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TERMINATOR: GENISYS IN CINEMAS NOW

July 2, 2015

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31 Years after Arnie uttered those infamous words, he is back! Today sees the fifth film in the franchise, but in the vein of J.J. Abram’s Star Trek (2009), this is clearly going to be a soft reboot. But what a way to start, literally going back to beginning (1984), and taking us somewhere else, with a younger cast, besides Arnie of course. But with James Cameron’s seal of approval in the bag, something which he refused with Terminator 3 (2003) and Salvation (2009), this just might be the franchise re-starter which we’ve been waiting for so many years. Granted, Cameron’s weak aproval may just be cause “he’s too busy being in the Avatar business” to care. But let’s just see for ourselves.


FILM OF THE MONTH ~ JUNE 2015

July 1, 2015

Film Of The Month for June is Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013). Goodfellas (1990) for a new generation, this biopic/comedy, or rather a testament that life is funnier than fiction, Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic as he leads an all star cast through the strange but true story of a stockbroker (Jordan Belfort) who built an empire from nothing only to end up losing all, only to end up selling his story and method to rise to fame as a motivational speaker. Only in America!

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CANDLES 9

jurassic-world-super-bowl-30I was half expecting Jurassic World (2015) to take this month’s top spot but alas no. I went on opening night with my family and we had a great time but as per my review, it simply wasn’t the best film of this month, with Frozen (3D) (2013) beating it, but Frozen has already been film of the month back in January with its Flash review. Whilst Jurassic World (3D) was good, it simply wasn’t in the same league as The Wolf Of Wall Street and certainly not a the threat to Spielberg’s original.

3DOn another note, this month nEoFILM celebrated the Centenary Of 3-D, with the first public showing being on the 10th June 1915 in Times Square, New York and the 40th Anniversary of the Summer Blockbuster, with Jaws on the 20th June, back ion 1975.

Finally, the most successful post of the month so far was the 9/10 review of Flicker Alley and The 3-D Film Archives restoration and release of 3-D Rarities. And it was also close contender of the FOTM. But do not fear; even as June draws to a close, this is not the last you are going to read about 3D… As always, stay tuned…


THIS IS THE END

June 29, 2015

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DIRECTOR: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

LOWEST RATED (“STINKER”)

Will we be adding this to our collection? NO

What can I say about this self-indulgent nonsense. In the same release cycle as Edgar Wright’s, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost starring World’s End (2013), this seemed to be in a similar comic vein. But I wasn’t! This was a group of “comedy actors” playing themselves, in a manner of speaking, in the midst of the apocalypse .

It just comes across like a group of mates have been given a pile of cash to play-about and film it. And insult to mainstream cinema and more at home on Youtube.

This is offensive to anyone paying money to see it and the self-deprecating humour has its fleeting moments but all in all, this is the sort of thing that I would expect through a day at work, not from a group of Hollywood A-listers, who are clearly thumbing their noses to their audiences as they gloat about their drug and alcohol addictions and glorify violence towards each other. Yes, this is supposed to be a spoof but it looks much more like a double bluff autobiography of the cast, with very little acting taking place.

If you pay for this in any way then you are doing nothing more than encouraging a group of spoilt actors the right to indulge themselves at their whim, without offering us anything in return.

AVOID!

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3-D RARITIES (Flicker Alley & 3-D Film Archive)

June 28, 2015

2744327681922 ~ 1962

CANDLES 9

May Contain Spoilers!

3-D Boxing matches; nuclear blasts; abstract, stop motion and mainstream animation and strip-teases all make up this fascinating compilation of 3-D shorts from the silent era up until Francis Ford Coppola’s segment from the 1962 movie “The Bell-Boy And The Play Girls”.

Flicker Alley, whose work I have admired for several years with their releases of the otherwise lost Cinerama movies, have released this set in association with The 3-D Film Archive who have compiled this set of 22 shorts, trailers, newsreels, documentaries and cartoons, charting the evolution of 3-D from just seven years after its initial public screenings in New York on June 10th 1915, footage that is now believed to have been lost.

But to commemorate this centenary, Flicker Alley and The 3D Film Archive have put together and remarkable, yet niche collection of films, which whilst demonstrating the lasting, historic uses of 3D, which has clearly being experimented with and used for decades longer than most of use ever knew, the footage contained here is for the time, stunning.

This is old school 3D, gimmicky, fun and designed to get the audience to jump from their seats as objects are thrown at them, guns and sharp objects are projected from the screen and we are treated to roller-coaster and car rides. The aim is to thrill and at times, it most defiantly does.

Obviously there are a lot on niggling issues regarding the quality of the material, most of which has been recovered rather than simply restored, from disintegrating negatives and the depth of the three-dimensional field can be deep, at times making it difficult to maintain focus. Also, the films themselves are sometimes blurry but when it works, it works and it works brilliantly.

274027914Doom Town (1953), an anti-nuclear test documentary and the first documentary to be shot in 3D, is excellent. It is the second longest short in the programme, with only Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott (1953) , also the first and only boxing match to be theatrically filmed in 3-D, trumping it at 17 minutes.

There is no doubt that the 3-D here was filmed to varying degrees of quality and one of most enjoyable segments was the least 3D of the lot, Stardust in Your Eyes, also released in 1953, was nothing more than comedian Slick Slavin warms up an audience prior to a 3D presentation of Robot Monster (1953) by doing some first-rate impressions of Hollywood stars of the day. But the restoration is excellent and the attention to detail, ditto, as these all but lost films have not only be reissued but returned to good health.

So, who is this for? The kids? For the most part, no, and to be honest it is really only going to find a home with purist cinephiles such as myself, or those with an interest either in 3D of the technical aspects of cinema. And of course cinema historians but it is a shame because here we have a macro-cosmic view of the evolution, not only of 3D from its initial inception almost a hundred years ago, to its 1950’s heyday, but a look at the growth in cinema itself.

A tour of Washington D.C. in 1922, a remarkably innovative and surprisingly entertaining stop motion short from Chrysler, New Dimensions (1940), one of many dawning shorts filmed and released at the outbreak of the second world war, leading back to the dawn of the cold war and Doom Town, chilling as it is poignant.

3D-Rarieties-LadyThe weakest short for me was actually the Bolex Stereo promo. It was a very an Interesting addition to the set, not least for the aspect ratio, but the 3D itself was not particularly deep and I presume that is was filmed with the home cine camera which they were advertising. But I reckon that we can blame Bolex for that one!

This is also a MUST for animation aficionados as the mixture in styles is very interesting; with the Canadian abstract shorts, Around The World (1951) and the exquisite Twirling (1952), offering beautiful if not bizarre subjects. Personally, I really liked this compilation and the Flicker Alley presentation of the programme is first-rate and very professional. The 5.1 sound mix was crisp, clear and at times booming, a real treat for such old audio sources and a credit to restoration team.

My only gripe for want of a better word, is that as a completest/purist, I would have liked to have had the option to view the Anaglyph 3D shorts in just that, Anaglyph, but there was no choice but to see them Polarised. It is hardly a major issue but still something which occurred to me as I watched this. Maybe just as bonus feature…?

Boo6Still, 3-D Rarities is highly recommended even though it will clearly struggle to find and mainstream audience, due to no fault of its own, though it doesn’t really need too. This is a work of cinematic art, resurrected as a reminder that James Cameron and his Avatar was not the original pinnacle of 3D. Great and innovative though it was, he was 94 years too late.

This is the first real example of what 3D was to me as I grew up. Short and to the pointy!

3-D Rarities has and is still being shown publicly in the U.S. at The Museum Of Modern Art in New York but is primarily available on 3D and 2D Blu-ray from Flicker Alley.


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

June 26, 2015

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DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? YES

I’ve waited too long to watch this and I should have known better. The Oscar nominated “True Story” of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a stock broker who’s first day was apparently Black Monday in October 1987, was the latest biopic by Martin Scorsese, as well as the fifth collaboration with DiCaprio, who has defiantly aged well.

In Scorsese’s typically dark comedic style, which has made his work so distinctive, with Goodfellas (1990) springing straight to mind, The Wolf Of Wall Street follows the rise, fall and presumably the re-rise of Belfort, the crooked stockbroker who after loosing his job a month after Black Monday, quickly finds himself running his own film, one which he has built up from scratch.

His obscene motivational methods, create a jungle brokerage, with the his brokers indulging the basest acts on a daily basis, in order to keep them driven. “Greed is good” according to the fictional Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987), but here greed is not enough. The obscene, sex, drugs and abusive relationships between the colleagues are nurtured by Belfort and are unbelievable, though apparently true.

But Scorsese manages to make this orgy of power, money, drugs and of course, constant sex with anything and everything that moves, palatable and comedic. But funny though it may be, as with Goodfellas, he never manages to lose sight of the depravity of their actions, nor glorifies them. He allows Belfort and his cohorts to do that, whilst we simply observe but with a playground mentality, he allows us to snigger from back row at their antics, from our ivory towers, enjoying their behaviour which is so extreme, that most of us wouldn’t even want to take part in it.

It’s like car crash TV, you simply can not look away.

As usual, Scorsese encourages the best performances out of his cast, with DiCaprio bursting out the screen with an energy that must prove once and for all, to all his detractors that he has come along way from those “baby-faced” years and is one of the most talented American actors working today. But I do believe that this is a very clear collaboration, with great writing, cinematography, editing, as well as the aforementioned acting and expert direction.

At almost three hours it does take its time, it does feel very much like Goodfellas for the next generation but in spite of those things, it is a fantastic film, a great watch and proof yet again, that biopics needn’t to be poe-faced or boring.

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GONE WITH THE WIND; RACIST… REALLY…?

June 25, 2015

968full-gone-with-the-wind-screenshot Well, it is a pretty hard case to sell that this American classic from 1939 is anything but. Is it as bad as Birth Of A Nation, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? I very much doubt it but it is guilty of the casual, patronising racism common place in pre-war America, with the whole notion that playing Jazz music and being comically thick, yet lovable was what being black was all about. This brand of comedy was even present in Looney Tunes cartoons!

All this has come about after reading an article published on TheGuardian.com this morning…

 US critic: ‘undeniably racist’ Gone with the Wind should be banned from cinemas

SPEECH 66The New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick has called for Gone with the Wind, the 1939 multi-Oscar-winning epic, to no longer be screened in cinemas.

“If the Confederate flag is finally going to be consigned to museums as an ugly symbol of racism,” writes Lumenick, “what about the beloved film offering the most iconic glimpse of that flag in American culture?”

The film, which is still the most lucrative of all time when figures are adjusted for inflation, screens on 4 July in New York’s Museum of Modern Art as part of its centenary of Technicolor celebrations. “Maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs,” writes Lumenick.

Adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer prize-winning 1936 novel, Victor Fleming’s film stars Vivien Leigh as the daughter of a Georgia plantation owner who falls for her cousin’s husband before marrying Clark Gable’s gambler-turned-soldier. Set during the American civil war and told from the perspective of white Southerners, the film has long been felt to be one of America’s finest. It took 10 gongs at the 1940 Oscars, including one for Hattie McDaniel, who was the first black person to win an Academy award.

The book, as well as the film, says Lumenick, “buys heavily into the idea that the civil war was a noble lost cause and casts Yankees and Yankee sympathisers as the villains”. It also, he writes, goes to “great lengths to enshrine the myth that the civil war wasn’t fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticises”.

Lumenick speculates that many in the Academy likely feel the same way, noting that The Wizard of Oz – which was defeated as best picture by Gone with the Wind in 1940 – received a special 75th anniversary tribute. But during the same ceremony (in which 12 Years a Slave was ultimately named best picture) Gone with the Wind was all but ignored.

SPEECH 99The critic concludes: “What does it say about us as a nation if we continue to embrace a movie that, in the final analysis, stands for many of the same things as the Confederate flag that flutters so dramatically over the dead and wounded soldiers at the Atlanta train station just before the intermission?”

full-gone-with-the-wind-screenshotTo be honest I would generally agree with this case, except for the simple fact that I whole heartedly DO NOT believe in film censorship. It should not be hidden or lost, it should be praised where praise is due and criticised appropriately and there is plenty to criticise about this film besides its obvious racism. But it was not racist at the time. There was no such thing as racism in the modern sense in the 1930’s so to be fair, it was the product of a time in which a countries views where what they were and audiences lapped this up, helping to make Victor Fleming’s, Gone With The Wind one of history’s biggest and most lucrative blockbusters.

We cannot rewrite or re-record history and nor should we try. Our only duty is to learn from it. Hence I doubt that we will ever see a film like Gone With The Wind again and in the case of its patronising racism, good!

Happy 65th Birthday Mum! x


THE LIFEGUARD

June 24, 2015

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DIRECTOR: Liz W. Garcia

NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION

May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? NO

Well, if you like watching an R rated film, which thinks that it is giving and insight in to the life of a twenty-something who can not accept her grown up life, told in the style of Dawson’s Creek, the The Lifeguard is for you.

Quite simply, this is a film which has a very high opinion of itself and does little to earn it, failing to elevate itself from the realms of television, the most marked feature proving that this is actually a film and not a Lifetime Movie of the week, is the half-decent cinematography. We follow the painfully angst riddled Leigh (Kristen Bell), and that is painful for us to watch by the way, as she returns to her hometown from her life as a journalist in the city. She indulges herself on a sort of mid-life crisis as the ripe old age of 29!

29! Seriously? She takes a job as a lifeguard at her local pool and falls for a 16-year-old boy who too, you guessed it, is angst ridden, as are his friends, one of which will hang himself at some point during the film. This isn’t even derivative, it just out-and-out poaching other teen movies to create something which the myriad of producers, I counted eight, believe will put them in good stead with Cannes or Sundance’s judges and I’m glad to say that all bar making the official selection for Sundance in 2013, it’s didn’t really pay off.

This is one of the many bastard offspring of 80’s icon’s such as The Breakfast Club (1985), which were simple teen movies in their day, but have grown into classics and have now become the template for award hoars like this. It’s okay, it won’t hurt you to watch this if edgy, angst filled teen movies with two 30-year-olds trying to find themselves through the prism of these teenage boys is your thing but it pertains to offer a lot more than it ultimately delivers.

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