Archives for September 2010

Has Anyone Seen this Trailer?

I was watching “Glee” last night and this trailer REALLY intrigued me. To find out more about the documentary film, I defer to its website.

Looks interesting? Especially in the wake of my plans to catch “The Social Network” with my brother this weekend.

Keep the Recs Coming!

For the past month, I have been working feverishly at my 9 to 5 but am able to have a “movie break” from time to time. As per the multiple suggestions offered by readers in my post from last month, I have amassed a collection of three titles from my local library which I plan to watch and post my reactions to this weekend. The suggestions provided by the audience have just at their mention broadened my cinematic horizons (I would have never thought previously of watching a Danish or Serbian film – was not even sure that there was a Serbian film industry).

But I am having so much fun with this exercise, that I want my readers to keep the hits coming. I am open to any and all suggestions!

Wait Until Dark

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that “Wait Until Dark” is going to air on TCM in less that two hours. For the uninitiated, “Wait Until Dark” is a 1967 suspense thriller starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. It is based upon the 1966 stage production of the same name. As this trailer shows, it is essentially the story of a blind woman being terrorized by three not very nice men:

I am excited for the following reasons: first,. it will fill part of the gap of “What to watch on a Sunday night” left by “True Blood” coming to an end. Secondly, I simply have not seen the film in such a long time, but what I remember of the movie is the fright that it left me with – especially in the climatic sequences of the film.

The only question I had for myself was, that from the time I last saw the film, had I mis-remembered how good I thought it was? Of course that question would be answered when I re-watch the movie; but me being me, I decided to pre-empt my reaction and do some internet research on the movie. I ended up stumbling up a review written by Roger Ebert over 40 years ago. In an eloquence I could only dream of emulating, Mr. Ebert offered a very balanced opinion of the film – including some of the flaws in the narrative. In fact, they were flaws that I had not previously considered in previous screenings.

As I go into watching the film this evening, I will be seeing the film through an additional perspective. And I am really looking forward to it.

Makes Me (Stevie) Wonder

As much as I love motion pictures, I am almost as equally fond of music. And when I say music, I mean music in nearly all forms. In fact in my moments of of feeling awfully low, music is my refuge and salvation.  The refuge almost takes on an obsessive immersion. My latest obsession/immersion experience  into pop/rock/whatever escapism is Maroon 5. As I listened to their music, I started to think about Maroon 5/movie tie-ins, partly as a result of a conversation I had with my brother about Jennifer’s Body in which the character portrayed by Adam Brody asks his mates (prior to sacrificing Jennifer):

Do you wanna be a big loser, or do you wanna be rich and awesome like that guy from Maroon 5?

Maroon 5.

Okay. That’s what I thought.

[Read more…]

Things I learned after FINALLY Watching Avatar

When the opportunity presented itself, I took advantage – Avatar has been re-released in IMAX 3D and I decided to end my embargo on the film. Why did I refuse to see the film for such a long time in the first place, you may ask? The reasons are several fold – among them:

  • my often stated (and well documented – see below) resistance to embrace the 3D craze that is poised to take over cinema
  • the extremely delayed realization that Titanic was a pretty lame movie; as a result not wanting to believe the hype of another James Cameron movie

So, the afternoon, as I took the escalator up to the IMAX theater of the Lincoln Square Cinema, my expectations were rather low ….. but as the closing credits rolled and afterward, I took stock of the experience and assessed what I had learned:

  • I was wrong to wait so long to see this movie
  • I forgot all the stuff I really liked about James Cameron prior to Titanic – he made several fun action-packed movies that I enjoyed watching during the 80’s and 90s, and
  • not all 3D has to give you headaches – no headaches here!

As you can tell from my list, I was pleasantly surprised that I saw this film – I really went with it. Has it changed my perception of 3D? Not really sure at this point but I after seeing Avatar on the big screen, I cannot imagine seeing this film anywhere else. It truly was a cinematic event.

The 3-D (R)Evolution – Revisited

Woman wearing 3D glasses in cinema

Some time ago, I waxed poetic about 3D in the cinemas.  I want to revisit the topic because over the Labor Day Weekend, while walking around the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, I entered the Panasonic 3D Experience.  Me and a friend saw a clip of Avatar, looked at home videos shot with 3D cameras and even got to experience watching ourselves swinging a tennis racket in three dimensions.

The verdict? Well the exhibit was a sight to behold – we had a blast. Bear in mind, this “Experience” was in the realm of The exhibit was centered on home entertainment.

But the question remains if I think that this is the wave of the future in the cinemas. One of my earlier complaints about the 3D technology was the headache that it produced. In this exhibit, the problem is solved by a pair of $150 3D specs that “do the adjustments” for you. Hence, no headache. I assume that you will be able to use the specs in a theater displaying a 3D film.

With this in mind, I am giving 3D another chance. After much, much delay, I am finally breaking down and going to see Avatar in IMAX 3D. Wish me luck!

*Special thanks to my friend QTS for giving me the idea of this post.

A Western Perspective (The Ox Bow Incident)

Yesterday I tweeted about the Ox Bow Incident. A couple of days prior I had been on the phone with my brother – we started out by discussing our reactions to the latest installment of True Blood. At some point, the conversation moved to Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992); how we got there I cannot tell you. My brother was marvelling at the allegory conveyed in this modern masterpiece. In his estimation this was a film that broke the standard conventions of what people traditionally think about the “wild” West; especially its mythic standing portrayed over the years on the silver screen.

It was at this moment that I took the opportunity to tell him, that while I am no expert on the genre, throughout cinematic history, turning the myth of the American West on its head is not totally a new idea. I first started talking about The Searchers (1956), but soon moved on to my favorite Western, 1943’s The Ox Bow Incident. It is a very intimate film, not something one finds in a traditional Western. Based on a novel of the same name, it is a moving story of what happens when one’s conscience yields to mob rule and the actions that mob (posse) fly in the face of reason, logic and justice.

I do not want to reveal the details of the plot because I want you to experience the film as I did – a lovely wonderful surprise on a random weekend afternoon. I assure you if you have not seen it, it will leave you thoroughly satisfied.

*The Ox Bow Incident is playing Sunday, September 5, 2010 (12:00 Noon) at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.