Archive for category: Essays

Oscar Predictions

20 February, 2015 (09:05) | by Robert Horton, Essays | By: Robert Horton

Last year it seemed so easy: 12 Years a Slave was the pre-ordained Best Picture winner, Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett had acting awards locked up, and nobody was going to deny Frozen in the animation category. Well, the 87th annual Oscar race has been a little more fun. Even though certain movies have been […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Oscar Upsets

18 February, 2015 (08:30) | by Richard T. Jameson, Commentary, Essays | By: Richard T. Jameson

Set out to write about Academy Award upsets and right away the ground starts shifting under your feet. Oh, some neck-snappers we all remember—like Jack Nicholson coming out to present the award for best picture of 2005, opening the envelope, and saying, “Whoa.” Moments when the title of the movie everybody figured to win suddenly […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

“The Citizen Kane of the digital era. . .”

11 February, 2015 (08:23) | by Sheila Benson, Essays | By: Sheila Benson

That’s not me talking. That’s what the great editor (great friend) Dov Hoenig said about  Birdman the other day, as his wife Zoe and I were trying to shorten the distance between London and Seattle over the phone. My enthusiasms you can take with a giant grain of salt. Dov’s you should take very very […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

People Who Need People – ‘To Have and Have Not’

2 February, 2015 (08:09) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Film Reviews, Howard Hawks | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 40, April 1975] She brought the bottle to his room and then he took the bottle to her room and now she has brought it back to his room without anyone having had a drink so far. He cocks an eye at their mutual pretext and remarks, “This is getting […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Monster in the Box: How a Childhood Love of Frankenstein Turned Me Into a Film Critic

21 January, 2015 (17:59) | by Robert Horton, Essays, Horror | By: Robert Horton

Robert Horton hosts the Cinema Dissection of Bride of Frankenstein, a six-hour interactive tour through the movie, at SIFF Film Center on Saturday, January 24, part of a weekend-long program “It’s Alive: Frankenstein on Film.” Tickets and details here. In anticipation of the event, here is an excerpt from his upcoming book on Frankenstein, to […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Caliban in Bodega Bay

19 January, 2015 (05:37) | Alfred Hitchcock, by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 41, May 1975] The birds have really made a mess of Bodega Bay. Smoke from a gasoline fire hangs heavy over the city; bodies lie in the streets: abandoned automobiles, smashed windows, and ripped woodwork are grim evidence that the human beings have not won this battle. With Mitch Brenner’s […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Chet Baker, Choppy Waters: ‘Let’s Get Lost’

20 December, 2014 (07:39) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, Essays, Musicals | By: Sean Axmaker

1987, Santa Monica. Chet Baker is weathered and worn. Filmed in black and white in the back of a convertible at night, framed by a pair of lovely young models, with street lights and headlights catching his features in a slash or a flash, his once smooth cheeks are leathery with age beyond his years […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Presenting Thanhouser, the Greatest American Independent Studio of the 1910s

15 December, 2014 (16:04) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The title to Ned Thanhouser‘s documentary, The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema, isn’t mere hyperbole. Veteran stage actor and theater manager Edwin Thanhouser (the director’s grandfather) made his move from live theater to making movies for the growing market of cinema in 1909. By 1918, as the industry grew beyond Thanhouser’s ability […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Ten Silent Movies to Make You a Silent Movie Fan

8 December, 2014 (12:49) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, lists, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

“We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.” —Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd. You say that you’re really into old movies and you can’t get enough of the classics but you just haven’t found a way to love silent cinema? You say that all your friends are doing the silents and you feel left out? You say […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

That’s not Art, that’s Smut!

22 November, 2014 (12:41) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, lists | By: Sean Axmaker

Sex sells, as the saying goes, and movie producers, distributors and exhibitors have known this since pictures began to move. In That’s Sexploitation, filmmaker Frank Henenlotter and exploitation legend David Friedman celebrate the freewheeling culture of sexploitation, the sensationalistic underground of independent filmmakers and studios who cashed in on promises of carnal thrills and forbidden […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

John Ford Reprints the Legend

17 November, 2014 (05:20) | by David Coursen, Essays, John Ford | By: David Coursen

[Originally published in Movietone News 42, July 1975] John Ford was probably more conscious of the meaning of history than any other American director; in a sense, the evolution of his historical vision is the measure of his growth as an artist. This evident fact is often commented on but, surprisingly, almost invariably in only […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Orson Welles: The Enigmatic Independent

16 November, 2014 (17:11) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Sean Axmaker

[Originally published on Greencine in 2003] “And now I’m going to tell you a story about a scorpion. A scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked a frog to carry him. ‘No,’ said the frog. ‘No, thank you. If I let you on my back you may sting me, and the sting of […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

The Dialectics of Humor: Russian Silent Comedy

10 November, 2014 (16:16) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Silent Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Let’s face it, Soviet silent cinema isn’t renowned for its sense of humor. And that’s a shame. Most of us were introduced to the silent era of Russian film through the dialectic exercises of Sergei Eisenstein, who combined the intellectual and the visceral in such films as Strike (1925) and Battleship Potemkin (1925) or the dazzling montage […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

‘Horrors of the Black Museum': Herman Cohen’s Lurid Horror with a British Accent

13 October, 2014 (05:52) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Horror | By: Sean Axmaker

Hammer wasn’t the only studio in Britain mining the vein of horror films that made them such attractive imports for American theaters. Before Amicus and Trigon arose in the 1960s, American producer Herman Cohen made a deal with British studio Anglo-Amalgamated to produce a pair of lurid horrors with British accents. Horrors of the Black […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

A Dalmatian Called Nixon

11 October, 2014 (10:12) | by Ken Eisler, Essays | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 44, September 1975] The Doberman Gang was playing all over Mexico City when I was there last June—including the front-page headlines. Passing up Byron Chudnow’s three-year-old dog biscuit (retitled El Gran Asalto de los Doberman) was easy, but I did find myself drawn guiltily, morning after morning, into the details […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email