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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

MOVIE-MAN THOMSON ON SEA-CHANGE

City Pages critic Rob Nelson has long heralded the Movie-Man David Thomson as foreseeing a sea-change in film culture with the advent of the box-office blockbuster.

In his overview of the year in films to date, Thomson suggests the decline in business might be larger than a cyclical dip. Thomson looks forward to the release this weekend of Spielbergs WAR OF THE WORLDS (as do I, see previous post) because of the resonance the film has in movie and cultural history. Yet, Thomson claims film audiences have declined and so has the meaning of films to their makers.

The decline of Hollywood domination may produce, however, a few desirable results for film enthusiasts: the rise of independent small capitalized films in niche markets and potential growth of foreign language films in U.S. markets.

Do films like BATMAN have to be dark and filled with ominous consequence to be redeeming? Pick up and read Rob Nelson's interview with Thomson on the web as a part of City Pages Special Summer Film issue:

http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1282/article13454.asp or go to: www.citypages.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

CITIZEN TRUMP ON KANE

Can you imagine an bizarro world with Donald Trump starring as the lead in CITIZEN KANE? If that came to pass, perhaps, Trump would get a decent hair prosthetic and a stylist instead of that poorly died and flipped soufflé sitting on top of his head. Does it come as any surprise that the adventures of Charles Foster Kane make the 1941 classic Donald Trump's favorite movie?

Documentary filmmaker who won an Oscar for FOG OF WAR last year and director of TV commercials like the famed PHOTOBOOTH promotional spot for PBS and the anti-Bush ads for Moveon.org, Errol Morris also turns out to be a fairly prodigious master of his own web domain.

http://www.errolmorris.com/content/aborted/projects_donald.html

On this site you can follow the links to Aborted Projects where in MOVIE MOVIE Morris asks world renown figures to provide first-person critiques of their favorite films. Trump gives a bit of personal advice for Kane. Coming soon to the web screen of one of our most accomplished media techno-geeks, Mikhail Gorbachev discusses Tarkovsky's THE MIRROR and Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

WORLDS AT WAR

I was not impulsively compelled to the STAR WARS hype like many perhaps slightly younger movie enthusiasts of my generation and friends who secretly dress up as Darth Vader awaited the first midnight viewing. Many of those friends attributed my lack of excitement to my teetering toward the edge of the viagra generation -- I just cannot pull one anymore for fantastic special effects extravaganzas like warring over the universe and noble gothic virtues. 

In reality, it has more to do with grandiose medieval preoccupations of world order by George Lucas than youthful enthusiasm. Lucas may be a foe of George Bush but they share the same epic vision of the world at war as long as neither man is required to personally take up arms and can send other peoples children or hire actors to fight and die. Okay, I'll grant the apologists that Lucas uses light sabers and celluloid effects rather than laser guided bombs and innocent lives and there is a difference.

Honesty, I am more prone to get excited about the upcoming release of Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS with Tom Cruise at the end of June. Yes, Cruise has been acting a bit strange lately. Dreamworks is freaking out about his behavior of Oprah's show. But, while many kids were growing up thinking about the Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, and the fate of the Galactic Empire I was a bit more grounded with drama here on earth. 

I recall in the late sixties being profoundly effected when, as a child, my family popped corn in a covered soup pan on the stove and gathered around the black and white 20-inch TV forged from non-organic orange plastic. To watch H.G. Wells chilling depiction, in the 1953 Bryon Haskin movie, of an invasion from outer space, the chill in my spine may have been seeded by the constant hysteria of the cold war fear in America -- none-the-less it was based more in reality than the fantasy universe of pure invention.

Also, as a kid I remembered how there were really two different polar approaches to science-fiction and at the time we viewed them as either fantasy sci-fi where everything was located in a space and time of pure invention and than there was the sci-fi of the internal world that we lived and touched everyday. THE TWILIGHT ZONE series on TV or classic old films such as DONOVAN'S BRAIN best exemplified the science fiction of the mind that made us examine our own predicament on earth. WAR OF THE WORLDS was another great classic that caused us all to react and then reflect.

Maybe greater reflection what is missing for me with STAR WARS. And we'll have to wait to see if Spieberg can reach that wonderful mix of suprise, invention, speculation of an unimagined future and the consequences of life on earth that makes for a great science fiction movie.