6 Degrees: Friday Flix

6 Degrees of Film

Greetings Film Fans: This week on 6 Degrees, there’s a lot of films that are out there ready to launch this summer. And we have been following some of the film festivals this Spring, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and Cannes which is going to debut the Ron Howard Star Wars film: Solo: A Star Wars story-the backstory for Hans Solo. So there’s a lot of films out there, but at the movies, the latest debuts have been fairly tame.  The horror film, A Quiet Place has gotten good word of mouth, and other recommended films of late include Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and “The Rock’s” film Rampage.

At the Movies: We recommend Rotten Tomatoes page dedicated for critics who rate the latest films; and we’ve featured it this week in 6 Degrees Magazine.

About the Summer Movie Guides: 6 Degrees will come out with the Summer Movie list in a couple of weeks, but the list is much shorter than the ones we have seen…(29 or more films seems a bit much.) Some of the summer movies are remakes, (therefore rehashes of the same tired plots) and some just don’t look that good. But summer is also a really good time to go to retrospectives at art film houses and catch up on your movie viewing in the same way you catch up with your book reads.

I recommend you keep a list of the films that you missed at the theatre and also have a list of classics-including black & white films, because even Millennials need to break down and watch films like Casablanca in all their black and white glory! Turner Classic shows films without commercial breaks, and that’s my ‘go-to’ spot for all the film classics recommended on 6 Degrees. If you are under 30, or know someone who is, make sure to help them develop a good list of classic top tens.  In my book, 6 Degrees of Film there’s a list in the back of the book of a recommended Top 100 films, and we’ll  list the top 10 at the bottom of this piece.  You can use the list to begin to compile your personal favorite films to watch & record. Make sure you have your Recommended reads and Recommended Viewing handy as the summer movie season rolls out!

6 Degrees Magazine Highlights: There’s a piece from a few years back from the master critic David Bordwell’s site about CGI: (Computer Graphic Imaging). It’s titled “The waning thrills of CGI” and is worth a read… Another topic of controversy is “Spoiler alerts.’ I tend to agree with the sentiment expressed in the article, “Spoilers don’t ‘ruin’ a movie.” (Or they shouldn’t, is perhaps a better expression.) We are so worried these days about spoiler alerts, that at times it does seem the point of the movie may be lost. It’s rare that a film has the type of spoiler as Hitchcock created in Psycho, or if a character does die in the end, there’s usually plenty of foreshadowing, although that is not the reason critics write about plot points. They shouldn’t be interested in spoiling the film, but instead enlightening and informing with their hopefully expert opinion, or pointing out nuances and different ways to watch a film. So spoiler alerts seem to be as overused as my personal cringe inducing phrase: “Easter Eggs.”

There’s an interview with the talented actress Juliette Binoche featured in Film Comment. Binoche stars in the French comedy, Let the Sunshine In and it is also reviewed in NPR and featured in our magazine this week.

Next week we’ll feature some of the Armchair Film Fest favorites for May in Turner Classic. And the Summer Movie News is out soon also, with some recommended films for the Summer of 2018. The list to date features about a baker’s dozen-12 or 13 that will be recommended over the course of the three to four months constituting the Summer Movie Season.

And of course, soon we will bring back our favorites in the Bad B’s of Summer, always a highlight for this film geek. So stay tuned and happy viewing till next time, see you at the movies!-ML

*Start your Movies to Watch List Today! Here’s a good starter top 10 from 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village

The List: Top 10

Peck in MOckingbird

1. To Kill a Mockingbird—Voted by the  American Film Institute, along with many other esteemed film organizations, as one of the best films ever made, this is Harper Lee’s moving, simple story set in the Depression-era South. The plot within the-plot includes the courtroom drama and trial within the sweet and innocent coming-of-age
story of three children and their lives in a small town in Alabama.

Six Degrees of Film Connections: All courtroom dramas, coming of-
age films, A Few Good Men, Juno

Wiz of oz 1

2.  The Wizard of Oz—Also a masterpiece of film simplicity, The Wizard of Oz is a children’s story first and foremost a fantasy that weaves magic and spectacle within a simple black-and-white screen story. The picture explodes into vivid color as it tells the tale of a young girl from Kansas who wants to find her way homeagain.

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Fantasy, children’s films,
musicals, Harry Potter

Sound of Music

3. The Sound of Music—One woman made her way into the Guinness Book of World Records by sitting through this movie daily over several years. She must have seen it hundreds of times, and I think about her when the film plays religiously on television at all major holidays and at Christmastime. In recent years, movie chains have held sing-alongs for The Sound of Music as well asThe Wizard of Oz

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Costume pieces, beautiful location
films, musicals, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Cabaret

Lawrence of Arabia 1962 2014
4. Lawrence of Arabia—This movie is a not-so-simple tale based on the real-life exploits of T. E. Lawrence, the famous English adventurer. The deceptively simple quality to this complex man is introduced at the beginning of the film when various people at his funeral try to describe him and each comes up with a different description

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Psychological dramas, epic films,

Butch Cassidy
5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—Considered by many Hollywood insiders to be the best screenplay ever written, this film originally included some scenes that were reportedly scrubbed because Paul Newman couldn’t say the lines without laughing. Yet this is a poignant film at times that focuses on two real life outlaws on the run for their crimes. The parts we remember most vividly are those that give the movie the aura of a “buddy” picture, then an action adventure
comedy, and finally a western very much of the sixties.

Six Degrees Connections: Buddy pictures, westerns, costume period
pieces, comedy-drama

The GOdfather
6. The Godfather—This much-anticipated film launched the careers of Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino and reinvigorated the career of the legendary Marlon Brando. When watching in a packed audience, I remember the hush in the theater and the shock and horror during the scene when the horse’s head was shown as a symbol of the brutality of the Corleone family. Italian American groups raised so many objections that the word Mafia was not used in the film.

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Drama, period pieces, mob
movies, Goodfellas, The Departed, The Sopranos (TV)

2001 a Space Odyssey
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey—This great film works on many different levels and is the gold standard for most science-fiction films of the latter part of the twentieth century. The beginning and end of the film take place in very different settings than one would think of as “outer space.” The scenes with the apes on earth and the old man in a sterile room contrast directly with the high-tech world associated with science fiction, and they are vital for the film to work

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Science-fiction films, futuristic
and innovative speculative fiction, Aliens, Blade
Runner, The Matrix

8. Jaws—So realistic were the shark attacks in this film that when I saw it for the first time, someone actually shouted out in the packed theater, “Is there a doctor in the house?” The intensity lasted through the drive home from the theater. Now that is a masterful piece of filmmaking!

Six Degrees of Film Connections: Suspense and horror movies,

The Birds
9. The Birds—Most people associate Hitchcock with horror films, but he was such a master of suspense and the thriller that one can argue a case for him in several different categories of film, and he would be at the top of his craft as a director in each one. He was just that
good. Most people remember him for Psycho, but he was equally well known for The Birds.

Six Degrees of Film: Thrillers: Jaws, Willard, The Sixth Sense

The GOld RUsh
10. The Gold Rush—Chaplin was one of the most recognized and beloved figures in film history. The character of The Little Tramp was so well known that he eclipsed Laurel and Hardy and Greta Garbo in the early days of cinema.

Six Degrees of Film Connections: All epic and recognized film
characters of the latter part of the twentieth century,
Star Wars characters, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator,
Shirley Temple, Lassie, Disney characters, Harry Potter,
all well-known film icons


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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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