Oscilloscope Laboratories

Oscilloscope Laboratories

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Distributing the best films on Earth. Watch now: SHORTBUS, THE VELVET QUEEN. Coming soon: STANLEYVILLE, CLARA SOLA, POSER, THE TALE OF KING CRAB, ANONYMOUS CLUB

Stories

The Doomed Romantics of ‘An American Werewolf In London’ and ‘The Fly’ by Craig J. Clark

When John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London was released in 1981 and David Cronenberg’s The Fly followed five years later, what initially grabbed people’s attention were the Academy Award-winning creature effects by Rick Baker (whose work on the former prompted AMPAS to create the Best Makeup category) and Chris Walas (whose other reward for his part in The Fly’s success was the opportunity to direct its less memorable sequel). Charged with updating horror icons of the ’40s and ’50s for savvy moviegoers primed to…

Too Big a Fail: Cannes Insta-Flops and the Festival Economy by Mike D’Angelo

Cannes Film Festival, 2014. Among the films competing for the Palme d’Or is The Search, Michel Hazanavicius’ highly anticipated followup to The Artist, which had won the Best Picture Oscar three years earlier (after itself debuting at Cannes). Its pedigree is flawless: based on an Oscar-winning (Best Story) 1948 drama of the same title, which had starred Montgomery Clift; a cast featuring former Oscar nominees Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening; weighty subject matter involving the Second Chechen War. When the press sees The Search,…

Left Hand, Right Hand: Good and Evil in Bill Paxton’s ‘Frailty’ by April Wolfe

When actor Charles Laughton’s now-classic directorial debut The Night of the Hunter premiered in 1955, it’d been a long road to the theater. The film had been in the can for a while, but the studio balked at its premise and execution: Was it a romantic drama or a horror film? A children’s fairy tale or adult entertainment? Marketing materials from the time suggest they never quite figured it out. The studio tried to bury it, but Laughton desperately wanted to go…

Not Mad, Just Disappointed: Mothers on the Edge in the ‘70s and Present by Charles Bramesco

Starting in the early ‘70s right on through to his departure in 1982, showbiz executive Ned Tanen turned Universal Pictures into a hotbed of creativity, throwing respectable budgets at daring, original directors and meeting with box-office success more frequently than he didn’t. This halcyon era of studio-sanctioned risks yielded American Graffiti, Animal House, Jaws, and The Deer Hunter, and positioned Universal as an exemplar of New Hollywood’s ethic of innovation and experimentation. One of the lesser-known beneficiaries of Tanen’s permissive doctrine was director Frank…

From Script to Screen: The Strange Alchemy of ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ by Soheil Rezayazdi

The word “iguana” doesn’t appear in the shooting script of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. And why should it? Written by veteran TV writer William Finkelstein, the script unfolds with the cause-and-effect logic of a tight police procedural. Prior to penning Bad Lieutenant, Finkelstein wrote more than 50 episodes of L.A. Law, created and wrote on Brooklyn South, and contributed to such cop show staples as Law & Order and NYPD Blue. The man knows how to write a coherent crime drama. He’s devoted his career…