David Lynch

An iced coffee, a trumpeted rendition of a magical tune, and the man from the White Lodge. David Lynch has now transformed the ephemeral absurdity of the ice bucket challenge into physical absurdity. It’s enough to make you wonder why thousands of people have made videos of themselves being doused in freezing water. Think about how truly strange that is for a moment. Like we were all hypnotized, allowed by society to be socially bizarre for a good cause. The two funniest moments are when Lynch says, “I’m taking the challenge” so sweetly (we don’t even have to ask which challenge he’s talking about), and when he says, “The second bucket…” so casually after his mid-musical, caffeinated sloshing. Perfect comic timing. Of course, both laugh lines are due in large part to Lynch now being a fantastically adorable old man. Life just keeps staying weird. Source: The Film Stage

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Half of a Yellow Sun

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Dune Movie

Anyone who knows David Lynch’s work is familiar with his penchant for messing with the audience. One only has to look at how he ended his popular series Twin Peaks, or pretty much any part of the mind-bending Eraserhead, to realize this. Even though in the early 1980s, Lynch had been courted as a potential director for some major films (including Return of the Jedi… wouldn’t you have liked to see the Ewoks in that version?), he had his big studio break with the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. While it was a commercial and critical failure, Dune also represents Lynch’s subversive filmmaking nature, more than some people even realize. At the time, Hollywood was looking for the next Star Wars, much like how they are furiously searching for the next Hunger Games now with films like Divergent and The Maze Runner. Dune had been in development since the early 1970s, and it finally got off the ground with Lynch at the helm. Lynch was a bold choice for the film, considering he was handed a massive potential franchise when he was known for more intimate and often obscure and surreal personal films. Ultimately, Lynch made a film that ensured a sequel was impossible, and that was a brilliant though almost career-ending move.

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Trylon 5

The Trylon Microcinema Location: 3258 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN No. of Screens: 1 Opened: July 2009 History: You can’t properly tell the story of the Trylon without pausing to remember the late, great Oak Street Cinema, an Art Deco style movie house in Minneapolis that screened classic and indie selections from around the world. The Oak Street was kind of like my first car: It was old, clunky and died an ignoble death, but it took me places I’d never been. Trylon repertory programmer Barry Kryshka takes the story from here: “A lot of the people who were instrumental in founding the Trylon were involved in the Oak Street Cinema. The big impetus was we loved the programming the Oak Street was doing, and when it stopped we wanted to continue it somewhere else, some way.” Barry and others launched the nonprofit Take-Up Productions and started showing movies in 2006 anywhere they could, whether it was in a city park or a back alley. By 2009, the group had saved up enough to buy their own permanent space, in a former art supply store. “We built out the theater and the projection booth,” says Barry. “It was a warehouse, basically.”

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Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they fall down the rabbit hole of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive with an exit strategy. In the #28 movie on the list, a young woman with stars in her eyes helps an actress with amnesia discover who she is, and why she has a stack of cash and a mysterious blue key in her purse. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Harrison Ford

What is Casting Couch? It’s your handy roundup of news stories regarding which actors managed to land gigs over the weekend. Today we have an update on what’s going on with Guardians of the Galaxy as well as news of who gets to be Johnny Depp’s latest leading lady. Film fans have been keeping a close eye on Harrison Ford in recent weeks, just waiting for the official confirmation that he’s going to be reprising his legendary role as Han Solo in J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars movie. Today we all got a curve ball thrown at us though. While it’s looking more and more likely that Ford will indeed be revisiting his legendary role, it also appears that he’s not done making new legends. THR is reporting that he’s now the latest name to sign on to Anchorman 2, where he’ll be playing a “legendary newscaster” who’s being likened to Tom Brokaw. Given that description, one can’t help but imagine a perfectly quaffed Ford smelling of tanned leather, scotch, and stale tobacco, and wonder if this character is going to be a rival to Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy, or possibly a mentor figure. Either way, it should be interesting to see Ford going for something this broadly comedic. You know, given how grumpy he is.

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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Another adaptation of Dune has been kicking around for a little while now. The last we heard of it was Pierre Morel (Taken) quickly joining and then leaving the project, a project which Paramount soon after dropped. Four years ago a genuinely enticing filmmaker got attached to finally make it happen: Peter Berg. Berg, for those of you who don’t know, has his gigantic board game adaptation Battleship opening in theaters tomorrow. The Kingdom and Friday Night Lights director isn’t the first person to spring to mind when you think Dune, but Berg was certainly the most interesting director whose name was mentioned. The director can certainly do epic and big, but could he do fantasy? Either way, his plans fit nicely into his signature style: gritty and rough. When asked about what his plans for the film were, Berg told us, “My feeling was, I wanted to make a grittier, rougher film than the [David] Lynch movie. My experience with Dune was just a really great adventure story, and it was muscular, violent, and intense. Obviously there was a very cerebral, mystical, almost-supernatural component to it, and mind communication, and the Bene Gesserits were kind of a bunch of badass witches. At its core, I wanted to make something that felt more like Star Wars, where it just had more grit to it.”

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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Willem Dafoe delivers a quiet performance in The Hunter, Daniel Nettheim‘s observant character-driven feature debut. It’s a character which relies purely on movement, expression, and action – all internal. The protagonist, Martin, a.k.a. The Hunter, is a man skilled in violence, and that’s about as much as you can say for him for most of the film’s running time. As you would’ve predicted, the character grows in a way of showing warmth and humanity, but, as Dafoe explains, not in a sentimental way. Martin is the type of character who feels at home in the woods wielding a rifle, rather than watching after a pair of children. Do not expect this to be the story of a cold man who in actuality has a big heart of a gold they’re ready to unleash, because it’s far from it. Here’s what actor Willem Dafoe had to say about Martin, directors with intense passion, and Bobby Peru, the ultimate force of nature:

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Culture Warrior

As much as I admire the incomparable films made during the era, New Hollywood (the term referring to innovative, risk-taking films made funded by studios from the mid-60s to the mid-70s) is a title that I find a bit problematic. The words “New Hollywood” better characterize the era that came after what the moniker traditionally refers to. Think about it: if “Old” or “Classical” Hollywood refers to the time period that stretches roughly from 1930 to 1960 when the studios as an industry maintained such an organized and regimented domination over and erasure of any other potential conception over what a film playing in any normal movie theater could be, then if we refer to the time period from roughly 1977 to now “New Hollywood,” the term then appropriately signifies a new manifestation of the old: regimentation, predictability, and limitation of expression. Where Old Hollywood studios would produce dozens of films of the same genre, New Hollywood (as I’m appropriating the term) could acutely describe the studios’ comparably stratified output of sequels, remakes, etc. What we traditionally understand to be New Hollywood was not so much its own monolithic era in Hollywood’s legacy, but a brief, strange, and wonderful lapse between two modes of Hollywood filmmaking that have dominated the industry’s history.

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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Culture Warrior

We often don’t think of commercials as having authorship, at least not in the same way we think of movies. Commercials are created by advertising companies, by focus groups, by strategists; not by “artists.” But while the purpose of a 30-second ad may on the surface differ from the motive of a feature length film (though not always), both are media assembled through a particular economy of storytelling devices and are made often by a collaborative company of individuals. But commercials don’t often contain credit sequences, and thus the phenomenology of its making is cloaked and the personalities who made it unconsidered. The focus is on the product being sold, not the creative team selling it. So it can be surprising to find out that well-respected, top-tier, artistic filmmakers often direct commercials. Sure, many filmmakers regularly make commercials as a more lucrative and less time-consuming alternative to feature filmmaking, and there are many visual artists who have honed an ability to express their personality in various media forms, but a surprising number of supposedly cinema-specific auteurs make commercials, despite a lack of apparent monetary need or professional benefit. This subject came to my attention recently because of a series of articles on Slate last week by David Haglund about the oeuvre of the Coen brothers that included the filmmaking duo’s commercials in considering their larger cinematic contribution. It’s an interesting way to view a filmmaker’s career, for it forces you to look for their identifying traits and revisited themes via […]

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Why Watch? Because. There’s probably only one man on the planet that knows what’s going on in this short which stars (although you wouldn’t know it) Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Scott Coffey, and Rebekah Del Rio as humanoids with rabbit heads going about a very quiet evening at home. It’s interspersed with a laugh track, a few lines of enigmatic dialogue, and it’s absolutely not for those with short attention spans. Rabbits blends the strange with the pedestrian in a way Lynch fans might find familiar and a way non-fans might find infuriating. Is it brilliant or just bizarre? What does it cost? Just 9 minutes of your time. Check out Rabbits for yourself:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we play Perfect Host to David Hyde Pierce, get twisted on David Lynchian philosophy with Shai Biderman, and try to escape The Ward with director John Carpenter. Plus, there’s no pesky movie news quiz this week (which means we just lost half of our audience). Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Culture Warrior

Yesterday the Twittersphere (a place where topics are only discussed in rational proportions) was abuzz with the news that Terrence Malick’s long-awaited magnum opus Tree of Life was booed at its Cannes premiere. While the reaction to Malick’s latest will no doubt continue to be at least as divisive and polarized as his previous work has been, for many Malick fans the news of the boos only perpetuated more interest in the film, and for many Malick non-fans the boos signaled an affirmation of what they’ve long-seen as lacking in his work. (Just to clarify, there was also reported applause, counter-applause, and counter-booing at the screening.) Booing at Cannes has a long history, and can even be considered a tradition. It seems that every year some title is booed, and such a event often only creates more buzz around the film. There’s no formula for what happens to a booed film at Cannes: sometimes history proves that the booed film was ahead of its time, sometimes booing either precedes negative critical reactions that follow or reflect the film’s divisiveness during its commercial release. Booed films often win awards. If there is one aspect connecting almost all booed films at Cannes, it’s that the films are challenging. I mean challenging as a descriptor that gives no indication of quality (much like I consider the term “slow”), but films that receive boos at the festival challenge their audiences or the parameters of the medium in one way or another, for better or […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of all things interesting and wonderful happening in the world of movies. At least, that’s what it was born as. Lately it’s been feeling as if it might be more of a Rachel Weisz News After Dark kind of column. A Rachel Weiszsexual, if you will. And yes, that’s the technical term. It’s a tough affliction to live with. Because their just isn’t enough Rachel Weisz in the world. Luckily Hollywood is hell-bent on changing that… Guess what this week is… Rachel Weisz week. Based on a survey of our male 18-35 demographic, which represents a solid percentage of our readership, this is somehow preferable to all of my updates about Doctor Who. I don’t see why, as Doctor Who is excellent. But I can understand your affinity for Rachel Weisz news. Anyway, she’s not only in line to take a high profile role in Oz the Great and Powerful and The Bourne Legacy. According to a report from Cinema Blend, Weisz is high on the list to star opposite Johnny Depp in Rob Marshall’s remake of The Thin Man. Even though that film sound unnecessary, we just can’t say no to more Rachel Weisz… can we?

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. A few decades ago, someone let David Lynch make a movie. Then they probably realized they’d need to market it and threw their hands right up into the air. What follows is a series of soft-focused, black and white images of people doing strange things and, most importantly, a man staring out into the middle distance while eraser shavings fly all around him. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man enamored by a beautiful city who discovers that amidst its perfection lies a man who lures victims to a violent death by drowning.

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