Tuesday, August 30

The Debunker: Was "The Jazz Singer" the First Sound Film?

by Ken Jennings

This is the season of Hollywood's unrestrained id: the brainless summer blockbuster, the air-conditioned multiplex, the bottomless popcorn refills, the avalanche of kids emerging blinking into bright sunlight, waiting for their parental pickup. But August is also the anniversary of the movies themselves! It was on August 31, 1897 that Thomas Edison patented his first movie camera, the Kinetograph. In honor of 119 years of cinematic glitz and glamour, we've asked movie buff and Jeopardy! tough Ken Jennings to give us the "reel" truth on all kinds of old-movie misinformation.

The Debunker: Was The Jazz Singer the First Sound Film?

Every time the deafening THX or Dolby Digital logo appears on the screen of my neighborhood theater, I kneel down in my row and say a quick thank-you prayer to the makers of Hollywood's first "talkie," without which none of this would be possible. Thank you, movie gods, for…1928's Lights of New York. Oh, you thought I was talking about The Jazz Singer? Wait a minute, wait a minute—you ain't heard nothing yet.

read more…

 

Tuesday, August 23

The Debunker: Was Ronald Reagan the First Choice to Star in "Casablanca"?

by Ken Jennings

This is the season of Hollywood's unrestrained id: the brainless summer blockbuster, the air-conditioned multiplex, the bottomless popcorn refills, the avalanche of kids emerging blinking into bright sunlight, waiting for their parental pickup. But August is also the anniversary of the movies themselves! It was on August 31, 1897 that Thomas Edison patented his first movie camera, the Kinetograph. In honor of 119 years of cinematic glitz and glamour, we've asked movie buff and Jeopardy! tough Ken Jennings to give us the "reel" truth on all kinds of old-movie misinformation.

The Debunker: Was Ronald Reagan the First Choice to Star in Casablanca?

It's one of the most storied "what if"s in Hollywood history: what if the most iconic screen role of the 1940s, the world-weary Rick Blaine in Casablanca, had been played by not by Humphrey Bogart but by a different actor? Furthermore, what if that actor had been genial future president Ronald Reagan? Reagan, according to movie lore, was Warner Brothers's first choice for the project.

read more…

 

Tuesday, August 16

The Debunker: Do Movies Work Through "Persistence of Vision"?

by Ken Jennings

This is the season of Hollywood's unrestrained id: the brainless summer blockbuster, the air-conditioned multiplex, the bottomless popcorn refills, the avalanche of kids emerging blinking into bright sunlight, waiting for their parental pickup. But August is also the anniversary of the movies themselves! It was on August 31, 1897 that Thomas Edison patented his first movie camera, the Kinetograph. In honor of 119 years of cinematic glitz and glamour, we've asked movie buff and Jeopardy! tough Ken Jennings to give us the "reel" truth on all kinds of old-movie misinformation.

The Debunker: Do Movies Work Through "Persistence of Vision"?

Nearly every work on film theory begins with one starting principle: that the illusion of motion in motion pictures is only possible through a phenomenon called "persistence of vision." This was a turn-of-the-century attempt to explain the miracle that makes cinema possible: images flash on a screen, and even though they don't move, our brain believes they do. Psychologists decided that something called "persistence of vision" must be involved: some kind of retinal after-image in the eye itself weaves the still images together into a moving whole.

read more…

 

Tuesday, August 09

The Debunker: What Kind Of Animal Roars At The Start Of The MGM Movies?

by Ken Jennings

This is the season of Hollywood's unrestrained id: the brainless summer blockbuster, the air-conditioned multiplex, the bottomless popcorn refills, the avalanche of kids emerging blinking into bright sunlight, waiting for their parental pickup. But August is also the anniversary of the movies themselves! It was on August 31, 1897 that Thomas Edison patented his first movie camera, the Kinetograph. In honor of 119 years of cinematic glitz and glamour, we've asked movie buff and Jeopardy! tough Ken Jennings to give us the "reel" truth on all kinds of old-movie misinformation.

The Debunker: What Kind Of Animal Roars At The Start Of The MGM Movies?

In 1924, theater magnate Marcus Loew merged his Metro Pictures with two other movie production companies belonging to Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer. The result was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the biggest and most legendary star factory of the Hollywood "studio era." MGM's marketing genius was a man named Howard Dietz, who had been Sam Goldwyn's director of publicity and advertising. Dietz was an alumnus of Columbia University, and adapted the Columbia lion mascot into Leo the Lion, who's now been roaring away for almost a century at the start of MGM movies, from Ben-Hur to Spectre.

read more…

 

Thursday, May 05

 

Wednesday, August 13

 

Wednesday, July 23

 

Thursday, March 13

The Trivial Eye: Basketball Movies

by Jason Toon

The likes of Eight Men Out and The Blind Side notwithstanding, basketball tops every sport on the silver screen. The back-and-forth scoring, the spectacular jumps and shots, the buzzer-beaters from halfcourt, the complex interplay of class and race: it's all made for the movies. Before the real basketball drama starts unfolding next week, can you identify these eight hoops films by their posters or DVD covers?

read more…

 

Thursday, March 06

The Trivial Eye: Foreign Posters for Hollywood Movies

by Jason Toon

These days, the posters for Hollywood movies usually look pretty much the same everywhere, except for the language. But there was a time when it was more common for local distributors and exhibitors put together their own posters to appeal to local audiences. And their re-imaginings can be more interesting than the movies themselves. Sometimes they'd interpret the movie's theme symbolically. Sometimes they'd latch on to some detail that the American producers considered secondary. Sometimes they'd take a completely different tone or visual style. And sometimes they'd make some crap up and hope it got people in the door. Can you recognize any of these well-known Hollywood flicks from their foreign posters?

read more…

 

Friday, February 28

Movie-Awards-That-Happen-This-Weekend Bingo!

by Team Chuckle

Are you sick of watching boring television programs in the age of video games? Tired of never-ending speeches and shots of Jack Nicholson trying not to fall asleep? Hey, this year, why not make the O████s fun again? Why not join us in a few games of BINGO?

 

We've put together one two three four different Bingo cards, so you and those you love can compete to see who is the best person in the history of ever. Print 'em out, hand 'em out, fill the spaces and cheer!

Just, whatever you do, don't say their actual given name. Sheesh. It's like they're Voldemort or something.

read more…