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Posts Tagged ‘movies

“I’ll reshoot a corridor 13 different ways, and you’ll never recognize them”*…

 

… one of hundreds of stills of dark passages available at the Sci-Fi Corridor Archive.

* Ridley Scott (from whose Alien [1979] the above example is taken)

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As we watch our steps, we might recall that it was on this date in 1958 that Kurt Neumann‘s cinematic tale of technologically-enabled metamorphosis, The Fly, premiered. With a screenplay by James Clavell (his first), it spawned two sequels and a remake (by David Cronenberg).  The original has a “95% fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Written by LW

August 29, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts”*…

 

From the British Film Institute, an infographic dedicated to the shadowy world of one of classic Hollywood’s most beloved subgenres– see it in its gritty entirety at “What Makes a Film Noir?

* Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

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As we grope for our gats, we might send haunting birthday greetings to Brian Easdale; he was born on this date in 1909.  A composer of both orchestral and operatic music, Easdale is best remembered for his film scores, especially those he composed for the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (including Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, and The Elusive Pimpernel).  Perhaps his most powerful film work was on Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom, a film that used a number of film noir conventions to create a horror-thriller so shockingly unexpected that– while the film is now considered a masterpiece– it effectively ended Powell’s career.

Sir Thomas Beecham (left, with baton), and Easdale (center) preparing to record the score of The Red Shoes

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Written by LW

August 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

“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

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