This Week's Best Online Film Writing: 'Gravity' Controversy, Hybrid Docs & Tarantino's Curious List
A round-up of this week's insightful commentary, Quora questions, Reddit debates, Twitter feuds and nice weekend long reads on the subject of film, the industry, and storytelling.
- At the beginning of the week, eminent physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter to nitpick on what Gravity got wrong. Tyson essentially used the massive success of Gravity as a sort of national social media teachable moment. A sample Tweet from @neiltyson: “The film Gravity should be renamed ‘Angular Momentum .” As the week progressed, though, Tyson adopted a more positive tone in public, emphasizing what the film actually got right
- Tyson is not alone in film nitpickiness this week. An interesting, persnickety question drew quite a few responses on Quora: “What are some of the most common things you see happening in movies, or TV shows that actually would never work in real life? ” This question has drawn, as of post time, dozens of answers, many of them quite funny. One of the best is “In many TV shows and most films, people can start running from a dead stop, regardless of their physical condition or age and never experience pulled muscles or strained ligaments,” writes Jon Maxon. Also, according to Vanathi Parthasarathi, “super quick DNA tests.” Duly noted.
- Tom Roston wants to establish a hybrid documentary canon. A hybrid documentary, or docufiction, involves incorporating techniques such as intentionally directed sequences, animation and/or characters speaking from scripts. He includes in his canon The Kid Stays in the Picture and The Act of Killing. Suggestions?
- What’s the minimum amount of money required to make a non-CG Movie? Another curious crowdsourced question asked this week on Quora’s Movie Making thread. “Well, at Tropfest 2012, I saw this short film that came in 2nd place,” Scott Danzig answered. “The director said it cost around $1.50 total, for the two bagels.” The recording/editing equipment, apparently, was borrowed or already owned; the film was shot in the natural light; the film’s star was a dog . Danzig concludes that the filmmaker could have probably have got ten the bagels for free. The short’s name is "Elvis: The Lonely Hunter of Circle Beach.”
- Pharell interviewed Spike Lee on his YouTube channel. Lee talks about his influences, singling out Gordon Parks, the celebrated African-American photographer, painter, poet and film-scorer. “I was very happy to know (Parks) in his later years.“ Also, his first camera – a Super 8 – was a serendipitous gift from his friend, Violetta. “I didn’t choose film, film chose me.” This is one of the best interviews with Lee out there, especially when he talks about the summer of 1977, which, apparently, had an inordinate influence on the way he sees the world. His take on how the Son of Sam would never, ever have gone on his killing spree in Bed-Stuy in the 1970s was, if not exactly PC, quite hilarious.
- Cormack McCarthy finally gets a screenwriting credit .
- Here are ten reasons why filmmakers should allow for line improvisation.
- Lars von Trier’s sex movie o-faces.
- Matt Zoller Seitz does a geek-tacular retrospective of Wes Anderson .
- Carl Lizzani, RIP, neorealist extraordinaire
- Dorothy Wickenden gives tribute to longtime New Republic film reviewer Stanley Kauffman.
- A two-hour biopic of Edward Snowden is almost halfway crowdfunded.
- Also: a crowdfunded web series project to complete the “original 5-year mission” of Star Trek is nearly 20% complete.
- The Philippine indie scene is booming.
- “Dramatically speaking, there’s a fine line between romance and the overwrought and immature, and The Invisible Woman is unable to effectively straddle such a line, ” writes Kate Erbland at Film School Rejects.
- Quentin Tarantino posted his list of the Top 10 movies of 2013 thus far . Jill Soloway’s underrated Afternoon Delight is a nice surprise. The Lone Ranger, however, is a bit odd.
- 23 things we learned about Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
- Finally, our own Zachary Wigon talks to Ricky Van Veen, co-creator of College Humor about what he learned distributing Coffee Town .