13 items from 2009
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Saturday 19 December
10am, 8pm, Sky Movies Premiere
Remember Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar, where he forces himself to tell the truth for 24 hours? Well, here Jim Carrey forces himself to answer yes to any request, for a year. Which is upping the ante somewhat, but doesn't make it a better film. This is a return to the manic, gurning, not-very-funny Carrey, as if The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine etc hadn't happened. Just say no.
11.40am, 8pm, Sky Movies Family
What with Harry Potter, Narnia, Lemony Snicket and all, »
- Paul Howlett
I don't want my films to have an extra dimension. Being shut behind those specs spoils cinemagoing
If 2009 has been the year that 3D came good, where does that leave those of us who can only see the bad in it? I was already sceptical last year when the Hollywood establishment, from DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg to directors like James Cameron (whose 3D spectacular, Avatar, opens next week), decided that this extra dimension was going to liberate cinema. The only thing it looked likely to liberate was the passage of money into studio coffers. The 3D revolution would surely prove to be another way of getting audiences to pay for old rope by disguising it as ribbon.
Perhaps I was just being a grump or a luddite. And maybe my apprehension was born out of painful memories of squinting at dodgy science fiction and horror movies during the 3D boom in »
- Ryan Gilbey
Your cinematic birthdays for 12/02. If it's your big day, let us know.
Steven, Lucy and Warren
1894 Warren William, charming snake, pre-code movie star who was often paired with formidable actresses like Claudette Colbert (Imitation of Life, Cleopatra), Joan Blondell (Gold Diggers of 1933, Stage Struck) and Bette Davis (Three on a Match, Satan Met a Lady)
1914 Ray Walston, the Damn Yankees! devil had a lengthy career on screens small and large
- NATHANIEL R
A film about an affair with your best friend's daughter is probably the last place you would expect to find a lesson on morality. But oddly enough, that's exactly what you get in Larry Gelbart's sex comedy, Blame It On Rio. Like many of the films I saw during my childhood, I was well out of the prescribed age group for the story of a May-December affair, but I always remembered this movie for two reasons: it was where I learned about the world of mid-life crisis, and I even learned a little something about the consequences of your actions ... but we'll get to that later. So if you've never seen this movie, you're in luck because SlashControl offers the flick as part of their free film selection.
Released in 1984, Rio was written by Gelbart, who is best known for his work in TV (as one of the creators of M. »
- Jessica Barnes
I am surely in a friend & food coma while you're reading this. Happily so! This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for all of you. You keep coming back daily to read the latest cinematic musings here at The Film Experience. Obsessing on the movies is really meant to be a team sport so I appreciate the fine company. They don't make movie theaters with one seat in them.
So thank you for being here daily from all over the world -- not just the States -- with an especially amorphous shout out to readers in Canada, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Mexico and The Philippines. You've always been supportive. And a big hug to my magical elves contributors who've really helped keep the blog going during a difficult year.
Normal programming resumes tomorrow but I must give thanks to the following sources of cinematic happiness at the moment: ambiguous endings, »
- NATHANIEL R
If you didn't catch it over the weekend, Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted Saturday Night Live, and kicked things off with a huge recreation of Donald O'Connor's slapstick performance of "Make 'Em Laugh" in Singin' in the Rain. He didn't just sing the song, thank everyone, and let it go to commercial. He performed many of the moves from the film himself, and if you're at all familiar with the scene, you know it's not just simple jive. For a live performance that has no benefit of retakes, it's darned impressive.
Of course, it's yet another example of the actor's impressive talents; that man's got mad skills. It's not too often these days that we get an actor who can be funny, serious, and an impressive live showman all in one package. Heck, the most we can usually get is a funny singer who dances, a mediocre hottie who dances, a »
- Monika Bartyzel
Last Saturday night, Joseph Gordon-Levitt jumped from one of my favorite young indie actors to one of the coolest dudes around, when he performed the "Make 'Em Laugh" number from the musical classic Singin' in the Rain for his Saturday Night Live monologue.
"Make 'Em Laugh" is easily the most physically demanding dance routine in that movie, originally performed spectacularly by Donald O'Connor. Kudos to Jgl for even attempting to do this, let alone on live television. He'd cut down a bunch of the amazing moves O'Connor did, but that's understandable. After all, O'Connor himself was reportedly hospitalized after performing the number, even though he made it look so effortless. How taxing the routine really is was painfully visible in Jgl's constant wheezing and cracked laughs throughout the whole thing. Damn, man, next time just do some G.I. Joe jokes or something, and not almost drop dead on TV. »
- Arya Ponto
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so you know I was pysched to watch him play host on SNL this weekend. And boy, did the guy come prepared. He kicked things off with a ridiculously impressive singing-and-dancing performance of "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain, but my favorite skit of the night was "The Mellow Show." Hosted by Andy Samberg as Jack Johnson and featuring Bill Hader as Dave Matthews, the guys poked fun at some of the music industry's most notoriously laid-back guitar strummers. Jgl fit right in as Jason Mraz, complete with fedora. Check out the video below for even more of Gordon-Levitt's singing skills, and be sure to keep watching for a cameo by Dave Matthews himself! To see it, just read more. »
This takes some balls. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did his first gig hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend. He took the stage looking like a guy who could barely contain his excitement, and proceeded to launch into a recreation of one of the most famous song and dance numbers from any film musical: Donald O'Connor's 'Make 'em Laugh' from Singin' in the Rain. And he nailed it! Ok, so 'Make 'em Laugh' is pretty much ripped off wholesale from Cole Porter's 'Be a Clown', but you can't deny the landmark status of the O'Connor performance from Singin' in the Rain. When I was young, the physicality of O'Connor's routine was a big part of what made me look differently at the movie musical. Between his mugging and the amazing presence of Gene Kelly, I started to see musicals as venues for brilliant displays of physical ability. I love big »
- Russ Fischer
The studio with the famous lion logo and library of James Bond films appears to be headed for the auction block to recoup some $3.7bn in debt
The MGM lion, a star of cinema since the 1920s, may be looking for a new home amid rumours that the studio is to be sold off in the Hollywood equivalent of a fire sale. Reportedly saddled with debts totalling $3.7bn (£2.2bn), the company looks likely to sell its MGM and United Artists libraries to the highest bidder in the next few weeks.
Variety suggests that the studio's film archive, which includes the lucrative James Bond adventures, may be snapped up by a major company such as Time-Warner. The famous logo featuring Leo the lion could well be auctioned off separately. Either way, it appears that the heyday of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is officially over.
Founded in 1924, MGM operated under the motto "Ars Gratia Artis »
- Xan Brooks
Halfway through the day we freeze a movie halfway through. What do we see?
Doris Mann: Have you known Suzanne long?
Jack Faulkner: Ah, lets see. we've known each other about a month. It seems like longer, though.
Doris: Oh, I know what you mean. I'm her mother and it seems like longer.Fifty minutes into Postcards From the Edge (1990), Jack (Dennis Quaid) has dropped by to pick up Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) for a date. Her mother (Shirley Maclaine) intercepts the man with the bedroom eyes ('and the living room nose and the kitchen forehead'). The performers are deliciously insynch with Carrie Fisher's rapid fire witticisms.
One of the reasons people get so invested in the Oscars is the joy that comes from arguing about whether or not the octogenarian institution got it right in any given year / category. When it comes to Postcards From the Edge, they got it very very wrong. »
- NATHANIEL R
halfway house halfway through the day, we stop a movie 'bout halfway through... what do we see?
As you may have noticed, I tend to get hung up on film structures and timing. Not sure why but I live for opening scenes, I'm totally enthralled by filmmakers who can stick landings (i.e. the ending -- so difficult) and sometimes I just get hung up on random timed ideas like 20:07, first and last or Halfway House.
Using Singin' in the Rain for a screenshot series is kind of like cheating because every single thing about it is delightful.
minutes into the most purely pleasureable 102 of film, ever.
I love the "Moses Supposes" number for the electricity of the dancing but I always thought it was so weird that the boys decide to bury their vocal coach in random props to end the number. »
- NATHANIEL R
Charade Dir. Stanley Donen (1963) Strangers on holiday: when Regina 'Reggie' Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) meets the dashing Peter Joshua (Cary Grant), she goes right home to Paris to ask her husband for a divorce. But when she arrives home to an empty apartment and reportedly dead husband, well then, she's caught up in a charade. Stanley Donen's (Singin' In the Rain) adaptation of Peter Stone's script is a stylish and entertaining flick. You wouldn't be remiss in thinking that this is practically an Alfred Hitchcock film, considering its twists and turns and sly wit. More screenplays need this sort of spark! Watch the film now for free on Hulu: »
13 items from 2009
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