Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

There’s usually a problem with movies that feature comedians in dramatic roles. The problem is the marketing. In order to fill up the seats, marketers convince movie goers that the film is a comedy. Movie goers feel deceived; and, the movie goes under-rated.

Diamonds in the Rough –

Adam Sandler in “Punch Drunk Love”

Matthew Broderick in “Cable Guy”

Conversely, some comedians have made the transition to dramatic roles. And the audience accepts the transition. Most notably, Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation”, plays a washed up actor in Japan to film a commercial. No one is expecting “Caddyshack”, and, the movie does not suffer from false marketing.


I have just returned from dinner with some friends. The movie “Sideways” came up when we were toasting with wine.

Sideways Movie Poster

Sideways Movie Poster

Remember the scene in “Sideways” when the main character, played by Paul Giamatti, drinks mind-numbing amounts of wine in a McDonald’s?

Continue reading ‘Sideways, Like Wine, is an Acquired Taste’ »

I’ve been getting ready for the new Hunger Games installment. The movie “Catching Fire” is due out in Fall, 2013. I picked up a copy of the book at a local bookstore. It’s wonderful. Can’t wait for the movie.

(No spoilers here).

What is a mockingjay  A cross between a jabberjay and a mockingbird

What is a mockingjay A cross between a jabberjay and a mockingbird

In the book “Catching Fire”, Katniss explains, “What is a mockingjay?”

Continue reading ‘What Is a Mockingjay? Get Ready for The Hunger Games Catching Fire’ »

Here are pictures of my favorite actresses (boys will be boys):

Carey Mulligan in a red dress

Carey Mulligan in a red dress

Keira Knightley all dressed up

Keira Knightley all dressed up

Natalie Portman dolled up in a scantily clad evening gown

Natalie Portman dolled up in an evening gown

I was flipping through channels last weekend; and, I stumbled across “Say Anything”.

Some romantic comedies age well. They are just as funny and romantic as they were when first released. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is an example.

Poster for Say Anything starring John Cusack and Ione Skye Just Give Him a Pen

Poster for Say Anything starring John Cusack and Ione Skye Just Give Him a Pen

Some romantic comedies just get stale with time. Some early Tom Hanks movies come to mind.

But, “Say Anything” is somewhere in the middle. It was better twenty years ago. But, still, today, it’s not so bad.

Continue reading ‘“Say Anything” Stars Teen Angst and Middle Aged Crime, Just Give Him a Pen’ »

I’m still thinking about various aspects of Citizen Kane.

In a previous post, I discussed the use of camera angles by Orson Welles.

I also mentioned a YouTube video that I had found explaining the use of low camera angles in order to give Charles Foster Kane an imposing profile.

Citizen Kane Low Camera Angle Technique by Orson Welles

Citizen Kane Low Camera Angle Technique by Orson Welles

You know how it is. I went on YouTube to see the video about the low camera angle technique used by Orson Welles.

(By putting the camera below the floor, and, looking up at Charles Foster Kane, Welles was able to present Kane as an intimidating, authoritative pose.)

Continue reading ‘The Director’s Use of Blocking Scenes and an Example from Citizen Kane’ »

Most Americans are at least aware that India has a thriving movie business.  These “Bollywood” movies are typically filmed in Mumbai in the language of “Hindi”.

My first introduction to Bollywood was about 15 years ago with the movie, “Monsoon Wedding” which received a fair amount of attention in American cinemas.

Movie Poster for Bollywood hit Monsoon Wedding

Movie Poster for Bollywood hit Monsoon Wedding

A couple of years ago, I saw a wonderful Bollywood comedy called “3 Idiots” (or Three Idiots).  In addition to wonderful comedic timing, “3 Idiots” was complete with sweeping dance numbers with the dancers in beautiful outfits.

Continue reading ‘An Introduction to Bollywood’ »

The new version of “The Great Gatsby” is due in theaters on Christmas Day, 2012.

There’s already a lot of excitement about this new production of the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you haven’t seen the trailer for “The Great Gatsby” yet, you can view it here.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in the 2012 version of The Great Gatsby

I am receiving many emails and comments about casting.  The cast is full of headliners, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and, Tobey Maguire in the three lead roles.  But, you may disagree with the casting selections!

Continue reading ‘Let’s Cast the 2012 Version of “The Great Gatsby”’ »

 

“Boogie Nights”, starring Burt Reynolds, Mark Walhberg, Julianne Moore, and Heather Graham, is a 1997 movie set in the 1970′s golden age of porn.

As  shown in the film, before the days of VHS tapes, porn was less accessible and, thus, more valuable.

Movie Poster for Boogie Nights starring Mark Walhberg and Heather Graham

Movie Poster for Boogie Nights starring Mark Walhberg and Heather Graham

The movie chronicles the rise and fall of Mark Walhberg’s character “Dirk Diggler” and Heather Graham’s character “Roller Girl”.

Continue reading ‘“Boogie Nights” – The Golden Age of Porn, and, Then the Fall’ »

 

The song that plays during the closing credits of the movie “Battleship” is none other than “Fortunate Son” by Creedance Clearwater Revival.

Movie Poster for Battleship starring Taylor Kitsch

Movie Poster for Battleship starring Taylor Kitsch

… which, let’s face it, is kinda strange because, if you listen to the lyrics, “Fortunate Son” is a war protest song.

Let me start at the beginning..

Tonight, I went to see the movie, “Battleship” (2012) starring Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins, if you are a fan of “Friday Night Lights”).

Continue reading ‘“Battleship” – The Song at the End is “Fortunate Son” by Creedance Clearwater Revival’ »

 

HEADLINE: “The Great Gatsby” Previews Released – Director: Baz Luhrmann – Release Date: Christmas Day, 2012

VIEW TRAILER HERE – Trailer for The Great Gatsby, 2012

 

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey MacGuire in The Great Gatsby

Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

And so concludes the great American novel.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s epic “The Great Gatsby” returns to the silver screen for Christmas 2012.

Continue reading ‘“So We Beat On, Boats Against the Current, Borne Back Ceaselessly into the Past” – The Great Gatsby Previews Released’ »

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“Get Him to the Greek”, in its simplest form, is a comedy that continues the character of Aldous Snow, this time as a washed up rock star who will make his comeback at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

The responsibility to deliver the wayward rock star to his assigned appointment falls on Aaron Green, a junior music producer played by Jonah Hill.

Movie Poster for Get Him to the Greek

Movie Poster for Get Him to the Greek

As you may remember, the character Aldous Snow, played by British comedian Russell Brand, was introduced to us in the comedy, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”.

Continue reading ‘“Get Him to the Greek” – A Comedy with Meaning… and Comedy’ »

 

The decision to go ahead with a movie is called giving the project the “green light”.

But, have you ever walked out of a movie theater with but one question on your mind, “How did that movie ever get made?”

Movie Poster for The Go Getter, a disappointing Indie film

The Go Getter is a disappointing Indie film

Money doesn’t grow on trees… and somebody had to spend money to make that.

Continue reading ‘How Did That Movie Ever Get Made? “The Go Getter” Drags On Until It Ends’ »

 

Jessie Eisenberg (of “The Social Network” fame) and Kristen Stewart (of the “Twilight” saga) were in a really great movie together that drew much less attention than their marquee roles: “Adventureland”.

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in Adventureland

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in Adventureland

“Adventureland” is a nostalgic look at that summer job that most of us had… this particular job was working at a theme park. Of course, it could have been working at a movie theater, or a putt-putt golf course… the common elements are: a nerdy boss, a cute co-worker, and an otherwise boring job made exciting by said co-worker.

Continue reading ‘Jessie Eisenberg (from “The Social Network”) and Kristen Stewart (from “Twilight” saga) in “Adventureland”’ »

 

“Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael”, a 1990 comedy/drama starring Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, and, Laila Robins, used to have a firm place on my list of Top 101 Movies.

movie poster for Welcome Home Home Roxy Carmichael - You Only Fall in Love for the First Time Once

Movie Poster for Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael ' "You only fall in love for the fist time once."

While the movie about the anticipated return of Roxy Carmichael to her small home town has been nudged from the Top 101 list, it’s still a very good movie.

In fact, one of my favorite lines from any movie is spoken by Jeff Daniels, whose character was the boyhood sweetheart of the now superstar Roxy Carmichael.

As Jeff Daniels’ character reflects on his past, and, Winona Rider’s character’s present, he reflects, “You only fall in love for the first time once.”

Continue reading ‘“You Only Fall in Love for the First Time Once” – Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael’ »

The movie: Pulp Fiction

The writer: Quentin Tarantino

The actor: Samuel Jackson

movie poster for Pulp Fiction

The situation: When Samuel Jackson’s character and John Travolta’s character show up at an apartment to collect some money, Brad (or Brett) answers a trivia question correctly.

Continue reading ‘Brad’s Big Brain – “Check Out” or “Look At”?’ »

Now what?

Besides movies, another hobby of mine is politics.

I just logged on to RealClearPolitics, and, looked at the Electoral College Map for 2012. They even have a map you can fill in yourself.

So, I did.

Amazingly, when I was done (this one for Romney, that one for Obama…), the final tally was:

2012 Electoral College according to my expert prediction:

Romney 269
Obama 269

Continue reading ‘Electoral College 2012 – It’s a Tie! Obama 269 – Romney 269’ »

George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones starred in a very funny movie in 2003… the best comedy you have probably never seen… “Intolerable Cruelty”.

“Intolerable Cruelty” is about marriage for the sake of divorce, and, gold-digging raised to an art form.

Clooney plays a high-priced divorce attorney, Miles Massey, whose claim to fame is the “Massey Pre-Nup”. (“They devote a whole semester to it at Harvard Law School.”)

Movie Poster for Intolerable Cruelty starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones

Movie Poster for Intolerable Cruelty starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones plays the gold-digger, Marilyn, whose loyalties only extend to her divorce attorney (not her husbands).

Continue reading ‘“Intolerable Cruelty” is a Surprise Comedy about Divorce and Gold-Digging – George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones’ »

Some movie lines have woven their way into Americana. Recently, I was walking in Times Square in Manhattan. While I was negotiating my way across the street, a cab driver tried to turn right, and, bluff his way against the oncoming pedestrians. Before I could even say it, a man in his fifties exclaimed, “I’m walkin’ here”.

I overheard the ensuing discussion between the man and his female friend. “What movie was that?” “Who said it?”

I'm Walkin Here - Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy

I'm Walkin Here - Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy

My mind entered the game uninvited. What movie was that? It had the name “Cowboy” in the title, but, I always get “Drugstore Cowboy”, “Urban Cowboy” and “Midnight Cowboy” mixed up.

Continue reading ‘“I’m Walkin’ Here” and Other Classic Movie Lines’ »

A few days ago, I posted an observation about Oscar’s love for British movies.

In the post, I mentioned that one of my favorite “British” movies is “Empire of the Sun”, one of the early works of Steven Spielberg.

Remember in “Empire of the Sun” when the young boy is lost, and, we follow him in the crowd by noticing his red jacket? I have always thought Spielberg saved the idea, and, used it again.

Christian Bale stars in Empire of the Sun

Years later, in “Schindler’s List”, Spielberg uses a red jacket (this time in a black and white movie) so that we can follow the young girl. Please see the two pictures, one from “Empire of the Sun”, the other from “Schindler’s List”.

Continue reading ‘The Girl in the Red Coat in Schindler’s List – The Boy in the Red Coat in Empire of the Sun’ »

Kudos to Isabelle Fuhrman who played the female “tribute” from District 2.

Movie poster for The Hunger Games

Movie poster for The Hunger Games

I recently saw the blockbuster movie, The Hunger Games. First, let me say that I can’t believe that this movie is rated only PG-13 by the MPAA. Maybe I’m out of touch, but a movie about kids hunting down and killing other kids… I’m thinking “R”. But, that’s just me.

Continue reading ‘The Female Tribute from District 2 in “The Hunger Games” – Isabelle Fuhrman’ »

Is it just me? Or does it seem that all you need to do to win an Oscar is to be in a movie that takes place in the Mother country?

Mind you, I like British culture… and I have liked many movies that are set in Britain, or, feature British actors or actresses.

Movie poster for The King's Speech

But, come on. I have long speculated that Academy voters have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to the level of culture across the pond.

Continue reading ‘The Academy Awards – Oscar Loves British Accents’ »

Hi there, Woody Allen fans!
So, here’s a quote that i distinctly remember from one of my favorite Woody Allen movies.
It’s tonight’s trivia question:
In what Woody Allen movie did a character quote E.E. Cummings,
“nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands”?

That’s the trivia question for this week.

using google is no fair… and no fun.

And speaking of E.E. Cummings: “Master of Trivia” designation for this extra answer: In what sitcom/drama tv show did Bruce Willis speak the line, “E-baby, use some caps”?

picture of Woody Allen

Woody Allen

Continue reading ‘Woody Allen Trivia Question – What movie had that E.E. Cummings poem in it?’ »

In what movie did a young Dennis Quaid reflect on his character’s position in life, “To them it’s a dirty word. To me, it’s just something else I never got a chance to be”?

Dennis Quaid in 1979

Dennis Quaid in 1979, who also says in the movie, he’ll be “twenty year old Mike, thirty year old Mike, mean old man Mike.”

Continue reading ‘In What Dennis Quaid Movie…’ »

Is there anything better than finding a great diamond in the rough?  That’s one reason foreign and indie films are so wonderful.

Here’s a foreign film from the 1980′s that I recommend – “My Life as a Dog”.

The director of “My Life as a Dog” is Lasse Hallstrom.  The Swedish director would later put his talents to use on such diverse projects as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” (starring Johnny Depp), “Chocolat” (starring Juliet Binoche who also starred in “Three Colors – Blue”), and, “The Cider House Rules” (starring a young Tobey Maguire, and, an equally young Charlize Theron).

My Life as a Dog

“My Life as a Dog” is an understated coming-of-age movie about a young boy who must cope with the loss of his mother.  The title refers to Laika, the first dog in space aboard an unmanned Russian Sputnik capsule.

Continue reading ‘“My Life as a Dog” – Foreign Gem from Sweden’ »

If you like Jennifer Lawrence, be sure to see “Winter’s Bone”.

Jennifer Lawrence, who stars in the “The Hunger Games”, gives a riveting performance as a young girl out to save her family in “Winter’s Bone.” John Hawkes plays her uncle. Both were nominated for an Academy Award for their performances. “Winter’s Bone” was also nominated for “Best Picture” and “Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay”.

Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes in Winter's Bone

The setting is rural Missouri. You’ll be struck by the poverty and the “hand-to-mouth” existence that we want to believe is no longer a reality in America. The visual images look like they belong in Jacob Riis’ “How the Other Half Lives”, and, not in the modern day United States.

Continue reading ‘Winter’s Bone John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence’ »

Welcome to Just Movies!

Of course, this site is in development. (Sort of obvious).

Soon, I will be posting my 101 favorite movies.  Movies are very personal; so, I don’t expect my list of favorites to match your list of favorites.  Some of these are everybody’s favorites, some are obscure independent films, and, some are just as obscure foreign films.

I look forward to your comments about the movies that I post.  I also hope that you will share your favorite movies, and, tell us all why you love the films you love.

Continue reading ‘Welcome to Just Movies!’ »