Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Hurt Locker (2009)

Just a quickie...

Went to see Kathyrn Bigelow's latest film THE HURT LOCKER this evening. And it was pretty amazing. I urge all of you fans of cinema to go see it. It's more than the usual War film. It's super tense and exciting. I was totally gripped from beginning to end. Bigelow manages to craft a great character study as well. It's extremely well made and the rare kind of movie that stays with you.

Best film of the year so far. Go check it out.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DVD Evaders... 3 Firsts: Firstborn (1984), First Love (1977) & The First Time (1983)

A batch of Firsts this time. All wondering when they are getting their first shot to DVD, and to be saved from obscurity forever.

1984's BORN plays the balances of teen coming of age picture with some serious issues (namely Domestic abuse and Drug Dealing) and while some of it doesn't gel, there's an undeniable watchability there. I think most of that can be contributed to Michael Apted's sincere direction and the great cast. There's Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Corey Haim, Sarah Jessica Parker and Christopher Collet as the titular character. Even Robert Downey Jr. pops up in a supporting role.

1977's LOVE was also released by Paramount and is partly a coming of age story, but manages to capture it's romantic story in a really timeless way. Stars William Katt and Susan Dey have great chemistry. FIRST LOVE isn't anything more than a story of just that, but it's done very well and you find yourself really caring for it's characters by the time the credits roll.

THE FIRST TIME was released back in the hey day of the teen sex comedy in 1983 and I count it as one of my very favorites of that era. Sadly it was given a poor release and sort of got swept under the 80's comedy carpet, but those who discover it are in for a real treat.

TIME was made by Charlie Loventhal (a protege of Brian De Palma--who also served as a creative consultant of the film) and while it's caught up in all it's zany teen sex glory, there's a playful quality about the film that shows those behind the wheel have a real love for their medium. There are fun stabs at film school projects and Wallace Shawn and Robert Trebor give very funny performances as the pretentious film teacher and film student respectively. See it!

TV Spot for Firstborn can be found here:
Firstborn TV Spot

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Celebration Of 80's Movie Musicals

The 80's were essentially the final decade for the once force-to-be-reckoned-with Movie Musical before they disappeared almost entirely until the recent spat of insipid High School Musical films. Ironically, those Films were made by the choreographer Kenny Ortega who had a hand with a couple of memorable dance oriented Pictures back in the 80s-- DIRTY DANCING being the most recognizable as it was the biggest hit of any Film mentioned here. Since trends were ever-evolving in the 80's, the Movie Nusical would go through a melting pot of change, some say for the worse, I say it was a last blast of fun.

As the years would progress in The Eighties, each Movie Musical would change right with it. Notably the early days of rap & hip-hop having the most influence on what would hit the screens as it was hitting the streets (while the Footloose kids were Dancing In The Sheets) I would count these as my favorites:


1980 got the movie musical off to a great start with these 2 films. One, a truly memorable teenage picture (which has spawned a TV show in the 80's, a failed reality series and a remake this Year) the other a great film of a music legend that transcended the bio film (meaning that unlike most bio films, it didn't suck)
Another 2 from '80...

Say what you will, I LOVE me some Grease 2.




2 Animated Musical treats!

"Dance, Ballerina!"

Documentaries & What not

After all that musical goodness, I still managed to leave out a bunch of notable music movies. AMADEUS (1984), LA BAMBA (1987), SMITHEREENS (1982) anyone? How's about the not-as-classic but still worth the mention: THE BLANK GENERATION (1980), BODY ROCK (1984), BREAKIN' (1984), EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS (1983) and maybe THE IN CROWD (1988)... I was never a fan of these films, but they had they had their time... THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS (1982), CROSSROADS (1986), HARD TO HOLD (1984), THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), STARSTRUCK (1982) and TAP (1989).

And lasty... these musical movies, for different reasons, traumatized me greatly: ANNIE (1982), THE APPLE (1980), CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC (1980), FAST FORWARD (1985), THE JAZZ SINGER (1980) and YENTL (1983) ... Oh how I shiver still from their memory! To recover, I must now leave you to skate away and drift off to sleep.. Hopefully i'll meet up with this chick named Kira and we'll end up here:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

DVD Evaders... 2 From UA: The Landlord (1970) & The Group (1966)

There's no doubt that United Artists has a huge catalogue, and it would take a really long time to comb through and release most of it, but i'm still confused as to why these 2 films by such distinguished filmmakers have been forgotten.

Hal Ashby's THE LANDLORD (1970) is a movie very much of it's time, but still manages to say a lot about humanity regardless. It's often left out when Ashby's more popular films are shown, but I count it as one of his best. Better than BEING THERE, even.

Sidney Lumet's THE GROUP (1966) boasts an all-star cast of great actresses who all deliver powerful and truthful performances--Shirley Knight in particular is a stand out.

Again, another film that may be dated with time, but I--a dude even--still found myself relating to it's characters many ups and downs. Forget SEX AND THE CITY. Watch a real chick flick with a lot of soul.

And dig the NYC locations for both of these films. Viva la UA!

**UPDATE** as of 10/7/10 both these titles have been released on DVD from MGM. Yay!
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