At the movies in July: We always seem to find time to talk about really bad cinema at this time of year. Summertime somehow lends itself to those awful Bad B movies that were staples from the fifties and sixties. In honor of the Bad B’s, 6 Degrees blog will re-post “The Bad B’s of Summer” again this month.
In the 6 Degrees magazine: There’s a profile of Al Pacino from Film Inquiry. And the outofthepastblog.com highlights a new book, Film Noir: Light and Shadow, an anthology of essays about Film Noir. There’s a review of Wild Strawberries from director Ingmar Bergman from 1957. And the indie film The Little Hours is reviewed on the Macguffin.com site.
Critically Speaking: The most interesting tidbit that came out of the indiewire post titled “How ‘Planet of the Apes’ Started Hollywood’s Franchise Obsession” was the fact that the writer of The Planet of the Apes, Pierre Boule, also wrote the highly acclaimed World War II novel, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which was of course, adapted to the screen and won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1958.
The article in indiewire.com expands upon the surprise success of the Planet of the Apes film series. I do remember that it was, in keeping with the above-mentioned Bad B concept, part of the summer scheme of movie executives to keep releasing the Planet of the Apes films after the initial success with the Charlton Heston 1968 hit movie. Eventually, there was an Ape-a-Rama at our local theater movieplex, where the first 100 in the door to the marathon showing back-to-back screenings of the “Ape” movies got free bananas. And if you wore a chimp suit, you could get in free, I do believe. I did attend, (but not in an ape suit), and I didn’t get the free banana.
My point is that this was not a high-brow film series. So when the Planet of the Apes movies took off, they simply rolled them out in the same way they did the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello beach movies. And from that, it was theorized in this piece that the dawn of Hollywood’s obsession with franchises and series was born. My belief is that the Star Wars trilogy success changed the model, along with the Blockbuster Summer movies, and what became known as “the juvenilization of film.” That term was coined by Peter Bogdanovich and I used it in my book, 6 Degrees of Film to emphasize the sea change that occurred after the dawn of the age of Star Wars. I believe this was the real reason for Hollywood’s fixation on the franchise.
As I’ve mentioned many times, money has always driven Hollywood, and it has been a successful business model for over a century. The Art that exists in film-making is real, but it’s always been a secondary concern for the Hollywood Executives. The dollar and making a buck has driven the film industry since the days Thomas Edison tried to corner the market.
Film News: Filmschoolrejects.com has a post on Nicole Kidman and the arc of her career. And the New York Times reviews the British drama, Lady Macbeth, stating the film isn’t really about Lady Macbeth at all. The quote from a critic continues: “the film plunges a cold, sharp knife into the back of bonnet dramas.” So there!
There’s another “list of greatest hits” from Rolling Stone. This one features the Greatest movies of the nineties. At some point, we really need to stop the greatest hits and the lists, as the point is to review great movies, and on some levels, there really isn’t a way to capture a decade or an era on one list. Yet critics are always looking to do this. Or perhaps it’s editor’s who simply run out of ideas and start reaching for compiled lists of things (People love to read lists on the internet, it seems!)
Next week, Dunkirk will drop, and it has already garnered some good reviews. The War for the Planet of the Apes has also had very good buzz around it. And Baby Driver has also opened to good press. Valerian has had some mixed reviews, so far, but nothing like the extremely bad pre-screenings seen for Baywatch or Will Ferrell’s House.
There have been several articles that have reported Daniel Craig is returning as James Bond, so the wild and frenzied speculation to crown the next Bond may be a bit premature. The interest in James Bond is still incredibly high for my blog post and magazine, and it sparked intense debate when there was a chance that the film series would need a new master spy. In returning to the roots of the long-running franchise, it seems that Bond is one of the all-time winners in the endurance stakes.
Hope everyone is having a good summer, with vacation plans and some down time to spend at the movies! Till next time-ML