Richard Sandling's 200 VHS movie covers

Article: Richard Sandling's 200 VHS movie covers

Comedian and self-declared VHS enthusiast Richard Sandling owns over 3,000 movies on VHS, and he scanned 200 of their covers for this project. His collection seems to lean heavily on pulp, but this might also be a reflection of the era in which VHS was most prevalent. And as much as I laughed at many of the covers…

Most expensive scene in silent film history

Article: Most expensive scene in silent film history

The above cinemagraph is from the 1926 silent film, THE GENERAL, starring and co-directed by Buster Keaton. And this climatic shot is believed to the single most expensive scene in silent film history, at a cost of $400,000. Considered “one of the greatest of all silent comedies (and Keaton’s own favorite) – and undoubtedly the best train film ever made,” this epic scene, filmed near the town of Cottage Grove, Oregon, used a real train (with a “dummy” conductor) and was shot in a single take.

Now playing on Sundance Channel: NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS

Article: Now playing on Sundance Channel: NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS

Any movie with full frontal male nudity in the first five minutes is automatically a winner in our book. And that’s what you get with 2008′s NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS, the last in September’s “Lover’s Lounge” series on the Sundance Channel (airing Saturday night/Sunday morn, September 25th at 12:45am and again at Tue night/Wed morn at 2:30am – set your Tivos).

Best of Kickstarter, 9/19

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 9/19

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

Teagueduino: Don’t know how to solder to embed code? Meet Teagueduino, “an open source electronic board and interface” that shows you “the ropes of programming and embedded development (like arduino). Teagueduino is designed to help you discover your inner techno-geek and embrace the awesomeness of making things in realtime – even if you’ve only ever programmed your VCR.”

What's on Sundance Channel next?

Article: What's on Sundance Channel next?

The last day of August means two things: the official end of Summer (boo) and the beginning of Fall (yay) – and with it, a whole month chockfull of specially chosen films on Sundance Channel (double yay!). We’ve got blocks of sexy films, environmental films, foreign films, independent films and festival premiers. You’re bound to see some old favorites, some big screen hits and plenty of new classics just waiting to make their way onto your Best Films of All Time list.

HAPPY, HAPPY: Crazy couple swapping on a snowy Norweigan hillside

Article: HAPPY, HAPPY: Crazy couple swapping on a snowy Norweigan hillside

Set on a snowy, Norwegian mountainside, HAPPY, HAPPY – a World Cinema Jury Prize winner at this year’s festival – tells the story of Kaja, a wife and mother who eagerly seeks friendship in Elisabeth and Sigve, the exciting (they adopted an Ethiopian boy!) and precariously tall couple coming to live in their guest house. Kaja’s obvious longing for affection is due in large part to the negligence of her husband, a latent homosexual whose “hunting excursions” and weird, outdoor Tee-Pee of Solitude – called a “lavoo” in Norwegian – ain’t fooling nobody. Soon, Kaja’s need to please bumps up (literally) against Sigve’s desire to be taken seriously by his wife, whose dalliances back in the city instigated their move to the mountain in the first place. A few sweaty rolls on the floor later and a couple-swap has taken place. Oh, and there’s some really messed up stuff going on with the kids, one of whom tries to “enslave” the other by beating him with a wet dish towel.

Woody Allen's SHADOWS AND FOG turns 20

Article: Woody Allen's SHADOWS AND FOG turns 20

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Woody Allen’s SHADOWS AND FOG, meaning, among other things, that the prolific filmmaker has made 20 films since (actually, he’s made 21, but who’s counting?). In 1989 Allen made the much-loved CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, followed by the slightly less loved ALICE, and then SHADOWS AND FOG, which was, unfortunately, even less of a hit amongst audiences. The early 90s New York Times film critic Vincent Canby actually ended his review with a ridiculous “note of caution: SHADOWS AND FOG operates on its own wavelength. It is different. It should not be anticipated in the manner of other Allen films.”

New fiction (and music and film): "Lola, California" by Edie Meidav

Article: New fiction (and music and film): "Lola, California" by Edie Meidav

The amazing writer Edie Meidav (who also happens to be our friend and neighbor) is out today with a new novel: “Lola, California”, called “brilliant” and “awesome” by Publisher’s Weekly. Meidav is such a force of inspiration that art practically gets spontaneously generated in her wake: above is a beautifully haunting short film created by Snapdragon that’s inspired by “Lola” along with Meidav’s narration; and here is music inspired by the book from Kevin Salem, who calls it “part soundtrack for the reader, part songs inspired by the text … and part music inspired by the cultural identity of the novel.” Below is one of two excerpts from “Lola, California” that Meidav is generously allowing us to publish here — this one about a rape on a Greek island. Stay tuned next week for the second excerpt about two friends go-go dancing. Both are compelling creepy and deeply moving, even without the context of the full novel:

Manic pixie dream girl

Article: Manic pixie dream girl

Now evil has a name: Manic pixie dream girl. Actually, the name was coined back in 2007 by the AV Club’s Nathan Rabin, but somehow we only just learned about it the other day. Back then, Rabin was panning Elizabethtown and used the term to describe Kirsten Dunst’s character, second in annoyingness only to Natalie Portman’s character in Garden State:

A baby video on YouTube that's actually art

Article: A baby video on YouTube that's actually art

This doesn’t have much to do with love and sex, except that we love this trailer which features an adorable product of sex. The teaser is from the short film LAS PALMAS by Johannes Nyholm, which just won the Short Film Award and the Audience Award at the Gothenburg Int’l Film Festival, Startsladden. (The jury…

Sundance documentaries get no love

Article: Sundance documentaries get no love

An image from Andrew Rossi’s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

One thing that has been nagging us as we consider this year’s Sundance, now that we have time to gather a bit of perspective, is this: for all the talk of movie deals; and all the hooplah made over more commercial-minded films like My Idiot Brother, which, though a very good film, and a very fun film, is not by no measure a great film; why was there so little discussion about the documentary entries at the festival? A category, which in our humble estimation, was exceedingly superior to the feature film category.

Meet The Black Spark

Article: Meet The Black Spark

I don’t quite know what to make of the Black Spark. His website, and videos (which have gone missing, most likely to reappear on his new site), are creating much buzz in the gay world. He makes films. Beautifully shot, artistic films. That also include graphic sexual scenes. Anal sex. Cum shots. Some nasty stuff.…

Andy Warhol's motion pictures

Article: Andy Warhol's motion pictures

With so many soup cans and Monroe images out there its easy to forget that Andy Warhol was not a one trick pony. The artist was also a prolific filmmaker and a new exhibit at NYC’s MoMA spotlights those films. From MoMA: Among Warhol’s cinematic oeuvre, the black-and-white silent films are the most daring and…

Searching for sustainable community… by bike

Article: Searching for sustainable community… by bike

It might be tempting to label the “journey across America in search of ______” motif a clichĂ©… except it still resonates powerfully. From 19th-century travelogues to Kerouac’s On the Road to Albert Brooks’ Lost in America, the idea of traveling the US as a quest for meaning captures out imaginations, and gives us space for a bit of introspection.

Ryan Mlynarczyk and Mandy Creighton went beyond the dreaming about such adventures most of us do, and decided to set out on their own quest across the country… this time in search of sustainable community. In 2008, they ditched almost everything, and set off across the US on bikes to explore ecovillages, communes, collectives… every form of simpler, more sustainable communities they could find. They’ve visited over 100 communities across the country, and are now pulling footage of their journey into a feature-length film titled WITHIN REACH.

Woody Allen Meets A Tall Dark Stranger

Article: Woody Allen Meets A Tall Dark Stranger

Woody Allen Talks About His Latest Film Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics Woody Allen’s latest film “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” starring an ensemble that includes Gemma Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, and Josh Brolin, opens in U.S. theaters tomorrow,  September 22nd. On September 8th,  Kultur Kritic excitedly attended a press screening…

Dating advice for the Giving Tree's abusive relationship

Article: Dating advice for the Giving Tree's abusive relationship

How did we manage to miss this totally awesome quote from Ryan Gosling? In an interview with New York magazine about his upcoming movie BLUE VALENTINE (opening later this year, it’s a portrait of a marriage, co-starring Michelle Williams), he’s asked about his character’s tattoo of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree on his arm, and replies: “That book is so fucked up; that story’s the worst. I mean, at the end the tree is a stump and the old guy just sitting on him — he’s just used him to death, and you’re supposed to want to be the tree? Fuck you. You be the tree. I don’t want to be the tree.” Now we can’t decide which we love more — Silverstein’s book or Gosling’s quote about it.

The Bechdel Test*

Article: The Bechdel Test*

Thanks in large part to a video made last December by Anita Sarkeesian of that’s been making the rounds recently on the Internet, more of the world knows about the Bechdel Test.* Back in 1985, Alison Bechdel’s comic “Dykes to Watch Out For” mentioned “The Rule,” one character’s three simple requirements for whether or…

Green tech finds (5/20/10)

Article: Green tech finds (5/20/10)

Poop, planes, and bikes… it’s green tech finds time.

  • Poop-powered data centers: Want to run a data center more sustainably? Start shoveling! Scientists from HP’s sustainable IT ecosystem lab presented the idea of powering these energy hogs by farm wastes at the ASME International Conference on Energy Sustainability. (via GreenTech Pastures… how appropriate!)

  • The low-emission airplane? A research team at MIT has presented an airplane concept to NASA that “…is likely to use 70 percent less fuel than existing ones while slashing noise and emission of nitrogen oxides.”

Article: FULL FRONTAL FASHION highlights

Think of this as your FULL FRONTAL FASHION cliff notes. FULL FRONTAL FASHION sat down with Isabella Rossellini for the latest installment of WHO_WHAT_WHERE?.Find out where she’s been spending her time lately — we think you’ll love it! You saw all the Red Carpet action, but have you seen Leslie Jordan’s ‘Trip Down the Pink…

Earth Week insight: Robert Redford interview in On Earth

Article: Earth Week insight: Robert Redford interview in On Earth

While the list of Hollywood environmentalists continues to grow, few have been involved in the movement longer or more consistently than Sundance founder Robert Redford. As such, NRDC’s On Earth chose to publish an interview with Redford late last week in which he reflects on the first Earth Day forty years ago, his own environmental awakenings, and how the movement to protect and conserve our natural resources has developed, changed, and even taken some detours since 1970.

What lessons can we take away from Sundance?

Article: What lessons can we take away from Sundance?

WINTER’S BONE, Grand Jury Prize Winner at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival

Now that Sundance is over, it’s time for a little perspective. And critics and industry watchers are only too happy to provide it.

Sure, since the awards were handed out on Saturday night and the festival wrapped on Sunday, there have been the requisite stories about which movies to watch out for and the reports on last-minute acquisitions. (Ten movies were acquired at the festival; in the past few days, Weinstein Co. snagged Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE, starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; IFC Films scored the rights to Michael Winterbottom’s THE KILLER INSIDE ME; and Roadside scooped up Debra Granik’s WINTER’S BONE, which won the festival’s grand jury prize.)

But what lessons can we take away from Sundance 2010?

2010 Sundance Award Winners!

Article: 2010 Sundance Award Winners!

Without any adieu the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners. Also, be sure to check out the rest of our coverage including exclusive interviews and news and gossip from this year’s Festival.

The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to RESTREPO, directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan’s most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban.

The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to WINTER’S BONE, directed by Debra Granik; written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini. An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her missing father while trying to keep her family intact.

The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to THE RED CHAPEL (Det Røde Kapel) directed by Mads Brügger. A journalist with no scruples, a self-proclaimed spastic, and a comedian travel to North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange visit to challenge one of the world’s most notorious regimes. Denmark

The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to ANIMAL KINGDOM, written and directed by David MichĂ´d. After the death of his mother, a seventeen year-old boy is thrust precariously between an explosive criminal family and a detective who thinks he can save him.

Snap! An infamous lensman gets his close-up

Article: Snap! An infamous lensman gets his close-up

SMASH HIS CAMERS, directed by Leon Gast, Oscar-winning director of WHEN WE WERE KINGS

I suppose it’s a mark of where celebrity journalism and gossip are today that paparazzo Ron Galella is finally getting the star treatment.

For decades, Galella lurked in bushes and staked out buildings, hunkered down in taxis and emerged seemingly out of nowhere to get his shot of celebrities like Sinatra and Warhol, Sophia and Bianca, Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Sundance founder Robert Redford himself. Jackie O, whom he considered his “Mona Lisa,” took out a restraining order against him. Brando broke his jaw. Now, Leon Gast, the Oscar-winning director of WHEN WE WERE KINGS, has focused his own cameras on the infamous lensman in his new documentary, SMASH HIS CAMERA, currently showing at the Sundance Film Festival.

A flurry of deals in Sundance's final days

Article: A flurry of deals in Sundance's final days

Until Thursday, Sundance Film Festival watchers from afar could have been forgiven for concluding that the increased emphasis on art, rather than on commerce, in the festival offerings this year may have worked all too well. Many of the films making their debuts were wowing critics, but the money people appeared to be unimpressed, or at least not impressed enough to open their wallets. Or at least opening them too often.

Will Mormons a see gay-marriage doc?

Article: Will Mormons a see gay-marriage doc?

In his review of 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, a documentary about the Mormon Church’s campaign to pass Prop. 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California, Variety’s Peter Debruge writes that the film is “mostly preaching to the converted.”

“Although controversy could spur interest, the pic hasn’t been as incendiary as one might expect playing just north of LDS HQ at the Sundance Film Festival,” Debruge asserts.

He may have spoken too soon.