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Posts Tagged ‘motion pictures

Shadows on the wall of a cave…

Detail

2000 films.  20 genres.  100 years… The History of Film.

Created by Larry Gormley, the timeline…

…chronicles the history of feature films from the origins in the 1910s until the present day. More than 2000 of the most important feature-length films are mapped into 20 genres spanning 100 years. Films selected to be included have: won important awards such as the best picture Academy Award; achieved critical acclaim according to recognized film critics; are considered to be key genre films by experts; and/or attained box office success.

It is resolutely seen through the eyes of a U.S. cinema-goer (so misses many European, Latin American, and Asian candidates); but still, much fun!

 click here for zoomable version

Special exuberant extra:

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As we shake a little extra salt onto our popcorn, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that the Motion Picture Association of America’s film-rating system was introduced.  On the heels of the release of films like The PawnbrokerBlow-Up, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, MPAA President Jack Valenti was under pressure from studios and exhibitors alike to find a replacement for The Hayes Code, which had been in effect since the early 30s.  The result was the G- PG- R-X rating system that lasted until 1990, when X was replaced by NC-17.

For a peek behind the curtain at how this self-regulatory system does (and doesn’t) work, readers can screen Kirby Dick’s doc, This Film is Not Yet Rated.

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Lucha Libre!…

Mike Powell and Juergen Horn are living a peripatetic dream…

We’re lucky enough to have jobs that don’t require a steady address and since we both love traveling, we’ve decided to see the world… slowly. Always being tourists would get lame, but eternal newcomers? We can live with that. So, our plan is to move to an interesting new city, once every three months. About 91 days.

They are currently in La Paz, and are documenting their stay– from the Valley of the Moon to the inmate-run prison, San Pedro–  on their blog, for91days.com.  The highlight of the visit (at least for your correspondent) is their visit to the the local wrestling palace…

We recently attended the famous Lucha Libre at a sports facility in El Alto. Bolivians are wild for wrestling; posters of famous American wrestlers are everywhere, and you can’t go a block in La Paz without seeing seeing it on a curbside television set. Bolivia doesn’t have a professional league on the same level as the USA’s WWE, but El Alto’s Sunday afternoon Lucha Libre makes a solid substitute….

Rayo Azteco, Hombre Lobo, Mr. Atlas and Commando fought and provided plenty of fun, but the show really got going once the cholitas* were introduced. Alicia Flores was the first to enter, dressed in traditional garb, dancing around the ring to the delight of the fans. Her opponent was a guy, her assistant was a midget woman and, once the fight got going, none of them held back. Face-slapping, ball-grabbing, midget-stomping, high-flying action. It was awesome. At one point, after throwing the guy against the ropes, Alicia lifted her skirt in his face, knocking him to the canvas in shock.

The evening’s highlight was the Cholita vs. Cholita main event: Jenifer Two-Face against La Loca. No one has ever so completely owned her nickname as La Loca. This woman was crazy. As soon as the fight started, it got out of control. La Loca threw Jenifer over the barriers, into the foreigners section. Then she hopped over herself, grabbing coke bottles and spraying them over the crowd, howling like a beast. She kept at it, throwing chairs into the crowd and smashing Jenifer’s face into the bleachers just a meter away from us. Jenifer was a game fighter and brought the match back into the ring, but La Loca was just too loca. Soon enough, foreign objects had entered the melee, and the (fake) blood began to fly. With a little help from the evil ref, La Loca eventually pinned her opponent and exited the arena to the boos, whistles and shocked applause of the crowd.

* “Cholita” was coined by colonialist Spaniards as a denigration of the Andean population– in this feminine form, Andean women– but has since been adopted by the very people it was meant to injure.

 

As we practice our pins, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that Die Hard premiered.  Directed by John McTiernan with the precision of a Hong Kong action film, Die Hard was a huge hit; building on lead Bruce Willis’ wise-cracking TV (Moonlighting) persona, and on the precedent of Mel Gibson’s half of the “buddy duo” in the prior year’s hit, Lethal Weapon, it cemented the place of the funny, flawed hero in Hollywood action pictures.  Die Hard introduced American audiences to Alan Rickman… and, of course, made an A-List star of Bruce Willis.

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… so you don’t have to…

Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and this week, it’s the most unnecessary sequel since Caddyshack IV: Oblivion.

ACE VENTURA :  PET DETECTIVE JR. (2009)

Starring:  Existential dread.

If you’re anywhere near my age, then you probably remember when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective hit theaters, and how it led to 7th graders across the nation upgrading their playground Fire Marshall Bill impressions into full-fledged Ace Ventura riffs that were only slightly less funny than the end of Old Yeller by fall.  Looking back, I can pinpoint the class (third period Social Studies) where I came to the conclusion that if I never heard another pre-teen drop an “alllllllll righty then,” it’d be too soon.

And then someone had to go and spend more money than I’ve ever seen to make that very thing happen.

Read the entire review here, then check out the Worst of Netflix Archive.  It’s the handiwork of Chris Sims, one of whose other endeavors, Chris’ Invincible Super Blog is a treasure of sufficient worth to have become an “easter egg” in Glen David Gold’s Sunnyside.

As we cull our queues, we might bid a profane farewell to wise and witty George Carlin, the Grammy-winning comedian who is probably best remembered for his routine (originated on his third album) “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”  When it was first broadcast on New York radio, a complaint led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban the broadcast as “indecent,” an order that was upheld by the Supreme Court and remains in effect today.  Not coincidentally, Carlin was selected to host the first Saturday Night Live.

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Diagramming (famous) sentences…

From Flowing Data‘s Data Underload:  Famous movie quotes.

As we practice our deliveries, we might recall that it was on this date in 1975 that then-27-year-old director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel Jaws premiered.  Released “wide” (to 500 theaters at once, as opposed to rolling out in a few theaters first, as was then customary) and backed by a (then substantial) $700,000 marketing campaign, Jaws grossed $7 million in its opening weekend (on its way to over $450 million worldwide).  Prior to Spielberg’s triumph, summer had been the studios’ dumping ground for their weaker films; Jaws ushered in the era of the summer blockbuster.

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A good scare…

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HW:  Do you find that audiences are frightened by different things now from the things that frightened them when you started, what, 30 years ago… 35 years ago, making films?

AH:  No, I wouldn’t say so, because after all they were frightened as children. You have to remember this is all based on “Red Riding Hood,” you see? Nothing has changed since “Red Riding Hood.”

In 1964, Huw Weldon (later, Director General of the BBC) interviewed Alfred Hitchcock for the BBC series Monitor

Part Two here

HW:  Have you ever been tempted to make what is nowadays called a horror film, which is different from a Hitchcock film?

AH:  No, because it’s too easy… I believe in putting the horror in the mind of the audience and not necessarily on the screen.

[TotH to Brain Pickings]

As we reach for our security blankets, we might recall that, though accounts of an unusual aquatic beast living in Scotland’s Loch Ness date back 1,500 years, the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster was born when a sighting made local news on this date in 1933.  The Inverness Courier ran the account of a local couple who claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.”  The story of the “monster” (a label chosen by the Courier editor) became a media sensation: London papers sent correspondents to Scotland and a circus offered a 20,000 pound reward for capture of the beast.

Photo “taken” in 1934, later proved a hoax (source)

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