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May 13, 2013

Trailer: Fruitvale Station

A dramatization of the last day of Oscar Grant's life (played by Friday Night Lights and The Wire alum, Michael B. Jordan) before he was shot to death by a cop while laying face down on the ground at the eponymous Fruitvale BART station here in Oakland.

May 10, 2013

This fourth-grader in New York made a secret documentary about how awful his school lunches are

The menu was designed by celebrities. The food was free. But somewhere between the planning and the execution the zesty sauces, whole grains, and garden fresh vegetables turned into a plate of soggy deep-fried cheese. The Michael Moore of the Grade-School Lunchroom - NYTimes.com
The film offers no shortage of examples. On a day advertising “cheesy lasagna rolls with tomato basil sauce, roasted spinach with garlic and herbs,” for instance, Zachary is handed a plastic-wrapped grilled cheese sandwich on an otherwise bare plastic foam tray. A “Pasta Party” is described as “zesty Italian meatballs with tomato-basil sauce, whole grain pasta, Parmesan cheese and roasted capri vegetables.” Meatballs and pasta show up on the tray, if none too zesty-looking, but the vegetables are nowhere to be seen. Salads devised by the Food Network chefs Rachael Ray and Ellie Krieger are similarly plagued by missing ingredients. On the day Ms. Ray’s “Yum-O! Marinated Tomato Salad” is listed, Zachary is served a slice of pizza accompanied by a wisp of lettuce. Ms. Krieger’s “Tri-color Salad” is a no-show on one day it is promised, and on another, it lacks its cauliflower, broccoli and red peppers. The shreds of lettuce and slice of cucumber could still be described as tri-color, Zachary points out, if you count “green, light green and brown.” Indeed, among the 75 lunches that Zachary recorded – chosen randomly, he swears – he found the menus to be “substantially” accurate, with two or more of the advertised menu items served, only 51 percent of the time. The menus were “totally” accurate, with all of the advertised items served, only 16 percent of the time. And by Zachary’s count, 28 percent of the lunches he recorded were built around either pizza or cheese sticks.

May 08, 2013

Advertising that displays different messages to children and adults

What's most interesting isn't the technology (which is more than...

Trailer: The World's End

From the folks that made SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ. This just looks really stellar.

May 06, 2013

This man is why most Hollywood films are terrible

Soderberg just gave this keynote speech at the SFIFF here. It was rambly, but he made a big deal bout the difference between cinema and movies. Cinema is the product of an artist with vision. Movies are made by committees and focus groups and script doctors and ultimately are products designed for mass consumption. This guy here in the article is part of the machine that turns original ideas into samey pablum. Solving Equation of a Hit Film Script, With Data - NYTimes.com
A chain-smoking former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese — “the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood,” in the words of one studio customer — has started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers. What do you like? What should be changed? “Demons in horror movies can target people or be summoned,” Mr. Bruzzese said in a gravelly voice, by way of example. “If it’s a targeting demon, you are likely to have much higher opening-weekend sales than if it’s summoned. So get rid of that Ouija Board scene.” Bowling scenes tend to pop up in films that fizzle, Mr. Bruzzese, 39, continued. Therefore it is statistically unwise to include one in your script. “A cursed superhero never sells as well as a guardian superhero,” one like Superman who acts as a protector, he added. His recommendations, delivered in a 20- to 30-page report, might range from minor tightening to substantial rewrites: more people would relate to this character if she had a sympathetic sidekick, for instance. Script “doctors,” as Hollywood refers to writing consultants, have long worked quietly on movie assembly lines. But many top screenwriters — the kind who attain exalted status in the industry, even if they remain largely unknown to the multiplex masses — reject Mr. Bruzzese’s statistical intrusion into their craft. “This is my worst nightmare” said Ol Parker, a writer whose film credits include “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” “It’s the enemy of creativity, nothing more than an attempt to mimic that which has worked before. It can only result in an increasingly bland homogenization, a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road.”