1. This week in film history: Independence Day exploits American holiday patriotism to the tune of $100 million; and Ernest Borgnine married Ethel Merman (during a month-long spell of “temporary insanity”). More historic fun facts can be found courtesy of Movies Unlimited. But you can read a bit about Borgnine and Merman’s breakup (involving celebrity jealous and Dutch ovens) here.
2. IndieWire has issued a midyear report of new films in the festival and American theatrical circuit for 2010, compiling grades collected from over 100 film critics. The top dogs of each category are: for English Language Narrative, Aaron Katz’ Cold Weather (which premiered at South By Southwest and is still due for release); for Foreign-Language Narrative, five films share an “A-” grade: Everyone Else, Dogtooth, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, A Prophet and Father of My Children (all except Uncle Boonmee have been released theatrically). Five films also tie for top documentary: 12th and Delaware, Inside Job, GasLand, Last Train Home and Exit Through the Gift Shop (only the latter has been released theatrically so far). Full results can be found at IndieWire.
3. The Chicago Underground Film Festival, on through July 1, has a delightful 8-bit retro trailer created by Jon Satrom, who’s sort of an archaeologist and deconstructer of the detritus left by 30 odd years of internet and video game design. His website and blog offer more unexpected bits and bytes of fun.