Archives for June 2012

Happy Friday!

Hey ILC Readers!

As per usual when the week comes to a close, I like to look at what is on offer in cinemas 🙂

This weekend looks a bit promising (at least in terms of options and variety). I am sure there is something for everyone.

Ted

Magic Mike

 

People Like Us

 

 Take this Waltz

And then I simply ask: WHY?

I anticipate at some point checking out Ted – initially I did not ‘get’ this film but the more I read and saw, the more interested in it I have become.

I for one plan on finishing a couple of Netflix-queued films in addition to possibly going to see Woody Allen’s latest. But I also really want to see Beasts of the Southern Wild. I am sure I will be able to catch this one over the 4th of July holiday.

 

With that said, how about you? What are you going to be watching this weekend?

 

Tribute to Nora Ephron (1941-2012)

While many (including myself) are still grappling with the tragic news concerning the passing of noted writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron who passed away earlier this week, aged 71.

From a distance, she was a creative force that I always admired. As a writer, she struck a wonderful chord that was equal parts romantic, humorous and (at times) tinged with necessary dramatic tension and pathos; it was a rarefied gift that many have tried to replicate, but few have succeeded at.

Here is a condensed list of some of my favorite films that she penned:

  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)*
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989)*^

(* denotes Academy Award nod; ^denotes BAFTA, or British Academy Award win)

When Harry Met Sally: A personal favorite

Of course, my VERY small sample of chiefly rom-coms does not begin to touch the surface of all of her accomplishments, but from this collection of films, it was quite clear that her skills as a writer were varied and resonated with many. Let us not forget that she also wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for the whistle-blower tale Silkwood.

Let us not forget that she was also noted for her work BEHIND the camera with films such as Julie & Julia , the aforementioned You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle.

Here is a scene from Sleepless in Seattle that always gets me:

In closing, among the various Hollywood tributes to go out to in the wake of this loss, I point you to Tom Hanks’ eulogy in Time magazine to his collaborator and friend.

Revisiting “Frankenstein” (1931)

IT’S ALIVE!!!

IT’S ALIVE!!!

For my latest entry where I cover the Universal 100th series, I am going to take a look at a film where (finally!) I have read at least one of the sources upon which the story is based.  Although known primarily by its Gothic novel by Mary Shelley, the film is actually based on the stage play written by Peggy Webling. This is similar to the film (and earlier ILC entry) Dracula.

For those unfamiliar with the story, I suggest you read the story. Dr. Frankenstein (portrayed in this film by Colin Clive), is obsessed with reanimation, the recreation of life. In order to achieve this, he and his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) harvest body parts, all in the hope of creating life through electricity. Unbeknownst to them, one of the parts they have collected (the brain) comes from a criminally psychotic man. You can guess where this is leading …

For me the most moving and touching scene is when The Monster (Boris Karloff) is on the run and he starts playing with the little girl. In fact this scene leads into probably the most iconic scene of them all – the marching of the townspeople hell-bent on revenge tragedy involving the village girl, when the townspeople are in pursuit. It is a sequence which has remained with me all these years later.

If I were to choose between the two monster movies (Dracula or Frankenstein), I would say that this is by some measure my preferred film.

Check out this original trailer for the movie:

Along with a couple of my favorite scenes:

An “Epic” Trailer

Check out this trailer for the 2013 animated feature Epic which premiered yesterday on the internet:

SYNPOSIS
EPIC is a 3D CG action-adventure comedy that reveals a hidden world unlike any other. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil.  When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world…and ours. The film stars BEYONCÉ KNOWLES, COLIN FARRELL, JOSH HUTCHERSON, AMANDA SEYFRIED, and JOHNNY KNOXVILLE. EPIC is scheduled for release on May 24th, 2013.
My Reaction
I am generally not a person who thrives off of the latest in 3D/CGI/Animated features, having seen most only in passing, when my nieces and nephew are around. Having seen Rio, I must admit that Epic seems quite similar in look and feel to that feature. Which is totally understandable I suppose since it is from the same studio.
One item of interest is the voice casting. When I first saw the press information, I had a moment of “WTH?”
And wow! 2013 seems quite a ways off …
So, what is your reaction to this trailer?

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Summertime Double Bill

Woo hoo! Summertime is here.

And when I think of summertime I think of CAMP! Granted I never went to sleep-away camp but it remained a childhood ambition of mine. I greatly suspect that my desire to go to camp was due to this film (Little Darlings).

Little Darlings stars teen idols Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol as rivals, Ferris and Angel, each trying to beat the other to losing her virginity.

This film is fun for several reasons – one being the cast, which featured a young Armand Assante and Matt Dillon (as the object of Ferris and Angel’s lust) as well as a VERY pre-Sex and the City Cynthia Nixon as one of the campers (see if you can spot her in the photograph above).

As it was released in 1980, I am pretty sure that when I first saw the film it was in its ‘sanitized’ form, excised of much of its sexual content. Several years later, I did see it on cable and got the full-on treatment. What I can say upon seeing this ‘complete’ version is that it handled the subject of young female sexuality with a balance of humor and deference to the subject.


Fast forward 21 years and being a bit older and wiser, with the release of Wet Hot American Summer I was able to appreciate the bizarre, satirical world of summer camp. This film is a send-up of the aforementioned Little Darlings as well as Meatballs, a film that I was not allowed to see (and have yet to see).

To summarize this film’s plot in nearly impossible. Needless to say there is a whole lot going on … from dead campers to impending disaster, in the form of NASA Skylab debris. I am sure that this film is not to everyone’s liking – in fact it was a complete box office failure and has since found a cult following on home video. In fact, for the past several years rumors have persisted that there is to be a sequel to the film. I cannot imagine how that would work out.

What are some of your favorite films about summer camp?

* Be sure to check out Todd Mason’s blog, Sweet Freedom to read up on some more overlooked titles.

The Stuff of Legend

As I suspected, I spent this weekend focused on my Netflix (the result of being broke 🙂 ). Just not in the way I planned. Initially I wanted to catch up on some film noir – instead I got caught up in playing ‘catch up’ with the television series Merlin.

Let me just state for the record: this is family entertainment at its core. It is not the highest form of art, true, but I enjoyed the series enough to remain engaged.

But what it did do is get me thinking – the Arthurian legend is something that has also fascinated me in print but has that translated to the screen? I began to dig a little deeper …

After examining a list of films based on the stories of King Arthur, I noticed that I have seen a handful of films, including:

  • A Connecticut Yankee (1931); based on Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995); same as above
  • The Sword in the Stone (1963)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

As you can see by this list, with the exception of Monty Python, all of the titles are family orientated films. The conclusion I draw is that I have a lot of catching up to do with Arthur-related movies. This is where you, the reader comes in … what are some of your favorite movies which center on the legend of King Arthur?

Weekend Viewing Options (Week Ending 22nd June)

Well folks we are fast approaching the weekend. Yippee!

Here in NYC, the summer came a-blazing in so this is the perfect week for the movies!

As I mentioned on my friend Ruth’s site, Flixchatter, I am in a noir-ish mood so I will probably Netflix a few titles while sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of my bedroom. There is also a TCM Party going on Sunday night at 8:00PM Eastern time. The film we will be tweeting about is Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus; be sure to look out for the #TCMParty hashtag.

For those who dare venture outside (personally still undecided myself), here are a few new films out in theaters. On the surface it looks like this is the calm before the July blockbuster storm.

 

ABE LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

 

 

BRAVE

 

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

 

TO ROME WITH LOVE

 

Also if you want to get really serious, there is a documentary about sexual abuse in our armed services on release (Invisible War). It looks like if you are not in a major metro-media area, however, you will have to hunt this one down.

And lastly for country music fans, there is the feature film The Last Ride about the final days of legend Hank Williams.

So, what will YOU be watching this weekend?

“Anna Karenina” Trailer and Stills

Off the heels of looking at some of the great director/actor collaborations of all time yesterday, I present to you the following trailer for the upcoming, third film from the duo of Joe Wright and Keira Knightley, an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

Watching this trailer reminds me what the Wright/Knightley work has produced to date: a very rustic, earthy adaptation of my favorite book (Pride and Prejudice) and the beautifully layered, tragic Ian McEwan adaptation of a book I am STILL trying to get through (Atonement). Under Wright’s direction, each of these films arguably produced the some of Knightley’s finest performances and proved beyond measure (at least in my mind) Keira Knightley is an earnest thesp who is not afraid to work on refining her craft. Whatever your thoughts about the end product is one thing – but by my estimation it is something worth recognizing.

Add to this mix that it is adapted for the screen by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard, and you have a film that looks like it may be worth a look-see, especially for those who love themselves some lush romantic drama.


SYNOPSISThe third collaboration of Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley with acclaimed director Joe Wright, following the award-winning boxoffice successes “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement,” is a bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s timeless novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”). The story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart. As Anna (Ms. Knightley) questions her happiness and marriage, change comes to all around her.


Anna Karenina hits select theaters on November 9th 2012.

Clips and Bits, Wednesday June 20th Edition

Another Hump Day another amalgamation of my favorite bits from ‘ round the web.

 

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR …

This interesting little documentary about female superheroes!

 

I COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF
I really enjoyed listening to Dr. K’s take on the film Prometheus:

 

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE …

Check out Total Film’s list – at least when it comes to recognizing that there are a plethora of great films out there with lackluster promotional materials.

 

DIRECTOR/STAR COLLABOS

Turning again to Total Film (they have great lists, BTW). This time TF examines the greatest 50 director/movie star collaborations. As you will see from the comments section, the debate continues. Who would you pick?

 

This is one of them …

THE BEST OF HITCHCOCK

Adam Boult of the Guardian newspaper asks, What is Your Favorite Alfred Hitchcock Film?

 

 

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: All Through the Night (1941/2)

My entry this week as part of Todd Mason’s ongoing series (which always carries a varied and interesting selection of forgotten or overlooked films) is the 1941 (1942, depending on the source) Humphrey Bogart starrer All Through the Night. Fifth Columnists in league with the Nazis are at large in Manhattan and it is up to Gloves Donahue (Bogart) and his band of fellow criminals to bring down this threat to the nation and the world!

While this film has its tense and dramatic moments, there are a great deal of comedic moments that made this a very entertaining movie. Bogart is often most associated with a gruff, hard-boiled anti-hero persona; this film is one of a few in his career which demonstrates the range of Bogart’s talent and his oft forgotten (deadpan) jocular ability.

The film costars famed character actors Conrad Veidt, Jane Darwell, Peter Lorre, William Demarest and Judith Anderson and features Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers.
Check out the trailer here: