Black titles from The Criterion Collection's upcoming line-up

I didn’t know if this was a conscious effort or a happy coincidence but there were more Black films (or films with Black people in major roles) than I expected in The Criterion Collection’s upcoming line-up. They include:

If you can find other means of watching or buying them, do that.

Black British LGBTQ+ community deserves better on-screen portrayals, says Nana Duncan #

The UK film industry rarely commissions Black stories because they do not believe that our stories have an audience, and I find that astonishing. Black people are the drivers of culture, and we deserve to be represented. The only stories they seem to commission are the ones about gang violence to further perpetuate the falsehood that is Black on Black crime.

It is crucial that we explore alternative narratives to represent the multitude of nuanced Black experiences in our society. Being a womxn is one thing, being Black and British is another. My queerness adds another dimension to my identity. I am not Black before I am queer, I am not queer before I am Black, I am a queer Black British womxn.

Katori Hall wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Congratulations to Katori Hall for winning the award for her comedy “The Hot Wing King”.

Darnella Frazier also received Special Citation for her filming of George Floyd’s murder which feels weird to comprehend and Mikki Kendall hit the nail on the head in this piece for CNN:

This year, the Pulitzer Board’s announcement that Darnella Frazier — the teenager who filmed the killing of George Floyd — had won a special citation feels like a big moment, but not necessarily a celebratory one.

Floyd’s death is not something to celebrate, obviously, and despite the narrative of martyrdom and so-called sacrifice assigned to him posthumously, the horrifying truth is that he was murdered in front of a community. He did not choose to give up his life to change anything, and sadly in many ways, his death at the hands of police was just one part of the story.

(via Variety)

Tom Karangelov skating on 16mm film

Filmmaker Matt Payne shot footage of Tom Karangelov skating on 16mm film and it looks really cool. Then again, everything looks good on 16mm. Matt also did an interview with Jenkem about the film and his techniques

How much did u guys spend on 16mm film to make this?
Not that much! Tom lands everything first try!

Just kidding, it was expensive and when we rolled on a trick we really had to make it count.

But we made this project on the side over a couple of years and got some deals with Kodak / Pro8mm so it didn’t hurt my wallet all at once. And I may or may not have used it as a tax write-off and sold some b-roll.

How do we know you didn’t just film this all on iPhone and use a 16mm filter or app?
I might have. The apps are that good. What if I told you this was all a marketing rouse to unveil the newest Kodak filter for iPhone 12 Pro Max? [laughs]

How much money would it cost to make a ~10 minute skate video on film?
I would say probably $2500 – $3000 on the cheap side. Maybe upwards of $5000 if you do it proper with good transfers and real cinema cameras.

(via Jenkem)

The origin of the milkshake line in 'There Will Be Blood'

Ever since I watched There Will Be Blood a few weeks ago, I can’t hear the words “milkshake” or “you can sit down now” without thinking of the final scene from the movie. But where did that line about milkshake come from? If you’ve not seen the movie or the scene, here’s the line:

“If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake—there it is. [He holds up his index finger]. That’s the straw, you see. [He turns and walks away from Eli] And my straw reaches acrooooooossssss [walking back toward Eli] the room … I … drink … your … milkshake. [He makes a sucking noise] I drink it up!”

It turns out the line wasn’t made up; it came from a transcript that Paul Thomas Anderson found from the 1924 Teapot Dome scandal congressional hearings.

Sen. Albert Fall described oil drainage thus: “Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake.” He was convicted of taking bribes for oil rights on public lands.

(via kottke.org)

The Green Experience

Green is the colour of Kermit the Frog, Mike Wazowski, and two-thirds of Nigeria’s national flag. It’s associated with nature, fertility, tranquillity, money, good luck, health, movement, and ecology. It can also signify illness and envy. Grass is green, the Chicago River is green once a year for St. Patrick’s Day, many political parties are green. Great gardeners have green fingers, inexperienced ones might be greenhorns, and jealous ones might be green-eyed monsters.

Green is my second favourite colour behind red (sorry, blue, you’re in 3rd place now!) thanks to Sporting CP. Green is also a traditional colour in Islam, associated with paradise in the Quran.

A passage from the Quran describes paradise as a place where people “will wear green garments of fine silk.” One hadith, or teaching, says, “When Allah’s Apostle died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd,” which is a green square garment. As a result, you’ll see green used to color the binding of Qurans, the domes of mosques, and, yes, campaign materials.

via Slate

J. Milton Hayes’s “Yellow God” had a green eye (likely an emerald), Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” said “No white nor red was ever seen / So am’rous as this lovely green.”, and D. H. Lawrence said the dawn was “apple-green”. Aliens are often green, little, and men for some reason.

The green room is where performers wait before they go on stage, there are at least 250 films in Letterboxd with “green” in the title including Green Book, Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, The Green Mile, and 17 films simply called Green.

Green and gold go together perfectly in a room and green Victorian tiles adorn many London Underground corridors (but not Green Park’s for some reason).

Judy Horacek and Mem Fox asked “Where Is The Green Sheep?“, Dr. Seuss wrote about Green Eggs and Ham, and Hemingway talked about the Green Hills of Africa (specifically East Africa). Kermit sang it ain’t easy being green, Tom Jones sang about the green green grass of home and Beyoncé gave us the green light (as did John Legend).

In art, you have Karel Appel’s The Green Cat, Lilian Thomas Burwell’s Greening, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Queen Green, and Jean Gabriel Domergue’s Green Park. There have been 3 green colours chosen as Pantone’s Colour of the Year between 2000 and 2021 (the most recent was emerald in 2014).

There’s a lot of love about green.

Flim: an iconographic search engine

Bespoke search engines are everywhere and as a search engine optimiser (that’s my day job), I love this kind of stuff. Flim follows in the footsteps of Frinkiac and Filmgrab but with a key difference: AI.

FLIM is the answer to the statement: images are everywhere, movies, TV, music-clips, internet. Images are needed at every creative process level. From Fashion to design, via cinema and music video. To meet that need, Dan PEREZ (C.E.O. of Flim) started in 2011 a website « ffffilm.com ». This site collect screenshots from movies. The FLIM’s ancestor had 50 000 monthly users and more than 30 000 screenshots library. This experience is absolutely clear: there is an empty space for iconographic searching.

Flim’s database has over 300,000 screenshots from movies, TV shows, music videos, and loads more. Each one is categorised by media type, director, director of photography, style, and release date but here’s where the AI comes in: it can detect things like clothing, characters, identified colours, and objects. So if you searched for “table”, you’d get screenshots like this:

A search results page for the term “table” on Flim

That’s a lot of tables. I also tried a manual colour search (magenta, although you can search by colour using Flim’s dedicated swatch search feature) and it worked really well.

10 best Black superhero movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes, via Screen Rant

Justin Van Voorhis made a list of the 10 best Black superhero movies based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings. Of course, that means it might now be your top 10 list or anyone’s for that matter. But it’s interesting to see how the general public voted for them.

Alas, I have only seen 4 of them and heard of 6 which means I have a lot of catching up to do. I like that the list has films from all but one decade since the 70s (nothing from the 80s). I’m sure you can guess what the #1 was and I’m in full agreement.

Check the list and read about my attempt at compiling a crowdsourced list of Black superheroes.

What is 'Star Wars: The Lost Cut'?

"Star Wars: The Lost Cut" Explained

Film Spaced explored the infamous “Lost Cut” of Star Wars: A New Hope. I say infamous because, as Jason Weisberger said, it was a “steaming piece of trash that bored people”. Then Marcia Lou Lucas (née Griffin), acclaimed film editor and George’s wife, worked her magic and won herself the Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1977 for her efforts.

The breakdown examines clips and interesting facts about the early cuts including rare footage, audio and behind-the-scenes info.

10 'The Man in the' movies

I saw an old advert for The Man in the Iron Mask and noticed it came out in 1998 which I never realised despite watching it last year. During a Google search to confirm that fact, the auto-suggestion brought up terms such as The Man in the High Castle and it got me thinking: how many movies start with the phrase ‘The Man in the’?

I picked 10:

  1. The Man in the Iron Mask (letterboxd link)
  2. The Man in the Moon (letterboxd link)
  3. The Man in the Hat (letterboxd link)
  4. The Man in the Net (letterboxd link)
  5. The Man in the Woods
  6. The Man in the White Suit (letterboxd link)
  7. The Man in the Silo (letterboxd link)
  8. The Man in the Brown Suit (letterboxd link)
  9. The Man in the Wall
  10. The Man in the Raincoat

Honourable mentions: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Man in the Glass Booth, The Man in the Orange Jacket, and The Man in the Black Cape

There are at least 3 films with men in different coloured suits (white, brown, and grey), one in an orange jacket and one in a raincoat. Then there’s one in a black cape and one in a hat.

Update: I’ve created a Letterboxd list for them too and may add to it over time.

Danny Elfman didn't like how his Batman score was used in the movie

Acclaimed composer Danny Elfman was a guest on the Premier Guitar podcast where he opened up about the Batman (1989) score and his displeasure at how it turned out.

“I was terribly unhappy with the dub in Batman,” Elfman said. “They did it in the old-school way where you do the score and turn it into the ‘professionals’ who turn the nobs and dub it in. And dubbing had gotten really wonky in those years. We recorded [multi-channel recording on] three channels — right, center, left, — and basically, they took the center channel out of the music completely.”

Nothing worse than people fiddling with your work when you had it just so. Now I’d love to hear Elfman’s original.

In the meantime, check out this suite of the Batman soundtrack, conducted by Shirley Walker and performed by the Sinfonia Of London.

Batman | Soundtrack Suite (Danny Elfman)