For nearly four decades Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker has indulged his passion: collecting photographs from location film shoots in Los Angeles dating back to the early 1900s.
Now, he hopes his new book featuring more than 200 vintage images, including Harold Lloyd dangling off the side of a building above Eighth and Spring streets in the 1930 film "Feet First," will remind the film industry of the city's rich heritage at a time when much of production is migrating elsewhere.
Wanamaker, a film history consultant and former curator of the Hollywood Heritage Museum, has collected about 250,000 still photographs that document the countless hotels, ranches, parks and beaches across Los Angeles that supplied the backdrop for some of Hollywood's greatest films.
He has published his choicest photographs in the newly released "Location Filming in Los Angeles," highlighting the diversity of locations that drew filmmakers to Los Angeles as early as 1907, when director Francis Boggs was given the task by a Chicago studio of filming some beach scenes for "Monte Cristo.
Every year, thousands track out to Hollywood to make it big in the movie industry. But in years past, the traditional route of serving an apprenticeship and being an assistant is quickly becoming outmoded as veterans attempt to hold on to existing positions amid a crumbling Hollywood system.
But as radical changes in the entertainment business force studios to cut staff, make fewer movies and generally reduce the amount of money flowing through the town, these thousands of young people have found the Hollywood career ladder a steeper and more treacherous climb.
James McTeigue is in principal photography on The Raven which finds Edgar Allan Poe teaming up with a detective to search for a serial killer who has kidnapped the author's fiancee and has gone on a murder spree that mimics the author's work. Cusack was taking a stroll on set when a photographer snapped off the shot below. What do you think?
Cusack co-stars with Luke Evans and Alice Eve. McTeigue previously directed V for Vendetta.
It appears that as movie studios realize that their cash cow of DVD revenues are drying up, they are resorting to penny pinching on the DVD extras that come with rentals.
Hacking Netflix posted a mildly disturbing post earlier today. Entitled "Studios Crippling Netflix Rental Discs to Encourage DVD Sales" it cites two recent examples where distributors stripped out bonus features out of the rental discs they give to Netflix in order to encourage people to buy the films (and, I suppose, to discourage them from using Netflix). For example, if you get "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" from Netflix, and go to the Special Features page, you don't get special features. You get a disclaimer:
"This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film. Own it on Blu-ray or DVD to view these bonus features and complete your movie watching experience."
Alfred Hitchcock is typically remembered as the master of suspense, but in truth, he pioneered just about everything that would eventually become modern cinema. In Psycho, he invented the slasher film. With North by Northwest, he created the notion of the all-action film. While the film has the same sort of twisty-turny plot that we associate with the master, it is defined by its incredible action set pieces.
Everybody knows about the airplane chase with the crop duster chasing Cary Grant through the crops. It's a great scene, sure, but only one of several awesome set pieces in the film. The shootout on the face of Mt. Rushmore is an equally jaw dropping piece of film making, but one of the real crowning moments is the drunken chase. Cary Grant is fed glass after glass of booze and then put in a car with no brakes, so he has to flee the badguys while drunk in a car with a cut brake line!
Influential U.S. film critic Roger Ebert will debut his new television show across the United States in January, in a return to TV after a long battle and recovery from thyroid cancer.
The Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Sun-Times critic, who lost his ability speak four years ago after surgery to treat his cancer, said "Roger Ebert presents At the Movies," will play in 192 markets in major U.S. cities and be broadcast worldwide through the Armed Forces Network in 175 countries.
Contributing critics for the show will use the trademark thumbs up or thumbs down rating system Ebert created with late film critic Gene Siskel, who died of brain cancer in 1999. Ebert said he will contribute regular segments of his own on the show.
So how do you direct two friends who are good friends? Director Darren Aronofsky employed a strategy to elicit strong performances by creating a real life rivalry between actresses Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
"We were really great friends before production. We are really great friends now. And during production, we were working together," Kunis, 27, explained.
During the 42 day shoot, Aronofsky denied fueling a rivalry but said he distanced the actresses so that they couldn't discuss their respective acting approaches.
"I knew it might be really hard to keep them apart because they're friends, but I just didn't want them to know each other's motives," he said. "I didn't want them to compare notes. I wanted them to come from different places."
Aronofsky, the filmmaker behind "Requiem for a Dream" and the 2008 Mickey Rourke comeback picture " The Wrestler," struggled to make 'Black Swan' after several setbacks involving financing. Despite the challenges, Portman began training five to eight hours a day with a ballet instructor. She spent time in barre class, swam a mile each day, did toning and muscle strengthening exercises and sharply reduced her calorie intake.
It wasn't the celluloid ghost of John Wayne that inspired the Coen brothers to go off into the dusty ravines and bleak prairie land of New Mexico to make "True Grit," their 15th feature film and first western. No, this was a project with a storybook beginning.
The Coens grew up in a Minneapolis suburb, the children of academics. And in a house full of books, one of the novels that tugged at their imaginations was "True Grit," the quirky but intense 1968 western by Charles Portis. The Arkansas author, who turns 77 this month, presented a frontier tale that was neither black nor white but always told in satirical shades of Zane Grey.
The Coens, who have been nominated for 10 Academy Awards (and won in the best director and best picture categories for the 2007 film "No Country for Old Men"), are students of film history but say the 1969 Hollywood version of "True Grit," which won Wayne his only Oscar for best actor, is a bit of a blind spot.
Another TV show bites the dust. FX has canceled its fledging series Terriers, a show starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James that follows two best friends who become become unlicensed private investigators in San Diego County. The series from Ted Griffin (Oceans 11), executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Tim Minear (Dollhouse) ran for 13 episodes but only averaged about 500,000 viewers per episode.
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