Monday, August 1, 2011

Best and Worst Movie of the Summer


Submarine directed by Richard Ayoade

Similar in style to films such as Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale and Wes Anderson's The Royal Tennenbaums and Rushmore, Ayoade adds a level of alternative humour and unique cinematography that sets it apart from any other recent film. By leaving out the cliched techniques of many a director when filming a deliberately alternative film, Ayoade uses the perfect amount of irony, wit and sincerity. With the film's beautiful setting and powerful photography, Submarine comes to life as a truly innovative and groundbreaking film.

Worst: The Best and the Brightest directed by Josh Shelov

While providing what would seem to be an entertaining plot, The Best and the Brightest provides an excruciatingly obtuse and unrealistic window into the private school world on the upper east side. Shelov uses every cliche surrounding upper east side life as the film's plot while adding a rauchy twist that borders on despicable rather than comedic. It's almost as if Shelov not only knew nothing about upper east side private schools but had also never even been to New York City. Truly awful - do not waste your time/money on this movie.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ten Amazing (unconventional) Movie Scenes

The Royal Tennenbaums (2001), Wes Anderson, By Way of the Green Line Bus

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, Boys on a Train

Almost Famous (2000), Cameron Crowe, Back on the Bus

Play It Again, Sam, Herbert Ross and Woody Allen, Blind Date

一个都不能少, Zhang Yimou, Trip to the City (scene unavailable)


The Squid and the Whale (2005), Noah Baumbach, Growing Up 

Notting Hill (1999), Roger Michell, Horse and Hound

Rushmore (1998), Wes Anderson, Pool Scene

Harold and Maude (1971), Hal Ashby, Banjo 

Gone With The Wind (1939), Victor Fleming, Scarlett O'Hara "I just want to dance"

Wes Anderson: A Modern Marvel

While these days, films such as "The Hangover" and "Kung Fu Panda 2" are dominating the movie market, true cinematic talent has not been fully eliminated and can be found in the work of Wes Anderson.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

A father attempts to reconnect with his estranged family by faking a terminal illness. The cinematography and script are especially noteworthy and combined with excellent casting, the film becomes a true masterpiece.

Best Trivia: 

The original hawk used to play Mordecai was kidnapped during shooting and held for ransom - production could not wait for him to be returned which is the reason that the bird that appears later in the movie has "more white feathers" - it's a different bird.

The hand that is seen with the BB lodged between its knuckles is not Ben Stiller's, but Andrew Wilson's, brother of Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson. When they were children, Owen fired a BB gun at Andrew's hand and the pellet has been there ever since.

The scene where Richie punches the glass in Mortaci's pen is unscripted, this was improvised by Luke Wilson on the spot and the scene quickly cuts to Richie and Ralleigh (Bill Murray) talking up close, this is because when Wilson punched the glass, director Wes Anderson thought he seriously hurt himself.

Best Scene:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New York Legend

BILL CUNNINGHAM - New York's Phinest Photographer

Bill Cunningham New York - Only playing for a few more days!


181-189 Second Avenue, New York, NY
11:30am  1:30  3:30  5:30  7:30  9:30pm

323 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
12:00  1:40pm

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Genius Behind Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple's mother, once an aspiring actress herself, was determined for her child to thrive in show business. During pregnancy, she regularly played the phonograph and went to dance recitals. She would read plays to the growing baby in her womb and use expressive voices to capture emotion.

When Shirley Temple was born, she was immediately immersed in the world of singing and acting. At eight months old she was swaying in her crib to music. When she cried or laughed, she was not given her way until she could master an accurate and believable impression of sadness or joy. She was raised to behave in an "acting" way rather than express true expressions and emotions.

Can a mother determine her child's profession and success even before she is born?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Direction vs. Disposition

Alfred Hitchcock: Blackmail, Sabotage and Stage Fright

While Hitchcock is arguably considered to be one of the greatest directors of all time, his tendency to play cruel jokes on his actors and film crew landed him the nickname "Cocky".

- When Elsie Randolph who played in "Frenzy" told Hitchcock that she disliked smoky rooms, he directed her to shoot a scene in a telephone booth where he locked the door and used a fog machine to pump smoke into the box.

- On the set of "Strangers On A Train", Hitchcock sent his daughter to the top of the ferris wheel and left her there screaming for hours.

- On the set of "The 39 Steps", Hitchcock handcuffed Robert Donat and Madeleine Carrol together for a whole 24 hours so that he could observe how they used the restroom.

- Alfred Hitchcock once gave Tippi Hendren's daughter, Melanie Griffith, a doll that looked identical to her mother that he presented inside a tiny coffin.

- In "The Birds", Hitchcock surprised Tippi Hendren by using real birds to film the attic scene. He wanted to capture the emotion of true fear.

Woody Allen: Everything you (didn't) want to know about sex...

While successfully directing over 45 films, Woody Allen had a private life full of what might be described as a series of crimes and misdemeanors. While Allen and Mia Farrow never officially married, they maintained a relationship which lasted around 12 years. In that time Farrow gave birth to a son (Satchel) and the couple adopted two children (Dylan and Moses). Farrow also had previous children from a previous marriage including an adopted daughter,  Soon-Yi Previn.

Allen's relationship with Mia Farrow soon fell apart when she discovered his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. While Allen never formally adopted Soon-Yi, he still played a father figure in her life and the relationship was deemed incestual. As Allen and Farrow's son Satchel once noted of Allen, "He's my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law". 

Roman Polanski: Repuls(ive)

Films like Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and Repulsion are flawlessly directed, yet Roman Polanksi's personal life has exposed him to be a severely disturbed and flawed individual. Like Allen, Polanski took a liking for younger women. When he was 43, he married his third wife, Nastassja Kinksi, who was only 15 years old at the time.

In 1977, Polanski was charged for the sexual assault of a 13 year old. After spending time in jail, Polanski fled to France and was protected under the French government for the next few decades. In 2009, Polanski traveled to Switzerland and was promptly arrested by the request of the U.S. government. However, the Swiss government refused to indict him and Polanski walked away a free man.