How the CIA Helped Shape the Creative Writing Scene in America

In May of 1967,” writes Patrick Iber at The Awl, “a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in the Saturday Evening Post under the headline, ‘I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral.’” With the hard-boiled tone one might expect from a spy, but the candor one may not, Braden revealed the Agency’s funding and support of all kinds of individuals and activities, including, perhaps most controversially, in the arts. Against objections that so many artists and writers were socialists, Braden writes, “in much of Europe in the 1950’s [socialists] were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.” Whatever truth there is to Read More

‘Star Trek: TNG’ Home For Sale In Malibu, Part Of ‘The Survivors’ Episode

If you are a Trekker with a spare $5.695 million, you could acquire a cool Star Trek:The Next Generation souvenir. A Malibu, CA home that was the centerpiece of a SNG season three episode called The Survivors is on the market. In the episode, a rescue party from the USS Enterprise answer a distress call coming from a seemingly deserted planet. There, they discover an elderly couple who appear to have survived a world- devastating disaster. Later in the episode, the truth behind their survival comes out. The Malibu house and its grounds were depicted as surrounded by devastation through the magic of television in the episode. The actual Read More

Deliverance Actor Still A Mountain Man Over 45 Years Later

It’s been over 45 years since Deliverance made movie theaters squeal. The actor who played a notorious hillbilly villain is still a naturally entertaining character in Appalachia. In the hills of Haywood County, North Carolina, you’ll find a gate with a sign that warns “trespassers will be shot and survivors will be shot again.” Behind the gate is the home of a real rapid-fire character by the name of Herbert “Cowboy” Coward. Now in his 80s, a white beard is a steady source of entertainment. Cowboy constantly cracks jokes while shuffling around his property with a six-year-old pet squirrel named “Angel” on his shoulder. “I love my Read More

Burt Reynolds’ Car Collection Headed to Auction in Las Vegas

Fans of Burt Reynolds have the chance to own a piece of movie history with the late actor’s incredible car collection heading to the famed Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas later this month. The actor, who died earlier this month at the age of 82, left behind some iconic film memorabilia in the form of replicas of the cars he drove during some of his most famous films. While the studios kept the originals — or they did not make it out in one piece after shooting — the actor told Barrett-Jackson Auction’s website, prior to his death, that he had the vehicles commissioned because he “always Read More

‘Empire Strikes Back’ Poster Sells at Auction for $26,400

The poster features Han Solo and Princess Leia in an embrace similar to one from a ‘Gone With the Wind’ poster. A rare draft poster for the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back has sold at auction for $26,400. Heritage Auctions says a long-time pop culture collector who wished to remain anonymous made the winning bid Sunday in the Dallas auction. The poster features Han Solo and Princess Leia in an embrace similar to one from a Gone With the Wind poster featuring Rhett Butler carrying Scarlett O’Hara while surrounded by flames. Grey Smith, Heritage’s director of vintage posters, says the draft poster for the 1980 Read More

Brady Bunch Home For Sale, Doesn’t Look Like You Thought

The home featured in the opening and closing scenes of “The Brady Bunch” is for sale for $1.885 million. Records show George and Violet McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1973 for $61,000. Real estate agent Ernie Carswell tells the Los Angeles Times the house has been updated and upgraded, but the interior layout does not resemble what was featured on the show, which ran from 1969 to 1974. Interior scenes were shot in a studio. Carswell says a rock-wall fireplace, wood-paneled walls and floral wallpaper are vintage touches of what homes looked like in the 1970s. The agent Read More

How Drones Are Revolutionizing the Way Film and Television Is Made

Around the time Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the Mona Lisa, he was also writing his Codex on the Flight of Birds, a roughly 35,000-word exploration of the ways in which man might take to the air. His illustrations included diagrams positing pre-Newtonian theories of physics, a rudimentary plan for a flying machine and many, many sketches of birds in flight. The Mona Lisa, with her secretive smile, is a universe of intimacy captured on a relatively small panel of wood. But the landscape behind his captivating subject shows the world as you would see it from atop a tall hill—or from the vantage point you would Read More

The Aesthetics of Film Festival Posters: An Essay And Study In Design

The very first film festival poster, for the very first film festival—the 1932 International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art at the 18th Venice Biennale, or what would become the Venice Film Festival—set the tone for the next 80 years of film festival graphic design. A film reel, mounted on a projector, stands triumphantly just below the winged lion of the Piazetta di San Marco; two signifiers in one space: the idea of cinema and the locale of the festival. For the next 80 years, until the demise of celluloid, and no doubt even beyond, the film reel or the film strip, usually coupled with some local landmark, has Read More

Oscar Winning Short Films Are An Average of 23 Minutes Long, This Is Why

When in discussion with people about short film length, people always come up with these rules like 9-12 minutes is ideal. Now this is nonsense – a short film needs to be as long as the story needs. Whether that’s 9 minutes or 40 minutes. So I decided late one night to just start looking at the list of Oscar Nominated movies… just digging through the past five years, I discovered that the average nominated short film was 19.3 minutes. In the morning, instead of getting “actual work” done, I decided to comb through all the Oscar Winners, put their run times in an excel spreadsheet and Read More

A Movie Lover’s Look Inside Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema

Magic hour in Los Angeles can be intoxicating in the dreamy haze of dusk, skies aglow in pinks and purples like a gauzy scene straight out of the pictures. At the New Beverly Cinema, the last pure bastion for 35-mm film in La La Land, the sun fades into extra romance every night for movie lovers waiting outside the box office under its iconic red-lettered marquee. On a recent Friday at magic hour, standing patiently in line for a standby ticket to a sold-out double feature of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985) and “Ed Wood” (1994), is cinephile Cody Chavez, 27, who sports a homemade Pee-wee Herman costume Read More