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Movie Review Of Fargo Film Studies Essay
In a dumbed-down world, it's truly gratifying that director Ron Howard managed to convince a major studio (Universal) to back his screen adapation of the stage play Frost/Nixon. The play centered on the bizarre pairing of chat show host David Frost with former President Richard M. Nixon, who had resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal in 1974. In the ensuing years, Nixon kept a low profile and took only limited responsibility for the cover-up of the bugging of Democratic campaign headquarters. Nixon presented his main flaw as being too loyal to errant staff members, but never really apologized for his actions or spoke candidly about the fact that he was front-and-center in masterminding the cover-up. Howard's film presents Frost's painstaking efforts to convince Nixon to sit down for a series of in-depth interviews. At the time, Frost was considered a lightweight, amiable talent with no credentials for such a task. His star had begun to erode and he was presently hosting an embarrassing "Believe It-Or-Not"-type program for Australian TV. Ever the optimist, however, Frost was convinced that landing Nixon would be the coup of a lifetime - and he was smart enough to hire aggressive politicos as producers, who kept reminding him of the gravity of his responsibility. If he were to ask lightweight questions or let Nixon control the interviews, his reputation would have been permanently damaged.
They were legendary collaborators who teamed for some of the greatest films of all time. Alfred Hitchcock and his favorite composer Bernard Hermann joined forces to create the masterpieces and others. However, their friendship became strained when Hitchcock approached Hermann to score his 1966 spy thriller Hitchcock, whose box-office standings had slumped in recent years, had been bullied by Universal mogul Lew Wasserman to produce a more contemporary style of music that would be in keeping with the spy movies of the era. Hermann largely ignored this demand and produced what he felt was a very suitable score. This resulted in his being fired from the film and replaced by composer John Addison. The strain between the two creative geniuses would never been resolved, though both men would have a creative renaissance: Hitchcock with his last great film, and Hermann through his collaborations with a new generation of filmmakers like Brian DePalma and Martin Scorsese. Writer Steve Vertlieb has an excellent essay that tells of the rise and fall of the Hitchcock/Hermann creative partnership. To read, visit the web site dedicated to Hermann by
Film Reviews & Essays - Cinema Retro
KARLOFF...the very name strikes terror into the hearts ofmost screen audiences, as did the persona of his most famoustheatrical creation, Frankenstein's "Monster." Yet thisgifted, versatile actor was a kind, intelligent, charitable performer respected byhis colleagues, and adored by millions of children around the world. Whether thegentle giant of Universal's early Frankenstein films, the villainous CaptainHook of Broadway's "Peter Pan," the distinguished host of NBC's acclaimed"Thriller" television series,or the renowned motion picture and stage actor who,through countless remarkable performances, brought dignity and compassion tothe uniquely maligned genre of so-called "Horror Films," BorisKarloff was an intelligent, sensitive actor who captured the hearts and imaginations ofgenerations of screen, theatrical, television, and radio audiences.
Encyclopedia Brittanica blogger Gregory McNamee pays tribute to the iconic Hollywood producer Merian C. Cooper with an interesting essay celebrating the 75th anniversary of his greatest film, In addition to fascinating insights into Cooper's career, there is also the original trailer for to view
Film Reviews & Essays - Entries from October 2007
Well, it was always an on again off again project over the past 18 years. Lucas, Spielberg and Ford would say it would be fun to do another Indiana Jones film if the right property came along. Thankfully, that opportunity eventually came to pass and we now have a new film from the legendary franchise.
Before I go any further, I need to state that the anticipation for this film has fortunately not been quite as over-hyped as it had been for (a weak film whose over-the-top publicity campaign only accentuated the public's disappointment with the end result.) The latest Indy feature is not a similarly weak venture; rather, it is a serious attempt to chronicle another chapter in the series of adventures that chronicle the legendary hero's life. In the pantheon of those adventures, this one falls squarely in the middle in terms of excitement and satisfaction as cinematic entertainment.
Like the recent , we look in on Indy close to two decades since his last screen adventure. He has grayed and slowed down a bit, but is still able to rise to the challenge when the the world needs his peculiar talents. Just as the five year gap between and allowed for a deeper sense of maturity to develop in the character and storyline, this extended passage of time until also reaps similar benefits without sacrificing the thrill content.
The film marks the return of some welcome alumni from previous entries, including Karen Allen as Indy's old flame Marion Ravenwood, who provides a return to a strong female role model in an era dominated by anorexic airheads as leading ladies. Other returning veterans include composer John Williams, who turns in a great score peppered with themes from previous films, and editor Michael Kahn, who consistently keeps the action flowing at a rapid pace. Some scenes are hampered by obvious CGI effects, but they don't compromise the overall look of the film. (Remember, that the first three Indy films had their share of a few shoddy special effects.) Among the acting highlights are the performances of Shia LaBeouf, who starts out quite stiff but quickly settles into the spirit of things, and Cate Blanchett who has a wonderful time playing a KGB agent who seeks the skull for nefarious purposes. In the aggregate, is to be recommended, but see in on a big, wide screen in a movie theater, projected on not digitally - and don't wait for the DVD to experience the most welcome return of this great movie hero.
Having just returned from a New York screening of I had been of the opinion that whoever was in charge of security for Paramount's publicity team should have been hired to write the script for the film. The studio kept the location of the theater secret until days before the screening, and an E mail invitation I received included this admonishment:"Please do NOT pass this info on to anyone else- invites are strictly non-transferable and people will not be admitted if they weren't directly invited." Having arrived at the designated venue, I expected a full body cavity search, but instead was greeted by some amiable Paramount staffers who kindly offered a thoughtful perk: a coupon for a free popcorn and soda. That may not sound like much, but given prices in New York theaters, it amounts to the equivalent of the average monthly mortgage payment. I should say that although Cinema Retro has objectively reported on the mixed buzz about the film, I entered the theater with great expectations and uncompromised optimism. At the film's conclusion , my own views were decidedly mixed. The movie is worse than hoped-for, but better than feared. What follows are random observations about various aspects of the film (I've tried to avoid providing any overt spoilers, but it's impossible to present a thorough review without divulging some key plot points.)
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Plot and Theme – Long-Form Reviews and Essays on Film
This is a movie so filled with energy, creativity and surprises that I will refrain from spilling most of the specifics here. Suffice it to say, you don't have to be a Trekker to appreciate its merits. While I am generally pretty grumpy about the overuse of CGI in films, this is a case where it is obviously merited - and they are the best CGI effects I have ever seen onscreen. However, Abrams- working with a literate and witty script by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman - has not lost sight of the fact that the series was about the human element (or Vulcan element, as the case may be.) The story tells how all the aspects of the original series came into being. I have no idea whether these plot developments have been explored previously in various films and series, but they were new to me, including the surprising revelation that Kirk and Spock started their relationship as adversaries. The film traces how Kirk progressed from a brilliant but rebellious troublemaker into commander of the Enterprise - and how he assembled the now legendary crew. No one envies actors who take over legendary characters played by other beloved actors, but the most exciting revelation about the new movie is the brilliant casting. Virtually every role is a gem and is played by actors with extraordinary talent and charisma. Topping the list, of course, are Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, playing Kirk and Spock respectively. Both were unknown to me, though I understand Quinto is one of the stars of (Since I haven't watched episodic TV since was ratings gold, I was unfamiliar with his work.) Both actors generate the kind of chemistry enjoyed by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in the original series. Amusingly, now freed by the constraints of TV censorship of the 1960s, Kirk's horndog instincts are on full display in funny sequences in which he tries to seduce the fetching Uhura (Zoe Saldana).We also get fascinating insights into Spock's motivations and background, extending to his early years on the planet Vulcan. The script hits all the right notes and Pine and Quinto (along with the rest of the cast), pay homage to their predecessors by invoking just enough familiar mannerisms without delving into cheap imitation.
Long-Form Reviews and Essays on Film ..
Well, it's midnight and I've just returned from attending the world's first showing of the new film in IMAX format in New York City at the Loews Lincoln Center. When Paramount sent me the invitation, I confess I thought twice about attending. The reason is that I'm probably the only baby boomer who grew up in the 1960s and managed to emerge knowing almost nothing about Although I have seen some of the first feature films based on the show, I have never seen a complete episode of the original series. Nor have I seen any of the sequels, prequels or spin-offs. Wait - it gets better. Some years ago, I was introduced to Leonard Nimoy and only chatted briefly about films he directed, with nary a mention of his pointy-eared alter-ego (I think he was grateful, actually). Finally, back in 1990s, I was in L.A. to appear on a TV program and found myself backstage in the green room with a wonderfully witty gentleman whose face looked familiar, but whose name I couldn't place. After talking for about an hour about WWII history and the injuries he sustained in the war, I asked him what he did for a living. "I'm an actor", he said. "My name is James Doohan and you probably know me from ". Doohan was kind enough to say that my ignorance was refreshing, as it afforded him a rare opportunity to discuss something unrelated to the series, but I justifiably felt like an idiot. I tell you all of this because it is important for you to know that when I attended the premiere, I had little interest in the film, and was far more intrigued by the prospect of simply enjoying the IMAX experience. Two hours later, I emerged from the theater a full-fledged enthusiast, now determined to catch up with what others had the foresight to appreciate nearly a half century ago. The new is a modern sci-fi classic and a personal triumph for director J.J. Abrams, who has reinvigorated the series in the way that both James Bond and Batman have been revitalized. This your father's - and that's meant as a compliment.
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