Film Bitch History
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Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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Entries in zombies (30)


All Hands on Link

IndieWire ABC may forge a miniseries out of Oscar nominated AIDS doc How to Survive a Plague
Hollywood who said it: The Pope or "Fifty Shades of Grey"?
MNPP ways not to die celebrates King Kong for his 80th anniversary 
The Advocate interesting take on Seth MacFarlane's Oscar night hosting gig, in which the author believes his entire performance was satire of sexism. I think that's an optimistic forgiving stretch but more power to you for enjoying the show so much! 

Clothes on Film the shoes in Stoker
Empire Emma Watson may play Cinderella
French Films about Trains points to 14 directors whose films are worth obsessing about in advance  
/Film Whoa. They're STILL trying to get Pride & Prejudice & Zombies made? You'd think Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter's fate and the free zombies on TV would have finally decapitated that project.
The Talks with Brian de Palma on violence in cinema and the staying power of Scarface
Unreality a pitch to Netflix. If you're going to revive beloved series, why not Firefly?
The Credits talked to Gavin Bocquet production designer for Jack the Giant Slayer about his work and the new visual fx demands of Production Design:

...if we were around during the Gone With The Wind time, you know the production designers job was more or less the same, you still had to create what you wanted to be the image, and then you broke it down into how you produced it. So the process is the same for the production designer, but the tools and the palette are a lot more variable in terms of what you can do, and also at times much more expensive. 

Weekend Must Watch
Brava to Chelsea Davison for this incredible mimicry job & spoof: here's "Lena Dunham" auditioning for Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. So funny.

So... you know this silence is literally torturing me. And yes I do realize now that in this situation that choice of words might have been a little inappropriate. But, you know, it makes *me* feel like an asshole that I have to threaten to torture you every day. So... if you could just tell me I'd really appreciate it and we wouldn't have to keep doing this"



Yes, No, Maybe So: "World War Z"

Remember that classic Robert Frost poem?

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Sadly, it's incredibly dated; everyone knows that the world will end in a zombie apocalypse! 

World War Z, which opens next June, is the latest in a seemingly endless stream of zombie apocalypses from Hollywood. The first trailer has arrived. Let's break it down...

Click to read more ...


Joss Whedon "Endorsing" Mitt Romney

One week from tomorrow we choose America's future. Every time I see a statistical tie or tight race type of poll I hear Giles' weary dismay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The earth is doomed."



NYFF: "The Bay" An Eco-conscious 'Slither'

Michael C. here, returned from having my skin properly crawled at the NYFF’s Midnight Movie series.

Barry Levinson's The Bay is the type of movie you would get if Al Gore decided to forget the whole PowerPoint documentary thing and made a movie where global warming boils everyone’s brain and brings on a zombie apocalypse. Levinson says he was first approached to make a documentary about industrial pollution killing Chesapeake Bay, but opted to direct The Bay instead. The premise involves a breed of sea lice - which look like those bed bugs you always see magnified in pest control ads - mutating into a creepy crawly menace after they find their way into the toxic chemical soup that is currently the Chesapeake.

Levinson says he and screenwriter Michael Wallach worked hard to keep the story grounded in reality. “85% based on fact” is the figure he used. Considering the majority of the film concerns itself with mutated ocean parasites eating Marylanders from the inside out that is not a comforting figure. At one point during the film a CDC official is presented with the image of one of these isopods grown to the size of a Doberman Pinscher. The CDC official can’t believe his eyes. “Tell me that’s Photoshopped!” It was found “trying to chew its way through the side of a submarine,” he is informed.  

“That’s a real picture,” Levinson helpfully explained during the Q & A following the movie. The story about the sub? Also true. It was as if Danny Boyle came out on stage following a screening of 28 Days Later and said, “Oh, yeah. Scientists are totally working on a rage virus,” and then produced on stage an infected monkey, straining on its leash trying to bite audience members.

So, yeah. Disturbing.

Beyond its unsettling basis in fact, The Bay is a modest, well-crafted creature feature that breathes new life into the found footage device. Levinson describes his technique as “an archeological dig” which culls video from every available source to reconstruct the timeline of the outbreak. In classic disaster movie fashion we follow the stories of several characters over the course of the day, and Levinson and the cast of unknowns do a first-rate job simulating amateur footage without calling attention to the gimmick.

The Bay may disappoint casual viewers who wander in looking for the usual horror movie thrills. The trailer sells it as a sort of zombie movie, but the infected do little more than moan and beg for medical attention. The sea lice could potentially make for terrific movie monsters, but Levinson refuses to crank up the gross-out moments to Fangoria levels. By keeping it all on a more plausible scale The Bay prevents us retreating behind the comfort of familiar movie beats to avoid the story's implications. As a horror film The Bay is a solid entry. A scrappy low budget Contagion with sea lice instead of germs. As a piece of subversive environmental agitprop, on the other hand, it is scary effective. B

Lincoln's Noisy "Secret" Debut
The Paperboy & the Power of Nicole Kidman's Crotch 
Room 237 The Cult of The Shining's Overlook Hotel  
Bwakaw is a Film Festival's Best Friend
Frances Ha, Dazzling Brooklyn Snapshot
Barbara Cold War Slow Burn
Our Children's Death March 
Hyde Park on Hudson Historical Fluff 


Links, Fences, Songs, Brainnnnns

Free Unqualified... The Artist = Anchorman ?
SuperPunch for your next horror movie party with friends, zombie chocolates with cherry brainnnnns! 
Carpetbagger talks to Stuart Craig on the challenges of art directing Hogwarts over eight Harry Potter films 
Antagony & Ecstacy offers up a great top ten list: ten best Oscar slates ever from 2009's animated feature to 1939's best actresses and everywhere inbetween.
Senses of Cinema looks at the question of identity in Splendor in the Grass (1961) 

Flavorwire Disney Princess tattoos. Why the hell not?
Movie|Line on Clint Eastwood vs the ever-nuttier GOP after his Superbowl commercial
Towleroad  No song performances at this year's Oscars? Christ, AMPAS really needs to call me. They could've had such a watercooler live tv moment with "Man or Muppet". I explain how.

Complex the '25 Hottest Women on Horror TV shows'. Fun list with shoutouts to two of the best TV shows of all time Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twin Peaks 
World of Wonder three things
Empire clears up that silly rumor that Harrison Ford was going to be in the Blade Runner sequel that nobody should be making to begin with shame on you Ridley Scott do you really want to turn into George Lucas I'm just saying... 

Today's Must Read
Grantland Mark Harris writes a fabulous column on Viola Davis's extraordinary gift, the Best Actress race and Hollywood's race relations.

Faced with the peril of that archetype, Davis did the hardest job of anyone in the Best Actress category: She made the movie better — much better — without playing against it. Much of The Help is bright, candy-colored, and loud: It’s full of silly wigs and garish costumes, sitcom slapstick and shit pies, wicked old dears like Sissy Spacek, finger-snappin’ Designing Women tell-offs, and the kind of steroidal pivots from comedy to poignancy to melodrama that would shame an episode of Glee. What Davis gives the film is humanity. Aibileen is a gentle but wary woman — she’s lived long enough to know that in her world, you survive by bending, not breaking, by keeping your thoughts to yourself, by seeing and hearing everything while appearing to register very little, and by trying to apply your own sense of decency and kindness to a badly needed paying job in an often indecent and unkind world. When she’s on-screen, the hummingbird shrieks of the movie’s other characters are hushed; you’re reminded that the human toll of daily, casual racism doesn’t really get addressed by making Bryce Dallas Howard eat poo. Because Davis is a physically gifted actress who can incorporate the exhaustion and strain of being Aibileen into every motion and muscle, and also the rare performer — even in this year ofThe Artist and Max von Sydow — whose silences draw you even closer, she seems to correct The Help’s excesses without ever standing self-protectively outside it. At every turn, she un-simplifies the movie.

Nick and I keep wondering when Hollywood is going to make August Wilson's Fences (for which Viola won a Tony opposite Denzel Washington) into a movie and everyone I know who is into theater keeps wondering why this hasn't happened for Fences or really any of August Wilson's plays. So it's nice to see that subject is revived again here. Seriously what time like the present Hollywood? Get on that. How many times do we have to ask?


Super 8 and Makeup: A Love Story for the Oscars

Could you close your eyes, please?"

Super 8's leading character Joe Lamb is a movie makeup and effects fan. He taught himself how to do all the major Hollywood techniques with the Dick Smith mail-away instructions course. He can do beauty makeup, zombies, and bloody injuries. He's just a big budget and two years away from Oscar glory in 1979 when the film takes place.

The first Academy Award for Best Makeup was presented at the 54th ceremony, honoring films released in 1981. Since then, it has been a category that has confounded and confused Oscar prognosticators. What seems like a guaranteed nominee to a non-voting member of the Academy is ignored, while less well-received films with one good character go down as nominees. It feels like the standards and interests of the voters change from year to year almost on a whim. Will they go for full-body human transformations or bizarre alien creations? Cartoonish monsters in a kids film or grizzly beasts in an R-rated horror? Those tend to be the mainstays, except for the years where they go for elaborate period epics or subtle character-defining facial alterations.

Super 8 feels like the kind of film that could sneak in for a nomination because it forces the watcher to pay attention to the quality of the makeup. The protagonist lovingly talks about the same books that many modern makeup artists claim they used to learn the fundamentals of the craft. The Dick Smith books are still considered the gold standard and are constantly updated to reflect new industry techniques. Small details like this permeate the first hour of the film as a siren's song to makeup professionals and enthusiasts. If you talk enough about a film's makeup, people are going to notice the makeup.

What Joe Lamb the character accomplishes with a tackle box of grease-paint and some fake blood is at the calibre of professional work from the late 1970s. For every scene that pays tribute to 30+ year old techniques, there is another scene that acts as a stylish and gritty display of what modern practical makeup looks like in 2011. From the dirt and scratches covering the kids after the train derailment to the festering wounds on a character's head, there are very few scenes in Super 8 that just rely on everyday natural film makeup. It's a film that screams for attention for Deborah La Mia Denavar's makeup team.

Will horror nostalgia and blunt realism be enough to grab the attention of the voters? According to the rules for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, each film submitted for Best Makeup needs to get at least 15 votes to even be considered for a nomination. The top 7 vote getters (if more than 7 meet the 15 vote threshold) are then required to provide up to 10 minutes of edited footage to showcase the makeup techniques. All nominations are made based off of preferential ballots for the top 3 screened excerpts from films. That means a whole lot of films could be left out just because their written application of makeup techniques didn't grab the voters.

What films do you think will even make it past the 15 vote minimum to be eligible for a nomination?