Posted on September 24, 2012 by Darren
Apparently there was a test screening of Lincoln in New Jersey. I know this because the film media has gone absolutely wild over it. What’s astonishing about this coverage is the fact that it’s less about how rare it is to test Spielberg movies (Hook was the last one tested, and we know how that turned out), but more about the perceived responses to audience comments coming from that screening. Critics and pundits were quick to dismiss audience members speaking out as “anonymous jackasses” or to question their critical faculties…
Which all seems a bit much, doesn’t it?
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: Adam Berg, Anne Thompson, arts, david cronenberg, Ehren Kruger, film, film criticism, indieWire, Movie, New Jersey, rotten tomatoes, steven spielberg, Videodrome | 4 Comments »
Posted on September 18, 2012 by Darren
The Manchurian Candidate is a rather wonderful piece of Cold War paranoia, with a handy bit of social commentary and a rather surrealist perspective thrown in on top. John Frankenheimer’s vision remains unnerving because of its occasionally absurd and strange imagery and subtext, much of which remains unsettling long after the end of the Cold War. While The Manchurian Candidate remains a fascinating story, and one which has seeped into pop cultural consciousness, It’s Frankenheimer’s direction that elevates the film, managing to convince the audience that there is some meaning and purpose to all the bizarre imagery and interactions.
Play your cards right…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Cold War, Eleanor, film, George Axelrod, John Frankenheimer, John Iselin, John Jay Iselin, Josie, Macy, Manchurian Candidate, McCarthyism, Movie, New Jersey, non-review review, Raymond, republicans, review, Russia, Soviet Union, United States, Yen Lo | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 15, 2012 by Darren
I’ve said before (and many far smarter individuals have said it before me), but The Sopranos really feels like a novel for television. You can see that approach most distinctly in the first season, where David Chase cleverly structures the show that we spend more than half the season getting to know the cast, and getting comfortable with them, before things actually start happening in any truly meaningful sense. Of course, things have happened. The restaurant exploded, Junior and Tony nearly came to a head, but the approach has really been first and foremost about defining who these characters are, before we really get into what they do.
Down Neck, halfway through the first season, is really the perfect example. Not much really happens. Sure, plot threads advance. Livia discovers that her son is seeing a therapist. We hear that Junior is really settling into his new-found position of nominal authority. However, the most significant beats of Down Neck are concerned with character. A large portion of the episode is an extended flashback focusing on a dead character, and the rest sees the family dealing with the possible diagnosis of Anthony’s Attention Deficit Disorder. Hardly what one might have expected from the halfway point in the first season of a mob drama.
Filed under: Television | Tagged: Anthony, Carmela, Chris, David Chase, Diegesis, Down Neck, FedEx, Gary Cooper, Janice, Jefferson, Jennifer Melfi, Junior, Junior Soprano, List of characters from The Sopranos – friends and family, Livia, Melfi, New Jersey, Soprano, Tony, Tony Award, Tony Soprano, United States | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 14, 2012 by Darren
Sleeper is an enjoyable Woody Allen film, coming from relatively early in the director’s career. He had yet to direct either Annie Hall or Manhattan, arguably his two most popular works, but was coming off a string of well-regarded movies. Sleeper is an affectionate look at many of the science-fiction movies that Hollywood was producing in the late sixties and early seventies, to the point that Allen himself actually sat down with Isaac Asimov to make sure the science-fiction elements of the script were kosher. However, Sleeper is remarkably fluid, allowing room within that framework for Allen to really explore any and all ideas that might possibly have occurred to him. The result is, to borrow a quote from the poster, a highly enjoyable and almost whimsical “nostalgic look at the future.”
Robot in disguise…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Allen, Annie Hall, California, charlie chaplin, Diane Keaton, dianekeaton, film, Isaac Asimov, Manhattan, marlon brando, McDonalds, Movie, New Jersey, nixon, non-review review, president, review, richard nixon, Secret Service, Sleeper, United States, United States Secret Service, Watergate Scandal, white house, Woody Allen | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 2, 2012 by Darren
I think it’s possible to make the argument that The Sopranos can be read as that illusive “great American novel”, just handily divided into eighty-six chapters and televised as opposed to written. Sure, it’s a show about the mob, but it’s also a compelling examination of the disillusionment festering at the heart of the American psyche. Tony might be a New Jersey mob boss, but most of his problems aren’t too far disconnected from those eating away at the American middle class. (Hell, I’d argue that it speaks volumes to the Irish psyche and probably many other nationalities as well.) As such, across the crucial first season, Chase and his team of writers seem to lay down and establish the core themes, allowing Tony to confront and explore just one of the many gnawing insecurities eating away at any middle-class father. In College, Tony wrestled with the idea that his daughter might discover who he truly is, while Pax Soprana explores the notion of impotence and insecurity – some times literally.
Filed under: Television | Tagged: Carmela, Carmela Soprano, Chase, David Chase, godfather, hbo, Jennifer Melfi, Junior, Junior Soprano, Livia, Nancy Marchand, New Jersey, Pax Soprana, Soprano, the sopranos, Tony, Tony Soprano, United States | Leave a Comment »