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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Adapting "Guardians" -a screenwriting interview

I especially like that part about how boundaries can be a good thing. Knowing where the plot points have to hit always stops me from wandering aimlessly in my writing. Some may see those thing as cookie cutter but I've always found them inspiring.❞ -Daniel

 

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Entries in dolls (16)

Tuesday
Jun242014

Curio: Uneek Dolls

Alexa here. It was an empty dollhouse that inspired Debbie Ritter to start making clothespin dolls. Over time, inspired by history, literature, and old movies, she's designed hundreds of different miniature caricature dolls; her etsy shop currently stocks over 600.  Her clever classic film dolls have been catching my eye for awhile now; I really admire her ability to paint a caricature on the end of a clothespin.  And the fact that she has a Bette Davis obsession doesn't hurt either. And, she does custom orders!

Bette, Joan, Tippi, Edith Head (!) and more after the jump...  

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr292014

Curio: Michelle Pfeiffer Turns 56

Alexa here. Like Nathaniel I adore Michelle Pfeiffer and can't pass up the chance to mention that she is turning 56 today. Oh if only she were as ubiquitous a presence during awards season as Meryl Streep, with all the plum non-ingenue roles going her way!  Whether it be a lack of willingness or opportunity, the sightings are far too infrequent.

Here are some curios to wax nostalgic over her heyday; if only we could conjure her a brilliant third act.

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Curio: Oscar Party Craftiness

Alexa here with the weekly arts and crafts curio.

Listening to Joe, Nick and Nathaniel's discussion of Oscar parties reminded me about all the Oscar games and crafts I've been ambitiously bookmarking over the years.  Maybe it's our overlong Chicago winters, but I seem to get an attack of laziness the week of the show and forgo the crafts in favor of making loads of comfort food.  But really, I want that to change this year, because, how sweet are some of these ideas?  Fun for everyone!  Even the Oscar-averse.  

Probably my favorite is the idea of spray painting Ken dolls Oscar gold.  I love the idea of going all Goldfinger on a thrift store Ken, and getting a posable Oscar statue as a result.

More craft and game ideas after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan282014

boy, you should know what you're linking for ♫

AV Club Sad Keanu Doll 
Empire JJ Abrams on the secrecy of his Star Wars sequels
Empire 25 different covers celebrating X-Men: Days of Future Past. I hate the cinematic interpretation of Quicksilver already... but they never do right by my favorite characters (see also Storm). And I didn't realize Sunspot was in this but they cast a Mexican actor to play an African-Brazilian? 
Playbill Brokeback Mountain: The Opera debuts today in Madrid

US Magazine Charlize Theron & Sean Penn holding hands. The rumors are true. So that's a good excuse to relisten to...
That Film Experience Podcast in which we fantasized about same-year Oscar couples
Variety The Great Gatsby sweeps the technical prizes at the first half of the Australian Oscars. They announce the headline categories Thursday
Guardian Johnny Depp receiving an award from the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild 

Post Script Sundance Sales
Ah, Sundance. My wrap up index post is coming late tonight but I enjoyed reading Vulture's takeaways and loved talking up the Sundance favorites with Guy Lodge on the podcast. I was also reading this piece about the non-spectular but steady sales at Sundance and a list of titles from the festival which now have distributors via Sound on Sight and I found both frustrating. I don't know if the latter list is 100% accurate (it's tough to keep track and did they ignore pre-sold films? If you know of a 100% complete list let me know) but it's frustrating. Only 20 deals were made? So naturally the great majority of films didn't sell. Some of them have easily saleable elements -- like oh, Anne Hathaway! --and in some cases are much stronger than some on the films that sold. I'm aware that in this day and age of DIY  distribution, VOD, and [insert latest trend here] not selling to a major distributor is not a death knell, just as being picked up is not always a godsend (some films that have distribution curiously never make it to screens or arrive years later when the buzz has gone ice cold). The three films I most wish had been picked up are:

  • Blind -Norwegian films rarely make a dent at the arthouse but it's so good
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night -Glenn loved it and it sounds like a must-see curio
  • Appropriate Behavior -in the comic subgenre of sexually impulsive twentysomething New York lady in a tailspin it's superior to Obvious Child which did sell.

Exit Music
Here's Vin Diesel dancing to Katy Perry (!) and grabbing his crotch a lot. Two things that are worth doing when one tops
                the dvd charts.

He would be in big trouble if he was asked to "lipsynch for your life"... but wouldn't he be an awesome guest on RuPaul's Drag Race? Make it happen, Ru. 

Wednesday
Dec042013

Team FYC: The Conjuring for Best Production Design

In this FYC series series, our contributors are highlighting their favorite fringe contenders this awards season. Here's Dancin' Dan on The Conjuring...

Let's face it: The Academy doesn't, as a rule, like horror films. Even when they're done well. But James Wan's The Conjuring is one we hope they'll honor, especially in the below-the-line categories. The technical elements are all exceptionally well-done, but the production design in particular is damn near flawless. For starters, take a look at that Annabelle doll. Creepy, right? But also totally believable as a toy that a girl might have loved as a child in the 40s or 50s and kept with her as a young adult in the 60s.

The whole film is stuffed with smart design like that. Production Designer Julie Berghoff, Art Director Geoffrey S. Grimsman, and Set Decorator Sophie Neufdorfer built the Perron house used in the film from the ground up and filled it with period-appropriate appliances, photos, and toys that felt used and loved - and, perhaps most importantly, that don't look "scary".

The smartest thing The Conjuring does is to not look like a modern horror movie - all dark and tinted blue or gray, with every set and prop looking like it's on the verge of decay. The Perron house looks old because, simply, it's an old house, and the Perrons bought it knowing it was a bit of a fixer-upper. The items in the basement look old and rotting because they've been blocked off for decades. The family's personal items look new, or at least new-ish, as would fit a middle-class family in 1971. The attention to period detail is all over the movie, and it gives the movie a homespun quality that always works in its favor.

There are a lot of reasons why The Conjuring works as well as it does: strong, surprisingly nuanced performances from Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Lili Taylor; the genuinely unsettling score; the almost old-fashioned cinematography - but for me the MVP is all the little details around the edges of the frame, constantly lending a sense of reality to the film. The art direction of The Conjuring is effectively scary when it needs to be (the spiral mirror reflecting on Vera Farmiga's face, that monstrous wardrobe, the Warrens' room of occult objects), but mostly it serves to remind you that these were real people this happened to - a family that could have had a normal life if things had just worked out a little differently. And that's where the true horror lies.