Hello Film Fans! Hope everyone is staying well and beginning to get in the Christmas mood with holiday shopping and Christmas movies playing on cable at all hours of the day. This month on Turner Classic, there are some good ‘mood movies’ to help you get in the Christmas spirit.
TCM for the Holidays: The Christmas films we recommend are The Shop Around the Corner and In the Good Old Summertime. We have a list of recommended viewing in Holiday Film News with the Christmas film breakdown. Some other films for lighthearted comedy include the Laurel & Hardy film fest and the Cary Grant film fest.
Also on TCM this month are some Steve McQueen films we recommend: The Getaway and The Thomas Crown Affair and a surprisingly spiritual entry from John Wayne: ThreeGodfathers.
6 Degrees Magazine features some films we anticipate for Winter of 2019. Plus, the Oscar predictions for Best Actress awards for 2018 are listed. We even include a piece on those schmaltzy Hallmark Christmas movies! (Some of them are actually pleasingly watchable, I do admit.)
The Golden Globe Nominations are out, which is an indicator for some of the Oscar nominees in the major categories. And in other award related news, we find that Kevin Hart was in as Oscar Host and out in less than 24 hours after some homophobic tweets from the comedian surfaced. This tells us we are not going back in the age of “Me Too” especially in the Hollywood Global film world
At the Movies: Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mary Queen of Scots reviews are included in the magazine, as well as a favorable piece on the new Spider-verse film; Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse.
Finally we reach the end of the year with the lists of “Best of” 2018 films that will inevitably surface. This has been a good year, but not a great year for releases, so we will see which films are going to make the cut.
Stay tuned for my list of best films, which will encompass the best of the past two decades. That list will give us an idea of where we are headed and in the scope and range of Hollywood which now includes the global reach of films and filmmakers, there are some films that will always emerge as gems that may be under appreciated when they were first released. Have fun and stay tuned as we begin to head into the holiday season. Till next time, see you at the movies!-ML
Greetings Film Fans: We have Holiday Film News out now…and the list of December releases is from our Fall Film News. Here’s the list of films opening in December: December Mary Queen of Scots is yet another period piece with Saoirse Ronan (of Brooklyn and Lady Bird fame) starring as the doomed queen. This film is based on a 2004 biography of Mary by John Guy. Historically, the famous Queen of Scots and the Virgin Queen Elizabeth never met, but there are several noteworthy plays and films that have these two women interacting and emoting together. Margot Robbie co-stars as Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen of England.
Mary PoppinsReturns in an original story, not a remake of the original, with Emily Blunt playing that Poppins woman. This film is set 25 years after the initial action in the Banks’ family home, and a tragic death leaves Jane, Michael, and Michael’s three children adrift. Enter Poppins.
Aquaman debuts with Jason Momoa as the king of the sea. The film is directed by James Wan, and centers around Aquaman’s quest to regain the Trident of Neptune and battle Aquaman’s menacing brother, King Orm (played by Patrick Wilson.) Holmes & Watson is a comic offering of the familiar Sherlock Holmes story with Will Ferrell as Holmes and his ubiquitous sidekick John C Reilly starring as Watson in this comic rendering of the classic story.
In6 Degrees Magazine, we have reviews for The Favourite with Emma Stone, which has been getting good reviews for the performances from Stone and others. And there are retrospective pieces on two directors who died recently- Nicolas Roeg and BernardoBertolucci.
At the Movies: Widows has gotten good reviews; Robin Hood…not so much. Roma is the one from director Alfonso Cuaron that is getting some advance Oscar buzz. Another is the Palme d’Or winner of Cannes: Shoplifters.
There are plenty of cheesy Holiday films from Hallmark and Netflix to watch if you want to simply absorb some holiday scenery and relax without having to think much about what you are watching… The Holiday Film News recommends a few holiday classics to add to your list for Armchair Film Festival Night.
The two big films opening at Christmas will be Mary Poppins for families and for baby boomers who want to see what they are going to do with it; and Aquaman for the Comic book genre. We are ending the year with a whirlwind of changes from the MeToo movement that really began in Hollywood with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and has continued with the controversies over the Oscars lack of diversity, the whitewashing of characters in Hollywood films, and the continued lack of gender inclusion regarding female film directors and parts for leading ladies, for women of color and for older women. All of these things have been addressed, but of course, the problems are not going away overnight.
We are going to end the year a little bit wiser in terms of our “woke-ness” at the movies! So until next time, have fun as the holiday weeks unfold and see you at the movies!-ML
Hope everyone is planning a wonderful Thanksgiving break. This is the best part of the Holiday season. We can visit with friends and family, with no expectations of the holiday madness that Christmas, as wonderful as it can be, brings with it. So, hope all of you plan a great and relaxing holiday weekend ahead.
Which means…a trip to the movies of course! Or, if you are one of our Armchair Film Fest Fans, there’s always something on the small screen to be seen in the comfort of our favorite armchair.
This is our edition of Holiday Film News for 2018; the Holiday films are coming, and there is quite a variety. In past years, there seemed to be the darkest of cinematic choices to grace the screen for the holidays, but this year, Hollywood is dropping Mary Poppins and Aquaman into the mix, so we will have a bit of holiday cheer.
Tampa Theatre, the local arthouse, is showing a very traditional listing of holiday classics that include White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Miracle on 34th Street with a young Natalie Wood; and the ubiquitous It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. If that list makes you yawn or roll your eyes, then I would tend to agree, although these are all great films for their time period.
For Milennials, some not to miss films would be Elf with Will Ferrell and ChristmasVacation with Chevy Chase. The Jim Carrey version of the Grinch can also be thrown into the mix. And for the holidays, Harry Potter is always a good idea. The first film is a good choice, or there is my personal favorite, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; which would always be a good family flick.
For those who want something that is more spiritual in keeping with the season, The Nativity Story from 2006 is one that is an unusually well made version of the story of the first Christmas. And there is always Scrooged, with Bill Murray, to round out the season with a modern day version of Ebenezer. For Scrooge purists, the George C Scott rendition of A Christmas Carol is hard to beat.
Under the category of something completely different, there is also the Black & White version of The Little Shop around the Corner which has been made into two later versions, one with Judy Garland as a musical-In the Good Old Summertime– and the other You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks. And for Judy Garland fans, Meet me in St Louis has Garland singing the classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
No, I don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie…But if you like action-adventure films, there are some that may be more upbeat. The Mel Gibson buddy film series, Lethal Weapon 3 or 4, with Danny Glover, which basically turned into light comedy in the last two films, is lighter fare And the films with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte,48 hours and Another 48 hours, have a lot of comedy mixed with the action scenes. And there is always the Dan Akroyd/Eddie Murphy classic Trading Places as well as Murphy’s Coming to America, both are good for holiday viewing, especially for first-time viewers.
There are many genres and styles of film that may be better for family viewing and lighter fare during the holiday season. Classic comedy is anybody’s pick-Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Mel Brook’s High Anxiety or Young Frankenstein are both classics.
At the Movies: We recommend Mary Poppins or Aquaman; and if you haven’t seen Crazy Rich Asians or Green Book, they will definitely be at the top of most people’s wish list as films to see on the big screen. There is another interesting take on the Spiderman universe, with the animated Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.
Some films spoken of in terms of Oscar contenders include The Wife-for Glenn Close’s performance, and director Alfonse Cuaron’s semi-biographical look at his life in the black & white Roma.
For Armchair Film Fest: In case you missed them, there’s Bridge of Spies, a great Tom Hanks piece, as well as Hanks’ Charlie Wilson’s War with Julia Roberts and the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman. And if you have never seen Hoffman’s portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote it is not to be missed for any serious film buff.
Films of the decade and films of the year are phrases that will inevitably be tossed around for the end of the year. I think that after the very dark films that appeared at the end of the past decade, including The Departed and No Country for Old Men as well as There Will be Blood, the movie industry has for the most part tried to steer the ship away from the dark stories, although there are plenty of nominees in past years that have been eligible, including 12 Years a Slave and Birdman.
For those who binge watch, I recommend some A-list actors. I am a huge fan of Tom Hardy and Clive Owen. The two have made careers playing often dark, but extremely diverse and interesting characters onscreen. Hardy is in “Legend, The Drop, MadMaxL Fury Road, and also plays a depression-era moonshine runner in Lawless from 2012. Clive Owen has been in the film version of the play Bent, the film noir I’ll sleep when I’m Dead, and in Closer with Jude Law.
Holiday films can be surprising in many ways. If you are looking for a list of Spiritual filmsthat can uplift and upend, here’s my list from years past that will take you through to the New Year. The crazy season of holiday giving and holiday cheer is often mixed with periods of reflection and some sadness too, as we look back on years gone by. So here’s hoping your holiday season is a time of renewal and is filled with fun and joy and of course, leaves you time to spend with loved ones as you watch movies, both old and new! Happy Holidays from 6 Degrees!-ML
Hello everyone! This week at the movies, we are looking at some films opening that were highly anticipated, and are now expected to bomb badly. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is one that looked beautiful, and according to most reviews (See Ebert.com in 6 Degrees Magazine), it is a muddled mess of a story.
Some other news of note include the release of Orson Welles last film that was held up for many years. There is Bohemian Rhapsody, which has also garnered some lukewarm reviews.
Here is 6 Degrees of Film list of films debuting in November, including the Nutcracker remake that has reportedly fallen short of expectations. Check them out here, and in our Fall Film News.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is another offering in a series of films that tell the classic story of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, who based his famous ballet on an 1816 story by E.T.A Hoffman. The fantasy film is a big-budget number, with designs and sets that adhered to ‘a strict historical cutoff from the year 1879”. Benedict Cumberbatch will put up his Sherlock Holmes cap to play another classic character, the Grinch, in the animated remake of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. The Outlaw King is a period piece about Robert the Bruce, the legendary Scottish king who united his people in their fight for independence from British rule. Chris Pine stars as King Robert.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in the Harry Potter sub sequel of a prequel category, introducing fans to a new cast of adorable characters from the Wizarding World. In this film, we meet baby Nifflers, a Kelpie (a Scottish underwater monster) and a Leucrotta-described as a large, moose-like creature. Ralph Breaks the Internet is another children’s film with some grown up proclivities, including the star John C Reilly who is also breaking the internet with multiple films out this year. This film is the sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph from Disney, where arcade heroes Ralph (With Reilly’s voice), and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), go on the internet in search of a replacement game part and adventures ensue accordingly. Robin Hood returns to the screen with Taron Egerton starring as the overworked man of the forest in this action adventure film that someone must have clamored for…?
That’s all for now, folks, so until next week, stay tuned in and see you at the movies!
Greetings to 6 Degree Film Fans: I am back from a short break, and looking at some good films to finish off the month of October and to celebrate Halloween. Turner Classic Movies is showing High Anxiety,Mel Brooks’ classic homage to Hitchcock, and on this Halloween weekend there is a great lineup including The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a classic romance with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison from 1947, and then The Ghost andMr Chicken, a silly spoof on haunted houses with Don Knotts from 1966. Later this week, on Halloween day TCM shows the original Night of the Living Dead from 1968, directed by George Romero.
To my mind, one of the spookiest of Halloween films, other than the original Halloween, is the 1962 classic, Carnival of Souls, directed by Herk Harvey, and this is the film I would recommend to round out Halloween night. It’s recommended viewing for those who want to end the month with a good fright!
At the movies this week there are mixed reviews for the film, Bohemian Rhapsody about the formation of the rock group Queen, and the film, Suspiria, remade from a 1977 classic film about a ballet school that is run by witches. And of course, there’s the Halloween remake with Jamie Lee Curtis, which has garnered mostly positive reviews. For those looking for something light, Johnny English Strikes Again is opening with the first release since the last 2011 “English” film.
The Oscar race is on, with talk of Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star is Born garnering a pick. In animated films, Isle of Dogs and Incredibles 2 have both been submitted for Oscars.
We are heading into November and the holiday film season begins, so stay tuned for our November list coming out next week. Till then, Happy Halloween from 6 Degrees and see you at the movies!-ML
Greetings Film Fans!
Some films to see this week…for the horror lover who is in the mood for something different, there’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, on TCM. It sets a slow pace, but don’t be fooled- there are some moments designed to make you lose your popcorn. Also recommended for fright fans: Seeing the Original Halloween before seeing any remake with or without Jamie Lee Curtis!
At the Movies this week: First Man is opening with Ryan Gosling and has been getting generally good reviews.
The MCU in Hollywood: Here’s one recommended read in 6 Degrees magazine. The article is titled: “How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Changed Hollywood.” There are some valid points made: 1) Big actors are not needed in these films; 2) A Billion-dollar industry has been created where plot points can glide from one film to another and be picked up and shared with different films; 3) The ‘coolness’ of superheroes (I guess?) is another argument… but they also claim that ‘movies will never be the same again’; which is a stretch, as the world of Harry Potter, in my opinion, has had more of an effect. I’ve written a book about the real game-changer, which, of course, was the Star Wars Universe. Comic book genre films are here to stay, and that is true, but the impact due to the huge impression made with the post-film credits is an exaggeration. Marvel films are hits; Star Wars changed the direction of cinema forever.
Here’s an excerpt from the book: 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village: From Star Wars to Sin City: Industrial Light and Magic has framed the era and defined it with their many breakthroughs in visual effects. The storyboarding that is critical to their vision is now a major part of most successful film series, and the comic genre that has emerged would not have been a reality without the effects of ILM. The criticism that Lucas and Spielberg films have juvenilized the movies, to my mind, is unfair. These filmmakers have given the public what they want, and there never has been a dearth of creative talent in the film industry.
On the contrary, there are many exciting new avenues for young and innovative minds to bring their creations to the screen, including Internet productions and independent venues. We are always seeing new ways for artistic talent to emerge as the next big thing. Film is changing and evolving as it has from the beginning, and the medium as a mass-communication tool and an art form make this an exciting time to break into the market. The future of film may involve the type of images seen in Sin City and Waltzing with Bashir, where actors are not filmed in the traditional way but with a kind of brushstroke or cartoon quality that enables the plot to go in many different directions. There might be alternate endings and story lines to follow with endless variations. Online, the viewer can access alternative views from various characters’ perspectives. The experience of going into a darkened theater to view a film is changing forever. As in the penny arcades and nickelodeons that began the first century of film, we now see the evolution and dawn of a new age and a new way of understanding the world through the medium of film. George Lucas spoke of his ideas on the future path that might occur using film and some kind of drug to enhance the experience. His ideas regarding future films would make theatrical, narrative-driven movies, in his words, “as quaint as an old silent-reeler”: Lucas: ‘I see true environments being created and combined with a lot of biotech things going on, in terms of manipulating people’s senses through drugs. This combination will have the most powerful effect on the kind of storytelling we’re doing today. It’s too far off for me to worry about, and I’m not interested in virtual reality at its current level, because it’s just too crude. But if you can program virtual reality or simulator rides with biotech, you will have a very interesting non-world. The first step would be to take the simulator ride part of an environment . . . where you can just implant the story in a pill and live it. That’s not outside the realm of possibility. You’d take the pill and go to sleep. It’d be like a dream and you’d have an actual, real, physical experience of something completely imaginary. What that’ll mean for society, I have no idea, and how you’d get there from here is way beyond me, but I know enough to know it’s within the realm of possibility. Because they’re already going there, creating images without actually making them, just as you create them in a dream.’
Hello and welcome to October, Film Fans! This week, 6 Degrees magazine has reviews of the top films at the movies now. A Star is Born has opened to generally good reviews, both for Lady Gaga’s acting and this particular retelling of a story that has been told and retold countless times. The Old Man and the Gun, Robert Redford’s crime caper, has been well received and is reviewed on Ebert.com.Smallfoot, the animated children’s movie, opened to mixed reviews; and Venom was widely anticipated as it features Tom Hardy, an A-list actor. But this movie, so far, seems to have received less than glowing reviews.
Since it’s October, there’s always a run on posts written about horror films, and the biggest horror film debuting in October will be the remake of Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the fold. 6 Degrees has several posts featuring the best horror films of 2018.
And then there are the small screen films in October, including films for the Armchair Film Fest connoisseur. On Turner Classic this month, I was excited to see the 1940 film Night Train to Munich with Rex Harrison in the lineup, as this movie is not widely shown. Hitchcock fans can record The Lady Vanishes and Strangers on a Train, both showing in October. TCM also is showing A Star is Born with Judy Garland from 1954, directed by George Cukor, which received good reviews. Probably all of the “Star is Born” films were received well, with the possible exception of Barbra Streisand’s remake, which seemed to most to be a tad self-indulgent.
Another 6 Degrees classic remake on TCM is The Front Page from 1931, which was remade with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as His Girl Friday in 1940. Both are worth watching, but I always recommend any film that stars Cary Grant. He somehow managed to throw in his real name, Archie Leach, if you can catch it through the fast-paced dialogue in this one.
That’s all for now, friends, so set your VCR’s to record and till next time, see you at the movies!-ML