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5 items from 2016


John Ostrander: American Pop Idol

3 July 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

It’s getting to be the Fourth of July and so it’s apropos to think about this country, what it is, what defines it, what makes it America. Those are somewhat large topics for an essay of 500-700 words (which is where I usually clock in) so we’ll just confine ourselves to one small area.

We deal with pop culture here at ComicMix so let’s think of pop culture icons, those things that we use as symbols of this country. We’re going to focus on one – American movie star/icon John Wayne. Marion Robert Morrison (Wayne’s borth name) made gobs of movies, usually westerns, war movies and detective films. He was a star in the old fashioned Golden Age of Hollywood sense of the word. No one was bigger.

Everybody and his/her brother does an impression of Wayne. My brother does one and I have different versions. »

- John Ostrander

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Bridge of Spies

2 February 2016 2:23 PM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Steven Spielberg's entertaining true life account of a chapter in the Cold War concerns a crucial negotiation by a brave attorney (Tom Hanks) who goes way out on a limb in East Berlin. Hopefully I'm not alone feeling the same 'narrative undertow' in the storytelling style -- the movie works, but it's also aggravating. Bridge of Spies Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Touchstone 2015 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 141 min. / Street Date February 2, 2016 / 39.99 Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Will Rogers, Austin Stowell, Mikhail Gorevoy, Sebastian Koch, Burghart Kalussner. Cinematography Janusz Kaminski Film Editor Michael Kahn Original Music Thomas Newman Written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen Produced by Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt, Steven Spielberg Directed by Steven Spielberg

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Steven Spielberg doing a genre movie is usually good news, and if you discount Forrest Gump most everybody has fond memories of Tom Hanks. A »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Wrong Man

30 January 2016 11:16 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Alfred Hitchcock's true-life saga of a man wrongly accused may be Hitchcock's most troublesome movie -- all the parts work, but does it even begin to come together? Henry Fonda is the 'ordinary victim of fate' and an excellent Vera Miles is haunting as the wife who responds to the guilt and stress by withdrawing from reality. The Wrong Man Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1956 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 105 min. / Street Date January 26, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone, John Heldabrand, Doreen Lang, Norma Connolly, Lola D'Annunzio, Robert Essen, Dayton Lummis, Charles Cooper, Esther Minciotti, Laurinda Barrett, Nehemiah Persoff. Cinematography Robert Burks Art Direction Paul Sylbert Film Editor George Tomasini Original Music Bernard Herrmann Written by Maxwell Anderson and Angus MacPhail Produced and Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The Wrong Man sees Alfred Hitchcock at the end of »

- Glenn Erickson

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Contemporary films reflecting on Hollywood’s Golden Age

25 January 2016 4:45 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Sara Hemrajani on Hollywood’s love affair with its Golden Age…

Since there’s no business like show business, it’s unsurprising that one of Hollywood’s favourite topics is itself. The recent wave of award nominations for Trumbo, including a best actor Oscar nod for Bryan Cranston, is fresh evidence of the industry’s fascination with the so-called Golden Age.

In Trumbo, Cranston plays real-life writer Dalton Trumbo who was jailed and blacklisted for his ties to the American Communist Party. Despite the ban, Trumbo and his peers managed to flout the system using pseudonyms and support from eager filmmakers. He went on to write screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.

Following swiftly in its steps is Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ throwback to the glossy studio pictures of the 1940s. The trailer reveals characters reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Esther Williams, as well as producer »

- Sara Hemrajani

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A 2015 Slifr Movie Treehouse Digest

19 January 2016 10:49 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

The Slifr Movie Treehouse (the acronym stands in for the title of my blog, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule) is a place where I like to gather a few of my movie-writing pals and exchange long e-mails on the way the movies shaped up for us in the year just left behind. It’s been a few years since I’ve undertaken this project, but the time felt right again, so I invited the very talented critical voices of Brian Doan, Odie Henderson, Marya Murphy and Phil Dyess-Nugent to take part, and to my great happiness they all agreed. (Bios for each writer can be found at the conclusion of each of their individual posts, which can be accessed by clicking below on the title of each post.)

What follows here are samples from the 16 posts we submitted over the week of January 11-17, and we’ll start »

- Dennis Cozzalio

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5 items from 2016


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