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Category Archives: Entertainment

Life Imitates Art – Rush

Two movies with similar plots are produced nearly 50 years apart. The first, Grand Prix in 1966, directed by John Frankenheimer. The second, Rush in 2013, directed by Ron Howard.
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When you watch these two films, if you were somehow unaware of their chronological order, you would think, Grand Prix is a movie patterned after real people and events, of course with artistic license. In reality, Grand Prix is filmed a decade earlier than the events and people portrayed in Rush.

Why the comparison? Here’s a quote in Rotten Tomatoes about the plot of Grand Prix; “There’s a few million dollars’ worth of star power and a nickel’s worth of plot in the lavish race-car melodrama Grand Prix.” Grand Prix was intended to be as true to motor-sports as possible, which it was recognized for at that time. It was prescient as well, when compared to the real life rivals, Niki Lauda & James Hunt.

Each movie tells a story in its own terms. The earlier movie, was as much a human story played by some of the best actors of the era, as well as unequalled cinematography. The theme music, although beautiful in its own right, was altered and used repeatedly, and after a while wore a hole in the story fabric.

Grand Prix was a movie that by today’s standards dragged, punctuated by on track racing with visuals so gorgeous, you could hug the techs & cinematographers. It’s 3 hour run time included an intermission. There’s no way contemporary movie-goers would sit still for that long. Grand_Prix_movie_poster_1966Ron Howard is a director at home with making biographies compelling. Think – Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man.  Rush is more mainstream Howard. You could almost visualize him doing a version of this without the authenticity of these two race drivers. My only criticism is he often gets lost in telling this 1976 race season without any of the cine artistry that Frankheimer applied almost 50 years before.

It’s worth seeing both of these movies. I would recommend viewing Grand Prix first, and within a reasonable time frame of each other, so you can compare.


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Posted by on 21/09/2017 in Director, Entertainment, Movies, Plot

 

What! You haven’t seen it yet?

By now, most of you have seen some or all of this seasons blockbusters.

Probably one of the most anticipated large budget “super hero” films, Wonder Woman, raised the bar for DC Films. I previously reviewed it, and if I were to give it stars, it would be 4.5 out of 5, IMHO.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 came out a month before, and that was probably the preview for how Marvel was going to handle the soon to be released Spiderman – Homecoming. Lots of humor interspersed with a lot of action.

The latest Spiderman with Tom Holland in the role, revealed how we recall the Peter Parker / Spiderman of the ’60’s. Fun mixed in with teenage angst. For me this movie rated a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Continuing to promote and have some fun with it, Tom Holland gives us a little video insight of his “action packed” role.

2017-07-13 15.41.08

 
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Posted by on 13/07/2017 in Action, Actors, Entertainment, Fantasy, Movies, Popular Culture

 

The Batman Has Left Us

For those old enough to recall the 1966-68, television series, Batman played by Adam West, it was the last time any of us recall a lighter, more humorous version of Batman & Robin.

When Michael Keaton reprised the role of Batman, sans Robin in the 1980’s, it was a much darker more serious view of the comic book hero.

Gone were the camp, tongue firmly in cheek remarks, as well as the graphical sound effects punches, such as THWACK-BOFF-KAPOW-BONK-ZAP & BAM.

《-Batman Fight Scene Clips-》

As that era of mega-guest stars welcomed to the small screen on a weekly schedule ended, so too has its lead star. Adam West has passed, fighting the last good fight for his life with Lukemia. He was 88 years old.

Adam West Gallery


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 Guest Cameos on the Bat climb (14 in all)

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Posted by on 11/06/2017 in Actors, Comics, Crime Drama, Deaths, Entertainment, Hollywood, Humor, Movies, Popular Culture, Television

 

State of Cinema

Can you recall any picture in the last 3 years that was wildly popular that didn’t include things getting smashed or blown to bits?

Have you gone to a movie or rented one that featured clever or charming dialog, let’s say in the past 24 months?

It’s OK, I can wait for your answer . . .

NO?

la-la-land-poster-small

Click for video

Surprise, I can think of one! La La Land which did – Worldwide: $439,020,154 (£424.7m)

That’s nothing compared to the Faster & the Even More Furious, OK, real title – The Fate of the Furious. Worldwide: $532,481,640 That’s just in the first (opening) weekend. It broke the previous record of $529m (£421.8m) taken in by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

That kind of money gets attention, which means the type of films I might find more interesting, or have longevity, are not likely to be made in the foreseeable future. That’s kind of shame, because the independent films are constantly trying to break into a market that is walled off from the public.

Why is the Fast & Furious franchise so popular?

fate_of_the_furious_opening_box_office

BBC Entertainment & Arts

That’s a question which seems easy to answer, at least on the surface. Some may say it has universal appeal to young & old, because people like to see escape fantasies of things destroyed. The protagonists and antagonists are people over the top, escaping doom or creating disasters on a grand scale with seemingly little consequence.  Have you ever picked up a sledge-hammer to help demolish a car for charity? Imagine 100’s of times greater smash, with none of the work but all of the fun.

There are other reason(s), I believe which increase its appeal. The actors in the film, identify well with an audience. Paul Walker was one of those people who seemed universally liked. Actors, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel and Ludacris, all have large followings. Dwayne Johnson has starred in four of this franchise movies, and he’s brought new energy to it. Still, they’re not adverse to bringing in other major names, and stirring the pot.

Kurt Russel has been a big action adventure star for years. This time he even has a name that most of us can relate to…  Mr. Nobody.

The Fate of the Furious won’t be a movie I will pay to see, but the next film Kurt Russell will be in, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, is going to be at the top of my screening list. If I’m not there opening day, I will be soon thereafter. The last Guardians of the Galaxy anticipated their audience, adding humor to an imaginative story that grabbed a lot of eyes. This one looks to be every bit the right follow on, in one I’m least familiar as a published graphics novel.


 

Resistance is Futile

A young Bela Lugosi photo

Bela Lugosi – Dracula

The OSCARS may be the buzz that Hollywood would like us to focus on, but only momentarily. They really want us to take them seriously. There will be many brows furrowed, scoldings issued, and appeals made.

This means we’re likely going to hear more speeches on, Donald Trump outrage, immigration, civil rights, racismhuman created environmental changes (our shame – not theirs). We may be hoping to see which cinematography, musical score, writers, actors, graphics, scripts, receive awards, but rest assured, that’s not all they have planned for us.

In many ways, they’ve become an interest group concerned with moral causes and how they continue to portray themselves as super citizens.

comedy - dramaThere are changes in the making. I’m not talking about the continuing inflation of egos, rather many ‘stars’ are getting older, their expenses are going up while box office receipts are going down. Their demands for increased salaries may actually set them back.

=-=- Biggest World Wide Box Office Releases Not From Hollywood -=-=

The news for Hollywood, just like American manufacturing, it can be done elsewhere, and often for less cost with greater profits. China & Japan are having a good year for film making and box office revenue.

Joan Fontaine Cary Grant  Suspicion 1940

Joan Fontaine & Cary Grant

La La Land is a one of the movies nominated for awards, but the title and the ending suggests a bit more reality than many might immediately recognize about the traditional film industry.

A couple of last-minute notes… Greg P. Russell had his Oscar nomination rescinded on Saturday, for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Bill Paxton has died from complications from heart surgery. He was 61.

 
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Posted by on 26/02/2017 in Academy Awards, Actors, Attitude, Awards, Box Office, Entertainment, Finance, Hollywood, Movies, Popular Culture

 

The Oscars Are Coming!

Oscar_statue_smlLet’s hope that’s all there is…

We know tonight is the night for Hollywood to go all in on celebrating…

Themselves.

The most anxious moments?

Will they get it right?

You decide as we have hours of congratulatory speeches, humor, music, dance, awards, and pontification.

  . . .  And the nominees are . . .

 
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Posted by on 26/02/2017 in Academy Awards, Awards, Choice, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies

 

New Film in the Works

Set in a world so dark even villains can be heroes . . 

black_russian_chris_barfoot_film

Black Russian is a film set to begin in the summer of 2017

The latest film project announced by Chris Barfoot, Black Russian launched on February 18, 2017.

Incarcerated for fifteen years- Frank leaves prison to discover that his boss Marco is no longer cock of the walk. He must infiltrate the new Russian mob and steal the largest natural diamond in the world
‘The Black Russian’…

This is a stylish and gritty British crime thriller. It is a contemporary tale of love, deception, murder and retribution- set against a universe so dark- that ‘even villains can be heroes…’

East meets West… in this clash of the gangsters!

[Click on the image above to find out more]

 
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Posted by on 19/02/2017 in Action, Director, Entertainment, Movies, Plot

 
 
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