Summary of “The Realistic Magic of Hal Ashby, the Greatest Director of the 1970s”

More so because Ashby had a way of making his movies about weighty ideals and real-seeming people, neither of which have aged much in the past 40 or so years.
Of Ashby, Jack Nicholson once said that when friends referred to him, it’s “Like we’re writing a recommendation for a college scholarship.” When Ashby won the Oscar for Best Editing, he delivered one of the shortest and most precise speeches in the ceremony’s history: “To repeat the words of a very dear friend of mine last year when he picked up his Oscar, I only hope that we can use all of our talents and creativity toward peace and love. Thank you.” He walked off the stage without another word.
I realized through more research that the mythology about Hal Ashby being this burnout hippie wastoid that couldn’t do anything was just not accurate.
The director Norman Jewison adopted Hal Ashby as a kind of mentee and became a father figure to the hardworking but nomadic Southwestern refugee.
The Ashby we talk about now was a late-blooming creative talent who spent the first 34 years of his life slowly nosing his way into the upper echelon of the movies.
No matter the genre-lace-curtain thriller or Cold War satire, social-issues drama or sleek caper-Jewison and Ashby pushed the style and structure of movies, toying with jump cuts, pans, close-ups, insert shots, and particularly multiframe formats that would subtly reinvent the visual language of Hollywood movies.
Shampoo is the second Ashby film made from a Robert Towne script, after The Last Detail, and you can feel the director locking into the deep, idiosyncratic material.
Ashby was the original director chosen for Tootsie, getting so far as to shoot screen tests with Dustin Hoffman in character and costume.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Movie madness: Why Chinese cinemas are empty but full”

Chinese film critic and industry observer Raymond Zhou has been digging into the darker side of film financing in his country.
If these publicly available figures appear to show that a film is doing well, people will buy shares in the companies which paid for the movie.
So a film might be on in the cinema and one of the companies which paid for it might buy out entire late night screenings.
You might wonder, if box office manipulation has been a broad problem within the Chinese film industry, if it’s still worthwhile financially.
“They can manipulate the number of screenings in their own cinemas. Often times the third party ticketing apps also have their hands in the promotion of the films so they can push a film that they have an interest in; that they have invested in themselves.”
In effect, a company – or connected companies – can distribute the film, have ownership of the theatres and then maybe also involve those selling the tickets.
Some films are also suspected of being used as a method of getting around China’s laws designed to restrict capital flight.
There still seems to be no move to break up the vested interests in Chinese movie making, which many analysts believe will continue to pump out poor quality fare as long as there is money to be made – irrespective of how many actually people go to see the film.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Dare You Represent Your People That Way: The Oral History of ‘Better Luck Tomorrow'”

Nearly two decades ago, Justin Lin had a bold idea: What if he made a movie about Asian-Americans?
“I didn’t want to make an Asian-American film. I wanted to make a movie about Asian-American characters.”
“I grew up wanting to be Robert De Niro, not some good Asian boy next door.”
“Asian-Americans, in the hierarchy of race, never quite made it to the top. We always get pushed over for some reason.”
“In some ways, it’s harder to make a film that matters than it is to make a good film. Better Luck Tomorrow mattered.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The last Blockbuster: ‘I’m proud that we’ve survived'”

Standing unpretentiously in the car park of a petrol station at a busy intersection in Oregon, this Blockbuster is the last one still open in the US. Over 10 years ago, the Blockbuster chain, known for short-term rentals of films on video cassette and DVD, numbered 9,000 stores around the world.
The store in Bend, Oregon, is a franchise and became the last one after two independent locations in Alaska shut down in July.
The best stories are about the parents who bring their kids and are like: “This is what we used to do, we used to grab a movie and take it around.” Or the ones talking about how they had their first dates going to Blockbuster.
We have a beautiful grass in front of our store and three weeks ago there wasn’t a path to the Blockbuster sign like there’s now – yellow, worn out grass from everybody taking their pictures.
It doesn’t matter what colour of skin, religion or political affiliation, everybody in the world has a happy feeling when they think about Blockbuster and it brings us all together.
A woman who had managed a Blockbuster store in California came with her family and it was like we were long-lost friends.
All the media hype has actually reminded people that we’re here and we’ve had more customers coming in saying “Hey, we want to support you, we want to keep our last Blockbuster in Bend.” That’s been really wonderful.
The elements of a traditional Blockbuster have all been kept: yellow walls, candy machines, even the computer system with its blue screen.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In the Year of ‘Black Panther,’ the Oscars Are in Panic Mode. Should They Be?”

Last year’s matchup between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri-two movies vanishing from the popular imagination faster than Harvey Weinstein-overwhelmed the significantly more popular and memorable achievements of Get Out and Dunkirk.
The reaction to the news among the Oscar monitors was swift: What fresh hell is this? The vagueness and intellectual bankruptcy of the Academy’s idea has been upbraided by virtually every pundit and movie observer around, from Mark Harris to, well, Rob Lowe.
Movies, in their essence, are a popular medium, designed to draw crowds at great volume.
Now, nothing’s a lock in the Oscars, and certainly not a superhero movie with a third act that culminates in a goofy CGI punching match.
Still, the marketing and campaign dollars that Disney will supply combined with the social representational forces that will form around the movie as awards season approaches make it a highly likely entrant.
We could examine what the “Popular” category might look like-and I will below, sort of-but what’s most interesting about this turn of events is that Black Panther was literally the only film we’ve seen this year that seems remotely certain to be recognized in the major categories at the ceremony in February.
Ask someone on the street whether they like Solo more than any of those movies.
A race among three Marvel movies, a Fox movie, and a Pixar movie isn’t a race.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The last Blockbuster: ‘I’m proud that we’ve survived'”

Standing unpretentiously in the car park of a petrol station at a busy intersection in Oregon, this Blockbuster is the last one still open in the US. Over 10 years ago, the Blockbuster chain, known for short-term rentals of films on video cassette and DVD, numbered 9,000 stores around the world.
The store in Bend, Oregon, is a franchise and became the last one after two independent locations in Alaska shut down in July.
The best stories are about the parents who bring their kids and are like: “This is what we used to do, we used to grab a movie and take it around.” Or the ones talking about how they had their first dates going to Blockbuster.
We have a beautiful grass in front of our store and three weeks ago there wasn’t a path to the Blockbuster sign like there’s now – yellow, worn out grass from everybody taking their pictures.
It doesn’t matter what colour of skin, religion or political affiliation, everybody in the world has a happy feeling when they think about Blockbuster and it brings us all together.
A woman who had managed a Blockbuster store in California came with her family and it was like we were long-lost friends.
All the media hype has actually reminded people that we’re here and we’ve had more customers coming in saying “Hey, we want to support you, we want to keep our last Blockbuster in Bend.” That’s been really wonderful.
The elements of a traditional Blockbuster have all been kept: yellow walls, candy machines, even the computer system with its blue screen.

The orginal article.

Summary of “These are the best movies of the 2000s”

As the film world prepares to leave the childish things of summer behind and welcome the more serious, artistically ambitious movies of festival and awards season, it’s an opportune moment to consider the Canon: that list of revered films that helped form cinematic language, broke it open, captured not only their own zeitgeist but proved wisely prescient, and have stood the test of history to remain mini-master classes in aesthetics, technique, grammar and taste.
For the most part, the Canon has remained an unchanged list of cinema’s most revered titles; the last time it was even slightly upset was in 2012, when the respected film journal Sight & Sound announced that its Greatest Films of All Time poll of programmers, film professionals and academics had put Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 fever dream “Vertigo” at the top of the list, upending longtime pride-of-place holder “Citizen Kane.”.
If the bias toward older films is understandable – it’s only in the fullness of time that we understand what possesses enduring artistic value and meaning that transcends its precise cultural moment – it gives short shrift to movies that, despite their youth, could take their place among their forebears with confidence.
Although Lee never commented on the tragedy directly in the film, it suffused the film’s mood of numbed resignation.
The coming-of-age tale is a reliable genre precisely because of its reassuring linearity; the idea of discovering it anew is ludicrous, which is probably why Richard Linklater attempted to do it, filming the same boy over 12 years – along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents – and then working with longtime editor Sandra Adair to sew the resulting assortment of moments together into a seamlessly flowing depiction of time at its most inexorable, corrosive and liberating.
Even at their best-intentioned and highest execution, films aspiring to dramatize the Holocaust evoke queasiness almost by definition, with the act of bearing witness and preserving memory almost always at odds with questions of aestheticizing sadism and suffering, or reducing them to spectacle.
Filmed in a squared-off aspect ratio that accentuated the protagonist’s entrapment, Nemes called upon viewers to fill in the blanks of the unspeakable acts around them, making us collaborators in his own moral imagination.
In the 1990s, Errol Morris revolutionized documentary filmmaking with his use of narrative film technique, including reenactments and stylized speculative scene-making.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I watched Nicolas Cage movies for 14 hours straight, and I’m sold”

What kind of masochists would attend an all-night Nicolas Cage movie marathon? What kind of sadists would program seven of his films in a row? If one wants to observe the famously extravagant American actor for 14 hours straight, why not do it from the comfort of your own home?
Any casual observer can see that Cage is entertaining, charismatic and wildly flamboyant, but what is it about the 54-year-old performer that deserves seven movies, played back-to-back?
Five years ago, in a Reddit AMA, Ethan Hawke described Cage as “The only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art”, by taking audiences “Away from an obsession with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was popular with the old troubadours.”
Covered in blood and dressed in briefs and a shirt, Cage gulps vodka straight from the bottle and pours it over a gaping wound.
Advertised as a 12-hour event, the schedule – which includes short breaks and a dozen or so trailers for Cage’s lesser-known works – has blown out to 14.
Cage is usually interesting even when his films are not.
When I leave the Cage-a-Thon, dimly remembering a time when I watched movies that didn’t star Nicolas Cage, I resolve to never ever attend another movie marathon.
If it’s another one with Nic Cage movies, I’ll think about it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Wilford Brimley Meme That Helps Measure Tom Cruise’s Agelessness”

Tom Cruise was about to turn thirty-one when “The Firm,” the film adaptation of John Grisham’s best-selling novel, hit theatres.
Later in the movie, Cruise beats Brimley up with a leather briefcase.
Cruise has been very, very famous for the past thirty-five years, and in that time it’s been difficult to reconcile his unchanging appearance with the flipping pages on the calendar.
Thankfully, the release of his latest summer blockbuster has resurfaced one of the surest methods: comparing him to his old scenemate Wilford Brimley.
This meme seems to have had its beginnings in 2011, when Cruise turned forty-nine, the same age that Brimley was when he began filming his role in Ron Howard’s movie “Cocoon,” from 1985, a kind of “E.T.” for the olds about a group of seniors living in a retirement community who are given the chance to live forever by leaving Earth on an alien spaceship.
In the years since Cruise blasted through what I’ll call the Brimley Barrier, people online have continued to make the comparison between the two men, citing the fact that Cruise was a year, or two, or three years older than Brimley when he starred in “Cocoon.” Last month, a new tweet on the subject drew the attention of Brimley himself, who retweeted it and said, “This is still hard for me to believe.” Brimley, who is eighty-three, has settled into a late-life role as a meme machine, known among a younger generation less for his years of acting than for his role as the Quaker Oats pitchman, or for his pronunciation of the word “Diabetes” as the television spokesman for Liberty Medical.
The comparison of Brimley and Cruise in middle age doesn’t just make light of the former’s premature fogeydom and the latter’s eternal youthfulness; it also highlights how the mores, signifiers, and very science of aging have changed-that sixty is the new fifty, which is the new forty, and so on.
Even with the help of Henry Cavill, who, at thirty-five, is a year older than Cruise was in the first “Mission: Impossible” movie, Ethan Hunt cannot subdue a foe in an elaborate bathroom brawl.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

“It’s kind of always been my intention and goal, since deciding to want to be a filmmaker, to make so-called ‘black movies,’ African American movies, mainstream,” Lee says, kicking his black Nike-clad heels up onto the desk as the room empties out.
So Lee set out, ready to make movies with his own Malcolm D. Lee signature: “Life movies with a lot of laughs and some tears.” They also often include a dance sequence, he jokes.
Spike read the script and told him, “This is it.” When The Best Man was released, he gave Lee a framed poster of the all-black movie God’s Step Children - a divisive 1938 film about a light-skinned woman who denounces her own race - that now hangs in his office.
“You make a movie like The Best Man,” he says, picking up the conversation from where we left off in the studio, “And everybody wants to talk to you.” But Lee wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do next.
Scary Movie 5? “It was just a bad movie. Believe me. Don’t bother going to see that movie. Or renting it, or anything. It’s not worth your time,” he groans.
“Harvey Weinstein, in all his wisdom, said, ‘These movies are a bad model. They can’t make money.’ And the studio’s thing was, We can get Morris Chestnut to be in Fast and Furious and we can get Terrence Howard to do such and such, and we’ll still get a black audience,” Lee says, explaining the three-year dry spell leading up to Scary Movie 5.
While still working on Scary Movie 5 in 2011, he became determined to make a sequel to The Best Man to recapture the magic of that first movie but also to create something that was “a little more challenging. Something that’s gonna deal with a little more deeper life stuff,” he says.
The movie reunited the original cast 15 years after when the first movie left off.

The orginal article.