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My Favorite Year (1982)
A Favorite with an Aspect Ratio Twist
Here's a bit of worthless trivia--the movie was shot to be displayed at 1:85, a little wider than the inexplicable decision to create a widescreen TV image of 1:77.
But the first laserdiscs early 1980's, those 33 1/3 sized 12 inch platinum platters? released the movie in 1:33 ratio.
You'd say so what, that is what pan and scan were able to sidestep, movement of the camera to cover the truncated side areas to fit into a 1:33 frame.
NOT pan and scan. Not. This is one time the studio could ADD visual material top and bottom, and create a pan and scan sized image but where there is actually MORE visual information than in the widescreen versions.
Actually, the safe areas where on top and bottom of the frame, you're supposed to place equipment,mikes and lights and such, and never fear them showing up in the movie,were missing sufficiently so that in order to produce 1:33, they merely ADDED material bottom and top, rather than have to truncate material on the sides. Yup, this is one of those movies (Black Rain 1989) wherewhat looks to be pan and scan is actually full frame in the truest sense.
Some may remember movies in the 1950's were shot to be shown on widescreen 1:85 as well as academy 1:33 ratio, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 on purpose, because not many screens has converted to widescreen yet. Both My Favorite Year and Black Rain seem to be throwbacks to that earlier practice, only this time the target audience may have been folks with normal TV sets of the times, at 1:33. For by the 1980's, 1:33 aspect ratio movie screens had all been replaced.
Like mint marks on a coin, the two versions of one film make for startlingly different viewing experiences.
How different? That, as they say, is another story.
Nine Lives (2016)
Follow the money--you're paying this movie
Think you're going to drive, pay for four people $40 plus another $30 for a movie (that's 2 all you can eat dinners at the Chinese lunch buffets for 4 down the block) and think, where is my entertainment dollar best spent? I think I'd go for the buffet.
There is a paucity of PG family style related movies these days, so maybe folks think the star power and rating is enough to draw everyone in.
But there is nothing big screen around this admittedly grade B movie. It isn't that it is bad, it's that it's bad for the investment dollar of a public that still thinks, we're in the middle of the great Recession. Sorry, this would have done better as a NETFLIX original or HULU exclusive.
Most of the $30M for this flick went for the stars. Frankly, I'd rather have seen lessor mortals, and the bill for the flick come in under $8M, which at that level would have been a blockbuster. There should be a venue for little movies like this.
The next time folks want to go "B", if the stars want a cut, let them take points and suffer some of the risk. That is the way of the future, if you don't want folks waiting 60 days till Netflix or Hulu or AMZN sucks this up, with extras on the DVD, and commentary to make it all worth $15. (And I can buy my own candy and popcorn)
The Strain (2014)
Zach actor change: Why? Spoiler, kind of.
I wonder the background for the change in actors portraying ZACH.
I see the character turned from just a kid -to something more teenager like- maybe the changeover of personality was too much a stretch? because the second season has Zach becoming a surly teen.
I liked Ben Hyland Season 1.
I don't like the character personality change, no matter how well the new kid Max Charles pulls it off.
First actor had chops.
Wonder what happened.
Anybody have a clue?
The 5th Wave (2016)
Here's the Way This is Going to Work
I gave this movie a 5 for finding enough audience to garner 100% profit.
This movie cost $38M and grossed $67M worldwide, before DVD/BLUE RAY, rentals, etc chime in. It has an audience, however cheesy, and it came in around TEN PERCENT of one Hunger Game budget.
The shooting schedule took a few days. It's a Roger Corman tribute.
You'll get sequels to follow the books, or something is terribly wrong the way the idiot accountants view these franchises.
I'll wait for Hulu or NFLX to pick it up in about ninety days. Any questions?
Minority Report (2015)
Too Cutey Phartsy
Phillip Dick liked the adaptation of Blade Runner (1982) because it depicted a dark apocalyptic universe, and Minority Report (2003) carried this through with world washed out (by an iodide film process used in other movies, like Pitch Black (2000))when futures were depicted.
There's s some of that here, but the world is far too bright to be meaningful. And the plots? How much "just in time" can we stand week after week, it will be the same old story unless they can figure some defining arc that gathers interest.
Otherwise, this series will last about three episodes before biting the dust. Which would be a shame.
How Come these movies don't get wider theatrical release?
I guess the demise of Saturday morning B fare from movie screens since the sixties, has done all of these films in. It's really a shame, this was a great flick.
I don't understand how a film can get a go ahead and not have predistribution rights all over it.
It just seems dumb unless it was destined from the start to hit the streamers and $5 video bin from get go.
I am just glad I caught it on NETFLIX.
That and Hulu seem to be the elephant graveyard.
It's like data mining for movies.
What were they thinking? I mean, everybody. SPOILERS!
The actor's portrayal is fairly decent, Lawrence brings it, though Brad just wings it, but this isn't the story you yell up to your 93 year old Mom "Say Mom!!do you remember Brad and Jenn from Silver Linings? WOW!! Let's go watch them again but THIS TIME--they rape the environment, abuse and kill workers, abuse and finally kill "each other", one by proxy via panther (Selena's animal counterpart), the other as a result of suicide --- It's a real laugh riot!!!". Nope. Wrong flick. Sorry Ma.
This is not a movie for the robots and graphic comic crowd, which is why the reviews, every one here so far, lean for the most part, towards literacy, whether intrigued or disappointed. But that doesn't mean the film couldn't have been written better for those with artistic sensibilities. And edited with something other than Serena's borrowed hatchet. If scenes were left on the cutting room floor because of airplane noise, there are sound editors that can fix a lot of that. Where the (*&)(& were they?
And as Lawrence reviewed and thought this film worth making, she was overtaken in her enthusiasm by rewrites leaving out some key points that should have overshadowed the lush photography, and treacly but sometimes fetching musical score she never got to hear till post production. She got ripped off by further and further rewrites that watered down the effects of her character's eventual madness.
Kyle's original treatment had Selena murdering Pemberton for daring to support his bastard child. And the original screenplay has Serena dying at 70 at the hand of Pemberton's bastard son--in the jungle--where she has lived alone for forty years, "imprisoned" as a voluntary exile, longing for the man she murdered.
If you were a film school instructor, and you brought this version of the film to show to class, the teach would say something positive like "I'm glad you tried this."
It reminds me of just the kind of films that got screenwriters blackballed for being Commies in the late forties and fifties, it's "anti-capitalism" in the forties and fifties tradition that anything against business labeled you red. And what is Pemberton's fatal flaw besides raping the environment?--he was balling his help and producing bastards kind of speaks for itself.
And Lawrence's post partum insanity, the frustration behind her failed expectations, IS motivation to turn into a nut-case, it is the SECOND TIME with the loss of her child, that she has lost relatives, first her siblings in a fire calling out for her help, then her child, whose fragility she didn't "listen" for. That is motivation for madness that many missed and the reason she "joins them" so graphically, finally, in the film's final moments. Now all you have to add is the discovery of Pemberton's support, all along, of his bastard kid, and the motivation for insane jealousy and retaliation is underscored.
The only thing missing was, if Serena was such a strong character, I would have preferred she chase down the mother of Pemberton's child and fight her with the same level of strength she showed doing "man's work" in the lumber camp. It's a cheap shot to send a henchman immediately, even though she tags along.
I'd rather a fight ensues in which Serena leaves Pemberton's mistress strangled, left for dead, only to revive. THEN Serena, discovering she's still alive, is now justified in sending a more skillful killer. As it is, it is Pemberton that wrings Serena's neck maddened by her attempt to annihilate his son and his former mistress.
Hey if doing rewrites, I have a right to give it a shot too.
So if the film is strictly 1940's noir, prepare yourself by reviewing films like "The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers" (1946) before you watch this film. It helps.
I'm surprised nobody thought to film this movie in black and white. It becomes a different movie. Not better, but more understandable in context. No wonder Lawrence is compared to Barbara Stanwyck, who died the year she was born. There's a plot for you, reincarnation. But Lawrence's A game is much higher imho. She's got an Oscar to prove it.
Some sex scenes with Lawrence in the classic black widow position came through loud and clear, but really with just a bit of imagination I actually know what sex looks like. In one of the scenes however, and I'll leave it to you to figure which one, if Pemberton is actually correctly "aligned", somebody is anatomically impossibly configured. i only mention it because, it takes you out of the movie. That's a no no. That's about as rated G as I can get on that one, 'nuff said.
BUT--can anyone tell me why the other 5 scenes propel the story, besides pillow talk without the talk? If you're saying the love changes when the sex stops, is that a necessary clue to the plot, given all the rest?
So. Do you think this movie is going to go on to make back its money on DVD and on demand sales? Possible, but unless you're a Lawrence fan trying to complete a collection, what part of "don't think so" is not understood, however worth one viewing.
And the film itself?
"I'm glad you tried this."
Mara + Audrey = Mudrey
The end of Mara? Mommie's wrong. More the combo of the two, with Audrey dominant. It's still Mud, hence, Mudrey.
And the lazy writing? Duke gets to make out with Mara so those who thought Duke should have as much chance as Nathan, are assuaged? Cheap shot.
And what is with the posting of new episodes with No 14 No 16 and No's 20-25 missing, with premature show dates for the rest? I don't think we'll see another episode until Sept 2015, like always. This scheduling nutsiness continues from Hulu to IMDb.
It's getting weirder, than the plots, and the weird plots, that's a good thing.
The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)
Everybody Misses the Alcohol Morality Issue
Besides a shoe string budget, there are the terrific performances of amateurs, the blending of studio stock music, the numerous setups and excellent use of close ups and dolly shots--this is a morality play of what can happen when you do dangerous work crippled by a hangover--and we see the doc doesn't mind a drink now and then. The reptilian brain connection is not worked into the exposition effectively enough, you get the impression that the characters are more worried about appearance, and viewers don't get it that the reptilian brain is survival oriented, in a maniacal way.
Also the man into lizard issue was neatly grafted into folklore by the Alligator people, a 1959 follow up to this movie, which was originally made in 1958, and MARVEL's own universe Dr. Kurt Conners, aka the LIZARD. Clarke shoulda sued, but he was too nice a guy even to mention it.
Great grade Z flick, worthy of a re-look, especially the remastered version on youtube.
Blue Bloods (2010)
Mindless, 70's era pap
I don't care about the characters. I don't believe the family setting. The plots are banal and have all been done before. The only suspense around finding the perpetrator is about two minutes before the reveal. The series makes Colombo in the 1960's look like Shakespeare. The acting is wooden and insincere but only a shade less than that presented in Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956) with Bela Lugosi and a similar cast of unknowns, or should be unknowns. The family values appear to be cobbled together from the ABC/NBC/CBS history of '50's families as portrayed by the Cleaver family from "Leave It To Beaver". The last time the show played anything for a laugh was the last time I thought of the writers of this series hysterically getting drunk and making fun of anyone would watch it, let alone support by viewership five seasons to date of this mindless drivel.
The theme music is a cliché outclassed by background music from Dick Tracey (1951), one of the first TV detective shows made with a shoestring budget.
I can see the other people on this show grateful for the work, but what is Selleck doing in this mess? I'd trade the entire five seasons for a couple of Jesse Stone's, and the ones he wrote weren't that splorific either, except they had plot substance, and genuine interest.
But I'm prejudiced. You know, I'm rather fond of you Jessie.