Silver Linings Playbook (Trailer)

After spending four years in a mental institution, a former teacher moves back in with his mother and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife.

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker and Jacki Weaver. Directed/written by David O. Russell and based on the novle by Mattew Quick.

Silver Linings Playbook is opens on November 21, 2012. (USA)

Inside the Character of “Buffalo Bill” from “Silence of the Lambs”

Jason Cuthbert dives into the character of “Buffalo Bill” from 1991′s Silence of the Lambs.

Before director Jonathan Demme explored skin-crawling inhumanity with The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, the only other motion picture that could be placed in the horror genre that had been nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award was The Exorcist in 1973. But Demme’s serial killer nightmare written by screenwriter Ted Tally, adapted from Thomas Harris’ novel, remains the only horror show to take home the Best Picture Oscar, including four other figurines for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

Understandably, Jodie Foster’s FBI trainee Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins’ savvy savage Dr. Hannibal Lecter get the main attention, being the main characters and all. But the murderous misfit demeanor of Jame Gumb, even the spelling of his name “James” is off, by Ted Levine (Heat, Shutter Island) is one cold-blooded performance.

Jame Gumb’s methods of prey make him a particularly disturbing antagonist, known as “Buffalo Bill” for his skin-removing treatment of overweight women as if they were cattle. Kidnapping plump ladies after pretending to be injured and in need of assistance is already a terrifying thought – turning sympathy into torture. But his modus operandi jumps even higher off of the roof of insanity when we learn that his chopping off of female body fat is not a demented protest against obesity, but his means of creating a female skin suit to hide his manhood.

Go Into The Story | Read the Full Article

John August Reacts to Frankenweenie’s Fifth Place Rank

Screenwriter John August (who wrote the film) puts Frankenweenie‘s box office numbers in perspective

On a personal level, it is disappointing, because as the writer I had hoped a lot of people would see the movie this weekend and enjoy it, perhaps beginning a conversation about black-and-white cinema, stop-motion animation or the perilous state of science education. That didn’t happen. Instead, the story is about how much money we made.

But my disappointment is tempered by extremely good reviews across the board. Critically-praised movies that underperform find a lot of champions over the years. This is a lesson I learned from Go. It’s a lesson Disney and Tim learned from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Quality plus time equal success.

It’s only the first few weeks that hurt.

On Larchmont yesterday, my daughter met up with another seven-year-old friend in front of the yogurt shop. “I heard Frankenweenie only came in fifth because of Hotel T,” the friend told my daughter. (Yes, she said “Hotel T.”)

Two things. Maybe three.

At least in the short term, people focus on rankings because they’re easy to remember and fit the narrative of the box office being a race. But if Rian Johnson’s terrific Looper had made just a little less, we would have swapped places. At a glance, Frankenweenie would have appeared more successful at fourth place than fifth, even if it earned exactly the same amount.

Also lost in the horse-race analysis is the fact that the box office expanded 41% percent this weekend. Last year, the #2 movie for the weekend was The Ides of March, which made $10.4 million. Had we opened a year ago to the same dollar figure, our $11.5 million would have put us #2 behind Real Steel.

John August | Read the Full Article

The Difference between 1080i and 1080p (as a Viewer)

Geoffrey Morrison tackles the difference between 1080i and 1080p from a television viewing perspective.

There still seems to be some confusion about the difference between 1080i and 1080p. Both are 1,920×1,080 resolution. Both have 2,073,600 pixels. From one perspective, 1080i is actually greater than Blu-ray. And, you can’t even get a full 1080p/60 source other than a PC, camcorder or some still cameras that shoot video.

True, 1080i and 1080p aren’t the same thing, but they are the same resolution. Let the argument commence…

1080i and 720p
Because our TV world is based around 60Hz, and because there’s a limit to how much resolution could be transmitted over the air (due to bandwidth and MPEG compression), the two main HDTV resolutions are 1080i and 720p. Let’s start with 720p, as it’s the easier to understand.

OK, 720p is 1,280×720 pixels, running at 60 frames per second (fps). This is the format used by ABC, Fox, and their various sister channels (like ESPN). I’ve seen some reader comments in response to other articles I’ve written ridiculing ABC/Fox for this “lower” resolution, but that’s unfair in two big ways. The first, in the late ’90s when all this was happening, there were no 1080p TVs. Sure, we all knew they were coming, but it was years before they started shipping (now, almost all TVs are 1080p). The other big way, was the sports. Both ABC and Fox have big sports divisions, which played a big role in their decision to go with 720p. This is because when it comes down to it, fast motion looks better at 60 fps (more on this later). | Read the Full Article

Stories of Unemployment

Over the summer, Gawker began requesting stories from their readers who were unemployed. Here the first 10 volumes of the stories they’ve collected.

Small editorial on the bottom.

1. Stories from the Underclass

Prompted by lack of child support, in 2007 I left my job (where I would never get a raise) for a new position that paid more in order to take care of my family. I didn’t survive the probationary period due to continued harassment and stress from the baby daddy. I was soon evicted and finally filed for child support in anger instead of avoiding it out of fear. I disappeared to Jersey City with an order of protection so that baby daddy couldn’t find me and retaliate. My dad left his assisted living facility to at first help me with child care, then to support and supplement my unemployment benefits once it became clear there was little interest in hiring a long term unemployed person that wears hearing aids.

For a time, I did receive child support and was able to do nice things for my daughter and use some of it for household bills. But January 2011 both unemployment benefits and child support abruptly stopped. In February I applied for emergency food stamps; in March I received it; along with the humiliation of dealing with social services –the workers act like they’re giving you their money! In March, the rent check bounced, due to my father’s refusal to utilize my creative banking skills. In April I was asked by my landlords to convert to Buddhism and chant to get a job, otherwise it seemed I wasn’t trying hard enough. Also in April they gained entry into my apartment (under the guise of morning chanting) to declare random things contraband and accuse us of breaking the lease. We paid rent for April and May, but by June my family was homeless.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

2. We Are The Unseen

I am one of the unseen that have never been taken into any statistic. I am a female, 61 yrs., and I live and was not born in the south. This last part is very big on if you can get hired by any local company. I have 2 engineering degrees and was the Engineering Manager for a large pharmaceutical company. I had always wanted to have my own business and in 1995 went into partnership with someone. In 2001 we were to the point of either hire someone to take care of a multitude of tasks or close. Since the tasks were all over the place finding someone would be very difficult here in Central Texas.

I chose to quit my job feeling that I have my degrees that I can fall back on. The first couple of years were great. Then the first the beginnings of the droughts began and this severely impacted the business. Then the slowdown happened under Bush. We let go our 1 employee very early on, my partner took a full time job. Being a man and from the area he was able to easily find work. This meant though I ran the business by myself and my partner had to work nights and weekends to complete repairs of equipment. I began seriously looking for work around 2006. We had plans to close the business but kept the place open since we had a mortgage on the building we were located in. We looked for ways to make a little money to make the building useful. But since everyone in the area was impacted buy drought and down turn we had trouble.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

3. Absolute Hell

I am a mid-30s female with an Ivy League graduate degree. I just received my third layoff in a little over four years. The first layoff was just a month or so long, and I found something immediately. The second one was soul-crushing, and I was out of work for over a year. I applied to *everything*, interviewed for jobs paying much less than half my former salary, networked, etc. My friends were always supportive (“At least you’re not like so-and-so, who has no intention of going back to work till his unemployment runs out,” was a common refrain), but I could see that after a while they didn’t seem to get what the big deal was — was it really *so* hard to find a job?! Was I really, like, trying?

The most dangerous element of unemployment is depression. I’d get comments from friends like, “But you’re on ‘funemployment!” or “Everyday is Saturday for you!” Yes, I’m on unemployment. No, every day is not Saturday. Every day is a blur where I wake up to what will be another long day of trying to justify my existence, of trying to be productive, of trying to not spiral out of control from depression and stay in bed all day, of working up the strength to leave the house, to put on pants. Some days I’m good — up at 7am, breakfast, workout, at least a few hours of job searching, at least a few hours of housework, maybe a beer with a friend in the evening if I think I can afford it. And some days I stare at the pile of laundry on my floor, the detritus on my desk, the stack of unopened mail, the bare fridge, and I realized that, yep, I’ve spiraled again. My life irises down to tiny incremental goals. Today I will apply for X number of jobs. Today, I will do at least one load of laundry. Today, I will clean the fucking kitchen. I had to borrow money from my parents. I watched all the hard-won progress I’d made on paying down my student loans evaporate as I had to seek hardship deferment and watch the interest start racking up again. I went from middle class to working class.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

4. Pride & Pain

For the second time in a year, I am unemployed. This time, it’s still fresh; just under a week ago, I was told that due to a “new strategic direction” my title was no longer needed at a small nonprofit. Not my skills writing, managing programs, analyzing data, providing web content – my title. An arbitrarily assigned thing for which there was no actual job description, except the one I’d written for review a month or two prior that was still wasting away in the recipient’s email.

We’d been having some funding issues, and something had to be done, but I thought I had a couple months left. I’d been offering to do whatever I could for anything I knew had incoming grants to complete, and working long hours/weekends/skipping lunch. I still think that maybe I should’ve seen it coming: multiple things I was working on were either halted indefinitely pending receipt of funding that was ten months late, or had been cut altogether. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve interpreted this as a shift in priorities, but even at the strategic planning meetings I participated in, I still thought I had plenty to offer as we built a membership, private donor-base, and new programs. As I tearfully collected what things I could, I was told how fantastic my work had been, how much the Board of Directors struggled with the decision, and how it “might not be permanent.”

At the very end of June, 2011, I’d lost a job I held for four years. I’d been having some disagreements with a coworker about design and marketing strategy, and new ownership (then my friends) sided with her. I was admittedly difficult to work with in the most stressful times, but I’d been sincerely trying to improve that perception – and I was very good at my job. In the end, the people who mattered didn’t see any change, even if others had.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

5. I Go to Bed Every Night Hoping I Won’t Wake Up

I quit my job in August of 2011. I was a cop and after ten years I had decided I had enough. I worked with corrupt, racist officers and for even more racist and corrupt bosses. I tried to stick it out best I could. I went to IAD. I got promoted so I could maybe make changes myself when my request for assistance with IAD went ignored. The harassment only got worse. It’s bad enough being a woman in a man’s world, but try being one who won’t go help steal personal property or let you beat up that black man. Every day was emotional warfare. It was tough, but I was tough. For a while. There comes a point when you just can’t stomach it anymore. So, for the sake of my sanity and to keep me from actually driving off the bridge on the way to work like I had envisioned myself doing many times over the past decade, I quit and decided to finish my Master’s degree. I thought I would have no problem finding another job, after all I have a BS and a BA, not to mention I’m a decorated veteran and have a diverse resume. Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve been looking for work for almost a year now. I’ve been surviving on my GI Bill, I have been denied unemployment and I’ve watched my credit sink as the credit card bills pile up. Just last month my car was repo’d. Inside was everything I owned since I was partly living out of it. I have no f family to turn to, and I don’t want to burden the few close friends I have, but I’ve been doing my best to keep a positive outlook. but it’s hard. The few people I’ve talked to about this seem to not understand how soul crushing it can be to not be able to contribute to society. The GI Bill is alright, but it’s not enough to live off of. In a few weeks, I will be homeless. I’ve been working since I was 14. I’m 32 now. I’m 32 and go to bed every night hoping I won’t wake up in the morning. I thought I was depressed before, well I hadn’t seen anything yet. I’ve researched on the internet, looking for ways to kill myself painlessly, but so far I’ve come up with nothing. So here I am.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

6. If It Weren’t For My Children I Probably Would Have Killed Myself By Now

I am 28 years old, a recent graduate of a UC and immediately after graduation I was flooded with opportunities for unpaid internships. I interned for [prominent person] and was essentially manipulated to work for free with the promise of a paid position that never materialized. After that, I worked minimum wage at a boutique, making less than when I worked at [a store] while in college (a job I quit so that I could focus on my studies and raise my child without going insane) and while I still work for minimum wage, I have been diagnosed with an ulcer and night terrors from all the stress after not being able to find a job. My story isn’t really any different than anyone else who came from middle class or below in my generation: Debt, unpaid internships, single parent, etc. Though with all of the dedication I put forth in my University to “work towards a better future” I had to think quickly or else I wouldn’t be able to afford the gas to get my child to school or pay for his piano lessons-not to mention eat. So while not destitute, I still live with my parents. I briefly considered Nancy Botwin-ing myself and selling weed, but fell into selling my panties on the internet, a surprisingly lucrative venture given that all these New York finance bozos were buying their little fetish prizes and tipping $100-$200 each time. How ironic that the same pricks that destroyed our economy were now tossing me little, sordid crumbs so that I could stay afloat. Oh, thank you. What happened after this surprised me, even though I’ve never demonized sex work, these guys were sending me messages begging for photos, videos and in some cases a romp in a hotel room. Now I have found myself dabbling in the occasional sex work to make ends meet where I meet 212 area code men in the bay area and am essentially a reluctant weird, glasses wearing call girl. I just wanted to work for a nice nonprofit and continue writing on the side. Dang.

That is my story.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

7. When I look to My Future, I See a Wall

At fourteen I got paid under the table-like $4 an hour- to work at a Baskin Robbins, because I really wanted to have a job. After that, I went from waiting tables to babysitting, guitar gigs in coffee houses, bartending, acting, retail, I was never fired, I never quit without another job lined up, and I generally left every place I worked on good terms with everyone; in fact I often had two jobs plus some kind of profit-making hobby. I decided early that as long as I was happy being creative and doing what I loved, I could forego big paychecks- and it always worked that way. Now I look back and think, maybe I was prettier, or thinner, or just more favorable in some way that I’m not now. I was an independent contractor for years, working as a certified massage therapist, then later as a custom seamstress, and a even few times at professional acting and freelance writing.

At thirty, I got married had a baby, and found out that I work even when I don’t get paid- I treated pregnancy like a research thesis, and I gardened like a mule. I sewed for extra money, with my husband picking up the slack, and made the leap to a storefront location when my son went to pre-school. In 2009, I realized that the job I had created was not going to support me. I really loved making custom, luxury draperies all day, and I had plenty of customers- but manufacturing custom items by hand for clients who could refuse the end result carried too much risk- my dream of small business ownership crashed on the rocks of risk management when my husband and I decided that we would not use unsecured credit to float the business, and I couldn’t keep the lights on during the lean times without it. I closed the business soon after the day my six-year-old son said, “I hate your work, Mommy. It makes you mean.”

Gawker | Read the Full Article

8. They Use You Up and They Throw You Away

I started out with a B.A. in journalism and great newspaper jobs until Jimmy Carter got elected and my world began to disintegrate.

The only job I was able to get was as a rent a cop— for which you don’t even need a high school diploma and it was hell. You are abandoned incommunicado absolutely alone to watch things —sometimes without a rest room or potable drinking water—and forbidden to leave. They expect you to pay for your own pistol and gear but you are too broke to buy the ammunition or the gun range time for practice! It’s like being in solitary confinement —you are being punished because someone else has stuff they think should be guarded and you are the someone that should be guarding it —and give your life up if necessary…like hell! If they put a gun in your hand, then you’ll be expected to use it and. no, they won’t stand behind you.

You do not get health insurance, retirement — nothing but a paycheck. And it barely covered rent, mandatory car insurance,groceries, utilities —forget anything like movies or concerts unless you were hired to do the security! Without other humans to interact with since all of your work is going to be at night, all night, on weekends and holidays, you have no one to provide feedback about your appearance and general demeanor and things can get weird. If you can take it, the more hours you worked, you got overtime and you could do quite well. Many got hooked on speed or prescription meds —not a good combination when you had a pistol.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

9. I Went From Being a Thriving Human Being to a Bitter Recluse Who Rants on Facebook

My parents have always been employed. Their entire lives, with exception of my mother giving birth to her three children, they have had consistent jobs and then careers and made sure to impart upon us kids that hard work equals prosperity, and that nobody is entitled to anything, . It surely seemed that way. My parents both served in the Army (ret.) and were polite, caring, reasonable and college educated; my father a Political Science major (and computer tech minor) and my mother was an RN. We were raised solidly middle class in a small but thriving college town on the East Coast with a fair amount of jobs and all three of us kids went to college. Life was pretty awesome.

At some point around 1999, right as I – the oldest – headed off to an expensive private college in DC, my father began dabbling in day trading stock on the internet. I don’t exactly know what he was doing, as he is a decidedly old-fashioned man when it comes to talking about money and bills (he refuses), but he was making enough money that he could quit his long time IT Dept. Manager job at a local factory and focus solely on trading. He made enough money between ’99 and ’01 that they could afford to take us on a couple somewhat extravagant vacations to the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. Things were looking better than ever.

Then, right around the beginning of 2002, the stock market began to tumble. I was in my junior year at school, which was previously being paid mostly out of pocket by my father (go to community college, kids!). However, at the start of 2002, as the hole in the bottom of his money bucket started to get larger, he was forced to take out some extremely large loans (in his name) to continue to pay for me to finish school. He was so prideful he never told me any of this until years later. Thankfully, I had been working since I was 14 and on the side throughout most of college, so I was able to support most of my living expenses on my own (thanks, hard-working family values!), which somewhat lessened his burden.

Gawker | Read the Full Article

10. It Wouldn’t Matter if I Just Disappeared from the Face of the Earth

“Near-suicidal despair” you say?

That’s a very apt term. And welcome to my world.

So many of us — old AND young —who have been thrown away know that we didn’t do anything to cause our unemployment and abandonment. We know that. It still doesn’t help. We do feel despair – over the unfairness, over the loss, over the lack of even some small control and power over our lives.

So many of us had very ordinary and average lives with ordinary and average incomes, and even those are just GONE.

Some days I feel awful because we have just thrown away so many people, so much (as the economists and MBAs and HR bots say) “human capital” wasted.

And some days, it’s more focused on me and my losses and pain. And as much as I might try to push it away, it comes and sits right there. Because it really, really hurts and is awful to be treated like garbage or roadkill which was just simply scraped to the side of the road and left there.

Despite it all, I am trying to begin again at age 55 —after being laid off 3 times in 3 years — to build a PR consultancy. My 20 years at Stanford as a PR manager (before being laid off the first time in 2009) and time before that as a news reporter and editor should be used for something! Yes?

Gawker | Read the Full Article


The stories presented here are grim and although I do not deny the real agony of these people, ultimately it comes down to you. What are you going to do to change your situation? If its not working, try something else. I’m not pretending this is easy – it’s going to be fucking hard. Harder than you ever thought. But our grand fathers and great-grand fathers lived through worse. People around the world live in worse situations where death is literally at every corner.

Never give up. Never Surrender.

As for what this has to do with filmmaking…

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