Film Flam


  1. Instead of hedging his bet with a dynamic narrative, the director promised no pyrotechnic plot twists. “People would ask, ‘So what happens?’ ” Mr. Linklater said. “And I’d have to say, ‘Not much.’ ”

    Mr. Hawke said that Mr. Linklater never minimized the risks at business meetings: “A financier would say, ‘That’s fascinating, but what’s going to make this movie great?’ Rick would say: ‘Oh, it might not be. We’ll have to see.’ ”

    Most coming-of-age films are replete with sex and crises like deaths, overdoses and crimes, but in “Boyhood,” Mr. Hawke said, “the event is the nonevent.” The boy just grows up.

    Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke on ‘Boyhood’ - NYTimes.com


    The majority of contemporary films are marketed with gimmicks, and Boyhood is no different; but Linklater’s calm audacity is one of the most refreshing concepts I’ve ever come across.

  2. Notes On 8-bit Humiliations


    Few films come to mind take the concept of video game competitions seriously. There really isn’t any reason they should either. The public’s appetite for a “battle between Man and Machine” appears to have been filled when Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue.

    Since then, most films on the subject of people competing with computers have been played for laughs. Which seems to avoid all the obvious layers of consciousness, in favor of admittedly more pleasing narratives: nerds with a desire to compete.

    The key example for this would be the world of King of Kong [trailer]. Looking at the film now, one can see a great deal of Danny McBride-esque takes on how preposterously serious some of the competitors approach the game of Donkey Kong1.

    King of Kong takes great care to create characters, or more specifically caricatures of it’s subjects in order create a comedic film.The film has the distinct feel of fasciation, empathy and mockery of it’s subjects.

    The 1989 The Wizard, starring Fred Savage takes video game competitions seriously, or as seriously as a film for a pre-teen consumer audience can2. In the film the future Wonder Years star plays a an emotionally withdrawn youth who has travels to California in order to compete in a Nintendo competition.


    "*The Wizard*" starring Fred Savage


    So, it is this void The Ecstasy of Order fills. The documentary is well stocked with a cadre of odd ducks we’ve come to expect in these sorts of films. They come in varied shapes; thin, over-weight and wire-y. They speak with a manic energy reserved for super-fans of a given topic. These particular nerds are obsessed with Tetris.

    You get the impression from the trailer their eccentricities are to be interpreted as a “drive to compete” and push a flavor of Rocky-esque narrative these types of films employ to fulfill a three act structure. Which might work, I haven’t seen the movie.

    What interests me about The Ecstasy of Order is its drive into fandom and excitement. The people in the film appear to have long since exhausted their ability to explain why the love something, and having found a community of like-minded fans of the game, have taken steps to compete for status within their micro-community.


    See Also:

    On the topic of the Russian phenomenon that was Tetris, there’s a well-regarded hour-long documentary produced by the BBC titled From Russia With Love, which can be viewed in it’s entirety on YouTube.

    Or down below.


    1. Namely, the universally acknowledged douche bag Billy Mitchell, who is likely one of the most reviled villians in a documentary film in recent memory. 

    2. According to the Wikipedia Article the film “has been called a feature-length commercial”. Which, if you’ve seen the movie, seems to be putting it kindly. 


  3. Academy Originals’ short documentary on the conception of digital dinosaurs in Jurassic Park is illuminating.

    As most visual effects fans know, Spielberg’s film was originally based around the work superb practical effects work of Phil Tippett and Stan Winston Studios.

    According to the documentary, it was the rebellious and maverick gumption of Steve “Spaz” Williams (ILM CG Animator) and Mark Dippe (co-visual effects supervisor on Jurassic Park) who on their own time created a CG T-Rex walk cycle and birthed the concept of “digital dinosaurs”.

    Williams and Dippe’s desire to push further is something visual effects teams — especially those at ILM — were known for. A kind of mad genius exploration and fearlessness which would manifest itself again on the production of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with assembling of ILM’s Rebel Mac Group.

    It’s difficult to say how much of this still exists at ILM, but in any event: “Here’s the crazy ones…”.

  4. ☛ David OReilly, creator of the Game in "Her" to release new Game

    David OReilly, creator of the video game in Her (seen below) is releasing a “Mountain Simulator, Relax em’ up, Art Horror” game called Mountain.

    Here’s Mountain's project page.

    (via The Verge)

  5. Boing Boing posted a link to this interesting Kickstarted documentary on Moondog, “the blind, homeless father of minimalist music” titled The Viking of 6th Avenue.

    Kickstarter Project Page

  6. 'Zodiac' and the art of the insert shot (by Josh Forrest)

  7. A gorgeous Sidney — or as it’s more commonly known, Hard Eight —poster by Rich Kelly.

    A gorgeous Sidney — or as it’s more commonly known, Hard Eight —poster by Rich Kelly.

  8. slaughterhouse90210:

“The so-called sensitivity of neurotics develops along with their egotism; they cannot bear for other people to flaunt the sufferings with which they are increasingly preoccupied themselves.” ― Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way

    slaughterhouse90210:

    “The so-called sensitivity of neurotics develops along with their egotism; they cannot bear for other people to flaunt the sufferings with which they are increasingly preoccupied themselves.”
    ― Marcel Proust,
    The Guermantes Way