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Posts Tagged ‘movies

“First impressions are often the truest”*…

 

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The opening shots from 32 notable films.  It’s fun to see how many one can recognize…  it’s more fun to call out the films that aren’t in the supercut and should be, for instance…

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* William Hazlitt

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As we settle back into our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1929 that the Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles.  It originally read “Hollywoodland ” (a promotion for a housing subdivision), but the four last letters were dropped after renovation in 1949.  Recently threatened with demolition for want of maintenance funds, the icon was saved by a donation from Hugh Hefner.

The sign in its original form, as seen from Beachwood Canyon

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Written by LW

July 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them”*…

 

Marcus Rosentrater, filmmaker and animator of FX’s amazingly-amusing Archer, has done us the service of combining all six Star Wars films into a single viewing experience:

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* Obi-Wan Kenobi

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As we hope that the Force is with us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that Universal Pictures released the keystone of another– though very different– sci-fi franchise: Back to the Future.

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Written by LW

July 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

“All they had to do was put my name on a marquee and watch the money roll in”*…

 

From a Tumblr teeming with treasures…

Movie Marquees

* Gloria Swanson

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As we peruse the posters, we might recall that it was on this date in 1948 that David O. Selznick and RKO Pictures released Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.

The film was adapted from Eric Hodgins’ 1946 novel of the same name [illustrated by Shrek! author William Steig], a comic yarn for the public, and pure therapy for Hodgins. In 1939, to cap his professional success as the publisher of the newly formed Fortune magazine, Hodgins and his wife found a lovely plot of land in Connecticut and went to work. By the end their $11,000 dream house turned into a $56,000 nightmare, nearly bankrupting them. Only writing about it saved him, as the book became a bestseller and the movie rights sold for $200,000. The film also turned hardship into triumph by translating a national anxiety into box-office gold. As Bosley Crowther wrote in his New York Times review, “If the much-talked-about housing problem could be as happily resolved for all as it is for those fortunate people who watch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.” The waves of soldiers returning after the war found no place to live, and the film happily demonstrated the perils of home ownership as well. As our preoccupation with real estate continues, so has the lure of the Hodgins novel, being updated in updated in 1986 as The Money Pit and in 2007 as Are We Done Yet?. And in the midst of rising foreclosures and a slumping real estate market, that 1948 movie seems more prescient than ever.

Focus Features Flashback

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Written by LW

June 4, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Yes, and imagine a world where there were no hypothetical situations”*…

 

From Les Maîtres du Temps (1982)

If the Universe came to an end every time there was some uncertainty about what had happened in it, it would never have got beyond the first picosecond. And many of course don’t. It’s like a human body, you see. A few cuts and bruises here and there don’t hurt it. Not even major surgery if it’s done properly. Paradoxes are just the scar tissue. Time and space heal themselves up around them and people simply remember a version of events which makes as much sense as they require it to make.
― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Interstellar has made quite a stir, and occasioned hosannas for its originality.  But as the British Film Institute reminds us, it comes on the heels of a long line of time-travel films…

…from the arthouse masterpieces (La Jetée, 1962), the slacker comedies (Bill &Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989), the canny satires (Groundhog Day, 1993), the conundrums (Donnie Darko, 2001), the nostalgic fantasies (Midnight in Paris, 2011), and the high-concept thrillers (Looper, 2012) [to] the comic-book escapades (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2014)…

Find a more complete (and completely fascinating) history, and a list of worthy, but under-appreciated options at “10 great lesser-known time-travel films.”

* Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels

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As we check our watches, we might recall that it was on this date in 1884 that Levant M. Richardson was awarded the first U.S.patent for the use of steel ball bearings in roller skate wheels– which reduced friction, creating wheels that allowed skaters to achieve previously unreachable speeds.  Indeed, in 1898 Richardson started the Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company, which provided skates to most professional skate racers of the time.

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Written by LW

December 9, 2014 at 1:01 am

“‘Evil Dead 1′ was never supposed to have a sequel”*…

 

The powers that be in Hollywood have been working overtime and turning the crank on the sequel machine for decades. Sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical about a part two when many movie follow-ups are made simply for the money. But what about a sequel that fans actually want? Enter iam8bit’s latest exhibition, Sequel — part tribute to the cult movies we love, part commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with sequels…

The West Coast gallery invited more than 40 artists to imagine movie sequels that never were. If you’ve had your fingers crossed for another Goonies, Blade Runner, or Labyrinth, then this is your happy place…

The show is open in Los Angeles now, and prints of the one-sheets are available.  More at “Exciting Posters for Cult Movie Sequels That Never Happened.”

* Bruce Campbell

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As we meet at the multiplex, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that Frank Drebin (first) foiled an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II: The Naked Gun premiered.  The father of two sequels, the film was itself a sequel– its full title was The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!— a feature-length riff on writer-directors Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker’s earlier– and (too-)short-lived– television series.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8064/8232986495_6cef8561f8_o.jpg source

Written by LW

December 2, 2014 at 1:01 am

“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life”*…

 

From The Great Train Robbery, 1903

In 1888, Thomas Edison wrote that “I am experimenting upon an instrument which does for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear, which is the recording and reproduction of things in motion.” The system was comprised of the Kinetograph, a motion picture camera, and a Kinetoscope, a motion picture viewer, and was mostly created by Edison’s assistant, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson. (The system was likely inspired by the zoopraxiscope created by photographer—and murderer!—Eadweard Muybridge to show off his motion photographs.) Early films from the Edison Manufacturing Co. showed off “actualities”: celebrities, news, disasters, and expositions. But later, the company switched to creating narrative films more in line with what we watch at the movies today…

These earliest films, often a minute or two in length,  could be purchased for $6.60 (about $169 in today’s currency).  But readers can see a selection of Edison’s early essays, streamed for free, at “10 Early Films Made by Edison’s Movie Company.”

* Federico Fellini

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As search for the concession stand, we might recall that it was on this date in 1732 that Louis Timothee (sometimes rendered “Lewis Timothy”) became the first salaried librarian in the American Colonies. A printer and protégé of Benjamin Franklin’s, Timothee served as the part-time librarian for the Library Company of Philadelphia, one of Franklin’s first philanthropic projects, from its founding on July 1, 1731.  As the project took hold, Timothee’s position was elevated to a full-time, paid position.

The Library Company of Phildelphia

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Written by LW

November 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”*…

 

Dirty Harry is the 1971 crime film that introduced the character of “Dirty Harry” Callahan to movie audiences. Clint Eastwood stars as SFPD Inspector Callahan, who is assigned to head up the investigation to catch a serial killer who calls himself “Scorpio” and who threatens to kill a citizen of the city each day until his ransom demands are met. Dirty Harry was the first in the film franchise and introduced the now iconic .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29.

More on Harry’s hardware– and guns in hundreds of other films– at IMFDb, The Internet Movie Firearm Database.

* Mae West

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As we take cover, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was released.  Written by Wiliam Goldman, directed by George Roy Hill, and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the titular outlaws, the film was a commercial and a critical success: it was the top-grossing film of the year (with a box-office of over $100 million) and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, of which it won four.

The film prominently featured the Colt Single Action Army, the Winchester Model 1873, the Winchester Model 1895, and the Winchester Model 1894.

 

 

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