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4:00 PM on 10.22.2014

Review Companion: An analysis of theatre and cinema in Alejandro Iñárritu's Birdman

I love Birdman. A lot. If you don’t believe me, go look at my ludicrously positive review. Even if you do believe me, you should do so anyway, because this is a companion (and not a replacement) to that piece. But unlik...

Alec Kubas-Meyer


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Interview: Adam Saunders, producer and CEO of Footprint Features photo
Interview: Adam Saunders, producer and CEO of Footprint Features
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

The role of a producer has always been kind of opaque to me. I just fundamentally get what directors do, cinematographers do, writers, etc., but "Producer" is such a broad term and encompasses so many things. For that reasons, I've tended to shie away from talking to them, because I just didn't really get it. But I got the chance to talk to producer Adam Saunders, CEO of Footprint Features, and I got a bit more of a glimpse into the day-to-day work of what is really a crucial role on set.

So that was pretty cool. And talking to him was cool in general. He's a fast-talker and ridiculously enthusiastic, both of which are pretty good traits for a producer to have.

It's worth noting that this interview was actually conducted a little while ago, during the media blitz for the release of Footprint's most recent film, About Alex. The content of the interview itself is not particularly time sensitive, though, so what he said then certainly still applies now.

Let's get to it!

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Flixist Discusses: An analysis of David Fincher's Gone Girl (Part 2) photo
Flixist Discusses: An analysis of David Fincher's Gone Girl (Part 2)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Welcome to part two of our two-part discussion of David Fincher's Gone Girl. If you missed part one, I highly recommend checking it out. This is a direct continuation of the dialogue that special guest Hubert Vigilla and I have already begun, so we're jumping right on in.

For those who are just joining us, though, welcome to the Flixist Discusses analysis of Gone Girl. We are spoiling the heck out of the film, so if you haven't seen it, you should stop right here. And it's not just about ruining the big twists; you won't even have a point of reference for what we're talking if you haven't seen the film.

But let's just get to it, shall we?

[For the next few weeks, Flixist will be covering the 52nd New York Film Festival. More information can be found here, and all of our coverage can be found here.]

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Flixist Discusses: An analysis of David Fincher's Gone Girl (Part 1) photo
Flixist Discusses: An analysis of David Fincher's Gone Girl (Part 1)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is The Big Thing right now, and rightly so. It's a great film, and it's one that deserves to be considered in depth. Given how significant the narrative curveballs the film throws are to its overall impact, my review was forcibly cut back in order to remain spoiler free. But I had plenty left to say, and this discussion comes with a massive spoiler warning. You really shouldn't read this unless you've seen the movie. 

I am joined by former Flixist News Editor Hubert Vigilla, now a contributor over at Unseen Films. The two of us attended the same screening at the new York Film Festival, and though we talked about it pretty extensively at dinner afterwards, as well as in our respective reviews (his can be found here), we decided to keep it going here afterwards.

And we just kind of kept going, to the point where we are breaking this conversation up into two parts solely for the sake of readability. The discussion hits a whole lot of topics, but though we reference other shows, films, etc. there are no spoilers other than those for Gone Girl

Enjoy.

[For the next few weeks, Flixist will be covering the 52nd New York Film Festival. More information can be found here, and all of our coverage can be found here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Deciding on the rewards photo
How I did Kickstarter: Deciding on the rewards
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Each of these posts have made reference to how important any given aspect of the Kickstarter project is. The pitch text is the most important, but so is the video! And also the goal. And while all of that is true, none of it matters if you don't have good rewards. The rewards are the things that will really define just how much money you get. Some people don't care about rewards, and they will give you a certain amount of money whether they get something out of it or not, but many will define their contributions based on what they're getting out of it. 

I couldn't count on two hands the numbers of times I've considered backing a Kickstarter but never did so because I wasn't interested in the rewards. Kickstarter may not be a store, but it is a marketplace. And everyone in that marketplace needs to have something worth selling at a price worth paying.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Making the pitch video photo
How I did Kickstarter: Making the pitch video
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

While I would say that the written pitch is probably the most important part of a Kickstarter project, the video is definitely the face of it. And it’s also vital. While you aren’t required to have a pitch video, campaigns that do use them raise 40% more than those that don’t. Even if you don’t know much about video editing, it’s highly recommended that you have some kind of something.

With any kind of video project, it’s all but mandatory. I couldn’t imagine funding a film that wasn’t accompanies by some kind of basic proof of competence. So for Reel, we knew we had to do something. And what we ended up with wasn’t particularly fancy or high tech, but it was what we were looking for.

Here’s what we did, how we did it, and why we did it that way.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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Views Askew: Growing Up on Kevin Smith photo
Views Askew: Growing Up on Kevin Smith
by Sean Walsh

[Back in June 2012, we had Kevin Smith Week to celebrate his new Hulu show, Spoilers. What with his new movie Tusk hitting theaters this week, it felt apropos to repost the article, with a new entry for the new film.]

Y'know, I don't exactly remember when or where the first time I saw a Kevin Smith movie was. If I had to warrant a guess, it would've been Mallrats in the living room of my old house, the house where I spent my formative years absorbing as much pop culture as possible (not much has changed). What I do know for sure is that while growing up, the View Askewniverse was as much a part of me as pineapple calzones, Hawaiian shirts, and an inflated ego.

Of course, as one grows up, things change. They mature, develop, become an adult. I haven't had a pineapple calzonne since I don't know when, I haven't purchased a Hawaiian shirt since before I graduated high school in 2005, my ego has deflated (a little bit, at least), and Kevin Smith is no longer a vital part of my DNA. But for a good long while, he was my film god. Join me, if you would, on this personal journey into the past to examine the impact the man and his movies had on my life throughout high school and up through the present. We'll laugh, we'll cry, we'll reflect on the zen of "snoochie boochies*."

*That last bit probably isn't true.

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How I did Kickstarter: Writing the pitch photo
How I did Kickstarter: Writing the pitch
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

When you go to a Kickstarter page, what's the first thing you do? I always read (or at least skim) the text of their pitch. If it looks interesting, I'll read through it properly. If not, I'm not going to back it. If I see the project's video embedded on a different site, maybe I'll watch that first, but the text is always more important to me. 

So when I sat down to write the pitch for Reel, I had to make something that would appeal to me. But this campaign wasn't really written for me; it's for you. That means what I really had to make was something that appealed to everyone else.

I’ve gotten great feedback on the whole, so I guess I succeeded. Head below for a deeper look at that process.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Avoiding content-specific stretch goals photo
How I did Kickstarter: Avoiding content-specific stretch goals
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Another few days, another few backers. Seriously, this is one of the most stressful things I've ever done in my life, and I can't even imagine what it would be like on a larger scale. In the grand scheme of things, $3,500 is really not that much money. It's not like we're asking for $35,000 or $350,000 like some projects do.

This post is only sort of about my Kickstarter. It's a bit more focused on a broader trend in crowdfunded projects in general that makes me sad. It applies more heavily to video games than movies, but it definitely applies to movies as well. The issue at hand? Content-focused stretch goals.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Choosing a goal (and considering stretches) photo
How I did Kickstarter: Choosing a goal (and considering stretches)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

We're now a week into our Kickstarter, and it's been pretty crazy. As of this writing, we've made more than one-third of our goal, which is fantastic. If we can keep up this momentum during the lull that always befalls projects in the middle of their campaign, then we'll breeze past no problem. More likely we hit that lull and then make a mad dash at the end.

But let's talk about that goal. It's the most fundamental part of any Kickstarter campaign, and it is the metric by which a Kickstarter's success is defined. We have asked for $3,500 to help us create Reel. Here is how we came up with that number and why we went with it.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Five things I wish I knew before starting photo
How I did Kickstarter: Five things I wish I knew before starting
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

My friend and I launched our Kickstarter four days ago. A lot has happened since then, some behind the scenes and some exceedingly public. Through all of that, a few lovely people (primarily friends and family) have already helped us achieve a not-insignificant portion of our goal.

It's exciting. Really exciting. But it's also been extremely stressful for a whole host of reasons. The biggest is that trying to crowdfund is simply a unique experience, and one that it's difficult to really prepare for. But there are a few things I really wish I'd known from the outset. I figured all of this out on the way, some of it more recently than I would have liked, but all of it would have changed my initial approach had I understood it from the get-go. So I wanted to share that all with you.

None of this has to do with our movie specifically or even movies in general. If you want to Kickstart a video game, a CD, or even a delicious new snack, all of this will probably apply to you.

So without further ado, here are five things I really wish I had known before doing a Kickstarter:

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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I'm Kickstarting a short film, and you're coming with me photo
I'm Kickstarting a short film, and you're coming with me
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Sometimes a particularly scathing review is met with some version of "Oh yeah? Let's see you do better." While I don't think it's a valid non-argument, it's an interesting thought. But if you have ever felt that way after reading any of my reviews, I'm giving you the chance to call my bluff. 

You see, I'm making a short film called Reel. It's a martial arts film that I'm co-writing/directing with actor/writer/friend Gerard Chamberlain, and we're both exceedingly excited about the project. We think it's going to be pretty much the best thing since sliced bread, which is why we've set up a Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a great platform. It's one we've written about dozens (possibly hundreds) of times. I've backed a bunch of things, and I actually spent a semester studying the platform in school. I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of it, but I'm about to see how that can be put into practice. (And yes, I'm totally aware of the direct comparison to conceptual criticism versus practical application of filmmaking you may or may not be making right now.)

Regardless, I want to share this experience with all of you who have been on Flixist with me for the past three-plus years.

Backer updates are all well and good, but there's more to it than that. For the next month, I'll be discussing the process of actually getting a project onto Kickstarter at all. I'll be talking about everything from writing the pitch to figuring out the goal. A lot of work goes into setting up a Kickstarter, and the next month is probably going to take a few years off my life. But I hope you can learn something from that. Whether we raise our funds or not, our successes and failures could be a template for you if you decide to crowdfund in the future.

So let's freaking do this everybody. If there's anything else about the process that you want to hear about, let me know in the comments. 

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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Pierce Brosnan's best and worst since Bond photo
Pierce Brosnan's best and worst since Bond
by Matthew Razak

We all know that that the apex of any actor's career is playing James Bond. Well, that's what us Bond fans like to think anyway, but after leaving the role did you know that Bond actors continue to act -- even ones not named Sean Connery. Yes, it's true as shocking as it may be.

With Pierce Brosnan returning to the spy game this weekend in November Man we thought it would be a good time to take a look at what he's done since Bond. There's actually quite a lot of good stuff. There's also some bad stuff, and in the name of fairness and in order to more easily make jokes about bad movies we're going to talk about both. 

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Some Like It Hot: Eva Green photo
Some Like It Hot: Eva Green
by Nick Valdez

Eva Green has definitely made herself known these past few years, and with good reason. Regardless of the overall quality of the project she's attached to, she's not one to slack. She gives her all in every performance as I've seen her singlehandedly make terrible films worthwhile. With the vibe of Classic Hollywood staples like Joan Crawford, she oozes charisma, sensuality, and pure badassness. 

With Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in theaters, I figured it was time to revive our Some Like It Hot feature to explore the wonderousness of Eva Green's assets. 

[Some Like It Hot shines a light on the men and women of film who have captured our hearts, and oftentimes, our libidos. It celebrates the cinematic sirens and strongmen of the silver screen that give us the vapors, tug on our heartstrings, and leave us hungry for more. Also, they're really effing hot.]

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The Simpsons Movie is not very good  photo
The Simpsons Movie is not very good
by Nick Valdez

I don't think I'll ever be able to properly explain how big of an influence The Simpsons has had on my life. Rather than learn any useful skills, go out on dates with cute girls, or have a social life in general, I watched episodes of The Simpsons. When I was through with a season, I'd buy more on DVD and watch them again. Basically, I've invested at least 60-65% of my 25 year run into this show. 

That's why The Simpsons Movie was a huge disappointment. Not because I'm a fan who wanted more (I saw this in theaters five times when it originally released), but because I've gotten a fancy education and look at films in a different light. Sure The Simpsons Movie has some good gags and gets a lot of credit for being better than the recent glut of seasons when it released, but it's just not a good movie. 

Watching it again, I can't defend it like I used to. 

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6:00 PM on 08.25.2014

Hey everyone, let's talk about Frank Miller!

So...Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is definitely a thing that exists. Whether or not it's good doesn't matter anymore since it bombed pretty hard this past weekend. As always with Flixist Community Discusses, I want to get som...

Nick Valdez



FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies photo
FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies
by Nick Valdez

Cartoons are great. Growing up, I loved to get up early weekend mornings (Fox Kids on Saturday, WB Kids on Sunday) and rush home from school during the week to catch all the best cartoons. Before the advent of DVR, piracy, and YouTube, it took a special kind of commitment to be a cartoon fan. But these days, cartoons are everywhere. 

They have their own stations, conventions, and movies. With Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Popeye, Scooby-Doo, even Underdog having a movie all their own, cartoons are far more worthy of the attention. But what about all of the forgotten shows? There are shows still primed for the big time, and it's only a matter of time before we'll see these of the big screen. 

At least we should anyway. 

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Robin Williams' best performances photo
Robin Williams' best performances
by Flixist Staff

Every time there is a major death in any industry the internet is bombarded in the following days with news posts and features and all sorts of other content that blur the line between legitimacy and exploitation. There have been times where we've actively avoided writing anything more than an initial (depressed) announcement, but here is an exception. Robin Williams's wife, Susan Schneider, gave a statement that read:

I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.

It is with that in mind that we decided to write this.

Let the celebration begin.

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Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy photo
Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy
by Nick Valdez

Guardians of the Galaxy has caused quite a stir in the Flixist Community. It's blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and I've even heard some of my non-fan friends discussing it for some reason. It's got the kind of pull I haven't seen since Marvel debuted the first Iron Man movie. 

Even if I don't completely like it myself, it's still an invigoration of the tired Marvel Studios plan, so folks have been heaping praise. But I wanted to know what folks liked (or did not like) about it specifically. Thanks to Flixist Community Discusses, we'll discover why Guardians of the Galaxy may or may not be successful in what it set out to do

Gathered from the comments and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of Guardians of the Galaxy. Spoilers ahead! 

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Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy! photo
Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy!
by Nick Valdez

A few weeks back, I started this segment where I gathered the community's opinions on big movies. It's been gone for awhile due to a lack of interesting films, but now's a good time to bring it back as any. So what did you all think of Guardians of the Galaxy? I liked it, but didn't love it enough to put it in our "Great" category. 

I'm interested as to what you all think, so I'll gather all of your responses (labeled with who wrote them, of course), and pepper in some responses from the Flixist staff, into one post as "Flixist Community Discusses."

Leave a comment below, hit me up on Twitter (@Valdezology), or even send me an email at nick@flixist.com (if you have anything particularly spoilery). The community post will go live Friday, August 8th at 12PM CST, so I'll be taking responses until then!

Where does Guardians of the Galaxy stand, Flixist community? Would you let this movie guard your galaxy? Get your opinions in folks!

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FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge photo
FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge
by Nick Valdez

With The Purge: Anarchy in theaters and another #CrimeDay in the history books, I've been thinking about crime for a bit now. In the series, everyone and their mothers are so focused on committing violent crimes they don't see the bigger picture. A futuristic utopia where everyone secretly wants to murder each other may make for witty satire, but it doesn't always provide room for other things. 

With the kind of flexibility 12 hours of consequence free crime a Purge would provide, I figured I'd write a list of ten things I'd do with that time.

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NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen photo
NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's been an odd week. On Monday, we posted my review of R100, a film so crazy it inspired a man to eat his shirt. On Tuesday, we posted my review of Why Don't You Play in Hell?, a film so insane that it inspired a man to make a shirt-eating bet in the first place. But those were warm ups. What I was really doing was priming myself to write about quite literally the weirdest movie I have seen in my entire life: 3D Naked Ambition.

I always kind of expected the weirdest movie ever to be from Japan. I mean, that's where the previously two mentioned films and other bonkers stories like The Warped Forest came from. That movie has fruit with actual vaginas.

But 3D Naked Ambition has risen to the top. How, you might ask? Well...

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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