0 Comments · Wednesday, February 11, 2015
A new study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, as reported in Variety
(Feb. 9), highlights the disparity between perception and reality in
respect to women’s onscreen roles in Hollywood.
by John Hamilton
at 04:25 PM | Permalink
Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time
world, another time, in the age of wonder…”It’s with that mystical and
somewhat haunting quote that the audience is set up for something truly
1980s Jim Henson, maestro behind the creation of the lovable and hilarious
Muppets, decided to expand his creative mind and came out with two non-Muppet
movies. In 1986 there was the cult classic Labyrinth,
which featured the man who fell to earth himself, David Bowie. But there was
one film he made earlier, in 1982, that many seem to overlook — Henson’s
fantasy epic The Dark Crystal.
with fellow Muppeteer Frank Oz and illustrator Brian Froud, Henson managed to
create the enchanted and wonder-filled world with terrific looking creatures,
an interesting mythology and a movie with a cast made up entirely of elaborate
animatronic puppets. That should sell you on the movie instantly.
story is rather basic: Jen, one of the last remaining members of the race
called Gelflings, must embark on a quest to heal the titular Dark Crystal. The
crystal in question is missing one chard and Jen must find it and go to the
dark castle where it is held. On his journey he meets another Gelfling named
Kira and a cranky, eccentric yet wise, old hermit named Aughra (voiced by the
late Billie Whitelaw). In the castle Jen must confront not only his fear and
self-doubt but the inhabitants of the castle as well — the cruel buzzard-looking
Skeksis and their giant beetle bodyguards called the Garthaim.
movie very obviously has the common theme of good vs. evil. When the film begins,
the narrator points out that when the Crystal cracked two new races appeared,
the aforementioned Skeksis and their gentle, almost dragon-looking Mystics. As
the film progresses it hints at that it wasn’t just a coincidence that these
groups just happened to appear when the Crystal cracked. The movie is saying
that we all have to battle and come to terms with our inner demons, whether
it’s rage, greed or even something like self-doubt. Of course, like any fantasy
story, there is a ton of expanded universe stuff that gives more details to
this story. While every story should stand on its own, acknowledging these
details explained in this universe may help the story a tad and it does add a
good extra flavor to this awesome buffet of a movie.
finally gets the Crystal chard, his caretakers, the Mystics, find out about his
discovery (through some spiritual connection, I’m sure) and they start their
long journey to the castle. Now their trek almost rival that of Lord of the Rings, but it could very
easily represent what it takes to confront your evil or the part of yourself
you don’t want to confront. You may be willing to face it and come to terms
with it, but who knows how long it’ll take, or if it’ll be successful at all?
film also features probably one of my favorite movie characters of all time,
Aughra the astronomer. She helps Jen find the missing chard and gives him some
knowledge about why this journey is important. The reason she’s amazing to me
is because she’s just so unique looking and her characteristics are not what
you usually imagine when you think of the wise old mentor characters. She’s
just splendid, and Billie Whitelaw’s voice fits perfectly.
a film that has an entire puppet cast, no humans in sight. That’s what makes
the film so incredible. Jim Henson and his entire production pretty much
started their Creature Shop just for this film alone. Every creature has an
amazing amount of detail put into it. The craftsmanship is displayed in the
clothing for the characters, in their faces, their sounds and even in the
background. This is a movie where almost every scene has something to offer.
Henson stated in the “Making of” special of this film that the first thing he
thought of was the creatures and the world they were inhabiting. I think that
displays what kind of creative mastermind Jim Henson was and a good reason why
his non-Muppet related work should be appreciated.
Cincinnati’s film industry is growing behind state tax incentives and a unique blend of resources
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2015
When Clooney came to town in 2011 to star in and direct the political thriller The Ides of March,
the chatter and headlines told the story of a city poised to become a
dazzling Midwest movie town.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2014
I was able to peruse Kirkland’s latest monograph — Douglas Kirkland: A Life in Pictures
— and what struck me, right from the start, was his voice.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 31, 2014
culture has undergone a sea change as theaters of every stripe move to
digital projection, a turnabout that has had more of an impact than
might meet the eye.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Selma captures the life and times
of a movement distilled down to a chapter in one man’s journey.
by John Hamilton
at 01:39 PM | Permalink
Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time
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
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The highly anticipated film adaptation of Into the Woods
begins exactly as anyone familiar with the stage musical would expect:
with the simple narrated words, “Once upon a time.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 20, 2014
A village priest (Brendan Gleeson) in
coastal Ireland hears weekly confessions. His parishioners enter,
knowing that there’s little to no anonymity in the booth because he
knows them, each and