“Pianomania,” and the Magical Art of Tuning


One of my favorite activities of late is watching documentaries with Sean. He loves ‘em, I’ve always loved ‘em, and it’s a genre of significant strength for Netflix Streaming. We don’t (usually) watch them in one sitting, because I need my beauty sleep. Or something. But documentaries often lend themselves to staged viewings, so it [Read More...]

The Things We Do For Art


Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, a samurai-themed, Noh-tinged re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, has always fascinated me. It’s not a particularly faithful adaptation, in my opinion. But it might be a great one. (Harold Bloom once famously said that it was “uncannily the most successful film version of Macbeth, though it departs very far from the specifics [Read More...]

Farewell, Frédéric Back


On Christmas Eve, as I traveled West for the hol(i/y)days, the world of animation lost one of its legendary “elder statesmen:” Canada’s own Frédéric Back, a two-time Oscar winner, and creator of the famous animated short, The Man Who Planted Trees. From the LA Times obit: Frédéric Back, 89, who won two Oscars for his poignant [Read More...]

My Favorite O’Toole


The legendary Peter O’Toole passed away on Saturday. When I first heard the news, I was reminded of a question Looking Closer’s Jeffrey Overstreet asked his readers last year: Which is your favorite O’Toole performance? At the time, I remember being grateful that he didn’t say “best performance,” because I’m not sure I could answer that [Read More...]

Advent Adventures with “The Blue Umbrella”


One of my favorite scenes from Gettysburg is that moment ’round the campfire when General James Kemper responds to his commanding officer, General George Pickett, with one of the greatest back-handed compliments of all time: “I gotta hand it to you George. You certainly do have a talent for trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious. You ever considered [Read More...]

Marc Breaux, RIP


You may not know Marc Breaux by name. But you probably know his work. He’s the guy behind this: And this: And this: And (perhaps most memorably) this: A long-time and renowned choreographer, Mr. Breaux passed away last week at the age of 89. And while I must shamefacedly admit that I probably wouldn’t have [Read More...]

No Commentary Necessary — Docter’s “Next Door”

Next Door

Just in case I “buried the link” a bit too deeply in yesterday’s Pixar post, I wanted to make sure everyone saw this. It’s called Next Door, and it’s a student film from Pete Docter. You know, Pete “The Guy Who Directed Up” Docter? Which makes perfect sense once you see this. (Especially when you compare [Read More...]

What a Pixar Story Meeting Looks Like


This clip’s been floating around the InterWebs, and I finally clicked on it. Story has long been Pixar’s calling-card (though they’ve been criticized for losing a bit of their momentum there in recent years; and fairly, I think), so I’m sure the more story-anemic among us were hoping for some quick pointers. Plus, I’m not really much of a collaborative creator myself, and Pixar is famed for their creative collaboration. [Read More...]

Fun with ReCut Trailers


Recut trailers are great. You know, those YouTube vids where someone takes footage from a particular film and creates a trailer that is radically at odds with the source material? I love ‘em. Such great editing exercises, and the grasp their creators’ manifest when it comes to the beats and moods of particular genres often [Read More...]

Everything’s a Remix, German Expressionistic Version


The dances I attended during my college years provided me with some of the fondest musical memories I own. Among those memories, Bobby Darin’s lilting “Mack the Knife” holds a place of particular prominence. (I’m not quite sure why; I suspect it’s equal parts unusual rhythmic construction and the strange dichotomy between the song’s easygoing [Read More...]