film progresses, Gerard’s affinity for Kimble grows, too.
Twenty minutes before the end of the movie, a neat flip occurs in which Kimble goes from being followed to being the leader.
Another flip takes place in the climactic showdown where Kimble confronts Nichols: Kimble saves Gerard’s life, despite believing that Gerard is intent on taking his.
Though The Fugitive established Chicago as the place to shoot, it’s perhaps more notable for being the best of a genre that no longer really exists: the character-driven Hollywood action movie for adults.
As Gerard’s relationship with Kimble transformed, so too has mine.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What it’s like to be on House Hunters and House Hunters International.”

So I’m going to tell you all about my experience with House Hunters International, on which we appeared in 2017, and House Hunters, which we filmed last winter.
The first thing you need to know is that in neither episode of House Hunters were Jeff and I actually house hunting.
House Hunters International is always looking for people who have moved abroad to feature on the show.
The show is intended to resemble a real-life house hunt, but exaggerated for TV. So you take your real-world wants, and in each house you visit, you ham that up.
In House Hunters International I mentioned that I wanted a bathtub, something that is nearly impossible to find in the Netherlands.
In our House Hunters International episode, Jeff is portrayed as wanting a small house that is close to work no matter what.
So when we moved back to the United States, we got in contact with the House Hunters production company, which is different than the House Hunters International production company.
We haven’t seen the episode yet, but I already know it turns on Jeff not being satisfied with any house and all the little home-repair problems he finds when house hunting.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside the Facility Where Kodak Brings Film Back to Life”

The elevators in Building 30, where Kodak blends film chemicals, help workers’ eyes get used to the conditions that light-sensitive compounds demand.
Learning to work with the fussy animal-derived material is what spurred Kodak founder George Eastman to create the film giant’s research arm in the late 1800s.
The 52-inch-wide film rolls pass through a coating waterfall, a cooler, and a dryer.
Kodak paints the airtight containers flat black on the inside, and seals them with collars to ensure no light can seep in and prematurely expose the film.
This device, which Kodak calls “The heart,” punches holes in the edges of the film so sprockets inside a camera can crank through exposures.
During production, Kodak uses night-vision cameras to monitor the film for irregularities such as uneven application or breaks.
The final film goes on to the packaging area, where a machine wraps it around plastic spools like these.
The machine at left funnels empty metal film cans via conveyor belt toward the last packaging step-inserting rolls into their canisters.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Book Excerpt: ‘Wild and Crazy Guys’ on John Candy”

In his new book Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the ’80s Changed Hollywood Forever, author Nick de Semlyen explores the stories behind those movies and the dudes who made them, including Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis, precocious SNL-to-Beverly Hills Cop upstart Eddie Murphy, and Steve Martin.
Maybe the most underrated and low-key comedy icon of the ’80s: SCTV breakout star John Candy.
Here’s an excerpt from Wild and Crazy Guys on the making of that film.
Between takes, Candy would crack up Martin by pretending to act out a cheesy gladiator movie, moving his lips in a way that made it sound like he was dubbed.
Martin was particularly impressed by one bit of improv by his co-star: During the scene where Del reveals that his wife has died and explains that’s why he attaches himself to people, Candy added the line, “But this time I couldn’t let go.” Long after Candy’s death, Martin would get a tear in his eye remembering it.
As for the funny stuff, there was an ample amount: a driving scene where Candy gets his arms trapped and sets fire to the car; an open-air ride on the back of a truck with a half-frozen, furious dog; a Martin meltdown with so much swearing that it singlehandedly got the film slapped with an R rating.
With Candy an hour late, trekking in from a shoot in Fresno, Martin did an impromptu stand-up set to entertain the crowd of 300 journalists, riffing on the roast-turkey banquet laid out by the studio: “We already had some of that very same turkey while we were making the movie – and we shot the film a year ago.”
Martin was quizzed on his use of the word “Fuck” in the film, responding, deadpan, “I only used it nineteen times.” Candy was told that he looked like a sumo wrestler by a tactless Japanese reporter, who then added, “We admire big people because we are a nation of small people Do you plan to diet?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Hollywood is quietly using AI to help decide which movies to make”

The company licenses historical data about movie performances over the years, then cross-references it with information about films’ themes and key talent, using machine learning to tease out hidden patterns in the data.
Cinelytic isn’t the only company hoping to apply AI to the business of film.
Last November, 20th Century Fox explained how it used AI to detect objects and scenes within a trailer and then predict which “Micro-segment” of an audience would find the film most appealing.
An academic paper published on this topic in 2016 similarly claimed that reliable predictions about a movie’s profitability can be made using basic information like a film’s themes and stars.
You don’t need a sophisticated and expensive AI software to tell you that a star like Leonardo DiCaprio or Tom Cruise will improve the chances of your film being a hit, for example.
Because AI learns from past data, it can’t predict future cultural shifts Zhao offers a more benign example of algorithmic shortsightedness: the 2016 action fantasy film Warcraft, which was based on the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
Scarso says that using AI to play around with a film’s blueprint – swapping out actors, upping the budget, and seeing how that affects a film’s performance – “Opens up a conversation about different approaches,” but it’s never the final arbiter.
Hollywood is unlikely to accept AI having the final say anytime soon Some in the business push back against the claim that Hollywood is embracing AI to vet potential films, at least when it comes to actually approving or rejecting a pitch.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Hanging on the Telephone”

The phone’s purpose is to remind viewers that the film – which explores the objectification of women, a timeless phenomenon – is set in the present.
Many films set today acknowledge phones, if briefly, for purpose of advancing the plot.
In horror films, phones – which have obvious utility as a safety resource – present plot hurdles that must be cleared for dangerous scenarios to be plausible: hence characters will either have no service, or as happens in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, their phone batteries die.
Like the task of adapting an epistolary novel for film, depicting heavy phone use may require some translation.
One successful break from film and television’s sea of crackle can be found in Eugene Kotlyarenko’s 2018 film Wobble Palace, in which an iPhone screen is placed directly in the frame to show the typically unseen moments in which characters use their phones.
With better representation of contemporary life in film, what modernism encouraged, will come a more nuanced understanding of the psychological implications of phone use in the cultural imagination.
Bo Burnham’s 2018 film Eighth Grade, for example, includes countless scenes of Elsie in isolation, scrolling through social media and filming YouTube vlogs that hardly anyone views.
It’s an unavoidable reality that films that depict phone use tend to date themselves before they see theatrical releases.

The orginal article.