'Amazing Tales from the Archives': SFSFF Remembers Pioneering Female Documentarian & World War I Era (!) Sound Films

“Amazing Tales from the Archives”: Pioneering female documentarian Aloha Wanderwell Baker remembered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival – along with the largely forgotten sound-on-cylinder technology and the Jean Desmet Collection. 'Amazing Tales from the Archives': San Francisco Silent Film Festival & the 'sound-on-cylinder' system Fans of the earliest sound films would have enjoyed the first presentation at the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film […]

Comediennes of the Silent Era & Film Historian Anthony Slide: Remembering Cinema's Pioneering Women

One of cinema's early comediennes, Dorothy Devore: between 1918 and 1930, the Ft. Worth-born actress was seen in nearly 100 movies, both features and shorts. Among them were Salvation Sue, Naughty Mary Brown, and Saving Sister Susie, all with frequent partner Earle Rodney. 'Comediennes of the Silent Era' & film historian Anthony Slide at the American Cinematheque Film historian and author Anthony Slide, once described […]

'L'Inhumaine': Marcel L'Herbier Impressive Sci-Fi, Sex Melodrama & Fernand Léger Combo

'L'Inhumaine': Marcel L'Herbier directed Jaque Catelain and Georgette Leblanc in great-looking (Fernand Léger sets) mix of science-fiction and sex melodrama. Marcel L'Herbier silent 'L'Inhumaine': 'Intense sensory integration of sight' For me, the real jewel in the crown of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's “A Day of Silents,” held on Dec. 5, '15, at the Castro Theatre, was Marcel L'Herbier's L'Inhumaine / The Inhuman Woman […]

Child Actor Dickie Moore Dies: 'Our Gang' Member Gave Shirley Temple Her First Screen Kiss

Child actor Dickie Moore: 'Our Gang' member. Former child actor Dickie Moore dead at 89: Film career ranged from 'Our Gang' shorts to features opposite Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and Shirley Temple 1930s child actor Dickie Moore, whose 100+ movie career ranged from Our Gang shorts to playing opposite the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, and Shirley Temple, died in Connecticut on […]

'The Audition': Martin Scorsese Short Starring DiCaprio and De Niro Pulled from Venice

The Audition poster with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Martin Scorsese short 'The Audition' starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro pulled from Venice Film Festival No major international film festival is worth its mainstream U.S. media salt unless there's at least one screening featuring the latest work of a major Hollywood name. The Venice Film Festival is surely no exception, especially […]

Greg Plitt Dead at 37: Workout and Diet Motivational Speaker, Fitness Model Was Body of Dr. Manhattan

Greg Plitt: Workout and diet motivational speaker, fitness trainer. Workout and diet motivational speaker Greg Plitt dead at 37: Plitt was the 'body' of Dr. Manhattan in 'Watchmen' movie Actor, fitness model, and workout and diet motivational speaker Greg Plitt, best known for adorning countless fitness magazine covers and for his participation on the reality TV show Work Out, was killed by a passenger train […]

Best Documentary Short Oscar Contenders: Death and Illness Are Key Themes

Best Documentary Short Film Oscar contender 'White Earth.' Best Documentary Short Films Oscar 2015: Illness and death are top subjects Eight films – most of them featuring illness and/or death as their focus – remain in the running for the 2015 Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced (Oct. '14). Of those eight semi-finalists, three to five […]

'A Night at the Cinema in 1914': Charles Chaplin, Pearl White and The Great War

Charles Chaplin in 'A Film Johnnie' (1914). 'A Night at the Cinema in 1914': From The Great War to Charles Chaplin and Pearl White Imagine, if you will, that you can go back one hundred years in time, when people were enjoying a new and pervasive art form: motion pictures. In 1914, the movies had already been around for a while, in peep shows, nickelodeons, […]

Sneeze Face, Cheese Mites and Techno Charles Chaplin: 'Amazing Tales'

Sneeze face, cheese mites, and techno Charles Chaplin: San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2014's 'Amazing Tales from the Archive's (image: Fred Ott's 'sneeze face' in the short film 'Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze') The “Amazing Tales from the Archives” presentations at the 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, which ran May 29-June 1, focused on three subjects: “A New Look at an Old Sneeze” […]

D.W. Griffith Movies at Biograph: The Birth of a Cinema at the American Cinematheque

D.W. Griffith movies at the American Cinematheque (image: D.W. Griffith circa 1915) A series of D.W. Griffith movies made at Biograph at the dawn of both the 20th century and the art of moviemaking will be screened at the American Cinematheque next weekend. “Retroformat Presents: D.W. Griffith at Biograph, Part 3 – 1909 – 1910” will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 7:30 […]

Best Live Action Short Film Oscar: Martin Freeman Movie Among Semi-Finalists

Best Live Action Short Film semi-finalists: Oscar 2014 Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 10 live action short films remained in the running for the 2014 Academy Awards. Among the semi-finalists, topics and characters include African child soldiers (That Wasn't Me), a troubled Italian boy who refuses to take off a wrestler's mask (Tiger Boy), romance and time travel […]

'Morgue Street': Australian Classification Board Bans Another Movie

Banned movie in Australia: Horror short Morgue Street is latest casualty of Australian Classification Board Alberto Viavattene's horror short film Morgue Street was slated for Sydney's A Night of Horror Film Festival, which runs until April 21. However, two days prior to the screening, the Australian Classification Board, the same group of morally upright citizens who rejected Travis Mathews' (homo)sexually charged I Want Your Love […]

Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Short Films: Los Angeles Filmforum

Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm films at the Los Angeles Filmforum The Los Angeles Filmforum will present the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival's 16mm short-film show, featuring recent U.S.-made experimental, narrative, documentary and animated movies. The program, which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 3, at the Steven Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre complex on Hollywood Boulevard, also includes two films […]

European Film Awards: Michael Haneke Sets Best Director Record + Annie Awards Bypass Blockbusters

Michael Haneke at the 2012 European Film Awards. The story of an elderly couple facing illness and death, Amour was the top winner at this year's European Film Awards, collecting trophies in the following categories: Best European Film, Best European Director, Best European Actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant), and Best European Actress (Emmanuelle Riva). Veterans Trintignant and Riva were first-time nominees/winners, but Michael Haneke is now a three-time […]

Best Live Action Short Oscar: Children of Famous Parents in the Running + DC vs. Marvel Visual Effects

Edoardo Ponti, Nastassja Kinski, Enrico Lo Verso The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars. Edoardo Ponti & Bryce Dallas Howard live action shorts among 11 movies still in contention for Oscar 2013 A Brazilian inmate trying to convince his mother to get him a cell phone, two young Afghans' rite of passage to manhood, and the relationship between a couple of European mountaineers and heart-surgery survivors […]

Oscar 2013: More on the Eight Documentary Shorts Semi-Finalists

'Paraiso' Nadav Kurtz documentary short is potential Oscar contender. Oscar 2013: Eight documentary shorts in contention Paraíso (photo), The Education of Mohammad Hussein, and Redemption are among eight documentary shorts still in the running for the 2013 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced. Only three of the eight documentary shorts – out of 31 eligible entries – will ultimately […]

'The Time Machine': Student Academy Awards Finalists

'The Time Machine,' 'The Dust Machine' among Student Academy Awards 2011 finalists (image: Mark Kendall's 'The Time Machine') Finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 2011 Student Academy Awards competition have been announced. They are divided into four categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary and Narrative. The finalists are the following (listed alphabetically by film title): Alternative Bitter, Vlad Korishev, the Art Institute of California, San Francisco The Dust […]

Tribeca NYC Jury: From Whoopi Goldberg to Souleymane Cissé

Tribeca NYC film festival jury member Whoopi Goldberg. The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 20-May 1, has announced its jurors. [Full list of Tribeca 2011 jury.] In the internationally eclectic list are found Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé, Your Highness' David Gordon Green, The Tillman Story's Amir Bar-Lev, Bullets Over Broadway's Dianne Wiest, The Cove's Louie Psihoyos, Ghost's Whoopi Goldberg, Up in the Air's […]

Mark Zuckerberg 'Time' Person of the Year & Oscar Push + Lesbian Film Pioneer Barbara Hammer Movies

Mark Zuckerberg: Time Person of the Year. Will the Time magazine Person of the Year cover give an awards season boost to Sony Pictures' The Social Network? Directed by David Fincher, the real-life-based drama stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the controversial founder of the social media behemoth Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg 'Time' magazine Person of the Year: 'The Social Network' Oscar plug? Time magazine has […]

Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa Collaboration + Piper Laurie & Ernest Borgnine Are Back

Barbara Sukowa as Hildegard von Bingen in Vision Margerethe von Trotta-Barbara Sukowa 'Vision': Hildegard von Bingen in L.A. Margarethe von Trotta's Vision, Official Selection at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, will open (via Zeitgeist Films) in Los Angeles at the Laemmle theaters on Nov. 12. A national release will follow. In Vision, two-time European Film Award nominee Barbara Sukowa plays Hildegard von Bingen, a […]

British Independent Film Awards: Moon Mystery Tops + Andrzej Wajda Passion & Death Tale Is FIPRESCI Winner

Moon with Sam Rockwell. This year's British Independent Film Awards Best Picture winner, Duncan Jones' Moon has elements in common with, among other sci-fi/mystery thrillers, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Basil Dearden's The Man Who Haunted Himself. Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) and supercomputer GERTY (which sounds kinda like Kevin Spacey) are all alone on the moon when Bell suffers an accident as […]

Michael Jackson Kids & Family + Mansion Images & 'This Is It' Rehearsal

Michael Jackson kids and friends at singer's Holmby Hills mansion. Michael Jackson kids and friends image Provided by real estate developer Mohamed Hadid (via image.net), the above photo shows Hadid (left) and his children alongside Michael Jackson and his kids – Michael Joseph Jr. (far left), Paris Michael Katherine (center), and Prince Michael II (front center) – on Nov. 27, '08, at Jackson's Holmby Hills […]

Italian Mafia Movie Tops David di Donatello + Student Academy Awards Finalists + Tribeca Winners

Matteo Garrone's organized crime drama Gomorrah (above, top photo), based on Roberto Saviano's polemical book, took top honors at the 2009 David di Donatello awards. The Italian Film Academy voted Gomorrah the best Italian film of the year and Garrone the best director, in addition to handing the film five other awards, including best screenplay and best producer. Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo (above, lower photo), […]

Jessica Biel & Ari Folman + Laurent Cantet & Andrew Stanton: Oscar Season Images

Jessica Biel. Actress Jessica Biel at Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards Pictured above is Jessica Biel, host of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards ceremony, which was held on Feb. 7 in Beverly Hills. Past Scientific and Technical Awards presenters include the following: Gregory Peck. Christopher Reeve. Janet Leigh. Angie Dickinson. Lloyd Bridges. Kirk Douglas. Rachel McAdams. Jennifer […]

Oscar Shorts & Adrian + Art Directors Movie Series & Gen-Art Film Festival

“Shorts!,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences program featuring the 2009 Oscar nominees in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories, will be presented in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International (111 East 59th Street). There will be two separate screenings of the nominated films, the first at noon and an encore presentation at […]

Gay Murder & Political Life That Rocked California Tops WGA Awards + Academy Names Holocaust Drama Producers

Gay murder – and political life – that rocked California: Milk. The WGA Awards' Best Original Screenplay pick was Milk, Dustin Lance Black's narrative about openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk, murdered in 1978 – along with Mayor George Moscone – by fellow Board member Daniel White, a Vietnam War veteran and former cop and firefighter whose political career had been supported […]

Gay Sundance vs. Gay Boycott? From Con Man Jim Carrey to London Threesomes

Gay Sundance: I Love You Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey as the titular “I,” real-life con artist Steven Jay Russell, and Rodrigo Santoro as a wet and thirsty “friend.” Update: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's gay comedy-drama-romance-of-sorts received quite a few warm reviews at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; lawsuits and infighting, however, ended up disrupting its domestic release. Despite “I's” evident affection for Rodrigo Santoro, Ewan McGregor […]

A Century Ago: The Films of 1908

"A Century Ago: The Films of 1908” will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The program will be repeated on Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, California. “A Century Ago” will feature a number of […]

Laurel & Hardy Movies

Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy Saturday, August 23, highlights on Turner Classic Movies: There are some who find Laurel & Hardy painfully funny. There are others who find them merely painful. I belong to the latter group. TCM premieres include Night Owls (1930), Brats (1930), Hog Wild (1930), Be Big! (1931), Laughing Gravy (1931), Our Wife, and The Chimp (1932). Come next Saturday, Laurel & Hardy […]

Student Academy Awards: Caleb Deschanel, Jason Reitman Among Presenters

'Simulacra.' 'Simulacra,' 'On the Line' among Student Academy Award winners The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 35th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony was held earlier this evening, June 7, '08, at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. (See further below images from the Student Academy Awards ceremony.) The winners were: Honorary Foreign Film On the Line (Auf der Strecke), Reto Caffi. […]

Student Academy Award Winners: 'Simulacra'

Eleven students from eight US colleges and universities have been named winners in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 35th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. The winners will take part in a week of industry-related activities and social events, culminating in the awards ceremony on June 7 at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Now, though each winner will receive an […]

Student Academy Award Finalists

Thirty-two students from 20 American colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 35th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. Their films will be judged by Academy members, who will then vote to select the winners. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal awards, in addition to cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, respectively, “may be presented” in […]

'Falling Slowly' Oscar Controversy Ends + Meet Academy Awards' Film Editors & Art Directors

“Falling Slowly” composers. Following an investigation, “written assurances,” and “detailed chronologies” (see further below), Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's ballad “Falling Slowly,” from John Carney's Irish romantic musical Once, remains in contention for the 2008 Academy Awards. Winner of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award, Once ran the risk of ending up Oscar nomination-less, as “Falling Slowly” had earned it its only nod. The film now runs the risk of […]

Sex Education Film Class + Bette Davis Tribute & the Evolution of Russian Cinema

Sex education film The Irresponsibles. The British Film Institute's “The Joy of Sex Education” – to be presented at London's bfi Southbank – consists of a series of British-made sex education film productions throughout the decades, from World War I to the post-Sexual Revolution 1970s. Topics range from, inevitably, sexually transmitted diseases to “the sensual pleasures of the East” and “the mystery of marriage” – which apparently […]

Rape of Nanking + Abused Haitian Workers: Oscar Documentary Semifinalists

For the Bible Tells Me. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the list of 15 films in the Documentary Feature category that will move forward to the next voting phase for the 80th Academy Awards. Seventy feature documentaries had originally qualified in that category. Those were watched by the Academy's Documentary Branch screening committee for the preliminary round of voting. This […]

AFI FEST Movies: Tom Cruise & Meryl Streep + Abortion & Nazis

AFI FEST Featuring the likes of Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, John Sayles, Wayne Wang, John Landis, Laura Linney, Ellen Page, Jason Reitman, Javier Bardem, the voices of Catherine Deneuve and Danielle Darrieux (in Persepolis), and veterans Nancy Kwan, Turhan Bey, and Luise Rainer (all three in the documentary Hollywood Chinese), Los Angeles' AFI FEST 2007 will be held November 1-11, 2007, at the […]

The First Hollywood Actor to Lampoon Hitler

The Three Stooges Hitler Spoof: Moe Howard the first Hollywood actor to lampoon Hitler A few years ago, in the San Diego Jewish Journal Lynn Rapaport discussed the first Hollywood comedian to play Adolf Hitler on film. No, not Charles Chaplin. Try The Three Stooges' Moe Howard. Now, it's worth pointing out that Hollywood has always relied on foreign revenues to sustain its filmmaking factories. […]

'Cubicle: The Musicle': Q&A with Tibor Szakaly & William Fiala

I've known Tibor Szakaly for a couple of years. Each time I'd see him after French class at a language school in Beverly Hills, he would tell me about the making of his and William Fiala's musical short Cubicle: The Musicle. About a year later, Cubicle was screened for a group of Tibor's and Fiala's friends, in addition to assorted film professionals. I missed that […]

Katharine Hepburn Oscars Exhibition + Crowd-Pleasing Indie Tops Producers Guild Awards

Katharine Hepburn Oscars: Morning Glory with Adolphe Menjou. An RKO star in the 1930s and an MGM star in the 1940s, Katharine Hepburn won a record-setting four Best Actress Oscars. These will be on display at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' upcoming exhibition “Meet the Oscars, Los Angeles.” Of note, Hepburn also holds the record for the most nominations in the Oscars' […]

'Marjoe': Evangelical Christian Scammers Exposed in Academy Award-Winning Documentary

Marjoe Gortner, “Evangelism's answer to Mick Jagger,” as seen in the poster of the 1972 documentary Marjoe. Sarah Kernochan and Howard Smith's Oscar-winning film about Evangelical Christian scammers shows how religion, show business, and con artistry have a whole lot in common, as millions of people – whether due to despair, stupidity, and/or madness – are not only willing but eager to be deceived by […]

'A Century Ago: The Films of 1906'

A Century Ago: The Films of 1906 is a special screening of short films from 1906, including Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, Voyage autour d'une etoile / Voyage Around a Star, In the Haunts of Rip Van Winkle, The Impossible Convicts, Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, and others. Organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Los Angeles Latino Film Festival Winners

I've finally posted the list of winners at the 10th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. The award winners were announced by Edward James Olmos and Marlene Dermer this past Oct. 16. For a variety of reasons, I skipped this year's edition of the Latino festival. After the fact, I was sorry I did. Among the screened films, there were two I was eager to […]

Isabella Rossellini Plays Mother Ingrid Bergman: 'My Dad Is 100 Years Old'

Isabella Rossellini as her mother, Ingrid Bergman, in 'My Dad Is 100 Years Old' Guy Maddin's 2005 16-minute short film My Dad Is 100 Years Old, in which Isabella Rossellini pays “a unique personal tribute to her father, director Roberto Rossellini, in observance of the centenary of his birth,” will be shown on the Sundance Channel. Roberto Rossellini was born on May 8, 1906, in Rome. “Far from a […]

'Valley of the Wolves': Anti-American Turkish Hit + Robert Altman Honorary Oscar & Kirby Dick vs. Censorship

Valley of the Wolves – Iraq. “It is rabidly anti-American, and it is the biggest draw in town.” That's the headline of Sarah Rainsford's BBC article on the Turkish blockbuster Valley of the Wolves – Iraq, directed by Serdar Akar, and adapted from a successful local TV series by Bahadir Ozdener. In Valley of the Wolves, Turks are shining heroes whereas Americans firebomb mosques, execute […]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 'Submission Part II': Gays and Islam

According to numerous reports, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who has become a Dutch Member of Parliament for the conservative Liberal Party*, has announced plans to produce a film about gays and Islam. According to Hirsi Ali, she and director Theo van Gogh co-wrote the screenplay of the upcoming film, to be called Submission Part II, in the summer of 2004. On November 2 […]

Thomas Edison 'Frankenstein' 1910 Owner Found Dead & 'Grand Hotel' on Air Collector's Edition DVD

Thomas Edison Frankenstein film preservationist Alois F. Dettlaff found dead Alois F. Dettlaff, the film archivist responsible for preserving the only surviving print of Thomas Edison's 1910 film adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, was found dead in the bathroom of his home in Cudahy, Wisconsin, on July 26. (Image: Charles Ogle as the Monster in the 1910 Frankenstein.) According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dettlaff's […]