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The Sincerest Form of Flattery, by Bob Connally

24 Aug

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We all had movie characters we wanted to be as children; adventures we wanted to live for ourselves and for many of us, it was the start of our lifelong love of film. Like so many other kids in the early 1980s, when Chris Strompolos of Mississippi first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, he wanted to be Indiana Jones. His friend Eric Zala loved the film with just as much enthusiasm, wanting to further understand the nuts and bolts of how it was made. What separated these 12-year old boys from the rest of us was the adventure they decided to embark on together. With storyboards Eric (who directed and played Belloq) created from memory and an audio tape smuggled in to a screening to record the film’s dialogue, the boys set out to shoot their version of Raiders over their summer vacation in 1982.

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It’s Them or Us, by Bob Connally

14 Aug

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It’s clear even before we see the faces of Toby and Tanner Howard- both wearing ski masks- that we are witnessing their first attempted bank robbery. While some of the action and dialogue that follows is funny, it’s plain that Hell or High Water isn’t a comedy. Without being told why, we know that there is something very much at stake here, conveyed by nothing more than Toby and Tanner’s eyes. The film retains that tone throughout most of its runtime, and when it changes it’s because things have changed for its characters; characters we have come to care about very much because the filmmakers do.

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Episode 169: Prisoners

11 Aug

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In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN
00:00:44- Intro, The Fear of God
00:08:45- Prisoners
01:04:20- Mystic River
01:37:00- Episode wrap-up

Good Guys and Bland Guys, by Bob Connally

5 Aug

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During the summer movie season, many of us- even those of us who view film as art-  want nothing more than to be entertained. We want movies this time of year to be fun. Certainly we want a film about a group of convicts being cobbled together for a mission that puts their criminal skills to use for good to be fun. Unfortunately, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad commits a crime worthy of a stint in movie jail. The simple truth is it’s just dull. Considering the potential this movie had, it’s that much more of a shame.

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The Passion of Joan of Arc

30 Jul

Busted, by Bob Connally

29 Jul

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Over the past several months I had avoided writing or saying anything about this topic because it is absurdly hot button at this point and there seems to be no way to express an honest opinion about it without people from one side or the other jumping down your throat and trying to internet-kill you. But after speaking with a friend of mine, she encouraged me to just go ahead and share my many thoughts because, boy, do I have them. As you may have guessed I am referring to the remake of Ghostbusters.

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Minisode 88: Ghostbusters 2016

28 Jul

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In this minisode, Tyler analyzes Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.

The MTOL Top 50 Movies of All Time

9 Jul

MTOL TOP 50

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

8 Jul

Gary Lockwood talks to Keir Dullea in a scene from the film '2001: A Space Odyssey', 1968. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

dir. Stanley Kubrick

What is there to say about 2001: A Space Odyssey that hasn’t already been said about the classic in the almost five decades since its release? The fact that a film so hard to qualify (IMDB categorizes its genres as “Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi, all of which are – oddly – simultaneously accurate and misnomers) has a lasting legacy of prestige is quite curious. Kubrick used the film to make grandiose observations and insights about mankind’s origins and existence, but made arguably the most esoteric and inaccessible studio film ever. Additionally, great amount of work and innovation went into creating the Oscar-winning visual effects, yet frequency of long, static takes and infrequency of cuts results in a minimalism that is actually deceptively meticulous. It’s hard to find a point at which to start when it comes to talking about 2001because it does so much in such a remarkably controlled way that it’s completely understandable if you walked away thinking either (or both) “that was brilliant” or “that was pretentious.” That was on purpose – Kubrick and co-writer Arthur C. Clarke admitted to wanting to raise more questions than answers and when it comes to such philosophical dense questions of mankind’s design, existence and (after)life, then how could anyone ever possibly offer anything satisfyingly concrete? Kubrick’s approach to tackling the ambiguous is by employing the most evocative tools of Art, the one way in which we experience and interpret life that still seems to hint at our intangible Otherness from the rest of creation. Juxtaposition through cuts, detailed geometric set design, and the marriage of music with image all allude to – without explicitly concluding anything about – the Force (for lack of a better word) that allows us to create, to change, and, perhaps most importantly, to contemplate it all. Kubrick’s meticulous nature has always elicited criticism of emotional coldness and while 2001 does not indulge in sentiment, its ambiguity hints at a mysticism or spirituality  that is equally as difficult to define in our real life, while the fusion of classical orchestrations with depictions of scientific discoveries imply that order and objectivity need not undermine art and subjectivity (classic compositions – indeed, most songs that you can think of – follow a meter and pattern, after all). Kubrick just happened to be brilliant enough to be aware enough of that to visualize it with a space station docking set to “Blue Danube.”

2. Casablanca

8 Jul

FILE – NOVEMBER 23, 2012: The American romantic movie drama Casablanca celebrated its world premiere on November 26, 1942. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman the film was a solid success in its initial run, winning three Academy Awards, and its characters, dialogue, and music have become iconic. It now consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113854183&EditorialProduct=Archival&esource=maplinARC_uki_12nov Humphrey Bogart (1899 - 1957) and Ingrid Bergman (1915 - 1982) star in the Warner Brothers film 'Casablanca', 1942. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

dir. Michael Curtiz

Casablanca is perhaps the height of studio-era filmmaking. It is much more a collaborative film then an auteur’s masterpiece, but it maintains a singularity of tone and style that is unmistakable. The Epstein brothers gave this cast some of the strongest and snappiest dialogue that American cinema has ever seen. Humphrey Bogart oozes cool, but still beautifully portrays the pain behind Rick’s devil-may-care façade. Ingrid Bergman gives the performance of her career as the conflicted Ilsa. In a wonderful twist of irony, a film about patriotism takes place in a setting where no one is really at home. Casablanca is an in between place, where no one can really ever have a solid footing. Both a gripping war intrigue and a dramatic love story, Casablanca is a timeless classic.