It has been five months since the last post here.
So, what happened? How did this once daily blog all of a sudden stop posting?
Honestly, and this is may be difficult to believe, but I just fell out of love with film.
I could feel it happening.
Last year, I would go out to movies every weekend as usual. But they were all forgotten by the time I got home.
I started going to the movies less.
I went from going to see two or three movies every weekend, to, this year, seeing three films the entire year.
The ironic thing is that I was losing interest just as this site was just starting to get more popular.
I used to have to fight to get DVD review copies and then, I was getting offers from most of the studios asking if I wanted them. I wound up having stacks of DVDs to review, and zero interest in watching them. It got to be like homework.
So, even DVDs, I have given up on.
I used to have a 5 at a time Netflix plan. Now, I've canceled my Netflix account, and not because of any price increases. If I watch DVDs, it is mainly TV on DVD sets.
Sarah Vowell has an essay in "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" about being a serious film fan, attending her local college screenings. As the years went by, she started to grow out of it. When I first read this piece, as much as I love Vowell, I couldn't understand how someone could outgrow film. Now, I understand it completely.
I haven't completely lost interest in the entertainment field. Instead, I've rediscovered live theatre. Beginning going to several local plays, I've moved on to on weekends, going to New York City and Broadway. I've seen more plays this summer than I have all my life. The immediacy of live theatre is far more rewarding than film. Not to mention that musicals have always been my favorite film genre, and they live on on Broadway.
But, I'm happy to say that I was there for what will probably be considered the prime of blogging, 2007-2009. These were the years that blogging was fun. Writers were reading others, linking back and forth.
Then, people began thinking "Hey, maybe I can make something from this". Corporate blogs expanded, blogs were created about how to make money while blogging, the fun started to leave. Many bloggers retired. And now, I guess I am joining the retirees.
Will this be the last post here? For the time being, most likely.
Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It has been five months since the last post here.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 3:58 PM
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
SOLDIER IN THE RAIN stars Steve McQueen as Sgt Eustis Clay, an Army Supply Sergeant. Eustis spends his days in the barracks coming up with various get rich quick schemes and hanging out with his best friend M/Sgt Maxwell Slaughter (Jackie Gleason who is very good in a rather serious role).
Slaughter has been in the service since the War. It is his life. His office is air conditioned with its own Pepsi machine. He doesn’t see leaving the Army any time soon.
Co-written and produced by Blake Edwards, and directed by Ralph Nelson, SOLDIER IN THE RAIN is an odd film that is tonally all over the place. At times it is very funny, there is also a very brutal fight scene, along with a tragic finale.
The supporting cast includes Tuesday Weld, Tom Poston, Tony Bill, Ed Nelson and even Adam West in a small role. There is a memorable theme song by Henry Mancini, who would team up with Edwards soon after for THE PINK PANTHER.
With Gleason, it is a surprise to see that McQueen turns in the wildest comic performance. His character has this strange squeaky voice reminiscent of Jerry Mathers in early LEAVE IT TO BEAVER episodes. If this had been anyone other than Steve McQueen, you might say the performance ruins the film. But McQueen was so charismatic, it is still watchable.
SOLDIER IN THE RAIN was released soon after THE GREAT ESCAPE, when McQueen was one of the biggest stars of the day. It also had the misfortune of being released a week after the JFK assassination. Because of that, the film has largely been forgotten.
SOLDIER IN THE RAIN is available now from the Warner Archive.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I started reading the HARRY POTTER series of books around the time of the third being published. They hype was building and I wanted to find out about them. After reading the first, I was hooked and quickly caught up. From the 4th book on, I was buying them the weekend they came out (but never dressing up, or lining up at midnight).
With the films, it has been the opposite. For the first 3 or 4, I was there opening weekend. Since then, I've been waiting for the DVD release. I am only now seeing the latest, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
It isn't that I don't care about the films. They have been doing a good job adapting them. But, having read the books, I know what happens, and there is no mystery to them.
It has been a few years since I read the last HARRY POTTER book. Since I have read many books since then, I have for the most part forgotten what happened.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is PART ONE, covering the first half of the book. The second part will be released this summer.
Harry, Hermione and Ron are not at Hogwarts. Instead, they are on the run, trying to track down and destroy the Horcruxes, magical items that will aid in his destruction of Voldemort.
Harry's nemesis, the evil Voldemort, and his followers have taken over the Ministry of Magic. Harry is now a wanted man and many of his once friends are in hiding, or dead.
As a film, beware, this is just the first part. It ends without any resolution to the story. It also ends on a major cliffhanger moment as well, that will have you waiting for the next part.
The special effects are first rate. And, as for the human cast, Helena Bonham Carter seems to be having a lot of fun as Bellatrix Lestrange.
Extras on the Blu-ray include "Maximum Movie Mode" where the film is shown with actors introducing it and, at times, interrupting with additional videos and on camera explanations about various aspects of the film. I must say that these are a lot more fun than standard commentaries.
A second disc of extras include 10 minutes of deleted scenes, along with a few short "Making Of Featurettes". The set is also including a first look at the opening scene of Part Two (this was not on my review copy however).
A third disc contains a DVD / digital copy of the film.
Fans will be looking forward to the final film of the series, and the Blu-ray should get them ready.
I most likely will be there to see the final film theatrically.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART ONE will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Friday April 15, 2011 from Warner Home Video.
Monday, March 28, 2011
With the release of TRON: LEGACY to theatres last December, there was a great demand for people to watch the 1982 original TRON again (or for the first time). Unfortunately, the DVD, released ten years earlier, had gone out of print. Copies were hard to find.
Now, TRON and its sequel TRON: LEGACY are being released together in a 5 disc Blu-ray set. The films are also available individually on DVD and Blu-ray.
The original TRON may not have the best reputation.
On an episode of THE SIMPSONS from the mid-90’s, Homer, stuck in a computerized world, asks “Has anyone seen TRON?” Everyone around him, Chief Wiggum, Bart, the rest of the gang, all say “No.”
Because it wasn’t a big box office hit, most believe it was a bad film.
That is even though critically, it received fairly positive notices, including a 4 star review from Roger Ebert (who a few years back showed it at his Overlooked Film Festival).
TRON has always been popular with computer geeks though, being a huge inspiration for a generation.
I saw TRON on its original release and was one who loved it. It looked like no film had before. And the idea of entering into the world of a computer (which in those days had yet to make it into the home) was a fascinating premise. Today, the talk of “users” and “programs” is a lot more natural than it was in those days before the home computer
On Blu-ray, the film looks better than ever. This may have been the first time that I picked up on the cameos by Pac Man and Mickey Mouse. The film also sounds terrific.
The Blu-ray contains the extras from the original DVD that includes an almost 90 minute making of documentary. Also included is a new feature, PHOTO TRONOLOGY where director Steve Lisberger and his son go to visit the Disney archives to look at the material that they have about the production. Steve tells his son stories about the making of the film. There is also a feature where the cast of the remake discusses the original.
One interesting fact in the extras, the average cell phone has more power than the computers used to create the FX for the original film.
TRON: LEGACY may not be quite as successful as the original. In theatres, in 3-D, I will go so far as to say that the 3-D effects were stronger than AVATAR in allowing the audience to feel a part of the TRON world. That is, even though it wasn’t used for dimensional effects, with nothing flying out at the audience. So, 2-D home viewing won't really lose anything.
The story, about Jeff Bridge’s son entering a computer to track him down, has its moments. But, it isn’t quite up to the original. While it looks great, it is a bit overlong and rather uninvolving. For fans of the original, it is well worth viewing.
The Blu-ray contains several new featurettes (most around ten minutes) about the making of the film along with a Daft Punk music video.
In addition to the films on Blu-ray, the set contains a copy of TRON: LEGACY on 3-D Blu-ray (that I wasn’t able to review), a copy of the sequel on standard DVD, and a disc of a digital file of the film.
Not included, unfortunately, is a copy of the original video game, still the greatest arcade game of all time.
TRON and TRON LEGACY will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 5, 2011 from Walt Disney Home Video.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Thanks to a comment over on the Amanda Peterson story, I discovered this.
Many of the cast members along with the writer of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (minus the director, Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson and Seth Green) had a screening and Q&A about the film at the NuArt Theatre in LA on February 11, 2011.
The 40 minute video posted above is EXCELLENT, even though the room is so dark you can't see who is talking.
Among the highlights of the conversation
- Writer Michael Swerdlick was working in the mailroom at William Morris when he was invited to a party with all the top agents. Because he had a model as his date, he was paid more attention to by the agents who suggested he write a script.
- He sold the script, then called BOY RENTS GIRL, to Tri-Star. In a meeting with the studio, a female exec hated it and put it into turnaround.
- He was asked to submit a writing sample to do a rewrite on a BMX film called WINNERS TAKE ALL (that starred CBML stars Gerardo Mieja and Courtney Gains). His agent sent over BOY RENTS GIRL. The production company said forget about rewriting WINNERS, lets make RENTS!
- The film was shot in Tucson for $1.8 million. It was a non-Union shoot, with picketers seen in the distance of some shots.
- After production, one of the friends of the filmmakers (who had appeared in a mall scene) had become the head of acquisitons at Disney. He suggested that Michael Eisner and Jeff Katzenberg take a look at the film.
- The writer asked if his family members could screen the film. They arranged a screening. Right before his family was to see the film, Eisner and Katzenberg entered the screening room. They laughed several times, but left before it was over.
- Disney then decided to buy the film for $6 million.
- They had some reshoots, only by the time of the reshoots, the lawns were dead. For the final scene, riding away on the mower, they had to spend $15,000 for a new lawn.
- It cost $125,000 to use the title song, and they had to show the film to the owner of the song, Michael Jackson. A print was taken to Neverland. Michael loved the film.
- Marisa Tomei was a favorite to play the female lead but that didn't work out. Uma Thurman also read for it.
- Marc Price, "Skippy" from FAMILY TIES was initially offered the lead. He was unhappy about his offer of $35,000. While they were waiting, they were told about Patrick Dempsey. After finding him, they were hoping that Price wouldn't sign. He didn't so Patrick was cast.
- Chuck Lorre (the creator of TWO AND A HALF MEN and THE BIG BANG THEORY) wrote one of the songs in the film.
- Choreographer Paula Abdul had trouble getting the cast to take things seriously.
- Gerardo "Rico Suave" Mieja, who according to the castmembers wasn't all that friendly during his Suave years, is now "a good guy again" and is a pastor in Orange County. Gerardo says he has little memory of the Suave years.
- And, Darcy DeMoss who acted as guardian to Amanda during her time in Hollywood in later years, had talked to Amanda a few days before. She had to go through four old numbers to find her, finally reaching her mom. She talked to Amanda who has a little girl who is in school so she couldn't make it to the reunion.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The trailer proclaimed "The two stars you've always wanted to see together". Bogart plays Geoffrey Carroll, a painter. He meets Sally (Stanwyck), even though he is married. He poisons his wife (with a sinister glass of milk). But after marrying Sally, will she meet the same fate when he meets someone else?
THE TWO MRS CARROLLS isn't a great film. It does have one fun line, Bogart, upon being introduced to someone, calls back a classic line stating "I have the strangest feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful hatred".
Based on a stage play by Martin Vale and directed by Peter Godfrey (who had directed Stanwyck's CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT), the film was made in 1945 but wasn't released until 1947. Yet, even though it may not be among the stars best films,it is well worth seeing. Stanwyck and Bogart in anything is more worthwhile than a film with most of the stars of today.
As with other Archive titles, the only extra is a trailer. The film is remastered and looks quite good.
THE TWO MRS CARROLS is available now from the Warner Archive.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
What to say about BAMBI that hasn’t been said before? This is a favorite animated film of many, and with good reason. The animation, with the use of the multi-plane camera to add depth to the scenes, is still impressive. Not to mention the story. The scene, in the snow, with Bambi in the woods calling for...well, in the off chance you haven’t seen the film in the past seventy years, I won’t give it away. But it is still powerful today.
The Blu-ray transfer is, as per Disney’s usual standards, quite stunning. It may not be as awe inducing as the recent releases of FANTASIA or ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but that is only because it has always had a more subdued color palette. The film does look the best it probably ever has.
There are all sorts of extras.
New to Blu-ray is an introduction by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller. There are two new deleted scenes, along with a deleted song. These are all recreated from story notes.
The big new feature is the “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings” viewing option. When you watch the film in this mode, you can hear actors reciting transcripts of Walt and his animators discussing the film during the writing process. Early animation and illustrations are also onscreen to illustrate.
Like the other recent Disney animated films, the film is available in Disney View mode with original artwork on the sides of the screen to fill up a widescreen TV.
The Blu-ray also contains the extras from the previous DVD which include documentaries on the making of the film, excerpts from a 1957 TV episode, as well as THE OLD MILL animated short which also used the multiplane camera.
Also included with the Blu-ray is a DVD version of the film.
The Blu-ray also contains a new feature, "Second screen". With this (that I was unable to test) you can watch the Blu-ray and sync up a laptop or iPad to give you extra trivia notes, animated segments, and more while you watch the film.
Once again, Disney releases the definitive edition of a classic film on Blu-ray. If you like the film and have a Blu-ray player, don’t miss it.
BAMBI will be available March 1, 2011 from Walt Disney Home Video