October 2009 - Posts
With Halloween this Saturday, I thought it the right time to share this
movie monster chart
, which runs the gamut from Chucky to the Cloverfield monster. It probably should go lower to include
The Gingerdead Man
, but my absolute favorite has to be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters
(but isn't he technically Gozer?). It's available as a tee shirt
, which is way better than some
Journalism paved the way for John Boorman to make documentaries for the BBC, which in turn paved the way for him to make feature films. His first was a vehicle for the band Dave Clark Five called Catch us if You Can, meant to emulate the success of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. It was only mildly successful, but it got his foot in the door and allowed him to move on to Hollywood. His first feature in America was the startlingly visual Point Blank in 1967 with Lee Marvin. After two more features he would make Deliverance, adapted by James Dickey from his own novel. Mr. Boorman has made quality films in the decades since (including Hope and Glory and The General) and continues to work, with two projects currently in pre-production.
During the opening we meet four men going on a canoe trip down a river which will cease to be after it is dammed to make a large lake. The talk amongst the men conveys their excitement for the trip and to be away from their daily routines in Atlanta. The experienced outdoorsman of the group is Lewis (Burt Reynolds), who much prefers the natural world over modern city life. Ed (Jon Voight) has been on trips with him before, but Bobby (Ned Beatty) and Drew (Ronny Cox) are new to this sort of outing. Before the trip begins the group finds some locals to drive their cars down river where they will finish their trip. Those they encounter are not especially accepting of them and in turn, the city guys are somewhat condescending. The only connection made with the hillbillies is when Drew and an inbred albino boy play a bluegrass tune together. But as soon as it ends, the boy turns away and won't except his handshake.
After squaring away the arrangements, the four men head down the river in two canoes. The first day of the trip is enjoyable even though the rookies feel out of their element. They camp beside the river for the night. Bobby and Lewis don't exactly hit it off, so the following day they change canoe partners so Bobby rides with Ed. At one point the boats become separated. When Bobby and Ed stop and take a break, they are alone when two mountain men emerge from the woods. Almost immediately, the situation goes very badly and the men from Atlanta must decide on how they will proceed down this river. It will not be a pleasant ride.
The movie is an excellent thriller. The danger and tension continue to mount as it deals with the themes of masculinity, modernity and justice. The characters are forced to act in ways they've never had to before merely to survive. Each of the four main actors does a great job conveying the characters' differing personalities. The cinematography of the river is beautiful. Other than one strange use of banjo later in the film, I think Deliverance translates wonderfully to a contemporary audience.
There is a 2004 disc, but a deluxe edition was released in 2007. The visuals are widescreen and the audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. My fellow movie blogger Phil and I watched this film here at Klipsch in our Palladium listening room and it was fantastic. The extras include a 4-part retrospective, a vintage featurette and a commentary track by Mr. Boorman.
The most disturbing scene in Pulp Fiction pays homage to the most disturbing scene in Deliverance and is how I first heard of the movie. The 2004 film Mean Creek references it and has some similar plot points. The use of "Dueling Banjos" in Zombieland, now in theaters, is a clear reference as well. Nods to this movie have permeated popular culture, so these are just a few examples.
Instead of talking to you about a particular TV show I'm enjoying, I thought I would share an application that helps me remember when my shows are on. It's called TV Forecast
[iTunes Link] and it's available for iPhone and iPod Touch.
The system is dead simple. Search for the shows you like and put them on your list. Your list is updated every time you open the app telling when the next new episode will be airing. Select a show on your list and TV Forecast will give you a summary of the upcoming episode (if available).
Now turn your iPhone/iPod sideways and a timer appears showing you just how many days, hours and minutes stand between you and a brand new episode.
It's also very handy for tracking shows that are not on the air. For example, one of my favorites, LOST is not returning for 104 days on (9 p.m. on February 3rd, 2010 to be exact), and you can be sure I won't be missing it. The app will cost you $1.99, and it's worth every single penny.
Check it out.
First off, apologies for my recent absence on the blog. I just got married and have been dealing with all the grown-up things that go with it. But speaking of growing up, I thought I would share the new trailer for
Toy Story 3
. I'm always weary of sequels, but Pixar has been on a roll with
, so I hope they can keep the hot streak going.
Check it out.
The 1970s were a rich period in American movies - the early 70s especially. Here's a nod to some favorites that
won't be getting their own blog post, with links to quality scenes. If you feel like I missed anything, any of your favorites, let me know in the comments.
Note: Some clips include spoilers and a reminder that not all the films (or clips) are suitable for children.
The Last Song - Nashville (1975)
Do Not Open This Door - Young Frankentstein (1974)
The Golden Phone in Havana - The Godfather Part II (1974)
Off With His Nose - Chinatown (1974)
Trash Talk - American Graffiti (1973)
A Man and His Garden - Serpico (1973)
Leave the Gun - The Godfather (1972)
Calm on the Outside - A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Word from the General - Patton (1970)
Mention: The Yakuza, Three Days of the Condor, Shampoo, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Sisters, The Sting, The Long Goodbye, What's Up Doc?, Cabaret, 1776, Two-Lane Blacktop, Shaft, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, Harold and Maude, Carnal Knowledge, MASH, Love Story, Blazing Saddles
Cinema has provided a long and varied career for Peter Bogdanovich. He started out as an actor in the 1950s (as a youngster, he lied about his age to study with Stella Adler). During the 1960s he was a film programer for the Museum of Modern Art. He also started writing about film for Esquire, and produced books on famous directors including John Ford and Orson Welles. Then, like the famous French film critics before him, he made the jump to directing. The low-budget Targets, which he made for Roger Corman, was Mr. Bogdanovich's film school. He returned to journalism, meeting and interviewing many of the preimenent directors and stars of Hollywood's past. Finally, he made his mark as a filmmaker in 1971 with The Last Picture Show. He would go on to make many other fine films in the 1970s - including the wonderful Paper Moon. The years since have not always been kind to him personally and proffessionally, but he has continued to work as an actor (Sopranos) and director (Mask, The Cat's Meow). Today he is more visable for his role as an ascot-wearing commentator in documentaries and DVD suplimentary materials.
Paper Moon takes place in the midwest during the 1930s. We begin at a funeral and find little Addie Logins (Tatum O'Neal) left alone following the death of her mother. Stopping in on the funeral is Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal). He swears not to be related to Addie (although they have the same jaw), but in light of his friendship with her mother, he is roped into taking her to her aunt in Missouri. We learn quite early that Moses makes a living as a con artist. Feeling entitled, Addie demands the $200 that he made exploiting her situation. Their relationship starts out rocky, but on the road they find they can each benefit from a partnerhip that will last until Missouri.
The movie pays homage to some of the film stylings of the 30s, especially the comic dialog. The short bursts back and forth are clever and hilarious. Shot in glorious black and white by Laszlo Kovacs, sometimes you are actually fooled as to when the movie was made. Mr. Bogdanovich's encyclopedic knowledge of American movies, as well as
his friendships with many key filmmakers of that era, enable him to
pull it off to great effect. In addition we must give credit to the unbelievably delightful performances by the father-daughter duo. Never has a child actor been more confident, cute, or funny than Tatum O'Neal in this movie. Their chemistry is just right, although apparently they haven't been able to sustain that in their actual relationship. Madeline Kahn also gives a memorable performance for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Paper Moon is a most charming movie with a great ending that both witholds and satisfies.
The disc was released in 2003. The movie's in the widescreen format of its original release and the sound is Dolby 2.0 mono, which works well for this dialog driven feature. Extras include a commentary by Mr. Bogdanovich and a 35-minute documentary entitled The Making of Paper Moon.
In its loving revival of 30s comedic conventions, I am immediately reminded of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?.
There is a psuedo father-child relationship that involves con artistry in P.T. Anderson's debut, Sydney
(Hard Eight). And the father-child con game is also played in Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men