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by Rodger Pille 08.26.2009
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'Avatar' Sneak Peak a Mixed Bag

The screen fills with a close-up of a military-issued boot marching along. Its owner, a grizzled and scarred commander, bellows, “You ain't in Kansas anymore.” So begins the preview footage of Avatar, the long-awaited and much ballyhooed sci-fi epic from James Cameron.

It's the filmmaker's first full-length feature project since Titanic made him the self-proclaimed “King of the World.”

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by Steven Rosen 10.17.2008
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All Together Now Gets One-Night-Only Screening

In advance of Tuesday's DVD release of All Together Now, a documentary about how Cirque du Soleil collaborated with The Beatles and their surviving families to create the hit Las Vegas show Love, there will be a one-night-only national theatrical screening on Monday, Oct. 20.

The film features new interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison as it chronicles the creation of the show. It presents the re-worked Beatles songs in an advanced stereo sound mix, as well as Cirque du Soleil performances.

All Together Now will screen at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. at Pierce Point Cinema 10, 1255 West Ohio Pike in Amelia, and at 7:30 p.m. at the Rave Motion Picture Theater, 9415 Civic Center Blvd., West Chester.


 
 
by Jason Gargano 09.10.2011
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Breaking Through at Toronto Film Festival

After several days of technological dissonance, I've finally gained access to our blog. The logistical reasons for said dissonance are far too tedious to recount here, so I'll get right to it: I've seen 10 films over the last 60 hours, some good, some OK and none less than interesting.

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by Stephen Carter-Novotni 04.17.2009
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Amazing Film! Wolf and Pig

This is the finest homebrew use of stop motion cinematography I've ever seen. Really. Wow.
 
 
by Jason Gargano 01.25.2011
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Oscar Nods Announced

Oscar nominations were announced this morning. At first glance, I have to admit that this year’s batch seems uncommonly competent.

The 10 Best Picture nominees are all worthwhile in one way or another, and four of them actually made my top 10 of 2010: The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone. See, I told you they were competent.

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by John Hamilton 01.15.2015 15 days ago
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Forgotten Classics: Ed Wood

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

Last year, director Tim Burton released a film that many are considering his strongest film in a while — Big Eyes. It follows the story of the artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) and the scandal of Walter taking credit for Margaret’s famous ‘big eyes’ portraits. While the film itself is by no means perfect, I will say it is pretty good and it is awesome to see Burton do this type of film again.

I remember hearing about this film early in 2014 and getting excited about it. For starters, it was a Burton movie that didn’t star Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and it wasn’t a reimagining of anything (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Sweeney Todd). But the defining factor that made me excited was the screenwriters, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. These two were responsible for writing what I think is Tim Burton’s best movie, Ed Wood. Sadly, it seems a lot of people aren’t aware of this film’s existence, which amazes me considering how big Tim Burton’s fan base is.

Shot gloriously in black-and-white, Ed Wood tells the tale of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (Johnny Depp), who has been called by many the worst movie director of all time. And given how his resume consists of movies like Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and the movie that has been labeled as one of the worst movies of all time — Plan 9 from Outer Space — it’s easy to see why he was given that honor. While this film does take jabs at the guy and his movies, it doesn’t beat him up or make him look pathetic; by the end of the film, you’ll be rooting for him and feel slightly motivated.

Like a lot of biopics, this movie does take some liberties with real-life events. The script just focuses on the production of the three aforementioned films and nothing else. It portrays some of the people involved in a unpleasant light, the worst being Woods’ girlfriend and future songwriter Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker). But I’m more than willing to ignore that, mainly due to what the story wants to do. This story is of a guy who keeps being told he shouldn’t make movies. People are constantly telling him his movie are terrible — at one point someone literally tells him that Bride of the Monsters is the worst film he’s ever scene. But Eddie keeps going. That’s what makes the film so strong: You cheer for Ed because, at one point or another, we have all felt like him before — especially those in the creative community.

A recurring subject in Tim Burton movies is the social outcast, and Ed Wood features that in more than one front. We of course have Ed who is an outcast not only his bizarre filmmaking but also due to a lifestyle he has. What is it? To quote Ed himself, “I like to dress in women's clothing.” The film doesn’t exploit it to make you laugh at him (granted, seeing Johnny Depp wearing an angora sweater is funny), but the comedy comes more from people’s reaction. The only time Ed is used as the butt of a joke is when his almost infinite optimism shines in on an inappropriate time. The film saying, “Yeah, he’s an odd duck, but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

A highlight of the film is the friendship Ed forms with the aging horror icon Bela Lugosi, portrayed by Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for his brilliant performance. He hopes that his newfound friendship with Ed (or Eddie as he calls him) will revive not only his stardom but the same love and passion he had for the craft back in the old days. Eddie ends up helping him in another way, but I won’t ruin it for you.

One of the best scenes in the movie after the botched premiere of Bride of the Monster is when Lugosi thanks Ed and tells him how great it has been. Ed replies with, “I just wish you could’ve seen the movie.” Lugosi goes on say that he knows it by heart, then the camera tilts up, making the background resemble a theater, and he recites a speech from the movie gaining an applause from some bystanders at the end.

The reason why this is one of my favorites is that it shows that even when go through dark times, we should still pursue our dreams. A quote from Orson Welles (portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the movie) sums it up best: “Visions are worth fighting for.”

Ed Wood is an amazing film that more people need to see.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 12.12.2008
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Friday Movie Roundup: Oscar Talk

Oscar season kicks into high gear this week as two of the year’s most talked-about films finally open here: Gus Van Sant’s Milk and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

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by Jason Gargano 05.01.2009
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Friday Movie Roundup: Same Old Summer

The summer movie season officially kicks off today with the release of Wolverine, a spin-off of Hugh Jackman’s character from the successful X-Men series.

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by Jason Gargano 06.17.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Midterm Report Card

It's hard to believe that 2011 is already halfway over. Looking back over the last six months is not exactly a heartwarming or nostalgic endeavor — at least when it comes to the movies that have been released in local theaters.

As is the case every year, the big studios use the first quarter as a dumping ground for its duds, movies that for one reason or another they think are unlikely to generate much interest in an audience whose expectations are already diminished. Still, this year's list of dumpster dwellers seems even more robust than usual. On the other end of the spectrum, I can think of only two studio films to this point that have transcended the mediocre: Paul Feig's Bridesmaids and Duncan Jones' Source Code, both of which tweak genre conventions in slightly unexpected ways.

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by Jason Gargano 07.24.2009
at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Oxford Film Festival

Our largely uneventful summer movie season gets a kick in the ass this week with the arrival of not only one of the best films of 2009 — Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker — but also the third annual Oxford International Film Festival (OIFF), which moves to Cincinnati this year.

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