It's a hot and steamy weekend here, and I'm feeling way to lazy to go outside for a power walk, so instead I thought I'd do a weekend check-in on some of my fave film sites around the web. As always, if you have a film blog (or even a film blog that you read and like, that you haven't seen me point to in a Group Hug), send me a link at kim(at)cinematical(dot)com. I'm always on the lookout for film sites to add to my already-lengthy list of daily reads ... hey, a girl just can't get too much film talk, right? Besides, the more film sites I'm forced to read, the longer I can put off that power walk ...

This one isn't particularly "indie," but it's one of the most fascinating pieces I've read all week, so I just had to include it. Over at the LA Weekly, Scott Foundas has a really interesting (and LONG -- seven pages, so read it with a fresh cup of coffee) feature piece up on Brett Ratner. What makes it such a fun read is that Foundas, whose writing I like and respect, goes way against the expected grain here, asserting of Popcorn King Ratner: "Which brings me to the other reason I've wanted to write about Ratner. It is an idea that may initially strike you as radical or preposterous, and which could jeopardize my standing in the film-criticism community. And yet, here goes: Brett Ratner is a talented filmmaker who deserves to be taken seriously."

Wow. No doubt Foundas has taken a lot of ribbing for this piece, but it's very well-written -- I can think of a few folks who write up set visits who could take a lesson from how Foundas puts you inside Ratner's set with his writing here -- and, moreover, by the end of it, I actually had kind of a newfound respect for Ratner -- at least for the work he puts into his films, if not the films themselves.

Just over a year ago, Jim Emerson started this very cool Opening Shots Project, wherein he kicked things off by writing about some of his favorite opening shots in a film, and then invited others to write about theirs. Emerson asserts that the opening shot is the most important moment in a film, that it sets the tone of the film and tells you what it's going to be about; after I started reading the Opening Shots pieces, I became even more aware of the importance of opening shots and started paying closer attention to them with every film I watch. So I was pleased to see [via a link on Daily Green Cine, who always have lots of good stuff] that there's a new Opening Shots entry up: Andy Horbal analyzes the opening shot of Army of Shadows. Check it out.

In the aftermath of the same-day deaths of directing greats Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, Movie City Indie's Ray Pride ponders, "Who are the oldest living film directors?" with a comprehensive listing of directors that starts with the current oldest, Manoel de Oliveira (born in 1908), and works its way down to Stuart Gordon (born in 1947). Great minds thinking alike, David Poland, on The Hot Blog, points over to a post on Joe Leydon's MovingPictureBlog that asks: Who are the heirs to Bergman and Antonioni? Pop on over to both sites, read what they have to say, and chime in with your own thoughts.

If you're a geek for technical details, you'll dig this post Josh Oakhurst has up answering questions from readers about just how he shot a couple of stop-mo spots, in which he explains in detail, among other things, why he didn't shoot in RAW. If you're interested in shooting stop-mo yourself -- or even if, like me, your just a sucker for all things film-geeky, you'll want to delve into this post.

Remember that game "telephone" we used to play at Girl Scouts (yeah, I was a Girl Scout -- hah!) and summer camp? You'd sit in a big circle, the first person would whisper a message to the second person, and they would pass it on, and so on, and at the end everyone would get a big laugh over how the message had changed, and you were supposed to learn an Important Lesson about the power of communication or world peace or something. Whatever. Over at Burbanked, Alan has a much more fun idea: Blogophone! It's pretty simple: he starts with a movie-related post, then tosses it to the next person in the game, who creatively changes it and tosses it to the next person, etc. The first one got pretty amusing, so he's started a second round. He tossed it to Ray over at The Rec Show, but don't let that stop you from nosing in on the fun ...