Here’s a fun bit of fluff, pretty much literally. Osaka resident Kazuki Yamamoto has shot hundreds of pictures of his latte art and posted them to his Twitter account over the past year. He covers a wide variety of subjects: real people, anime characters, animals, landscapes, videogame characters, Disney icons, and of course, film characters, particularly from Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. Looking at his creations day by day, it’s possible to see his work—and his photography—get steadily more sophisticated. And much like the movie industry, he’s working in 3D more often over time. No word yet on whether that makes his lattes harder to pirate in theaters and Torrent at home. —Tasha Robinson
The Cinerama Dome, a landmark for L.A. filmgoers, opened to the public 50 years ago today. This 2-page ad for the theater appeared in the L.A. Times on Nov. 3, 1963.
This year, in observance of the anniversary, the theater again screened the first movie it ever showed, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” (Times film writer Mark Olsen notes that the movie played for over 66 weeks the first time around.)
In a 1963 article on the Dome, then-Assistant Real Estate Editor Frank Mulcahy noted that the theater’s design wasn’t the only thing new about it. Among other innovations, it featured a “photo-electrically activated smoke detection device which will clear the lobby of [cigarette] smoke” — not the sort of amenity you hear about much anymore.
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Gravity Talking Points. In summary: Don’t forget to breathe.
And probably go see it, if you trust resident film critic Kenneth Turan, who said of the new film (without GIFs, sadly):
"Gravity" is out of this world. Words can do little to convey the visual astonishment this space opera creates. It is a film whose impact must be experienced in 3-D on a theatrical screen to be fully understood.
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Basically the best latte art collection ever, and well-suited for a coffee-intensive Monday.
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Is a bigger screen always better?
There may still be plenty of box office successes, with recent summer releases like “Iron Man 3” and “Fast & Furious 6” raking in tons of cash, but theaters nonetheless are feeling the squeeze from online streaming services, digital purchases, improving hardware at home and other non-cinematic media.
From Terrell Mayton, marketing director for Carmike Cinemas Inc. of Columbus, Ga.:
"It’s all about the sizzle, it’s all about the showmanship. When you’ve got an experience that you can’t duplicate in the home setting, that’s going to encourage more people to come to the theaters more often."
So do you agree, is it all about the “sizzle,” or is, perhaps the movie on the screen more important?
Photo: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Trying to crack Reddit’s AMA magic
Hollywood, always looking for a new way to promote its latest offerings, has turned to Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” threads to allow stars to interact directly with fans.
But in the case of a recent AMA with Morgan Freeman, the whole thing blew up over allegations that the whole thing was a robotic, PR-driven falsehood.
Redditors immediately swarmed the thread, and by the end of it, Freeman and the film he was promoting, “Oblivion,” looked worse for wear.
Freeman and his team insisted to Reddit administrators that the actor was answering the questions orally, while his publicity people transcribed what he said. By that point, however, it was too late. Once the hive mind sets its mind to something, it’s difficult to shift gears and the damage can linger.
Read more about the machinations behind Hollywood’s efforts to seize grassroots momentum over at Company Town.
Scouting the Sierra for movie backdrops
There are birdwatchers, urban explorers and Instagram-centric photo hounds - but some people take their time to explore the barren expanses of California’s backcountry to find the iconic backdrops used in many Hollywood films.
From one couple with a particular penchant for finding famous backgrounds:
At one point, Carol held up a photograph of a campfire scene in “Django Unchained,” which is set in the South just before the Civil War. She moved the photo to the left, then to the right. She squinted, then broke into a smile.
Pointing to a nearby rock, she said that actor Jamie Foxx “stood right there.”
Read more, and see more scenic vistas, over at Framework.
Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
RIP Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic whose “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” evaluations have become synonymous with cinema reviews, passed away today at age 70 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Just recently, he had announced that he would take a leave of absence from his work at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Photo: Robert K. O’Daniell / Associated Press
Like Finding Nemo?
Well, now that he’s been found, Pixar’s reaching out for more sequel material, announcing “Finding Dory” as the studio’s planned 2015 release. Pixar has announced a few details about the film, promising the return of many popular characters, as well as its California coastline setting.
From Ellen DeGeneres, who will be returning to the titular role:
"I’m not mad that it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it."
Photo: Disney, Pixar
Argo still a no-go in Iran
"Argo" may have won acclaim from critics, audiences and now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - but many in Iran remain unimpressed with the film. Set during the turbulent post-revolution era in Iran, the Iranian government was initially provoked by the film for its portrayal of the country, but with time, more Iranians have been able to see the movie and react.
"I am secular, atheist and not pro-regime but I think the film 'Argo' has distorted history and insulted Iranians,” said Hossain, a cafe owner worried about business because of customers' lack of cash in a sanctions-battered economy. “For me, it wasn't even a good thriller.”
And further reaction from the ground in Iran:
"I did not enjoy seeing my fellow countrymen and women insulted," said Farzaneh Haji, an educated homemaker and fan of romantic movies who was 18 at the time of the revolution. "The men then were not all bearded and fanatical. To be anti-American was a fashionable idea among young people across the board. Even non-bearded and U.S.-educated men and women were against American imperialism."
Photo: Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros
A joke too far: Last night, the Onion tweeted a tasteless joke at the expense of Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest-ever Best Actress nominee, accusing her of being a less-than-agreeable person with a less-than-agreeable term.
Onion CEO Steve Hannah sent out an apology above, but the attempted joke comes amid rising criticism that the Oscars trumpeted sexism during the ceremony, with a focus paid largely on host Seth MacFarlane’s quips.
Photo: The Onion, h/t to kateoplis
"Argo, "Life of Pi" and Jennifer Lawrence: The Oscars have come to a close, the after-parties dying down and the realization of victory (and defeat) settling in. What did we learn?
"Argo" could win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination (the first to do so since “Driving Miss Daisy).
Jennifer Lawrence can do wrong. Stumbling up the stairs to receive her Best Actress award, Lawrence shrugged off help and brought herself back together.
"Life of Pi" is your new Oscar champ - at least if total awards count. Bouyed by a bevy of techincal awards and director Ang Lee’s victory, the film won four awards, topping “Argo” and “Les Misérables,” at three apiece.
A song titled “We Saw Your Boobs” is a juvenile cheap shot - particularly on the grand stage of the Oscars.
At the end of the day, how would you rate the Oscars - a thumbs up or a thumbs down?
Photos: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
The Oscars have nearly begun!
We have you covered, from the red carpet arrivals, an early preview of the night’s ceremonies and predictions from movie expert Glenn Whipp.
So keep tabs on our all-encompassing coverage, and most importantly, kick back and enjoy the tribune to some of the past year’s best films!
Photos: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images, Jason Merritt / Getty Images, Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images