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A Gilda Caged: Thoughts on the Movies We Label “Classic”…

I had the pleasure, a while back, of attending a screening of Gilda being hosted by the Irish Film Institute. The black-and-white forties noir-tinted thriller is somewhat warmly regarded among film historians, and one of those movies you label as a “classic” without any real hesitation. However, as I emerged from the cinema, I found myself wondering how such a film would be received were it released today. I honestly wonder what we would make of these “classics” if they didn’t have the word “classic” to hide behind.

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Noir the Battle to the Strong: Why I’m Afraid of Classic Cinema…

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir.

I have to admit, the “For The Love of Film Noir” blogathon is a very worthy cause. Bloggers from all around the world continuously blogging in order to raise funds to restore classic films. It’s something that I just couldn’t ignore the chance to be a part of – to have the chance to say that I helped restore a classic film print of an actual honest-to-goodness classic film. It was too great an opportunity to ignore… and yet I almost did. I hesitated as I wrote the comment agreeing to take part. My fingers felt heavy. My thoughts caught in wherever it is that thoughts catch. I wanted to blog about film noir for a week straight, but I was also genuinely terrified by the idea. After all, what do I know about classic film?

Too hot to handle?

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Paradise Lost & Found: Milking Milton

Sometimes you hear a movie pitch and you think “man, that’s a good idea”. This is not one of those ideas. Apparently Hollywood has run out of modern fantasy books and comics to adapt and have set their eyes to a somewhat higher brow work: Milton’s Paradise Lost. I loved that book in secondary school almost as much as I loved Dante’s Inferno (the rest of The Divine Comedy I could take or leave, to be brutally honest). Anyway, you’d think I would be rejoicing at the news of the adaptation, but my cynical nature betrays itself here. You see, here is exactly what the producers had to say about the proposal:

…the project tells the story of the epic war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer, and will be crafted as an action vehicle that will include aerial warfare, possibly shot in 3D.

Yes, it’s a 3D “aerial warfare” movie. I’m waiting for the announcement that Sam Worthington will play Satan and Vin Diesel will play the “one day away from retirement” Archangel “my friends call me Gabe” Gabriel.

That pitch meeting obviously didn't go well...

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Non-Review Review: Clash of the Titans

It has been a couple of years since the last proper swords-and-sandals epic. It’s hard to look past the glossy stylised design of 300 and the discussions of racial politics which surrounded it. Troy and Alexander were hardly solid examples of the genre which had been at the height of its popularity more than half a century ago. Aside from Gladiator, it’s hard to point to another big screen classical action movie that manages to do what it says on the tin. Although it’s a long way from perfect, Clash of the Titans at least delivers the intriguing visuals and impressive action that one expects from the genre. I was pleasantly surprised. 

A friendship in ruins...

 

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Non-Review Review: The Player

I love The Player. I really do. When I was in college, I used to organise movie screenings – we’d show The Player once a year and it would always pack out. It was just one of those films that everybody had heard nothing but good things about, but never got a chance to see. Indeed, I would go so far as to say The Player, with all its wacky fourth-wall meta-ness, is my favourite Robert Altman film.

Who would want to kill this producer? Answers on the back of a postcard...

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Top of the Pops: The IMDb Top 250 Movies All Time and Movie Lists in General…

Sometimes talking about talking about movies can be as fascinating as actually discussing movies. That’s why I’ve followed with interest the crisis of identity that has gripped film criticism of late. What’s interesting, however is to hear Donald Clarke of The Irish Times complaining about the Internet Movie Database Top 250 Films of All Time:

The performance of Inception highlights the most serious problem with this list. Like most such sites, IMDb receives contributions from a disproportionately high number of teenage boys. If you doubt this, look at the ratings for the Twilight films. I know that most critics are less keen on the teen vampire pictures than I am, but the appalling ratings  for the pictures on IMDb speak of a spotty allergy to “gurl’s fillums”. Such boys idolise Nolan and — crucially — know how to put together internet campaigns.

I’m kinda wondering though, what exactly is Mister Clarke arguing against? When did any film ranking become an objective exercise that needs to be treated like “serious business”?

Looks like Inception made quite the splash... (Inception, #3)

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Does Hype Ruin Good Films?

So, how was Avatar Day for you?

The word so far has been a resounding ‘meh‘, but still a somewhat enthusiastic one. Still, it’s nothing compared to the hype that has built up around the movie. A ‘game changer’, Avatar was rumoured to redefine movies themselves – ushering in the golden era of three-dimensional filmmaking. How does a film live up to that hype? In fairness, most of the comments on the preview footage have been relatively positive, but most seem a little disappointed. So, has the Hollywood hype machine spoiled a perfectly good movie?

Is James Cameron still king of the world?

Is James Cameron still king of the world?

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