Tag Archives: orson welles

Special Effects: Why They Look Right When They Look Right

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The late, great Ray Harryhausen. (1920-2013)

When I was a little kid my grandpa showed me King Kong, the 1933 one.  King Kong doesn’t look real, but it looks good, because it looks right.  Looking ‘right’ is the key.

Special effects are perhaps film’s biggest point of separation from the other arts.  In literature, if you want a monster in your story, you just describe it.  But a movie has to convince you what you’re looking at is real, even when you’re looking at the most not real things humans can dream up.  This takes a perfect synthesis of human imagination, technology, and innovation.
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10 Great YouTube Movies You May Not Have Seen

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A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)

It’s sort of hard to remember now how difficult it used to be to watch movies. You, like I, may have foggy memories of a bygone era when you had to go to movies, or work around their timetables on TV, or cruise through seedy rental houses. But the bad old days are over and I for one have no nostalgia. We’re blessed. Hell, I have a hard drive that just a few years ago would’ve probably been one of the most impressive rare film archives in the state. Our access to previously unavailable or underavailable films is dizzying.

Ubu, The Internet Archive, Dailymotion, The Warner Archive. Use ’em all, love ’em all. But the king of the mountain is still YouTube. There are untold thousands of rare film on YouTube. Let’s check a few out:
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An Interview with B-Movie Filmmaker Jack Perez

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You might not have heard of Jack Perez, or his many aliases, but you’ve probably heard of his work.  Jack directed Wild Things 2 for TriStar and the pilot for the popular cult TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. His film Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus is a staple of the B-movie resurgence of the last decade.

Jack has one of the rarest jobs on earth—he’s a working director in Hollywood.  The DGA represents just over 14,000 directors.  They say in SAG about 5% of the union is working—I’d probably halve that when talking about the DGA.  And remember, for every one of those 14,000 there is literally thousands upon thousands of people dying to get in.  Directing is an elusive job, everybody knows a director makes a movie but almost nobody—lay people and cinephiles alike—really have any idea about what the job actually entails.
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