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
Hello 6 Degrees Friends: This week we are beginning to look at the films debuting in October. Tom Hardy stars in Venom, and Robert Redford is in The Old Man & the Gun. The movies that have done well the past few weeks at the box office include Crazy Rich Asians and the children’s film starring Jack Black, The House with a Clock in Its Walls.
The films of October were previewed in our Fall Film News. Here’s a look at the movies that will premier next month:
*The Great Buster: A Celebration is a documentary film on the life of comedian and silent film star Buster Keaton.
Venom stars Tom Hardy in the comic book genre tale about a journalist (Hardy) who finds that his body is invaded by an alien-Venom. The two become one as anti-heroes with journalist Eddie (Hardy) still managing to investigate stories. Hardy says: “They bring out the very best and the very worst in each other.” The Happy Prince starring Rupert Everett depicts the life of famed writer Oscar Wilde. Everett wrote, directed and stars in this film about the final years of the writer’s life in exile, and begins with Wilde’s spiral downward after being imprisoned for ‘gross indecency’; depicting Wilde battling Victorian conventions as a homosexual who shocked the existing norms of the day. Apostle with Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame, is another period film, set in 1905, with Stevens attempting to save his kidnapped sister from a mysterious religious cult led by a charismatic leader.
First Man is the bio-pic story of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, as portrayed by Ryan Gosling.. The film goes for authenticity for the times in which it was made. Director Damien Chazelle, reteaming with Gosling after La La Land, said First Man was made to feel like a documentary, “just like we’re a fly on the wall grabbing moments in these families’ households.” Halloween returns in a new sequel to the original starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The film has Curtis reprising her role of Laurie Strode and is billed as a direct sequel to the 1978 movie, with the interesting concept of simply ignoring the scores of films that have been made previously in this franchise-shades of Dallas! The plot has Curtis as a woman on a mission, having waited four decades to track down and end the menace of masked killer Michael Myers.
Until next month, have fun and stay well and we’ll see you at the movies!-ML
There’s lots of excitement as we are headed into fall and film festivals and awards season. This week in 6 Degrees magazine, there are reviews for A Simple Favor with Blake Lively, The Wife with Glenn Close (She is getting lots of Oscar ‘buzz’ about her performance in this!); The House with a Clock in its Walls with Jack Black; and Crazy Rich Asians, which was one of the sleeper hits of the summer.
Other notable posts include one about the legendary film director William Wellman, who directed the original A Star is Born with Janet Gaynor, (This latest with Lady Gaga will be the fourth remake!). There is a piece on Keira Knightley’s film about Colette the writer. But the two recommended over all the others include a piece from Rogerebert.com: “How the Fall Festivals shaped the 2018 Oscar Race” talking about Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals and the notable releases from each. The second piece from Ebert.com is “2018 Fall Movie Preview: 10 Films we’re excited about. ”
I don’t agree with too many on this fall movie list, but then again, film criticism is by definition a very picky tradecraft! One film that does stand out, for me, is Roma, from Alfonse Cuaron who directed Children of Men and Gravity. My list of upcoming films to watch in October can be found in the 6 Degrees Fall Newsletter.
Stay tuned for more film news and reviews as we head into October and preview some of the recommended films releasing next month. Stay plugged in and till next week, see you at the movies!-ML
Hello Film Fans! Probably the most interesting films to watch over the next week would be the ones that are being screened on Turner Classic. The Armchair Film Fest features a Martin Scorsese film festival with classics like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and AliceDoesn’t live here anymore all being shown in one block.
Scorsese is the modern master of filmmaking. I would probably not screen a homage to Scorsese without including Goodfellas or Raging Bull, but the films they are showing are solid Scorsese classics. The Wolf of Wall Street may be the one film that, at least in recent years, didn’t get the recognition it deserved as the nature of the content, the greed and debauchery of Wall Street, was depicted as even more profane and grotesque than the behavior of the Mob!
Some other films that deserve mentioning in a Scorsese film fest and should be viewed: The Last Waltz; The Last Temptation of Christ with Willem Dafoe; Cape Fear, (a superior remake of the original with Robert Mitchum), and The Aviator, with one of DiCaprio’s best performances as Howard Hughes. In 6 Degrees Magazine:The Filmmaker Taika Waititi, director of Boy, is quoted in a great piece from NoFilmSchool titled: Taiki Waitit on Breaking all of the Rules. Waitit speaks about Hollywood filmmaking in the 21st Century: “We’re in a very cool place right now where Hollywood is running out of ideas. They are scrambling…for new stories…They turn to anywhere outside of America for films that they can remake, because that’s where the interesting ideas are.” The idea, he maintained, was to keep people guessing. This gets right to the heart of what we speak of frequently in 6 Degrees, the remakes and superhero stories that are rehashed and cranked out on such a pervasive basis.
That’s all for now. Stay cool in these final days of summer and see you at the movies!
Greetings film fans! Here are a few bullets from the last week.
*The Telluride Film Festival has debuted First Man and the last Robert Redford film, The Old Man & the Gun, both opening to generally good reviews.
*There’s been talk of the idea that the next James Bond could be a black man-Idris Elba to be specific. It seems to have been just that, an idea, but the notion of shaking up and stirring the formulaic approach to the Bond film series is a good thing.
At the movies: We have seen some bad reviews for Peppermint, the female vigilante film starring Jennifer Garner and good reviews for the modern remake of A Star is Born, with special kudos going to Lady Gaga for her acting debut.
From TCM: This week, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is recommended for kids who have never seen this. For adult viewing, there is The Year ofLiving Dangerously with Mel Gibson and directed by Australian Peter Weir and The Man Who Would be King with Sean Connery and Michael Caine-set your machines to record
And finally, the Oscars rolled out an ill-designed and poorly devised new “Popular Film” category that they have decided to roll back. It’s always best to seek out and explore and then expand the categories using the creative thought process rather than simply throwing something together after seeing the first highlight reel from Access Hollywood. 6 Degrees has written about and recommended some new categories, with definitely more thought given than the Academy of Motion Pictures seems to have given the matter.
Finally, from ourFall Film News, here’s the recommended films for the month of September: Till next time, see you at the movies!
Films opening in September:
• Lizzie with Chloe Sevigny is the adaptation of the true story of the accused axe murderess Lizzie Borden. This film is described as a ‘speculative lesbian love story’ that is spun to explain the real-life murders of which Borden was accused in 1892.
• Colette with Keira Knightley is a period piece that follows the writer Colette from her youth through marriage and touches on her private life that included numerous affairs with women.
• The House with a Clock in its Walls featuring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black in this fantasy adapted from John Bellairs’ book about an orphan who, with his uncle, explores a magical manor that holds a mystical clock.
• The Sisters Brothers is a Western with John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix cast as the two brothers Eli and Charlie Sisters. The film is an adaptation of a novel about the Sisters Brothers, contract killers who worked at the height of the Gold Rush in the 1850’s.
• Robert Redford is starring in what he has announced will be his last film: The Old Man & the Gun; a movie billed as a mix of ‘drama, comedy and romance’ and is loosely based on the true story of a career criminal, Forrest Tucker. Redford says of Tucker: “He robbed 17 banks, and he got caught 17 times. But he also escaped 17 times.”
• Smallfoot is a children’s animated film starring Channing Tatum. It’s about an abominable bigfoot who discovers proof there are humans-A.K.A…Smallfoots.
Hope everyone has had a great summer, and has fun plans for the holiday weekend that include watching some great flicks! Here’s a short list of the latest film news. *The Venice Film Festival has wrapped and everyone was talking about the drama Roma, a film from Alfonso Cuaron, the director of Gravity and Children of Men. Roma was semi-autobiographical, a look at the director’s life in Mexico City in the early 1970’s in a middle-class family that included a live-in housekeeper. *The MeToo Movement has taken root; Woody Allen’s latest film A Rainy Day in NewYork starring Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning and others, has been suspended indefinitely and may never be released by Amazon Studios.
* The late, great Orson Welles has a film that was in a state of permanent suspension and is finally being released, The Other Side of the Wind.
* The Buzz:Crazy Rich Asians is still a big breakout hit for the summer. And there is good early word of mouth buzz for the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man from DamienChazelle, director of La La Land with Ryan Gosling as Armstrong.
From 6 Degreesmagazine: Two articles of note this week: The 10 Best black & whitehorror movies ever made from Esquire magazine: and from nofilmschool: Go inside The directorial process (and mind) of David Lynch.
For those wondering what to see this coming fall film season, worry no more. Here’s the link to the 6 Degrees Fall Film Newsletter, out last week; Have a wonderful holiday weekend, film fans, and see you at the movies!-ML