Top 7 New York Films

There have been more great films made in New York than any other city. It’s hard to narrow it down to seven. What I tried to do is pick the ones where the city play a major character in the film. So here they are and I’m sure as always I’ll think of a few that should have made the list once I post this.

Goodfellas is my favorite films of all time, but because the studio is so ignorant they won’t even let you embed a trailer it is off the list.

King Kong (1933)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Escape From New York (1981)

Annie Hall (1977)

Wall Street (1987)

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Roger Ebert Presents…At the Movies

“Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies,” a weekly half-hour film review program, was announced today by its producers, Chaz and Roger Ebert. The program continues the 35-year-old run of a reviewing format first introduced by Gene Siskel and Ebert and later by Ebert and Richard Roeper. The Eberts said the new program will air in January 2011

Read the full article HERE.

Here is a demo for the upcoming movie review program on PBS: “Roger Ebert Presents…At the Movies”

3 Basic DIY Techniques for Shooting Better Film Noir

With only a few days to go till the FilmmakerIQ film noir video contest (September 23rd, 2010), John Hess covers three basic DIY techniques to help you shoot better Film Noir: including simple DIY lights (and why work lights are evil), cookies, and some basic color grading.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” Sound for Film Profile

When you meet the girl of your dreams, would you defeat her ex-boyfriends to win her love? The London based sound team behind “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” share their stories about bringing to life the comic book pages of this alternative universe.

Featured in this SoundWorks Collection Sound for Film Profile is Re-recording Mixer Chris Burdon, Re-recording Mixer Doug Cooper, and Supervising Sound Editor Julian Slater.

VIA: Michael Coleman

Ted Griffin Screenwriting Lesson

There’s no con more satisfying and lucrative than finding a way to make a living as a screenwriter. And Ted Griffin is a man who knows a good con. Anyone who tried to follow the clever criminal head games he built into his screenplays for Ocean’s Eleven and Matchstick Men knows not to trust this guy. Except when he talks about screenwriting, which he does with great humor and insight in this enlightening interview that ranges from his early work on Ravenous and Best Laid Plans through the unexpected pitfalls of trying to direct his first film, Rumor Has It…

VIA: TheDialogue

The Truth On How Hollywood Makes Money: Can Indies Films Survive?

The once promising indie film industry has all but disappeared from Hollywood in recent years. Author Edward Jay Epstein explores the complicated finances behind why Hollywood is abandoning the indie films in favor of big budget spectacles like Avatar.

Edward Jay Epstein is author of The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies you can also see Epstein in Oliver Stone’s forthcoming Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps wherein Epstein plays the head of the Fed.

Edward Jay Epstein talks with Bloomberg’s Betty Liu about the role of film libraries in the financial health of movie studios and the outlook for independent filmmakers.

Excerpt: ‘The Hollywood Economist

The Hollywood Economist: Can Indie Movies Be Saved?


The Achilles’ heel of the independent movie business is American distribution. No matter how brilliant an indie movie may be, and no matter how many awards its wins at film festivals, it needs to get into theaters to be seen. That feat is no longer easy for an indie movie.

The Big Six six studios–Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, Fox, and Sony–are also distribution juggernauts. They dominate both American and foreign distribution . Each of them employs a small army of salesmen, publicists, media buyers, theater-relations liaisons, merchandising specialists, and lawyers to get its movies and coming attractions on the best screens in theaters, its stars on the top TV shows, and its DVDs in the prime space at video stores. Because of their enormous clout with theater chains, the Big Six can open their movies on 4,000 screens in the US and thousands of additional screens overseas. They also have long-standing merchandising deals with fast-food chains, toy companies, and other mass retailers to assist these global openings. Since their distribution machines have enormous overhead, the Big Six studios need to confine their releases to potentially huge grossing movies. The size of the gross is crucial–even if there is no net profit–because studios, take a hefty cut of it off the top in the form of a distribution fee (typically, on movies that studios finance, it is 30 percent) which helps offset the overhead. The requisite, however, often leaves producers of smaller films out in the cold. Consider, for example, the sad story told to me by one of the most successful indie producer. In 2009, he brought to a major studio a project that had a budget of a mere $20 million with a well-regarded director and stars. After running the numbers, the studio estimated that its potential box-office was $100 million, which would yield it, just from the distribution fee and the output deal with HBO, a 100 percent profit on its investment. Yet, it flatly turned down the project because, as its executive told the producer, “We don’t do films that do not have a projected box-office of at least $150 million.” The reason is that each studio has only a limited number of slots for their releases, and they have to fill them with so-called “high value” films with a potential to generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to pay their overhead. Indie films, even if they return a profitable on a relatively small investment, cannot be counted on to do that job.

So how does an indie producer get an American distributor?

- Edward Jay Epstein | Read the Full Article

Top 7 Labor Day Comedies

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the United States, but with the economy continuing to drag its feet unemployment remains high and perhaps a better title would be Not Enough Labor Day. With that in mind, we thought everyone could use a laugh, so we put together a Top 7 List of the best worker comedies.

7.) Night Shift (1982)

Ron Howard’s breakthrough film as a director launched Michael Keaton as a screen comic. In this film, he is teamed with a hangdog Henry Winkler as a pair of night attendants at a city morgue. Thinking entrepreneurially, Keaton (as the flakier half of the team) convinces a reluctant Winkler that they could kill two birds with one stone and use their quiet surroundings to start a call-girl business.

6.) Clerks. (1994)

Before Kevin Smith became a Hollywood darling with Chasing Amy, a film he wrote and directed, he made this $27,000 comedy about real-life experiences working for chump change at a New Jersey convenience store. A rude, foul-mouthed collection of anecdotes about the responsibilities that go with being on the wrong side of the till, the film is also a relationship story that takes some hilarious turns once the lovers start revealing their sexual histories to one another.

5.) The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

In the The Coen brothers salute/reworking of the fast-talking comedies of the ’40s, we follow Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) and his amazing rise to the top. But he’s only a puppet for the evil Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman), who wants the company for himself.

4.) The Big Kahuna (1999)

On the last evening of a convention two seen-it-all industrial lubricant salesmen and a youngster from the research department gather in the hotel’s hospitality suite to host a delegates party. The main aim is to get the business of one particular big fish. When it becomes apparent that it is the lad who has developed a direct line to the guy, his strong religious beliefs bring him into sharp conflict with his older and more cynical colleagues.

3.) Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places is a film directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet. The storyline has been commented upon as a modern take on Mark Twain’s classic 19th century novel The Prince and the Pauper.

2.) Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film by Charlie Chaplin that has his iconic Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin’s view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization.

1.) Office Space (1999)

Office Space is a 1999 comedy written and directed by Mike Judge. It satirizes work life in a typical 1990s software company, focusing on a handful of individuals who are fed up with their jobs. The film’s sympathetic portrayal of ordinary IT workers garnered it a cult following among those in that profession, but the film also addresses themes familiar to office workers and white collar employees in general.

Jerry Weintraub: Hollywood Deal Maker Tells All

Jerry Weintraub, the producer of films from Oh God, The Karate Kid and Nashville to the recent Oceans Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, discusses his friendships with George Clooney, George H.W. Bush, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and other famed politicians, stars and confidants.

Weintraub is a self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer and legendary deal maker. Don’t miss this opportunity to go beyond the glitz and glamour to get the real dirt on what goes on inside Hollywood, and Weintraub’s role at the heart of it all.

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