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Happy Holidays Film Fans! This week, we are featuring the just-released Holiday Film News,  with a few recommendations for those who want to see movies on the big screen, as well as for those who are looking for good holiday film fare to watch at home.

In the 6 Degrees magazine: An article from The Reel World is about Daniel Day-Lewis and his decision to quit acting.  There’s a look at 2018, with films headlining the Sundance film festival.  And we feature movie reviews for The Shape of Water, Lady Bird, Roman J. Israel, Esq. and Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel.

And if you have ever wondered why all the awards and the best films of the year are all squashed into the one month, December, read the Variety article, about overcrowding the films and awards. This year in December, 32 films have been scheduled to open in 31 days. And the awards have all moved earlier too. National Board of Review and NY Film Critics announce winners in late November. SAG Awards deadline is December 10th.

It’s a problem with no solutions in site. But for the moment, enjoy the movies recommended, and till next week, see you at the movies!

6 Degrees: Holiday Film News

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The latest from Hollywood still surrounds the scandals from Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey and it continues as more men and women come forward to tell their stories. The impact is something that will be felt as we see some movies are on hold, some films with green lights will not be made, and we even saw Kevin Spacey stripped from his role in a major release this month.
The films that are released in the Holiday season have come to represent some of the cream of the crop, with studios holding back releases to compete in the Awards season that kicks off with the start of the new year.
The lists of best of the year also gives us some questionable picks in order to make the requisite 10 or 20 films that fill these end of year lists. It gives us a better window to step back and look at the films of the 21st Century, and the changes that have come in the way we see movies.
Even in the past ten years, we now have more people watching films on their devices, on the small screen, and even seeing films debut on Netflix, Amazon, and other cable companies. So, the change in the way we watch films and the way we respond is significant. The relationships and the way the characters are created and fleshed out, the way the writers use foreshadowing and the nuances of cinematography and the techniques they use to lend detail has changed so much in the 21st Century.
I have written about the industry’s overuse of CGI (Computer Generated Images), and the good and the bad associated with the Star Wars era of Lucasfilms and Industrial Light & Magic. For better or worse, it has dominated the industry in so many ways.  And this has also meant Hollywood now has the ability to bring to life so many elements of storytelling that were not possible or conceivable even twenty years ago. These things are all factors that have shaped the way we see movies today. But the real strength of films will always begin with the story. The element of style evolves; and when a good story is compelling, and told with creativity and passion, there is often a good film in the making.

Here are some of the Holiday films opening in theatres in December:

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The Shape of Water is coming December 8th : Set in the 1960’s, the film tells the story of a mute woman working as a janitor at a top secret government facility that houses a new kind of creature…

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The Last Jedi opens Dec 15Th: The cast of the last film returns to answer some of the questions that were left hanging. The character of Rey, and her connection with Luke Skywalker are some of the main drivers of the plot.

THe Post 2017

The Post opens Dec 22nd: Steven Spielberg directs, Tom Hanks stars as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; Meryl Streep is the publisher Kay Graham The film deals with the imminent release of the Pentagon Papers. It’s based on the true story of events surrounding the paper’s editorial decisions and how they handled this momentous event in our nation’s history.
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Other Holiday Films to watch and to record:

Recommended Christmas films: In the past weeks, I’ve recommended viewing: The Nativity Story, It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf/ A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Carol….(Choose your favorite version of Scrooge!)
Other Spiritual films: There are films that are shown at Christmas with a definite holiday feel. Some of them are spiritual in nature, with religious overtones. And others are simply worth watching for the cathartic feeling or the good vibes that you may want to share with loved ones during the holidays. The Sound of Music is the obvious choice, but there are other films that have the desired impact. The films listed here are not “Feel-Good” Family films, but they have either religious or spiritual overtones that reflect the holiday spirit.
Lord Jim, a film from 1965 with Peter O’Toole, is from a novel by Joseph Conrad and tells the story of a man seeking redemption for a sin he had committed earlier in his life. The idea that we are all guilty of something that we would like to forget, and to overcome our fears and our past, makes this film memorable.
The Name of the Rose is by Umberto Eco and stars Sean Connery as the monk who travels to a monastery, and discovers a series of murders that he is determined to solve. The theme of the book speaks of the uncertainty and inability to solve life’s mysteries, using the murders from the monastery to emphasize the chaotic nature of life. Sean Connery is powerful as the masterful monk, filled with conviction and the determination. It’s this force of nature that is Connery’s performance that gives this film strength.
Arrival with Amy Adams is a sci-fi film that has many layers stretching beyond the usual boundaries of science and CGI. There are some impressive visuals, and great acting from both Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, her partner in solving the mystery of the aliens. But the memorable moments are strictly earthbound ones, where we see the layers unveiled as Adams, working as a linguist, struggles to communicate with the alien species and discovers much about herself as the film progresses.
King Arthur with Clive Owen is yet another retelling of the Arthurian legend. This one is set in Britain, and the knights of the round table are a nomadic band with a leader who is dedicated to Christ. The best scenes in this are the ones that show the conviction and dedication of a life given over to helping others, and striving to overcome our own personal and moral failings.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a film mentioned many times for its spiritual depth and lingering themes dealing with love and redemption. The heroine is a young girl, Scout, and she narrates the action in past tense, in a faithful translation from the book. We see Scout’s small town and her father, Atticus Finch, through her eyes. Gregory Peck really “owns” this film, as his presence, and the courtroom drama that makes up much of the action in the second half are the highlights of the film. The message, that it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird, and the Christian themes of spiritual redemption and healing make this film one of the all-time favorites for those who are searching for some depth when watching a movie.

Other Recommended Holiday/Feel Good Films for Family Viewing:
Meet me in St Louis stars Judy Garland, and features Garland singing many of her hits, including “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Judy Garland was young when she made this movie, and it was directed by her future husband, Vincent Minelli, who worked to showcase her many talents as she sang and acted her way into our hearts.
Sleepless in Seattle was a huge hit when it was released, and if featured one of the most popular couples in recent decades: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I confess that this isn’t my favorite of the Hanks/Ryan pairings-I prefer You’ve Got Mail, which is also a good family film. But this film is one that has a popular appeal and also features the small boy who decides to match make for his father, played by Hanks, during the holidays.
National Velvet is adapted from a best-selling book and is also good family fare. Elizabeth Taylor is seen in one of her first roles, as the young Velvet, who is obsessed with horses.
In Emma, the “Jane-ites” are given a visual treat in this beautifully filmed adaptation from Jane Austen starring Gwyneth Paltrow. The film begins during the Christmas season, so it has a holiday look and feel to it. And even though the film is suitable for all ages, it’s generally classified as a “Chick Flick.” I dub it a Fem Flick, for women and that sub-set of men who actually like and “get” Jane Austen and her low-key but acerbic wit.

Friday Flix

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6 Degrees of Film

Hello film fans! Welcome to Friday Flix. This week the films that debut are not the heavy hitters, many of those are coming out during the Holidays. But there are some good ones vying for the top box office spots.
In 6 Degrees Magazine, there’s a piece from Director David Fincher on Modern Cinema that’s worth a look. And the film reviews featured include reviews for Marshall, the courtroom drama surrounding one of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s early civil-rights cases; and the LA Times gives The Florida Project with Willem Dafoe rave reviews: “probably the best movie you’ll see this year”….can’t get much better than that!
Blade Runner 2049 is reviewed in Movie Waffler. I reviewed it in 6 Degrees of Film and wasn’t impressed. For one thing, the movie was over-hyped. It wasn’t nearly as good as it was promoted as being, which was this game-changing thematic experience. In addition, it was overly long for the material that was explored.
It was reminiscent of the follow up sequel to Chinatown in several ways. Both revolve around a quest or a search that moves the action along, but in the case of The Two Jakes, Jack Nicholson was the big draw that the sequel used to carry the weight of a weaker plot. It’s hard to compete with classic films that introduce new and innovative techniques and original thought. Chinatown and Blade Runner were two such films.
Harrison Ford doesn’t carry this film. This film is almost exclusively Ryan Gosling’s vehicle, and he is not up to snuff. There isn’t one interesting element or nuance of character that is memorable in this version (The review is on 6 Degrees).
The film has been characterized as a dud or a bomb. It’s not terrible, but I can’t recommend it to see at the theatres. It’s for the small screen. There’s another article that makes the case that the soundtrack for Blade Runner 2049 is the star. I can’t agree with that either, especially in the wake of listening to the music of Vangelis and that masterly score for the original. Director Ridley Scott put so much attention to detail into the 1982 film, showing us a glimpse of a futuristic, yet dark and decidedly dystopian landscape that matched the theme from which the material sprang: the dark visions of writer Philip K Dick. This film just isn’t capable of continuing the thread needed to pull us into that same future void where we found ourselves at the end of BladeRunner.

There are lots of Oscar contenders opening in November. After seeing a trailer for the Benedict Cumberbatch film, The Current War, made by the Weinstein Group, I noticed they’ve pulled it from the schedule. It’s unfortunate that the politics must interfere with the artistic merit of a film, but that’s the way of the world. Weinstein has infected the conversation in Hollywood, as well as throughout the country. And women should be silent no more.
Some of the other films opening in November (see the Fall Newsletter link); are: Murder on the Orient Express & The Florida Project. The latter is about a six year old girl who lives with her mother in a motel in the Sunshine State. Willem Dafoe also stars in this Indie film, and as mentioned above, it’s been getting lots of good advance press.
There’s also a  listing this week of actor Gary Oldman’s best performances (Oldman is starring as Churchill currently in Darkest Hour.) Can’t say that I agree with the list. Here’s mine: True Romance; Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy. Harry Potter films; Child 44; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead are some of Oldman’s best films, and I’d recommend any of those to fans who would like to see more of Gary Oldman in action.
There’s also an article about Films that may be contenders for Oscars including Dunkirk; The Post and The Shape of Water. Haven’t seen the latter two, but I would agree there is great interest and buzz with these films, particularly surrounding The Shape of Water.
That’s a wrap for this week. Stay tuned in coming weeks for the Holiday Films Newsletter and other 6 Degrees offers for you. Till then, hope you find some movies that you not just like but love, and see you at the movies!

 

 

 

 

6 Degrees: Friday Flix

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6 Degrees of Film

 

Hello Film Fans! This week in 6 Degrees some of the best movies of the Season are starting to roll out. The Florida Project with Willam Dafoe has received great reviews, and Blade Runner 2049 has received ridiculously good reviews. I recall the first film didn’t get such a great reception at the time of its release. If you have never seen the original, please do so before seeing the new Bladerunner. There’s a review in 6 Degrees Magazine of the original film starring Harrison Ford.

Other movies out this week include The Mountain Between Us with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet and Una, with Rooney Mara, which is adapted from a stage play Blackbird.

Other projects of note include the Variety review of the documentary on Steven Spielberg. There’s a trailer for the new Woody Allen film Wonder Wheel  with Kate Winslet. The children’s film My Little Pony is reviewed on SF Gate, which recommends the film “only for established fans” (5 and under, we presume!)

One interesting Oscars note: Foreign Language film submissions hit a record high this year, which is good and speaks well for the nature of the Global Village in which we live.

One of my newly discovered favorite film sites is awesomebmovies.com. This week, they have an interesting piece called The Modern Day Western vs The Classic Western Movie. It’s a very interesting concept, and considering that modern day westerns come few and far between, we need to grasp that the entire genre was one that dominated early Silent film and extended well into the fifties and sixties with Clint Eastwood being the last major star to draw huge crowds to see Westerns. There’s an argument that Star Wars films are a reboot of the Western theme, but for this piece, the original concept of Western films sticks to the films of the Old West.

Speaking of Westerns: If anyone would like to see a great Western that is rarely shown, set your box to record The Westerner on Turner Classic Movies this weekend with Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. It’s one of Cooper’s great performances as the Western hero, a drifter named Cole Harden, and Brennan shines as Judge Roy Bean, the epitome of good and evil rolled into one in his character. There’s a great scene where Cooper casually lets the Judge know that he has a lock of hair from Bean’s goddess, Lillie Langtry, and the comic undertones are almost as good as classic Jack Benny. Catch it if you can!

Here’s the link to our Fall Film Newsletter, featuring all the films released in October. There are lots of good movies being released this fall, (in contrast to a slow summer), so hope you can get out there and catch a good flick this week. See you at the movies!-ML

6 Degrees: Friday Flix

6 Degrees of Film

Greetings Film Fans: The Fall Film Newsletter is still available on this 6 Degrees of Film website, so click the link and check out the upcoming films. Some of the big stories happening now in Hollywood include the terrible reviews for Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother! My brother warned me about how terrible this movie was,(which of course, intrigues me even more!), and the audience response has been overwhelmingly negative.
The Stephen King horror film, IT is still the dominant box office winner. And some of the films rolling out this month are featured in the Six Degrees Magazine. The Battle of the Sexes has had some mixed reviews, but not terrible ones. There’s a new trailer for the all-star cast featured in the Murder on the Orient Express remake coming in November.
Each week, I go thru the online film sites and look for interesting and intriguing reviews and articles that don’t simply repeat the main headlines over and over….Some are reviews of classic films, and others are about movies that people may have missed-those that go Under the Radar.
Entertainment Weekly is arguing that The Assassination of Jesse James with Brad Pitt is a “mistreated masterpiece”. I beg to differ, but it’s worth reading the arguments supporting this one. And there’s a good piece on the great Stephen King, who doesn’t need a new Renaissance Revival. If there are people who don’t know of his work, besides the horror field, know that he also penned The Shawshank Redemption as well as notable treatises about the craft of writing.
Film Reviews: Kingsman: Golden Circle has a controversial sex scene supposedly, but I can’t say it’s something that keeps me awake at night! And director Wes Anderson, another controversial filmmaker, has released a trailer for his stop motion feature, Isle of Dogs. There’s a review for Judi Dench’s latest film, Victoria and Abdul, from NPR, which is a favorable one.
And for Hitchcock fans, there is an analysis of supposedly the ‘weakest’ scene in the classic “Psycho”. Some people have told me that “The Princess Bride” is one of their favorite films of all time. For Princess fans, there’s a post from Moviefone with fun facts on the film!
And some of my favorites that have gone unnoticed include the follow-up of  Jack Nicholson’s Chinatown character which he revived in The Two Jakes. And the great ensemble piece from Director Curtis Hanson that was Russell Crowe’s breakout performance, L.A. Confidential, is also reviewed. The other Under the Radar film featured this week is from 2005- a review of the Nicholas Cage film, Lord of War. Cage plays an illegal arms smuggler and the topic is sadly prescient in our current political climate. And finally, the Indie Black comedy starring Don Johnson, before he made it big with Miami Vice is reviewed- A Boy and His Dog.
In the last few months, we’ve lost some of the great avante-garde actors and artists of the last few decades. One is the playwright and actor Sam Shephard, known best most likely for his iconic role in The Right Stuff. The other is the character actor, Harry Dean Stanton, who was a contemporary and sometimes collaborator with Shephard.  Stanton starred in one of Shephard’s adaptations to the screen, Paris, Texas. There’s an article with the three best selected obits on Stanton featured in our magazine.
Recommended Reads: The book Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940’s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling is reviewed on the David Bordwell film site. The 6 Degrees Fall Film Newsletter will  also give you short blurbs for each recommended movie released in the coming weeks.
Next week will feature some of the Turner Classic Movies for the month of October, as well as the upcoming films we’re excited to see debuting in film festivals and touted for Oscars and other notable awards. Looking forward to some of the new crop-till then, see you at the Movies!-ML

6 Degrees Fall Film Newsletter

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6 Degrees of Film

Greetings Film Lovers! Welcome to the 2017 Six Degrees Fall Film Newsletter. There’s a total of 52 Films we’ve listed for the period from September through to the Christmas and Holiday Season in December. Here’s a clue: the ones with 2 stars by them are recommended to see at the movies. A couple have 3 stars-they are the Kids films and recommended for family viewing.

The films with one star may be very good films, but they are recommended for the small screen. The Big Screen Movie Experience is something that should be a significant one for most films these days. After all, it’s getting more and more expensive to go to a movie at the movie theater. And we should demand, as moviegoers, a high quality of film on many levels, artistically and technically, to spend our money and take the time to make the trek to the theaters to see great films! This list includes action/adventure; A-list stars and directors, and intriguing storylines. Those are the types of films that will always command our attention even in the fast-paced world we live in today. Enjoy and see you each week at the movies!-ML

 **Recommended for Viewing at the Theater

*Save for the Small Screen

***Recommended for Families/Kids Movies

 

 

 

September Movie Openings

 

 September 8th

 

**IT – Bill Skarsgard plays the shape-shifting clown Pennywise in this version of Stephen King’s IT

 

*Rebel in the Rye – with Nicholas Hoult is about J.D. Salinger, the scarred author who is depicted during his creative process in creating the classic The Catcher in the Rye.

 

 September 15th

 

*In Search of Fellini –A small town girl from Ohio discovers the delightful yet bizarre films of legendary director Federico Felline.

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 **Mother! With Jennifer Lawrence- Darren Aronofsky directs this film about a married couple whose relationship is tested when another couple-played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris, come to visit. Reportedly a cross between Black Swan and Rosemary’s Baby, this film is hard to pin down, but has been called a thriller.

 

September 22nd

 

* Kingsman: The Golden Circle – a sequel movie-where Colin Firth returns along with co-star Taron Egerton as the juvenile-delinquent turned master spy named Eggsy.

 

*Stronger with Jake Gyllenhaal-  Gyllenhaal plays the role of Jeff Bauman in this biopic based on the memoirs of Bauman, who had both legs blown off in the Boston Marathon bombing.

 

**Battle of the Sexes stars Steve Carell and Emma Stone in this recreation of the famous Bobby Riggs vs Billie Jean King Tennis Match in 1973.

 

*Victoria and Abdul is from Director Stephen Frears and stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in this drama surrounding her friendship with the handsome Indian man named Abdul.

 

*Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives documentary opened the Tribeca Film Festival and was well received.

 

September 29th

 

*American Made with Tom Cruise, who stars as the real-life pilot Barry Seal,  a man whose flying skills and his greed led him to moonlight as a drug runner for the infamous Medellin drug cartel, and later to become an informant for the CIA.

 

*Mark Felt- The Man who Brought Down the House– with Liam Neeson playing Felt, the FBI agent who was known as Deep Throat during Watergate.

 

October Movie Openings

 

 October 6th

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**Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling- is the much- anticipated sequel of sorts to the original Ridley Scott/Harrison Ford classic. Denis Villeneuve directs and there’s an appearance from the original Rick Deckard -we’ll have to see if it’s more than a walk on by Harrison Ford. 

 

 

*Brawl in Cellblock 99 with Vince Vaughn, is about a former boxer who takes a job as a drug courier and winds up in jail where his enemies converge and force him into acts of violence.

 

 *The Florida Project with Willem Dafoe, this one is set in Orlando Florida and is about some hard living characters, as seen through the eyes of a playful and imaginative child.

 

**The Mountain Between Us with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet is based on the 2010 Charles Martin novel. The story is about two plane crash survivors, a journalist (Winslet) and a surgeon (Elba) who brave the elements and fall in love as they struggle for survival.

 

***My Little Pony: The Movie with Emily Blunt providing a voice in this animated feature along with Kristin Chenowith and Zoe Saldana.

 

*Una with Rooney Mara is about a young woman’s confrontation with a man from her past that threatens to derail the man’s new life and the woman’s stability.

 

October 13th

 

*Goodbye Christopher Robin with Domhnall Gleeson. The film follows the real-life author of Winnie the Pooh and Co., A A Milne,  after he returns home for the war, damaged and dispirited. Milne finds consolation as he re-connects with his son Christopher Robin and the now familiar group of stuffed animal friends.

**Marshall – a film about Thurgood Marshall stars Chadwick Boseman as the iconic Supreme Court Justice who broke through racial barriers. This film focuses on the earlier life of Marshall, when he worked as an NAACP lawyer in a racially-charged case.

**The Meyerowitz Stories with Adam Sandler is about estranged siblings who gather in New York to celebrate their father’s work as an artist.

 

 *Overdrive with Scott Eastwood is about a notorious crime boss who forces two legendary car thieves to steal a vehicle to win back their freedom.

 

October 26th

*Same Kind of Different as Me- with Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear is about an International art dealer (Kinnear) who befriends a homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage

 

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**The Snowman with Michael Fassbender playing the brilliant fictional detective Harry Hole. Norwegian author Jo Nesbe created this fast paced and popular crime series, and this particular story is about the Snowman Killer, who always strikes on the first day of winter after leaving small snow statues near the victim’s body.

 

*Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween- This is a Halloween movie with Madea/Perry, of course!

 

 October 27th

*Suburbicon with Matt Damon, directed by George Clooney-(uh-oh). This film can’t be pinned down either, as it is about a 50’s era family who are victims of a home invasion. Oscar Isaac plays the suspicious investigator on the case. Clooney says there are laughs, “but it wasn’t designed to be ha-ha funny. It starts out like a Disney film, and by the end it feels like an acid trip”

*Thank You for Your Service with Miles Teller starring in this true story about the scars of war and the difficulties a soldier has in returning to civilian life.

 

November Movie Openings

 

*Bill Nye: Science Guy -Documentary where Nye attempts to restore science to its rightful place in a world sometimes openly hostile to evidence and reason.

 

 *Last Flag Flying with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Lawrence Fishburne-We previewed this indie in Friday Flix last week, with Steve Carrell starring as a grieving father burying his son who was killed in Iraq.

**LBJ with Woody Harrelson -Director Rob Reiner has created this biopic of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

 

**The Man who Invented Christmas with Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as Charles Dickens during the time he created the classic tale A Christmas Carol. Christopher Plummer plays Scrooge for the play within the play theme.

**Roman Israel, Esq with Denzel Washington in this crime thriller set in LA.

 

*Thor: Ragnorak with Chris Hemsworth- The Hulk is along for the ride, along with Valkyrie and Loki as they strive to stop the Goddess of Death-played by Cate Blanchett, from destroying Asgard (and the galaxy too).

 

November 10th 

 

*Daddy’s Home 2 with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg returning with a new round of sparring partners-their respective fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. The comedy hijinks play out when the Dads visit for the holidays.

*Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan in a coming-of-age story directed by actress Greta Gerwig.

 

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**Murder on the Orient Express with Kenneth Branagh, also directing with the star-studded cast including Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer and Judi Dench. Agatha Christie wrote the original in 1934, and Branagh directs this revamped version as well as taking on the lead role of Hercule Poirot,  the master detective determined to sleuth out who killed who on the mystery train.

 

**Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri with Frances McDormand is an Indie film about a woman named Mildred, who is angry and working to avenge her daughter’s murder in this dark comedy from the same director who brought us In Bruges – Martin McDonagh.

 

November 17th

**Justice League with Ben Affleck returning as Batman as he unites an entire team of super humans- Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg as they defend the Earth from a cosmic threat.

 

 *Wonder with Julia Roberts is based on the 2012 novel by R.J. Palacio. It’s about a 5th grade boy with Treacher Collins syndrome, and his parents who decide to send him to a mainstream school for the first time.

 

 

November 22nd

***Coco is the animated Pixar offering,  about a 12 year old aspiring singer named Miguel who is accidently transported to the Land of the Dead, this vibrant posthumous place populated with Skeletal ancestors and all kinds of whimsical stops along the way. The director says it’s a bit like Monsters, Inc, in that there’s a fantastic world of monsters, but “it’s rooted in a world we know” Coco, by the way, is the great-grandma of Miguel, who is one of his living family members that we meet as Miguel traverses between the two worlds.

 

**Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman starring as Winston Churchill. This film focuses on the period when England had refused to give in to Hitler’s relentless war machine.

 

 *Death Wish with Bruce Willis in the title role made famous by tough guy Charles Bronson. Eli Roth directs the remake.

**Molly’s Game with Jessica Chastain, based on the story of Molly Bloom, is about a competitive skier who decides to move to LA and run the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game. Molly ends up being indicted, and the twists in this tale led director Aaron Sorkin to direct this fascinating story.

 

 November 24th

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**The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in this story about Edison’s race with George Washington to create a sustainable electrical system.

 

 December Movie Offerings: The Holiday Season

 

 

December 1st

*The Disaster Artist with James Franco explores the depths that lead to the creation of how a truly awful movie is made. Franco plays the “auteur-actor” Tommy Wiseau, who created the original 2003 cult film, The Room, which garnered a huge following based on it’s “entertaining awfulness”.

December 8th

 

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**The Shape of Water with Sally Hawkins in this Cold War era imaginary tale from director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) about a mute woman, (Hawkins), who discovers a top secret government experiment.

 

December 15th

 

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**Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Daisy Ridley returning as Rey with the saga picking up where we left the characters hanging. Luke Skywalker is there on a mountaintop, and we’ll see Carrie Fisher’s final screen appearance as Princess Leia. John Boyega and Adam Driver return respectively as Finn and the villainous Kylo Ren.

 

December 20th

 

*Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with Dwayne Johnson in the reworked version of the Robin Williams film where four teenagers play an old videogame and find themselves trapped in the bodies of their avatars.

 

December 22nd

 

*Downsizing with Matt Damon in what is being described as a “dramedy” about an overpopulated world where scientists can now shrink humans to pocket size.

**The Papers with Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks – Spielberg directs this story centered around the real-life events that ensued when The Washington Post and the Nixon administration went to battle in the front pages of the news over the release of Daniel Ellsburg’s Pentagon Papers.

*Pitch Perfect 3 with Anna Kendrick-The Barden Bellas are back for a third round

 

December 25th: Christmas Day Openings

**The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman starring in this musical version about the life of master showman P.T. Barnum and the creation of his traveling circus.

 

*Wes Anderson film with retiring Daniel Day-Lewis – Not much has been released about this one other than the fact actor Daniel Day Lewis has announced his impending retirement from acting!

****

We are living in a kind of post Golden Age of Blockbusters and trying to feel our way into the 21st Century Cinematic Film Experience that includes more than just a cheap thrill with a pair of 3D Glasses. We may end up nostalgic and waxing lyrical for the type of Blockbuster films and the Advent of each new film “season” that is prefaced with talk of the Possible Award winners and the big losers.

The recent interview with Director Steven Soderbergh was telling in that he spoke of the cavalier attitude towards “Markdowns” that ended the careers for directors such as Heaven’s Gate Director Michael Cimino. Now, in his words, “You don’t get punished for your mistakes the way you used to back then. There have been a couple of films in the last year to 18 months that are 200 million dollar write downs! It used to be people would get fired for that, and now they don’t….And I think that’s part of the problem, there’s no new oxygen in the system”.

These types of eye-opening and direct confessions occur rather infrequently. The last time I recall was when Spielberg spilled the beans about his Lincoln production, and predicted the continual rise of the small screen, after confessing he almost made Lincoln for HBO instead of as a theatrical release. These are the forerunners for the changing world that has been the standard in film for the past century. Who would have predicted “Talkies” at the beginning of the silent film era? And during the Golden Age of Film, who could have known that Television would create such a huge thunderclap in the entire film industry? Or who could have known that one lawsuit in 1949 could have ended the Golden Age with the decree that gave films and their theater chain counterparts the Kiss of Death by declaring the entire operation a type of monopoly that could not stand the scrutiny? Then, the sixties and the ratings codes gave films another kind of upheaval, creating the independent film industry and the Age of Aquarius with Sex and the Free Love Generation changing the way people watched films and thought about them.

Film critics rose and fell with this standard. The long-time New York film critic Bosley Crowther saw his career end after he panned Bonnie and Clyde. And critics like Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert rose to prominence. Ebert was able to cross over into the newer era of online film criticism, and his website, Ebert.com, continues to dominate long after his death.

Star Wars created another explosion, with the advent of the Art of Special Effects and the age of Science Fiction and the Juvenilization of Movies. The Blockbuster era began in the seventies, and has continued to this day. We have always known that the real artistic center of the Universe for all Hollywood producers is the Almighty Dollar. And politics and current events figure more than we would be comfortable in acknowledging, if we are going to make an honest assessment. That has been the norm from the very early days, when the Supreme Court ruled in the early 1900’s that film was NOT considered Art. That paved the way to monolithic control for Thomas Edison and his film studio.

And the story has been the same to this day….The film world exists and thrives on changes within our culture and society. And it has adapted from the earliest days of the Penny Arcades through the last century and into the 21st Century. And so it goes…

One More Thing: This Fall, sign up for the Friday Flix at the 6 Degrees website, and you’ll find the links to the latest film reviews and the in-depth articles that we scan to look for the best of the web. Save yourself the trouble and go straight to the source! We take the time to ask the questions about films that are on your mind….Not simply, what should I see this week? What are the top reviews on the film I’m interested in seeing? But also….

What are the best films made so far in the 21st Century? What types of films do millennials want to see? And what is going to happen to the vast network of Hollywood studios and theatre chains that have thrived over the past decades on an expanding American audience? What do film buffs really want to know? These are the questions we try to address and to respond to each week in “Friday Flix” and in the 6 Degrees of online Film Magazine.

Hope you enjoyed checking out the films and don’t forget to visit us online at the 6 Degrees Blog and our 6 Degrees Magazine for weekly updates. See you next week at the movies!-ML

 

 

6 Degrees: Friday Flix Labor Day Edition

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6 Degrees of Film

 

Happy Labor Day to all the Film Fans out there! We are very excited as we are ready to release the Fall Film Newsletter this weekend. There are about 52 films on the list, but much less in the final recommended pool of films to see this Fall. It’s always fun to see what’s coming around the bend. And after what can only be described as a lackluster Summer Season, there’s lots of room for improvement when it comes to Big Box Office releases. Some of the questions that we are hearing, and are asking, are part of the mix of articles and posts that we try to respond to on a weekly basis.

Just to name a few: What are the best films made to date in the 21st Century? What types of films do millennials want to see? And what is going to happen to the vast network of Hollywood studios and theatre chains that have thrived over the past decades on an expanding American audience? What do film buffs really want to know? These are the questions we try to address and to respond to each week in “Friday Flix” and in the 6 Degrees of  Film online Magazine.

This Fall, sign up for the Friday Flix at our 6 Degrees website, and you’ll find the links to the latest film reviews and the in-depth articles that we scan weekly as we look for the best of the web. Save yourself the trouble and go straight to the source!

What’s the Hollywood Buzz? Labor Day is here and the buzz is about the poor attendance at the box office and the sluggish sales. Of course, the answer always occurs to us that there is no problem when good movies abound. But the latest batch has been lackluster at best. The Films that are coming out this Fall hold some promising specimens.

The Shape of Water, Kenneth Branagh’s version of Murder on the Orient Express, the Justice League film for those who can’t get enough super-hero doses, and the big Kahuna: Star Wars- the Last Jedi are coming, just to name a few. There’s Blade Runner 2049 for geeks like me who remember the original 1983 Ridley Scott/Harrison Ford version. And some other movies are dropping that may or may not pan out.

So, depending on your taste, for Independent features, for action/adventure or comedy and romance (always lagging behind these days), there is something for everyone.

This week in 6 Degrees Magazine: Check out the TCM blog on The Wages of Fear, a great film based on a novel from 1953 called The Salary of Fear, the film is directed by Henri-George Clouzot and stars a young Yves Montand. There’s film reviews for The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Ingrid Goes West from the Macguffin film site.

A book on the wonderful actress Anne Bancroft is reviewed on the Film Comment site. Film Comment also remembers the late horror director Tobe Hooper who gave us the- if not immortal, at least the memorable “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” films. There are previews for 2017 Fall films from the Ebert site, and also previews of the Telluride Film Festival.

An interesting piece from Vox is entitled: Rotten Tomatoes, explained. There’s been some controversy of late over the RT scores having an adverse effect on box office returns. So there’s that.

And finally, we are set to prepare ourselves for the slowest Labor Day at the box office in 25 years. Just another sign of the growing influence of overseas sales, too many competing events and the drift of millennials away from the traditional theatrical experience, and, oh yes, the fact that Hollywood keeps making crappy films don’t help matters either!

The Fall Film Newsletter is coming out this weekend with a list that includes some of the more intriguing films opening this Fall. There’s the usual suspects: The sequels, some comic book genres, the kids films, the biopics, the adaptations of best-sellers and some that look like duds. There’s always one or two surprises in every batch of films that are unleashed on the public. Here’s hoping for some good surprises coming soon to a theater near you….Have fun with the Fall Film Newsletter and See you at the Movies!-ML