Thursday, December 27, 2012

Movies 101 - A Star Is Born (1954)

A Star is Born (1954) – 181min – TVPG

Norman Maine (James Mason) is a movie star whose fame is on the decline because of his alcoholism. The studio keeps him away from the press but during a live performance at the Shrine auditorium he arrives intoxicated, he is about to make a fool of himself on stage when one of the singers Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) includes him in the act to make it look like it was all planed. Her quick thinking saves face for the Studio and Maine. Maine is so take by her quick thinking and talent he encourages her to come to Hollywood to be in motion pictures. Time passes and they go their separate ways, Blodgett tries her hand at acting and gets bit parts and Mane is called away to make a picture overseas. Once he comes back he sponsors her and pulls some strings to get her a starring role and she becomes a star. While her career takes off his completely implodes. Maine’s alcoholism takes over his life Blodgett is willing to give everything up to take care of Maine but he realizes that he is a detriment to her and chooses to take his own life.

This movie is so completely hard to watch, I feel incredibly bad for all of the characters. It’s a story of success, failure, love, pane, hope and hopelessness. This story has been remade twice the original was in 1937 and the other remake was in 1976. I have only seen this one but it looks like it was the only one that has a lot of big stage productions added to the story, Born in a trunk reminds me of Gota Dance from Singin' in the Rain. James Mason will always be the bad guy form North by Northwest for me but this role shows his more dramatic side, his performance was masterfuly done. 

This version of the film had some parts added from the uncut version of the film. The sound was usable and they laid it down with stills that were taken from the production of those sense. Original the film was 196min long and was then cut down to 182min. The Studio was concerned about the length and how many times it could be run in the theater so it was further cut down to 154min. The director George Cukor was not happy about the changes to the film but for the lengthy addition of Born in a Trunk he was already wrapped from the film.

My take away:

I didn't know this was a remake, I guess we will always have remakes in this industry. I should take some time and track the ebb and flow if ideas in Hollywood. When a new idea comes along and how many times they remake it. I am just wondering when they are going to do remakes of Harry Potter or Star Wars. I wonder if they are marked by new technology in film making, Superman the original was made when the technology was vastly inferior to when it first came out. King Kong is another example of this. Hummmm I need to dig further on this.

Movies 101 –Duck Soup

Duck Soup – 68min – N/A

The country of Fredonia is in financial ruin Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) is the wealthiest woman in the country and is supporting the government. She refuses to give any more money unless Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) is appointed as the new leader. Rufus and his secretary, Bob Roland (Zeppo Marx) proceed to run the country into the ground in the mad cap hijinks made famous by the Marx brothers. The neighboring country of Sylvania is eyeing Fredonia for takeover. The Ambassador from Sylvania, Trentino (Louis Calhern), is working to try any way he can to take over the country. He hires two spies Pinky (Harpo Marx), and Chicolini (Chico Marx) to dig up some dirt on Rufus. He even employs the vixen Vera Marcal (Raquel Torres) as a fem fetal to try and manipulate Rufus. Things escalate to a full on war between the two countries. In true vaudevillian style it’s a mixture of sight gags and song numbers. This is not my favorite Marx Brother film but it is one of the better ones in my opinion.

Some of the most memorable scenes were in this movie; the mirror gag is one of my favorites because I first saw this on I Love Lucy between Harpo Marx and Lucy. In the film Harpo is dressed up like Groucho and he is hiding on the other side of what used to be a mirror. They move in unison and even when Groucho thinks that he has Harpo caught, Harpo pulls a switcheroo and mirrors Groucho movie for move. The other scene that stands out is the mini war with the Street vendor. It starts out as a small matter of Chico and Harpo bumping into one of the Lemonade venders (Edgar Kennedy) customers. Then it escalates to knee holding and hat switching and then the burning of a hat it is extremely funny. One of the best fast paced exchanges between three people it’s so well performed that you have to watch it twice to see all the choreography. The second interaction between this trio is extremely funny as well. The Lemonade vender comes back at Harpo and takes some of the Peanuts that Chico is selling and ends up getting his new hat burned. The lemonade vender tips over the Peanut cart and then walks back to his cart to serve the line of customers that have gathered. Harpo begins to help mix the lemonade with his feet.

During this production the relationship between Paramount Studios and the Marx Brothers soured. This is one of the five films that were a part of the Marx brothers and Paramount contract, they separated after this production. This movie originally bombed at the box office and that made the separation a lot easier from paramount’s stand point. As I understand Zeppo also stepped away and started a talent agency with his brother because he was tired of getting bit parts. I would like to do more research on who the relationship fell through.

My Take Away: The Marx Brothers have a very fast and sometimes hard to follow brand of humor. People today don’t often appreciate that the contribution these people made for the genera of comedy. Without the Marx brothers we don’t get to Blazing Saddles or Airplane. I'm going to get you Sucka has that same feel only with a more modern pacing and direction of humor. I guess any spoof film has its roots in these films that came before. Leo McCarey directed this and he is better known for directing An Affare to Remeber. You can view this film on NetFlix watch it now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Movies 101 – The Scarlet Empress

The Scarlet Empress – 104min – Approved

German princess Sophia Frederica (Marlene Dietrich) is chosen by the Empress Elizabeth (Louise Dresser) to Mary her half-wit son Grand Duke Pete (Same Jaffe) in order to produce an heir to the throne. She is brought to Russia by Count Alexei (John Lodge) a suave member of the court who has designs on the young princess. She arrives and the Empress renames her to Catherine makes her life a living hell, and her husband is a dim wit and wants nothing to do with her. She looks to Alexei for comfort but finds out he is the Empress’ lover. She then finds comfort in the arms of the officers in the Russian Army. When the Empress dies after 17 years, Pete takes the throne and decides to remove his wife, the Russian Army backed Sophia in the power struggle and she became Catharine the Great. This story was put together with great liberty from a journal and many of the facts were adjusted to make a better story.

First and foremost I just want to say what a wonderful actress Marlene Dietrich was. In this roll she had the naiveté of a country girl who is not very experienced in the ways of the politics of court or of sexuality. She then towards the end shows us a woman who has been beaten up and proves to be stronger than the things that she is up against. She uses her knowledge of court and successfully runs a country. She is also a very attractive woman and looks completely innocent at the start of the film and then transitions into a woman of sensuality and power. She is truly stunning to watch. Josef von Sternberg has a wonderful grasp of the fell of the two settings, at the start of the film we feel warmth in each shot and an great feel of comfort from the images, as we enter Russia the images get a darker feel and they start making the viewer more uncomfortable. Sam Jaffe is Very troll like in this film, I recognized him but only just. He does a wonderful job of making Pete an unsavory character.

As the Last feature length film distributed before the Hays Code became the standard, I saw some things in this movie that I would not have thought I would see in a black and white film. When I went through film school I learned about the hays code and how that affected Hollywood. I grew up in a post code world so in my mind all black and white films were tempered with the code. It was refreshing to see a film that was timeless in its themes. Even though this movie was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for its “morality” it does have a lot of great cinematography and set design as well as an outstanding cast.

My take away:

Marlene Dietrich was a hottie and an excellent performer. I loved the work that Josef von Sternberg did with the scenes of this film. His dark and broody castle and overly exaggerated castle sets gave the Russian Empire an evil subtext. Setting and set design are vital to a production, when you see the family house at the beginning of the film and look at the Russian imperial palace you can see the huge difference in look, feel, tone and perception.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Student Film - The Scarlet Avenger

Most movie reviewers will not revives submissions of student films. I understand that you can get buried with many films that all surround, ninjas, pirates, scateboard tricks or have suicide as a main theme. I imagine that for some it’s painful to watch an armature film. I however love the passion and the raw energy of a student driven project. Many are not done well, but really what do you expect, it’s a student making this film. They are just learning this art form. Even Spielberg, Coppola and Stone have all started out as students.

However there are some film makers who really shine with their story telling and there used of the equipment. If you want my honest opinion and critique of your work feel free to send me a link and I will post it on my blog.

My first student project review comes from Scott Clements, he is Canadian and has made a hero film that harkens back to the days of cliffhanger serials, and it mixes elements from Indian Jones and The Phantom.

Please enjoy it and I will give you my thoughts after you see it.
The Scarlet Avenger (1997 student film) from Scott Clements on Vimeo.

The movie was fun to watch, I appreciate how much work went into this film. They had a very diverse cast; usually student films have a bunch of young people all doing the parts because the film maker gets his buddies to perform. It was well cast and had a good spread in the ages of the performers.

Normally you have to overlook the sets and props and costumes because of budget constraints but the set design in this film really gives you the feeling of being in that time period. Great work on making sure you had the small details.

 I think that making this film all in black and white would have been better because of the setting. It has all the trappings of a good noire film.

Clements wants to develop this character into a feature length film. He has a plan to modify the story. There are a lot of similarities with Captain America characters but after talking with him, he explains where he got the character names.

“We'll definitely be changing the character names for the feature. The name for 'The Scarlet AVENGER' actually came from a mash-up of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' and 'The Avengers' British TV Show. BUCKY came from the 1939 Buck Rogers serial. I saw it when I was a little kid and misheard the sidekick's name as 'Bucky', when it was actually 'Buddy'. I actually meant it as a tribute to that far off memory. THE SKULL was inspired by 'The Crimson Ghost', but admittedly the name was partly borrowed from 'The Red Skull', because I didn't know what else to call him and it was a bit of a tribute to 'Skeletor' from 'He-Man'. However, we've chosen appropriate new names for the feature.”

With the quality of this student project I think he has a good chance of making a go at this kind of film. Imagine what he could do with a real budget and support of a production team.

Friday, July 6, 2012

'Total Recall' Comes to Theaters August 3

Total Recall is coming to theaters August 3rd. In anticipation of the release, the studio is sponsoring a sweepstakes that gives you the opportunity to live life you have always dreamed about. The Film makers have been posting images with Welcome to Rekall for a few weeks hoping to make this message viral.

Movie Synopsys

Total Recall is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) whom he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police - controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) - there is no one Quaid can trust, except possibly a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) working for the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy). The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate. The film is directed by Len Wiseman. The screenplay is by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback and the screen story is by Ronald Shusett & Dan O'Bannon and Jon Povill and Kurt Wimmer. The producers are Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe. Sony Pictures Entertainment

Welcome to REKALL
Live Out A Fantasy Life And Enter To Win One Of Nine Fantasy Prize Packages In The "Welcome To Rekall" Sweepstakes

Ever wish you could be a sports anchor, behind the scenes at ESPN? A Rock Star, chilling with Green Day? A fashionista, hanging with Heidi Klum? A professional videogamer? A Club DJ? A secret agent? Now, Rekall will give moviegoers the chance to live out their fantasies.

 In the new movie Total Recall an ordinary factory worker visits Rekall - the company that can give you real memories of a fantastic life. In Sony Pictures Entertainment's "Welcome to Rekall" sweepstakes at, moviegoers will get their chance to bring the Rekall experience to life with a fantasy sweepstakes package.

 In addition, all visitors to the site will be able to link their Facebook profiles to their entry to receive a personalized Rekall video, detailing the story of their brand new memories and successful Rekall experience, which they can share with their friends on Facebook.

 With nine different categories to choose from, moviegoers will enter to win a premium prize package with top partners:

- The Sports Anchor winner will spend the day at ESPN headquarters to get the full experience of a day in studio, provided by ESPN

- The Rock Star winner will hang with Green Day, attend a sound check and receive backstage access provided by Pandora

- The Fashionista winner will meet Heidi Klum and her stylist in Los Angeles, sponsored by AOL

- The Secret Agent winner will attend the Stiletto Spy School or the MI6 Academy, sponsored by Yahoo! Movies

- The UFC Champion winner, sponsored by UFC, will train with pro fighters and sit octagonside with the trainer

- The Celebrity winner will live like a celebrity in Los Angeles and attend a red carpet event, sponsored by Wonderwall

- The DJ winner will receive DJ lessons from a high-profile DJ, sponsored by Complex

- The Video Gamer winner will travel to Microsoft headquarters to meet a game developer and receive the chance to battle it out with a pro, sponsored by Microsoft

- The Millionaire winner will receive 1,000,000 Sony Rewards points, sponsored by Sony Rewards. With Sony Rewards, members can get rewarded for doing the things they already love - like going to the movies, playing games, sharing and more. The points can be used to redeem for the latest Sony electronics, movies, music and games - and even once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Commenting on the announcement, Marc Weinstock, president of Worldwide Marketing for Sony Pictures, said, "Blurring the line between fantasy and reality and questioning what is real versus what is imagined is at the heart of this movie and our campaign. Through, moviegoers get a true taste of the Total Recall experience as they vie for real and unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to live out their own fantasies."

 In addition
There will be "Welcome to Rekall" experiences in New York, Los Angeles and at Comic-Con. At these special kiosks, users will be able to choose their Rekall experience and receive a photo badge of themselves experiencing the Rekall-provided memory.

Published at News Blaze

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Highly-Anticipated Iron Man 3 Begins Production

Following in the footsteps of the record-breaking Marvel Studios' release "Marvel's The Avengers," production on the highly anticipated film "Iron Man 3," directed by Shane Black, has commenced production in Wilmington, North Carolina. The production schedule will also include locations in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Miami, Florida and China.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, "Iron Man 3" returns Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man," "Marvel's The Avengers") as the iconic Super Hero character Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Gwyneth Paltrow ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2,") as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle ("Iron Man 2") as James "Rhodey" Rhodes and Jon Favreau ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2") as Happy Hogan. Set for release in the U.S. on May 3, 2013, Marvel's "Iron Man 3" marks the second feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.

Marvel's "Iron Man 3" Commences Principal Photography
In Preparation for May 3, 2013 Film Release

Marvel Studios

"Iron Man 3" continues the epic, big-screen adventures of the world's favorite billionaire inventor/Super Hero, Tony Stark aka "Iron Man." Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Jon Favreau, Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz.

Who They Have Assembled

Wow nice line up of talent in the creative production team on the film includes two-time Oscar®-winning director of photography John Toll, ASC ("Braveheart," "Legends of the Fall"), production designer Bill Brzeski ("The Hangover," "Due Date"), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. ("Marvel's The Avengers," "Captain America: The First Avenger") and Peter S. Elliot ("Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer"), and costume designer Louise Frogley ("Quantum of Solace," "Contagion").

Marvel's Track Record

Marvel Studios most recently produced the critically acclaimed "Marvel's The Avengers," which set the all-time, domestic 3-day weekend box office record at $207.4 million. The film, which is currently in release, continues to shatter box office records and is The Walt Disney Studios' highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time and marks the studios' fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. Soooooo... WIN! They even streamed a showing of the film to the International Space Station.

In the summer of 2011, Marvel successfully launched two new franchises with "Thor," starring Chris Hemsworth, and "Captain America: The First Avenger," starring Chris Evans. Both films opened #1 at the box office and have grossed over $800 million worldwide combined. It was great to use these movies to drive the Avengers anticipation and not bog down the big movie with back story.

In 2010 "Iron Man 2," starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the #1 spot in its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million.

In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk." "Iron Man," in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero's powerful armor and stars alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008, and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released "The Incredible Hulk," marking its second number one opener of that summer. This was the start of the mammoth hero making movie machine.

The main reason these movies are successful is that they have people who are genuinely concerned about the integrity of the story and are interested in these heroes at the creative helm of these movies.

Published on News Blaze

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review of U.N. Me

U.N. ME - 90 Min - PG-13

Ami Horowitz, the film's host and creator, takes us on a very harsh look at the work that the United Nations (UN) has done. An organization that large is subject to corruption. This movie gives us the look at the dark side. I have never been a huge fan of documentaries but every now and then, one comes along, that gives you a glimpse at problems that exist, and need attention. This movie does an excellent job of making some observations of the UN organization by using its own information against it. Horowitz talks to ex-employees and also with the people who have been the victims of the corruption.

 The problem with a movie like this is when you observe something from one person's perspective, you are held down to their whims of the story, you have to see what they want to show you, you never get the whole truth. The issues brought up in this film are so large and so unconscionable even with that limited view, there are really no objectives sides that would lessen the horrific nature of the corruption. 

This movie did make me think about looking further into the problems and do more research to understand more about this issue. That's where this movie did an excellent job. When you spark something in your viewer and make them challenge their own understanding, you have really created something special.

 The only real criticism I have for this film is that at times, Horowitz makes jokes with the people he is interviewing. It looks like an attempt to make his subjects look foolish. It might be to soften the very dark reality that he is bringing to light. It comes off badly and he looks like he knows he should do something funny here, but has no idea how to pull it off. When you're interviewing someone who is forced to admit that they have not been able to define terrorism, or deny not knowing about what has been happening in their own country, or deny being at a meeting that was video recorded. You do not need to help in making them look foolish, they are doing a fine job by themselves.

 This movie is worth seeing from a geopolitical or a sociological standpoint. I was one of those people living with the belief that the UN had its problems but they did a lot of good work. Well they do a lot of good work but there are some problems that are so large that no amount of good can cover them up. I rate this film a green light mostly for the great work they did on the film's creation. Now go out and do another movie only less depressing, like starving homeless people or something.

 For more information, see the film website

Published on News Blaze

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Light Hearted Film With a Twist

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
BBC Films,
Kudos Film and Television, Lionsgate

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This movie has all the elements of a great movie. If you look at it from a laundry list of its assets you have the potential for a really great film. Before you ask yourself "why do I want to see a fishing movie"; let me explain, fly fishing is only an element in the movie and not center of attention. The story surrounds two unlikely people who are brought together by a Sheik's passion for salmon fishing.
Fred Jones (Ewan McGregor) works for the British government as a fisheries scientist his life is full of angst dealing with his boorish pencil pushing boss and writing reports on the feeding habits of fish. He gets an E-mail from Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) asking what it would take to get Salmon to relocate to the wadis of the highlands of the Yemen. Harriet works for Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) who has a vision about bring not just fish but prosperity to the people in the region.

Fred writes the e-mail off as a prank and writes back with a cheeky response. Meanwhile the Prime Minister's Press Secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) is looking for some good news from the Middle East to give to the PM a good will story that will end in some great press. Building a bridge with the voting fishing community is just what she is looking for. She pulls some strings and Fred and Harriet are now working on a project that was completely inconceivable.

This story takes them from three completely different worlds and brings them out of their normal lives and exposes them to a world that makes them change as drastically as they are changing the environment.
This is a romantic comedy drama, a romcomdrom if you will. With so many elements it really spreads itself too thin, only touching on each of the different kinds of movies but not really diving deeply into the complexity of the relationships. It's a shame because of the really great talent they brought together. The Director (Lasse Hallström) works with this kind of film a lot and this film feels like he is in a rut. He did not do a bad job with this film but he did not do a great job either.

The cinematography was excellent. There are some shots that really parallel the struggles of modern humans and the animal kingdom. The landscape is wonderful to look at with the prime locations to film in. Scotland is visually contrasted to the desert of Morocco, but each is beautiful in different ways.
When dealing with a Middle East based story you can't avoid exploring the political and theological conflicts in the region. This movie does pose the questions of how to bring our cultures together; fishing is something that the characters use as a starting off point. I am really over thinking this but I think the take away for this story is that we have to talk with people to understand what our true common grounds are and start from there. I might have missed the point of this light hearted film.

This movie did make me think about how much we look at the Middle East and only hear about the radical factions and the violence. I have to remember that not everyone has the same ideas and feelings as what we see in the news. There are people over there that have the same loves as we have. Maybe they feel the same way about this film? Maybe that's our starting off point?

The Blu-ray edition of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will be out July 17, 2012 presented in 1080p video and 5.1 DTS-hd Master Audio. An UltraViolet digital copy will be included.
A pair of bonus features included are 'Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' and 'The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday.'

To see the trailer of "Salmon Fishingin the Yemen:

Published in News Blaze

Avengers Assemble... in Space

Louis D' Esposito, Marvel Studios' Co-President and Executive Producer of "Marvel's The Avengers," announced in a press release they are working with NASA to uplink the film to the crew of the ISS. He is quoted as saying "The studio is privileged to share 'Marvel's The Avengers' with those up in space exploring the universe. A special thanks goes to NASA for utilizing their incredible technology to make this special screening miles above us in space happen. It is a screening that would make Tony Stark envious."


Not only is being an astronaut cool in itself, they also get to have a private screening of a record breaking film. This might be a gesture of thanks for letting Marvel film some of the movie at their Space Power Facility at NASA's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
The current space station mission is Expedition 31 and has a six-member crew consisting of 2 NASA Astronauts, 1 European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut, and 3 Russian (RU) Cosmonauts as follows: Don Pettit (NASA), Joe Acaba (NASA), Andre Kuipers (ESA), Oleg Kononenko (RU), Gennady Padalka (RU), Sergei Revin (RU).
For more information on this mission follow this link NASA Expedition 31
Dan Cook, a Psychological Support Coordinator with Wyle says "These are the types of things that help to keep the crew connected to home, which is a huge morale boost while being away for long periods of time." Entertainment offers important aspects of psychological support for astronauts on long-duration missions, such as those on the ISS.

My review of the film

I am glad I was alive when they final got an epic superhero movie franchise right. I am not a fan boy of the comics. I was aware of them but I never followed them. I can say that these movies have made me a fan. We have spent a long time waiting for this film and I was nervous they would follow the path of previous hero series.
I saw this movie twice on Saturday. I like to see movies twice, so once I can get lost in the story, and the second time I can really examine the film. Honestly, I would like to see it again because the second time I was just as involved with this story as the first viewing. Needless to say, I am giving this marvelous movie a green light.
I usually talk about the plot in high level but I am going to forgo that and say this movie is about 130 min of high action. I can't really talk about the plot without giving anything away so I will save most of the conversation for my spoiler section.
I will say that the Avengers are composed of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). They are under the guidance of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). All of them did an outstanding job, I have absolutely no negative comments about the cast in any way, and they personified the characters in every aspect.
Hero films in the past have been victims of the studio machine. Once they have a story idea they mold and stretch it into something to fit everyone's palate, thereby ensuring that no one likes it. Perhaps they try to write the story to get as much as they can get out of the toys and games that go along with a big budget picture. These theories have failed in the past and I am glad to see that this is an example of a movie franchise that can keep the focus on the source material.

Balanced Humor and Action

I am also pleased with the fact they balanced its humor and action well. They had a great feel for smart and witty without going to lowbrow levels. In the past I think that people who make comic book films feel that it's going to pander to kids so they write for what they feel the 12 to 14 year old demographic will like. The writing in this film brings the humor level higher and is still understandable to that age range without talking down to them.
The second time around I did see some specific camera shots that seemed out of place for the pace of the surrounding scenes and there was a use of reflections in this film that was prevalent throughout the movie. I am really going to have to go again to catch more and to focus in on more of the setting than the action.
The big question is where do they go from here? How do they top this film? Joss Whedon is an exceptional storyteller and filmmaker. I know that he can do a long story arc well but even I don't see how they can continue at this level. I will enjoy watching him try.

Published in News Blaze

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Movies 101 – A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire – 122min – NR

Blanche Dubois (Vivien Leigh) Arrives in New Orleans looking for her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) after she loses the family plantation in Mississippi. Blanche has to stay with Stella and her husband Stanly (Marlon Brando). Stanly and Blanche do not get along, she has had a rough life and puts up a front of decency and properness that Stanly sees through. Blanche comes to New Orleans to start life anew and get away from her past. She starts up a relationship with Stanley’s friend Mitch (Karl Malden) in hopes that if she puts on airs of being a proper southern woman she can hide the fact from Mitch and herself that she has had a very painful past. Stanly sees right through her act and digs up her past and throws it in her face. Stanly ruins the new beginning she had with Mitch and as a final act of barbarism attacks Blanche and has her committed to an asylum.

This movie makes me sorry for Blanche, I watched it twice to make sure I was not missing anything; she is a wounded person trying desperately to make a change in her life and reaching out to anyone to help her. The first time I felt sorry for Stella as she was getting abuse from Stanly and from Blanche. Then on the second viewing I realized that Stella is in this position because she chose it. She was attracted to the unbridled passion of Stanly but with that comes a cost of unbridled abuse. I have never understood the minds set of women who put themselves in that situation. I am glad that at the end of the movie she does make a chose to leave Stanly but it’s at the cost of her sister’s sanity. I have known a Stanly in my life and seeing his attacks made me cringe. This movie brought up feelings in me that I guess I have not dealt with and as such a flood of emotion hit me while I watched this story unfold. I can look back and see that everything that I am today is because of the events that brought me here and I can look back and say that the Stanly in my life severed as an excellent role model of what not to do.

This was a play and it was brought to the screen by Elia Kazan. If that name sounds familiar he was given an academy award in 1999 to a split audience half applauded and some refused to acknowledge the award. That caused me to dig into why he would have such a reaction and my research found that he was a friendly witness during the HUAC. He named names and provided a list of people who were members of the communist party to the House committee looking for communist in the Hollywood industry. From my brief reading of the situation he was placed in a rough spot, if he refused to help he would have been the subject of scrutiny and if he did cooperate he would betray some of the people he was friends with. I like to look at the award being given to a man who had a huge influence on the theater and on the way movies were made in the 50’s and 60’s. Regardless of the political complications he was a story teller that held up a mirror to the ugliest parts of our selves, and showed us the beauty and horror of what we are.

My take away:

This translated over to film very well, the uses of the shrinking stage to build tension was brilliant. I have been moved by the overwhelming sadness of the characters. This movie is a fallen woman film, where a woman is punished because of her lack of moral fiber. I like Stella’s strength she has at the end, and it comes at a great cost. The subtly of the characters performance are outstanding, Kazan was wonderful at bring the best out of his performers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TRON: Uprising

Disney is making an animated series to bridge the gap between Tron and Tron:Legacy. This looks Great, I hope they put some time into the story and don't sit back and expect the flashy art of the animation carry them. Memo to me: record this series. Where is my TiVo remote?

Movies 101 – Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard – 110 Min – NR

Hollywood is the setting and the subject of this films hard look at the people who are striving for fame and those who lose it. Joe (William Holden) is a writer who is struggling and stubbles on what appears to be an abandoned house. The residents are an Ex silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and her Butler Max (Erich Von Stroheim). Norma wants to stage a return to the screen, and has a rough draft of a script; Joe the writer sees an opportunity to take advantage of the situation to his benefit. What he does not count on is Norma’s over powering control on everything she comes in contact with. She is a deeply wounded individual that craves the fame that has slipped away and she filled the gap with a fantasy world that traps Joe as a love interest. Joe sells his soul and becomes a kept man for a chance to stay in Hollywood for his shot at fame. When he realizes that his life and dignity are in a conflict he decides to make a change and it comes at great cost.

I was so disturbed by the characters in this film and was uncomfortable with the spiral they were on. I can see this as a cautionary tale about how you boil a frog. Joe started out small with one compromise here and there, and it’s soon he was in way over his head. Norma was in character and so visually expressive like the characters she played in those silent films. Her pain came from a loss of fame from a bombed performance and her difficult nature to work with. She never recovered from that loss. I think her relationship with Max did not help her situation and his dedication in keeping her safe deepened her fantasy. Joe and her relationship started over the body of a dead ape, Norma lost a play thing and found another. She found something that was going to fill the missing parts of her soul.

The narration of Joe as he was floating in the pool at the beginning was well played, I loved the shot of coming up from bottom of the pool. I am amazed at the subtext of the actors who were in it and their relationship with each other and the characters. Erich Von Stroheim Directed Gloria Swanson when she was a Silent film star. Max in the movie directed Norma in her past. Billy Wilder did an excellent job of holding up a mirror to some personality types in Hollywood. He told a very pointed story that made history, as uncomfortable as I was with this story, I enjoyed this film.

My take away:

Most of my take aways were on well this story was told. A movie with a sad ending can be an excellent subject. I truly loved Joe’s journey. I am reminded of another movie where the end of the movie was given away and it still made for a great story. Fallen started out telling us a story about how the main character almost died. All the stories about Hollywood seem to show us the bad things. Are there no good stories about Hollywood and fame? The only character I felt for was Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson)she was the only pure spirit in the god forsaken city.

I watched this movie on DVD from Netflix.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Episode 2 of the PieKast

Here is the Second installment of the PieKast Podcast.  We saw The Cabin in the Woods, our guest was Rich Cadwallader. Our sound issues have cleared up and we have some bumper music.  Please let us know how we are doing, do you want to join us? Or Host a podcast at your pie serving establishment, send us an e-mail.
Piekast S1E2


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Movies 101 - The Third Man

The Third Man – 104min – NR

Post war Vienna is the setting of this story of intrigue and mystery. American pulp author Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) comes to town on the invitation of his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) to find out his friend has been killed in an automobile collision. He looks into his friend’s death and finds out that the police have been looking into the case half heartedly because Holly’s friend has been linked to the black market. Maj. Calloway (Trevor Howard) is the point person in the investigation and tries to warn Holly off the case and warn him of the dangers of Vienna’s underworld. Holly meets some of Hary’s friends and one of them is stage actress Anna Schmidt (Valli) together they uncover the truth behind their friend’s death.

I now have a new definition of the noir style of film, when I think noir I now think of this film. This is an excellent example of the genre. The pacing and tension are elements that make this film outstanding. The dialog is also engaging even today, it does not lose itself in the lingo of the age it was made. I think this movie stands up well in its engagement of the viewer. I need to do more research on the film in its creation but it seems like it’s not tied down to any formula. I have a bit of a spoiler here so avert your eyes if you need to for this next sentence. I loved how the guy does not get the girl in the end. That ending made the movie seem real to me, they did not tie it up in a clean little bow and make everyone happy. It was a dark, gritty, rough and enjoyable story.

I liked many of the shot compositions in this film, when the tension as supposed to build the camera was set at an angle ever so slightly; the rooms in the shot were not exactly square. The uses of the same simple music played at different speeds made it almost feel like the soundtrack was in mocking contrast to the elements on screen. It was peppy as if to soften the images that were going on. I also enjoyed how we were exposed to different languages that kept the star and the audience in the dark about our surroundings.

My take way:

I have to watch the movies twice to really look at them. Roger Ebert screened Silence of the Lambs at the University of Colorado Boulder several years ago and showed it twice. I was reminded of how and why he did it that way. The first night we fell into the story, and the second night we could dissect the movie without getting lost. After watching a few of these films I have to start doing them in the above format just to get a good look at the movies. For this film I learned that really good stories do not have to have a happy ending to be really good. I wish Hollywood would remember this as well.

I watched this movie on DVD from Netflix.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Movies 101 – Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise – 83 min – UR

This film is a romantic comedy between two Lily (Miriam Hopkins) and Gaston (Herbert Marshall). They find love in Venice after discovering that each is a master of the thiefly arts. The happy bandits go to Paris to apply their arts when they find a plump pigeon running a perfume factory. The two criminals go to work for Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis) with plans of stealing a fortune from her safe. The con is almost compete but someone from their past recognizes Gaston. The plan needs to be pushed up and the Gaston is now having feelings for her. Lily feels the relationship changing and beats Gaston to the prize. He realizes that he can’t make a life with Mariette and he heads off into the sunset with his partner in crime.

This move was a great combination between humor and romance with a bit of heist movie mixed in. This is a film that was shot before the enforcement of the Hays Code. There are elements that are suggestive in nature and in its time was considers not suitable for public viewing. My, have times changed. Today this film would be ok for public television. It has some sexual innuendo but never really crosses that line. I think that for the time it was following the intention of the production code but not the spirit.

The film had an interesting pace to the edits and to the story telling. I never felt like I was seeing any wasted scenes or thrown together shots. Everything was meticulous in setting and content. Sometimes a film that has such a clean feel, it sometimes feels overly scripted or disingenuous. This one did not suffer from that at all.

My take way:

I was so involved with the story I did not look at the movie with as critical an eye I usually do. What will stick with me is the performance of Edward Everett Horton. I first saw him in Pocket full of Miracles when he stole the show as the butler. This self-education of film history is going to take me through a lot of films some I will like, some I will not feel anything for, some I might even hate. But I appreciate all films for making us feel something. My plan was to look at these movie to learn something, with this one, I learned I like it.

I watched this movie on DVD from Netflix.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Podcast

Well, here I am trying to jury rig a podcast. Soooo I am using Dropbox to house the Files and I will use Blogger to distribute, but I want to see if I can get it on ITunes.  I Need to dig some more.

Here is a copy of the PieKast S1E1 Podcast please listen and let me know what you think?

And if you have any advice please let me know.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Movies 101 - Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin – 75 min - UR
This movie tells the story of one battleship in the Russian navy in 1905 that was the birth of a rebellion. The crew revolt against the Tsarist Officers in the crew. They have only one loss in the coup and lay to rest his body on the dock in Odessa. The locals see the body and the sign that said “he was killed over a spoonful of borscht”. His death moves the locals and they support the mutinous crew. Their support cost them in retaliation from the local Tsar’s soldiers. The soldiers start shooting into the crowed and kill many civilians. The battle ship retaliates and takes out a government building. The admiral’s squadron sailed in to confront the Potemkin. There are tenuous scenes where they prepare for a fight but unsure of how they will be received by the oncoming ships. The ships sail up and the confrontation ends in a celebration of the brave crew that threw off the yolk of the tyrannous regime.

This was an unapologetic propaganda film, made to drum up support for the rebellion of the crew. You can see it in the way that people were very animated and many different shots of elements that everyone can identify with. The evil soldiers were very robotic and we never see their faces we only see them move like relentless and emotionless automatons and we see them shoot over and over again. This movie was made in 1925 and the violence of the stairway scene was quite horrific. Even for today there are some shots that cross a line or two. They are not as ... juicy as we make movies today but the emotional tie to the characters is undeniable.
I studied the editing experiments of Eisenstein in the Montage, a way of cutting a film together that combines two shots to tie in a connection between them. A famous example I heard (I am unsure if it was him) you take a picture of a man without any emotion and set it next to a picture of a little girl playing; a viewer will infer that the man was happy and thinking about his grand-daughter. If you take that same set up and show a grave stone, the viewer will infer that the man was sad and thinking about death. Nothing changes form the first seven the synthesis of the shots infers meaning.
My take away:
This is a great movie to watch for an example of how to direct a viewer to feel a specific way, through the power of editing. How you cut a film together is vital to the way people receive it. Again we see that film can be used to influence people’s thoughts ideas and feelings by tapping into emotional responses.
I watched this movie on Hulu

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

If I were a casting director...

...and this book were made into a movie I would audition these people first.

I challenged people on Facebook to cast the movie version of Pazuzu’s Girl here is how I would do it, please read the book and let me know how you would change this list.  You can buy a copy of it here at Goodreads

If you have read the book what do you think of my sections. PLease feel free to commnet on my facebook page or make a list of your own and send it to me I will post it.

Amr Waked as Pazuzu

Oded Fehr asLugal

LoganHuffman as JD

Freida Pinto as Etain

Cliff Curtis as  Mr Agresti

Michael Dorn as Gallursa

TildaSwinton as Ereshkigal

Tara Platt as Jan

Rose McGowan as Lamashtu

Pazuzu's Girl

Movie execs are looking for the next “Harry Potter” series. I think that they may be looking for a series when they could be looking for unique stories. Yes the boy who lived made a mint for everyone but that’s only going to happen once in a lifetime.

Fat Samurai rated Green light

They need to look at books like the one from Rachel Coles Pazuzu’s Girl. I just finished it and it was a great ride. The book was written in a way that made it easy to visualize, it was cinematic, with plenty of emotion and just the right amount of teen angst without making it tedious, like the boy who whined… err I mean lived.
The story surrounds the daughter of the plague demon Pazuzu. That might sound familiar to the readers who played the old school MMORPGs called D&D. He was in the First Monster Manual II, I never faced him but he was quite nasty. Yes, I am a Geek. He has a daughter Morpho and they are trying to stay hidden from the evil baby eating demon Lamashtu. (Pazuzu and her have history)

There are some really likable characters and some great dialog that makes the interactions enjoyable to read. It’s hard to have ancient characters mix with a modern setting but Coles gives these mythical beings personality and they are like people you could meet on the street. I would like to have a beer with some of them.

Please give this a quick look; it’s a fast read and an enjoyable one. Your homework is to go out and look for a great story and come back and share it with us.

I got my copy at Amazon
Spoiler Warning!!!! I am going to talk about some of the characters here so come back here after you read it.

JD stole the show; I really loved him and his ghost fighters. I was heartbroken when he said good bye to his Mother. Man that was emotionally devastating. I also thought that his defense of Morpho was great, that kid has spirit.

Morpho was a strong female and hand no problem showing her vulnerability with her world falling apart, she also transformed from a kid to a young woman who has a new world to explore. I really did not mean to do a butterfly pun there but the symbolic transformation on a lot of levels was well written.

I want to go for a ride with Gallursa; I think that his story could have been expanded on, perhaps in another book. He reminded me of Falkor for some reason.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Movies 101 – The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch - 145min – R

A group of aging outlaws are looking for one final score to end their carrier on. They set up this elaborate heist on the railroad, that turns out to be a trap. An ex member of their gang has been released from prison and is now working for the railroad bounty hunters. They escape but without the loot. The bounty hunters peruse them because they have 30 days to get them or no one gets paid, and the ex gang member has to go back to prison. The gang lays low in Mexico and find themselves working for a warlord and self proclaimed general of the revolutionaries. They pull a highest for him to acquire several cases of weapons and work out an elaborate way to ensure that they will get paid for the score. One of their members gets caught skimming and is captured by the General. They are now faced with leaving with the gold or going back to rescue their captured member. They decide to help their fallen companion and go out in a blaze of glory.

I watched westerns with my grandfather; he was my introduction to the genre. I Thought about him when I watched this film, this film is way more racy than the films we watched on TV but I know that he would have enjoyed the elements of this film. Being a fan of the western I play a game called Red Dead Redemption. There are so many elements of this move in this game. That is something to look into if you have not played it and you enjoy westerns. 

What I liked most about this film is the beginning and the end. The beginning because of the massive gun fight, they had so much coverage from a film making standpoint. And the same reasons at the end. It was a massive gun fight that starts off not how you expect a gunfight to go. They shoot the general and there is a moment there where none else shoots, it almost looks like they are going to get away with it. I also like the blending of shots and angles and speeds.  

My Take away:

This movie used multi-angle editing and is a great example of the technique. The gun fights that had long shots and close ups and slow motion intermixed with live action. That really add a different life to the event we are watching.  I also appreciated the writing; there are two separate story lines here one of the gang and one of the bounty hunters. I enjoyed how they merged at the end but it was wonderful story telling in braiding two separate stories this way.  

I watched this Film on DVD from Netflix

Friday, March 9, 2012

Movies 101 - 8 1/2

- 138min – No rating

This is a movie about a director who is trying to find the next big idea. He is finished with one successful film and is feeling the pressure to continue the success in this next picture. He has no idea what the movie is going to be about but has to deal with people hammering him for information. As a way to escape the pressures of work, his relationships and his life he slips into memoires and fantasies. It is hard to be brilliant on command, inspiration comes when it comes. This movie shows us a side of creating art that people sometimes forget.

I like films about people who make movies. I have worked on films and directed short films so I can relate to the pressures of being brilliant again in this movie. I tried to watch this was I was younger and I did not get it at all. Seeing it at this time in my life I have a new appreciation for it. Like the character I find myself escaping into my mind during the boring aspects of my own life. I remember several companywide meetings where I was off on another planet sliding down a hand rail with a phaser in each hand defending the cat people from the lizard man invasion. I am more of a geek than this character was.

Federico Fellini started out in a neorealist style of storytelling and 8 ½ is the film that started defining the hyperbolic “Fellini” signature of surrealism. The title of the film represents the number of films he has worked on at the time of this production. This movie is his 8th and half production. (You apparently get a half credit by co directing a film)

My take away:

The Fellini style is now clearer to me, I understood it from context but I have never experienced it. Walking through a story and mixing real life with what is going on in a characters head can be hard to follow but it allows you to see what the character is feeling and thinking about. A reviewer said that this story is almost too intimate because it shows us what is going on in the film makers head.

I watched this film on NetFlix watch it now.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Movies 101 - The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows – 99 min – No rating

This film was about a young boy growing up in Paris. We see the events that lead him down the path of criminal delinquency. His parents were completely oblivious to his needs because of their selfishness. He lives with them in a small apartment. His parents both work and make no time for their son. The teacher only sees him as a trouble maker and it turns out to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

It was completely heartbreaking to watch. I was so saddened by the plight of the main character. He was the product of his environment. The last shot where he is running on the beach a truly honest feeling of freedom contrast with the prison of circumstances of his life in Paris. It was a beautifully done picture.

The style of the film is described as French New Wave. From what I read it is very raw storytelling. The films are low budget and are shot with just the barest of support. When I think of Independent film I think of movies like this where it was one small group of people who have a wonderful story to tell and are not bogged down the by the studio system. The subjects of these films are usually of real people in real situations without the fake storybook imagery of traditional cinema.

My take away:

The French New Wave style is focused on true story telling and had some passionate people involved in its birth. They had shoe string budgets and were dedicated to the story. They made some bold edit choices based on style and sometimes finical restrictions.

I watched this on Hulu and they have some really great movies in their Criterion collection section.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Movies 101 list of 102 movies you need to see

I have been looking around at other reviewer’s suggestions on what I should include in my repertoire as far as need to see or read to improve my Reviewer Fu. One of my favorites has this list of 102 films as a primer to have an informed discussion on movies. By the by I would love to have an informed discussion on movies with him.

There are also some people who suggest a number of books to read and study, but while I am doing that I am going to try my hand at the following list. I am going to watch all of them, and rearrange the list so I watch the ones I have seen at the end. I am not going to review them fully but I am going to jot down a quick paragraph or two on some of the things that I noticed about the films.

Well here goes nothing; we are off to educate the fat samurai reviewer.

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) Stanley Kubrick
"The 400 Blows" (1959) Francois Truffaut
"8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972) Werner Herzog
"Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott
"All About Eve" (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
"Annie Hall" (1977) Woody Allen
"Apocalypse Now" (1979) Francis Ford Coppola*
"Bambi" (1942) Disney
"The Battleship Potemkin" (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler
"The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller
"The Bicycle Thief" (1949) Vittorio De Sica
"The Big Sleep" (1946) Howard Hawks
"Blade Runner" (1982) Ridley Scott
"Blowup" (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
"Blue Velvet" (1986) David Lynch
"Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) Arthur Penn
"Breathless" (1959 Jean-Luc Godard
"Bringing Up Baby" (1938) Howard Hawks
"Carrie" (1975) Brian DePalma
"Casablanca" (1942) Michael Curtiz
"Un Chien Andalou" (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
"Children of Paradise" / "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne
"Chinatown" (1974) Roman Polanski
"Citizen Kane" (1941) Orson Welles
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971) Stanley Kubrick
"The Crying Game" (1992) Neil Jordan
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) Robert Wise
"Days of Heaven" (1978) Terence Malick
"Dirty Harry" (1971) Don Siegel
"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) Luis Bunuel
"Do the Right Thing" (1989 Spike Lee
"La Dolce Vita" (1960) Federico Fellini
"Double Indemnity" (1944) Billy Wilder
"Dr. Strangelove" (1964) Stanley Kubrick
"Duck Soup" (1933) Leo McCarey
"E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) Steven Spielberg
"Easy Rider" (1969) Dennis Hopper
"The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) Irvin Kershner
"The Exorcist" (1973) William Friedkin
"Fargo" (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
"Fight Club" (1999) David Fincher
"Frankenstein" (1931) James Whale
"The General" (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
"The Godfather," "The Godfather, Part II" (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
"Gone With the Wind" (1939) Victor Fleming
"GoodFellas" (1990) Martin Scorsese
"The Graduate" (1967) Mike Nichols
"Halloween" (1978) John Carpenter
"A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Richard Lester
"Intolerance" (1916) D.W. Griffith
"It's a Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) Frank Capra
"Jaws" (1975) Steven Spielberg
"The Lady Eve" (1941) Preston Sturges
"Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) David Lean
"M" (1931) Fritz Lang
"Mad Max 2" / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller
"The Maltese Falcon" (1941) John Huston
"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) John Frankenheimer
"Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang
"Modern Times" (1936) Charles Chaplin
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
"Nashville" (1975) Robert Altman
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George Romero
"North by Northwest" (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
"Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau
"On the Waterfront" (1954) Elia Kazan
"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone
"Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier
"Persona" (1966) Ingmar Bergman
"Pink Flamingos" (1972) John Waters
"Psycho" (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
"Pulp Fiction" (1994) Quentin Tarantino
"Rashomon" (1950) Akira Kurosawa
"Rear Window" (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray
"Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks
"Repulsion" (1965) Roman Polanski
"The Rules of the Game" (1939) Jean Renoir
"Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks
"The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg
"Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg
"The Searchers" (1956) John Ford
"The Seven Samurai" (1954) Akira Kurosawa
"Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
"Some Like It Hot" (1959) Billy Wilder
"A Star Is Born" (1954) George Cukor
"A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) Elia Kazan
"Sunset Boulevard" (1950) Billy Wilder
"Taxi Driver" (1976) Martin Scorsese
"The Third Man" (1949) Carol Reed
"Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
"Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) John Huston
"Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
"Vertigo" (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
"West Side Story" (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
"The Wild Bunch" (1969) Sam Peckinpah
"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) Victor Fleming

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The wholly Family

Terry Gilliam has written and directed this short and is distributing it out to the web exclusively. I am partnering with Distrify to help get it out to you, the viewers, directly. Here is a synopsis of the film and please feel free to rent it directly from this site. Enjoy. If you like the short please share this link with your friends. If you did not like the short that is completly fine, we forgive you.

An American family traviling through Naples lose track of thier son and franticly look for him. The boy is lost in a dream like world that in true Gilliam style mixes reality and imagination in a visual bounty that lets you enjoy the wimsical qualitys of film.

Monday, January 9, 2012

In the Land of Blood and Honey Live Q&A event

We are helping host this event, please go to the site and submit a question to the film maker. One lucky comment contributor will get a free movie poster.

About the film
In the Land of Blood and Honey has been nominated for a Golden Globe® for Best Foreign Language Film. Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s, the film tells the story of Danijel (Goran Kostić) and Ajla (pronounced Ayla) (Zana Marjanović), two Bosnians from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. Danijel, a Bosnian Serb police officer, and Ajla, a Bosnian Muslim artist, are together before the war, but their relationship is changed as violence engulfs the country. Months later, Danijel is serving under his father, General Nebojsa Vukojevich (Rade Šerbedžija), as an officer in the Bosnian Serb Army. He and Ajla come face to face again when she is taken from the apartment she shares with her sister, Lejla (Vanesa Glodjo), and Lejla’s infant child by troops under Danijel’s command. As the conflict takes hold of their lives, their relationship changes, their motives and connection to one another become ambiguous and their allegiances grow uncertain. In the Land of Blood and Honey portrays the incredible emotional, moral and physical toll that the war takes on individuals as well as the consequences that stem from the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.

Please comment with your questions for the film maker here, they will be forwarded on to the event. One lucky reader will receive a movie poster, comment to enter. See you then….

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Red Light films

This is a list of the red light films that I have had the misfortune in seeing. I know that when I go to the movie it’s a crap shoot I never know what I am going to be seeing. Here are some Haikus about the bad movies I have seen.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 

The audience
transforms into vampires
oh life sucking film

The Three Musketeers

Steam punk and sword play
A classic story falls prey
Dumas should sue them

Paranormal Activity 3

So original
some security footage
a long walk, for what

The Thing

Not allowed to copy
let him do a prequel then
maybe he should not

The Hangover Part II

A one trick pony
it was a good Idea once
only works once not again

Your Highness

This movie did not work
perhaps the title was key
I need to be stoned

The Roommate

This Roommate is bad
I mean the film not the girl
can they shoot me too


The spelunking film
National Geographic
wants their nature back

The Mechanic

A remake, kind of
this film does not pay omage
wake me when it’s done

Little Fockers

The Little Fockers
how much can they milk this cat
can it go away