November 2009 - Posts
Here is a link to a short interview with Wes Anderson, the director of Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think my daughter is just a bit too young for the movie theater or I would definitely treat her to this one.
When he earned his Master's Degree in Drama from the University of Southern California in 1950, Sam Peckinpah ended his involvement in theater and started work in television, which he saw as his way into the movies. Growing up in California in the 30s, he spent much of his
formative years riding horses, branding cattle and shooting firearms.
His college years were preceded by service in the US Marines. His combative spirit got him into trouble, but he wrote for and directed several TV shows, actually writing the original screenplay that became the series The Rifleman. He worked with Don Siegel on four occasions before finally directing his first feature. But it was his second film, Ride the High Country, that put him on the map as a major filmmaker. The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs are classics which helped earn him the nickname, "Bloody Sam." In 1972, Mr. Peckinpah would team up with Steve McQueen for an adaptation of Jim Thompson's The Getaway.
The movie's opening titles are interwoven with Doc McCoy's (Steve McQueen) life inside a prison, and set to the rhythmic workings of the machinery in the prison shop. He finally makes parole after instructing his wife Carol (Ali MacGraw) to do whatever is necessary to get him out. She picks him up outside the prison, and then he tries to figure out what's next.
The next step turns out to be repaying a corrupt business man for using his influence to free him from prison. A robbery has been planned, and Doc is to help make it happen. Along with Carol he will be working with Rudy (Al Lettieri) and Frank. The bank robbery goes bad. Rudy kills Frank and attempts to kill Doc, but he gets the best of him and Doc and Carol take off with the money. Rudy is left for dead, but was wearing a bulletproof vest and isn't too happy to be out that much cash. Another attempted double-cross with the man behind the job leads the couple to make a run for the border, but as you can imagine, that will be anything but simple. On top of that, when Doc finds out what Carol had to do to get him out of prison, he's not so sure he wants her around anyway.
This film was one of the most financially lucrative of Mr. Peckinpah's career. The story is less than extraordinary, but the presence of McQueen and the direction from Peckinpah make it a very good thriller, which was their goal at the time since they both needed a hit. Ali MacGraw is an example of a model turned actress who can't really act. This doesn't detract much since McQueen and the bit characters (Lettieri, Sally Struthers and Slim Pickens) do a wonderful job. The editing of the opening credits is a great example of visual storytelling. Overall the look is fantastic, especially the explosive shootouts. Seeing this film gives you mere flashes of the talent of Mr. Peckinpah, but you get a full dose of Steve McQueen cool.
The movie got a standard DVD release in 1997. A deluxe edition was released in 2005. The picture is widescreen and the audio is Dolby Digital 1.0. Extras include some commentary and a featurette as well as the trailer. A Blu-ray disc was released in 2007.
The Way of the Gun has a certain resemblence to The Getaway and other films by Mr. Peckinpah. It deserves a second look. In Deathproof, two characters get out of a car and squat down to have a discussion just as they do in this movie. And we aren't going to mention the 1994 remake.
Fox officially canceled Dollhouse
yesterday, but said it would air the remaining eight episodes of the season. I don't know why I'm surprised by the news. Fox is notorious for killing some of the best shows on television. On the upside, it frees up Joss Whedon
to do other things (Dr. Horrible
2, Maybe?). I would talk more about it but
beat me to it. I wish the networks would take a real chance every once and a while, because not every show can take off in the first 5 episodes. Hell,
didn't really take off in ratings until season 4. Some shows just need time to grow an audience.
I leave you with what Joss had to say on Whedonesque.com
Hmm. Apparently my news is not news.
I don't have a lot to say. I'm extremely proud of the people I've worked with: my star, my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you'll agree in the coming months. I'm grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again.
I'm off to pursue internet ventures/binge drinking. Possibly that relaxation thing I've read so much about. By the time the last episode airs, you'll know what my next project is. But for now there's a lot of work still to be done, and disappointment to bear.
Thank you all for your support, your patience, your excellent adverts. See you again. -j.
MattM and I sat down this morning to have a chat about the season three finale of Mad Men
. We normally have this conversation at our desks, but today we decided to have it in front of a microphone. If you'd like to listen to two midwesterners cough and wax intellectual about an amazing television show, a link is available below. But for those of you who came to read I have done my best to boil down our 20 minute conversation into the following highlights.
Season three as a whole is a downer. Everybody loses something. Fathers, brothers, feet, innocence, promotions, ideas, companies and control. It all comes to a head with the assassination of President Kennedy, which causes everyone to pause and reevaluate further. The finale starts to pick things back up when Don and a rag tag crew of Sterling Copper employees decide to betray the British and split off and form a new agency. You see your favorite characters at their finest. They stop whining and decide to take back control of their lives.
Betty decides she wants a divorce from Don, no matter what it takes. But she is trading dependence on him for dependence on Henry Francis, whom she hardly knows. I can't see it working out between them. Oh, those poor Draper kids. Two weeks before Christmas their parents split up? That's rough. "Mommy's running off to Reno for an easy divorce. See you in six weeks. Love you." Certainly Sally and Bobby will be affected for the worse.
We both guess that Season 4 will begin around February 1964, just before the British invasion of the Beatles. Matt believes Paul Kinsey will not be brought on at the new agency and will slowly disappear. I, on the other hand, believe Ken Cosgrove will disappear into the ranks of McCann, never to be seen again. We both think Salvatore Romano will be joining the new firm as art director, although Matt would rather they hire a certain beatnik greeting card illustrator
from Season 1. Things won't work out between Betty and Henry, but it might take some time to break down.
Listen to our discussion
Picture if you will a modern day Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
minus Dick Van Dyke, throw in a slew of Michael Bay style action effects and you've got the new Russian film Black Lightning. Why do the Russians get flying cars while I'm still using roads like a sucker?
Check it out