Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Movies & TV’ Category

“Ruin”: An animated short now, to be part of a feature film

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“Animation” does not mean what it once did — it’s gone far beyond that.

Written by Leisureguy

13 May 2022 at 7:00 pm

Hayao Miyazaki, The Mind of a Master

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Via Open Culture:

I need to rewatch some of his movies.

Written by Leisureguy

10 May 2022 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Business, Movies & TV, Video

How Postwar Italy Created The Paparazzi

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Written by Leisureguy

30 April 2022 at 3:59 pm

Shugo Tokumaru / Katachi

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Written by Leisureguy

21 April 2022 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Movies & TV, Music, Video

Why do so many cinematographers prefer this one camera?

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Written by Leisureguy

10 April 2022 at 9:25 am

Posted in Art, Movies & TV, Technology

Great opening credit sequence

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Written by Leisureguy

8 April 2022 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Doris Day – “The Very Thought Of You” from Young Man With A Horn (1950)

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A great scene. That’s Hoagy Carmichael on piano. And that is Harry James you hear on trumpet. Harry James was a great trumpeter IMO. And it’s a great movie except for tacked on happy ending, which I imagine the studio insisted on. (The studio seems very like the bandleader in this scene.)

Written by Leisureguy

4 April 2022 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Jazz, Movies & TV

“Galaxy Quest” is an exceptionally good movie. Here’s how the aliens trained.

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I would say watch the movie first, because it’s such a delight to be surprised. But after you watch it, this short about the Thermians is interesting. (Unfortunately, right now to stream it you have to rent it. But it’s worth it.)

Written by Leisureguy

26 March 2022 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Movies & TV, Video

How Paul Thomas Anderson Shoots A Film At 3 Budget Levels

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Interesting little explainer that also prompted me to review some movies I’d forgotten about.

Written by Leisureguy

20 March 2022 at 8:33 am

Posted in Business, Movies & TV

Disney Censors Same-Sex Affection in Pixar Films

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Adam B. Vary, Angelique Jackson report in Variety:

In a statement attributed to “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies” obtained by Variety, employees of the animation studio allege that Disney corporate executives have demanded cuts from “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”

The stunning claim is part of a wider reaction to the company-wide memo sent to Disney employees by CEO Bob Chapek on Monday regarding its response to the recently passed legislation in Florida known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In the memo, Chapek states that the “biggest impact” the company can make “in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.”

According to the Pixar letter, that claim is at odds with employees’ experience of trying to create content with same-sex affection approved by Disney executives.

“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” the letter states. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”

To date, Pixar has only included a tiny handful of LGBTQ characters in its feature films, most prominently in the 2020 fantasy film “Onward,” which features a cyclops police officer named Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe. The character’s sexuality is only acknowledged in passing, when Specter says, “It’s not easy being a new parent – my girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?” But the movie was still banned in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia due to the scene, and in the version released in Russia, the word “girlfriend” was changed to “partner.”

The same year, Pixar released a short film, “Out,” on Disney Plus, about a gay man who struggles with coming out to his parents. (The latest Pixar animated feature, “Turning Red,” debuts on Disney Plus on March 11.)

The claim of censorship by Pixar employees is particularly damning for former CEO Robert Iger, who oversaw Disney’s purchase of Pixar in 2006 and just exited the company in December 2021.

The employee letter, which is not dated, also demands Disney withdraw financial support of all legislatures who supported the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and “take a decisive public stand” against the legislation and bills like it elsewhere in the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chapek did speak publicly for the first time about Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill during the company’s shareholders meeting, after weathering widespread criticism for his handling of the issue. He announced that the company would pledge $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ rights organizations, and said he will meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss Disney’s “concerns” about the legislation, after first connecting earlier on the phone.

“Gov. DeSantis committed to me that he wanted to make sure that this law could not be weaponized in any way by individuals in the state or groups in the state to unduly harm or target gay, lesbian, nonbinary or transgender kids and families,” Chapek said.

Following Chapek’s pledge, the Human Rights Campaign announced that they’d refuse the donation until “meaningful action is taken to combat” the legislation.

In a statement,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 March 2022 at 8:58 pm

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” — Dinah Shore

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Written by Leisureguy

4 March 2022 at 10:41 am

Posted in Movies & TV, Music, Video

Dream Awhile, Scheme Awhile: The Love Theme in “Bringing Up Baby”

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Bringing Up Baby is my favorite screwball comedy, and Lesley Chow has an interesting article on it for the Criterion Collection. The article begins:

The comic climax of Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby (1938) comes when Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn join forces to foil an escaping leopard. While driving the animal to an estate, heiress Susan (Hepburn) and scientist David (Grant) collide with a poultry van. Their car narrowly avoids crashing, but the leopard gets excited by all the tasty birds on offer. At that point, Susan and David do the only thing they can: they break into a rendition of the beast’s favorite song, “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.” The two muster up a shaky version of the tune, their voices shivering with the terror and excitement of holding on to the big cat’s tail.

This is one of several abortive attempts to perform Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh’s ’20s jazz hit. With the ingenuity of the best screwballs, Bringing Up Baby devises one unbelievable situation after another that demands the frantic singing of this tune. From David and Susan’s discovery that singing calms the beast to a scene in which they conduct an argument to the melody of the chorus, the film uses the song to express the shifting nature of their relationship. No matter how fantastic the context is, each repetition of the song is emotionally precise: they sing it grudgingly, distractedly, then imploringly.

Their panicked singing in the car sets the pace for the many frenzied pursuits and accelerating chases that follow. This is a film that emphasizes stress and suspense in the quest for romance. Bringing Up Baby is driven by a whirling-dervish mania: the race to keep wildness and darkness at bay through feverish banter and the sky-high spirits of Hepburn’s heroine.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2022 at 12:26 pm

Posted in History, Jazz, Movies & TV

Using colour to tell a story in film

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Written by Leisureguy

27 February 2022 at 7:37 am

The Masses, Not the Classes – Irving Berlin

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TinyLetter.com has what I believe is an extract from Bob Stanley’s upcoming book Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop. It begins:

When he was 24 years-old, Irving Berlin went from writing lyrics on napkins, and spilling soup onto people’s laps, to being tagged a revolutionary almost overnight. A singing waiter and an amateur songwriter, he found his own sound in 1912 with Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Some said it wasn’t ragtime at all, that it lacked the classic syncopation, and they were absolutely right. What Berlin did was to dip in and out of ragtime norms, throw in some Vaudeville, have fun with his songwriting, and create a definite New York sound. It was a song about ragtime, rather than ragtime itself; this difference would go on to provide fertile ground for academics and sociologists ever after, but no one outside of purists in St Louis and Sedalia gave two hoots at the time.

“Naturalness”, Berlin found, came to him as long as he followed his own basic lyrical rule – “Easy to sing, easy to say, easy to remember and applicable to everyday events.” More than seven decades later, Bill Drummond would write The Manual on how to make a number one record, but the first edition was Berlin’s. And as Drummond did with Doctorin’ The Tardis, a UK number one in 1987, Berlin added already familiar musical quotes to Alexander’s Ragtime Band, with a bugle call and a smidgen of Way Down Upon The Swanee River. He wrote songs the way a good cook can work with whatever is hanging around in the fridge. No one had done this before.

Alexander’s Ragtime Band was a hybrid pop song. It had a great hook, a memorable title, and it was easy to sing. It also melded a slight melancholy, that Berlin reckoned he learned from “Slavonic and Semitic folk tunes,” with the vogueish ragtime style which is what gave it a subtle, urban edge (he later wrote an essay called Song And Sorrow Are Playmates). It became so ubiquitous a hit that it lent itself to multiple soundalikes and follow-ups, not least from Berlin himself: He’s A Rag Picker in 1914 was based on the charge that he had stolen the tune for Alexander’s Ragtime Band from Scott Joplin.

Why was it so big? It was the first major hit to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2022 at 4:30 pm

What A Boom Operator Does On Set

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I watch many movies (and right now I’m watching an excellent documentary on Netflix: Downfall: The Case Against Boeing — an excellent portrayal of the blind spot/Achilles’ heel of capitalism, illustrating its limitations as a guiding philosophy). Because I see so many movies, I like these descriptions of the various professional jobs involved in movie making. BTW, quite a few of the clips here are from the excellent comedy Living in Oblivionwritten and directed by Tom DiCillo.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2022 at 11:40 am

A word for an obsession familiar to me — and Giri/Haji

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What I suffered most when my computer was away was not have a convenient way to write, and today I learned the useful word graphomania: “An obsessive inclination to write.”

While the computer was absent, I would repeatedly think of things I wanted to write about, for which the iPhone was completely inadequate. I’m now a keyboard guy, and I wanted to be able to write about things to figure out what I thought about them as well as to tell others about them.

Take, for example, the eight-part limited series Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) on Netflix. I had seen it before, but I watched it again and in this viewing noticed much more. It is set in Tokyo and London, with bilingual dialogue (some in English, some in Japanese with subtitles). It is about family and friendship, and conflicts of duty and odd pairings of people and destinies.

One thing I noticed this time is how much some sequences resemble a graphic novel — not just in the composition of the scene onscreen (though indeed some scenes are presented onscreen in multiple panels), but also in the content of some some sequences.

It was so much like a screen treatment of a graphic novel that I checked IMDB.com to see whether there was a graphic novel as the underlying property (as the movie industry calls the book or play from which a movie has been made).

No, it’s an original screenplay, but some reviewers did note that the plot summaries at the beginning of episodes 2 through 8 were done in graphic-novel style. I had not noticed that because I skip summaries when I’m watching a series straight through, as I was doing, but that made me start watching them — and they are definitely worth watching.

It’s quite an interesting series and toward the end there are stylized (i.e., non-realistic) sequences that reflect on the story.

BTW, Korean limited series seem to have a standard length of 16 episodes, and for those I generally watch plot summaries because the series have so many episodes. Plot elements from several episodes back can re-emerge, and the plot summary at the beginning of an episode is written to remind you of the plot elements relevant to the current episode.

Movies vs. Graphic Novels

When I read the graphic novel Watchmen, it seemed clear that movies were a big influence on graphic novels — some sequences seem taken from movies. But graphic novels do not have the kind of sequence control a movie offers: when you watch a movie, the director decides the exact sequence in which you will see the story unfold, whereas the graphic novelist cannot so closely control the sequence in which you view the page.

To gain that control, the graphic novelist exploits the space on the page, a resource not available to the movie director. Some of the page layouts in Watchmen are stunning, and in effect show that control of the spatial presentation of the story can be effective in a way that temporal presentation finds difficult to mimic. It was this spatial presentation — multiple panels, side by side — that were brought into Giri/Haji. As you read (a graphic novel) and watch (a movie), you can see the tradeoffs between spatial and temporal control.

In this connection, it’s useful (and interesting) to read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics.

Written by Leisureguy

11 February 2022 at 2:19 am

4 Reasons Movies Shouldn’t Be Watched On Laptops

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Full disclosure: I routinely watch movies on my laptop computer. Pehraps when the pandemic passes, if I haven’t, I’ll go to a movie theater again.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2022 at 2:52 pm

Movie Accent Expert Breaks Down 32 Actors’ Accents

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Written by Leisureguy

26 January 2022 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

Willem Dafoe Breaks Down His Career, from ‘The Boondock Saints’ to ‘Spider-Man’

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Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Business, Movies & TV

Two brief videos that showed me again the magnitude of my ignorance

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I know so little of what the people in these videos know.

Written by Leisureguy

23 January 2022 at 2:23 pm

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