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Analyzing Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Back for Christmas”

Back for Christmas is the quintessential Hitchcock story shown on his TV series Alfred Hitchcock presents. Filmmaker and Author Jeffrey Michael Bays analyzes this episode with the help of our own John P. Hess in this installment of The Hitch20!

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Why Comic Book Geeks Must Be Stopped (Before It’s Too Late!)

Comic-book geeks have invaded Hollywood and turned mainstream movies into an endless parade of overblown, juvenile drivel. Kevin Maher says: they must be stopped before it’s too late.

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I had a strange and disconcerting experience in a darkened Soho screening room in late November, in the year 2000. It was barely 30 minutes into a preview of M Night Shyamalan’s downbeat thrillerUnbreakable when it happened.

Here, Samuel L Jackson’s Elijah Price, a comic-book enthusiast with a leather trench coat and brittle bone disease, was browbeating an anonymous-looking everyman (the actor, Firdous Bamji, is almost hidden entirely in shadow) into purchasing one of the many hand-drawn superhero panels that were hanging in his downtown Philadelphia gallery. “It’s a classic depiction of good versus evil,” began Jackson, doing the hard sell in deadpan, while staring intently at the drawing, a conspicuously shoddy and sophomoric rendering of a caped crusader battling a hirsute man-beast with ill-shapen claws.

Nice one, I thought. Good gag. It’s, like, a satire on comic book geeks. But on he went. “The thing to notice about this piece,” continued Jackson, channelling the same lugubrious tone that has since become writer-director Shyamalan’s narrative trademark (think The HappeningThe Last Airbender,After Earth). “The thing that makes it very, very special, is its realistic depiction of figures.”

Esquire | Read the Full Article

7 Ways to Improve Your Work When You’re Not Working

Bobby Marko lists seven ways for self improvement when things are slow.

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1. Get or Update Your Website

You may not know but my path to film and video was actually through building and designing websites. Coming out of the music industry I saw the need and the creative ways websites could communicate to a mass audience for people and entities. Although I haven’t created a website for clients in many years I still build my own as well as for the entities I am a part of.

Building websites have come so far in just the last few years, there’s not reason you should not have a website. I get many compliments from my website bobbymarko.com and many would be surprised to learn it’s just a Wordpress framework with a remade template in which I’ve gone in and have done a few tweaks to, nothing much more than that. If you wish to communicate to current and future clients, having a website is crucial. It’s one place where people can learn who you are, see your work and find ways they can contact you. If you’re finding yourself with some time on your hands, nows the time to get your own website.

If you currently have a website and have some free time, now is the time to update it. Have you added your latest work? Maybe an updated profile image is in order? Also take a look at your bio and see if there are ways to update and make it more appealing to the clients you are wanting to work with.

Whether you are starting from scratch or updating, tending to your web needs is a great place to start when work has slowed down. Here are some resources to help you get started:

ProVideoCoalition | Read the Full Article

BIRDMAN: Following Riggan’s Orders

David Bordwell takes a really in depth look at the Oscar Winner Birdman, from it’s story structure to how the one shot style both mimics traditional editing style while adding new dimension to the story.

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Birdman’s plot covers six days at a critical period in Riggan’s life. He’s an over-the-hill movie star identified with playing the crime-fighting superhero Birdman. Now he’s directing and starring in a play he has based on Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love.” The film’s plot starts on the day before the first preview, when during a rehearsal Riggan hires the arrogant but talented actor Mike Shiner. Three nights of more or less bungled preview performances follow. The climax comes on opening night. In the play’s suicide scene, the despondent Riggan shoots off his nose. The Times critic publishes a rave review and Riggan, recovering in the hospital, finds that he has a Broadway triumph. His response to that, however, is rather ambivalent.

The film feels a little odd—“quirky” is the official term—but its blend of comedy and drama is constructed along familiar lines. The major characters have goals. Riggan wants to prove he can do something valuable, while paying homage to Raymond Carver, who encouraged him when he was starting out on the stage. Riggan is also disturbed by his failures as a father and husband; mounting this play about love would seem to be an act of penance. The protagonist’s search for authentic success and psychological stability might remind you of 8 ½ and All That Jazz, which also endow their protagonists with flamboyant fantasy lives.

David Bordwell | Read the Full Article

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