Thursday, February 27, 2014

1982 Interview with Rupert Everett & Kenneth Branagh

Hello. The endless barrage of snow can bring your spirits down, and times like this, I like to shake things up. So we're gonna take a look over 30 years into the past, at two young, rising actors named Kenneth Branagh and Rupert Everett. Here, the young thesps are interviewed by Newsnight during their run in the 1982 stage play, Another Country.

This play was written by Julian Mitchell, and deals with the famous spy Guy Burgess. AC is an examination of the effects of society, at school, upon Burgess. The author's goal, it seems, is to consider how Burgess was influenced by negative social attitudes of his era, as well as an inclination toward homosexuality and exposure to Marxism.

Why should we be interested in the video below? Well, the play did win Play of the Year in the Society of West End Theatre Awards, and it must have been a big deal to garner the attention of a 60 Minutes-esque television program. It's also worth mentioning that as nice as it must've been to premiere with Ken and Rupert, the following year featured Colin Firth as the lead.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Question for the Week of Feb 24- Mar 2: Dumb Theories

What's your dumbest theory related to the movie industry?
Welcome back to my "real" Question entries, friends and strangers! No more constantly using poster critique to substitute while I work up some more decent ideas, problems, snafus, and nit-picks to tackle. For my first time back, tho, I am gonna take it a bit easy, so:

In short, my dumbest film theory is that Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep should be made to procreate as part of an actor's eugenics program. Yes, I'm talking about breeding people.

That image above is the kind of scene you could see over several eras. Why? Because Day-Lewis and Streep have been two of the finest cinematic actors in the world, and because awards bodies have recognized this fact repeatedly. She's from New Jersey, and he's from England, but when you ask people to name the best in the profession, their names are sure to come up.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bad Lip Reading does The Amazing Spider-Man

I haven't featured these folks in a while, but I'm happy to share with you some great riffing on the Spider-Man franchise reboot. Y'know, the one wherein Peter Parker has hair so carefully-styled that he would probably never be an outcast, much less picked-on?...

While the BLR crew aren't specifically trying to trash the picture, they are having a lot of fun adding the most ridiculous kind of dialogue to the various scenes used herein.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Watercolor Postcards Review

Watercolor Postcards follows one small girl's family in a quiet and pleasant story that smartly avoids feeling like it's candy-coated. Without ever becoming maudlin - or an update of What's Eating Gilbert Grape - you see how the entire town is one child's family and support group. And it's a good thing that little Cotton has so many relatives, then, because the movie starts with the death of her mom.

The mother's slow suicide-by-booze forces the return of Cotton's older sister, Sunny. The younger sibling makes heart-aching strides to ensure that her new home life is more stable, while Sunny gets used to being back home and taking care of someone else.

Above all, Watercolor Postcards is a study of small-town life, as well as the hopes and worries of the people living in that setting. This indie picture moves with a slow pace after the tragic beginning, letting us get to know Cotton, Sunny, the locals at the town's over-sized bar, and the other people who touch all their lives – especially Butch, who is Cotton's grown-up friend.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Imposters #38: Some Velvet Morning

SVM was an arthouse movie with a very small theatrical release. And, although I cannot call this poster inspired, it does reflect what you want to see in a poster for a movie like this: it's simple, quiet, and suggestive of intimacy.

And you don't really need more than that.

And, to be honest, the poster next to this particular entry is actually a very nice match. I like to imagine that some NYC transit employee has a really keen eye for art...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

QftWo 2/17-2/23: Imposters #37 - Monuments Men

The Monuments Men has all the hallmarks of a prestige movie: WWII story, a talented actor as the director (Clooney), a great cast. Yet tMM has a fairly uninspired poster.

I can't complain much about the lack of background - it's not a good idea, but it's not fatal, either. This is partly due to the smart color work. Black and yellow are a classic combination and it looks good here, as the colors are not evenly-arranged, but in a way that's pleasing to the eye. And I actually like the tagline.

Also, the lack of creativity - big shots of the major actors involved - is offset because they're presented in a tableau that would remind Americans of the faces on Mount Rushmore.

Unfortunately, Mt. Rushmore has four faces, not seven, so the ad doesn't even properly resemble what it seems to be trying to evoke. It's all a shame, because a movie with this real-life premise (older folks try to save artwork stolen by the Nazi Party) and such solid actors should have a promo that really pops.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CinemaSins takes on The Amazing Spider-Man

And they do it in about 2 minutes. This clip's "Everything Wrong With" approach is very strong in pointing out the story and plot absurdities of the film. Admittedly, I'd feel more confident writing that if I had seen tAS-M, but I had no desire to support the rebooting of a franchise that was roughly 7 years old.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Imposters #36 - 300: Rise of an Empire

Well, as per my earlier review, I really didn't Zack Snyder's 300. And I'm applying the Sequel-itis tag here, as I think it's cheap and dumb to release a cinematic follow-up 7 years after the first effort.

But, really, I already got my licks in during my prior review. Also, Snyder isn't helming 300: Rise of an Empire, just producing, so it has some chance to not be horrible - even though I have no idea who Noam Murro is or what's he's directed before (1 movie, 1 program for HBO). I'll just stick to the poster itself.

Friday, February 14, 2014

QftWo 2/10-2/16: Imposters #35 - Robocop

I like the office buildings (especially the semi-obscured fog), I like the red light balanced by the blue one, and I like the font on the title. The tagline is dull, but the title font is good.

Sadly, that leaves the suit. I wouldn't get worked up about faithfulness to the original picture - it was a fine design for the time and for that movie, but it's not important to my love of film that the suit be preserved. Honestly, I'm not even supportive of this remake, and that means I should really stick to basic points.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Great Moments In... Wild West Duels

It's amazing that I have seen probably two dozen Westerns, but have missed out on some of the bigger ones. I don't think I've seen one with John Wayne, or Gary Cooper. I've seen Silverado, but not Heaven's Gate. There are big gaps in my knowledge of this genre, but I can abso-fing-lutely guarantee that Tombstone isn't one of those gaps.

It's a fun film, full of good performances. The cast is exceptional, and I have a lot of love for the lead, Kurt Russell, along with some of the smaller actors like Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton. But if anyone aside from Russell made a massive impression, then it is, hands down, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.

In a movie full of strengths, Kilmer's work here stands out. His Doc has charm and grace and wit and, above all, a wisdom that matches his loyalty. The Earps are painted as a bunch of natural-born do-gooders, and so Holliday here serves as the guy with a real understanding of how the world works.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fan-made Poster Critique Video

Lady T is one of my favorite bloggers. She's got a real passion for film, literature, and TV. I find myself really engaged by her blog, living read girl, and I enjoy commenting on her thoughts and opinions as expressed therein.

Last year, in a comment to one of my posts here, she sent me this link. And I'm so glad she did! (Note: she also embedded the video in her great rundown of 2013 web videos)

The guy who created this video, going by the name "trachenburg," takes a good 7 and a half minutes to talk about how film posters are generally unimaginative, cookie-cutter affairs. He compares all the repeated poses, backdrops, and color schemes in a very thoughtful-yet-brief way.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reviewing with Others Pt. 68: Satellite of Love

My latest indie screener experience is Satellite of Love. It's about a couple who reconnect with an old friend and his newest fling. The two couples deal with the angst of past regrets, and the little dissatisfactions that make life so difficult once people reach their early 30s and reality starts to batter their expectations...

If you want to read my thoughts on SoL, you can read my review here at Man, I Love Films.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Scene with Many Faces: Romeo & Juliet Prologue

Well, I'm known for mocking remake-itis - but as I've written before, remakes are not all cheap cash-grabs, and they've been going on since Hollywood started, and some are quite worthy.

It struck me that this was as good a time as any to have us all look at 3 different versions of the same scene, as shown in 3 fine films. For this entry, I chose to use a moment that's been on my mind for ages. And so, I give you the opening prologue of Romeo and Juliet, as portrayed by Franco Zeffirelli (1968), Lloyd Kaufman (1996), and Baz Luhrmann (1996).

And, as traditional attempts go, Franco Zeffirelli does a perfectly serviceable job with the prologue - it's drab, but this is forgotten since the rest of the film is so well-done.

One thing that stands out is that the opening lines are over quickly - it takes 50 seconds for the narrator to finish speaking. Now, I have to assume that Franco wanted to get started as soon as possible, considering that his film is 138 minutes long. But the voiceover's style of reciting doesn't exactly pop, y'know? It's more the quiet, placid way one reads a bed-time story.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

QftWo 2/3-2/9: Imposters #34 - The Lego Movie

I like the font and styling of the film title. That is genuinely cool, like Legos themselves. But I find it funny that of all the things to not be made out of Legos in this poster, it's the buildings that were left out.

"People?" "Check."
"Construction crane?" "Check."
"Floor?" "Check."
"Film title?" "Yes, already!... Check!"

"What about the buildings, Tom?"
"... Tom?"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bill Murray Peter Pan Stage-Craftiness

As to the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, I think it's only appropriate to state that I am sorry for his loved ones. He was far too young.

But I'm also not above noting that it's a loss for the art world in general, as he was quite good at his profession. He was that rare actor who had earned the complete trust of the audience... yet I can only hope everyone near this tragedy is at peace, soon.

And still we have to move on: I know that my last Bill Murray entry came out six days ago. Honestly, the next one was scheduled for Valentine's Day - the perfect day to remember our love of Mr. Murray. But I saw this fine clip on January 31st, and I simply had to get it posted as soon as possible. It represents a prime example of why Bill persists in our minds and hearts.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Imposters #33 - The Square

The Square is a Netflix-exclusive documentary - it is also up for an Academy Award this year, marking it as the video site's first Oscar nomination.

So what do we know about it? Well, the subject is the Arab Spring, a series of political upheavals in the governments of various nations around the Mediterranean Sea. In this case, tho, it specifically looks at the 2011 revolution in Egypt.