Casting Call - Chicago

My good friend Matt, who you might know as deadandimmortal, is currently working on a webseries called “Coffee Talk,” about two gay college friends discussing intimate guy things. They just put up a casting call for their next episode, and I highly recommend any of my male Chicago-based followers - especially if they are gay - to audition!

They are looking for actors to play:
[BLAKE]: Male, gay, college student, mid 20s, a fun-loving club boy and gym rat
[RILEY]: Male, gay, college student, mid 20s, sensitive, intellectual, likes to read and study

Click here to learn more, and please reblog!

chicago / job offer / webseries / gay / queer / coffee talk / deadandimmortal / film / filmmaking / video / videomaking / web series /

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film / filmmaking / woody allen / tw: child abuse / tw: sexual assault / tw: paedophilia / tw: rape / trigger warning / movie / hollywood criticism / movies /

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Calling All Film-Lovers

I’m starting a movie club (for real this time). Here’s the general idea that will be expanded upon once things get goin’:

  • Twice a month, the group will decide on a movie to watch. It can be any film in existence, as long as everyone is able to access and watch it somehow, and it must gain a majority vote.
  • Group members may suggest up to two films at a time, per round.
  • Any group members who want to write about the film should make sure they post their writing on Tumblr so we all can read, respond, and/or reblog it.
  • Group members must follow eachother’s blogs.
  • No photo/.gif/video spamming - you don’t have to write about the movie, but the purpose of this group is to encourage discussion and analysis.
  • Heated debate is fine, but don’t be an asshole. I don’t have enough hate in me for that shit.

Message me if you’re interested in participating, and feel free to reblog this. I’m thinking of starting at the top of February.

film / movies / film analysis / movie club / film club /

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“While Her extrapolates current trends into a totally plausible yet magical-seeming near-future, Don Jon approaches technological fixation from a more mundane angle. [Joseph] Gordon-Levitt is attempting to say a lot of things with his film, most of them at an extremely high volume that’s even more apparent next to Her’s quiet assuranceBut one of the smartest points he makes is about the comfort of routine, and how much of his protagonist’s addiction to Internet pornography boils down to habit. Masturbating to online videos is something Jon can, and does, do with no more effort than it takes to pull up a game of Candy Crush or idly scroll through Twitter during commercials. Similarly, all Theodore has to do is tap an earbud, and there Samantha is, ready and willing to satisfy his emotional, intellectual, and organizational needs. Such ease of access is the gateway to addictive habits: When we can have something anytime we want—physical, emotional, or intellectual gratification, or simply having our email read to us—it stops being a specific desire, and becomes part of the fabric of everyday life.”

Our series of 2013 double-features continues with the pairing of Her and Don Jon, which both use Scarlett Johansson as the ultimate object of desire to explore how technology is affecting our human relationships. [Read more…]

I haven’t seen Don Jon, but speaking from my experience with Her, I definitely agree that the film is essentially about a sad mustache and the Perfect Disembodied Female Voice that enters his life and supposedly changes him for the better.

Problem is, I didn’t see Theodore change at all (he didn’t even say anything about changing, and that movie is ALL DIALOG), and I’m personally so sick and gahddamn tired of movies about heterosexual manbabies and the female figures that exist to change them for the better. Because NONE of these male characters deserve it - so I’m left wondering what I’m supposed to feel for who, and why - and those female figures are always Manic Pixie Dream Girlfriends, who do not actually exist in reality and only further serve as wank material for the narcissists in the audience who actually identify with characters like Theodore Twombly.

And I have nothing against men! I love men, and males, and people who identify and men and male! But the Hetero Male Struggle does not exist, and it’s about time we all - including the fellas! - started demanding actually complex male characters whose problems and recovery aren’t hinged on the attention they get from female characters. Like, I recently saw The Way Way Back and while I was generally underwhelmed by it, I LOVED how the main character found himself by accepting friendship from an older guy. Plus, the characters who chose romance over being real ended up totally failing! That’s my kind of male-centric story.

(via filmprojections)

her / film / movie review / film review / film analysis / spike jonze / scarlett johansson / movies / 2010s /

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I bet you’re not, haha - and I definitely don’t judge, either way :)

I bet you’re not, haha - and I definitely don’t judge, either way :)

her / film / movie / movie review / film review / discussion / brancoypreto / spike jonze / joaquin phoenix / scarlett johansson /

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Filmmaker Frances Bodomo won FOUR GRANTS, count em up FOUR at Sundance yesterday, totaling what looks like $25,000  to pull together a full length production of her short film Afronauts which premiered in  in the short film competition.  The sponsoring companies and organizations  were Kodak, Technicolor, the 2014 Women in Film/Calm Down Productions and Entertainment Partners.  Afronauts is a 13 minute black and white film that:

Afronauts tells the alternative history of the 1960s Space Race. It’s the night of July 16th, 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. There’s only one problem: their spacegirl, Matha, is five months pregnant. Afronauts follows characters that have not been able to find a home on earth and are therefore attracted to the promise of the space race.

All information is via her twitter account @tobogganeer  (she has a tumblr of the same name) and  Powder Room Films  CONGRATULATIONS.


(via aeon-fux)

frances bodomo / afronauts / women in film / film history / sundance / movies / film / filmmaking / indie lookout / indie / women of color / poc / african american filmmakers / african american / Black women / Black filmmakers / space / astronaut /

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thesunsareonfire said: Hmm I can see that but I disagree about the gimmick part. They say that romantic relationships with AIs is statistically rare in the world of "Her." And their relationship does change dramatically. At first he uses her as a tool like just having her organize emails. It's the connection they share and how he sees her as more than that which develops her persona. She grows to care for his genuine happiness rather than just his satisfaction. To me, that's not a shallow or synthetic dynamic.

If the cast had been more than a handful of people who I came away not knowing anything about, and had *shown* me rather than simply stated in a passing dialog that romance with AIs are rare, then maybe I would have believed it. I see it as similar to someone in our current world maintaining a relationship with a Real Doll (btw, I found Lars and the Real Girl pretty moving, and it’s kinda the same story) or a character in a Dating Sim game, so I believe that aspect of the story. I just want to be shown instead of told, as is the point of movies.

More to the point of Theodore and Samantha’s relationship, though, is that it’s based on Samantha being absolutely, completely lovable, vibrant, and virginal, and the fact that Theodore is majorly bummin’ out about his “break up”. This character dynamic was created specifically to facilitate their romance, like any character setup, but I just found it so easy and boring. I mean, they start flirting within two minutes of movietime. And I think it’s b.s. that we can’t track Samantha’s character growth; we are so obsessed with visualizers that there is no way in the future we wouldn’t be able to look at a computer and watch our AI data-mine its own personality. There’s no way! That’s too fascinating a concept to not create some visualizer for. So I found her character to be lazy, because she becomes brilliant in nanoseconds yet doesn’t stand up for herself when Theodore emotionally shuts her out. She learns laughter and heartache and orgasms, but is never given the screentime to talk about how she learns or functions - we have to trust that she simply just does.

Also, the main female human characters in this movie are made out to be emotionally predatory and/or desperately sad. But Samantha, she is a blank slate for Theodore’s needs, shaped by his interactions with her and unlimited access to knowledge. Theodore doesn’t deserve someone like that. Theodore needs a therapist.

Maybe this idea was just too big for me to think it made an effective movie? I think it would have made a better mini-series, but that shit’s too BBC for American audiences.

her / spike jonze / joaquin phoenix / scarlett johansson / 2010s / movie / film / film analysis / film review / discussion /

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thesunsareonfire said: I personally loved "Her." I think its about how we as people never truly feel complete until we are lucky enough to meet someone who we believe we can share intimacy with. The brilliance of the film depends on that idea and the character of Samantha is not just a gimmick. She represents the different avenues that people will choose to be able to connect with others. And their relationship isn't bland. It's an entirely believable arc depicting the reality of relationships. In my opinion anyway.

I think Her wanted to be about all of that - and I went into it thinking that that’s what it was going to be - but for such a wordy movie, nobody actually said anything that challenged one another. Samantha IS a gimmick. She is a female AI whose first boot-up mechanism is to personally fit herself to her male owner’s needs, and she spends the entire movie supporting the character who most needed somebody to say, “You can do better than this.” I’m not saying this is an inherently bad plot structure, though I really resent that the cyborg/android/AI/sexbot/programmed parent is alwaysalwaysalways female - I just regret that Theodore never actually changes, for better or for worse. That is why this movie is wholly unrelatable and unbelievable to me. Blade Runner showed me greater depth in technology and romance than Her did.

However, I totally respect that others feel differently, and I wanna continue talking about it.

her / spike jonze / scarlett johansson / joaquin phoenix / 2010s / film / film review / film analysis / movie / movie review /

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Official trailer for Her (2013), dir. by Spike Jonze


I wanted to love this movie. I really, really did. A halcyonic future where people are so encumbered by their deepening reliance on technology that they’ve forgotten how to connect with one another, or even access their own feelings? Subtle sci-fi aesthetic with retro fashion and color theory? Potential love between humans and AIs? That’s great! Sounds interesting and challenging! Tell me more!

Unfortunately, all this movie did was tell, and it was like that time I was at my friend’s New Year’s Eve party and some dude I didn’t know spotted me and must’ve thought, “YOU.” and I was just a little too high to make a coordinated effort to move so I spent 2 hours blinking at him as he described to me how he was acclaimating to Chicago after a recent move because he and his girlfriend were on the rocks but not too on the rocks that they weren’t still sleeping together and at least he got to keep the cat (no, the cat wasn’t dead) but his neighbors are just so loud, and it just BORED ME TO TEARS. That’s literally how I exited that monologue: I was crying from boredom. And I really had to pee.

Just to be clear, before I go on, I did not completely loathe watching this movie. The art department did a fantastic job with set design and color palette, and there were a couple moments in the film where I did think, “Wow, that was beautiful.” But that’s honestly about all I dug.

What really chaffed me the most was the dialog. All exposition, all the time, no breaks. I get the decision to do that - we are living in a very verbal time, where we not only orate to other people, but to our machines. That understanding, however, didn’t make the film any less annoyingly verbose, especially when the dialog was the height of hammy preciousness. And in contrast of this wordy dialog is the central theme of the film: relationships between people are falling apart because they don’t know how to articulate their feelings to one another, or communicate in any adult way whatsoever. The characters are constantly talking, but they are written to be so committed to their self-involvement and individual misery that they never actually change, even by the end of the movie. SO WHAT IS THE POINT?

And it’s not like these characters HAVE to be miserable - I mean, they are all white, wealthy, and attractive (I don’t buy the whole “let’s take sexy people and put them in frumpy clothes and glasses and give them cowlicks so they’ll come across as homely and not sexy” because I KNOW THAT’S YOU DADDY JOAQUIN). Also, they are LIVING IN A UTOPIC FUTURE, where you can make big money doing nothing and buy a virtual waifu and stuff. And before you try to get me with, “But it’s a sci-fi movie! Suspend your disbelief!”, may I remind you that science fiction is a fantasy interpretation of current social issues, projected into a futuristic setting completely shaped by those issues. And nothing about this movie reflects any of the world I’m currently seeing, at all. Maybe I’d dislike this movie less if there was any discussion at all about life in places outside of NeoLosAngeles or wherever they are, but this movie is literally about 5 people who don’t mean fuck all to me.

The relationship between Theodore Twombly (agh, the anglophilia in this movie, I swear) and AI Samantha is one of the least interesting story arcs I’ve ever seen. Theodore is a sadsack with the personality of a wet noodle, who is currently drawing out a weak-ass divorce - or a “break up,” as I guess divorce will be called in the future - and makes a living as a letter-writer for people who can’t be bothered to write their own letters.

Actually, at first, I was charmed by his letters. I thought the first two were quite lovely. But because he is dictating the letters aloud to his computer to pen for him, we hear a whole lot of them, and the tweeness of it all started to make me queasy.

So he decides to organize his sad life a bit and get the latest in technology, an AI-based operating system. From here on, this movie falls into EVERY SINGLE BULLETPOINT under the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.

Scarlett Johansson sounds like she has a cold the whole time. I can’t dig on walls of whispery, raspy sex-moans. I just can’t. I also can’t dig on a week-old AI having an orgasm. SO SHOOT ME, ROMANCE JUST ISN’T MY THING. From the first time we hear her voice, Samantha is the ultimate digital doormat, supporting Theodore both emotionally and secretorially, and never aruging with him even though he repeatedly, effortlessly hurts her “feelings” by being an emotionally clumsy manchild. She is meek and equally subservient, but “so full of life!”, unlike Theodore’s ex (played by my girl Rooney Mara), who is apparently an emotionally volatile and grumpy cardboard cutout of Alanis Morissette. Nobody ever tells Theodore that he needs to see a therapist, or grow the fuck up (except for his ex, BUT I GUESS WE ALL KNOW WHY SHE’S THE EX). Samantha is amused by Theodore, even though his character is never developed to the point where I understand why, and Theodore falls in love with basically a computer maid. And nobody talks about that! Movies about interracial relationships get more in-film analysis than this shit.

The technology presented in this movie was too neat and tidy, Theodore and Samantha’s relationship was too neat and tidy, nobody really said anything that needed to be said, everyone just stood around like lonely wet blanket alabaster islands and cried a lot. Actually, it was more like crying inside, like when your kinda-sorta-friend texts you at 3am to say they’re crying but they’re really just eating soup and feeling kinda low.

Chris Pratt was adorable, but he was just playing his Andy Dwyer character from Parks and Rec - which is great, but I’ve seen it before and it works way better in Park and Rec.

I wanna talk about the ending (because literally nothing happens over the course of this movie, so I’m just gonna jump to that), but I don’t know if I can without spoiling anything for anyone who might still want to see it. Suffice to say, though, this film comes in like a lamb and goes out like watery pudding.

And if all this was tl;dr for you, let’s just say this movie is about what gives weak-willed, mopey white bread dudes boners, and what doesn’t give weak-willed, mopey white bread dudes boners. IT’S THE FUTURE, GUYS.

I just don’t get it. Who loved this movie? Why did they love this movie? Did you love this movie? Please tell me why?

her / spike jonze / joaquin phoenix / scarlett johansson / film / film review / 2010s / movie / movie review / why /

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hellopalespider said: I came across this tumbler by chance and not even sure how active it still is (new to tumbler myself). I'm someone who suffers to an chronic illness that most people do not know anything about other than it was a punch line for a TV show. I want to make a documentary to enlighten people but know nothing about film. I don't even have a camera. Advice as to how and where to start? Someone recommended renting equipment or partnering up with someone who's done this, but where to find them? Thank you


I’m not actively writing about movies these days, but I’m still here :) Thanks for hittin’ me up!

The best way to start is to outline your documentary - write your mission statement, the story you want to tell, and why. That’s called your “pitch.” It doesn’t need to be particularly detailed, but it does need to be compelling, because that’s how you’ll get your crew (and the rest of the production) together.

Once your pitch is ready, make some flyers advertizing your need for a documentary crew - particularly a cameraperson with equipment - with a brief description of your pitch and your e-mail address. If you want to make sure the people who end up contacting you are serious, very clearly state on the flyer, “send me your resume and examples of your work”. If your area has an arts college nearby that has a video or film program, you can contact that department’s student services office and ask if you can tack up some flyers in their department commons. Save some extra flyers for leaving in local hangouts, like coffee shops, media and art stores.

If you don’t want to physically flyer places - or especially if you do, and want to be extra-thorough - you can post your flyer on craigslist, or any of your local papers’ online personals and job offer sections.

Once you start hearing back from people locally, you’ll hopefully be able to find someone with documentary experience who comes with their own camera equipment (bonus if they have boom mics and/or lavaliers) and knows a little bit about editing and producing.
If you’d like a bare-bones checklist of the equipment you absolutely will need to get started:

  • Video camera (preferably High Definition) with proper recording hardware, like DVTapes or SD cards - your cameraperson will have these
  • Tripod
  • Some kind of audio recording device - field recorders are fine, shotgun and boom mics that plug into the camera are good, lavaliers that plug into the camera are great
  • A computer with editing software on it - iMovie is a fine place to start, though hopefully the cameraperson comes with an editing suite like Final Cut or Premiere
  • External hard-drives - again, hopefully your cameraperson has at least one of these

Lights are a bonus, but not entirely necessary for a first-timer.

From there, you can go into pre-production, which will mean fleshing out your entire documentary into the story you want to tell from beginning to end. Then, you’ll need to figure out your starter budget - this is for things like transportation, feeding your subjects and crew (VERY IMPORTANT), any equipment maintenance or rental fees, etc.
The money you use to get the project started will disappear pretty quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on your funds. Crowdsourcing on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter is a great way to gather money, but you will also need to pay attention to things like incentives for your investors (promotional art, shirts, personalized thank-you videos, etc.) and you will need to prove that all that money is going to your project, which will require a more meticulous budget. Finding a producer - someone who will handle the business and logistics aspects of your project - would be a major plus.

Once you have your story and your budget, find your interview subjects. If the documentary is about you and living with your chronic illness, you’ll have to plan the documentary around your daily schedule. Otherwise, posting flyers and online ads for subjects will hopefully yield a wide response. Find doctors and therapists who research or work with your illness to speak about the subject - you will need people of authority to both explain nature of the illness as well as strengthen the conviction of your story. Schedule interviews and make sure you are able to get in, set up very quickly, interview, and get out in a timely and respectful manner. Don’t forget to plan for breaks and meals.

Editing often starts after the first interview is shot, and can be done as you continue shooting. If there is nobody on your crew who can edit, you will need to find someone who can - often for pay, or at least barter. Remember your budget and hire people wisely. Keep in very close contact with all members of your crew, especially the editor, and always ask to see the dailies (what was shot that day, unedited) and rough cuts (unfinished edits) before you commit to a final edit.

Once the project is finished, it’s up to you what to do with it. You can post it online (Vimeo is a great host site), you can submit it to local film fests, you can host your own screenings… sky’s the limit! But try not to live in the future - be in the moment with your project so you don’t overlook anything or lose sight of your mission.

Making a documentary takes a lot of time and organization, and in between having to manage people as well as equipment, you’ll definitely run into complications and make mistakes. That’s just part of the process - and as the project leader, you will be the one to set the tone, so don’t ever take your anxieties out on your cast and crew. Give yourself breathing room when things get stressful so you can focus, and be honest with your team when you need help or a break. You CAN do this, and while it won’t always be super-fun, it seems that you’re really into making a worthwhile project - and that is what matters the most.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions, and keep in touch! GOOD LUCK!!

film / film 101 / film production / movies / documentary / how to / production /

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