Best Pictures: The Letter, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, Sunset Blvd.
The interesting thing about this five Film Noirs that were nominated for Best Picture is that, aside from The Maltese Falcon, their main protagonists are women. I suppose you could argue that Double Indemnity‘s main character is Fred MacMurray, but I definitely think it’s Barbara Stanwyck’s character that makes the most impact. Also, all four of the lead actresses in those films received nominations for Best Actress. Joan Crawford, however, was the only actress to win.
– Meanwhile, Darren at the m0vie blog has been looking at neo-noir films like “Se7en” and “L.A. Confidential.” Here’s the opening of his latest post, on “Brick”:
Brick works by taking all the facets of the film noir we love, and transposing it against a high school background. Like cheese and onion, it’s a combination that really shouldn’t work so well, but makes for one tasty snack.
– Also part of the blogathon, Vanwall Green of Vanwall Land looks at the influence of film noir on the western genre. Was “Stagecoach” a noir film?
This is the proto-Western Noir film, and a sense of fatality and doom pervades the film, with the substantial nighttime camerawork of Bert Glennon adding to the feeling of menace, and Ford’s remarkable eye for interiors is almost claustrophobic.
– Bookmark this Self-Styled Siren post for more participants as they arrive.
– Vince Mancini at FilmDrunk shares a slide show of Polish movie posters, of which the above is a personal favorite (and easily horizontally included above). Go look at all 35, and look longer at the one for “Weekend at Bernies.” Meanwhile, here is what Vince says about the poster for “The Neverending Story”:
So I get the luckdragon, but why does Bastien look like the love child of Howdy Doody and Don Quixote? And why does he have dragon feet?
Anyone want to try to answer that?
– Watch David O’Reilly’s surreal and almost NSFW animated short “The External World,” which depicts what I can only hope is what Toon Town has turned into in this day of video games, Sanrio and other Japanese kawaii characters, and Adult Swim. Straight from Sundance [via Cinematical]:
– Given that 3D movie technology was first patented in the 19th century and films were definitely produced as early as the 1910s, I don’t see what’s so shocking about the fact Nazis made 3D propaganda films. But I am dying to see what they looked like once Philippe Mora new documentary “How the Third Reich Was Recorded” comes out.
Now a decade on, I’m delighted that the BFI has agreed to bring the posters out of store for an exhibition at Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch. When I look at them all over again, I’m reminded of Herb’s reply when I asked him what he thought was the essence of Saul’s work. ‘It punches through the din,’ he said. With so much more visual noise around us these days, his aphorism is as true ever.
– Den of Geek lists ’12 dinner invitations you should probably decline,’ which includes discussion of meals from “Se7en,” “Oldboy,” “Slither,” “Braindead” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.” Also, glad to see the rarity of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” making it onto a list of any kind.
So, should you accept the invite? If you’re Indiana Jones, then, yes. In fact, if you’re Indiana Jones you can safely accept any of the invites on this list because, hey, you’re Indiana Jones.
Of course, anybody who isn’t Indiana Jones should think twice. A refusal to drink powerful hallucinogens that will compel you to sacrifice local villagers may offend your hosts, and before you can say ‘ohm numa shi vaiyay’, you’ll probably find your heart being ripped out by a barm-pot in a Jay Kay hat.
– John Nolte of Big Hollywood responds again to the anti-creationism theme of “Paul”:
Simon Pegg: Who doesn’t get flak from the Bible belt in America?
I wonder if Pegg’s ever spent any real time in America’s Bible belt? You know, just checked into a motel somewhere and spent a week hanging out with the commoners. Regardless, I have a better question: Name a lazy, lockstep, conformist member of the entertainment community who hasn’t stereotyped the Bible belt in America in order to earn their bona fides as a lazy, lockstep, conformist member of the entertainment community. Ridiculing Christians isn’t brave or edgy. What are we going to do, pray for your Hellbound ass? Write a blog post? In the meantime, the rewards are legion. Hollywood loves you even more. You’re a member of Niedermeyer’s frat in high standing. Better yet, some in the media will lie and tell you you’re brave!
– Todd Gilchrist revisits “All the President’s Men” to determine if it’s still great or unfortunately dated in his latest ‘Shelf Life’ column for Cinematical. Following his pros and cons, here’s the verdict:
particularly in an era where events like Wikileaks are in some ways exposing the depths of concealment and, again, deception on the part of the government to the people of the United States and the world, this film is a sobering reminder that there are unfortunate and unflattering and awful truths that sometimes must be reported – and that those revelations are indeed beneficial in the long run even if they don’t always seem that way at the time.
– Also at Cinematical, responding to “Gnomeo and Juliet,” David Ehrlich looks at ‘The Five Weirdest Shakespeare Movies.’ Included are “Strange Brew” and Godard’s “King Lear,” but I’ll just cite the Julia Stiles, which isn’t so weird as it paved the way for more weird high school-set Shakespeare, like “She’s the Man.” From the entry on “10 Things I Hate About You”:
The late 90s initiated a rash of teen comedies based on Shakespeare’s plays, but ’10 Things I Hate About You’ seems like the only outbreak that refuses to go away (don’t scratch it, you’ll just inflame it into an ABC Family TV series). And that’s not really a complaint, as this modern classic is a ton of fun, and paved the way for both Heath Ledger’s success and also Andrew Keegan’s not success. Trading Padua, Italy for Padua High School (atop of which rock band Letters to Cleo is still tragically stranded, a Donner Party for the 1990s), this unlikely and epochal classic remains unusual because of how closely it cleaves to its Shakespearean origins. It’s also notable for offering incontrovertible proof that every single one of The Bard’s plays could use a good prom.
– Joanna Robinson of Pajiba also looks at modernized Shakespeare, yet specifically in response to Ralph Fiennes’ Berlin premiere of “Cariolanus”:
Hamlet (2000): This production grew on me with multiple viewings. I objected, at the time of its release, to the ubiquitous Julia Stiles who was great in Ten Things I Hate About You but rather dull when it came to speaking Shakespeare’s actual verse. But Bill Murray kills as Polonious and Sam Shepard is truly the face of every haunting father figure you want to impress. The director did some nice modernization work by having Hawke’s Hamlet be a filmmaker. Many of his soliloquies are films Hawke replays. As is “The Mousetrap.” It rather works.
– Watch the new red-band trailer for “I Saw the Devil,” a film I highly recommend, as long as you’re not afraid of a lot of blood:
– Rick Tran of Anomalous Material shines a spotlight on “no name actor” Michael Parks, who may be getting a boost in recognition this year:
He’s basically a poor man’s Tommy Lee Jones. But this year, he’s aiming to become a middle class man’s Tommy Lee Jones by taking the lead role in Kevin Smith’s forthcoming horror flick, Red State.
By all accounts Michael Parks’ Pastor Abin Cooper is set to be one of the better film villains of the year.
– Apparently 2011 breaks the record for number of sequels being released. At more than a fifth of the wide box office openers, there are 27 follow-ups and franchise titles out this year.
– The Governator may go back to being the “Terminator,” as Arnold Schwarzenegger may be wooed along with director Justin Lin (“Annapolis”) for the next installment of the franchise. I say Universal lets an artificial intelligence program write the thing, a robot direct it and the cast be completely CGI. Wouldn’t that be appropriate? And possibly better than what it will really be with these humans?
– People don’t seem to like the new name for “Sherlock Holmes 2,” which is now titled “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” Brian Clark at Movieline imagines how it came about with a fictional dialogue that begins:
STUDIO EXEC 1: All right, let’s make this quick. We’ve got 27 more sequels in the pipeline that can’t have numbers in the title.
STUDIO EXEC 2: How about A Game of Shadows?
STUDIO EXEC 1: You suggest that for every movie.
STUDIO EXEC 2: Only because it could fit any of them.
– Speaking of new titles, Dan Hopper and Noah Garfinkel of Best Week Ever list ten rejected names for the “Spider-Man” reboot. Here’s a taste:
in case The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t work out, even though no matter what they title it, everyone in the universe is just gonna keep calling it “Spider-Man.” […]
Spider-Man Origins: Spider-Man
Spider-Man 4 No Sh*t 1
Spider-Man: Turn On The Light
(Andrew) Garfield: A Tale Of Two Spideys
– The editors at IGN did an analysis of the first trailer for “X-Men: First Class” to point out topless mutants and future X-Men conceptions. And realizing Magneto is making that Russian soldier stab himself is pretty cool.
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