Monthly Archives: October 2009

Retro Chic: Split-Screen

Back in the day, when radio was the only competition, movie studios churned out hundreds of films a year, of all makes and models. Once TV made the scene, though, and people weren’t forced to leave the house to see their regularly scheduled junk but could get it right there on the idiot box – after all, who went to the theater to see the Lone Ranger if they didn’t have to – ticket sales declined, forcing movies to be a little more creative to get asses in the seats. As a direct consequence color movies officially became de rigueur – the Academy Awards officially eliminated a separate, black-and-white cinematography category in 1967 – CinemaScope and VistaVision were developed and 3-D had its heyday.

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9 Costume Parties To Remember

In honor of Halloween I thought it best to search out the best costume party scenes from movies, but because this is my list I didn’t adhere to any traditional thinking about what constituted a ‘party’ and just figured that, any time a person put on a costume, a party was happening.  So here are the nine best in chronological order.

Enjoy.

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Re-Visiting Night of the Living Dead with a 12-year-old

Night Of The Living Dead, Dir. George Romero

I hadn’t seen Night of The Living Dead in a while and it wasn’t until I was considering a post on films lost to the public domain that it occurred to me again how much I really wanted to see it. Continue reading

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Contemplating Voice Overs

In a previous post, in which I bemoaned the complete bastardization of twist-endings, I mentioned the movie Adaptation. In particular I mentioned the scene where, while Charlie Kaufman sits through a Robert McKee seminar, McKee interrupts a voiceover to slag them off, calling them “flaccid, sloppy writing.” At the time this had me thinking about twist endings but lately I’ve begun to wonder about the use of voiceovers and why there would be such hatred for them.

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One Last Thing Before I Go…

…Thinking About the Last Films of 10 Great Actors / Directors

I started off wanting to make a list of the 10 greatest last roles of famous actors but since there were a couple of not-so-famous actors I wanted to include – and a director and some not-so-great movies – I had to compromise a bit.  Still, I did try to limit the list specifically to those who only left behind finished films and died not long after the film was completed, but reality dictated that I make some exceptions, as did the fact that it would mean I would have to omit some great actors or great films. Continue reading

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In Contemplation of the Twist Ending

In the movie Adaptation a fictionalized-Charlie Kaufman, attends a screenwriting seminar by a fictionalized-Robert McKee, the noted screenwriting guru and author of the book Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. At the seminar, in the middle of a batch of voice-over, McKee castigates his group of would-be screenwriters, in a delicious bit of irony, to avoid voice-overs in their work as it smacks of narrative weakness.

Though this was intended only for its ironic effect I couldn’t help but think that maybe McKee had missed a real narrative weakness, one that I’m beginning to wish was eradicated completely from the filmmaking process, which is the over-reliance of modern filmmakers on the twist ending.

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