- Above: David Bordwell drops science on that horrific and longstanding practice we know as "Pan & Scan."
- Joining President Darren Aronofsky on the International Jury at the Berlinale next month are the following: Daniel Brühl, Bong Joon-ho, Martha De Laurentiis, Claudia Llosa, Audrey Tautou, and Matthew Weiner.
- For Grantland, Steven Hyden has written a wonderful article on Gene Hackman:
"He couldn’t have planned it this way, but Hackman had aged into a screen persona — he looked like he had spent years driving a truck or working as a doorman before lucking into the movies, because that’s basically what had happened. Hackman might’ve studied the Method under Lee Strasberg (“He played with people’s heads a lot,” he recalled derisively of Strasberg in 2001), but he could just be and be authentic onscreen."
- Jafar Panahi's Taxi, the third film of his to premiere since he was banned from directing in Iran, is set to debut at the Berlinale next month. The filmmaker has issued a statement on his situation:
“Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge."
- Above: Paul Clipson's 16mm IFFR film The Liquid Casket / Wilderness of Mirrors.
- Louis C.K. has released a new comedy special, "Live at the Comedy Store", available to download from his site for five dollars.
- A sane voice amid the masses, Outlaw Vern has a sharp and thoughtful (non-extremist) take on Clint Eastwood's American Sniper.
- Over at The Seventh Art, you can watch experimental filmmaker Blake Williams' short film, No Signal, and read an interview.
- Above: occasioned by The Criterion Collection's release of Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story, Chuck Stephens lovingly assembles an annotated gallery of the various recognizable faces from the film.
- For The New York Times, Manohla Dargis writes on women struggling and succeeding in Hollywood:
"The American movie mainstream needs a revolution — and if some women have their way, it just might get one. It’s time. Not because Ava DuVernay wasn’t tapped as a best director in the recent Academy Award nominations, even though her acclaimed movie “Selma” received a best picture nod. There has been a lot of speculation about the snub, but the reasons are less crucial than the message that the largely white, male directors in the Academy sent: This woman doesn’t deserve credit for her own movie. Women in film are routinely denied jobs, credits, prizes and equal pay, so the rebuke was familiar. That’s because while individual men struggle in the industry, women struggle as a group."
- Above: Smog Journeys, a new short film by Jia Zhangke produced by Greenpeace.
- For The Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs has an insightful piece on Michael Mann's Blackhat.
- Above: the poster for Nathan Silver's Stinking Heaven, which just premiered at Rotterdam.