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June 18, 2017

‘On the Seventh Day’ Review: Jim McKay’s First Movie in a Decade is the Summer’s Surprise Crowdpleaser

The most satisfying aspect of “On the Seventh Day,” Jim McKay’s first feature in 12 years, stems from the way it combines a simple premise with profound concerns. Set across one week in the life of a Mexican immigrant in Brooklyn, it harkens back to classic neorealist traditions by providing a window into the everyday challenges of a lower-class existence all too often ignored in mainstream cinema. At the same time, it positions the drama as a feel-good crowdpleaser, a rousing sports movie about characters trapped by their surroundings and galvanized by their communal spirit.

It doesn’t take long to establish the plight of José (Fernando Cardona, a non-professional newcomer like the rest of the cast), who works a bland job as the deliveryman at a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens when he’s not leading his soccer team to a championship in the nearby neighborhood of Sunset Park. A good portion of the movie takes place against the backdrop of the borough’s expansive streets and brick buildings, with José speeding around the city and engaging with the various locals who define his constrained environment. As with Sean Baker’s 2005 “Take Out,” which portrayed the struggles of a Chinese deliveryman, “On the Seventh Day” is as much focused on sketching out a self-contained universe as it is with the conundrum that emerges from it.

See More: IndieWire’s 2005 Interview With Jim McKay

But eventually that conundrum takes centerstage. José follows a reliable schedule, juggling life with his fellow immigrants from Puebla, Mexico — most of whom live together in a crowded apartment — with his fast-paced job, and dreaming of bringing his pregnant wife to the U.S. But José’s stern white boss complicates José’s stable routine by demanding he work on the same Sunday that his team’s scheduling to play in the finals. That’s a week away, and as recurring title cards count down to the encroaching deadline, José winds up caught between personal and professional allegiances, unsure where to begin. His boss shows no pity, his team could care less about employment issues, and José feels the tug on both sides: He doesn’t want to let his pals down, but sees his current gig as the ideal route to getting papers — and bringing his wife into the country in the process.

This setup could easily cascade into heavy-handed sentimentalism, but McKay’s too skilled a filmmaker to let that happen. While he’s spent the last decade and change directing television, he first launched his career with the minority-centric New York stories “Our Song” (which starred a young Keri Washington as a Crown Heights teen) and the HBO movie “Everyday People.” His measured approach to developing José’s story treasures understatement over bigger gestures, and even the suspenseful finale as José’s deadline arrives feels like an organic outgrowth of the moments leading up to it.

If “On the Seventh Day” overglamorized its characters or reduced them to archetypes of the struggling underclass, it might be more obvious that this movie is directed by a white guy. But that potential hurdle recedes to the background as McKay works within the confines of his setting, never creating the sense of an outsider looking in.

More than once, he pauses the story to allow for fly-on-the-wall observation: When José contends with obnoxious customers, or pauses in the midst of a busy day to grab a cheap meal, the small details inform the broader portrait of a fragile existence on the fringes of a crowded society. But there are plenty of warmer moments to offset the possibility of a pity party, from the lively evening scenes as the soccer players hang together at home to José’s tender video chat with his faraway wife. This scene marks the sole moment when McKay cuts away from the Brooklyn setting, briefly showing the woman at an internet café in a fleeting reminder of the larger world that exists beyond José’s reaches.

“On the Seventh Day” is filled with little hints to the broader disconnect that José and his fellow immigrants experience from their surroundings. Dropping off one order at a boutique office, he exchanges pleasantries with the Mexican receptionist in Spanish, only to find that she shifts to English the moment her employers pass by (it’s ostensibly a kind of code-switching). In private conversations, José and his peers blend traditional Spanish with the Mixtec dialect of their native Puebla, a reminder of the complex roots that inform their identity — and just how much it differs from the posh, vanilla land of gentrification in which they struggle to survive.

But they struggle together, and “On the Seventh Day” primarily works so well because it relegates the white characters — saviors and non-saviors alike — to supporting roles. José and his peers aren’t minorities because the movie allows them to dominate the frame. The narrative belongs to the way they process the highs and lows of working on the sidelines of an economy ignorant to their concerns. Rejected by an ambivalent job market, they build their own path. José’s allegiance to this defiant attitude runs headlong into his apparent desire to plant deeper roots, and the muted actor’s never better than when this conundrum registers on his subdued face.

If “On the Seventh Day” has any major setbacks, they stem from cheap production values and some shaky performances that distract from the sturdy narrative at hand. José’s story has some obvious qualities, but that’s part of its charm. A fantasy version of the studio system might greenlight this kind of energizing sports movie; instead, it’s microbudgeted and looks like it. In most cases, however, the rough edges contribute to its authenticity.

Once the movie arrives at its brilliant climax, the cumulative effects of passing details lead to sweeping payoff. As José must finally choose between competing interests, his team hopes for a happy ending. “José will save the day,” one of them asserts. Without spoiling anything, the welcome surprise of “On the Seventh Day” is that it wrestles with what a happy ending actually looks like in these circumstances — and finds a reasonable happy medium instead.

Its final moment is a form of masterful understatement, with the camera lingering on a solitary mariachi singer belting out a soulful tune on an city street, as if competing for attention with the rush of urbanity around him. As McKay cuts to black, it’s unclear whether the singer or the city has the upper hand.

Grade: A-

“On the Seventh Day” premieres as the centerpiece screening of the 2017 BAMcinemaFEST. It is currently seeking distribution.

Source: IndieWire film

June 18, 2017

As If ‘Tickled’ Weren’t Already Strange Enough, a New Conspiracy Theory Has Emerged In the Wake of Its Subject’s Death

We should have known that the bizarre story behind “Tickled” wouldn’t stop with either the film’s release or its subject’s death. Months after David D’Amato — the man behind the Competitive Endurance Tickling empire that David Farrier and Dylan Reeve delve into in their compelling documentary — died, some continue to wonder: Did he really?

READ MORE: ‘Tickled’ Directors React to David D’Amato’s Death: It ‘Has Hit Us Pretty Hard’

The two filmmakers put that conspiracy theory to rest in a new article for the Spinoff, writing unequivocally that “D’Amato has indeed died” and even going so far as to provide a copy of his death certificate. With that cleared up, however, they’re left to question how his company Jane O’Brien Media persists now that its founder has departed this mortal coil.

As with everything else related to this endlessly strange saga, the answer is as confusing as it is clarifying. Farrier and Reeve assert that a man named Louis Peluso has picked up where D’Amato left off, and though several aspects of the new Jane O’Brien have improved on what came before — the young men featured in what amount to fetish-porn videos are no longer being referred to by their full names, nor are they being harassed — Peluso hasn’t responded to the filmmakers’ inquiries with any more enthusiasm than his predecessor.

READ MORE: David D’Amato, the Villain of ‘Tickled,’ ‘Died Suddenly’ at Age 55

“We joked at the start of this whole thing that it was a bit like stepping into a tickling wormhole,” they write at the end of their piece, which deserves to be read in full. “What we failed to grasp at the time is that wormholes aren’t exactly short. In fact, they can go on for billions of light years.” Sounds like fodder for another documentary.

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Source: IndieWire film

June 18, 2017

The Cult of Trash: How Do We Explain Our Taste for Really, Really Bad Movies?

You’re tearing us apart, Tommy!

The first time I ever saw the worst film ever made, I was with my brother and two of my cousins. We sat down in my living room in my old basement apartment, pulled up a pirated copy that was streaming on YouTube (because my efforts to buy it off of Amazon were unfruitful), and gazed in amazement while it played on a tiny sub-screen at 1.5x normal speed (typical format for pirated shit).

When the credits began to roll, we all just sat there, silent, awkward, and confused—confused by the absurdity of what we just consumed, but also confused by our genuine non-rejection of it, a non-rejection that quickly grew into full-blown love and then obsession. One of my cousins turned to me and asked, “What the f*** did we just watch?” I was like, “The Room.”

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Source: NoFilmSchool

June 18, 2017

Watch: Exploring the Power of the Match Cut

Find out how you can tell more dynamic stories with this slick editing technique.

Today is Father’s Day, and what better way to celebrate it than to recognize one of the major contributions of the Soviet daddies of modern editing. I mean, we all know it’s not the most glamorous job on a film production, but it is one of the most important. In fact, according to Soviet filmmakers in the 1920s, films are not made on the chaotic stages of a busy set, but in the quiet stillness of an editing room. It makes sense, though, because you can change the meaning of an entire scene simply by rearranging a couple of shots on a timeline. You can even alter how an audience perceives an actor’s performance by replacing one shot for another.

There is great, great power in editing, and in this video by Fandor, we get to see just how powerful it can be when you employ widely used editing techniques like the match cut and the graphic match.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

June 18, 2017

‘Cars 3’ is Stuck in Neutral, But ‘Wonder Woman’ and Tupac Shakur Come To the Rescue

Rough Night” described the box office this weekend for too many movies. “Cars 3” (Disney), Pixar’s latest animated entry, took the top spot — but fell below opening estimates. “The Mummy” continued its domestic unraveling, falling to $13 million and number 4 in its second weekend. And then there’s Sony’s “Rough Night” — the latest attempt to replicate the “Bridesmaids” R-rated female comedy magic, and latest to fall short.

Winners were “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.) at number two, and  two original, non-franchise films with Lionsgate’s Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez On Me” flying much higher than predicted, while the British sharks-in-the-water thriller “47 Meters Down” (Entertainment Studios) scored a surprisingly strong $11.5 million.

Next week, expect another sequelitis outbreak with “Transformers: The Last Knight” (Paramount, fifth in the series) the sole wide opener next week on Wednesday. “Despicable Me 3” (Universal), actually the fourth in its franchise, opens the following week; a few countries have opened already, with results on par with past entries.

All Eyez On Me

“All Eyez on Me”

Open Road Films

The Top Ten

1. Cars 3 (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 59; Est. budget: $175 million

$53,547,000 in 4,256 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $; Cumulative: $53,547,000

2. Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$40,775,000 (-30%) in 4,018 theaters (-147); PTA: $10,148; Cumulative: $274,602,000

3. All Eyez On Me (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 52; Est. budget: $40 million

$27,050,000 in 2,471 theaters; PTA: $10,947; Cumulative: $27,050,000

4. The Mummy (Universal) Week  2; Last weekend #2

$13,916,000 (-56%) in 4,034 theaters (-1); PTA: $3,450; Cumulative: $56,527,000

5. 47 Meters Down (Entertainment Studios) NEW – Cinemascore: C; Metacritic: 40; Est. budget: $

$11,500,000 in 2,270 theaters; PTA: $5,066; Cumulative: $11,500,000

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney)  Week 4; Last weekend #4

$8,458,000 (-21%) in 2,759 theaters (-920); PTA: $3,066; Cumulative: $150,066,000

7. Rough Night (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $20 million

$8,040,000 in 3,162 theaters; PTA: $2,543; Cumulative: $8,040,000

8. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$7,350,000 (-40%) in 2,968 theaters (-561); PTA: $2,476; Cumulative: $57,694,000

9. Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #5

$4,982,000 (-21%) in 1,813 theaters (-1,098); PTA: $2,748; Cumulative: $374,853,000

10. It Comes at Night (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #6

$2,617,000 (-57%) in 2,450 theaters (-83); PTA: $1,068; Cumulative: $11,140,000

“Wonder Woman”

Clay Enos

The Takeaways

Summer Struggles Continue

With a $178 million Top 10 total, this was the fourth-biggest weekend of 2017. That’s a modest achievement for a date that has seen the figure land far on the other side of $200 million.

It’s a bit unfair to compare to last year, when Pixar’s “Finding Dory” exploded to a $135 million start. The “Cars” series has never been a record breaker at the box office; merchandising is another story.

Not that it helps theaters; they can’t sell any merchandise, branded or otherwise, if they don’t get people through the doors. The $53 million initial weekend is by far the weakest of the series; adjusted, the first two opened to $81 million and $73 million. That’s more than a 25 percent fall from “Cars 2” in 2011 (on a similar date).

To date, 2017 is still up slightly in revenues, with ticket sales down a fraction. After “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7) and “War for Planet of the Apes” (July 14), most of the release schedule consists of freestanding projects; the risk is there’s no built-in audience for most of them.

“Cars 3”

Where “Cars 3” Stands Among Pixar Releases

Pixar is now as likely to be mentioned as Disney as the leader among American animation studios; their Oscar haul and 18 years of strong box office make them an undisputed model in the field. But they no longer are king of the hill as Universal’s Illumination Entertainment, without the hype and much lower cost, has come on strong in recent years.

At $53 million, “Cars 3” is in line with “The Boss Baby” and “The LEGO Batman Movie,” both considered successes for DreamWorks and Warners Animation — but far below not only “Finding Dory” but also “The Secret Life of Pets.” Those were the two most-touted animated releases of last summer, which is the role “Cars 3” and “Despicable Me 3” play this year.

But what’s most telling is where it stands among Pixar’s films: It is their second-lowest opening ever in adjusted grosses. The only one that made less was last fall’s “The Good Dinosaur.” It did $39 million — but that came after already playing two days, for a five-day total of $55 million.

For a movie with a reported $175 million production budget, and prime playtime slot, this is not good — not that it really matters for Pixar. Any sort of normal multiple should get this to $160 million domestic, and “Cars 2” (which opened in June 2011, before the explosion in foreign grosses) did two-thirds of its business overseas. So “Cars 3” could head to a $500 million worldwide gross.

Throw in their lucrative toy and other revenues, and they’ll be fine. But for U.S. theaters, the luster is off the brand. Better days ahead though: Pixar has claimed the date for the next two years with “The Incredibles 2” and “Toy Story 4.”

“47 Meters Down”

Tough Indie Productions “All Eyez On Me” and “47 Meters” Pay Off

Plans for a Tupac Shakur biopic go back to 2008, going through several top name African-American directors, multiple producers, financing sources, and complications over music rights. That pent-up demand and Tupac’s enduring appeal led to an elevated $12 million initial gross, which fell 40 percent Saturday. (“Straight Outta Compton” fell 20 percent). The number is higher than anticipated, but not a surprise. With strong African-American support, “Central Intelligence” opened to $35 million this weekend in 2016.

Up next: How a rival distributor took advantage of Dimension Films’ mistake

Source: IndieWire film

June 18, 2017

The Onion Explains Why There Are So Few Women Directors in Hollywood — Watch

Never one to shy away from hot-button issues, the Onion has now seen fit to chime in on one of Hollywood’s most heated debates: the paucity of female filmmakers. A new video finds one Shaun Ditko, the Onion’s critic-at-large, offering a simple solution to a complex problem: “There just simply isn’t enough chocolate on set to keep them happy.”

READ MORE: ‘Wonder Woman’: What Does One Great Female Superhero Mean For the Future of the Genre? — Analysis

“How does Hollywood expect to be more inclusive when a woman’s need to always have chocolate treats available to keep her calm and content goes completely ignored?” she asks as images of Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and Ava DuVernay appear onscreen. A lack of chocolate-covered cherries isn’t the only barrier to entry, Ditko explains, as the film industry likewise fails to provide an adequate amount of silk pajamas, fuzzy slippers and seaweed-infused facial masks on set.

READ MORE: Cannes 2017: Sofia Coppola Makes History as the Second Female Filmmaker to Win Best Director

Until such a time as these humble request are met, she assures us, “progress is at a standstill.” Watch the video below and ponder Poe’s law.

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Source: IndieWire film

June 18, 2017

Rob Schneider Blocking Seth Rogen on Twitter Is Pretty Funny, but Not as Funny as These Responses to the Drama

In hindsight, Twitter was probably a bad idea. When Donald Trump isn’t lying about his poll numbers and film critics aren’t arguing about movies they’ve yet to see, pettiness is still afoot — like, for instance, Rob Schneider blocking Seth Rogen. The move apparently came as a surprise to Rogen, who tweeted a screenshot of Schneider’s blocked profile along with the exclamation, “What the fuck?!”

READ MORE: Seth Rogen Gets ‘Inception’-ed, Carrie Coon Loves the Public Theater — The Week in Showrunner Tweets

To be sure, there are many valid reasons to block someone on Twitter. Harassment runs rampant on the egg-filled social-media platform, which frequently (and justifiably) takes heat for how slow to act it is on such matters. But if the star of “Knocked Up” and “Neighbors” has done anything to earn the ire of Deuce Bigalow himself, he isn’t sharing that information with us.

READ MORE: Sony Plans to Release ‘Clean Versions’ of Movies Like ‘Step Brothers,’ And Seth Rogen Is Pissed Off About It

Luckily, a number of other actors and comedians chimed in with their own responses to the online drama, all of which made the situation significantly funnier:

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Source: IndieWire film

June 18, 2017

5 Camera Techniques That Will Help You Get Rid of Double Chin Drama

A few simple tricks can solve all of your double chin problems.

If you’re the proud owner of a double chin like I am, you know exactly how to minimize its glorious dominance on-camera. Most filmmakers and photographers know the high-angle trick, capturing your subject from above eye-level, but that’s not the only option you have. In this helpful tutorial, the Koldunov Brothers show you five ways to reduce the appearance of your subject’s double chin using camera placement, lighting, and lens choice. Check it out below:

Here are the five techniques the Koldunov Brothers mention in the video:

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Source: NoFilmSchool

June 17, 2017

Meet Arsenal, the 'Intelligent Camera Assistant' That Helps You Take the Perfect Shot

This wireless camera controller never wants you to miss out on the perfect shot again.

There are tons of wireless camera controllers out there that allow you to change your camera’s settings from the comfort of your own smartphone, but engineer Ryan Stout aims to take these kinds of devices to the next level.

Meet Arsenal, the “world’s first intelligent assistant for DSLR and mirrorless cameras.” This interesting little device not only allows you to control your camera wirelessly through an app on your phone, but its advanced machine learning algorithms actually help you capture better images. It does this through its “settings asssistant AI,” which can optimize your camera settings based on your shooting conditions (18 different factors), as well as the millions of high-quality photos it has been trained to compare your shot with using the same algorithm used in self driving cars.

Clearly there’s something about this device that has gotten the photo/film community in a serious tizzy. With four days left in it’s Kickstarter campaign, Arsenal has raised over $1.7 million.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

June 17, 2017

Watch: How to Capture Different Emotions with Different Lenses

There’s no such thing as the “right” lens, just the “right” lens for your story.

Your job as a filmmaker is not just to capture images that are beautiful, but to capture images that tell stories. There are many ways to do this through composition, color, and camera movement, but what about lenses? What kinds of lenses should you use to evoke certain emotional responses?

In this video, Matti Haapoja of Travel Feels explains how different lenses inspire different emotions in audiences and how you can use them to tell better stories.

Before you ever choose which lenses you’re going to use for a scene you’re should always ask yourself this question first: “What mood and/or emotion am I trying to create?” Once you nail that down, it’s just a matter of understanding how different lenses change the relationship between the subject and the background, as well as which lenses produce which feelings and tones.

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Source: NoFilmSchool