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Footlight Parade

Are Ruby and Joanie supposed to be nudein this poster? Sure looks like it!Footlight Paradeseen @ Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, Jersey City, NJA long time ago, when they used to be shown in venues opulent and lavish enough to be worthy of the name "palaces," movies used to be preceded by live stage shows called "prologues." As I understand it, they were the brainchildren of exhibitors, who put them on as a supplement to the movie, a kind of stage-setter, as it were. Imagine seeingBatman v. Supermanat Ra... read more »

Jungle links

So where did I go this year instead of the Queens World Film Festival? Well, my pals Bibi and Eric invited me to someplace I had never been to before: a science fiction convention. Although I have a vague memory of having been to one as a kid, I'm not very certain about this memory; it could've very easily been a comic convention that my mind turned into a sci-fi con over time. The point is, it's a very suspect memory, which is why I'm saying last month was the first time I've been to one.The show was ca... read more »

Are opening credits becoming uncool?

Dr. Strangelove's opening credits made an eye-catchinguse of typography and design.Last fall the Indiewire blog The Playlist offered their choices for the 50 Best Opening Credits of All Time. Many of the ones you'd expect, both classic and contemporary, are there: Dr. Strangelove, Do The Right Thing, Vertigo, The Pink Panther, Watchmen, Seven, etc., as well as several Bond movies, of course. Many online cinephiles also know about the website The Art of the Title, which celebrates the very best in title s... read more »

Axanar and the nature of fan fiction

For decades, Paramount and CBS have tolerated and even encouraged fans of the Star Trek franchise to use their imagination at will, but on Tuesday the entertainment companies went to their battle stations and launched a legal missile at a production company touting the first independent Star Trek film.Axanar, the subject of a lawsuit filed on Friday in California federoriginal, is no ordinary Star Trek film. The forthcoming feature film (preceded by a short film) is the source of more than $1 million in ... read more »

Louis B. Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, back in the day, boasted that they had "more stars than there are in heaven," and they weren't far from wrong. More than any other studio from the Old Hollywood era, perhaps, MGM epitomized the glamour and the spectacle of American movies, and the crafting of stars was a huge part of their success.There's a quote attributed to MGM head Louis B. Mayer - the second "M" in "MGM" - that I find quite illuminating:The idea of a star being born is bush-wah. A star is made, created; carefull... read more »

Free-range organic links

Stolen from Page's collection. Don't tell her.So I went to see Bridge of Spies at my local neighborhood theater, the Jamaica Multiplex, and I found that they have begun to search bags. To my knowledge, in the decade-plus that I've been going there, I don't recall them ever doing this before. Why now? The manager couldn't give me an answer other than "orders from high above," but I think we can take an educated guess. Anyway, I submitted to it, and I really regret doing that now. I think my reasoning was ... read more »

Regal Cinemas attacks symptom, not disease, wit...

Regal Cinemas has started checking bags in the wake of two separate movie theater attacks this summer.The move from the country’s largest theater chain comes amid a larger debate about safety measures that has provoked calls for metal detectors and armed guards. Most major exhibitors haven’t followed suit. While National Amusements has banned backpacks in its theaters, insiders say most chains are hesitant to institute bag checks.On its website, Regal acknowledged that the move could inconvenience some c... read more »

Douglas Fairbanks

I've talked here before about Douglas Fairbanks as an actor. It's remarkable to see how much athleticism, verve, and charm he had in his movies. As one of, if not the first, action movie star, he brought a vitality to his films that's refreshing to see and rare to find in the modern, CGI-enhanced incarnation of the action film.By way of a for-instance, I watched The Mark of Zorro in preparation for this post, and he brings much of the same joie de vivre here that he did in the first movie I saw him in, T... read more »

Ain't no cure for the summertime links

The second half of The One Year Switch has gotten off to a slower start than anticipated; there's been a bit of a drop-off in pageviews over the past few weeks, but I'm betting that'll turn around this month. I've got three more blogathon posts, plus a return to the #TCMparty. If you look at the sidebar, you'll see that the film I've decided on is the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business, which airs August 14. I don't think I've seen this one, but it is the Marx Brothers, so I imagine one knows what to expect.... read more »

Books: Scandalous

The 2015 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge is an event in which the goal is to read and write about a variety of books related to classic film, hosted by Out of the Past. For a complete list of the rules, visit the website.When the Communist witch hunt of the 1950s drew in Hollywood, battle lines were clearly drawn. Senator Joseph McCarthy stirred up a tremendous amount of fear and paranoia over the alleged threat the Soviet Union and their Communist system of government presented to the America... read more »

William Powell

From what I've seen of him, William Powell was distinctive from other actors of the 30s in that he was a charmer, but his style of charm came with a measure of tough-talking swagger to it. Not unlike his character in My Man Godfrey, it was as if someone had taken him off the street and turned him into a "gentleman," but they couldn't completely scrape away all of the rough edges to him.It's funny, but even though the bulk of his career was in comedy, I don't necessarily think of him as a comic actor. To ... read more »

A fool and his links

So we're a quarter of the way into The One Year Switch and I think I've learned a few things so far. In terms of numbers, after the big January start, the amount of pageviews have settled down and are about on a par with 2014. The CinemaScope Blogathon was a very nice and very unexpected boost, to say the least.One big difference, I find, is that I'm planning posts for a specific date as opposed to before, where I'd post whenever I was ready. With new releases, one naturally wants to get them up in a tim... read more »

QWFF 2015 Day 3: Sentimental journeys

My first night at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights was a relatively short one. It was also Parent-Teacher Conference night, so the Queens World Film Festival activities didn't get under way until around 9:30, but it was worth the wait. All four movies I saw were good:- Dollar Night. The ancient projectionist of a movie theater on its last legs tries to bring back the patrons with a promotional event. Shamelessly saccharine and manipulative, with a way-over-the-top score specifically designed to tug at your hea... read more »

Our Man Flint

The CinemaScope Blogathon, hosted by myself and Becky from ClassicBecky's Brain Food, goes on all this weekend. Check the list of participating bloggers to find out who's writing about what. Once again, a big thanks to everyone for joining us for this. The turnout has been incredible and I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm for this event!Our Man Flintseen online via YoutubeI'm fairly sure I had seen Our Man Flint once before, during my video store days, but that was a long time ago and I didn't remember t... read more »

Happy new year from Seth & James

I was thisclose to seeing The Interview. The Kew Gardens Cinemas, I'm proud to say, was one of the many indie theaters nationwide that agreed to show the movie after distributor SONY declined to release it; you all know the story by now. After reading about the film itself, though, and already having a general idea of the kind of humor that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco indulge in, I thought that supporting the right to freedom and free speech may not be that important in this particular case.Still, ... read more »

Interstellar

Interstellarseen @ Bow Tie Cinemas Ziegfeld Theater, New York, NY11.6.14Is film - the physical medium - dead? Hollywood studios have endorsed digital photography as the cheaper way to go, and movie theaters have been forced to compensate by installing digital projectors, at great expense for some. A small-but-growing number of filmmakers, however, have asserted that they have every intention of keeping celluloid alive for as long as they can. Many of them have gone on the record about this, and the reaso... read more »

Hungry links

Good news: I've got an ETA on the next issue of Newtown Literary which will include my short story "Airplanes." It'll be released in December... and that's about as specific as I can get right now. For those of you in the New York area, the magazine is available at Astoria Bookshopin Queens, a fine literary establishment which I heartily recommend.As for the WSW anthology, I admit I've slowed down on this because I've never published an e-book before and I'm kinda nervous about getting it right (although... read more »

The unexpected virtue of linkage

So there's this local literary magazine called Newtown Literary. It's still relatively new, but it's already built a bit of a rep for attracting Queens writers for short stories and poetry. The theme for their next issue is sci-fi/fantasy.Guess who's gonna be in it.Yep! I had had my eye on getting in the mag before, possibly by submitting a piece from WSW, but they only take original, unpublished work (a post on a blog counts as being published), so what I did was, I crafted a short story loosely inspire... read more »

Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain seen @ Landmark Loew's Jersey Theater, Jersey City, NJ 9.27.14And now, five things I thought about while watching Singin' in the Rain:1. There's just something about musicals. When they're done right, that is. I don't seek them out, most of the time. It's not like I'm crazy for them or anything, but the best of them have a way of making you just feel good about life, as silly as that may sound. And while there are modern musicals that I adore, such as Dreamgirls and Hedwig and the A... read more »

Play it again, Sam (and again and again)

...Going back to the same pop-culture fare for seconds, thirds, and thirtieths isn't so abnormal. If anything, my re-consumption habits are tame compared to some of you, who have havereadHarry Pottermore than 10 times,watchedFridaymore than 100 times, and spent more of your waking life withThe West Wingthan Aaron Sorkin. Musicologists estimate that for every hour of music-listening in the typical person's lifetime, 54 minutes are spent with songs we've already heard. Forget the next big thing. We're all ... read more »

Back to school links

I don't have too much more to add to the things everyone else has already said about the death of Lauren Bacall last month. I regret to say that outside of her movies with Humphrey Bogart, I haven't seen much of her other films. For instance, I saw How to Marry a Millionaire long ago, during my video store days. I think I saw Young Man with a Horn recently, but I don't remember. That's about it. I suspect the movies with Bogey are so iconic, loom so large in people's memories, that it's easy to forget th... read more »

Stranger Than Paradise

The 1984-a-Thon is an event celebrating the films of the year 1984, presented by Forgotten Films. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the host site.Stranger Than Paradiseseen online via YouTubeThe first time I saw Stranger Than Paradise was during my video store days, in the mid-to-late-90s, which is when I was getting deep into independent cinema. Obviously, it was the perfect time for this. The 90s explosion in indie film, from sex, lies and videotape in 1989 to the rise of the Sundance F... read more »

PG should not equal inferior

Last week a debate broke out as to whether or not to abolish the PG-13 rating, a result of a PG-13 being given to the upcoming Expendables 3. I tend to think that all MPAA ratings are useless and inaccurate and should be done away with, but that's not what I want to address. Amidst the debate, I noticed something that was taken for granted on both sides. On the pro-abolish side:...So here's what we do. We lobby to eliminate PG-13. What this does is force the MPAA to look at content differently....Instead... read more »

Planet of the links

The ongoing struggle over control of the Loew's Jersey Theater has taken a turn for the worst: last week, Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop decided on a promoter to run the theater, and taxpayers are gonna foot most of the bill for renovations, surprise surprise. In a statement, Friends of the Loews continues to maintain that if only Jersey City had lived up to its end of the bargain it made with FoL to fund renovations (for a smaller amount than what the taxpayers are getting shafted with), none of this wou... read more »

The Spoiler Experiment pt. 3: observations

Part 1: Draft Day Part 2: Million Dollar Armthe post that inspired this experimentSo after watching both Draft Day and Million Dollar Arm under the unusual (for me) conditions I set out - watching the former without spoilers and the latter with them - I feel like the results weren't that surprising. I thought both films were enjoyable enough. They both achieved what they set out to do. They were entertaining without being terribly challenging, and to my mind, at least, neither one was quite as mediocr... read more »

QWFF wrap-up: Cinema and cupcakes

At the Queens World Film Festival Awards, held Saturday night at the Long Island City restaurant Dutch Kills Centraal, one of the winners (unfortunately, I forget who) was greatly enthused about her win, and her moment in the spotlight, to the point where she stood up on a chair and led a brief chant of "In-die film! In-die film!" It was a giddy moment, a moment of solidarity with her fellow filmmakers and an audience supportive of an artist at the start of her career.When most people think of independen... read more »

Links and an Oscar recap

Oscar winners:Best Picture: 12 Years a SlaveBest Director: Alfonso Cuaron, GravityBest Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubBest Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue JasmineBest Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubBest Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a SlaveThe rest.They got it right. Can you believe it? The Academy actually got it right for once when it comes to bestowing their Best Picture Oscar. Color me amazed; it would've been easy for them to award a less challenging movi... read more »

Man on Fire

Man on Fireseen on TV @ Spike12.18.13Director Tony Scott died last year, as you probably know. I had nothing against him as a director; I really like Crimson Tide and True Romance, and I can watch most of his other movies if there's nothing else on (they certainly get played on cable often enough), though he was rarely someone I went out of my way for.He tended to be flashier than his brother Ridley, and his films were almost always heavy on the testosterone (though he did do The Hunger with Catherine De... read more »

"Nothing ever ends."

Simon Kinbergand his Genre Films banner have signed a new three-year first-look deal at 20th Century Fox. Kinberg is heavily involved with next summer'sX-Men: Days of Future Pastand the studio's upcomingFantastic Fourreboot as both writer and producer. The new deal will allow him to expand those franchises into full-blown universes, with the hope of creating for Fox something akin to the Marvel model of interlocking movies."I have a lot of ideas on how to built those brands and do what everybody is think... read more »

Nebraska

Nebraskaseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY12.3.13So last night, I had a Twitter conversation with my pal Page, who, as I've mentioned before, lives in Oklahoma City, a place so far out of my range of experience it might as well be Mars. I have this perpetual image, though I know it's not true, of her living out on the prairie, amidst coyotes and tumbleweeds - you know, where the buffalo roam. Where the deer and the antelope play. Last night I half-jokingly said that I keep thinking of wh... read more »

7 more indie films and where to see them

I did it before and now I'm gonna do it again: in an ongoing attempt to be more proactive about independent films that I like, here's another set of films that I've positively reviewed in the past and where you can see and/or buy them. 'Away'Away. Seen at the Queens World Film Festival, this is a documentary about women surfboarders in the Rockaways. It's on Vimeo. Plus, here's an interview with director Elisa Bates, along with a link to her website.Brooklyn Boheme. Seen at the Urbanworld Film Festiva... read more »

Where you can see 'Mother of George'

Taken from the Oscilloscope Laboratories website: 09/13/13 New York, NY Angelika Film Center 09/20/13 Atlanta, GA Landmark Midtown Art Cinema 09/20/13 Los Angeles, CA Laemmle Royal 09/20/13 New York, NY AMC Empire 25 09/27/13 Chicago, IL Siskel Film Center 09/27/13 Nashville, TN Belcourt 09/27/13 Seattle, WA Landmark - TBD 10/04/13 Boston, MA Landmark Kendall Square Cinema 10/04/13 Portland, OR Living Room Theater 10/18/13 Washington, DC Landmark E-Street Cinema 11/08/13 Denver, CO ... read more »

7 indie films and where to find them

In recent days, it's come to my attention that for all the writing I do about independent films here, I don't do enough to let people know where to find them. When you're at film festivals, or advance screenings, it's easy to get caught up in the event and forget details like that, so from now on, I'm gonna make more of an effort to let you know where you can see these movies that I write about, beginning with the following list.These are all recent films I've written about and recommend. 'At Home in ... read more »

Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabraseen @ Elinor Bunin Monroe Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, NY8.3.13So earlier this year Steven Soderbergh got in front of a microphone and said a bunch of things about what's wrong with modern moviemaking. He's a successful director, he's been in the game a long time and he's made movies both with and without the studios. Personally, I haven't been as interested in his output in recent years (one can only see so many movies), but I respect his knowledge about the in... read more »

Smurf these smurfin' links

Not a whole lot to talk about this time out, except to mention that once again I'll be taking part in the TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon this month. Last year, I made an effort to make each of my posts different from each other, and I'm gonna do the same this year, even going so far as to play with the format a little bit. Also, last year I chose to pick one actor whom I had never heard of before, or at the very least, knew next to nothing about. That was Jeanette MacDonald. I've done the same this... read more »

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rimseen @ UA Midway Stadium 9, Forest Hills, Queens, NY7.17.13I had very few action figures as a kid. The type of toys I tended to favor were building toys: Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, domino obstacle courses, stuff like that. I definitely don't remember clamoring my parents for action figures, which is odd, since I'd see them in the Sears fall catalog every year, which I always closely scrutinized. In a way, I kinda regret that. I feel a little bit like I missed out.Watching Pacific Rim, one gets ... read more »

What was responsible for the geek renaissance?

...It’s obvious that we live amidst a “GeeksRule the World” vibe these days, right? For alot of us over a certain age, it’s incredible thatStar Trekfans and every other nerd nirvanist of all ages are allowed—nay, encouraged—to wear their con badge of honor openly, their heart on their sleeve, as it were…in full uncloseted view of everyone! The “geek girl” explosion, the cool-kids cosplay club… football Trekkies... the designers of cell phones, iPads, even a Vulcan-loving President —yep, it’s an amazing t... read more »

When Tom & Jerry were movie stars

The Dynamic Duos in Classic Film Blogathon is an event in which the theme involves any notable cinematic pairing of movie stars, hosted by Once Upon a Screen and Classic Movie Hub. For a list of participating bloggers, visit the links at either site.Everybody remembers Tom Jerry from Saturday morning (or sometimes weekday afternoon) cartoons, right? All they ever really did was chase and beat the crap out of each other, but they still had distinctive personalities that occasionally extended beyond their... read more »

What a time for black filmmakers!

'Fruitvale Station'It doesn't matter if Hollywood doesn't notice. It doesn't matter if the critics don't notice (though I believe they do). It doesn't matter if general audiences don't notice. The fact is that it's happening... and because it's happening one can't help but feel hopeful for the future, in spite of everything. Quality black directors are on the rise, and have been for the past several years (at least). I feel fortunate to have started this blog when I did so that I could help chart the r... read more »

Monstrous links

Good news! Page and I have begun talking about rescheduling the Terrorthon. It was truly unfortunate that we've had to put it on hold for as long as we have, because we had a fairly large amount of people lined up to take part. I don't know if we can get as many the second time around, but I do know that Page has her heart set on making this blogathon happen, and I'm just as eager to help her with it. We haven't settled on an exact date yet, but sometime around Halloween might be a possibility (which, st... read more »

Links of the living dead

Last month was a rough one for two of my favorite film bloggers, Page and Brandie, but I believe they'll get through it. Admittedly, I don't know them that well, but they both strike me as having the ability to overcome the adversity that life has thrown at them. Do yourself a favor and check out their blogs; let 'em know you're out there.This past weekend finally felt like summer for real after a cold and dreary spring, and I loved it! I spent both days out and about in the city, mostly Greenwich Villag... read more »

Iron links

Oooooh boy, the summer movie season is finally upon us, and while my expectations for the summer blockbusters are fair-to-middling this year, it's still exciting to see what they have for us. As much as I've been kvetching on Twitter about the new Star Trek film, for instance, there's no way I can avoid seeing it, simply because it is Star Trek. The superhero movies, on the other hand, I've cooled down on a little bit - too much of a good thing, y'know - but hope springs eternal. Can Christopher Nolan's ... read more »

Living with movie posters... EVERYWHERE

Colossal movie murals that take up entire sides of buildings are fairly common in NYC.This is a topic I've wanted to write about for awhile now, because while it's an intrinsic part of living in a major media capital like New York, it's also something that many people tend to take for granted, and that's the near-omnipresence of movie and television posters.Advertising in general dominates the environment of most major American cities, and New York and Los Angeles in particular are prime examples. Who ca... read more »

What fools these bloggers be...

One of these days, I suppose I'll have to attempt to pull off an April Fool's joke here. I tried it a couple of times at my old comics blog, but I haven't felt all that inspired to attempt one here. WSW isn't a movie news site, so it's not like you'd expect me to have a scoop about whatever's going on in Hollywood. Maybe next year I'll come up with something. The nomination procedure is still going on in the LAMMY Awards, so if you're a LAMB, please vote for "City Mouse Makes a Movie" in the Best Runni... read more »

News and links

The most important news - for me, at least - is that the Queens World Film Festival returns next week, and once again I'll be there to cover it. It's a long one this year, March 5-10, but I'll do my best to cover as much of it as I can. I was not prepared for the level of hospitality and generosity I received from festival heads Don and Katha Cato last year, which included being invited to Don's birthday party last summer, which I totally did not expect. Therefore, I'm fondly looking forward to returning... read more »

Starships in the night: 5 times Trek and Wars h...

I'm still stunned and amazed at the news. Not that I was a big fan of JJ Abrams' interpretation of Star Trek, but I have to admit that I was beginning to think of him as 'ours,' so to speak, for better or for worse. He revitalized the franchise, something it needed for quite awhile, and I give him credit for that. But to think that anyone would want the mighty responsibility of overseeing the two biggest sci-fi franchises OF ALL TIME... Sure, it sounds like the ultimate fanboy fantasy on the surface, but... read more »

AFFRM needs films in other genres

The past year has been a monumental one for Ava DuVernay and her black film distribution businessAFFRM. After winning Best Director at last year's Sundance Film Festival, Middle of Nowherestayed within the critical sphere of consciousness all year long, garnering outstanding reviews and coming within shouting distance of an Oscar nomination. Even though the film missed, one has to believe that its success will make it easier for the next independent black film to make it, though it must be said that Nowh... read more »

New year's links

The first link list of 2013 and I don't have too much to say other than I'm working on my contribution to this year's LAMB Devours the Oscars. As I mentioned on Saturday, it's another City Mouse strip, this time featuring Collie (she kinda kicked CM to the curb this year). It should be done this week and will hopefully go up very soon. In the meantime, please don't be shy about letting me know what you think of City Mouse Makes a Movie; if you like it, hate it, whatever, tell me about it.Similar to the C... read more »

Dosunmu's 'Mother' debuting @ Sundance

Remember the guy who directed Restless City? He's got a new one. Here's a Sundance video interview in which he talks about it. City was a Top 10 pick of mine for 2011, so I have high hopes for this new film as well. Seek out City if you can; it's an astonishing film. read more »

Yuletide links

I should have a post for you about this movie next week.What a surprise - the world didn't end after all! Just like it didn't end a year and a half ago when everybody was screaming about the rapture, just like it didn't end when the Y2K bug had everyone in a panic, just like it hasn't ended for what, billions of years now? And still people fall for this crap. Why do people wanna believe in the end of the world so much? Seriously, it bugs me so much because it keeps people afraid and ignorant. I saw a lin... read more »




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