6 Degrees: Friday Flix


Hello out there to all the film fans from Six Degrees of Film. Here’s some of the films that were reviewed this week. Victoria & Abdul has been getting good reviews, particularly surrounding Judi Dench’s portrayal of an aging Queen Victoria. And Battle of the Sexes with Emma Stone and Steve Carrell has also received highly favorable reviews

From the Vaults: Apocalypse Now is reviewed on The MacGuffin site. And from Turner Classics, there’s a piece featuring Martin Scorcese’s Age of Innocence with Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis.

The New York Film Festival is celebrating its 55th year, and this is a nostalgic look back at the choices made in 1967. The piece is in Film Comment and available in 6 Degrees of Film magazine. Speaking of film festivals, Director Wim Wenders was also honored at the Toronto Film Festival this year. Wenders clarifies his role: “I’m not an artist, I’m a craftsman, and the craft is life.” One of his best known films may be “Wings of Desire” and he also directed “Paris, Texas” and won a BAFTA for it. Wenders article is online at Ebert.com and is featured in the magazine.

Speaking about film festivals, Author Mark Brooks writes eloquently about the choices that Susan Sontag made when opening the festival in New York in 1967. Brooks writes, “It is difficult, in the era of DVD and Blu-ray streaming, and one-touch availability, to imagine that if you didn’t see a movie at a festival, you might have missed your only chance. But 50 years ago, that sense of urgency fueled cinephile culture.”


Books on Film: There’s a piece on Ebert.com about a book called Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes by a film professor at Columbia. There is something to be said for the idea of an artistic approach to immersing oneself in the Cinematic Experience, as opposed to flopping down and just screaming inwardly, “Entertain me Please!”

Some of the contenders for this seasons film awards will be among the films released in the next few months. Some of the early leads go to Frances McDormand for the indie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Oscars love the quirky types, and this one delivers. Holly Hunter, always in the running, has been mentioned for her take as the mother in The Big Sick.

Speaking of Quirky: The very unconventional and immensely talented Sci-Fi writer Harlan Ellison is featured in a piece on Ebert.com. Here’s a small exchange that is priceless and SO Harlan!

Ellison: I just saw, “Back to the Future.”
Writer Goldberg: “Great movie, isn’t it?”
Ellison: “Piece of shit”
Goldberg: “You didn’t like it?!”

Ellison: “It is one of the most ridiculous, stupid pieces of shit I have ever seen in my life. It’s a rip-off, a steal from Bob Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, to begin with. It is absolutely mindless, empty-headed, manipulative, and it’s a sitcom.”

(Tell us what your really think, Harlan!) I can relate to this as I recently watched Seth McFarlane’s opening stint on The Orville, where they are transported to a zoo on a planet in which humans are put on display. Such a blatant rip-off of the classic Twilight Zone with Roddy McDowall starring in “People are alike all over” written by Rod Serling is almost too much to bear. S***t happens, Harlan! There are still blatant rip-offs of old Twilight Zone plots.

There’s lots of good buzz surrounding the sequel to Bladerunner. And the films that continue to draw some measure of controversy are Mother!, for it’s blatant badness, and American Made, which has some mixed reviews, but is still considered a marginal success.

One more thing: There’s a quiz floating around online from Buzzfeed that lists many of the comedies of the past two d


ecades with the deciding factor declaring if you have seen many of them, you are funny. The thing is, lots of these films really aren’t very good. Sadly, if you do think, as Harlan Ellison would about many of these films, they are mindless, empty-headed, manipulative and should really just have been made as sit-coms.

I think the take-away here is to always think for yourself and work hard to avoid becoming part of the Group Think & Herd Mentality mindset that tells you unless you think certain things are funny or popular or whatever, then you are somehow not relevant. Sometimes, it’s better to hear the different drum a drummin. Keep on Beating the drum and till next time, see you at the movies!-ML

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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