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by Jason Gargano 10.22.2008
at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Movie Hookers: Dreaming of Mrs. Miller

I got an e-mail the other day with the subject line: “Julia Roberts: not a top 5 movie hooker…” Curious, I opened it and found a list of the “Top Five Working Girls (and Boy) in Movies” as compiled by Spout.com.

(Note to eager publicists or enterprising ladies of the night: Please don't take this as an invitation to litter my mailbox with like-minded subject lines.)

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by John Hamilton 01.15.2015
at 01:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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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 12.17.2008
at 04:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Notes on the Golden Globes

Like any “awards” program based on so-called subjective judgments, The Golden Globes’ track record is all over the place. Yet a quick glance at this year’s nominees for "Best Motion Picture — Drama" reveals a list that will likely align nicely with the Academy Awards' more predictable, prestige-laden fare.

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by Brandon Barb 04.06.2012
at 08:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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The '80s and '90s Called; They Want Their Movies Back

'Clash of the Titans,' 'Total Recall' and 'American Pie' all get remakes/sequels

Movies that populated theaters in the '80s and '90s are making a comeback. Some are better than others but since there is a built-in audience, Hollywood is cranking out remakes and reboots left and right.

This practice has been done for years but recently more movies than ever have been redone. March brought 21 Jump Street with skinny Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The buddy cop movie was actually funny and has made more than $90 million so far.

Other notable remakes over the last few years include Fright Night, Conan the Barbarian, Karate Kid, Clash of the Titans, Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street, Wall Street, Arthur and Die Hard. Out of the nine mentioned, only Fright Night and Die Hard were actually enjoyable (in my opinion).

The worst out of the bunch had to be Clash of the Titans. Cheesy acting and bad 3D effects plagued this Sam Worthington CGI-fest. Worthington did a better job in the ads for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game.

Now an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is getting another look, and thank goodness it isn’t Junior.

The first trailer for a new Total Recall was released Sunday. No, this isn’t a late April Fool’s joke. The remake to the 1990 Schwarzenegger movie is a real thing, and fans of not only the original but of science fiction in general should be giddy with anticipation.

The remake stars Colin Farrell, coming off of his performance from the 1980s vampire remake Fright Night, with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel taking roles of eye candy. Will there be another three-breasted woman? Fans of the original can only hope. AMC’s Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston plays the bad guy. The cast alone gives a lot more credit to this remake than most.


We will all have to wait to actually watch the thing to figure out if it’s worthy enough to be considered a decent remake.

In other movie news, the next American Pie installment hits theaters today. To me, this is going to be a paycheck movie. Meaning, the original cast of characters is only returning because they haven’t been in anything major in the last few years. Well, for the exception of Allison Hannigan who has been on the long running show How I Met Your Mother. Expect a lot of dick and sex jokes, which is essentially what the first movie was, but now the cast is much older.

The original American Pie was released in 1999 and was seen as a fresh take on the high school sex comedy. The second added on to that with more outlandish situations — like mixing up lube with super glue. American Wedding was thought to be the ending to Stifler and the gang’s stories compared to the first and second, it was somewhat of a letdown. Then came the straight-to-DVD American Pie Presents movies. I will admit, though, American Pie Beta House was a hilarious college comedy; women might not want to watch because it focuses on a misbehaving fraternity.

Squeezing film stars for as much money as possible is the norm nowadays with movie franchises – just look at Pirates of Caribbean. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions with American Reunion, but the pie lost its flavor a long time ago.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 07.15.2009
at 11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Oxford Film Festival Moves to Cincinnati

The third annual Oxford International Film Festival (OIFF) is moving south.

Previously held on Miami University’s Oxford campus and initially set to move to the Savannah Center in West Chester for this year, festival organizers announced this week that the majority of the screenings will now take place at the Esquire Theatre (320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton) July 24-30.

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by Jason Gargano 11.23.2011
at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Wednesday Movie Roundup: Sweet Holiday Bounty Edition!

After months mediocre movie options, recent weeks have give us a plethora of worthwhile offerings in a variety of genres — from art-house-leaning fare like Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Skin I Live In, Like Crazy, Take Shelter,The Interruptors,Senna,The WayandThe Guard to higher-profile multiplexers like Moneyball, Drive, 50/50andThe Ides of March.

The winning streak continues this week. In fact, it's shaping up to be the best slate of opening films in recent memory.

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by Jac Kern 02.01.2012
at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Clooney Gives Local Shout-outs on Bravo

George Clooney was featured on Inside the Actor's Studio with James Lipton Tuesday night. The local hero talked about growing up in Kentucky, making it in Los Angeles and many of his famed performances on the oft-spoofed show.

There were plenty of local mentions throughout the interview. Clooney briefly talked about his time at Augusta High School, where he played basketball (he claimed that the team was 1-25 his senior year) and was generally a great student. Just like myself growing up, every student who got As at his school received Reds tickets. Gotta love that Carl Lindner.

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by Jason Gargano 08.31.2011
at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'Scarface' Back in Theaters Tonight

Brian DePalma's Scarface hits Blu-ray for the first time on Sept. 6. In celebration of its release, Universal Studios is screening the movie 7:30 tonight in selected multiplexes across the country, including locally at AMC, Springdale 18 and Regal Deerfield.

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by Jason Gargano 01.13.2011
at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Clooney Comes Home

As you've no doubt heard by now, a portion of George Clooney's next directorial effort will be shot in and around the Cincinnati area.

Based on writer Beau Willimon's stage play Farragut North, Ides of March features Clooney, who co-wrote the screen adaption with partner Grant Heslov, as a “Howard Dean-type governor” who's trying to win the Democratic nomination for president.

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by Jason Gargano 05.28.2010
at 03:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

A Meth Addict and Trashing 'Sex and the City'

Just in time to rescue us from another week of safe, reheated Hollywood product (yes, I'm referring to you, Sex and the City 2), a locally produced film gets its local debut at 8 p.m. tonight at Cincinnati State's ATLC Auditorium (3520 Central Pwky., Clifton).

Meth, the latest short from Cincinnati filmmaker Michael Maney, centers its fast-paced 20-minute story on a meth addict (played by CCM-trained local actress Stephanie Brait) who, in an effort to score her habit of choice, crosses paths with a tweaked-out drug dealer (Dan Davidson), a pawn-shop operator (Nick Rose), a talking mannequin (voiced by Robert Pavlovich) and a guy who might be the victim of a conspiracy to exterminate wrongdoers via vigilante justice.

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